Members from Around the World Share Experiences of Conference

Contributed By Eric Murdock, Church News staff writer

  • 19 October 2015

People arrive at the Conference Center for the Saturday morning session of the 185th Semiannual General Conference, October 3, 2015.  Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

The Spirit that attends general conference can be felt anywhere in the world and in any way the messages are received, but being in Salt Lake City during conference is an exciting experience for members who have come from long distances.

“Every time I listen to general conference, I feel that 90 percent of the talks were written just for me,” says Scott Grover from London, England.

Brother Grover always looks forward to receiving the messages from Church leaders during general conference. “The talks are inspiring and they bring comfort,” he said, “but there are rebukes as well; conference is a time for self-reflection. It provides a time for the Spirit to direct me in what I need to change.”

This is Brother Grover’s first time in Salt Lake City, and “it is great to be here,” he said. “I have been able to see many Church history sites and visit several temples. London can be a very worldly place, so being in a place where I have been able to be close to the Spirit continually has been quite special.” For Brother Grover and many others, visiting Church headquarters also provides a new perspective. “I have never been around so many members of the Church before!” Brother Grover said. “There is a sense of community and devotion that I have never felt at this level before. It is amazing.”

For Ebi Monkurai from Nigeria, attending conference in Salt Lake City has also fortified his faith and helped him see that he is part of a worldwide unity of faith. “To be here is wonderful and beautiful. My family and I can now take our testimonies back home and share them with others. We [members of the Church] are minorities back home and there is a lot of opposition. Having been among thousands of our brothers and sisters in the gospel, we can let [fellow members] know that they are not alone.” 

The sustaining of Church officers from the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, October 2015.

Ramón Nogueira from Brazil feels the same way. “I am always grateful for the opportunity to get in touch with modern revelation during conference, and I am really excited to share my testimony with my friends about what I experienced here. General conference is great. The Spirit is so strong!”  

For Paul Sio from Sydney, Australia, knowing that there are living prophets and apostles on the earth today is a great blessing. “It is a great opportunity to listen to their words. It was also a wonderful privilege to be in the Conference Center to sustain three new Apostles. It is a great feeling to know that the Lord has confidence in these men,” Brother Sio said. In Sydney, he can watch general conference proceedings on the Internet but chooses to attend conference in his local chapel so he can watch it with his family. The messages of this conference reminded him how important family is, he said. “I wish that everyone could have the chance to experience general conference.”

Lolesio and Maryanne Fifita from Tonga were amazed at the atmosphere that surrounded the proceedings. “I was excited to see everyone get into the spirit of conference,” says Sister Maryanne Fifita. “And to be able to hear the voices of Church leaders so close to the source was remarkable.” For the Fifitas, it was a thrilling experience to be on Temple Square. “Coming from the small island of Tonga, we only get to see pictures of the temple and Conference Center in the Ensign,” explained Sister Fifita. “To see it in person is amazing.”

People arrive at the Conference Center for the Saturday morning session of the 185th Semiannual General Conference, October 3, 2015. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Regardless of where members experience conference, they can find inspiration in the words of President Thomas S. Monson during this conference: “As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, [His] light will burn within us and will light the way for others.”