LDS General Conference — Spring 2016

Forgiven

This is one of my absolute favorite pieces of art of Jesus Christ. It is based on Isaiah 1:18, where Isaiah describes the Atonement’s power to cleanse us as turning scarlet sins into pure white snow. I relate so much to this picture, as I often see myself in this woman’s postion: at the feet of the Savior of the world, utterly exposed as the frail and imperfect person I am.

If you have not yet surmised from this post and some of my earlier posts, I’m a practicing Mormon (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I even have a mormon.org profile (which I realized is in need of updating)!

What is General Conference?

We, as Mormons, believe that God continues to reveal truths and instructions to His children, both individually and as a body of people. There are people called to be prophets and apostles of God to share those instructions with His children. Twice per year, these prophets and apostles address the world to share the instructions and truths that God has revealed to them to share. These addresses are called General Conference. This weekend is the first General Conference of 2016 (which might explain why you’ll see a bunch of #ldsconf retweets from me this weekend).

General Conference weekend carries with it a number of unique cultural traditions. For example, both men and women have their own separate meetings to attend at different times. While members of one gender attend their meeting, the members of the other gender have a “night out on the town.” In our family, we make Swedish pancakes for breakfast on the Saturday of General Conference. Some attend the meetings in person at the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City but many watch it being streamed live. Each creates its own unique cultural experience for members of the Mormon faith. Many take detailed notes of everything they learned and felt during the addresses. Others quietly listen to the talks as well as the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to their souls and carry inside of them the personal messages God intended for them to hear.

My experiences with General Conference

With my travels over the years, I’ve had the interesting experience of being involved in General Conference via Twitter. I’ve only actually been home for about 25% of the General Conferences over the last 4+ years, counting this one. I followed the appointment of new apostles over Twitter while in Sri Lanka last October. I’ve heard the announcements of new LDS temples being built while in Mexico, Germany, and other countries. I’ve been thoroughly grateful for social media and YouTube during these trips.

During this General Conference, I plan to pay close attention to the messages that God has for me. I recently received copies of about 5 of my ancestors’ hand-written patriarchal blessings, one of which is even in Swedish. I’ll transcribe those and see how well Google Translate does with the Swedish blessing. Since I know that el G├╝erito won’t sit still for all of General Conference, I’m sure that I’ll also spend a lot of time entertaining him ;-)

My testimony

The gospel of Jesus Christ has reaffirmed my belief that we’re all part of a large, global, family. It has fueled my passion for understanding other cultures, languages, and viewing us all as global citizens contributing to the betterment of the human race. It’s the root cause that drives me to make technology linguistically accessible.

My understanding of the plan of salvation and our experience on Earth helped me through the darkest times of my cancer battle. I never once blamed God for my illness. I recognize that life’s challenges are no respecter of persons; they befall everyone like the sun’s rays each new day. While most people won’t have cancer, they will have challenges. Each challenge contains an opportunity to either shrink and die or come closer to the giver of eternal life. I encourage all to choose the latter.

If you’re interested in joining us for General Conference, to hear the words of living prophets and apostles, visit lds.org this weekend.