14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, Day 2

Today we continue our series about Ezra Taft Benson’s classic talk, “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.” In his own words:

Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

The living prophet has the power of TNT. By that I mean “Today’s News Today.” God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is any of the words of the prophet contained each week in the Church Section of the Deseret News and any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.


I am so grateful that the current conference report is studied as part of one of your religion classes—the course entitled “Teachings of the Living Prophets,” number 333. May I commend that class to you and suggest that you get a copy of the class manual at your bookstore whether you’re able to take the class or not. The manual is entitled “Living Prophets for a Living Church.”

Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.

Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

President Wilford Woodruff stated: “I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)

President Marion G. Romney tells of this incident which happened to him:

I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home. . . .Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: “My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.” Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, “But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.” [In Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78]

Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

Sometimes there are those who feel their earthly knowledge on a certain subject is superior to the heavenly knowledge which God gives to His prophet on the same subject. They feel the prophet must have the same earthly credentials or training which they have had before they will accept anything the prophet has to say that might contradict their earthly schooling. How much earthly schooling did Joseph Smith have? Yet he gave revelations on all kinds of subjects. We haven’t yet had a prophet who earned a doctorate in any subject, but as someone said, “A prophet may not have his Ph.D. but he certainly has his LDS.” We encourage earthly knowledge in many areas, but remember, if there is ever a conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet, and you’ll be blessed and time will vindicate you.

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General Conference Preparation Tip: I have collected a large number of resources, including general conference packets for all ages, activities, FHE lessons, etc. on my Pinterest board. ←You can access them by clicking on that link. Just click on any picture, it will appear larger, and then click on it again. It should take you to the original link where you can find printable documents and/or instructions. Jocelyn also has a fantastic collection here.

Tomorrow, I will reintroduce the General Conference Book Club, and invite you to join us.

General Conference Guessing Game and a few more ideas

I usually do a post-conference trivia contest, but I thought it might be fun to shake things up a little bit and do a pre-conference guessing contest.  This might be fun to duplicate in your own family and play with each other.

For the sake of the blog, go ahead and make your guesses in the comment box below.  Since it’s all random guessing, I don’t think there’s any advantage or disadvantage by seeing each others’ picks.  I will pick the winner for each question (by drawing if there’s a tie), and then those 10 winners will go in a drawing for the “Grand Prize,” which will be a copy of the book I was proud to be a part of:

Tell Me Who I Am: Stories of Faith, Family, and Identity

So here goes:

General Conference Guessing Game

1.  How many new temples do you think will be announced?

2.  What’s your guess for any auxiliaries to be reorganized? (RS, YW, YM, SS, none)

3.  Take a guess at one location of a new temple.  Name a state in the US or a country outside of the US.

4.  Barring any absence, 11 of the 12 apostles speak in the four Saturday and Sunday sessions. Who’s your guess for the one apostle that only speaks in Priesthood session?

5.  Who will conduct the first session of conference (Sat. AM)?

6.  How many members of the church will be announced in the statistical report?

7.  What color dresses will the women of the Tabernacle Choir wear on Sunday morning?

8.  Who will be the first woman to speak in this session of conference?

9.  What color tie will President Monson wear on Sunday?

10.  Make a guess for a congregational hymn that might be sung at any of the four sessions.

I acknowledge that this is just for fun and has no true spiritual benefit other than to maybe make us pay a little more attention while we watch.  All entries recieved by 9:30 a.m. MST on Saturday morning will be in the running for the prize.  :)

Other ideas:

I’ve shared tons and tons and tons of conference preparation in the past, especially for the kids.  This year, I decided to do a little variation on the tradition “packet” idea.  Sometimes my kids just flip through the packet and pick a few things to do and then don’t seem to pay as much attention to it as I would like.  So I’m trying a new approach, based loosely on this idea I saw on Pinterest:

I printed out a list of the names of the First Presidency and 12 Apostles and then cut them out.  One copy for each child. (You could also use pictures instead of names.)

