PROVO, Utah — Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can find protection against the adversary by being of good cheer, taught a keynote presenter at BYU Women’s Conference.
This year’s theme scripture for BYU Women’s Conference is Doctrine and Covenants 68:6 — “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.”
Irene Caso, media relations manager for the Church Communication Department, spoke on the theme during her keynote presentation Thursday morning, May 4.
Many times in the scriptures the Lord has said, “Be of good cheer,” explained Caso.
“Life is beautiful, sisters,” she said. “It is not meant just to be endured. I believe making an effort to live with a positive outlook and being of good cheer will protect us against the darts of the enemy.”
She shared the cheerful and joyful example of her grandmother, who suffered from knee and hip pain for decades after being hit by a fleeing bank robber’s car. And she spoke of her parents’ faith even after their 2-year-old son died in an accident. Soon after, two missionaries knocked on their door in Spain and asked if they could come in and share a message of Christ.
“It was that additional knowledge and understanding they had desperately been seeking,” Caso said.
They have a saying in their family: “Walk by faith until you know it.” Keep going until brighter days come, Caso said.
Once, her sister painted a picture of their family all as different flowers — and Caso was represented as a sunflower because she is always so cheerful and positive.
Sunflowers follow the light and stand tall and continue looking at the sun, Caso said, and so can women — they can follow the light of Jesus Christ, stand tall and continue looking to Him in their lives.
Fear can stop people from being of good cheer, Caso said, but faith in the Lord will bring new courage to stay firm and strong in the gospel.
The scriptures show people who faced fear in difficult times. For example, Esther was fearless in the face of fear. But God called Esther to be brave. He equipped Esther for her battle the moment she placed her trust in Him. “And He will prepare us,” Caso said.
“We are all here to lift each other up,” she said. “Heavenly Father loves you and He hears you. You are not alone.”
A sisterhood and a purpose
When speaking to the audience on Thursday morning, new BYU President C. Shane Reese told the women, “I am full of awe for who you are and what you represent.”
He shared that there were 8,624 registrants for the conference, coming from 46 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. The youngest participant was 15 years old, and the oldest was 98. He also thanked more than 800 volunteers for making it all possible.
“We are so grateful to have all of you back at BYU this week,” Reese said.
Megan Lee from San Juan Capistrano, California, traveled to Utah to attend the conference for the first time with her mother, Joan Durfey from Spring City, Utah. As they sat together in the Marriott Center, they felt like a part of a larger sisterhood and larger purpose.
“We just live in a really interesting time where we need to be there for each other,” Lee said.
Durfey said, “It’s just wonderful that we can be here together and share a lot of the feelings and emotions and needs that only the Church and the gospel can fill.”