General conference: a time of year that Latter-day Saints across the entire world unite their prayers, their voices, and their spirits in sustaining and listening to God's chosen prophets and leaders. It is, without a doubt, a sacred and wonderful time for Mormons everywhere, full of many spiritual and emotional highs.
Over the years, we've laughed, we've cried, and we've made a lot of unforgettable memories. So, as we gear up for another weekend of general conference, take a little time to reminisce about some of the most touching moments in from past conferences.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. If we were to list every touching moment in conference, there wouldn't be enough room to hold it all! However, if we didn't include one of your favorite moments, please share it with us in the comments below.
When we learned why Elder Hales always wore the same tie for general conference.
After Elder Hales passed away during the October 2017 general conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen shared the touching story of Elder Hales' "tie buddy." In 2010, a little boy, Jason, watching conference in Baltimore realized he had the exact same tie that Elder Hales did. His mother took of picture of him. Six months later, Jason wore the same tie in anticipation. But when Elder Hales did not speak in the April 2011 conference, Jason wrote him a letter and sent the pictures. From then on, Elder Hales and Jason wrote back and forth, each letter signed by Elder Hales as "Your 'Tie Buddy.'" And by the time Jason met Elder Hales face-to-face in 2013, Elder Hales had determined to always wear his black tie with white polka dots for general conference. Perhaps the sweetest part of this story? At Elder Hales's request, Sister Mary Hales had Elder Andersen help her give that tie to Jason after her husband's death. This touching story will always remind us of the great example of love and individual care our apostles are.
When President Hunter continued giving his talk, despite breaking three ribs.
While serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve, President Howard W. Hunter gave a talk in the April 1989 general conference that few would forget. Just two years earlier, President Hunter had undergone a surgery for a bleeding ulcer that nearly took his life, requiring him to receive nine pints of blood and putting him into kidney failure, according toLDS.org. That same year, President Hunter underwent back surgery, limiting the use of his legs.
But, with the help of a walker, President Hunter stood to bear his testimony at the pulpit in general conference in 1989. Part way through his talk, President Hunter lost his balance, falling backward into the choir conductor’s podium.
As soon as he was helped back to his feet, this faithful apostle (and later, prophet) continued to give his message as though nothing had happened. Later medical tests showed that President Hunter broke three ribs in the fall.
When President Monson reached down to shake a little boy's hand.
Who knew that waving to a prophet of God would change a little boy's life or that it would make him the center of the LDS world for a day.
While at the fall 2013 general conference, Stockton Cram, then 8 years old, walked with his dad to wave to the prophet. President Monson turned and waved back at the boy, then called for him to come over, leaning over the conference center's banister to shake Stockton's hand.
"He asked if I was going on a mission, and I said, 'Yeah,'" Stockton recalled to the Deseret News. "And then he said, 'Watch my ears.' And then he wiggled them until he got out of the Conference Center."
Though a simple picture, this touching moment and the story behind it shows so much of our beloved late prophet's charisma, his sense of humor, and most of all his care and love for "the one."
Image from the Deseret News.
When Bruce R. McConkie shared his final, powerful testimony of the Savior.
While battling a severe case of colon cancer, Elder Bruce R. McConkie stood in April 1985 general conference to speak of the immortality of men through Jesus Christ. He died just two weeks later, after nearly 40 years serving as a Seventy and later as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Despite having published over a half a dozen incredibly influential books and many more articles and poems on faith and Mormon doctrine, this final witness stands as one of Elder McConkie's most poignant and memorable testimonies of the Savior, of whom he was a special witness.
"His atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity,"Elder McConkie testified.
Of course, there have been many touching first and final testimonies shared over the pulpit throughout the years. This is just one example. To read more, check out Elder Bednar's incredible talk from fall 2015 general conference, "Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name."
When two brothers held hands to hold up one another.
As the camera spanned the Primary choir singing during fall 2015 general conference, many might have been lucky enough to spot two young boys in the choir holding hands. It was a beautiful and fleeting image of love and support, but the story behind this moment is even more touching.
According to a post on Facebook shared by Kristi Medina, the smaller boy requires the support of a walker to get to his classes in school. But he was able to stand straight and tall and sing proudly for the prophet because of the support and helping hand of his brother.
These young boys stand as living testimonies and a tender reminder of what it means to nurture, support, and sustain our fellow Saints in the gospel. They also show us how giving even the smallest pieces of ourselves—our voices or our hands—can change another's world.
These boys touch my heart as I watched them sing today. I thought of the many times I've seen them in the school hall.... Posted by Kristy Medina on Saturday, October 3, 2015
When Then-Elder Nelson helped support a shaking Elder Wirthlin.
At 90 years old, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin stood at the pulpit at fall general conference in 2007 during his 43rd conference as an apostle of the Lord.
Part way through the talk, Elder Wirthlin began to shake noticeably, something his family attributed to locked knees. As Elder Wirthlin struggled to stand and his words became more winded, then-Elder Russell M. Nelson calmly and simply stepped behind Elder Wirthlin, bracing him with his body while placing a comforting arm on his shoulder.
Elder Wirthlin finished his talk, proving to the end that his testimony was stronger than any physical weakness. This conference marked Elder Wirthlin’s third to last conference, as he passed away December of the following year. His final talk given over the pulpit embodied the optimism and vitality of this strong follower of Christ, “Come What May and Love It.”
Many might remember a similar story from just last general conference when our beloved prophet, fatigued from selecting and sustaining three new apostles, slumped at the pulpit during his talk. President Uchtdorf half stood behind him with his arm outstretched, ready to spring to action if the prophet required any assistance. Luckily, President Monson finished his talk with power, conviction, and his characteristic sincerity, but these loving actions by the apostles demonstrate the love and sweet brotherhood that exists between these incredible men.
When President Hinckley spoke of his dear Marjorie.
The love stories of prophets and apostles are ones that last throughout the ages and into the eternities. And no love story is more sweet and tender than that of President Gordon B. Hinckley and his beloved Marjorie, who passed away just two days following general conference in April 2004.
That fall, when President Hinckley stood toaddress the Church, he couldn’t help but share a portion of his love for the woman that shaped and changed so much of his world.
“My children and I were at her bedside as she slipped peacefully into eternity. As I held her hand and saw mortal life drain from her fingers, I confess I was overcome. Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams, to use the words of a song then popular. She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the Lord, really my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.”
President Hinckley followed his sweet companion into eternity a little over three years after giving this loving tribute.