What are some ways that Church members of any age—adults, youth, and children—can get more from the spiritual feast available during conference?
A good way to help prepare our hearts before conference is to pray for those who will be speaking to us. Praying in behalf of the speakers not only makes us more in tune with the Holy Ghost but also helps us feel a vested interest in what the speakers are inspired to say. I also have found that wonderful things happen when I pray that my children will be prepared to hear. Devoting the preceding fast Sunday to the purpose of being ready to receive all the Lord wants us to know also helps us as we prepare our minds and hearts.—Michelle Martin, St. Peters Ward, St. Louis Missouri North Stake
A few weeks before conference, I show my three small children the poster of the General Authorities that appears in each conference issue of the Ensign. I tell them stories about the prophet and the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Many of these stories can be found in the magazine database on the Church’s Web site www.lds.org. Family home evening is a good time to share these stories in the weeks before conference. My children like watching and recognizing the leaders they have learned about.—Jennifer Dale, Riverview Ward, Mesa Arizona Maricopa North Stake
In our family, we anticipate conference by examining our lives and identifying areas of concern in which we need help and added light. Examples might include our roles as parents, our responsibilities in our Church callings, insights into the Savior and His ministry, insights for Saints living in a secular world, and so on. Then during the conference, we diligently try to listen for promptings that relate to these areas of concern (and others) and make note of the impressions as they come.
I find it useful to put my notes into two columns—the left-hand column for notes on the talk I am listening to, the right-hand column for impressions I receive. Some impressions relate to the message of the talk, but many are flashes of inspiration that relate to other concerns. After conference, this list of impressions will serve as my spiritual agenda for the six months until the next conference.—Richard Boyer, Holladay Third Ward, Salt Lake Holladay Stake
In our previous ward in another state, we hosted a simple potluck lunch between general conference sessions for several families in the ward, the full-time missionaries, investigators, and recently baptized members. Food assignments were made the week before so that cooking could be done ahead of time.
This potluck lunch was a good opportunity to get to know families in the ward as well as newly baptized members. It provided another place for the missionaries to interact with investigators and for ward members to begin to build relationships with these individuals. Those watching conference for the first time were able to ask ward members any questions they had.—Wylie Ann Anderson, Grove Creek Fourth Ward, Pleasant Grove Utah Grove Creek Stake
By far the most effective way I have found to get more from the spiritual feast available during conference is to buy and frequently listen to the conference CDs (available at distribution centers). I listen while I lift weights or do any other repetitive tasks. I listen when I clean the kitchen. When I’m discouraged or struggling, I sit down, take notes, read along in the Ensign, and apply certain talks on a personal level. I especially enjoy listening to the music on the conference CDs as I go about my daily tasks. As I listen, I am frequently reminded of goals I have made. By playing a conference CD, I now have a sure and effective way of being inspired and uplifted.—Merlene Lillywhite, Reedville Ward, Cedar Mill Oregon Stake
For two to three weeks after general conference, our family scripture study is spent reading and discussing each talk. We take turns choosing and reading a talk, and we discuss the principles spoken of and how they apply in our lives today.
Family home evenings are based on conference talks as well. For example, for one of our family home evenings I photocopied and handed out to each person in the family a copy of one of the talks. I had previously made up 25 questions from the talk, and each family member had to scan the talk to find the answers. —Wendy Daniels, Church College New Zealand First Ward, Temple View New Zealand Stake
A few years ago I began making conference packets for our school-age children. I would prepare a folder with a variety of conference-related games (see past issues of the April Friend magazine for ideas), and I also made snack bags the children could eat from during the hymn in the middle of the meeting.
Between the sessions on Saturday we go to the park to play and have a picnic, and between the Sunday sessions we go for a family walk. It has been a joy to watch our children learn to love conference.—Jenny Marie Hatch, Louisville Ward, Boulder Colorado Stake
To help children pay attention during conference, pick one word such as love, joy, Jesus, and so on, and have everyone use tally marks to keep track of how many times the speaker says that word during his or her talk. At the end of the talk, take a moment to count up how many times the word was said. Later, look up the word in the Bible Dictionary and discuss why Heavenly Father might inspire Church leaders to refer often to this topic during conference.—Cathy Jones, Corona Fourth Ward, Corona California Stake
Using a three-ring binder and notebook paper, you can make a family conference journal that will be valuable to you later. First, encourage each family member to take notes during the talks. After conference, have all family members write about their favorite talk, describing the main points and explaining why the talk was important to them. Date and sign each of these journal entries. Family members may choose to illustrate their entries with drawings or with cutouts from old Church magazines. Put the pages in the family conference journal. This journal can become a family keepsake as well as a resource for family night or Church talks.—Paula Lewis, Blanding Seventh Ward, Blanding Utah West Stake
Before each general conference, the Young Women leaders in our ward choose three general conference talks from the previous conference, one for each age group, and make a copy for each girl. At our Mutual activity, the girls split up into age groups for about 30 minutes to read and review their assigned talk. The girls take notes as they discover the counsel, warning, instruction, and blessings (“CWIB”) in each talk. This motivates them to think about each message and how it applies in their lives. Then we all come back together, and a spokesperson from each group reviews for everyone the “CWIB” found in the talk. Our girls have come to learn that there really is a lot in general conference that applies to their lives.—Kim McDowell, Glendive Ward, Glendive Montana Stake
When the conference edition of the Ensign arrives, my husband and I choose a brief quotation from each of the talks given by the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We post these quotations in the kitchen where we can review them often. Each morning before family prayer, someone picks a “prophet quote,” as we call them, to share with the family. Sometimes we briefly discuss the meaning of the statement or how it can apply in our lives. This keeps the words of the prophets before us daily and reminds us of the special callings given to these leaders.—Kelly Barfield, Hartsville Ward, Florence South Carolina Stake
We attend all the sessions of conference as a family; then each Sunday, we enjoy hearing again one or two selected talks from the conference. In the past we have watched the talks on video or read them out loud from the Ensign. Now we listen to them on the Internet. We try to pace our listening so we finish all the talks before the next conference. Listening to the servants of the Lord every Sunday has been a constant blessing to us.—David D. Ames, Moses Lake Fifth Ward, Moses Lake Washington Stake
I was surprised when my in-laws first told me that their most celebrated family tradition was general conference weekend. As I have regularly celebrated this special occasion with them since then, I can now say it has become my favorite family tradition as well.
The entire family, including babies, children, youth, parents, and grandparents, join together for this special event every April and October. The Friday night before conference, we camp out in tents in the backyard, preparing to hear the prophets speak as did the people in King Benjamin’s time. The children love it!
We enjoy every session of conference together, and everyone is encouraged to bring his or her scriptures to look up verses referred to by the speakers. We share our thoughts about the conference messages after each session. On Saturday night the priesthood holders go to the general priesthood session while the others stay together for family fun and games. When the priesthood holders return, dessert is served as they share the messages given at the priesthood session. On Sunday afternoon we all have a testimony meeting together. Now general conference weekend is becoming our children’s most celebrated tradition.—Nancy Hauck, Morningside First Ward, St. George Utah Morningside Stake