Sunday, April 6, 2008

Marching Orders

When I was younger, the word "conference" to me meant that there was no was a free day! Then as I started getting active in youth programs and such, I realized that it only meant that for my family. Apparently everyone else went to church on conference Sundays as well as regular Sundays. The first time I ever attended General Conference I was 16 years old. Back in those days (yes, the "olden times" of the early 90's) we had to dress in Sunday dress and go to the Stake Center to watch it. I was so proud that my sister and I actually went to the Sunday morning session and was telling one of my leaders as much when they smiled and asked me if we were going to stay for the afternoon session too. What? You mean there's more than just Sunday morning? Yes, there's even two sessions on Saturday too. Oooooohhhh! Light bulb! That's why people refer to it as conference weekend. The next conference, I went to all four sessions. (I felt a great need back then to be the perfect Mormon so I could get into BYU...both of which never happened but that's another story...let's just say I was really naive.)

I owe a great deal to my youth leaders who took me under thier wing and had the patience to teach me (a girl who had been going to church basically her whole life) about the gospel, of which I knew very little about. My favorite youth leaders were the Jarrard's who gave me countless rides to church, activities, and yes, my very first General Conference. The Jarrard's loved General Conference and used to say that the counsel we received were our marching orders for the next six months. They probably still say that. "Okay, we've got our marching orders for the next six months. Let's get to work!"

Now, there have been times when I have attended all four sessions, and there have been times when I have listened to one talk the whole of conference weekend, but the older I get and the more I grow in the gospel, the more I look forward to General Conference. I really get excited about it. (And it doesn't hurt that I can watch it in my own home in my pajamas either...I'm just sayin'.) I love to hear the familiar melodic voices of our prophets and apostles. I love to see their familiar faces. I love it when they look right into the camera and speak directly to me. And most of all, I love the counsel and encouragement they give us. My two favorites from this conference were Pres. Uchtdorf and Pres. Monson.

So, my challenge to you (and to myself) is whether or not you listened to all four sessions or you didn't hear any of it at all, take 15-20 minutes of your time this week, get on the church's website, pick a talk, and listen to it.

Hut...2...3...4! Hut...2...3...4!


R Matthew Ware said...

I had a similar awakening when I was younger. We went to Sunday morning session (and when I was older, priesthood) and that was it. I remember people talking about coming back Sunday afternoon. I didn't really get that, but I didn't worry either. It wasn't really until my mission (in SLC) that I realized that, for a man, there are ten house of conference. And in SLC, you can't go to church to watch it. It airs on their PBS station (owned by BYU) and NBC (owned by the church). So you'd have to find a family that would let you come over. It's weird watching it at someone's house.

In the last several years I've worked the weekend, so I miss a lot of conference. But some day...

And that sounds like procrastination, but it's really just not being able to be home. I do remember that on my mission I'd try to take notes from conference at each session. Which is actually easy to do when you're being all spiritual.

Alison said...

There's always someone that influences us, isn't there? Mine was a Sunday School teacher that I had for two years. I can't help but think of Bro. Humphries every time I read the Doctrine and Covenants. He made it wonderful! And you're so right, there is something majorly comforting about the General Authorities' voices. I miss Elder Haight. sigh.

Tamara said...

Don't feel bad Rhia. It wasn't until I was in college that I can actually say I ever really enjoyed conference. There is something so comforting about their voices, isn't there? And President Monson couldn't have been more endearing than he was there at the end when he couldn't help but laugh at his own punchline! Loved it!

Emily Anne said...

President Monson cracked me up yesterday afternoon about his wife leaving the note for her kids that he wasn't allowed to touch anything while she was in the hospital. He was so deadpan it was histerical.

The person that taught me the most about church when I joined (actually there were three people) was Carly, Catherine, and my friend Rhia. Rhia taught primary and was going to be gone one Sunday and guess who her sub was? That's right, me. It was cool. Then she became my friend. Didn't you take me to get my patriarchal blessing? I think I was late and you were there before me. Good times. Remember when the car caught on fire on the way to the temple?

Rhia Jean said...

Yeah, I remember. We were in the middle of nowhere and hitched a ride with some guy to his house where we called your dad and then a tow truck. Yes, good times indeed.