General Conference is a magical time of year, second and third only to the magic of Christmas (because it happens twice in the year). It’s a semi-annual broadcast put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (my particular religious denomination). The broadcast is broken up into four 2-hour sessions divided equally over the first Saturday and Sunday in April and October. The presidency and other officers of the LDS Church use this time to deliver messages on good Christian moral things: nothing more or less than what we would hear in local Sunday meetings, but for this one weekend, we get to veg out in fleecy pajama pants and blankets and virtually attend over the Internet or with cable (BYUtv).
Now, plenty of other Church members are going to blog about the content of the talks, critiquing every consonant that slips past the tongue of any and all speakers. But, I’m not going to talk about those things because, in a nutshell, I really do not care. All I know is, when I listen to General Conference, I feel inspired and enlightened and awesome. And more importantly, it’s one of those constants in my life. Even though a lot has changed over the years–my residence, my job, my relationships, my school–I always have time to veg out for a session or two of Conference weekend. What started as a family ritual I was required to participate in under penalty of severe lecture has become an enjoyable personal tradition.
So with that somewhat lengthy intro, I present to you the things that make Conference Weekend not just any other weekend.
1. THEN: Play “bingo” for specific topics and words that are mentioned in the talks, using for tokens an abundance of raisins, Cheerios, and mini-marshmallows to snack on for two hours at a time (especially the mini-marshmallows. If you eat mini-marshmallows for even just a half-hour, the insides of your mouth slowly turn into a kind of puffy dust-covered chamber, your gums absorbing the texture of the marshmallows until they too are a kind of mother marshmallow).
NOW: fall asleep to the Tabernacle Choir’s aura of soothing zzzzz’s.
2. THEN: Studiously listen to every conference talk and write down what I said so I could at least try to contribute to the inevitable discussion afterwards with my parents. So, y’know, they knew I was paying attention at least half the time.
NOW: Selectively listen to the stuff that actually grabs my attention, and save my thoughts for blog posts and missionary letters.
3. THEN: Eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast. This was seriously just about the only time of year we ate cinnamon rolls at my house. It was splendid.
NOW: Eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, are you kidding me!? In college, we’re showered with an overabundance of free pizza but there’s never, ever enough cinnamon rolls to go around.
How was your Conference weekend?