People from all over the world come to Salt Lake to attend at least 1 of the five 2-hour sessions of conference, meaning that the Prophet and his Apostles spend 10 hours in one weekend sharing spiritual messages that are meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable both within and without the church. It is broadcast worldwide every six months. The LDS Church is 15 million strong and growing steadily, which means that a LOT of people try and make it to the conference center. Of course, temple square can't accommodate for 15 million, but the 21,000 in the Conference Center and the 7,000 seated in the tabernacle as "overflow" definitely make for a unique spirit in the air. The best part of that first session was when all 21,000 attendees stood to sing "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today." I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the spiritual strength of so many people singing praises to God. Increíble!
I went with my cousin Nikayla, a friend from her mission (Efrain), their foster kid (Carlos), my mom, my aunt, and Xander. It was stupendous! You're probably wondering about the title of this post... thinking "why is it in Spanish?" Well, for the second session on Saturday I was blessed to watch the conference broadcast completely in Spanish! Nikayla, Carlos, and Efrain all speak Spanish fluently and we didn't have tickets to the next session, so we just walked right in the assembly hall and watched the whole thing in Spanish! I understood a great deal of it and I was so excited to be surrounded by the language again.
There were a lot of great talks given by the leaders of our Church (to watch or read the messages, please click here), but I often find that all the talks have common threads that weave them all together. Here's what I found this time around:
1. We Need Each Other. It's true that people are imperfect and I have occasionally felt that things would be easier all around if I just did everything myself, but in reality we CANNOT make it through this life alone. We need the support of parents, family, friends, and communities all over the earth REGARDLESS of our differences. Inside the church, that means serving members of our ward to the best of our ability at all times. Outside the church, it means the same thing- it just may be manifest a little differently. Just because you haven't received a "church assigned calling" to talk to your coworkers and check in on them doesn't mean that Heavenly Father doesn't want you to serve His children for always. The best part of supporting others is that you receive support in return. The best way to live isn't independently- it's INTERDEPENDENTLY. That is how we achieve Zion- a people of one heart and one mind.
2. Love is Key. It is so important to love all of God's children. Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, there are people who make choices that I don't necessarily agree with. Yes, we have very opinionated people that can stir the pot sometimes. But you know what? Each and every person that you have every met is divine. They are unique. They are important. They are filled with talents and skills and ideas that are worth sharing. If you want to make any sort of difference and if you want people to understand your beliefs, love is they best way to share. Love people in all that you do! It allows you to forgive, it allows you to enjoy life, and it allows you to ultimately live with Heavenly Father and your eternal family forever because the more you love, the more Christ-like you become.
3. The Priesthood isn't of Men. There are a lot of people who think that women are degraded in the church or aren't fulfilling their potential because they cannot be "priesthood holders" in the LDS Church. This conference had several talks that focused on this false idea specifically. What it boils down to is this: The Priesthood doesn't refer to men, it refers to the power and authority of God that is used through His faithful servants in order to lead and officiate in the church. Yes, men are ordained to hold this power if they are worthy to do so, but women have every right to utilize the priesthood in every facet of their lives just as much as men are. In fact, it is only when a man AND a woman have obtained the highest degree of the priesthood (meaning the everlasting covenant of marriage) that all the blessings and power of the Priesthood can truly be realized. I just love that the issues that are beating down the doors of society also are the issues addressed in General Conference. The Lord definitely is in charge here! He is NOT an absentee God! The talks that I'm thinking of for this message specifically were the one's given by Elder Christofferson, Elder Anderson, and Elder Ballard last conference, just in case you were wondering :)
It was wonderful. I can't wait for April Conference.
Thanks for reading!