“Conference Experiences,” Ensign, May 2008, 143–44
The Monday following general conference, subscribers to LDS Gems, a daily inspirational e-mail, received an invitation to share experiences of the solemn assembly and other sessions of conference. The e-mails that follow represent the more than 1,200 responses the Church magazines received.
On Saturday morning just before conference began, our home was buzzing with our Saturday routine, when our television was suddenly filled with the scenes and sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the opening of general conference. We gathered our two young sons and kept them in “pause mode” long enough for the opening prayer. Then when President Uchtdorf came to the pulpit to begin the solemn assembly, the atmosphere changed in our home. The four of us knelt in front of the television, the Spirit filling our home. I felt momentarily embarrassed that we were present for this sacred moment casually dressed in a room made chaotic with the morning playtime. And yet, as we stood in turn to raise our hands in sustaining support, my heart filled with utter joy. Finally we stood as a family, even the toddler raising his right arm, and there was a sense of holiness that one usually feels in the temple. We stood together witnessing what the Spirit confirmed was right.
Moments later, the whirlwind of children began again and we had to turn the volume up to hear the speakers, but that brief moment of peace remained in our home and hearts.
Christina N., Utah, USA
Well, I can’t say enough about how I felt at this conference. The Spirit was so strong; I was able to watch in my home, and I could feel the Spirit all around me. I haven’t been very active lately, and watching President Monson welcoming me back into the fold really made me feel like he was talking right to me. I was so pleased with all the talks. Heavenly Father was speaking through them, and I could really feel it. I know that I am not perfect, but I really felt that I need to go back to church so that I can be fed and start fresh. I just couldn’t get enough of the conference this time. I have already gone back on the Internet to listen again. I am hoping to attend my ward next week.
It was wonderful to hear the conference messages, particularly that of the living prophet, President Monson, despite the fact that I am halfway across the world in a land where the gospel still cannot be preached. But through technology I was still able to participate and feel of the Spirit and be edified. Hearing the counsels given and the testimonies borne, however, made me wish even more that all our brothers and sisters could partake of the bounteous blessings of the gospel. I pray this happens soon.
The most powerful conference moment for me was the talk given by President Uchtdorf about the plane crash that occurred in Antarctica. That hit me deeply on how a matter of such tiny proportion can have the lasting effect that may be irreversible with lasting consequences. It also showed no matter how far off we may stroll from the straight and narrow, we need to admit we have wronged and seek forgiveness from our ever-loving Heavenly Father. He cares deeply for our well-being and loves us when we can accept our wrongs, learn from them, and grow spiritually from them.
Orion H., Colorado, USA
My good friend at school asked me what I did over the weekend. I told her, and the topic of general conference paved the way for her follow-up questions about my beliefs and the Book of Mormon. I was able to use the Articles of Faith to share some essential differences of our Church from other Christian churches, and I was also able to clearly explain what the Book of Mormon is and how it relates to the Bible.
I am so grateful for this opportunity I had! I know the Spirit guided me with my answers to her questions, and if it weren’t for general conference, I probably wouldn’t have been in the right spirit to readily answer them.
Ellie W., England
As a convert in 1972, I became inactive for over 20 years. I became active again about 10 years ago and have been sealed in the temple to my husband, also a convert. I loved President Hinckley and felt that no prophet could take his place. As President Monson was offered for our sustaining vote, I felt angry and somewhat bitter, because I didn’t think he could do the job. Oh, how stiffnecked I was! When President Monson rose to speak, I looked into his eyes and watched his every movement. There was the very same sparkle and gleam in his eyes that had been in my beloved President Hinckley’s! I was overcome with joy and recognition of the presence of the Holy Spirit in this man—my new prophet, seer, and revelator.
Mary Lou R., New Mexico, USA
I was motivated by the Spirit during conference to change my life. Although I have been “active” in the Church all my life, I have not been motivated by the Spirit as fully as I was in this conference. I feel that every message was directed especially to me. I am going to reach out to my family and friends and ask forgiveness for any and all offenses I have done to them and forgive others who have offended me. I am going to treat others as I would like to be treated and follow the Savior’s example as closely as I can.
Delbert C., USA
Our family rotates family home evening duty. My husband’s was the Monday following the conference. During Sunday afternoon’s session, Elder Zwick gave a lesson on maintaining our standards. My husband used this talk to emphasize the need to maintain our standards. I had downloaded the MP3 file from the Web site. We sat together as a family and listened once again to the talk. This gave us an opening to bring up the topics of choosing friends, making good decisions, and making a life plan with our 14-year-old son.
Gwen D., Washington, USA
During the solemn assembly, I felt so privileged, humbled, and grateful to be able to participate from my home and to stand and raise my hand to sustain our new prophet, President Monson. It brought tears to my eyes when my son, who just recently turned 12, was able to stand with the Aaronic Priesthood and my daughter with the Young Women to do the same. The sweetness of the Spirit that confirmed to my heart that Thomas S. Monson is the man the Lord wants at the head of His Church today was so strong! There is no doubt in my mind as to the divinity of his sacred calling.
Maridee H., New Mexico, USA
Being single, during Elder Ballard’s talk, my mind and heart were touched with ways in which I can prepare myself to better love my future wife and better serve her and lift her burdens, that they may be light. Nothing in my life right now is more important than finding a wife I can marry in the temple and raising a family to her recognition and praise. I am excited and look forward to loving her with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.
Mike S., Florida, USA