Conference, Pt 1

LDS General Conference Crowd Photography

Image by JeremyHall via Flickr

Well, it’s the first weekend of October, which, for Latter-day Saints around the world means only one thing:  It’s time for General Conference!

Conference happens twice a year; the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October.  For the general membership, it’s divided into four session, two on Saturday, and two on Sunday, with each session lasting 2 hours.  With a two hour break between sessions.  There’s also the General Priesthood session for the men and youths, with a session for the Young Women in April, and a session for the Relief Society (adult women) in October, usually a week or two before the big weekend.

I wonder if I could shove the word “session” in the last paragraph one more time…

I made a point to pay special attention to this conference, partly because with April’s conference falling on the same weekend as Easter, I didn’t receive as much instruction as was given, and partly because I’m taking a teachings of the living prophets Institute class.

I consider myself blessed, or lucky, or both to have been able to watch the entirety of conference this year–it starts at 10, and I have my Art History classes Saturday Mornings from 8-10:30.  But, luck or providence or a professor who graduated from BYU not to long ago and constantly talks about her time there, let us out an hour early.  She even mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to watch conference because she has another class.

And I have to say, it’s a little surreal to go and hear the words of the Lord after spending an hour and a half studying sculpture from a time when, apparently, nobody wore pants.

So, my impressions of conference:  I’m not going to copy my notes, because if you really want to know what was said, you can go find out for yourself.

I was fully expecting to miss the first talk, so I’m especially grateful to have heard the words of Jeffery R. Holland.  He talked about how each of us is loved individually by our Heavenly Father, and how we are important in the church as individuals.  He talked about service and sacrifice, and specifically mentioned the strength and faith of the women of the church.  If that was the only talk I heard this weekend, it would have been enough.

I should probably mention that topics are not assigned, each speaker is only given a time.  Even within the scope of the Gospel, it’s interesting to see what themes come out.

Today, there seemed to be three:  Faith, family and prophets.  There were two mentions of a devotional given by Ezra Taft Benson in 1980, called “14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet“.  We were told repeatedly that our actions today can affect generations.

This afternoon Elder Neal L. Anderson talked about faith–another talk that seemed to be aimed specifically at me.  He specifically mentioned a trial of faith that I’ve been wrestling with lately.  He talked about how, when our faith is tried, we have a greater opportunity to learn of God’s will, if we turn to Him with our questions and concerns.

Today was an excellent day, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

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