I skimmed through all the different packet versions I’ve seen over the years (there’s a good collection here) and printed out pages of specific activities I knew would engage my kids based on their interests, reading level, etc.  Then I stapled each apostle’s name to one activity (a crossword puzzle, a cut-and-paste of apostles in the red chairs, a Friend magazine to cut up and make a collage, etc.).  Not all of them are conference related.  There are one or two that are just stickers or stencils and crayons to keep their hands busy.  Some of them are just stapled to a piece of paper that says:  “Get 3 popsicle stick puzzles and play with them” or “Play the Apostles Memory Game

The idea is this: Whenever an apostles or First Presidency member speaks, the child finds the speaker’s name and can do that activity during his talk.  There will still be ongoing bingo and traditional packet items with notetaking, etc. (see below) for them to do during all the other speakers, but it helps them to pace out different activities and change focus often.

So other than making food and gathering up snacks, I’m ready to roll!  I hope it’s helpful to someone.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Bring on Conference!

General Conference is coming. Are you ready??

We have living prophets and apostles.  LIVING prophets and apostles!  It’s amazing.

I love general conference deep, and I think my children are catching on.  A while back, Natalie asked me if I knew what her favorite holiday was.  I guessed Christmas, and she said. “Nope. General Conference.”  I think she’s given it a little more thought since then and decided it’s actually in second place, but still.  Happy heart pinch moment.

Next round:  Saturday March 31st and Sunday April 1st.  I don’t have anything new and exciting to say about getting ready for general conference because I’m just happy with my same old routines. It’s all become tradition, both physical and spiritual traditions, and I look forward to it like an oasis in a busy world.

So I’ll just remind you to start thinking of questions you have for the Lord about your life, your family, your goals, your needs, your potential… and pray about those questions.  Watch conference with your questions in your hand and a pencil ready to receive revelation.  I promise it works.

Here’s a post with other suggestions to prepare yourself for conference.

And here’s another with suggestions of how to prepare your children.

There are always a plethora of current resources for activities and children’s general conference packets over at Sugardoodle.

I always love to review the last conference before I watch the next one.  It makes it easy to recognize patterns and repetition– both tools that God uses to tell us, “Pay attention to this!”  Here’s the highlight video from October 2011 conference:

See? Doesn’t that just make you excited?

Also, the tradition of General Conference Book Club will continue after this next conference, but there will be a big change.  It will still have all the integrity of studying the conference talks, but there will be a new guest hostess.  I’ll post more about that as we get closer.

Feel free to share any of your own traditions and preparation strategies in the comments below.  Your idea may feel like a perfect fit to someone else’s circumstances.

Countdown to General Conference: Packets and Preparation

UPDATE:  If you’ve landed here looking for stuff related to the upcoming General Conference, click here for more current resources.

I wanted to share the summary of a workshop I’ve taught a few times about preparation for General Conferences and how to get more out of it.  Also, at the end, I’ve posted several links of General Conference packets for children of all ages and a few extra resources as well.  I submitted this over at MMB as well, but I’m not sure it will make it up this week, so I wanted to pass it along to my readers.  I think most of you know how I feel about General Conference.  Love.  It is my semi-annual recharging of the spiritual batteries.  I really encourage all of you to consider joining us this next round of General Conference Book Club, too.  It helps so much to keep the words of the prophets fresh on the mind and in the heart.  Maybe those of you who have participated in the past can leave a little testimonial in the comments about your experience in studying a talk a week.

Preparing Yourself for General Conference:

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 104-7

“In my own expression of testimony and gratitude for the messages and meaning of general conference, may I suggest three things these twice-yearly gatherings declare to all the world:

1. First, they declare eagerly and unequivocally that there is again a living prophet on the earth speaking in the name of the Lord. And how we need such guidance! … We all need that word. No one is safe without it…

2. Secondly, each of these conferences marks a call to action not only in our own lives but also on behalf of others around us, those who are of our own family and faith and those who are not.

3. Lastly, a general conference of the Church is a declaration to all the world that Jesus is the Christ, that He and His Father, the God and Father of us all, appeared to the boy prophet Joseph Smith in fulfillment of that ancient promise that the resurrected Jesus of Nazareth would again restore His Church on earth and [return] again.”

