This morning, as the Tabernacle Choir (or whoever they were) sang “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing,” I came to the same realization that I come to every Conference. I love the Church.
I love bizarre parables regarding pickles. I love Apostles quoting the Apocrypha and Schopenhauer. I love the beautiful sound of a capella choir work. I love the Tabernacle, an austere building built solely to house the words of the Lord. I love the Salt Lake Temple (though I have never been). I love the Manti Temple, where I was married. I love the Prophet and the Apostles.
I love my bishop, the bishop before him, and the two bishops before them. I love my stake president, his counselors, and his council. I love my calling in the Primary, the current Primary president, and the Primary presidency that was just released. I love the little kids that I teach every other week and the man I co-teach with. I love my children’s teachers and the people who sit and listen to my wife teach Sunday School. I love my home teachers and those whom I home teach. I love the little boys who pass the sacrament and the young men who bless it. I love the combination of the formal and the revelatory that is every sacrament meeting. I love the words of Christ and the words of the Gospel that I regularly hear there.
I love teaching at Brigham Young University. I love the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. I love “The Living Christ,” the Proclamation on the Family, the King Follet Discourse, the Sermon in the Grove, and the minutes of the First Presidency. I love the collected works of Hugh Nibley, Sidney Sperry, Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith, James Talmage, Stephen Robinson, and Robert Millet. I love physics classes that begin with a prayer and a packet on evolution put out by the Biology and Religion departments jointly.
I love my son, my daughter, and my wife. I love my mother, my father, my sister, and my brother. I love my in-laws, my friends, my acquaintances, and even some of my enemies. I love President Bush, Barack Obama, Pat Robertson, Pres. Achmadenijad, Katie Holmes, Carlos Boozer, and Byron Leftwich. I love the dogs, cats, pigeons, deer, dragons, and unicorns that frequent my children’s prayers. I love the soldiers, the martyrs, the missionaries, the social workers, the politicians, the movie directors, and the songwriters of the world.
I love Conference. I love my God and my Jesus. I love the Holy Spirit, its influence, its guidance, its teaching. I love the words of God, the testimony of Jesus, the power of the atonement, and the possibility of progression. I am in love with the whole grand Gospel of Christ and the Great Plan of Happiness. I have drunk the kool-aid, I have felt the witness, and I believe.
I know that I am a man praying on the corner for posting this, but I don’t care. I am mostly a cynic and a pessimist, but this morning I felt the power of God in my life, so I wanted to share it with you all. I may even bear my testimony come next week, which I haven’t done in years.
This feeling is what Conference means to me. I slog through 50 weeks a year to make it to this day and I celebrate this day. No matter how screwed-up I am and no matter how I have screwed up my life on this day I can say the following, along with King Benjamin’s people:
“Yes, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in our hears, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually…And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our [leaders have] spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceedingly great joy.” (Mos 5:3,5)
By Monday, I will likely be bitter and snarky again. For the time being, I am just happy to listen to the prophet of God and his colleagues. Have a Happy Conference Weekend and may you have many more to come.