Meeting together as Saints, in one body, is a blessing. It allows us to be united as one in power. J. Thomas Fyans gave a talk during the Saturday afternoon session of the October 1974 General Conference that reminds me of how good we have it in our church.
First, he gave several examples of how, across the world, people sacrifice to hear the words of the prophet at Area conferences around the world. People in Mexico are willing to stand on an overcrowded bus for 48-hours to hear him. Many people sell almost everything they have to afford the trip. One brother from Italy typically attends church with one or two fellow brethren. Sitting in the seats of the Area conference in Munich, surrounded by 14,000 Saints, is overwhelming to him after his years of loneliness.
There is power when the Saints come together. When I have sat in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and looked around me at the flood of people filling the seats, it is a glorious sight to think we have come together for one purpose, to hear the words of our prophet. Even the act of dressing up to go to a church building to watch on satellite TV gives a feeling of connectedness. For those who stay at home and watch conference on TV, it is much harder to feel that unity, but if they work at setting the stage and the atmosphere, they too can feel the power that comes from this bi-yearly gathering of the Saints.
As a member of the Relief Society, I have to speak clearly when I say that I feel the power of the priesthood in such gatherings. I, a woman, can claim priesthood power when I gather with the Saints under the name of Jesus Christ. It is His priesthood that brings us together and it is His power unto salvation that we come to listen to the words of His prophet. We come to learn what is expected of us as Saints so we can change for the better, influence others to change for good, and set an example for those who follow us.
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “From this day on we have a new order of things in these lands.” Each General Conference gives us a new opportunity to set our house in order, work harder at being better, and making appropriate changes in our lives. After listening to the words of hope, love, and persuasion we have the fortuity to make a difference in our lives, our families, and in our wards and branches.
I think guilty feelings come to all of us when President Uchtdorf tells the story of a man talking to his neighbor who asked, “You say you have prophets and apostles? And twice a year in a worldwide conference they reveal the word of God? What did they say in the last general conference?” The man was embarrassed that he couldn’t remember a single talk. Seeing this hesitation, the neighbor said, “You mean to tell me that God speaks to man in our day and you can’t remember what He said?”
The reality is that we do have a prophet. He speaks the words of God to us every six months. He speaks with the power of the priesthood. We listen through that same power to change our lives for the better. Our power is increased when we are united. Our families will be strengthened. We can all change by creating a new order of priorities in our lives.
What did our prophets tell us last conference?
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
You can exert this divine power Marilyn Nielsen