Preparing for General Conference

On April 1 and 2, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold a general conference. Church leaders will speak, the Tabernacle Choir will sing, and church members around the world will be edified and uplifted. What can we do to get the most out of the experience? We have to be willing learners. We have to be receptive to prophetic messages.

Jesus said, “Whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Matthew 13:12, footnote a). And Nephi lamented the state of people who are suffocated by their own certitude:

Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

2 Nephi 28:29-30

I’ve had a number of amazing experiences with general conference over the years. Here are some of the most noteworthy:

  • In April 1985, I was sitting at the kitchen table in my uncle and aunt’s home when I heard Bruce R. McConkie’s final testimony: “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane.” All of us were moved by his heartfelt statement of conviction, especially when he said, “In a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”
  • In October 2000, I was in a church building in the Boston area when I heard the talk “‘Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children’” by President Gordon B. Hinckley. A friend who was sitting beside me and who was not a member of the Church, turned to me after the talk and said, “I wish I could send a copy of that talk to every clergyman in Boston. They’re all afraid to say those things.”
  • In October 2009, I was with my oldest two children in the Conference Center when Elder David A. Bednar delivered the talk “More Diligent and Concerned at Home.” Even though we were in a large room with thousands of participants, I felt like he was speaking directly to me, and I took to heart his challenges to express love and bear testimony to family members individually.
  • We were in our living room in October 2015, when President Russell M. Nelson delivered the talk “A Plea to My Sisters.” A friend of ours who had recently become more active in the Church was with us, and her daughter, who had recently been baptized, was watching in the basement with several of my daughters. At the end of the talk, our friend said, “I hope those girls in the basement were listening.” We all agreed it was a powerful call to action and declaration of confidence in the women of the Church.

What did all of those experiences have in common? In each case, I was in a quiet environment with friends and family, I was able to avoid distractions and focus on the speaker, and I really wanted to learn.

Here are some other suggestions from an article on the Church’s website:

  1. Ask questions and look for answers.
  2. Pray for help in hearing and recognizing His voice.
  3. Learn more about church leaders.
  4. Invite others to participate in conference with you.
  5. Commit to act on the things you will learn and the invitations you will receive.

Today, I will begin preparing my mind and my heart to be receptive to the messages and music which will be presented at General Conference next week.

2 thoughts on “Preparing for General Conference

Add yours

  1. I felt the spirit as you testified of the enlightenment we can receive from intently watching general conference. It reminded me of how special those moments are. Thank you for sharing your experiences.


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