About a week and a half ago I stumbled upon a link to a General Conference address during my scripture study, and noticed again something I had long known about, that the Church has made General Conference address available online going back as far as 1971. The thought struck me that it would be possible to watch every General Conference that has happened since I was born in September 1985. And so, that is what I have decided to do. Starting with the October 1985 General Conference, I am going through and watching, listening, or reading each of the addresses given.
It has been comforting and nostalgic to again hear the voices of Prophets and Apostles whom I have loved who have since been called home to that God they have so lovingly served. I have loved hearing President Hinckley’s voice again, to listen again to Elder Neal A. Maxwell and Elder James E. Faust. And it has been wonderful to listen to President Ezra Taft Benson, and Elder Marvin J. Ashton, men whose names I have heard but whose voices I do not remember hearing, having been too young at the time they first spoke to me.
Watching the videos has also been fun, because it shows these men we are now familiar with and recognize as older, revered leaders in the Church but 30 years younger. It is almost funny to see President Monson, or Elder Packer, or Elder Oaks looking so young. Or to hear about Elder Scott and Elder Hales and President Eyring who were not yet Apostles but a President of the Seventy and members of the Presiding Bishopric, respectively.
I have longed loved General Conference. True, I remember a time when I thought of General Conference weekend as a time when we had extra hours of Church, more time spent at the Stake Center watching and listening to old men speak, but also as an opportunity to sleep during church, which was all too easy with the low lights. But I have come to love the messages and the spirit felt while listening to the Lord’s servants speak to us as inspired by the Holy Ghost. And I have enjoyed spending my time reviewing and rewatching the General Conference addresses given in years past.
There is a wonderful power in reading the words of modern prophets and apostles, but there is a special spirit that can be brought into your heart by listening and hearing their words spoken aloud. I am glad that the Church has made these General Conference talks available, not only in a text version, but also with video. The words of these great spiritual giants ringing in my ears has brought me to introspection and reflection on my life and the spirit I have felt as I have heard these messages has convinced me of the need to change and improve myself.
And so, as we prepare for the next General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with the General Women’s Meeting this weekend, and the General Sessions next weekend, I am finding that watching past General Conferences is great preparation, bringing the spirit more fully into my life and preparing me to search and heed messages that the Lord intends for me in my life at this time. I hope that as many of you as can will be joining us for our General Conference, where you will be blessed to “listen to a Prophet’s voice and hear the word of God”. I will be live-tweeting from my Twitter account @dteeps, if you want to follow along and I will be posting follow-up posts on this blog with my thoughts and impressions. I am certainly looking forward to another spirit-filled weekend and invite you to join with us, wherever you may be.