I hate to admit this, but I’ve never been much of a fan of conference. These days I’ll usually catch the Sunday a.m. session, read the Bloggernacle commentary and then glance over the talks in the May/November Ensign, and that’s pretty much it.
I have fond memories of when I was a boy and we would drive up to Rockford, 45 miles away, to listen to the Priesthood session over a live phone line, which seemed like amazing technology at the time. We got to sit on the stand in the soft seats, various high priests nodding off here and there.
And I did very much enjoy conference when on my mission, as it provided a license not to have to proselyte for a weekend. We got to sit in comfort in some member’s living room, sipping a drink while we watched conference on TV (in Colorado where I served usually the whole thing would be carried). Although I remember in one ward where we served we had a devil of a time finding anyone who was going to watch it, and we had to guilt this one family into it, because if they didn’t watch we didn’t get to watch (and get a day off).
Other than those fond memories, however, I just can’t get very excited over conference. I am well aware of what an anomaly this makes me among most Mormons, for whom conferences are the highlights of their religious years. In fact, I thought twice about even posting on this topic, as it sounds so heretical (which is why I decided not to threadjack the open conference thread and post this separately).
I remember when I was at BYU, the whole campus would basically shut down conference weekend, and everyone seemed so excited to sit down and watch it. I usually went outside to shoot baskets.
I wish I could say that I’ve analyzed why I don’t much care for it. I’m not really sure. I guess part of it is that it all seems so boring, so obvious, so cliched. The constraints of modernity–talks have to be vetted beforehand, the timing has to be to the second in a TV age, nothing too new or controversial may be broached–means there are no Brigham Youngs’ or J. Golden Kimballs’ or LeGrand Richards’ any more. The delivery is uniformly bland and monotone, the content is mostly highly repetitive. One of the curses of being a lifelong member of the Church is that there is nothing new under the sun.
I know how heretical this sounds, and trust me, I’m not trying to proselyte anyone to my perspective. I’m glad most of you find spiritual nourishment in conference. I’ve heard the apologetic that they always teach the basics because we haven’t really learned them yet. I realize that I’m in a minority among members of the Church.
But conference just doesn’t do it for me.