A high councilman visited my ward last week and spoke passionately about a number of things.  One of the thing which struck me the most was his reprove about Conference.  He said many of us take it as a kind of "Mormon Holiday" and stay away.  I've been guilty of this myself and so this year I resolved to attend.  I didn't quite live up to my resolution but it's given me a perspective I didn't have before.

I went to both of the Saturday General Sessions.  The spirit there was one of peace and instruction.  It was wonderful to sit in the chapel and listen to the speakers.  I, who usually have to exercise iron will not to day-dream through talks longer than two minutes, felt their words slide into me as easily as water into a cup.  At the end I felt filled, uplifted and warmed.  I'm usually a bit of a chatter-box but when I came home I found I cherished the warmth and stillness I felt and wasn't ready to talk about it when my husband asked.

Sunday morning I rode to Conference with friends and felt all the same things as the day before plus the joy and gratitude of being able to hear President Hinckley speak again.  Truth be told, his health was one of my motivating factors for going in the first place.  I would be forever disappointed with myself if I'd let laziness deny me a last opportunity to hear him speak.  It was a great experience but despite my earlier resolve I went home with my ride after the first session instead of staying for the second.  Worse, I felt I should stay even as I walked out the door.  I was hungry and tired though and I missed my husband, so I talked myself into leaving anyway with the promise that I'd listen later on the internet.

Listening over the internet, though a blessing and a great help to those who cannot leave their homes, is absolutely not the same.  The spirit that I'd so treasured from the sessions at the stake centre wasn't there.  Though at the end I did feel some measure of it, it was and it felt like only a small part of what I would otherwise have enjoyed.  The temptation to editorialize, kibbitz or try to explain (i.e., render acceptable to my Catholic husband) the talks was strong; I had to decide to keep my mouth shut.  Not a bad decision to make but one I don't think I'd've had to make in a more reverent environment.  (My computer room is great for what it does but I must admit it makes a pretty lousy chapel.)

So in the end, I have become a convert to Conference.  From now on I will make every attempt to go.  Internet broadcasts are good but simply can't compare to being there.