Our family watched a semi-annual Mormon broadcast from our church called General Conference, and I thought it would be fun to tell you about it in 6 quotes.
#1: "Well, I guess we can have one more lame Conference."
When Phillip was trying to convince me to get a big flat screen TV after being TV-less for so many years, he often said, "Just think of how spiritual General Conference is going to be!" Not a very persuasive argument, but we did get the TV.
But when this General Conference rolled around, Phillip was spray painting some prototypes for work in the basement, which is also where the TV is. It smelled way too strong down there to watch Conference on the big screen. We would've suffocated and croaked in 5 minutes.
So we watched upstairs on our laptop, all 8 of us crowded around the tiny screen, like we always have. And it was still spiritual.
#2: "Let this Conference be your opportunity."
Each talk often closes with the speaker's feelings and testimony about Jesus Christ. I especially liked the way apostle Robert D. Hales ended his:
"Brothers and sisters, we are all called to be disciples of our Savior. Let this Conference be your opportunity to... come unto him with all your heart. This is His church. I bear my special testimony that He lives. May He bless us in our eternal quest to become devoted and valiant disciples."
This is one reason I look forward to General Conference.* The sermons inspire me to change things in my life that aren't helping me in my goal of following Jesus Christ.
(*Also because I don't have to put on makeup or shoes, but mostly because of the inspiration part.)
#3: "Mom, do you want a dement-o?"
It's become our tradition to have "Conference treats." Ahead of time, we print out pictures of the prophet and apostles of our church (15 in all) and tape each picture to a snack. When that person speaks, the kids find that snack and eat it.
One of our Conference treats this year was a roll of Mentos, which my 5-year-old kept calling "dement-os." It sounds like a breakfast cereal for the criminally insane.
#4: "We might need to just let some things go."
It's a constant struggle to balance your attentions. I blog as my creative outlet, but how much is too much? At what point do my outside interests become distractions to my real jobs as mom, wife, and follower of Jesus?
There's no right answer or magic formula, but I liked Gary B. Sabin's thoughts on being "all in" when it comes to the gospel:
"If we're not able to be 'all in' the way we're presently walking, then maybe we need to run. Maybe we need to recalculate our route. We might even need to make a U-turn. We might need to study more intently, pray more earnestly, or just let some things go so we can hang onto those things that really matter. We may need to let go of the world so we can hang on to eternity."
#5: "What is he talking about??"
General Conference is a lot of things, including hard for little people to understand. The speakers use big words sometimes and it's not exactly an episode of Sponge Bob (although that's probably harder to understand if I think about it.)
During one of my favorite talks by L. Whitney Clayton, my 5-year-old sighed heavily and asked, "What is he talking about??"
I answered, "He's talking about doing the things Heavenly Father wants us to do even if we don't understand why or it doesn't seem like it's important."
"Like watching General Conference and listening to it," my 12-year-old chimed in.
There was a pause as my 5-year-old considered this.
"But... when is it done?"
Ah. Well, that's another question altogether.
#6: "How do we know all of this?"
Dallin H. Oaks gave an absolutely fantastic talk. I think it was officially called "The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation," but it might as well have been titled "Mormonism: 101."
After laying out what we believe about God and the purpose of life, he said:
"Because we have the truth about the Godhead and our relationship to them, the purpose of life and the nature of our eternal destiny, we have the ultimate road map and assurance for our journey through mortality. We know who we worship and why we worship. We know who we are and what we can become. We know who makes it all possible. And we know what we must do to enjoy the ultimate blessings that come through God's plan of salvation. How do we know all of this? We know by the revelations of God to His prophets and to each of us individually."
But it's not enough to just know it. We have to be converted by it. Elder Oaks goes on:
"In contrast to the institutions of the world which teach us to know something, [God's] plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ challenge us to become something."
And that's the crux of it. I love being a Mormon, and I love belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love who I've become since my conversion to Mormonism 17 years ago, and I look forward to where it's going to take me and my family in the years to come.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our house. If I'd been a fly on the wall at your house last weekend, what would I have heard?