Preparing for General Conference
Recently I interviewed a leader in the community and we got talking about traditions she said something profound, she said, “My son said to me, “I don’t know which I like more Christmas or General Conference.”” Wow! My children never said that about General Conference. What could I do to help my children see the beauty of Conference and to have a desire to learn?
History of General Conference
Have you ever thought about the history of General Conference? One of my institute teachers taught me a great lesson that has stuck with me for many years. We were studying the Old Testament and we read from Exodus chapter 12.
Exodus 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
42 It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover:
He then set up the question, “This was an ordinance to be observed forever!! throughout generations!! Are we still observing this today?” After twenty minutes of discussion - he could really get us thinking, I loved that about Brother Young. The answer finally came out. YES, we are observing this ordinance by attending General Conference twice a year. The place where we receive “further instructions” (D&C 124:88)
God gave the Hebrews seven Feasts. These feasts teach us about the Plan of Happiness. The first Feast is at their first month, Passover, it is usually observed the first week in April. The last Feast is the Feast of the Tabernacles which usually takes place the beginning of October. The same weeks that our General Conference takes place.
with the Feast of the Tabernacle (beginning of October) and the 6 months later is Passover (beginning of April) just as our General Conference is!!
Why did God want these rituals to be forever? The answer is found in the same chapter of Exodus 12:26 and 27 - To create questions in the children. To give the parents a chance to teach. Basically it is to help us learn how to think! :)
We ought to be wonders - curious about all things, we’ve become a distracted people. Latter Day Saints should be seekers, learners, and teachers of truths & understandings.
6 Reasons for General Conference?
1 To Help Us Become as God
God said about Adam and Eve taking the fruit, “… man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” (Gen. 3:22.)
Sterling W. Sill said, “I would just like to point out in passing that the right kind of knowledge still tends to have that effect upon people. It still tends to make men and women become as God. A flaming sword was placed in the Garden of Eden to guard the tree of life, but fortunately for us there is no flaming sword guarding the tree of knowledge, and each one of us may eat to his heart’s content. And maybe you can think of something more exciting than that, but I don’t know what it would be. In this great age of restoration and enlightenment we can know about as much as we want to know about any subject, including God and his program for our eternal exaltation.”
How do we partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?
It is no just by experience Adam learned by reflecting on his and others experiences, relationships, thoughts we think - the talks we hear from general conference.
2 To Receive a Constant Flow of Living Water
President Romney said, “Another reason why we should read [the Book of Mormon and attend General conference.] By doing so we will fill and refresh our minds with the constant flow of that ‘water’ which Jesus said would be in us—‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ (John 4:14.) We must obtain a continuing supply of this water if we are to resist evil and retain the blessings of being born again.” …Cleansing the Inner Vessel Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, 4
Water gives us life and energy. recently I called 911 to help my husband. He said to me, “somethings wrong” he was looking through me, his eyes dilated and weak. I took his blood pressure and couldn’t find it. We immediately forced him to drink. The emergency team gave him fluids and anther receiving 3 litters he was back to himself. Water is essential for life. Just as “Living Water” is essential for our spiritual life. Drink continually from the the General Conference talks.
3 To Receive Personal Revelation and LIGHT
In the July 2016 Ensign was a story of a lady named Margarida. She spoke of how the story of the Brother of Jared helped her appreciate the sacrament more. She likened her need for spiritual light to the Jaredites’ need for physical light as they prepared to cross the “great deep” to the promised land (Ether 2:25;3:1-6)
“The sacrament prayers have the promise that we will have the Spirit to be with us, and the Spirit provides the light we need to make our life’s journey. But was I getting the light I needed from the sacrament? And if not, how could I get it? What could be the stones that I, like the brother of Jared, should bring with me to sacrament meeting? The Lord said that He wants from us a broken heart and a contrite spirit. So it would not be enough to come to the sacrament; I would need to bring my own stones—my broken heart and contrite spirit. I learned that when I approach the sacrament seeking for the Lord as the brother of Jared did, and bring my stones of a broken [repentant] heart and a contrite [obedient] spirit, I leave the sacrament meeting with light.”
