Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preparing for General Conference

Elder Jacoby Remington's Mother: Jacoby's letter refers to General Conference, which might not make sense to some of you.  Those of you who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and receiving this email, here's just a brief explanation of General Conference.  Since our church is a world wide church, twice a year the leaders of the church put on a meeting held in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is then broadcasted to members and others throughout the world.  This meeting is called General Conference, and it's an opportunity for them to teach important truths and gospel principles to all the members of the church throughout the world.  General Conference is October 5th and 6th, and can be found on the BYU channel in the morning and afternoon.  Hope this is helpful.

Family and Friends,

I am excited for General Conference this week and look forward to learning lots of new and important principles and ways to become better. The key to getting the most out of General Conference is the preparation before, concentration during, and application after. In my personal study, Mosiah 2:9 really stood out to me and I think we can apply it to General Conference. This is when all the people have gathered their tents around to hear the words of King Benjamin. He gives them this wise counsel before he begins his great sermon.

I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.

Firstly we need to understand that we can't trifle with conference. We shouldn't just watch conference because its what everyone expects of us and then not really get into it and actively search ways to put in practice what they teach. Something small but important is that we shouldn't watch it in our pajamas while eating breakfast and reclined back on the couch... I know that's harsh and truth be told that's what I did before but then President Amaya taught us something that I'll never forget and I decided that I would change that habit. He explained that the way we dress for an occasion reflects the importance that said occasion has for us. That's why we don't go to church in pajamas, we don't go to the temple in pajamas, and we shouldn't watch the Prophets and Apostles of God in pajamas. We have to make an effort and wear Sunday clothes even if we stay in our house to really show that this is something important to us. He told me that and it hit me like a ton of bricks and I realized that he's right and I invite all of you to not just throw the idea away right off the back. Do it and you'll see that President Amaya is right and you'll get more out of conference. 

Also a huge part of the preparation has to do with President Uchtdorf's talk that I shared a few months ago: "General Conference - No Ordinary Blessing."

I recommend reviewing it again before conference and remember that the key is to go into conference with personal questions that you need answered and then have a prayer in your heart to hear and find the answer while you watch. I did it last April and it made conference so much more meaningful. 
Last key to a good preparation before conference is to simply be worthy of the Holy Ghost. Study the scriptures, say your prayers, go to church, and be obedient so that there is nothing interfering with you being in tune to the Holy Ghost because without Him you won't learn anything really. This includes getting a god 7-8 hours of sleep Friday and Saturday night so that you're not fighting to keep your eyes open! That is something that I can tell you from experience in high school will keep you from learning for obvious reasons. The preparation before conference allows us to have an edifying experience during conference. 

During General Conference, we need to be concentrating on what they are saying and most importantly how we are feeling. Take notes and write down the spiritual promptings you receive (especially things that you need to change in your life and ways to apply the message you hear). DO NOT write down every single little thing that they say and feel like you're doing a great job for writing a ton... they will print it all out in the church magazines so you don't need to worry about writing down a ton of quantity just focus on writing down quality material that is personal and relevant to you. Write down 3-5 personal questions and go over them in your head while listening and through the Spirit the answers will come :) King Benjamin wisely teaches that we need to have our ears, hearts, and minds open. We open our ears by being there seated, properly dressed, focused, and giving our full attention to what they teach. We open our heart by being completely willing to fully apply everything they teach. We shouldn't think that ¨oh well that's nice but I´ll do it later or its not that bad if I don't change¨ no, no we have to have a true desire to apply it. We open our minds by pondering on the messages we hear and thinking of various ways to live what we learn. 

Concentration during General Conference allows us to truly apply what we learn after General Conference. 

After General Conference, the application of what we learned truly will bless our lives. Do what they say and you'll be happy. Its that simple. 

I love you all very much and am loving every moment of the mission. We just had a great baptism and I'll be sure to send pictures next week because I'm out of time! 

Elder Remington