I have often wondered how people would react if they could buy tickets to see Adam at Wembley stadium, Abraham at Stade de France or Moses at Santiago-Bernabéu stadium. Most would be willing to give it a try and probably even pay a substantial amount of money for it. As Latter-day Saints, we are invited every six months to feast upon the words of modern-day prophets. General Conference is now in the rear-view mirror for a few months. How have we benefited from its strong influence? How have our lives been changed? How have we applied its precious lessons?
Preparing for this message, I asked members of my family what blessings they had seen from applying the teachings of our last General Conference. Below are some of their gems of wisdom. What would be yours?
- “I used to consider that my standing before the Lord was inversely proportionate to my need to repent: Truly if I didn’t need repentance, I must be on the right path because I am doing no wrong! I now understand from the Prophet, that it is exactly the opposite: Repentance has to be a daily focus in my life for me to be spiritually successful.”
- “Following Conference, I was drawn to studying the scriptures with more intent and as a result received many more spiritual promptings that I tried to follow.”
- “I received a key for knowing when I can consider my repentance complete: Feeling the Spirit of the Lord in my life means I am either forgiven or well on the way to being forgiven.”
- “I experienced in Conference an increased desire to take more time for personal revelation. This actually brought more revelation and promptings in my life, for which I am grateful.”
- “I was reminded that there is no right way of doing wrong things and it helped me face temptation with more success.”
Pondering over these replies, three principles stood out to help in our desire to extend the blessings General Conferences can bring:
- There is no shortcut to spiritual growth, we have to do the work. However uplifting and edifying a conference may be, derived spiritual growth will not come to fruition until we act upon what we received in Conference as personal inspiration.
- When we focus on the promises received during the conference, we identify the Lord’s blessings more readily and feel his love for us with more power. We may rejoice in the opening of nations to the Gospel without realising it comes as part of the blessings promised in the recent prophetic call for the correct use of the Church’s revealed name. President Nelson said: “I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church (...), we will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.[i]”
- As the scriptures remind us, the pattern for spiritual learning is one of repetition: to remember, internalize and eventually incorporate principles from General Conference, one will usually need many encounters. Thus, studying once will seldom yield the expected benefits. It is through willful repeated studying that we become living epistles, the commandments written on the very flesh of our hearts.
As we contemplate the last Conference and prepare for the next one, may we be reminded that they are a privileged time for us to drastically reduce the distance with the Divine in our lives, and a perfect opportunity for us to touch the hand of God.
[i] President Russel M. Nelson, “The Correct Name of the Church”, October 2018