Thursday, May 10, 2012

General Conference 101–What to do when it’s over

I know this post is a little (okay, a lot) late. I have been procrastinating writing anything on the blog lately. More about that later.

So if you’ve been following the General Conference 101 series this season I imagine you partook of the goodness that is General Conference back on March 31 and April 1, 2012. You probably had a bunch of activities to help your little ones get through the sessions without too much fighting and whining, and if you’re like me, you took lots of notes.

So, now what?

General Conference isn’t meant to be one big meal that you eat once and then don’t taste anything like it for six months. It’s more like Thanksgiving – you know, with its big dinner where you overeat, followed by weeks of seemingly endless leftovers. The only difference?

I never get sick of General Conference “leftovers” -  in fact, part of the excitement for me is finding things in the talks during the “break”  between conferences that didn’t stand out to me during conference. So here are some ideas for how to partake of General Conference for six whole months.

First, set goals from counsel you received at General Conference. Write your goals out on a sheet of paper and tape them up somewhere you will see them every day. Mine are by my mirror in my bathroom. My goals are usually similar, and most of the time they aren’t actually goals – the are more habits that I want to develop. In fact, this past General Conference I actually divided the counsel I received into two lists: habits, and goals. The habits were things I wanted to develop – like being a better mom, praying more regularly, attending the temple more regularly, teaching my children spontaneously, being kinder to those around me, etc. Some of the goals I made after last General Conference were to read the gospels before this General Conference to learn more about the character of Christ (didn’t quite happen, but I’m okay with that, and I’m still working on it), finish the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, and write down what I want my children to say about me when they are grown. Those are just a few. Yours should be based on the inspirations that you received at General Conference.

Second, listen to the conference talks over and over again during the next six months. You can access downloadable audio files of General Conference either on the Church’s website or on iTunes. I like to run and instead of listening to music I will usually listen to the General Conference talks on my iPhone while I run. It gives me a great opportunity to listen to the words of the prophets over and over again to become really familiar with them. President Uchtdorf shared a story in the Ensign last fall before General Conference about a member of our faith who couldn’t think of anything a prophet had said recently. I want to know what the prophets are saying – it is amazing to me that we have living prophets who can give us the counsel God wants us to have right now. But what good is that counsel if we are ignorant of it?

Third, study the conference talks in depth after Conference. I do this twice, in effect. I get my Conference issue of the Ensign and get started right away reading through the talks, marking it up and writing notes in the margins. Then I participate in General Conference Book Club (GCBC) and I read the talks on lds.org using my LDS Account and My Study Notebook (I can underline and highlight and write notes, etc – and it syncs all the highlights and stuff to my iPhone Gospel Library! Cool, eh?!). Whatever you do – whether it’s online, in your Ensign, or your mobile device, find a way to read and study the words of the prophets. It will bless your life between conferences.

What do you do with the words of the prophets after General Conference?

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