With General Conference fast approaching, it is an excellent time for us to take some introspection into the intents of our hearts. General Conference is a wonderful time to reflect and ponder where our lives are in relation to where God desires them to be. It is also time that we can come with our pitchers empty, ready to be filled with living waters. Properly preparing ourselves for the words spoken at General Conference will help us get more out of the spoken word and the Spirit that accompanies these sacred meetings. As we come to General Conference seeking, then God will enlighten our souls.
Recently I read The Heavens Are Opened by Wendy Watson Nelson. In the book, she shared an experience leading into General Conference, where she pondered whether to marry the man she was dating at the time. In a talk by her bishop, he suggested that, with General Conference only a couple of weeks away, we take a specific question into General Conference. Sister Nelson took this as a profound direction and applied it to her life. Leading up to Conference, she fasted and prayed. She was intent on getting an answer. To her, every talk was on marriage, and she received a profound inspiration not to marry that man.
As she has since reviewed the talks from that General Conference years later, she discovered, “Something was missing. To my dismay, there was nothing-absolutely nothing….about marriage! Not one talk-was on marriage!” The Lord had taught her what she needed to learn. Because she came with a question, she was prepared to learn by the power of the Holy Ghost. The speakers didn’t need to prepare talks just for her because the Spirit could teach her what she needed at that time.
“I’ve learned that the heavens will open when we take a question to general conference, when we take a question to the scriptures, when we pray with real intent and faith in Christ, and when we make a sacrifice to the Lord.”Wendy Watson Nelson, The Heavens Are Opened
Each of us has questions that are deep in our souls. These may be related to our faith, life choices, family relationships, gospel ponderings, or any myriad of inquisition. If we are willing to come before the Lord in fasting and prayer and prepare our minds to receive the answers, then He will deliver these answers by the speakers and by the power of the Holy Ghost.
As I was reading this morning in 3 Nephi, I came across the verses where Jesus was relating to the Nephites about the other sheep that are His around the world. He quotes the statement made to the Jews when he said,
“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”John 10:16
And then immediately after quoting this, He related to the Nephites,
“And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.”3 Nephi 15:18
Every time I have read this passage in the past, I have just blamed the Jews at the time of Christ and not related it to myself. This time, however, I related it to myself. With General Conference coming up, I found this extremely relevant. Not just for the fact that there are other sheep out there that are ready and prepared to hear His voice, but that I need not be stiffnecked when the Lord tells me something. He has great things that He desires to reveal to each of us, but if we are stiffnecked and unbelieving, we will fail to receive those mysteries.
General Conference is the perfect time to receive those mysteries. It is a time that we can come before Him in faith with our heads bowed in meekness, ready to receive the mysteries that He desires to unfold to our view. By bringing a question, by preparing with prayer and fasting, and by listening intently, we can get more out of our General Conference experience. I will do better in preparing for this October’s semi-annual gathering with all my fellow saints around the world.
I am looking forward to it!