Saturday, April 1, 2017

President Gordon B. Hinckley on taking advantage of general conference

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
"You have gathered to be encouraged, to be inspired, to be lifted and directed as members of the Church. We are all assembled together as believers in this, the cause of Christ. Each of us is His servant in building His kingdom in anticipation of the time when He will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have gathered to be helped with your temporal concerns, your failures, and your victories. You have come to hear the word of the Lord taught by those who, not of their own choosing, have been called as teachers in this great work.
"You have prayed that you might hear things that will help you with your problems and add strength to your faith. I assure you that we have prayed also. We have prayed for inspiration and direction. There is a constant prayer in our hearts that we will not fail the great trust the Lord has placed in us and the trust which you have placed in us. We have prayed that we might be prompted to say those words which will build faith and testimony and which will become answered prayers for those who will hear....
"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."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "Listen by the Power of the Spirit," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 4–5
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Hinckley participated in General Conference as a Church leader for some 47 years. That's almost 100 conference weekends! In some ways though, his personal experience was likely not all that different from any of ours; he felt the same kind of challenges that he listed as things we all seek: help with temporal concerns, failures, and victories.

Faithful, seeking Church members will approach conference prayerfully, eager to hear counsel that will "help you with your problems and add strength to your faith." But President Hinckley responds that those who share the instruction have also been praying most earnestly for guidance on what to say and how to say it. Those two directions of desire facilitate the blessing of spiritual communication that brings power to the assembly.

That is a "challenge with a promise"—an invitation to listen with sincere desire, and the promise that blessings will follow. I hope we are all eager to accept that invitation and then participate in the results!

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