Pray for the Brethren at conference time. When the Brethren arise to speak you should ask the Lord to let them say something that you want to know, that they may suggest something to you that will be of some advantage. If you have any desire to know certain matters that you do not understand, pray that these brethren in their talks may say something that shall enlighten your mind in reference to that which troubles you, and we will have a grand and glorious conference, a better one than we have ever had before.
Strange as it may appear, our last conference always seems the best, and may this be the case; and you brethren and sisters, let your hearts rise up to the Lord and exercise faith while our brethren are talking to you. We will not be disappointed, and you will not go home, you will not retire from this conference, without feeling you have been greatly and abundantly blessed. — President Lorenzo Snow, 5 October 1900, Conference Report, p. 5
Conference time always is a marvelous time! Conference is like a magic word that really transforms Salt Lake City and all other places where the words of the leaders of the Church are heard and read.
General conference in great measure affects the daily lives of all those that are reached in person, in print, or through the wonders of modern communication. It symbolizes the great spiritual uplift and the importance of the Lord’s true church on earth, in accordance with the revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Prophet:
“And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight; but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time (D&C 58:56.)” — Elder Jacob de Jager, “You Never Know Who You May Save,” Ensign, November 1976, p. 56
We should ask ourselves: What are the Brethren saying? The living prophets can open the visions of eternity; they give counsel on how to overcome the world. We cannot know what that counsel is if we do not listen. We cannot receive the blessings we are promised if we do not follow the counsel given.
As a young stake president, I met many of the General Authorities when they came to speak at our stake conference. I can tell you – that was a great experience! President Hugh B. Brown came to one of our stake conferences just a week before he was called and sustained as a member of the Council of the Twelve. We enjoyed his warm spirit and his good humor. As I helped him with his coat and walked out to his car with him, I said,
“Elder Brown, do you have any personal advice for me?”
His answer was, “Yes. Stick with the Brethren.” He did not choose to elaborate or explain, but he left that indelible message: Have the simple faith to follow the Brethren. — Elder James E. Faust, “An Untroubled Faith,” talk delivered 28 September 1986 at Brigham Young University; Ensign, March 1988, p. 70
Viewing the general conference sessions with our family is not sufficient to bring a love for the prophets. On one occasion some years before my call as a General Authority, I conducted a meeting presided over by one of the Apostles. After the meeting, I asked him about his stake conference talks. “Do you prepare something specific for each stake conference?” I asked. He replied that he generally did not, but relied upon the promptings received just prior to and during the conference. But then he added, “But my general conference talk is very different. I will normally go through twelve to fifteen drafts to be certain that it is what the Lord would have me say.” Many times since then I have asked myself, “If an Apostle will go through twelve to fifteen drafts, is it pleasing to the Lord if I listen to or read his message one or two times? I don’t think so. — Elder Neil L Anderson, Ensign, April 1996, p. 47
I invite you to listen, listen if you will by the power of the Spirit, to the speakers who will address you today and tomorrow as well as this evening. If you will do so, I do not hesitate to promise that you will be uplifted, your resolution to do what is right will be stronger, you will find solutions to your problems and your needs, and you will be led to thank the Lord for what you have heard. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conf. Report, October 1996)
Now, you Latter-day Saints, I think you have never attended a conference where in these three days you have heard more inspired declarations on most every subject and problem about which you have been worrying. If you want to know what the Lord would have the Saints know and to have his guidance and direction for the next six months, get a copy of the proceedings of this conference, and you will have the latest word of the Lord as far as the Saints are concerned. — President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1973
From the Prophet Joseph Smith to President Howard W. Hunter [and certainly to our current prophet], we are receiving updated sacred guidance according to our needs and readiness. The general conference messages by our prophets, seers, and revelators are given to us by the Lord in his own time, in his own way, and for a very special purpose. — Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf ,General Conference, October 1994
Sunday night . . . the great Tabernacle was closed, the lights turned out, and the record machines stopped, the doors locked and another historical conference became history. It will have been lost motion – a waste of time, energy, and money – if its messages are not heeded. In the seven two-hour sessions and in the several satellite meetings, truths were taught, doctrines expounded, exhortations given, enough to save the whole world from all its ills – AND I MEAN FROM ALL ITS ILLS. . . .” — President Spencer W. Kimball
Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Listen to or read the talks more than once to better understand and follow the counsel. By doing these things, the gates of hell will not prevail against you, the powers of darkness will be dispersed from before you, and the heavens will shake for your good. — Elder Paul V. Johnson, “The Blessings of General Conference,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 52
As the Latter-day Saints go home from this conference, it would be well if they consider seriously the importance of taking with them the report of this conference and let it be the guide to their walk and talk during the next six months. These are the important matters the Lord sees fit to reveal to this people in this day in this year. — President Harold B. Lee
The authorities which the Lord has placed in his Church constitute for the people of the Church, a harbor, a place of refuge, a hitching post, as it were. No one in this Church will ever go far astray who ties himself securely to the Church Authorities whom the Lord has placed in his Church. This Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths; it never has and never will. There could be individuals who would falter; there will never be a majority of the Council of the Twelve on the wrong side at any time. The Lord has chosen them; he has given them specific responsibilities. And those people who stand close to them will be safe. And, conversely, whenever one begins to go his own way in opposition to authority, he is in grave danger. I would not say that those leaders whom the Lord chooses are necessarily the most brilliant, nor the most highly trained, but they are the chosen, and when chosen of the Lord they are his recognized authority, and the people who stay close to them have safety. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1951, p. 104
I suppose that many of the audience now before me have come from a long distance to meet with us in this general conference; and that all have been moved to gather here by pure motives – by a desire to improve and perfect themselves in matters that pertain to their usefulness in the kingdom of God. In order that we may not be disappointed in this, it becomes necessary that we prepare our hearts to receive and profit by the suggestions that may be made by the speakers during the progress of the Conference, which may be prompted by the Spirit of the Lord. I have thought, and still think, that our being edified does not so much depend upon the speaker as upon ourselves.
When we come together . . . , it becomes our privilege to receive instruction from those persons that address us, and if we do not, the fault, generally, is in ourselves.
I have noticed on the part of the people what I have attributed to weakness. They come together, some of them, more for the purpose of being pleased with the oratory of their speaker, for the purpose of admiring the style in which he may address them, or they come together more for the purpose of seeing the speaker or speculating in regard to his character . . . than for the purpose of receiving instructions that will do them good and build them up in righteousness. . .
. . . If we do not exercise those faculties given us and get the Spirit of the Lord, but little information will be received from speakers, even though ideas may be communicated of great value and worth. Notwithstanding ideas may be communicated in a very broken style, if the people will exert themselves, . . . they will soon learn that they will never return from meeting without their minds being benefitted by the speakers.
It is not always the lengthy discourse that affords to the Latter-day Saints that which is the most profitable; but in the various discourses delivered we may gather some idea, or some principle may flash upon our understanding which will prove valuable to us afterwards. . . .
For our information and spiritual knowledge we are entirely dependent – we feel so dependent – upon the Lord. And in proportion to the exercise of our faith do we receive information, communicated through the Lord’s servants. . . . He addresses us, through his servants, who address us on occasions of this character when we assemble together to worship our God. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 1
I am very grateful for these conferences. They revive my soul. Every one I have attended for years has lifted me up and induced me to renew my determination to devote myself more fully to works of righteousness. During them, the importance of this world’s interests and distractions seem to diminish, and life’s true values, as set forth in the gospel of Jesus Christ, come into plainer view.
Does each of you find it so? I hope you do, and I encourage you to take every available opportunity to renew within yourself a determination to obtain the full fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ. — President Marion G. Romney, “Fruits of the Gospel,” General Conference, 1 October 1949
Out of all we have heard, there may be a phrase or a paragraph that will stand out and possess our attention. If this occurs, I hope we will write it down and reflect on it until we savor the depth of its meaning and have made it a part of our own lives. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 2000, 88
A general conference of this Church is a remarkable occasion indeed – it is an institutional declaration that the heavens are open, that divine guidance is as real today as it was for the ancient house of Israel, that God our Heavenly Father loves us and speaks His will through a living prophet. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom,” General Conference, October 1996