Henry B. Eyring, “Finding Safety in Counsel,” Ensign, May 1997, 24

“There seems to be no end to the Savior’s desire to lead us to safety. And there is constancy in the way He shows us the path. … Those means always include sending the message by the mouths of His prophets whenever people have qualified to have the prophets of God among them. Those authorized servants are always charged with warning the people, telling them the way to safety….

In our own time, we have been warned with counsel of where to find safety from sin and from sorrow. One of the keys to recognizing those warnings is that they are repeated.

One of the ways we may know that the warning is from the Lord is that the law of witnesses, authorized witnesses, has been invoked. When the words of prophets seem repetitive, that should rivet our attention…

Boyd K. Packer, “The Twelve Apostles,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 6

“We are overcome with what the Lord said of those who hold these sacred callings: ‘Whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.’ (D&C 68:4) … These men are true servants of the Lord; give heed to their counsel.”

Think about and write down questions that you would really like some insight about.  (Think about your role as a wife, mother, friend, sister, employee, calling, etc. . . . What would you ask the Lord about?)  Imagine the Savior as your “Counselor”and ask Him things with a desire to hear His advice.  Pray about those questions.  Request that He answers them as you listen to General Conference.

As you watch conference, pay careful attention and identify talk(s) that may give you some direction for your questions.

As you listen to (and later study) these talks, look for two things: (I recommend writing them down.)

1) main points: truths, principles, doctrine
2) action items: what does this speaker want me to DO? What is the “call to action”?

You can watch a highlight video from the latest general conference here at this link.

In summary,

How to make General Conference meaningful:

1. Pray and prepare before General Conference.

2. Carefully study the Conference edition of the Ensign.

3. Watch or listen to General Conference with purpose.

4. Identify action items based on their counsel.

5. Obey.

President Monson stated at the conclusion of a recent General Conference:

“My beloved brothers and sisters, my heart is full and my feelings tender as we conclude this great general conference. We have been richly blessed as we have listened to the counsel and testimonies of those who have spoken to us. I believe we are all more determined to live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. May we long remember that which we have heard during this conference. I remind you that the messages will be printed in next month’s Ensign… I urge you to study the messages and to ponder their teachings and then to apply them in your life.”

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Resources to help your children prepare for and be active listeners during General Conference

The Church has provided this page with some print-outs and computer games to help children prepare for General Conference.

The following are all excellent references offered from Sugardoodle.net, including General Conference Activity Packets for all ages (When you click on them, you can download the documents and print them out.):

Youth Packet

Senior Primary Packet and Sticker Pages (print on sticker/label paper from Office Supply Store)

Junior Primary Packet

Primary Packet (compact 2-page)

Nursery Packet

Check out this Sugardoodle.net page for other General Conference ideas, coloring pages, snacks, activities, etc.

Here’s another site with a lot of packets, cards, and other resources.

This is an article that I helped author:  “Preparing Our Children for General Conference” It has some specific ideas of activities/games you can do with children (even small children) before, during, and after conference.

Here are also some great articles to help you get yourself and your children in the General Conference mindset:

Neil L. Andersen, “Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets,”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,”

Henry B. Eyring, “Safety in Counsel,”

Here’s to having your best General Conference experience ever.

It’s that time of year: General Conference packets and preparation

In case you’ve landed here via a search engine, for the most recent packets and resources, go here.

The countdown to General Conference has begun.  This coming weekend is the general Relief Society broadcast, and then on October 2-3, we will have the opportunity to hear the Lord’s voice:  “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). I love General Conference, especially when I prepare for it.  I get answers to questions I’ve prayed about, and even insight into questions I haven’t asked, but the Lord knows I have.  General Conference recharges my spiritual batteries.  It deepens my faith in my Heavenly Father, in His plan, and in myself.  Here are a few links to help you begin your General Conference preparations.

The Church has provided this page with some print-outs and computer games to help children prepare for General Conference.

