(Written by Robert)
It was General Conference Weekend. It is interesting the different feelings I have had over the years about this event.
When I was 8 - it was to be avoided like the plague. It wasn't only worse than church (longer, more boring and irrelevant) but it had the audacity to take away my Saturday too! Nothing ever did that, ever. It was bad.
When I was 16 - I had a testimony, and knew I should spend time listening but it was hard with all the things a 16 year old has to do. I didn't so much mind Sunday, but Saturday was simply too much. Did the Lord really expect me to waste all that time, when I had things to do?
When I was a missionary - There was nothing more important. I tried regularly to bring folks to church. I hoped they would feel the spirit, and understand what we were trying to say to them. But if I could get them to watch 10 minutes of General Conference, they would have an experience that they would never forget. They would see prophets of God, teaching, pleading, not for money or weird doctrines, but rather begging people to be better, be more honest, more patient, more loving. I knew, if I could get them to watch, I could baptize.
When I was a RM - It was an exciting thing to go to Temple Square to watch. I knew the apostles by name, and understood their speaking styles. It was a great time to show girls how spiritual and devoted I was. The trips were always fun too.
When I was a young husband - It was a great time to spend a quiet weekend with my wife. We could watch at our leisure, listen for advice, learn what things we should be doing better.
When I had young children - it was a nightmare. How did God expect me to bring my kids to the church and sit through 8 solid hours of church when 1 hour a week was almost too much to ask! I was horrified to inflict my loud, cry-baby, busy-body infants to the sacred chapels during conference. I wasn't getting anything from them and anyone within 2 square miles wasn't getting anything either.
Now that I have older children - it is a joy again. Especially with the internet making it so I can see and hear. I hear what I can do to be a better person, better husband and a better father. My wife hears things that help her in her life. Even my kids learn. They hear parts of talks that stick to them.
Dad - "Jared, what did you learn in conference?"
Jared - "I liked that jump rope talk. Sometimes we don't know how to do stuff, but if we see others doing it, this it isn't that hard, and I have good examples to show me how to be good. "
I am grateful that Father loves my family. I laughed the other day and I told Laura, "Ya know, I don't mean this to be silly, but God knows us, he know you and me, and I have rock solid evidence that he even knows my phone number!" (more on that later). I told Laura that to me knowing that "God loves everyone (and therefore must know them) is somehow not as intimate as knowing that God knows your phone number!" I love the Bradleys, Thompsons, Riddocks, even my wonderful Sister Kelli, but I have to look up each of their numbers each time I call.
It's good to know we are known and loved. Nothing brings that home more than General Conference weekend.