I remember there was a day when I would watch conference and come away just loving every talk.  I’d say that each one offered me something that I needed and felt edified by.  That seems remarkable to me now.  Did I not see the division between the talks or were they just not there?

Did people come away from conference this last weekend not seeing the dichotomies that I can see now?  I’m not sure how it is possible to wholeheartedly agree with what both Oaks AND Cook said, for example.  Oaks, on Saturday morning, took a pretty heavy-handing othering approach to people who are not like him. Cook came in later that afternoon and spoke of humility, inclusion, and, equality—encouraging us to eschew the very attitude of superiority that coated Oaks’s every word.

It’s an honest question. I’ve missed General Conference maybe four times in my 39 years of life. Have these divisions always been happening and I just didn’t see them?  Does that mean there are people who still don’t see them?

It just seems so obvious to me now.

Recently, a friend visited Salt Lake City and Temple Square for the first time in a while.  He is no longer active or believing in the LDS church. However, he said he had quite a nice time. He found it peaceful and rejuvenating. He surmised that because he had stopped trying so hard to feel something, he was able to feel something. I really identified with this.

I remember in college I had a sign on my bathroom wall.  I don’t remember exactly what it said, but I remember I’d placed it just where I’d be sure to see it every day.  It asked me something to the effect of, “have you had your spiritual epiphany today?”  I expected so much from myself.  I wanted to be always in tune with the spirit and felt that I could always do more and be better.  I was trying so very hard to feel something—all of the time.

I think that is just very Mormon.  It is definitely how we approach General Conference, right?  When you go in with the preconceived notion that every message is something God wants you to hear, needs you to hear, and that every word is inspired, you have to find a way to believe—to feel the spirit—every single talk.  While this approach is very Mormon, I admit I was also extra about it.

A lot opened up for me when I’ve stopped insisting on having the right feelings. The way I approach spirituality and my understanding of the gospel is much more liberating now, much less of a burden. I’ve not only created the space for my own, more authentic feelings but I’ve allowed myself the freedom of my own discernment.  Perhaps this is why I can see more clearly when conference speakers don’t align in their ideology?

I’m not the only one that sees it, right?

Leah Marie earned a BA in Political Science, and a Masters in Public Administration. She is currently working towards her PhD in Public Policy. She is wife to an English professor, and mother to 3 beautiful boys.

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