With General Conference around the corner, BYU–Hawaii students say it is important to be prepared to hear messages being given by the general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Students share traditions and tips to get spiritually ready for conference.
Preparing to go to church
During General Conference weekend, the broadcast is shown in the Stake Center on campus for all four sessions. Hsi-Ting Lin, a senior majoring in piano performance from Taiwan, goes to the church during conference because it helps her focus. She said, “Even though I can change the conference to my native language, I wouldn’t be able to focus and I’d probably fall asleep no matter how early I go to bed.”
Lin said this helps her “focus on what they say.” She comes to conference with questions and going to the church building allows her to hear the answer to her prayers.
She recalled times when she would fall asleep or not pay attention, but when she heard a talk by one of the authorities, she shared, “The most important thing we can do before and during conference is to make sure we are in the moment and truly open to their messages and listen to what they have to say.”
She said everyone can receive answers to prayers, but we have to be receptive and prepared enough to hear the answers.
Keeping Conference in Mind
Keeping conference in her mind before it is broadcast helps Lexi Li, a senior majoring in elementary education from Taiwan, see the truth and beauty in the Gospel. She said, “Keeping in mind conference is coming keeps me focused on what I can do better. We’re so blessed to hear from the prophet, so why not prepare to listen to his words? That is why this makes the gospel so beautiful.”
Lin teared up when she started to bare her testimony, “The living prophet is living proof that God loves us and wants to guide us, and I think that shows how true the Church really is.”
Writing in a journal
According to Ellie Miskin, a sophomore majoring in social work from California, in order for her to prepare for General Conference, she writes in her journal. She said, “Sometimes I feel like I have to really figure out what my questions are and I need to write it down.”
She said how writing in her journal has helped her express her feelings and from what she wrote, “I was able to figure out what questions I needed answering.” Miskin said this method allows her to open her heart and mind to the messages given by the general authorities, which pushes her to seek out answers to questions she could have in the future.
For Ashley Howell, a sophomore majoring in biology from California, she likes to watch conference with friends and to make a light-hearted game out of it. She said, “A group of us will get together and we’ll print out these conference bingo cards and whoever gets the least number of bingos out of the group has to make lunch for everyone else.”
To prepare for the game, she said, “It helps us focus [on] past talks and we end up talking about talks that stuck with us, which also gets us excited to hear the talks that will be given in this upcoming one.”
Howell said, “Even though it is a game and some people can argue is drives away the Spirit, I think it keeps us focused and pushes us to remember what we learned in the past.”
Howell added the game also brings up thoughts and questions they may have once they start talking with each other.
Pancakes for conference
Averi Strickenberger, a sophomore from Colorado studying psychology, said, “The best way to prepare for general conference by far is to make pancakes. Growing up my dad would always make pancakes for us and we would eat together in the living room, and I couldn’t break that habit even when I came here.”
She said she believed it was his way of showing them the importance of General Conference. “It just doesn’t feel like General Conference without a fresh batch of pancakes.”
According to Alyssa Warren, a freshman majoring in social work from Utah, a way to prepare for conference is to revisit previous conferences. She said this helps her find new questions. Warren said, “Reviewing talks from past conferences really puts me in the mood for the upcoming conference. I think that it can get the ball rolling for getting inspiration for answers to questions.”
Julia Hughes, a sophomore majoring in biochemistry from Texas, said she uses this technique to prepare for General Conference. Hughes said, “More often than not I find myself feeling better after General Conference because I feel so spiritually uplifted and ready to share what I’ve learned with others.”