Truly Listening to Conference

During the Women’s Session, Sister Bonnie Oscarson focused on the need to teach pure doctrine and not let the doctrine we teach be diluted by fear of others taking offense.

“I worry that we live in such an atmosphere of avoiding offense that we sometimes altogether avoid teaching correct principles.”
As I’ve thought about these remarks, I realized that a corollary equally applies, especially around General Conference times. I worry that we are at times too worried about the impact talks and sermons will have on others and therefore avoid learning correct principles ourselves.

I know that I have at times listened to a talk and focused my attention primarily on how others will perceive it. I’ve worried that others will be bothered by something said. I’ve hoped that others were listening to certain lines. At moments like this, I’ve become a spectator rather than an active participant.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with seeking revelation to help those we care about. I have certainly had the spirit whisper to me about particular talks that I should share with friends that are struggling. But if we become too focused on the experience others might be having, we will be denied those choice spiritual blessings.

The truth is that wherever we are in our journey General Conference is for us. We need the reminders of basic truths. We need the call to live with more humility, charity, and grace. We need the guidance and the spirit that comes only with active conference attendance. We can help those we worry about far more through actively listening than we can by shutting out the message and failing to learn spirit driven correct principles.

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