I'm so excited that Spring General Conference is coming up this weekend! For about three years, prior to my conversion to the Church last November, I watched every talk of every General Conference. I learned alot. I felt the Spirit. I was blessed. The General Conferences were a big part of my deciding to join the Church. This coming Conference will be the first one I will enjoy as an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am so looking forward to it. It is my prayer that all LDS members and investigators will attend or tune in to the General Conference this coming weekend and receive the blessings. Make it a priority.
You WILL be blessed.
"The Blessings of General Conference "
Elder Paul V. Johnson
Ensign, November 2005
"How can you be safe in these challenging times so you can fully do your part in this great work and find true happiness in this life and the life to come?
It is not surprising that in the face of tremendous evil and temptation the Lord does not leave us to find our way on our own. In fact, there is more than enough guidance available to each of us if we will listen. You have received the gift of the Holy Ghost to direct and inspire you. You have the scriptures, parents, Church leaders and teachers. You also have the words of the prophets, seers, and revelators who live in our day. There is so much guidance and direction available that you won’t make major mistakes in your life unless you consciously ignore the guidance you receive.
Tonight I would like to focus on one of these sources of guidance—the living prophets, seers, and revelators that we sustained today. In fact, I would like to focus on one of the main ways we get direction from them—general conference.
Conferences have been part of the Church since the beginning of this dispensation. The first conference was held just two months after the Church was organized. We meet twice a year to be instructed by the General Authorities and general officers of the Church. The proceedings of these conferences are available through various means, both print and electronic.
My mother loved general conference. She always tuned in the radio and TV and turned the volume loud enough that it was difficult to find a place in the house where conference couldn’t be heard. She wanted her children to listen to the talks and would ask us from time to time what we remembered. Once in a while I went outside with one of my brothers to play ball during a Saturday conference session. We would take a radio with us because we knew our mother might quiz us later. We would play ball and occasionally take a break to listen carefully so we could report to Mom. I doubt my mother was fooled when we both happened to remember the same thing from an entire session.
That is no way to listen to conference. I have since repented. I have grown to love general conference, I’m sure partly because of my mother’s love for the words of the living prophets. I remember listening to the sessions of a particular conference all alone in an apartment while I was in college. The Holy Ghost witnessed to my soul that Harold B. Lee, the President of the Church at that time, was truly a prophet of God. This happened before I went into the mission field, and I was excited to testify of a living prophet because I had come to know for myself. I have had that same witness about each of the prophets since that time.
When I was in the mission field, the Church didn’t have the satellite system, and the country where I served did not have broadcasts of general conference. My mother sent me audiotapes of the sessions, and I listened to them over and over again. I grew to love the voices and the words of the prophets and apostles.
Recently I was reading the journal of my great-grandfather, Nathaniel Hodges, who was called on a mission to England in 1883. He told of coming to Salt Lake City to be set apart for his mission and attending conference while he was there. Listen to his description of that conference: “Went to meetings in large Tabernacle all day. There were splendid instructions given. The remarks of Joseph F Smith and George Q Cannon and President John Taylor were particularly powerful. I heard some of the oldest inhabitants say they never attended a more powerful and Spiritual Conference.” 1
I think the members of the Church have similar feelings about each general conference. It seems that each is more powerful and spiritual than the last.
In order for the messages of general conference to change our lives, we need to be willing to follow the counsel we hear. The Lord explained in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know … how to act upon the points of my law and commandment.” But knowing “how to act” isn’t enough. The Lord in the next verse said, “Ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me.”
This willingness to take action on what we have learned opens the doors for marvelous blessings."
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
at 11:11 AM