Friday, April 5, 2019

Elder Robert D. Hales on receiving personalized messages from general conference

Elder Robert D. Hales (August 24, 1932-October 1, 2017) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1985, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
"In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us. One member testified: 'As I listened to your address, I was astounded. … Your talk was personal revelation directly from the Lord to my family. I have never experienced such a strong manifestation of the Spirit in my life as those minutes when the Holy Ghost spoke directly to me.'
"Another said, 'I have never before felt so profoundly that a talk was being given to me.'
"This is possible because the Holy Ghost carries the word of the Lord unto our hearts in terms we can understand. (See 2 Nephi 33:1.) When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me.
"What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel. That is why we make an effort to experience conference in a setting where the still, small voice of the Spirit can be clearly heard, felt, and understood.
"Oh, how we need general conference! Through conferences our faith is fortified and our testimonies deepened. And when we are converted, we strengthen each other to stand strong amid the fiery darts of these last days. (See Luke 22:31–32.)"
- Robert D. Hales, "Strengthening Faith and Testimony," General Conference October 2013
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

How do we "receive the word of the Lord meant just for us" as we participate in general conference? Elder Hales suggests that is one of the great blessings available, as we allow the Holy Ghost to communicate to our spirit. The conference provides the venue or setting to encourage that personal inspiration. So much depends on how we listen:

Truly, "What is said is not as important as what we hear and what we feel." Participating in conference can deepen our testimonies and fortify our faith in ways that will greatly bless us as we confront the adversary in our time.

Of course, the picture presents a somewhat idealistic image of a family doing this. When younger children are involved, it's more difficult to establish that kind of setting. We do the best we can, and then we take advantage of future opportunities to participate in conference "after the fact" as we personally study and review the messages under the more ideal conditions.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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