We can bring our stones of a broken heart and a contrite spirit to general conference and receive personal revelation or light. The symbolic nature of the scriptures and words of the prophets is LIGHT.
4 To provide us with Guidance in the coming months
President Uchdorft said, “If we listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit, they will serve as a Liahona, guiding us through the unknown, challenging valleys and mountains that are ahead (see 1 Nephi 16)”
5 To bring us closer to Christ
Do you remember your First Love? (Rev. 2:4) we will never get over or forget, right? this is just like the AWE we have of knowing Christ. We can never forget him.
In General Conference we learn that his yolk is easy. Without him it is impossible, with him it is easy. There is Joy and pleasure in working with the Lord. We only have to give up our will and say as Jesus did to his father, “Thy will, not my will be done.”
6 To give us strength and confidence to share the gospel message
Remember how Christ healed and fed the 5000 (John 6) He asked the apostles to pass the five loaves and 2 fishes to the audience. Afterwards there were 12 baskets of food left over. After sharing with the five thousand their baskets were still full. If we share the "Bread of Life" with others we shall never loose it or run out of what we've shared or taught, we are always given more.
By keeping the ordinance of General Conference and helping our children learn to think I hope all of our children will say, “I don’t know which I like more Christmas or General Conference.” or “I love celebrating Christ at Christmas and at General Conference.”
and types of questions to ask while conducting a reflection
If we spent time at the end of the day to reflect on one thing that we’ve learned or observed it will help us become a better person. This is a practice of most successful parents and homeschoolers. John sums it up beautifully, “Reflection turns experience into insight.”
Explain - “I’m going to teach you a math lesson on how to create geometric shapes in a sequential order in the first two dimensions. You will will be the creator of these shapes and when you are finished you will have the three pillars of the plan!” [how are you feeling?] “What are we going to experience?”… “Yes, we are going to be drawing shapes for the numbers one, two, and three. Then I’ll tell you how they also tell the story of the Plan of Happiness.”
Demonstrate - She draws a point, a circle, a line and another circle on the board. As she is drawing them she is explaining each shape and calls the two circles a “vesica pisces.” She then connects the upper point with the line and creates an equilateral triangle talking about the strength of a triangle. [are you getting it?]
Guide - She then asks you to take out your paper, pencil, compass and straight edge. “Now follow after me, in the same manner that I drew these shapes you now draw them. Start with a point, open your compass and create a circle around that point. The point represents God, he opened up his compass and creates the Universe, meaning “one turn.” Now he has a place for all his children. The first thing he does is create a plan (line) for them all to return back to him. Draw the line from the center point to the circle using your straight edge. This new point represents you. Keeping your compass the same as before (same distance as the radius), draw a circle around the new point. This is your influence. Because the two circles share the same radius God’s influence will always be with you. With your straight edge connect the new upper point to the two on the line, creating an equilateral triangle. This represents Christ, who was lifted up and now shines light onto our path back to God. [did you do it? how are you feeling?] The circle represents the number one, God and the CREATION, the second point away from God represents the number two, you and the FALL. The third point is Christ, the number three and the ATONEMENT. These are the first three pillars of the of Plan of Happiness.” [Did she teach all of the explanation? What have you learned so far? How are you feeling now?]
Enable - She asks you to draw them again, to practice using the compass and invites you to write down the numbers and their representations next to the drawings and to have you write down your thoughts about the Plan of Happiness.
There are six types of questions to ask while conducting a Reflection, after an experience:
1. General Questions about the experience
2. Reaction Questions
3. Personal Application Questions
5. Recording Questions
6. Rejoicing Questions
Become the best person you can by reflecting on your learning, homeschool teachings, the people you meet, the thoughts you are having in your head. Reflect back on what you just read. Make reflection a daily practice.
Tresta Neil is a homeschool mother of eight. She was born with curiosity and increases that curiosity through symbology!