- Conferences have always been part of the true Church of Jesus Christ. Adam gathered his posterity and prophesied of things to come. Moses gathered the children of Israel and taught them the commandments he had received. The Savior taught multitudes gathered both in the Holy Land and on the American continent. Peter gathered believers in Jerusalem. The first general conference in these latter days was convened just two months after the Church was organized, and conferences have continued to this very day.
He shares that the speakers at Conference are not assigned a topic but prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit to understand the message that they should give.
- These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit.We are not assigned specific topics. Over weeks and months, often through sleepless nights, we wait upon the Lord. Through fasting, praying, studying, and pondering, we learn the message that He wants us to give.
Conference is not just for adults. Children can learn great things as well as the Spirit touches them and helps them understand the things the Lord would like them to do.
- Children and youth love to be included. We make a serious mistake if we assume that the conference is above their intellect and spiritual sensitivity. To the young members of the Church, I promise that if you will listen, you will feel the Spirit well up within you. The Lord will tell you what He wants you to do with your life.
Elder Hales talks about one of his personal conference experiences. He says that when he takes notes, he tries to focus on what the Spirit is teaching him through the messages that are given. Sometimes it isn't the message being given but the message the Spirit is personalizing for him that does the best teaching.
- When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me. What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.
Elder Hales shares several benefits of General Conference in our lives.
- Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days.
- The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them.
- We accept the Savior’s invitation when we ponder and pray to understand what we have been taught and then go forward and do His will.
- In addition to inviting us to hold personal and family scripture study, Heavenly Father wants us to regularly study and apply what we have learned in conference. I testify that those who put their trust in the Lord and heed this counsel in faith will gain great strength to bless themselves and their families for generations to come.
- On a computer, phone, or other electronic device, we can read, listen to, watch, and share the teachings of the prophets. Anytime, anywhere, we can enlarge our knowledge, strengthen our faith and testimony, protect our families, and lead them safely home.
Elder Hales leaves us with this promise.
- If you pray with a sincere desire to hear your Heavenly Father’s voice in the messages of this conference, you will discover that He has spoken to you to help you, to strengthen you, and to lead you home into His presence.
General Conference is this upcoming weekend! How excited I am to listen, learn, and understand, more of what the Lord has for us in our day. The messages should be personalized and meaning for our own lives should be our focus. Questions and concerns should be brought with us as we listen. We should prepare ourselves to have a spiritual experience. The more we are spiritually prepared for conference, the more the Spirit will be able to teach us the things the Lord would like us to learn. Please follow @superscriptures on Twitter as we will be tweeting during the conference sessions, our impressions and thoughts as the speakers share their messages. We will use #ldsconf so you can find us and others. I have done this for several years now and I find deeper meaning in the messages of conference as I read others impressions of what they are getting from the talks. And after conference is over, continue to join us each morning here on our blog as we continue to study a different conference talk each morning.