Most of my General Conference posts begin with something like, “always different, always the same” and those words were definitely not applicable this conference.
Last October, at the end of General Conference, Pres. Nelson said, ““The year 2020 will be designated as a bicentennial year. General conference next April will be different from any previous conference.”
I wonder if even Pres. Nelson could have imagined how different?
The world shut down by coronavirus, talks given to an empty room with cameras instead of a live audience of 21,000, musical numbers pulled from old recordings…
The speakers learned quickly not to pause after telling a joke– no one was laughing. And some were better than others at navigating the awkwardness of a teleprompter with no live audience.
And yet, in many ways, it was the same for those of us at home. We watched in our family room as we always do, we ate the same foods and walked the same route between sessions. But we felt more subdued, more attentive. We didn’t get out the Legos or tackle knitting projects because we didn’t feel the need to multi-task. Please don’t be disappointed in us.
There were so, so many good talks I struggled to narrow down my five favorites (list and links at the bottom). I especially appreciated the many speakers who assured us this is not the new normal, we will once again gather and celebrate, go to events and hug each other in person– not just over Zoom.
Also, I’d like to point out that my October predictions came true– I guessed they would film something in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, NY and I guessed they’d have ‘ordinary’ members speak. The two youth speakers were fantastic.
Perhaps the most amazing (beside how much whip cream Gabe can eat) is how seamlessly the whole conference went. Everything was already in place for a virtual conference. All the translators, the technology, the videos and recordings. For those of us who slept through a talk or two, we were able to rewatch talks online on Sunday and by Wednesday, each talk was separated into individual files. Miraculous. Just a few years ago, I remember ordering the GC CDs immediately after conference and watching my mailbox for weeks until their arrival. Now– it’s right here, right now.
18 months ago, General Conference was all about increasing our gospel teaching at home. So when church was canceled several weeks ago, everything was in place– the manuals, the structure, the confidence to hold our own church meetings with our family.
God knows us. He prepares us. He gives us just what we need to take one more step forward. We walk in darkness, but He lights our way.
Due to social distancing, we missed Ben and Sammie, but they created magic at home.
Elder James Rasband Ensuring a Righteous Judgment
Elder Dale Renlund Consider the Goodness and Greatness of God
Jean Bingham United in Accomplishing God’s Work
Elder Jeffrey Holland A Perfect Brightness of Hope