Conference Moment: Gathering as Saints
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
- Brian Wilcox brought his two oldest children with him to the Conference Center.
- He said it’s easy to watch at home but inspiring to watch at the Conference Center.
Every six months Church members around the world tune in to hear the words of a living prophet and inspiring messages from other leaders during general conference.
Whether it is live in the Conference Center, watching in a ward building, or streaming the session online in their own home, members come away rejuvenated in their faith and encouraged to be better disciples of Jesus Christ. Regardless of the location, general conference is an opportunity to gather with other believers and sing hymns of praise.
“To me, the experience of conference is being around other Latter-day Saints,” said Brian Wilcox, a member of the Riverton 20th Ward in the Riverton Utah Stake, after attending the Saturday morning session on October 1. “It is easier to stay at home, and there usually are cinnamon rolls at home, but you don’t sing ‘Redeemer of Israel’ with 19,000 people, and that is a special feeling. There is a power in the music and a feeling of unity as you stand with other Saints.”
Brother Wilcox said he enjoys seeing people of all cultures and nations come together to hear the prophet speak. Because his youngest three children are too young to attend the live session, Brother Wilcox brought his two oldest—Brigham, 9, and Ben, 8 while his wife, Maren, stayed home with their other children.
“Ben was baptized in August, so it is his first time attending conference,” said Brother Wilcox. “We wanted him to experience conference in the Conference Center so he can see Church leaders in person and experience conference with other Saints.”
For Ben, seeing the large number of people attending conference was impressive. “It is really cool how many people come here every year for two days,” Ben said. “That’s a lot of people. And I didn’t see anybody I know.”
Although being in the Conference Center meant he wasn’t able to “see the [many] angles on the TV,” it has changed his perspective. Now, when Ben watches a session on television, he said he will remember it is actually “thousands of people watching, not just one person on TV.”
His older brother, Brigham, said, “There are only two experiences in the entire year, so it is important for us to listen.”
For Brother Wilcox, who serves as bishop of his ward, general conference is a time for learning and receiving inspiration for his own life, his family, and in counseling his ward members. Although he enjoyed many of the messages shared, there is one that stood out to him that he will remember and share with others: “I wrote down in my notes ‘you have to do your very best.’”