7 Things to Look for in General Conference

Thomas S. Monson Happy - The Returned Missionary

The First Presidency at Conference in 2010

Each six months we have the opportunity to listen to prophets and apostles and other Church leaders at general conference. This weekend we will hear from them again.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a powerful talk about the words of the living prophets and apostles in general conference a few years ago:

“Not often but over the years some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don’t know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times.

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As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. It is true light shining in a dark world, and it shines from these proceedings.” 1

What an amazing blessing to receive from these prophets, seers and revelators, prophecy, seership and revelation each six months! It truly is, as Elder Holland said “light shining in a dark world.”

Now I will list 7 things that you should look for this general conference.

1. Religious Liberty

Religious Freedom

  • The Church created and announced a facebook page to support religious freedom and in the last few weeks it has grown to 31,000 likes. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/SupportReligiousFreedom. It is well worth a visit (and a like). And if you or anyone you know wants to know the history of religious freedom, they should just look on the facebook timeline of this page. It is impressive what they have done to fill it in with the details of every major event since the year 1215 AD that has happened with regards to freedom of religion and conscience.
  • This is something that is being attacked in the public square in the US currently, and I hope they speak more about how we can help preserve it or at least give a great pep talk to get us excited about it. I would love to see the whole Church membership jump on board and help make a difference in this arena.

2. Women and the Priesthood

  • There is a lot of buzz going on in the Church on social media channels right now about this. I support the Church on this one and I agree with this article that Dr. Kelly Ogden wrote for my parents’ magazine (Meridian Magazine) that has gotten more attention than any other article ever on Meridian. I need not write more. It is worth a detailed read if you are concerned in any way about this issue. If you read nothing else, read the end of the first page and the whole second page. Women who understand and attend the temple know that this is not an issue. Both men and women are endowed with “power from on high” – priesthood power.
  • Elder M. Russell Ballard also spoke about this topic in a BYU devotional (to which Dr. Ogden refers in his post). Here is that talk for convenience:

3. Full-time Missionaries

  •  Elder Russell M. Nelson’s talk last conference invited us to “Catch the Wave of Missionary Work”. Since the last conference we passed the 75,000 mark for full-time missionaries serving. It is an exciting time for missionaries. The age difference, the number of new missions being created, working more with members and even using the internet more to find those who are looking for the truth. This is surely a topic that will be mentioned by many who speak this weekend.

Catch the Wave - Russell M. Nelson - The Returned Missionary

4. Online Missionary Work

  • In the last general conference, Elder Neil Anderson spoke about the miracle of member missionary work. He said “There are new ways to invite others to ‘come and see.’ Let’s make sharing our faith online more a part of our daily life. LDS.org, Mormon.org, Facebook, Twitter—all provide opportunities.”
  • There was an incredible broadcast about missionary work called “Hastening the Work of Salvation” where they introduced the idea of members working with missionaries through the internet, specifically, facebook. It wasn’t announced when it would start or where, but it was announced that it would.
  • The Santa Rosa, California mission became the first mission (as far as I know) that has opened up all the full-time missionaries to facebook and to finding through facebook. I am now “friends” with a few of the Elders on facebook and have actually given one referral to them! I’m sure that this will continue to develop.

Online Missionary Work - The Returned Missionary

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5. Temples

  • There is almost always an announcement of new temples at conference, which is always very exciting! I wonder where the new ones will be… What do you think?
  • There were some changes to the temple that resulted in a spike in temple attendance. Among other things it made me glad to be a time lapse astrophotographer. If you have gone, to the temple in the last few months, you’ll know what I mean, if not, you should go!

6. Returned Missionaries

  • In the next few years, hundreds of thousands of missionaries that are so excited to be serving (and rightfully so!) at a younger age, will be coming home from their missions. There will be more returned missionaries than ever before in the history of the Church. Currently there is one talk by Elder L. Tom Perry that talks about returned missionaries becoming a royal army after returning. It is a powerful talk! It was given in 2001 before the internet was fast and before YouTube even existed. I believe returned missionaries are one of the greatest strengths of the Church. And there needs to be more created and done to help them stay strong and remember the person they became as they served the Lord full-time. This is what we are trying to do with this website and with the book Live My Gospel and the other programs that are being developed, but without the Church talking about this in general conference or at least in the Ensign, it may be more difficult for it to catch fire. I truly hope that those who speak will make a big deal out of helping and supporting the returned missionaries as they come home. If not in this conference, sometime before this huge wave of missionaries comes home.

7. Personal Revelation

I love general conference. I love how in touch the leaders of this Church are. I love that Jesus Christ is the leader of this Church. He is at the head of all who will speak. This I know. And I invite you to listen for His personalized message to you during this conference. If you seek Him, you will find Him. This is the most important thing to look for this conference – above all else – seek your own personal revelation. Write down your questions. Think about it. Write every doubt and concern and then bring that paper (or phone/device) to conference and listen for the answers. I promise you will find them if you listen for the voice of the Spirit.


  1. Prophets in the Land Again. Jeffrey R. Holland, CR October 2006.


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