The April 2017 General Conference season is upon us. Having started last weekend on March 25th with the Women’s session, it continues April 1st and 2nd with four general and one priesthood session. For many who have undergone (or are undergoing) a shift of faith, engaging with general conference can sometimes be a difficult experience. Because of new perspectives we’ve gained, it’s impossible to avoid certain changes in attitude toward conference talks and proceedings. For many of us, these are healthy shifts, emerging from spiritual growth and increasing confidence in what we believe God is calling us toward. Yet it takes quite a while to “normalize” in this new way of viewing conference and the role and abilities of prophets in guiding the church or serving as God’s mouthpieces. We can listen respectfully, yet with eyes wide open to the human beings called to these roles and the mixture that is their words and ideas in conjunction with what they sense God is leading them to speak about. But for others of us, especially those in the early years of a faith shift, or for whom some very large change has come into their life or who have become quite activated about certain topics, conference talks that don’t match what we’d ideally like to hear can be very upsetting.
In this episode, we are treated to thoughts about conference from Carol Lynn Pearson, Patrick Mason, and Mark Crego, three wonderful, experienced church members and conference watchers whose experiences over the years have matched those of many listeners. Along with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon, each of the folks here have at times felt in great harmony with what is shared in conference, at other times quite devastated by it. But through continued striving and efforts to push through they have gained good awareness of what conference is and is not, what we might reasonably expect from it, and how to celebrate the wonderful talks and not over-react to the ones that disappoint or can even feel to them spiritually dangerous.
We hope through listening you can have an engaged and constructive conference weekend. And please share your own experiences and reactions in the comments section below!