april 6th is a special day to us mormons (2 years ago i was wishing emma would be born on this significant day. no dice). on this day, 183 year ago, the church of jesus christ was restored to the earth with just 6 members! and today in general conference they announced that there are over 14 million members, spread throughout the world. amazing! as i have been thinking about the restoration of the gospel and this special time of year, i was reminded of a story that i heard a few weeks ago at a women's conference. our stake relief society president was visiting the sacred grove in upstate new york, where heavenly father and jesus christ appeared to joseph smith in the spring of 1820, and she really wanted to see a "witness tree." i had never heard of them before, but they are trees that were there in 1820 when the first vision occurred (picture below on the left)! so cool!
while she was there, she ran into the mission president for the area and he shared something really interesting with her. he took them to see the tree on the right in the picture above. at one time, it was the largest tree in the grove. a microburst storm hit and uprooted it. in trying to determine why it didn't withstand the storm despite its size, when smaller trees did, they found that the tree was next to a shallow stream. it had been constantly fed by this stream and because of that, it never had to sink deep roots into the ground to sustain life. without those deep roots, it was uprooted by the storm.
i have been thinking a lot lately about the need to be steadfast and immovable in truth and righteousness and to really be converted unto the lord. about how we must sink our roots deep, or when the inevitable storms of life come, we will easily be uprooted. i am so grateful for this weekend to be spiritually strengthened by hearing the lord's chosen servants. it really is just amazing that we have a prophet and apostles on the earth today, just like in ancient times! the lord is really sooo loving! i am grateful that they can give us counsel on how to become steadfast and immovable. the lord wants us to be able to "weather the storms" of mortality, to have our roots sunk deep so we don't get knocked over when things get windy. and of course we're human, which means we're not going to be perfect at all of this. we're going to mess up. which makes me infinitely grateful for the gift of a savior, who is patient and loving and makes it possible through his atonement to be a little better each day. what a blessing this gospel is!