By Hollie Wells
A lot of Church members seem to have their own way of preparing for General Conference, and no way is wrong. My ritual isn’t doctrine by any means, but I wanted to share how I prepare for conference. I like hearing what other people do and getting new ideas. My conference prep started from when I was in seminary and is best told through a story.
Five years ago the October 2018 general conference was about to roll around. My mind was troubled over the few weeks leading up to getting my mission call. After hearing the mission call letters of my friends, I became very aware of a certain phrase, “...leaving behind all other personal affairs...” I was so aware of this phrase because I didn't know if I was capable of leaving my precious family dynamic, friends, perfectly drafted playlists,, the movies I love, the routine I was used to, etc. In essence, I was worried about giving up "the world." I had often been told in seminary to approach General Conference with a personal question or life situation in mind. Countless times I was promised that I would find an answer. Through high school, my efforts were halfhearted or last-minute and I always enjoyed and was filled by General Conference, but never felt it was a personal thing.
So, with this new concern weighing on my mind, I decided to "go to conference with a question."
I wrote "Leave Behind the World?" in large letters at the top of every page of notes I took. I watched patiently through the first two sessions with nothing really standing out. Come Saturday evening I was starting to get antsy.
I listened as I anxiously tapped my pen repeatedly on my journal, ready to write down whatever wisdom the Spirit whispered to me. Russell M. Nelson spoke, challenging us all to fast from social media and to read the Book of Mormon. What he said as he ended his talk took my breath away. He said,
"I love you and thank you and now bless you with the ability to leave the world behind as you assist in this crucial and urgent work."
Well, how about that?
My jaw dropped as tears welled in my eyes.
Not only was this a general answer to my question, it was WORD FOR WORD! It was literally exactly what I needed to hear! I couldn't have gotten a more precise, more complete answer if God was sitting right beside me! He blessed me with the power I needed right then and there and I could trust in that.
I cannot deny that Russell M. Nelson is an inspired prophet of God. He testifies of Jesus Christ and what He has made possible for us.
I will admit I have not always done this as meaningfully or diligently in subsequent years. I am, however, committed to hopping back on this for the upcoming October General Conference. I encourage everyone to let the Spirit modify and inform your conference preparation as you make room in your heart for the personalized prophetic messages.