NICEVILLE — The Ladies of the Church joined the 189th Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of their Women’s Conference.
Local women ages 8 to 90 attended this historic conference, where they were addressed by three of their local leaders as well as the presidency of this worldwide church.
Members of 10 area congregations — called wards or branches — gathered for socializing before the conference.
There they were greeted by their Relief Society Presidency and a host of volunteers who had prepared an ice cream sundae event. Especially appreciated were the gentlemen who served ice cream in the kitchen to the women who attended.
Before the broadcast, several local leaders spoke to the audience. They were Amy Hart, of the stake young women’s presidency; Merinda Vause, of the stake primary presidency; and Stake Relief Society President Tammy Jones.
All the past Fort Walton Beach stake relief society presidents were honored by sitting on the stand until the speakers began their talks from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
The presidents, who serve in a worldwide capacity, spoke first. Reyna Aburto led the way with her talk, "Honoring His Name." Lisa Harkness’ theme was "Beloved Daughters," and Bonnie Cordon introduced several changes to the Young Women program.
Henry B. Eyring of the church’s presidency, spoke on the topic, "Covenant Women, a Partnership with God." Dallin H. Oaks’ theme was, "Two Great Commandments" with emphasis on loving our neighbors.
President Russell M. Nelson has visited church congregations all over the world since becoming the head of the church. Although he just turned 95, this renowned former heart surgeon sets a pace that few can emulate. His talk centered on "Spiritual Treasures."
His point was that women have a unique moral compass and their service to others is matchless. He then shared news of the eight new temples planned for construction.
Crestview Ward 2 members in attendance included Katie Craig, her daughters Mackenzie, 8, and Abbey, who is in the Young Single Adult Branch.
Katie, who serves in the Young Women Program, said she was grateful for the updated theme and focus on the young women since so many congregate in her home.
MacKenzie, who attended for the first time, appreciated the ice cream and hearing President Nelson speak.
Abbey said hearing all the changes for the better in the Young Women’s program impressed her and she is interested in seeing the results of those changes.
"The music was provided by a choir of young women clad in white. And we all hope that the ice cream Sundae event will become an annual tradition," an attendee said of the conference.