A Recap of General Conference

This isn’t going to be a summary of general conference – more of a reaction.

I saw several people in my social media feeds in the weeks leading up to conference expressing simultaneous excitement about conference and dismay that it was going to be all virtual. Since I don’t live in Utah, general conference has always been all virtual, so it didn’t really strike me as functionally different. Whether there are throngs gathered in a large auditorium or whether there are only the speakers spaced several feet apart, the experience is the same to me. I’m at home listening while folding the laundry.

I approached conference with cautious optimism. I’ve been wounded by too many past conferences where someone (or multiple someones) has given a pearl-clutching tirade about how wicked single people are for being single, as if reminding us that we forgot to get married would suddenly make us realize that it’s something we need to do, and we can just go down to the spouse store on Monday to pick one out for ourselves. Sermons preached at single people generally show clearly that the speaker has never spoken to an actual single person. They rail against straw-singles – painting men as video game playing basement-dwellers who are shirking their duty to ask out and propose to women, and women as unladylike workaholics who are turning down perfectly good marriage proposals left and right.

The pandemic has put a stop to dating, so I was hoping that nobody would take the heartless step of berating singles for something entirely outside our control. (Not that it was totally in our control before, either.) Before conference, I prayed that nobody would say anything cruel to or about single people.

Thankfully, my prayer was answered. The talks were Christ-centered and timely. The speakers addressed concrete issues of our day, not just platitudes and generalities. They referenced the pandemic by name and also addressed social problems happening right now.

Religion News Service writer Jana Reiss favorably compared this conference to a bowl of corn flakes – nourishing and bland. I agree. After the heartburn of 2020, something easy on our spiritual stomachs is just what the Great Physician ordered.

The cinnamon rolls fed my body, and the sermons fed my soul. May all general conferences be as good as this one.

Trudy

Trudy is a lawyer living in the southwestern US. She has two cats who allow her to live in their house in exchange for a steady supply of food and treats.

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7 Responses

  1. Elisa says:

    Much better than April conference.

    (Not) fun fact: in the general sessions we had as many speakers from Jeffrey Holland’s immediate family as we did from the entire population of women in the church!!!

    How our leaders think this is OK blows my mind. Also, while we had three in the women’s session (because women can speak to women), that was balanced out by three men.

    • Such a fun(?) fact. I noticed that we learned most about women’s views by men telling us what they think women think. There is a much more effective, easier way to incorporate women’s perspectives. Let actual women talk!

  2. Here’s to cornflakes! I like to be nourished at General Conference and I felt this one was nourishing. I also appreciated that several speakers attempted to explore the hard issues many of us are facing right now. Sometimes General Conference seems disconnected from actual people in the church and their problems (at least, if the people in question are not conservative American elderly males, with whom church leaders are always naturally in tune). This time, I could tell they were interested being topical to current events.

  3. spunky says:

    I agree that much of conference was fairly bland and generally nourishing. But there was a talk that I found distasteful. Elder Christofferson. i.e. “Out of wedlock births are but some of the bitter fruits…” of the sexual revolution.

    What is the fruit of a birth? A child. A direct connection that a child born out of wedlock is a bitter fruit. My child. My children. My children who came to us by the miracle of a saintly birth mother who made one of the most self-sacrificing choices mortals can make. My children who came to us as a result of thousands of prayers. My children who came to me by the hand of God.

    My children are NOT bitter fruits.

    My children are miracles. I am sickened, appalled and shocked by Christofferson’s repulsive and hateful words ABOUT CHILDREN.

    Usually GC speakers talk about the miracle of adoption, but not this time. I’m really unsteady about this swift u- turn by Christofferson, and other adoptive mothers I know have shared how this conference -particularly because of Christofferson’s words- has driven them away from the church.

    So I dunno. I think I needed the blandness to help balance myself after that hand grenade was shot at my children.

    • Elisa says:

      Spunky, the other weird thing about that talk: we have a massive global problem of non-consensual sex. Sexual assault, rape, harassment, child slavery, etc etc etc. If I had to rate which was a bigger problem I’m pretty firmly on the side of eradicating non-consensual sex over consensual sex. So tone-deaf.

  4. Em says:

    Thanks for the review! I’m usually a “catch up later” kind of gal. It’s good to know nothing dreadful lies in wait. (Except what spunky has highlighted)

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