For over five years, I was responsible for coordinating general conference web coverage for Deseret News' faith section and then for LDS Living. Our desire was to increase engagement and draw more attention to the tremendous two days of talks that we enjoy as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it was exciting to be a part of such a work. I loved getting to see people from all over the world interact with the content we were producing and to see friends share the image quotes our team had worked to create.
In the last year or two, my job responsibilities have shifted and this weekend, I was able to avoid general conference Twitter entirely. That is, until I was asked this morning to compile an article of “Twitter reactions.” I found myself logging in with some trepidation of what I would find and was soon flooded by the same type of content I’ve found on general conference Twitter for years.
Let me be clear, tweets about general conference can be very funny and insightful. For example, someone zoomed in on Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s tie to discover that it has airplanes on it.
Just in case you’re wondering… that red tie that Elder Uchtdorf is wearing… those are small airplanes if you look close! #ldsconf #GeneralConference #ElderUchtdorf #aviation #COJCOLDS pic.twitter.com/Mz6bDZKhm7— Brad Ball (@bdball) October 1, 2022
He has planes on his tie! #GeneralConference pic.twitter.com/i6i3vI2b2M— Jason Thomsen (@JTizzyTizzle) October 1, 2022
#generalconference pic.twitter.com/UPEewwRQXK— Pop Culture on the Apricot Tree (@PopApricot) October 1, 2022
► You may also like: 3 of our favorite airplane analogies from Elder Uchtdorf
Or, how about this one regarding the number of immaculate mustaches in the Tabernacle Choir?
It looks like some of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…I mean The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square have seen Top Gun and are channeling their inner Rooster. #ldsconf #generalconference #TopGunMaverick pic.twitter.com/rIjJMAawy4— BJ Farish (@BJ_Farish) October 1, 2022
Some people couldn’t stop talking about The Princess Bride while Elder Hugo Montoya spoke.
Hello. My name is Hugo Montoya. I am a Seventy. Prepare to...live happily? (Can't be the only one who thought of The Princess Bride.) (Elder Montoya of the Seventy speaking now.) #GeneralConference #LDSConf #TweetOften— The Cultural Hall (@TheCulturalHall) October 1, 2022
"My name is Hugo Montoya, you are my brother. Prepare to cry." #GeneralConference— Matty V Watched Conference (@mattvBYU) October 1, 2022
And, this year, Tom Christofferson, brother of Elder D. Todd Christofferson, even got in on the action after his brother was referred to as “R. Todd Christofferson” from the pulpit.
Someone once thought my brother was called The Todd Christofferson — I realized this morning why President Eyring has so much trouble with Todd's name: because he lovingly thinks of him as Our Todd Christofferson!— Tom Christofferson (@tomchristoff) October 2, 2022
There is no mistaking, Twitter can provide some inspiring content, like these tweets about the history that was made when Sister Tracy Browning stepped up to the pulpit.
History made today: Sister Tracy Browning is the first Black woman to ever give a talk at the Latter-day Saint #GeneralConference.@Ch_JesusChrist | @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/6daLGfRTsN— Erin Cox (@erincoxnews) October 1, 2022
#SisterBrowning — the first Black woman to speak in #GeneralConference pic.twitter.com/bOTaoWemc6— Obedient Ankrah (@ObedientAnkrah) October 1, 2022
For the record, I agree that her glasses are a 10/10.
If you are going to base your talk on an analogy to your glasses, you better wear cool ones. And Sis. #TracyBrowning did! #ldsconf— UTDemoLatterDaySaint (@UTDemLttrDaySnt) October 1, 2022
► You may also like: Meet Sister Tracy Y. Browning—the first Black woman to serve in a general presidency
General conference Twitter can also put things in perspective.
98-year-old president of @Ch_JesusChrist explains why he addressed #GeneralConference on a stool— Sam Metz (@metzsam) October 1, 2022
months older than Jimmy Carter
19 yrs older than Joe Biden
22 yrs older than Donald Trump
13 yrs older than Pope Francis
2 years older than (recently deceased) Queen Elizabeth https://t.co/bta34fFeQv
► You may also like: President Nelson explains why he used a chair while speaking in conference
It can also remind us of the joy that comes into our lives as we live and help others walk along the covenant path.
Late Saturday night, after everyone's gone to bed, and you find the General Conference notes your little 9yo was taking (as she watched her mama do the same). 🙏♥️#LDS #LDSConf #generalconference pic.twitter.com/1QXZkLQoaj— Joe Kewish (@kewish) October 2, 2022
I think people are drawn to Twitter during general conference not only because of how funny and clever some people are (and this is undoubtedly true) but also because they desire to understand a perspective different than their own—they want to be empathetic to the thoughts and concerns of others. However, it is my concern that being plugged into Twitter during general conference comes at the cost of the personal revelation we would’ve otherwise received. I'm not saying that it isn't possible to receive revelation while on Twitter but I worry that by being so concerned about what others online are saying, we might be missing out on what the Spirit would otherwise teach us.
So, I will close this very untraditional post-conference Twitter reactions article with the tweet I posted this morning.
Can I just say that general conference is infinitely better when you don't spend it on Twitter? After years of having to be on Twitter during general conference, I was so grateful not to have to view each talk through a critical lens and instead listen to the Spirit.— Morgan Jones Pearson (@mojo7795) October 3, 2022