General conference has always been an anchor for me. In times of trial or difficulty I love to turn and listen to messages delivered by servants of the Lord. But more then that, I love the sweet spirit that conference brings. But I have certainly found that I get only as much out of it as I put in it. When I am prayerful and come in a spirit of humble seeking, The Spirit is able to convey truths to my heart. When I do not have that same spirit, I may appreciate the messages but I do not get as much out of it.
In his opening remarks, President Eyering invited all those listening to conference this time to bring that same spirit of prayer and reflection.
I could relate as he spoke of two letters he recieved from converts who longed to feel as they once did. There have been moments where that sweet spirit I felt after baptism had faded and where I turned to conference to help respark my energy and passion about the Gospel.
“Yet both lamented that feelings of love for the Lord and His love for them were lessening. They both wanted, with full heart, for me to help them regain the joy and the feeling of being loved that was theirs as they came into the kingdom of God. Both expressed a fear that if they could not regain in full those feelings of love for the Savior and His Church, the trials and tests they faced would finally overcome their faith.”
I could also relate as President Eyring described the cause of such spiritual decay:
“All of us have had our faith tested by precious blessings delayed, vicious attacks of those who wanted to destroy our faith, temptations to sin, and selfish interests that reduced our efforts to cultivate and soften the spiritual depths of our hearts.”
We are buffeted by a world of trials and challenges. We confront a devil who seeks to dull our senses and extinguish our feelings of the spirit. Indeed, the devil will try to do so slowly and imperceptibly when possible:
“Those who are saddened by the loss of the joy they once had are the blessed ones. Some do not see the withering of faith within themselves. Satan is clever. He tells those he wishes to be miserable that the joy they once felt was childish self-delusion.”
We must actively listen with the spirit in order to overcome the wiles of the devil. Most importantly, we must remember that sweet spirit that we once experienced. Conference is such a wonderful opportunity to recommit and be reminded of why we joined the church in the first place.
I’m grateful for the reminder of what conference can do for us if we hearten to the words of the prophets and listen closely to the promptings of the spirit: “If you listen with the Spirit, you will find your heart softened, your faith strengthened, and your capacity to love the Lord increased.”