We gather (figuratively) together each October and turn our tents toward the temple to hear instruction of the Lord through his representatives on Earth. Through the blessings of modern technology, we get to stay in our tents eating yummy snacks and wearing our pj’s and bunny slippers to hear most of it.
Conference sessions start Saturday morning. We tried something new with the Young Women this year. We met at a fellow leader’s home to have breakfast (bagels and smoothies) and watch the morning session of conference together. I was nervous. Would they be reverent? Would they get anything out of it? Underestimating them, I brought “Conference Bingo” and prizes. Conference bingo is a game for children to help them get through the long conference hours by listening for key words like, “Jesus”, or “baptism” or “love”, etc. I needn’t have worried. These girls are champs. They really didn’t need the props or the prizes. They were so reverent. In fact, when they did get bingos, they very quietly moved to where I was sitting and whispered in my ear. One of the YW brought a friend who is not a member of our church and the friend got the most bingos!! I love them! It was so fun sharing this experience with them.
We did hit one snag. If you happen to have a cable or satellite carrier in California that doesn’t regularly have the BYU station, then Conference is often a moving target, broadcast on a random public access channel and it usually takes them (the carrier) at least half of the first session (and no doubt hundreds of phonecalls from area Mormons) to get it right. Well, this happened to be the case so we, modern-day pioneers that we are, packed up our stuff and trekked up the hill to my house to watch it on the BYU channel on our tv.
I think my favorite part was hearing the girls get excited when Elder Bednar stood up to speak and then again when President Uchtdorf spoke. I can’t tell you that they all knew their names, but they knew their faces, remembered their warmth, and expressed love for them (actually, I think the exact words were: “Oh him!? I love that guy!” I think Elder Bednar and President Uchtdorf would appreciate the spontaneous outbursts!). Apostles for our time, as recognized by our youth. Pretty cool.
Elder Bednar urged us to be more diligent and concerned at home and specifically to: (1) express and show love, (2) bear testimony and live it, and (3) be consistent in our homes.
“As disciples of the Savior, we are not merely striving to know more; rather, we need to consistently do more of what we know is right and become better.”
President Uchtdorf taught about the love of God.
“The divine love of God turns ordinary acts into extraordinary service. Divine love is the motive that transports simple words into sacred scripture. Divine love is the factor that transforms reluctant compliance with God’s commandments into blessed dedication and consecration.”
“Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the true altitude of our discipleship.”
I think most Latter-day Saint families have their own traditions for watching conference. Ours is cinnamon rolls. On Sunday morning we made hot, gooey, cinnamon rolls.
(those are Bryce’s thumbs. He likes Conference Rolls.)
As the rolls were rising, I start to do the math: hmmm, there are now only 4 of us and there are 24 rolls. 6 rolls per person might be a bit much. But, how to convince the boys of the fact we should share our bounty??? Well, just then, President Monson started giving his message…
He talked about an interview he’d given to the Church News a little before his birthday last year. They had asked him what his idea of an ideal gift would be. President Monson answered, “Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her.”
So, President Monson was soon inundated with cards and letters telling of the members’ gifts of service in honor of his birthday. Primaries (the children’s organizations) challenged their kids to provide service in honor of President Monson. My kids especially got a kick out of hearing about the “warm fuzzy” jar, where each fuzzy represented an act of service.
Well, here was my answer. My boys could not argue with the logic. We packed up half the cinnamon rolls and carted them off to a friend and neighbor. Happy belated birthday, President Monson!
I don’t think we are alone in saying we were all particularly affected by the talk given by Elder Jeffrey Holland. Not only was his message stirring, but the fervent way he delivered it seemed to indicate the importance of the message. (You can watch a video of it by clicking here HERE and choosing the video file under the Sunday Afternoon talk, “Safety for the Soul”).
He spoke about the Book of Mormon and it’s mission to testify of Christ.
“Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.’”
He spoke about Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Brothers, martyred together. They gave their lives proclaiming the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. And then he said probably the most oft-quoted line from this Conference:
“I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, ‘No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.’”