Brothers and Sisters, how ‘bout that General Conference?!? As I mentioned before, I always love Conference, and find myself, at the end of the weekend, wanting for more.
There were many themes throughout the talks, including but not limited to: be a better parent, be a better family member, stop being jealous, Stop It (in general), and lead with principles of righteousness. Added to that were subtleties such as Elder Archuleta and no new temple announcements. When’s the last time we had a General Conference without any new temples being announced? Did we spend all the temple money on the mall? (Just kidding.) (Probably.)
Our Saturday morning session was spent at home, watching on television. During President Eyring’s talk, my three oldest daughters and I left our home in The UC to drive to Temple Square to attend the afternoon session at the Conference Center. We mistakenly thought we could simply go get a quick bite to eat at City Creek, but everyone else had the same idea; we wolfed down some food from a restaurant in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and made our way to the Conference Center just before 1:30.
Attending Conference at the Conference Center brings some special opportunities, and by ‘special opportunities’ I mean ‘encounters with street preachers’. My daughters were confused by this concept. “Mom, why is that man yelling?” (“He’s angry, I suppose.”) “I thought we don’t use crosses; why is he holding a cross?” (“We don’t. I’m not sure, I think he’s trying to say we aren’t Christians, which is, of course, not true.”) “Why are those people singing?” (“So that we can’t hear those other guys yelling.”) “Mom, why are you laughing?” (“Because that guy pretending to be a protestor was really, really funny.”) “Do they think they’re going to change people’s minds? I think they’re wasting their time.” (“I agree.”)
Being in the Conference Center during the sustaining of leaders was really awesome. When everyone raised their right hand in unison to sustain those whose names were read, I felt almost empowered, like I was a part of something very important and special. Like an inclusive club whose membership involves liking meetings, serving others, and spreading good news. I pointed this out to my girls (not the thing about being in a club – the unanimous sustaining), and they politely agreed that it looked cool. During that session I only dozed off once, and my daughters were really well-behaved, considering how bored they were.
Sunday brought an exciting morning of chocolate donuts and sugary cereals (and one protein shake), and most people in my family paid attention to the morning session. Sunday afternoon, on the other hand, brought many family members, one-by-one, apologizing upon waking from accidental naps (I was not immune to this). All of us, though, were awake to see President Monson conclude Conference by apparently using some sort of invisible wand to bless the congregation.
Long ago I gave up the dream that I’d have a family who would sit reverently for a total of eight hours of a weekend to pay attention to talks given by church leaders; I don’t know where that dream even came from. When it comes to kids and Conference, I think it’s less about getting them to learn and analyze principles from each and every talk given (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and more about helping them understand that during Conference weekend, we set aside the time needed to listen to what’s being said, even though it’s not always easy. We teach them that it’s important to dedicate time in our lives to worship, even when that time might fall on a warm and beautiful Saturday afternoon, and then we point out the blessings we receive from the sacrifices we’ve made. It’s a nice reminder because we adults sometimes need to (re)learn the same lessons.
What was your favorite talk, or moment, from General Conference? Is there anything that made this one stick out, for which you’ll always remember the April, 2012, Conference?