The following are all excellent references offered from Sugardoodle.net, including General Conference Activity Packets for all ages (When you click on them, you can download the documents and print them out.):

Youth Packet
Senior Primary Packet

Junior Primary Packet

Nursery Packet

Check out this Sugardoodle.net page for other General Conference ideas, coloring pages, snacks, activities, etc.

Here’s another site with a lot of packets, cards, and other resources.

Here are also some great articles to help you get yourself and your children in the General Conference mindset:

Neil L. Andersen, “Teaching Our Children to Love the Prophets,”

“Preparing Our Children for General Conference,”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets in the Land Again,”

Henry B. Eyring, “Safety in Counsel,”

And don’t forget to gear up for the next round of General Conference Book Club.  If you’ve never joined us before, consider checking in this time when General Conference is over and then studying one talk a week all the way until Conference rolls around again.

“Many messages, covering a variety of gospel topics, will be given during the next two days. Those men and women who will speak to you have sought heaven’s help concerning the messages they will give. It is my prayer that we may be filled with His Spirit as we listen and learn.”  [Opening session, April 2010]

“I urge you to study the messages, to ponder their teachings, and then to apply them in your life…. May the messages and spirit of this conference find expression in all that you do—in your homes, in your work, in your meetings, and in all your comings and goings.”  [Closing session, April 2010] ~President Thomas S. Monson

Spring Break, General Conference Packets and other conference preparation strategies

UPDATE:  For anyone coming to this post looking for a packet for the upcoming conference, you can click here for more links.

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So I’m taking this whole “Spring Break” thing pretty literally and may be more absent here in the blog world for a couple weeks.  I’ll still pop in for General Conference Book Club stuff because (hello!) Conference is right around the corner and it’s one of my favorite parts of Springtime. (Psst, don’t tell anyone, but I might actually go to General Conference.  *squeal*)

In the meantime, I wanted to put up a few great tools to help out with General Conference Preparation.

For children and youth:

Melanie Day at Sugardoodle.com put together some really great packets for small children (mostly coloring), older children (both my kindergartener and 1st grader could do most of it), and for youth (I think adults could use it too!).  They are all specific to the 2010 Spring General Conference and are great for helping your children to pay attention and stay occupied during the talks.  You can find the packets by clicking on this link, then scroll down and download whatever version you want. (There are also several extra links to G.C. resources at the bottom of the page.)

Here’s another site with a lot of packets, cards, and other resources.

Finally, here is an article from the Ensign that I contributed to a while back:  “Preparing Our Children for General Conference.” I can honestly say that my children LOVE conference and look forward to it and usually surprise us with how much they do pay attention.  The article includes some games and activities that have worked smashingly for us in the past.  I hope you can find something helpful there.

For yourself:

This is a pattern I’ve tried to follow in the past, and I’ve learned that it makes my conference experience feel meaningful and personalized.  I’m going to try and start the process now.  Join me?  I’m sure you have some of your own strategies, so I’d love to hear your ideas too.

  1. Pray everyday that my mind and heart will be prepared for any specific message that the Lord wants me to know.
  2. Read my scriptures and/or recent conference talks every day to keep me in the habit of inviting and recognizing the Spirit.
  3. Think about questions I would like answers to, topics I find myself struggling with, and write them down. Include them specifically in my prayers as I do #1.

Happy preparing.  And happy Spring break.

General Conference packet for children

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UPDATE:  For anyone coming to this post looking for a packet for the upcoming conference, you can click here for more current links.

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Here’s a link to a great resource for your children to work on while you watch General Conference this weekend:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/13298891/2009-April-Conference-Packet

then click “More” > “Print”

(I had to sign up for account to download it because I had a little trouble printing.)  There are activities for both readers and non-readers.  Thanks to a friend for passing it along.

My blog friend Laurie also put up an excellent post with more resources.

Enjoy the weekend folks; it’s one of my favorite times of year.

p.s.  I know it would have been more helpful if I had posted this a few days ago.  Sorry.  What can I say?  Read my old post about never being on time.  And forgive.