It’s the week before General Conference. Latter Day Saints all over the world are preparing to hear the word of the Lord through his prophets, apostles, and lots of other people whose names we can’t remember or pronounce. This weekend we will be edified with talks that have been carefully prepared for our day. This edification will continue for numerous hours until we enter into a spiritually-induced coma some time in between the Sunday morning and afternoon sessions (that has at least been my track record for the last 20 years or so).
But we must not sleep! As Lehi said,” Awake, my sons;”! Conference is a special time of solidarity for saints all over the world. We all battle the natural man together in trying to stay awake and attentive. I mean, what if you fall asleep and you miss Elder Holland’s zingers? Or another great aviation metaphor from President Uchtdorf? To help us all to combat this, and to help me with my personal goal to make it through the last session without nodding off, this post will be a look into ways we can more fully enjoy conference. Or, in the format of Conference- “I will present to you the three ways we can more fully appreciate conference- 1.) Humor, 2.) Snark, and 3. Recognition of our fallen state.”
Humor– Every now and then, a joke is shared. If told by anyone else, the jokes would probably fall flat, but due to circumstances, even the slightest hinting at humor is almost always greeted with laughter. This comic by Matsby (who is hilarious and brilliant by the way-http://www.myregisblog.com/ is his humor blog ), sums up awesomely the extent to which humor is used in General Conference.
Yes, conference has it’s share of knee slappers. Of course, you would never slap your knee, because that would be irreverent and distracting. Actually, physical gestures of any type should be discouraged. A rumble of subdued, quiet laughter is an appropriate gesture. Plus, you don’t want to be that one loud guy/girl that laughs too loudly or vocalizes something and induces a collective eye roll from millions of saints all over the world. Unless, of course, President Monson is wiggling his ears. Then you all can laugh away.
As a suggestion for those new to the church or those trying to more enjoy the experience: watch conference with the snarkiest company possible. In my case, this was my family. For example, The beautiful, relaxing, transcendent music provided the Mormon Tabernacle Choir tries to carry us away on fluffy clouds into dreamland. To recapture our attention, they always zoom in on those dudes that make goofy singing faces. You know, this guy.
Or, another example. Soon after a supremely awkward church-wide PPI with the priesthood body, my brother did the best Elder Richard G. Scott impression I have ever heard in which he pleaded with us to repent. So get an impressionist in your midst. I am sure all of you have seen this video, but it bears further sharing.
And finally, recognize that the spirit may be willing but the flesh is probably weak. In my case, I have young children. I could fall asleep any time I close my eyes. I am usually much more concerned during sacrament meeting about preventing my 2 year old son from having a meltdown than my own spiritual well being. I know that this is the case with all parents, so we can all cut ourselves some slack. Also, next time you get a chance at conference, notice how many people are using their smartphones constantly! At least you’re not one of THOSE people. (Or are you? ) Anyway, just saying, cut yourself some slack. We have been conditioned through television, internet, and modern media to have a 5 minute attention span, so 10-12 hours is an incredible feat of strength! It’s the equivalent of a spiritual marathon.
I promise that as you apply these principles to your General Conference watching, you will get very little out of the experience spiritually and you will feel guilty when it seems like everyone else is sharing all the awesome stuff they learned. Hey, at least you made it through awake.