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Every six months The Church of Jesus Christ has its General Conference. General Conference is held in Salt Lake City and is broadcast on television and at church buildings around the world. This conference is an opportunity for the leaders of the church to address the members with messages of hope, faith, encouragement, and chastisement. It is an opportunity for them to share important announcements such as new temples being built, policy changes, and new leadership. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ we believe that these men are prophets and that the words spoken during conference are scripture. As such it is important that we prepare ourselves spiritually to receive these messages and act on them. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of General Conference.
Prepare With Personal Study and Prayer
Answers to life’s questions never come easy. Boy do I wish they did sometimes! If I truly want to align my will with the will of my Father in Heaven then I need to put in the work required to open my spirit to his words. How can we know and understand God’s words if we don’t study them? Often the Spirit speaks by bringing to our minds something that we have studied in the past. Other times it guides us to things we haven’t seen before. Each time we study God’s words and find comfort or answers to our problems our faith is increased. As Alma reminds us in the book of Mormon it isn’t enough to simply plant a seed of faith. We must nurture it and help it to grow. We grow our faith by consistent study and prayer. When our faith is strong it is easier for us to hear and act upon the promptings that we receive while listening to or reading the General Conference messages. In addition to scriptures I like to review past General Conference messages. The more frequently I read the messages and feel the spirit the stronger my testimony grows that these men and women are truly mouthpieces for the Lord. The more I really learn to listen to and apply the words from past conferences the easier it is for the spirit to carry the words of the current conference messages into my heart. Lets face it, sometimes our church leaders tell us things that are hard to hear. We may not always agree with policy or even doctrine. I find that the more I study the messages that are given to us the softer my heart becomes and the easier it is for me to accept teachings that may be hard for me to relate to. By studying past General Conference messages I am able to bring my heart more in harmony with the spirit and be prepared to hear his voice. Also as I study past General Conference messages I am able to get to know the speakers. As I learn more about their personal history, favorite topics, personality and testimony I am able to more fully accept them as prophets of God and find myself more excited to get a chance to listen to my favorite speakers again.
Come With Questions
We all have our own difficulties and challenges in life. Often we feel like there is no answer or we are confused on which option to choose. When I have sincerely pondered on those questions and prayed over them before General Conference I have never failed to find an answer if not multiple answers to the problems facing me. Even if it is not specific words that are said in a talk that give me my answer I find that while watching conference my spirit is more open and receptive to promptings from the Holy Ghost. I also find that when I come with a question I listen more intently and feel more connected to the speakers. It’s almost like they are talking directly to me rather than to millions of people worldwide. Conference becomes a personal conversation between me and God.
Keep a Journal
Did you know that writing things down helps you to retain them? We actually learn more and can hold onto that knowledge better when we write. That doesn’t mean taking notes on the computer. I mean actually get out a pen or pencil and some paper and write things down. It is a proven fact that people who write things down with pen and paper remember them more effectively. For many people adding word art, doodles, or illustrations helps even more and makes it a bit more fun too. A simple notebook or sheet of paper is just fine. There are also several printable journaling pages available on the site Worthy Written Words. This year I decided to start a 3 ring binder with my notes from General Conference and I can just add to it each year until it is full. It will be a great resource for further study and (hopefully) a treasured heirloom for my posterity.
Answers for me can sometimes come loud and clear in the moment, but more often they come as I further study the words that I hear. Talks are available on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ website as soon as conference is over in video format. The written text is usually available within a few days. Also the following month’s Ensign magazine contains all the talks. When I feel like a talk was meant for me I make a note in my journal. I then make those talks a priority to go back and review as soon as possible. When we review and study our notes as well as the original words from the speaker the information is able to be moved from our short-term memory into our long-term memory. I also like to mix conference talks into my daily scripture study throughout the year. Sometimes a talk that didn’t really mean much to me now can be just the answer I am seeking a few months or even years down the road. Also when I am studying I like to look up previous talks and scriptures on the same topic. By seeing what prophets throughout time have said about a specific topic I am able to really understand that topic on a deeper level and deeply root the seeds of testimony.
Go and Do
The final and most important step to maximizing your General Conference experience is to act on the promptings you receive. What good is personal revelation if we dont’ do what God is asking us to do? I’ve had my fair share of ignored promptings throughout my life, and I have never failed to regret them. I also know that when I have promptly acted on the inspiration of the Spirit, even when it didn’t make sense, I have been immensely blessed. If you listen intently to God’s message in every speaker, song, and prayer then go and do your testimony of God’s love for you will increase and your ability to follow commandments and promptings int he future will be magnified.
I testify to you that if you take care to prepare your mind to receive the words of the Spirit then take prompt action on them you will be blessed. I further testify that President Russel M. Nelson is the living prophet of God on the Earth today, that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are also prophets, seers, and revelators and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on this Earth.