I get this question sometimes, from people who aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What is General Conference? They wonder why I’m so excited about a conference.
For members of the church, General Conference is an opportunity to be uplifted and instructed through living apostles and prophets. Imagine if Moses, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob came back to talk to a group of people, delivering specific messages from the Lord. I’ll bet their conference would be fairly well attended, even today. For me General Conference is about the fact that the Lord still speaks today.
It is a meeting that happens twice a year in the spring and the fall. It is a time when leaders in the church speak words of instruction, counsel, and strength from the Lord to the Saints. In my family, we watch conference on BYU-TV. I usually make breakfast casseroles that I never seem to have time to make the rest of the year. There are piles of markers, crayons, pens, and pencils in the middle of the floor. I print off conference packets for the kids to take notes with. Some of the kids prefer to take notes on 3×5 notecards. I run around cleaning, organizing, and getting things ready. At the last minute I’ll grab my mechanical pencil, notebook, or my new favorite note taking form and slip onto the sofa just as the choir begins singing. Then I’ll take a deep breath and wait to get revelation specific and personal to my life.
There will be some talks that don’t seem to apply, even though there will be portions at least that inspire me, or make me think about someone else in my life who would truly benefit from the counsel.
There will be moments when someone steals the only green crayon in the pile from someone else. In these moments, I love having TiVo and a pause button.
And then once “The Great Green Crayon Drama” has been resolved there will be a talk…a talk I’ve been praying to hear for the last several months…a talk that I need to hear…I won’t even be able to take many notes during this talk. I may be crying, or staring at the screen. More often than not, I’m saying silent prayers of thanks for a loving Father who knew exactly what I needed.
Over the course of the weekend, there will be many moments like this. Until finally the closing song and closing prayer at the last session on Sunday are done.
I’ll spend the next six months studying, listening to, and rewatching talks…letting them sink into me and become part of my life. Then it will be time for another conference and the process will start all over again.
Have you ever taken vitamins to boost your immune system and keep yourself from getting sick?
That’s what conference is to me. It’s a regular opportunity to boost my spiritual immune system, to fix problems sometimes before they have even begun, and to feel the divine love of a Father in Heaven who has instruction and messages for His beloved daughter.
That’s why I get so excited.