General Conference weekend is always amazing. For the last two and a half years it has also been very interesting as I have worked tech support for the Church. Sometimes it gets really busy and I cannot watch conference as closely as I’d like. Today was one of those days. Anybody who was watching conference online is probably aware that there was an audio problem. We took over 100 calls in about 45 minutes!
Here at work we do have Conference playing on the big screen, but because of all the calls, we have the volume down low, with closed captioning on. The only way I knew what was being said today is because I was on Twitter following the hashtag #ldsconf, which by the way was trending 4th in the United States at times! It was very interesting to see not only what was being said, but what peoples thoughts and reactions were. It was kind of like watching a live “Highlights Reel” of General Conference, not hearing every word, but just the phrases and ideas that struck people the most.
Because I have been more disconnected (or more connected?) than usual, and not able to hear all of conference, I am going to have to watch Conference on my own time. I think that FHEs for the next 6 months are going to consist of watching and discussing talks from this session of Conference with my wife. The talks from Saturday are already online on new.lds.org (even Priesthod session!) We will be able to study the most recent words of Prophets and Apostles.
As always, there are certain trends that emerge when one studies the remarks made in conference. From my limited ability to follow conference, I have already noticed some similar themes. There seems to be an emphasis on action, on doing something, not being passive. The Church has certainly moved itself more fully into the public eye, now we rely on members doing what they should be doing to promote the Gospel. The leaders are encouraging the members to live their lives the way that they know they should be and to ‘be an example of the believers’. We have seen this emphasis lately, as the Church has been promoting Member Profiles on it’s new Mormon.org website.
There was also a lot of talk about revelation and following the Spirit. Elder Oaks gave a great talk about the difference between official lines of communication through Priesthood leadership and the private, personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. It was also mentioned several times that the membership of the Church needs to follow the Prophet, listen to his words and understand what he is saying. There was some speculation on the great Twittersphere about what this could mean. Some were suggesting that there will probably be some great new revelation that could be very challenging to the Church as a whole, and thus there is a need for us to remember to follow the prophet. I don’t know. I don’t think it’ll be anything in the next few months. The Lord usually prepares his people long before it is necessary, and President Uchtdorf talked about getting back to basics and focusing on the simple things.
And so as I watched conference and Twitter, I found myself retweeting comments that I found interesting, both as a way of furthering those messages, but also as a way of ‘taking notes’. In the next couple of days I’ll go through my tweets (and retweets) from conference and look at what was said. The stats for now are: 5 sessions of Conference, 106 tweets, I gained 14 new followers, I worked 13 hours and took 27 calls personally, while the Center took 553. Not bad.
But the best part of General Conference, for me, is hearing what other people thought about it. I love discussing with others what they heard, what they felt, and sharing impressions of my own. That is the beauty of this Gospel, that together we can be edified and learn the truths that we need. The Spirit speaks differently to each of us, and we all understand differently what we hear. So, how about it? What did you enjoy about General Conference this year? And if you missed it, be sure to check out http://new.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2010/10?lang=eng.