General Conference took on particular meaning to me, while living in Kenya. We were well connected to the Church, but to hear anything current from America was especially fulfilling. It was wonderful to witness the zealous faith of these African members. They loved the prophet; they followed him without reservations; he and the restored gospel was the one sure thing in their lives that they could depend on. Conference assured them that things would all work out, even though their lives were uncertain day to day.
I acquired a profound respect and pleasure of sitting with these faithful people in the chapel, watching our beloved leaders from Salt Lake City, speak and teach of Christ.
I’ve always loved “Conference weekend”. My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holds a 2 day conference, aired on tv, the internet or in the conference center in SLC, every 6 months in April and October. We hear from leaders of our church, both men and women, who counsel us on ways to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
However, I love Conference weekend for a different reason now, than when I was a young mother with 5 children.
It was a Sunday that I didn’t have to prepare a lesson; neither did I have to get everyone up and dressed and to church on time. We could lounge around in PJs, take a nap between sessions, and have a more leisurely day than most Sundays. On Sundays (which my husband and I still do today) we would bake those crazy, easy, but delicious Pillsbury cinnamon rolls as a conference Sunday tradition. (or to bribe our kids to come watch conference.)
Most Saturdays I didn’t watch many sessions. I usually was running errands; attending kids’ soccer games, buying groceries, and maybe a quick shopping trip to TJMaxx. Things I would never do on Sundays. I knew that I could read the talks, and now watch and listen, at a later date.
But presently, I like the feeling knowing that thousands are watching in real time; all of us at the same time. I try to plan ahead so that I can be attentive on Saturday as well as Sunday, to learn from our Prophet, President Russel M. Nelson, and other church leaders.
I learned that we are not only responsible for feeling the spirit through our own ears, heart, and mind, but our children are given the same responsibility. What the spirit is teaching me may be different than what the spirit is teaching my adult children.
Previously from learning this, as I would listen to all the wonderful counsel, I would think; “I hope my husband is listening to this particular counsel because this is an area he needs to work on.” And then when my children got older, I would think “If only they could here this talk; they would be a lot happier; they might start making better choices”. These thoughts are coming from thoughts of fear; not love. They are not useful thoughts that helps me feel the spirit.
Spending time thinking these thoughts, was, unfortunately, to my determent. I was missing out on one the greatest benefits of conference…..being taught by the spirit through inspired leaders who had spent hours asking for direction from Heavenly Father for the content of their talks. I was missing out on what the spirit was trying to help me find help and comfort in my own customized challenges.
It may seem like the right thing to want to help someone else be “better”. We might even think we’re doing them a favor of reminding them of something we think would help them be better and happier (like, watching conference).
The truth is
When I learned to listen to for me, conference became a personalized, spiritual experience. I thirst to hear the leader’s counsel, testimonies of Jesus Christ, and their expressions of love for all mankind.
They inspire me to want to be a better person and to become the kind of mother I want to be to be to my adult children.
While serving our mission in Kenya, Africa, Elder Bednar shared with us how he took notes at conference. This method has helped me be attentive, take notes, and still be taught by the spirit through the person giving the talk.
He writes the speaker’s name down. The he writes down three headings.
First: Doctrine or Principle.
Second: Invitation to Act.
Third: Promised Blessings.
For each of the messages he listens for the Doctrine or Principle, the invitation to Act, and then the promised blessings. and writes them under the appropriate heading. Those are the notes he takes. He said “there will always be a doctrinal message or principle, there will always be an invitation to act and there will always be promised blessings. You just need to listen closely, through the power of the Spirit to be able to sometimes realize the invitations…..when those who invite to act have “keys”, and they give promises or promised blessings, I testify that those promises are sure. The conference addresses should be our walk and our talk for the next 6 months.”
I am going to listen for all the ways spoken of how to develop connecting relationships with my adult children. I am going to listen to be taught ways that I can show my husband, my children, my friends, my enemies that I love them.
If you have a choice between love or discontent, choose love….
Because LOVE ALWAYS WINS.
If you’re feeling like it’s your responsibility as a mother to remind your children to watch conference, or have family prayer, or how to raise their kids, but you’re not having any influence AND you feel distant rather than connected to your adult children, I can help you. In fact, I would love to help you. Book a call so we can hop on the phone and chat. I’m offering a free 50 minute mini session where I will teach you how to use a very unique tool to help you solve this problem
Thank you 100 thousand times for reading my blog. In the words of the 'Joy Warrior", I love me, I love you, I love us.