Today, my church had what’s called General Conference. It’s something we do twice a year. The leaders of our church, made up of the Prophet, Apostles, Seventy and general auxiliary leaders, speak to us. It lasts for two days, with three two-hour sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday. And I pretty much live for it.
I like it so much because it’s the spiritual equivalent of a course correction. It’s like finding that old map you knew you had somewhere. The speakers always give the perfect, most uplifting talks.
Now, here’s why you should check it out (follow the links for more details):
The New Prophet Spoke to Us
Did you know we have a prophet on Earth today? His name is Thomas S. Monson. He’s called of God and has the same authority as the ancient prophets, like Moses, Abraham, Peter, etc. In fact, his authority can be traced in an unbroken line to John the Baptist and Peter, James and John.
President Monson’s talk was mostly about his testimony of Jesus Christ. He spoke to us three times. All three are excellent talks. I recommend you listen to them or watch them, but reading them is good, too.
We Talked About Why The Bible Allows For An Open Cannon
This is a pretty controversial subject for most students of the Bible. But, as always, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (one of the 12 Apostles) did an amazing job explaining why the verse in Revelation doesn’t apply to the entire Bible, just to the Book of Revelation. Listen to the talk (mp3), but it’s mostly because the Bible wasn’t compiled and written until 100 years after John wrote the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos.
Another Apostle Spoke of the Importance of Sincere Prayer
Elder Bednar (another Apostle; They’re called Elder So-and-so) gave a very direct talk (mp3) about why it’s important to pray sincerely and not just give God a laundry list of things to do. It helped me to realize that when I pray, of the two of us, I should probably let Him talk more. I’m definitely going to do that. A potentially life-changing talk.
Sister Lant Inspired Me to Start Traditions
The Primary General President (Primary is the organization for kids under 12 years old) gave a talk where she recommended starting traditions that make it easier for a family to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, not harder. These include daily, weekly and monthly traditions, in addition to holidays. Heidi and I discussed things like FHE, scripture study, family prayer, sabbath observance, temple attendance and things like that.
Elder Oaks Pinpointed Two Weak Spots For Me
Elder Dallin H Oaks highlighted (at least) two weak spots for me and inspired me to try to improve them. One is bearing my testimony. He said “Those who have a gift to know [the Gospel is true], have a responsibility to bear witness so those who have a gift to believe on their knowledge can exercise that gift”. D&C 46 teaches us that having a testimony is a gift and that having a gift to believe on somebody else’s testimony is a separate gift. I had never put the two together the way Elder Oaks did and it inspired me to be better about sharing my testimony.
He also admonished us to “speak in mildness and meekness…in love” when we bear testimony, which I am also going to work on (and not just in bearing testimony but all the time).
The main reason to (re)listen to or watch General Conference is because, if you listen with an open mind and heart, the Holy Ghost will whisper directly to your heart those things that the Lord would most like you to know. Some of those things might be, for example, that Jesus Christ lives, that He gave His life for us so we might be able to return to God’s presence and live with Him one day, that the Church of Jesus Christ is true and that Thomas S. Monson is God’s chosen prophet on the Earth today.
I know those things because the Holy Ghost has born witness to me of them and I know He can to you, too.