About a year ago, I was meeting with the sister missionaries from the young adult congregation in Vancouver and was prayerfully considering baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although I wanted to come closer to Christ, I was sure that the space between who I was and who the Church wanted me to be was too great a distance for me to travel alone.
First, I was the child of gay parents, and I was concerned about the Church’s stance on same-sex attraction. More importantly, I was unsure about how my own family could be included in the plan of eternal salvation. Second, I was living opposite of the Word of Wisdom, as I was a caffeine-addicted barista and lived the lifestyle of a typical partying college student. Third, I was definitely spiritual but had no confirmation yet as to what faith could be true. I sought this truth as a religious studies student at the University of British Columbia, but I felt no strong connection to any faith or practice. I didn’t necessarily doubt that the Church was true, but my previous searching proved fruitless. I was at the point of accepting that there might not be a true church at all.
Despite all this, I felt compelled to accept the invitation from the sister missionaries to watch general conference. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from general conference, but the missionaries assured me that I would hear inspiring messages from leaders of the Church. I entered the chapel, sat down for the Sunday morning session, and took out my journal to take notes as the sisters encouraged me to do. Even before the first words were spoken, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the choir and the spirit of the occasion. The first talk given was by Jean B. Bingham. I remember her teaching that our faith has to be greater than our fear. I wrote down the inspiration and was immediately filled with the comfort and peace that only the Savior’s love can bring.
I was particularly surprised by the affectionate reverence the missionaries had for each speaker as we watched conference. I found it incredible that every Church member in the room with us had a personal revelatory experience in past conferences with a specific speaker or topic of faith. Even more touching was that they were all eager to share these hopeful messages with me, a stranger, as we watched. Hearing their testimonies of general conference and the inspiration behind the speakers was uplifting and helped me to develop my own budding testimony.