I've decided General Conference is like a well-attended baby shower. You get so many exciting gifts that it's hard to keep track of them all. It isn't until you take them home, examine them one by one, and decide where they fit into your life and home that you really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gifts and how helpful they will be.
This past weekend, we listened to eight hours of speakers and lovely music. Eight hours is a lot of time to dedicate to listening and learning, particularly when you have eight kids, but to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this is an important weekend that comes twice year. We believe our Church is a modern restoration of Christ's Church, and that includes having prophets and apostles on the earth today -- we believe that our leaders are not just inspired, not just generally good, but that they have the same calling and authority as prophets did anciently. They are not perfect men, but they are men who have the calling to speak for God, and we take that seriously.
So, what do modern prophets speak about for eight hours? Lots of things, but in particular their testimony and the doctrine of Christ and his Atonement and Ressurection. They also instruct us in how better to teach and rear our families, how to be better examples and more charitable, how to respond to tragedy and trial, and how to communicate with God more fully through prayer and scripture study.
One of my favorite talks for its clarity and focus was about how Latter-day Saints view and honor the family and why we have children. If you've ever wondered why I or other LDS families you know have more kids than the average household, this talk is for you. Later in the week, the words of all the talks will be posted and I'll do some more extensive quotes.
One of the best parts of conference for our family was the announcement that the Provo Tabernacle, which was burned in a fire last Christmas, will be turned into a temple. This is a building that has housed meetings, graduations (including DH's), concerts (including one of my BYU choir's), and more.
I'd driven by it on Thursday and looked at its charred remains and felt so sad. What a great tribute to the people who sacrificed to build it in the first place to have it become a temple. Beauty for ashes.
Despite the beautiful feast conference is, it can be tough on kids to pay attention that long.
My kids were really, really good for the first two hours. See?
They colored and took notes at the table and were amazingly quiet. The second hour, they all helped me sort through all our kid puzzles. We did every single one (probably 25 to 30 total), trying to find and match up all the homeless pieces.
They weren't QUITE as good for the rest of the sessions. I heard the words "boring" and "how much longer?" more than a few times, but there wasn't any fighting and I know at least the older ones were listening.
We try to make sure the weekend isn't just sitting and listening. We roasted s'mores in our backyard. We went for a walk to the duck pond yesterday, where Sarah caught a new friend and was disappointed when I wouldn't let her keep him. We enjoyed the fall colors. We let the kids play outside between sessions, where Michael led three of his sisters in an elaborate Orc-fighting game.
It was a beautiful weekend.