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How a Glimpse Behind-the-Scenes at General Conference Can Help Prepare and Change Our Hearts

The following article has been republished with permission. 

During my seven years in The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, I had the opportunity to sing in 45 individual sessions of general conference. One of the interesting things I observed each time was that we would be in our seats in the choir loft several hours before the session would start on both Saturday and Sunday mornings and usually before there was even a single person in the Conference Center seating area. As we would rehearse and prepare ourselves to bring the Spirit through music, I would see various groups of people begin to show up to prepare the space physically.

Church Security would pass through the general authority seats and perform an intense security sweep. The floral people would show up and put the finishing touches on the floral arrangement that is in front of and behind the pulpit so we would have something beautiful and soothing to look at as the talks were given. Housekeeping would send in many dozens of people to walk every single row of seats in that huge space to make sure there wasn’t any trash and that all was in good order for the coming visitors. Pitchers of water and glasses were brought onto the stand in various strategic places to make sure that everyone who was about to speak was able to do so clearly.

A small army of guest service missionaries would show up and get their section assignments and then go to their spots to help lead people to their seats in a friendly and orderly manner so there were no wasted places and all who had tickets to attend would be able to do so. They helped set a tone of reverence as people came to be fed by the Spirit.

This meticulous preparation was repeated before each of the five sessions of the conference that weekend. It was orderly, thorough, and done with the utmost reverence for the sacred proceedings that were about to happen in that building.

We are now three days away from another weekend of general conference. The thought comes to my mind, “What are my wife and I doing to prepare our home to receive the words of these general authorities? Are we preparing our space, our hearts, the hearts of our children to receive with the same intensity that those in Salt Lake are preparing to give?”

When this weekend of general conference has concluded, do we then just go back to our normal lives, or do we truly feast on the words of living prophets and apostles? We have so many wonderful tools to give us access to the talks after this weekend is over. We can always wait a month and read the talks in the Ensign, but now we have additional wonderful options. Within a day or so we can go to YouTube and watch each talk whenever we want. We can go to Gospel Library and stream or download the audio of the talks and listen to them wherever we want. We can read the words of the talks almost hours after they are given. We can engage all our senses so the message goes deeper into our hearts.

President Nelson has said on numerous occasions that the Lord is not yet done restoring His church. Are we ready to receive and act on anything that is revealed? Are we truly “in the good ship Zion?” Are we firmly strapped into our seats and ready for whatever kind of ride is in store for us?

Let us be among those who are faithful, reliable, and rock-solid in our testimony so that nothing the Lord brings forth will cause us anything but rejoicing. We are preparing for the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior. Adjustments must be made so the Church is fully ready to receive Him. Let us glory in change and pray for greater understanding as the Church moves to being a truly home-centered and church-supported.

Lead image from Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Bob Walker served in the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square from April 2012 to April 2019 and now serves as the Sunday School president in his ward in Orem, Utah.

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