2 days, 4 sessions, and 19 pages of notes later, April General Conference has come to a close. It’s been a wonderful weekend filled with love, inspiration, and a powerful Spirit. Oh, how I love General Conference!
For me personally, General Conference is a time to step out of the world, gain some perspective, strengthen myself, and learn more of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Every Conference, this become more and more incredible and amazing in the way the messages are shared. I decided to “live-tweet” General Conference, and realized it actually helped me to focus. Usually I’m distracted by technology, but in this case, having to sum up an idea or principle in a few characters helped me to refine what I was receiving from the speaker. You can check out my tweets in the side bar.
Sometimes we see technology as too distracting, but in the case of General Conference, it’s an awesome way to share the messages. To think that because of the blessings of technology, members and friends of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can listen or watch the addresses, partake in the sustaining of the newly called leaders, and sing the hymns all over the world, most in their native tongues. This never ceases to amaze me.
One of my favorite things about General Conference is knowing just that. Knowing that there is a strong community of people who share the beliefs that I do, and that they are saying “amen” at the end of each address in support and confirmation of what is said. I imagine my brothers and sisters in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North and South America, voices united in song and prayer as we listen to the words of the prophet, apostles, and other general authorities of the Church. There is a real sense of unity, especially as people gather in homes and church buildings to watch the broadcast together. I don’t mind being squished tightly into a pew as long as I have my brothers and sisters beside me celebrating the voice of the Lord speaking to us. I also love how the words are essentially the same, but the message we receive from them can be entirely different.
Conference, while being a world-wide event that strengthen the Church in a very large way, is very personal. I love being able to listen and receive guidance directly from the Lord to situations pertaining to my life right now. Remembering what is said is really important to me, so I try to take detailed notes. A part of it is my OCD tendencies, another part is the fact that I like to see how much I can record, and the other part is me writing down my thoughts as I go and making connection to other principles.
There were some addresses that I feel like were written specifically for me, and addressed my concerned and allayed my fears more quickly than I thought possible.
One of those talks was from President Henry B. Eyring, entitled “Come Unto Me” in which he spoke of the blessings bestowed on the families of those who serve the Lord. This really struck me, as one of my concerns is the welfare of my family while I’m away from home for 18 months serving a full-time mission. He testified that God hears our and answers our faithful prayers and protects and provides for our families when we sacrifice for Him. His words were a powerful confirmation that the path I am on to serving a mission is the right thing not only for myself, but also for my family as well as my friends.
Elders Quentin L. Cook and Richard G. Scott both spoke of refuge in times of trial and adversity, especially in a world enveloped in hardship and opposition. Their words brought a great deal of comfort and solace to me, as lately I have been feeling overwhelmed by the decisions I have to make, the things going on in the world, and the pressures and rifts in society. Being reminded of the refuge of our homes, churches, and most importantly, in the Lord renewed my strength and capacity to endure.
I had a bit of an interesting experience with Elder L. Tom Perry’s address. He spoke of his experience in the United States Marine Core, and the little book given to him in the service from the presidency of the Church. His main theme was directly from that little brown volume: “Obedience to the law is liberty.” Usually, Elder Perry is softer spoken, but this morning he was filled with fire and brimstone. I decided within a few moments of him speaking that he was most certainly among the finest generals in the armies of heaven. He spoke of higher laws of morality and spirituality, the use and application of our agency, and the requirements of the family. It was a powerful talk, and by the end, I wanted to say “oorah!” rather than “amen!” (And I’m usually all about amen)
Elder Holland has a special place in my heart, and needless to say I waited anxiously to hear him speak. That beloved man of the Lord did not let me down as he spoke of belief and faith. It was a powerful message of communication with the Lord and being strengthened through Him. One of my favorite things he said, that I am sure the entirety of the Church found comforting, was “God only works with imperfect people.” I can work with that!
In all, Conference was an amazing opportunity to learn and grow, whether or not you happen to be a member of the LDS Church. I testify with the prophet and apostles, and all those who spoke this weekend that what they said is true: that the Lord loves each of us, that there is light in midst of the darkness, that repentance is possible, and that we can find sanctuary and refuge in our homes and in the Lord.