Every six months, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather round their televisions and computers, or assemble in church buildings all over the world to listen to leaders headquartered in Salt Lake City speak inspiring words. Like many members of the Church, I look forward to listening to these words from the living prophets that helps me be a better person and parent.
The time of General Conference has arrived! You can find on BYU-TV, some local channels, and on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. It is always held the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October, and we are treated with four two-hour sessions over two days; additionally, in April, their is a fifth meeting specifically for the men of the Church, and in October, a fifth meeting for the women. Speakers prepare their inspiring words weeks in advance, as there are no specific topics assigned.
How many times have I sat and listened to the words of these inspired men and women with a troubled heart in the hope of finding some peace when these messages of love spoke to my soul and gave me the motivation to be faithful? How many times have I heard compassion and tenderness in examples of Christlike love for others—even if those others do not return the same affection? There are many messages of easing our burdens and keeping sacred covenants.
Messages of kind and loving encouragement gave me the peace I needed as a parent to teach my children correct principals, always attend church meetings, and continue reading my scriptures. This renewed strength keeps me going until the next general conference comes around. It is spiritual nourishment at its best, and the quiet whisperings of the Spirit of the Lord come through loud and clear as we listen to each session.
It was at General Conference where President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the building of smaller temples all over the world, which resulted in a total of 144 temples in operation today. It was during General Conference that “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was read as well as the Relief Society Declaration, The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles. It was where, more recently, the change of age for the youth to serve missions was announced.
In times past, there have been votes for added sacred words as scripture to our Doctrine and Covenants. We are updated on membership numbers, the count of congregations, and what temples are to be constructed.
Modern revelation through our church leaders is a great blessing, as we can use these resources to keep our faith strong. As Joseph Fielding Smith said in the General Conference of April 1972:
“All of our Church conferences are occasions to teach one another the doctrines of the gospel; to testify of the truth and divinity of those things which have come to us by the opening of the heavens; and to counsel together, and with the Lord, as to the things we should all do to fill the full measure of our creation.”
So this weekend, you shall find me planted in front of the TV, watching and listening for those inspiring words which give me peace — a peace in these troubling times which is soothing to my soul.
This article was originally published in 2015. Minor changes have been made.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.