We have a pretty good idea of what will happen at general conference every six months, but that wasn't always the case. From passing the sacrament to holding disciplinary councils, check out some of the things that used to be done in conference.
Photo of April 8, 1940 Conference from Salt Lake Tribune Archives
Every April and October, the Mormon community knows what time it is: conference time. But it didn’t start out that way. For the first several years of the church, a conference could be called at any time, usually when the Prophet Joseph Smith had business to discuss, problems to solve, or new revelations to announce. As conferences became more regular and Church membership grew, however, the purpose and practice of conference became more defined to the two-day spiritual feast it is today. Here are a few things that have been done during conference over the years, but that we no longer do nowadays.
1. Pass the Sacrament
The first recognized conference of the Church was held on June 9, 1830, only a short few months after the Church was organized. The first several conferences looked more like a modern-day sacrament meeting, with an opening hymn, passing of the sacrament, confirming of members, and teaching from the Prophet. Though this was discontinued as Church membership grew, the sacrament has also been passed in a special, more recent session of conference in October 1942 at the start of WWII. The passing of the sacrament at that conference session was followed by a testimony meeting.
Throughout the world, there are sites that are deeply meaningful to members of the Church. Cherished for their beauty, history, or even their mystery, here is our list of 7 Wonders of the Mormon World.
1. The Tomb of Joseph Architect's drawing of Joseph Smith's Tomb
When does desire turn in to covetousness? How can we keep ourselves safe from falling into the trap of coveting things--even things we already have?
I wanted a hovercraft. But not just any hovercraft. I wanted to build my own. I only lacked two things: the instruction kit as featured in the back of my Boys’ Life magazine and the motor from the family vacuum cleaner.
Every month my copy of Boys’ Life would come in the mail. The first thing I would do was to turn to the joke pages in the back. Then, I would look at the advertisements. The very idea of having my own personal Air Car made my Cub Scout imagination spin.
However, it wasn’t meant to be. My mom stood in the way. Sure, the plans only cost $4.95, but the sticking point was the vacuum cleaner motor. My mom was unwilling to let me borrow hers. I promised that I would be very careful and remember how to put it back together. She still refused. I think there may have been trust issues.
No vacuum cleaner motor meant no need for the plans and, ultimately, no hovercraft. It was obviously my mother’s fault, and I let her know how I felt.
I think my quest for a hovercraft was one of my earliest recollections of coveting. Boys’ Life was what I now consider one of my earliest “Covet Books.”
Over the years, my Covet Books have evolved. At various times, they have included Sharper Image catalogs, computer catalogs, Auto Trader, and travel magazines. When I’m bored on an airplane, SkyMall is a great Covet Book.
People are asking Google about "the Mormons" every day. Are they getting the right answers?
Remember the days before Google? Before we carried one of the world's most powerful tools–the internet–in our front pocket?
If you had a question about something, you either asked someone (a real-life human being, in-person) or found a book on the subject.
And the questions you were more shy about, you maybe never asked.
The internet, smartphones, and Google have changed all of that. Answers to any question you can imagine are at your fingertips. Which also means a lot more people are asking Google (instead of their LDS neighbors and friends) about "the Mormons."
Today, we'd like to highlight some of the top questions your friends are asking Google about our Church and offer answers to some of the best ones.
Question 1: "Do Mormons drink?"
Answer: No, we don't.
From Mormon.org (an official website managed by the Church):
"Our body is a precious gift from God. To help keep our bodies and our minds healthy and strong, God gave a law of health to Joseph Smith in 1833. This law is known as the Word of Wisdom. In addition to emphasizing the benefits of proper eating and physical and spiritual health, God has spoken against the use of:
When life gets rough, be grateful! There are always blessings in our lives that we miss seeing when our vision is clouded by bad luck or discouragement.
We've all heard the phrase that when life gives us lemons, we should make lemonade. We've also all heard the story of Job in the Bible, who, despite losing all his possessions, family, health, and support from friends, trusted in the Lord and found something to be grateful for—his testimony.
Often life does not go the way we planned and fate seems to be against us. But even when jobs, friends, or health fail us, there is always something in our lives that the Lord has blessed us with and that we can be grateful for. If like Job we can keep our sights on the Lord and step back to see the bigger picture, the rough time will pass and we will find it easier to see the abundance that the Lord has blesses us with. Though many of the ideas below are probably familiar, it never hurts to think about them more deeply and be reminded of our blessings.
Even if you live in the middle of a city with concrete pavements and high-rises, all you have to do is look up to see the sunshine, sky, clouds, or rainbows and remember God's powerful, creative hand. Buy a plant or visit a park to help you better appreciate these beautiful forms of green life God has put on the earth.
(One great way to experience nature with even more gratitude and find peace in trials is to try meditating.)