Tonight Amber, Michael, Melissa and I went to go see Elder Christofferson speak at the Church Educational System (CES) Fireside. Now, for those of you who don't know, the Church Educational System features a monthly fireside featuring a leader in the church (a member of an auxillary organization such as the Relief Society, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, a member of the Seventy, etc.) that talks for about 45 minutes on something that impacts us today. They're always really great, relevant talks that allow me to think about several things that can help me to be a better person.
If you haven't heard of this before (or have but want to go back and read or listen to a particular one) I'd recommend the following: http://www.byub.org/talks/EventSearch.aspx?event=ces. You can look for speakers and topics, and trust me, they're all good.
So, a word about Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He is one of my favorite members of the Quorum of the Twelve. His talks are clothed not only in the Spirit and revelation, but in an intelligence that is entirely refreshing. While I was on my mission, my mission president gave us a talk by Elder Christofferson entitled "A Sense of the Sacred." Being a convert and having tattoos and in general coming from an entirely different point of view, I didn't quite understand a lot of the standards of the Church...or, as I like to describe it, I understood it in my head, but not in my heart. His talk was absolutely amazing, and can be found here: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=8555. After this talk, I understood it in my heart as well. This talk really changed a lot of things for me, and helped my conversion even more. I remember a companion and I sharing it with quite a few members while in Winnipeg, and I've referenced the talk several times since then--in Sacrament Meeting talks I've given, in discussions with friends, in doing missionary work. Basically, not only do I have a profound respect and admiration for this General Authority, but I also have a special place for him in my heart since this experience.
Also, a word about how excited I get: I subscribe to the "more bang for your buck" approach. I love the church and everything about it. I love temples. Want to make the temple even better? Be a temple worker--or go to as many temples as you can go to. I love listening to the General Authorities at firesides and devotionals. How can that get any better? Go to the Marriot Center where they actually *are,* giving the talk. Even better than that? Get there an hour and half early and sit ten feet away from the stage. It's amazing.
Tonight we got there and took our seats (center and three rows from the podium) and around 5 PM, Elder Christofferson came in. I pretty much freaked out. I started smacking Melissa's legs and then I moved to Amber's on the other side of me, and saying in a high-pitched voice, "it's Elder Christofferson! It's him!!" Then I basically gave a commentary on his movements as he interacted with the choir, came towards us sitting in the front, and talked with the organizers of the event, etc. (Seriously. It was basically, "he's coming towards us! Oh man! I want to shake his hand! Now he's moving away. No wait--he's coming back!")
After awhile, I noticed that he was shaking hands with the few people who went up to him as he was walking around, and he stopped a row away from us and a small group of people started to form to meet him. I couldn't take it anymore. I begged Melissa to go with me (yes, I'm 28 years old) and then when she acquiesced, I nearly sprinted to where he was standing. I shook his hand as he said, "It's nice to meet you." Then the following occurred:
Me: "So, I have to talk to you really quickly."
Him: (smiling as he looked at me and shook Melissa's hand)
Me: "I'm a convert, and while I was on my mission, my mission president gave me a copy of your talk, about the sacred things. Do you remember giving that talk?"
Him: "I do."
Me: "Well, I just wanted to let you know that it...it really meant a lot to me. It finally made me understand some things that I just hadn't gotten until then. So thank you."
Him: (bringing up his hand to cup the side of my face) "You're precious. Thank you."
I nearly skipped back to my seat, where I told Amber and Michael what happened and then jumped up and down a few times in excitement. And then I sat down. And then Melissa pointed out that my hands were still shaking.
(And yes, I'm 28. This excitement and feeling is not going to change anytime soon.)