New Era Adds Ways to Help Youth Remember and Apply Conference Messages

Contributed By Richard M. Romney, Church News contributor

  • 27 April 2017

Youth look at the conference section of the April 2017 New Era.  Photo by Richard M. Romney.

“This new design is intended to help youth not only listen to but also remember and apply the principles taught in the messages of general conference.” —Jeanette Andrews, New Era art director

Youth will notice a new approach to general conference when they open the May 2017 issue of the New Era. The issue will include more space for youth to write down the impressions they felt or answers they received as they participated in—or as they later study and review—general conference.

“This new design is intended to help youth not only listen to but also remember and apply the principles taught in the messages of general conference,” said Jeanette Andrews, art director of the New Era. For example:

  • Photos of youth from all over the world demonstrate that conference is a worldwide experience. Stories from youth around the world share what they learned from conference and what they’re doing differently because of it.

Youth around the world share what they learned from conference and what they’re doing differently because of it.

  • Messages from the First Presidency are quoted and summarized. After one-sentence summaries of messages from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, space is provided for teens to record what they learned from the messages and what they felt inspired to do.

Space is provided for teens to record what they learned from the prophet’s and apostles’ messages and what they felt inspired to do.

  • Frequently asked questions from Face to Face broadcasts are listed, followed by answers to those questions given during general conference.
  • Messages directed specifically to youth are quoted and listed together in one place.
  • A collection of memorable quotes and photos is presented across two pages.

One two-page spread is dedicated to memorable quotes and photos from general conference.

  • Screen savers for smartphones (based on general conference quotes) are shown, with instructions about where to download them.
  • A by-topic guide facilitates conference-based gospel study.
  • Another two-page spread asks, “What did the Spirit prompt me to work on?” and “How will I work on it?” with space for notes.

Space is provided in the redesigned New Era conference section for teens to record notes of promptings and how they plan to act.

  • A two-page poster includes a powerful quote from President Thomas S. Monson and a memorable image.
  • A “by-the-numbers” page provides fun facts about general conference, and a gathering of games and activities encourages interaction such as matching lyrics with the hymns they’re from, deciphering a conference quote, or completing a conference crossword puzzle.

“In each general conference section, editors and designers include messages that have been directed to youth or that answer questions frequently posed by youth of the Church,” explained Ryan Jensen, managing editor of the New Era. “Those messages are then designed in different ways to help youth remember what they heard and apply those messages to the challenges they face as teenagers.”

Once complete, the 24-page conference section of the New Era is combined with other articles and content to create the complete May issue (and following October general conference, the November issue) of the magazine.

Youth read the May 2017 New Era. Photo by Richard M. Romney.

The first New Era conference section, “General Conference Is for You,” was published in November 2009, in response to a question posed several months earlier by Elder Monte J. Brough (1939–2011), who was at that time an adviser to the magazine. “Isn’t there some way to include general conference in the youth magazine?” he asked. The New Era general conference sections published each May and November ever since would indicate that the answer to his question has become a resounding “Yes!”