How We Applied General Conference


This April general conference will take special preparation from us. We will sustain a new president of the Church, counselors in the First Presidency, and a new president of the Council of the Twelve as well as others. We will also be asked to sustain some of them as prophets, seers, and revelators. These sustaining votes should be made with the deep spiritual witness of every member that the Lord has indeed called chosen men to those positions.

This conference will take special preparation for another reason. We must prepare ourselves to receive from the General Authorities the current revelations that the Lord has for us. A year ago, President Lee taught us how to listen to conference when he said, “If you want to know what the Lord has for this people at the present time, I would admonish you to get and read the discourses that have been delivered at this conference.” (Ensign, July 1973, p. 121.)

But how do you apply those revelations? How do they become “living” scripture?

Sobered by President Lee’s counsel, our family, during the October 1973 conference, listened to all the sessions available, took notes, and made family goals based on that counsel. Here are only a few:

1. Review who we are on a daily basis, remembering we are the children of God. (President Harold B. Lee)

2. Do things the Lord’s way and avoid substituting our own personal answers for his. (President N. Eldon Tanner)

3. Have only music that is uplifting in our home; learn more hymns and sing them to ourselves in order to improve our environment. (Elder Boyd K. Packer)

4. Look for good in the world and rejoice in the Lord and his work. (Elder Bruce R. McConkie)

5. At the end of each day ask: Have I done any good in the world today? (Elder L. Tom Perry)

6. Forgive others of their past offenses against us. (Elder Marion D. Hanks)

We found much specific counsel. For example, in the area of being a father and husband, the following counsel was given:

1. Support my daughters, Ann and Kay, in their responsibilities as APMIA members. (Bishop Victor L. Brown)

2. Remember my mother in my daily prayers and write to her more regularly. (Elder Thomas S. Monson)

3. Review our temporal preparedness as a family: maintain a year’s supply of food, avoid indebtedness, improve our skills and self-sufficiency. (Elder Ezra Taft Benson)

It hasn’t been easy to reach all these goals, but we regularly review them in family home evening. Constant application has meant that the words of the Lord’s chosen servants have not been dimmed as vague generalities. Rather, they are specific commandments to us, especially as the Spirit has confirmed the personal improvements that we have most needed at a given time.

Applying conference talks in everyday living is vital to each family in the Church, yet geographical and communication limitations make it impossible for all Saints to be present at or hear all the broadcasts.

So, to make the conference proceedings available to everyone sooner than in past years, the May and November issues of the Ensign will become conference issues, instead of the July and January issues. The May and November issues will be mailed approximately two weeks after the close of conference.

This will permit individuals, families, and Church classes, within a matter of days, to have the counsel and inspiration of the prophets of the Lord.

—The Editors

Dr. Merrell is employed in developing leadership skills and is chairman of the board of Leadership Systems, Inc. He serves as first counselor in the stake presidency of the Silver Spring Maryland Stake.