Today was the 192 semi-annual General Conference for my Church. I wrote about this 6 months ago, this time I thought I would tell you a little bit about it. There are 2 weekends a year that we hear directly from the Prophet of God, Russell M. Nelson, his counselors, the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as well as other general officers of my Church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We hear from them in less formal ways throughout the year, but this is a concentrated short space of time when we get to hear from so many of these men and women all together.
There are 5 different sessions each one lasting about 2 hours. In mountain standard time they are from 10:00-12:00 and 2:00-4:00 on both Saturday and Sunday, and then from 6:00-8:00 on Saturday evening, the Saturday evening session switches each time between a women’s session and a men’s session. This time it was a women’s session, although anyone can listen. I often listen to the men’s session, just because no matter what they are speaking about, and to whom, it is always good! All the sessions are for anyone in the world who would like to listen. These conference weekends are looked forward to at our house for months. We love hearing the Lord’s servants, and my kids love all the snacks!
I enjoyed all the talks, but a few stood out to me. Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles talked about being a peacemaker. He talked about the anger and divisiveness that exists everywhere in the world. He said, “No one or no subject is immune from this social phenomenon of polarized voices, including the Savior and His restored gospel.” But how do we deal with it? I loved his response, “How does a peacemaker calm and cool the fiery darts?” Elder Andersen asked. “Certainly not by shrinking before those who disparage us. Rather, we remain confident in our faith, sharing our beliefs with conviction, but always void of anger or malice.” We can dictate our side of any conversation as well as our attitude and the way we react. I loved his message of peace.
I also love the humor that all of these awesome general authorities have and enjoy listening to their personal stories. Elder Holland, in the Saturday afternoon session, talked about a letter he received from a child asking him why conference was necessary, and informing him of how boring it was to sit and listen. He apologized to the child and told the child it was still going to be boring. I love how real our general authorities are.
There were a number of talks about missionary work and the gathering of Israel. That seemed to be an underlying theme throughout these sessions, or at least a number of people spoke about either missionary work, or the gathering of Israel, or how they are intertwined. We also learned about the gathering of families. Elder Gong talked about learning about our families and connecting the roots to the branches. He said, “Learn and acknowledge with gratitude and honesty your family heritage. … Celebrate and become the positive and where needed humbly do everything possible not to pass on the negative. Let good things begin with you.”
I am so grateful for these inspired leaders. I am also grateful that these sessions are available very shortly afterward to read or listen to again and again, and I look forward to studying these messages from now until October when we have our next conference. If you would like to read the full talks, you can go to this link – General Conference. The sessions are already loaded to watch, but if you wait a couple of days, they will have the talks loaded in script so that you can read them if you prefer.