Several years have gone by since I’ve sat in the Conference Center to listen to General Conference live, so my husband and I decided to go and sit among saints, alive with faithful energy. We were surrounded by excited members, first-time attendees, people who wanted to be there and were eager to write their impressions in their notebooks. “Yea, [in that room indeed], every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” (Mosiah 27:31).
As usual, on the opposite corner of the Conference Center sat the opposition. Like clockwork, the little band of naysayers was there with their posters. Saturday morning, as we sustained our prophet and apostles, there were a few opposing votes heard. The faithful energy of the room never even wavered.
This week, instead of going back in history, reading from a past conference session, we have chosen to write about the October 2016 General Conference. Where each timeframe shares warnings and promises, in our day we understand what the immediate dangers are because we see them for ourselves. It is, and will always be, shocking to me to see LDS weekly church-going members berate the church. Yes, there are members of the church who refuse to sustain the prophet. And there are members who write articles in the newspaper ridiculing what they hear the Brethren say. There are even members of the church who stand together in a clump professing to discontinue their membership unless the Brethren change their “policies.” We don’t see that side while reading talks from the 1970s, but likely, they existed then as well.
Both Pres. Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar remarked on those knees that would bend down and tongues that would confess what they refused to before. This is a phrase well-known in the scriptures. Those who have been unbelieving will eventually feel compelled to confess that they were wrong.
The three anti-Christs of the Book of Mormon confessed. Sherem said, “I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God” (Jacob 7:19). Nehor, who influenced generations of people, acknowledged “that what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God” (Alma 1:15). Sadly, the damage was done and there were many people who continued his false teachings. Korihor was another anti-Christ who was so convincing, and so polished; he never quite confessed, however. Alma knew Korihor would never stop preaching falsehoods (Alma 30:55), so he was simply left to himself, eventually being trampled by the horses of another group of dissenters.
Where we are being told by our modern-day dissenters that people are leaving the church in droves, I am here to witness that there are many faithful members to gather strength from. I stood in a room filled to overflowing with a faithful energy of saints who want to be righteous, who claim Christ as their Savior, and who will gladly bend their knee to honor their king, even Jesus Christ. Their confession will be of personal sins because we all have things we struggle with, but our confession will be humble and purifying, not pitiful.
Each of the talks given was uplifting, motivating, and moving. We were encouraged to keep trying. This was our six-month checkup, so we can look inside ourselves and check our level of faith, trust, action, and belief. We were told that we can make it. We were reminded who we are and what we’re capable of. We felt the love our Heavenly Father has for each one of us.
I happily stood, along with “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” when the prophet entered the cavernous room of the Conference Center. We all saw eye to eye and confessed our devotion (Mosiah 16:1). We love you, President Monson. We know you speak as the mouthpiece of God, as do the apostles. Our tongues confess that we are listening, we are acting, we are changing, and we believe.
Other General Conference Odyssey posts:
Back to the Future Nathaniel Givens
Let that day be today Marilyn Nielson