In our multi-cultural family, we celebrate all the English, Irish and Dutch national holidays abundantly. My wife, Kirsty, loves going all out on decorations and traditional foods for Halloween, Sinterklaas, Christmas and so much more, and our children and their friends loved it!
One evening Kirsty and I were discussing how we could create a similar experience for our children during General Conference. We decided to introduce home-made croissants with ham and cheese as the General Conference food of choice. We prepared coloring papers with gospel topics and word games that would help them to be engaged in conference talks. On conference morning we would be dressed in our Sunday best. But we also had lots of pillows and cozy blankets that the children could build pillow forts and tents out of to make them feel safe, secure, and loved. We enjoyed watching Conference as a family and savored the inspired messages from church leaders whilst the smell of freshly baked croissants filled our home. The younger children got plenty of praise for sitting through one session of Conference. While we expected a little more from our older children as time went by. The excitement over General Conference brought us all so much joy. Now we are grandparents, we love receiving pictures of our grandchildren through social media having a similar conference experience.
When we read King Benjamin’s address and how the people prepared to hear his words(1) we can learn at least three very important things. First, an invitation was extended throughout all the land, much like an invitation is extended to us to come and listen to our Church leaders today. We may ask ourselves; “how am I making sure that I help to extend this invitation to all the members of my ward and even to my non-member neighbors and friends?” Secondly, we read that there was a gathering that took place. Today we may gather as families or groups in our homes or meetinghouses. The Lord has said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”(2) There is such strength in meeting together oft.(3) And lastly, they were centered around the temple and positioned themselves to hear the words of salvation. May I suggest we try to do the same? The Temple is the place where heaven and earth meet, a refuge from the storms that rage in the world we live in and where we can condition our hearts and minds for that which is of eternal consequence. What a great way attending the house of the Lord and being engaged in family history work is to prepare our hearts and minds and to be more spiritually in tune to receive the word of God through the mouths of His servants.(4) Elder Robert D. Hales has said “I promise you in His name that 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 help you, to strengthen you, and to lead you home into his presence.”(5)
I testify that this is true. When we prepare with gratitude and in joyful anticipation conditioning our hearts for the Lord to take and seal it for His courts above(6) General Conferences can become some of the greatest times of the year. Even an unforgettable time to gather with family and friends and to feel privileged to hear from our prophet, apostles, and other general authorities who prepare inspired messages to bless our lives. It will become a wonderful, life changing, celebration to receive personal spiritual guidance and strengthen our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Mosiah 2:1, 5-6
2. Matthew 18:20
3. Moroni 6:5
4. D&C 1:38
5. April 2013 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session
6. Hymn, “Come Thou fount of every blessing” Music: John Wyeth 1770-1858 & Lyrics: Robert Robinson 1735-1790