My friends came over for General Conference Book Club today, as they do every Tuesday!
Since it's the last meeting before the next Conference, we chowed down on some good food and took this General Conference Quiz. It's a cross-word puzzle that I put together for my kids.
If you'd like to try it out, click here. It can be printed off or taken online.
As the group left, my friends were trying to remember how long we've been doing this. After a quick search of my journal, I confirmed that we have been holding General Conference Book Club in my home every Tuesday for three years, starting after the April 2011 Conference. That's 156 meetings of the minds, give or take a few, and we almost never miss!
Studying the words of the prophets these three years has completely changed me. Completely.
Of course, a lot has happened in my life during that time, but it's more than that.
There are a lot of things I've been able to come through because of the wise counsel of the prophets, because of hard work and commitment to following their teachings, and because of the kindness and understanding ears of my friends who've faithfully come each week to Book Club to help me and others to progress along the covenant path and along the individual personal paths that each of us must travel.
Covenant Path. That's a fairly new-ish catchphrase in the church these days, but these women have been helping me and each other along that path for a long time now. I am so grateful for that. Grateful beyond words.
I am also grateful beyond comprehension for the wisdom that I have gained from studying the words of the prophets.
Re-arranging my weekly schedule so that there is a designated time to turn to their messages has helped me to--as Elder Hales taught--"gain great strength to bless [myself] and [my family] for generations to come." For this I am deeply grateful.
General Conference is such a blessing.
Because I have dedicated so much time to studying the words of the prophets each week during Book Club, that commitment has been passed down to my children.
I was delighted a few weeks ago while we were listening to Elder Cook's talk, to hear Autumn suddenly yell out and echo his words..."bondage!"
It was a reminder to me that little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. And little people are learning how to follow the Prophet by observing what we do.
I loved the article in the April 2014 Ensign called "Follow the Prophet." In it Elder Walker shares some very touching examples of the kind of man President Monson is...how he loves children, how he cares for others and is ever so thoughtful, cheerful, and good.
Elder Walker says, "I testify that there is a God in heaven who knows us and loves us. He has given us a prophet--to guide us, to teach us, and to lead us in these latter days. I believe the Lord expects us to love the prophet, to sustain him, and to follow his example."
I was struck by his testimony. "I believe the Lord expects us to love the prophet." I think many of us know we are expected to follow the prophet, but do we feel that the Lord wants us to love him as well?
Watching General Conference has become a family affair for us. We have had our children watch all four sessions of Conference since they were very young (probably since birth) mainly because I wanted to watch them all.
The older they get, the more input my children have into how we watch General Conference and other things in our house. Last night during FHE, we had a General Conference "brainstorming" session, so that everyone could offer up their own ideas of how we could get the most out of Conference and what activities they would most enjoy to do as we watch.
We asked what they'd like us to do for our Reverence Stations during Conference, and there were some good ideas offered up. Someone suggested that at one station, someone could listen for ideas of things we could learn about during family home evening, at another we could listen for things we might want to change in our family.
Guy--wanting to side-track us, I'm guessing, and be silly--suddenly said, "Mom, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?" I smiled and answered his question with a question of my own. I said, "Guy, if a prophet speaks at General Conference, and no one listens, did a prophet of God still speak? Does the fact that we didn't listen have any bearing on the truth of what was said?"
The answer needed no explanation. Whether we listen or not, a prophet of God is still speaking to us. His words still "make a sound" and have bearing on our lives, and we would be wise to listen and heed what they say.
Every family approaches General Conference viewing differently. My philosophy is that it's my job to create an environment in my home where the spirit can be felt by all (both parents and children.) Feeling the spirit together is paramount. Making memories together comes second, and having fun while we are doing it is just par for the course! Fun and feeling the spirit go hand-in-hand in my book. Any device that I can use to bring my children to Christ is welcome in my home. (And I have created a gathering place for these little traditions here on my General Conference page.)
Now as a reward for anyone who managed to read through this long post, I have a giveaway for you! I have been asked to review a new Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD called "He Is Risen," out just in time for Easter.
It's an abbreviated selection--six songs--that will surely get you in the right mood for Easter as well as General Conference viewing.
The choir sings one of my now favorite Easter songs "In the Garden." I included it on my Easter Song List three years ago (Remember my Easter Play List?)
Here are the words of the refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
I love this idea of an intimate moment alone in the Garden with the Savior. When I study the messages of General Conference, when I hear the Spirit speaking their words to my heart, I feel that He is walking with me and talking with me. And as I strive to follow their words, I think the Lord finds ways to tell me personally that I am "his own." And in that, there is a joy that very few have known, except those who take up His cross and follow Him.
I will give away one copy of this CD "He is Risen" to one of you faithful readers.
All you need to do to be entered is leave a comment about a time that you have felt the Lord speaking to you through the words of His prophets. Similar testimonies regarding General Conference viewing or study are also welcome.
Thanks, and good luck!