On the Calendar
Don’t forget: September 25 is the general Relief Society meeting, and general conference is on October 2 and 3. Check with your priesthood leader or at conference.lds.org for information about broadcast times and locations. In many cases, you can watch general conference via the Internet.
The Inspiration behind General Conference
Have you ever wondered if general conference speakers are assigned topics? Last conference Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “There are no assigned subjects, no collaboration of themes. The Lord’s way, of course, is always the best way. He takes the individual prayerful efforts of each speaker and orchestrates a spiritual symphony full of revelation and power. Repeated themes, principle building upon principle, prophetic warnings, uplifting promises—the divine harmony is a miracle!” (“Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2010, 108).
The Conference Center in Salt Lake City: Celebrating 10 Years
Here are some things you might not know about the Conference Center, which was dedicated on October 8, 2000, by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008).
First use: 170th Annual General Conference, April 1 and 2, 2000
Total attendance at events since its dedication: 6.9 million people attending 4,577 events
Total visitors who have toured the building: 4.8 million
Total dignitaries who have toured the building: 5,500
Number of musical performances, including Music and the Spoken Word, held in the building: 311
Number of Christmas-related performances held in the building: 17 different events with 49 total performances
Art exhibits displayed in the building: Hall of the Prophets, Arnold Friberg Art Gallery, and art from the Church’s International Art Competitions
The Pulpit in the Conference Center
From President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “To All the World in Testimony,” Liahona, July 2000, 6; Ensign, May 2000, 6.
The pulpit in the Conference Center has a unique story. Following is President Gordon B. Hinckley’s account:
“I love trees. When I was a boy we lived on a farm in the summer, a fruit farm. Every year at this season we planted trees. I think I have never missed a spring since I was married, except for two or three years when we were absent from the city, that I have not planted trees. …
“Some 36 years ago I planted a black walnut [tree]. It was in a crowded area where it grew straight and tall to get the sunlight. A year ago, for some reason it died. But walnut is a precious furniture wood. I called Brother Ben Banks of the Seventy, who, before giving his full time to the Church, was in the business of hardwood lumber. He brought his two sons, one a bishop and the other recently released as a bishop and who now run the business, to look at the tree. From all they could tell it was solid, good, and beautiful wood. One of them suggested that it would make a pulpit for this hall. The idea excited me. The tree was cut down and then cut into two heavy logs. Then followed the long process of drying, first naturally and then kiln drying. The logs were cut into boards at a sawmill in Salem, Utah. The boards were then taken to Fetzer’s woodworking plant, where expert craftsmen designed and built this magnificent pulpit with that wood.
“The end product is beautiful. I wish all of you could examine it closely. It represents superb workmanship, and here I am speaking to you from the tree I grew in my backyard, where my children played and also grew.
“It is an emotional thing for me. I have planted another black walnut or two. I will be long gone before they mature. When that day comes and this beautiful pulpit has grown old, perhaps one of them will do to make a replacement. To Elder Banks and his sons, Ben and Bradley, and to the skilled workers who have designed and built this, I offer my profound thanks for making it possible to have a small touch of mine in this great hall where the voices of prophets will go out to all the world in testimony of the Redeemer of mankind.”
Dinnertime—a Learning Time
Serena Gedlaman, Alberta, Canada
Turn dinnertime into learning time. All you have to do is keep a few Church curriculum items handy at the dinner table. In our house we often use materials that teach our children. For instance, we have referred to the Faith in God for Girls guidebook, the Young Women Personal Progress booklet, and the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Of course, we also keep the scriptures nearby.
Sometimes we read a few paragraphs and discuss them. Other times we look up scriptural references. We’ve even memorized the fifth article of faith and discussed its meaning as we ate.
When you occasionally set the table with these visual reminders, it’s easy to remember how important it is to feed ourselves spiritually as well as physically.
Note: The Faith in God for Boys and Fulfilling My Duty to God guidebooks are also available. All items listed above can be ordered at no charge at LDS distribution centers or online at www.ldscatalog.com. U.S. and Canada residents may also call the Salt Lake Distribution Center at 1-800-537-5971.
Left: photograph of Elder Andersen by Les Nilsson © IRI; photograph of Conference Center interior by Matthew Reier; photograph of exterior © 2000 IRI; right: photograph of pulpit © IRI; photograph of tree © iStockphoto; photo illustration of family by Christina Smith © IRI