By: Rebbie Brassfield //
LDS General Conference has begun, which means that between last weekend and this weekend, your Mormon acquaintances will watch up to 12 hours of church meetings, broadcast live across the globe from Salt Lake City, Utah.
The strange thing is, they will probably be psyched about it.
They will be stoked to listen to a bunch of elderly men and sweet women in pastel blazers talk about faith and hope and Jesus Christ.
Why? Look no further than Pope Francis’ recent visit to the states.
If you didn’t know the Pope was in town last week, no offense but you may be living under a rock. His visit garnered massive attention and news coverage. Huge crowds gathered to hear him speak or to simply catch a glimpse of him driving by in his unassuming black Fiat.
While here, Pope Francis used his platform to urge each of us to follow the Golden Rule, to consider how we are living our lives, and to make an effort to be a little better. His words even motivated some of my used-to-be Catholic co-workers to tell me they just might consider attending mass again.
We as a nation experienced a palpable outpouring of spirituality and love, and have together felt uplifted.
It is not too dissimilar from what Mormons feel every six months at General Conference.
See, Catholic people view the Pope as their inspired leader, chosen by God. He is meant to guide and direct the church, using a divine connection with God as his compass. People hang on his every word because they recognize him as an authorized servant of the Lord.
Mormons, on the other hand, believe that a Prophet, his twelve Apostles, and many other leaders have been called by God to serve him and direct his work. We believe that God is still speaking to man, and that one way he speaks to us is through those chosen leaders.
As Joseph Smith put it in the 9th Article of Faith: We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
So, members of the Mormon church are encouraged to seek personal revelation through prayer, scripture study, church attendance, and also through the words shared at General Conference.
Each of the speakers there will teach from the lens of his or her life experience, as they come from a variety of professions and upbringings. Many are from Utah where the church is headquartered, but increasingly we see leaders from all over the globe, some even speaking in their native languages.
None of them are perfect, but we don’t believe they have to be perfect to be inspired.
Large crowds will gather in Salt Lake City, Utah to watch the addresses in person while millions of others tune in to the live broadcast from locations all around the world. There is a palpable outpouring of love from these leaders, and together we are uplifted.
So if you’ve wondered how Mormons can get excited about spending two weekends listening to Gospel sermons, wonder no more.
Because in our minds it means spending time with God’s inspired leaders. It means listening to heartfelt, soul stretching messages that motivate you to be better.
It is, in Mormon terms, like spending twelve hours with the Pope.
Tune in this weekend here. You won’t regret it.