Sometimes the answers we seek come as the result of careful preparation, while at other times they come unexpectedly in response to an immediate need. Here members share how they found answers to personal challenges and questions through experiences with general conference.
Several weeks prior to the April 2007 general conference, my wife and I were facing several important decisions regarding employment. These decisions involved internships that could take me to Turkey while my family remained home in the United States. We had tentatively decided that if I were accepted to the program abroad, I would go. Otherwise, we would accept a more costly alternative by moving, together, to Washington, D.C.
As conference approached, I recalled the advice of a ward member: “Pray that one of the messages at conference will give you the personal revelation you need.” I knew that prayers could be answered through conference, but it never occurred to me to pray for the speakers in advance. Deciding to follow that advice, my wife and I specifically asked the Lord to direct our path through the conference speakers. We prayed for weeks as we eagerly awaited conference.
When the Saturday session began, I knew that I had all that day and Sunday to receive an answer. To my amazement, the very first conference talk, Elder Richard G. Scott’s “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” 1 gave me the answer I so desperately sought. During his talk I recalled several impressions I had felt to accept the internship in D.C. I knew that even though it was the more expensive route, it was the Lord’s will for us.
Although we had to sacrifice much, we received many blessings for following those promptings. I was able to spend time with my family, and I also gained a deeper understanding of and appreciation for my wife and what she does to care for our family.
That experience really solidified my testimony of conference and prayer. The talks we hear during conference truly are the words of the Lord, and if we put our trust in Him and earnestly seek Him in fervent prayer, He will guide us in our decisions.
Aaron Cengiz, Wisconsin
Implementing Their Counsel
After watching the Saturday sessions of April 2007 general conference, I began preparing for Sunday by implementing what the Brethren encouraged us to do. I especially appreciated Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s counsel for us to watch our words 2 and Elder Jay E. Jensen’s reminder to be nourished by the hymns. 3 I had tried all morning to speak positively to my two young preschoolers while listening to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD playing in the background.
Somewhere amid the clamor of breakfast, my two-year-old daughter smeared diaper ointment all over our new couch. Although discouraged, I tried to remember Elder Holland’s counsel for us to fill our words with faith, hope, and charity.
As I cleaned the mess off the couch, I recognized the uplifting nature of the song that was then playing on the CD. The lyrics reiterated the importance of treasuring children now since they wouldn’t be young forever. I smiled to myself as I realized how quickly my daughter would grow up.
These were such simple ways of following the words of the General Authorities, yet they filled me with gratitude. Implementing their counsel truly can help us in our everyday routine.
Shannon Helm, Washington
My husband, Richard, and I served three missions in six years. We even sold our country home and moved into a condo in 2004 so we would have less maintenance to be concerned about while we were gone.
After returning from the last of these missions in November 2006, we thought we would stay home for a couple of years before serving again. We felt that we had earned a rest, and we wanted to spend time getting to know our grandchildren better. We had become involved in several volunteer activities and were enjoying our time at home. We definitely wanted to serve again and to continue serving as long as we were physically able, but for now, we were going to rest.
When the May 2007 Ensign arrived, we each delved into our own copies. As I read Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, the Spirit whispered, “It is time to go again,” but I didn’t say anything to my husband. A few minutes later Richard asked me to listen as he read aloud from Elder Henry B. Eyring’s talk, “This Day”: “Complacency can affect even the seasoned adult. The better and the longer you serve, the more likely that the tempter can place this lie in your mind: ‘You have earned a rest.’ … The temptation will be to believe that you will return to serve again, someday.” 4
Richard paused and looked up at me as the Spirit whispered to him, “It is time to go again.”
Acting on those promptings, we are now happily serving once again. Even though it was difficult to leave our family, we feel that in our situation it was the right decision. We have seen temporal and spiritual blessings that have come from serving the Lord.
LeeAnne Whitaker, Utah
Learning His Will
In September 1994, after attending Church meetings for nearly six months, I began taking the missionary discussions. The sister missionaries taught me about Joseph Smith and the First Vision while I continued reading the Book of Mormon. I prayed about the things they were teaching me and learned they were true. Consequently, the missionaries asked me to set a date for baptism, but I was worried about my family’s response. I was away from home for my first semester of college, and my parents were concerned that I was making a hasty decision.
During this time, the missionaries invited me to attend October general conference. What stood out most from the messages was not the content but my feelings. When President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) spoke, I felt in both my mind and heart that I was listening to a prophet of God. I felt inspired and strengthened in my convictions; I also felt peace. When I talked with the missionaries about my feelings, they shared two scriptures with me: Amos 3:7 and Doctrine and Covenants 1:38. When I read that the Lord reveals his secrets to the prophets, who speak for the Lord, I realized why I had felt so wonderful. I had heard the voice of the Lord giving guidance and direction through His servants! Those feelings increased my desire to be baptized, but they also helped me wait a few more months so that my family could accept my decision.
Since that time I have felt those same feelings of peace and inspiration at every session of general conference. The Holy Ghost confirms that the prophets are servants of the living God. As a result, I have learned the importance of making the necessary physical and spiritual preparations so the Lord can reveal his secrets to me through his servants, the prophets (see Amos 3:7).
Katie Beck, Ohio
Filling the Hungry
“I have wondered if any have joined our conference hoping to find the answer to a deeply personal problem or to have some light cast on the most serious questions of their heart. … It is to those who so hunger that I wish to speak. … In spite of life’s tribulations and as fearful as some of our prospects are, I testify that there is help for the journey. There is the Bread of Eternal Life and the Well of Living Water. Christ has overcome the world—our world—and His gift to us is peace now and exaltation in the world to come. (See D&C 59:23.)”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65, 66.
Helps for Home Evening
After reading this article, have family members share a time they received answers, implemented counsel, served others, or learned Heavenly Father’s will through watching general conference. Challenge your family to use one of the suggestions from the article during the next conference. Bear testimony of the importance of preparing to receive answers from conference talks.
Have your family discuss the different ways that people find answers from conference. Notice how many different ideas Church members submitted to the Ensign. Ask your family what ideas they would have contributed. Look in the contents pages to see if there is a request for ideas on another topic. Write down your ideas and submit them.
Photograph by Robert Casey
Photograph by Welden C. Andersen