The final session of LDS April 2015 General Conference wrapped up a few hours ago. As a member of the Choir that sang both Sunday sessions, I left my house today at 5:30 am and I didn’t get back until well after 5:30 PM. Yesterday (Saturday) I was gone from 6:30 am – 2:00 PM. Last week I had two long evening rehearsals, PLUS this week happened to also be my big annual work Conference. Needless to say, I’m tired. I’m putting up my feet, ‘decompressing’, reflecting, and processing. It’s been an absolutely amazing weekend full of spiritually motivating messages, inspirational music and treasured memories. On top of all of that, it’s EASTER SUNDAY!
I would feel ungrateful, and more than a bit guilty, if I didn’t blog SOMETHING today about all of this epic goodness! Elder Neill L. Andersen gave a wonderful talk about recognizing, noticing and acknowledging our blessings. I can definitely see the hand of God in my life! Can you?
There’s no way I can possibly summarize even “a hundredth part” of five (technically six) sessions [12 hours] of General Conference. But, here are a few randomly generated reflections before I go to bed (with more posts promised to come soon).
#1. What do the IVORY COAST, HAITI & THAILAND all have in common?
They’re all getting Latter-day Saint “Mormon” TEMPLES! WHOO-HOO! President Thomas S. Monson personally announced these three new temples during the Sunday morning Conference session – eliciting many audible gasps from the audience.
I’m so excited for all of the faithful church members who live in or near these countries who have been unable to afford to travel to a temple, and now their fondest dreams will be coming true! What a miracle!
Did you know Abidjan is the 3rd largest French speaking city in the world? The population of this region is also nearly equal to the total Mormons (15 million) in the whole world. The hand of God is bringing a temple to this “Crossroads of West Africa” port city!
On January 12, 2010 much of Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince was destroyed in a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The death toll in the earthquake was in the thousands and most of Port au Prince’s central historic district, its capital building, the parliament building, as well as other city infrastructure such as hospitals were destroyed.
5 Years later, The Hand of God is bringing a Temple to heal broken hearts, bless & seal families forever.
Only 1% of the population of Thailand is Christian. However, the country is very familiar with the concept of temples. The city of Bangkok alone has over 400 Buddist Temples!
The Hand of God is bringing them a new Temple as a House for the Lord, Jesus Christ.
#2. The older I get, the shorter General Conference lasts.
When I was young, I clearly remember thinking that General Conference was sooooo long and lasted FOR-EV-VVVER… Now, when the closing hymn and prayer are announced I want to jump up and shout “WAIT, WHAT?! It’s totally not time to be over yet! You MUST have made a mistake and skipped something!”
Today’s Closing Hymn was a brand new arrangement of “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” by MoTab associate conductor Ryan Murphy, which I loved singing.
I would be tempted to cry and beg loudly for a Conference extension… except for the unavoidable fact that by 2:00 PM on a Sunday Conference afternoon #1. I’m quite hungry #2. I really need to pee.
(I admit during “pre-Choir” days I tended to think of Conference musical numbers as “potty breaks” …. well, obviously, those days are over)
#3. BEST IN SHOW
The winner of BEST MUSICAL METAPHOR (EVER) USED IN AN LDS GENERAL CONFERENCE goes to the [previously unknown] Elder Wilford W. Andersen during the Saturday morning session (watch his entire “award winning” talk here). He used stories and symbolism of dance/music/singing as a metaphor about life and “tuning our hearts” to enjoy the gospel of Jesus Christ. Totally Awesome Conference Coolness.
#4. Dear Camera Crew – thanks for trying, but…
I noticed a new camera angle being tried since last week’s Womens Conference. It shows the audience in front of and/or surrounding the speaker. I appreciate the idea of trying something new. I get the attempt to visually illustrate the “masses” receiving the message. But, THIS IS WAY TOO DISTRACTING FOR ME! As soon as that camera angle comes up on my screen, I don’t hear anything the speaker is saying anymore. My brain is suddenly overloaded counting heads, noticing empty seats, looking at clothing styles & colors, ages/genders, trying to see if I recognize anyone, and/or simply wondering what all those people might be thinking or feeling right then … then, by the time the camera angle flips back to the speaker, I’m totally lost. Ugh!
#5. I Missed Elder Scott
No one said where Elder Richard G. Scott was. But, as far as I know, he wasn’t in attendance at any of this weekend’s Conference sessions. 😦
Some people have speculated he was too ill to attend. Whatever the reason, it must have been pretty serious to keep him away from Conference. I always love his talks. They’re filled with kindness and compassion and invariably include a loving plea for those who struggle to “come home“. Elder Scott’s absence was keenly felt by the Choir, because he always takes the time to come up to the loft, shake our conductors hands, and express personal thanks for the music. And, he does this after EVERY SINGLE Conference Session we sing! Elder Scott truly loves the Choir. He is such a kind and tenderhearted man. I’m keeping him in my prayers and sending him my love.
#6. There is a time and a place for our electronic devices, but Sacrament Meeting is NOT that time or place
I counted at least THREE separate speakers mentioning the problem of electronic devices being used during Sacrament Meeting (Communion), and how inappropriate and distracting that is. The gist is that we cannot have meaningful worship if we are checking our email and text messages. Electronic devices can have a positive purpose in our life, but we need to learn when and how to turn them off. Otherwise, they will distract us from spending quality time with God, and quality time with our family & friends!
#7. This Conference Was The Best Yet!
I know I ALWAYS feel like that. But, seriously, there were so many fabulous, ‘meaty’ messages. I can’t wait to re-watch, re-listen, read and study these talks! There were MANY messages that I really needed to hear personally which made me think deeply about my faith and my life in ways I haven’t done before. All of the talks will be available online here – continually updating.
My Inquiring Mind is doing a happy dance!
#8. Conference Has Only Just Begun!
A tiny handful of people decided to come into the Conference Center during the Saturday afternoon session and try to make a disturbance by yelling out their dissenting votes during the sustaining of church leadership. This isn’t something new or original. I remember as a young girl being present in the Tabernacle on at least two separate occasions when people tried to cause a scene during a General Conference. I was angry they would disrupt an event I considered very sacred, and I was embarrassed for them to be making such a fool of themselves. I was relieved to see how they were courteously but promptly escorted outside. Times haven’t changed. I have the same feelings now as then. This meme pretty much sums it up. 🙂
Like I mentioned at the top, this post is just a random collection of things crossing through my half-conscious mind as I make my way to bed. There’s SO MUCH I CAN’T WAIT to share and discuss with you about Conference!! Meanwhile, leave me your thoughts below, and I hope that you all had a very happy and blessed Easter! – MoSop