Latter-day Saint Life

Conference messages aren’t absorbed in a weekend: 5 real-life lightbulb moments from studying conference talks

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We all strive to listen to the Spirit during general conference and find the messages meant for us. But for Latter-day Saints like Jovany and Levi, and likely many others, the truly transformative experiences come later.

“My experiences tend to come after conference because of the stage [of life] that I’m in right now with my wife and young children,” Levi says, “So, conference weekend usually takes place for me in the weekends and days afterward.”

In pondering President Nelson’s “Think Celestial!” talk, Jovany was inspired to consider where his personal priorities lie.

“We should pretty much decide today where we want to build our kingdom. Do we want to have our kingdom here on earth? If so, we should just be building towards that. But if you want to build a kingdom in heaven, then we’re going to have to make very different decisions.”

Today Jovany is working on building his kingdom in heaven by supporting the ones he cares about most, like his teenage step-brother. Because Jovany knows the importance of having a good role model push you into a deeper, meaningful connection with God: He experienced it firsthand as a teenager too.

When he told his young men’s leader he ”didn’t feel like coming to church,” the leader told him, “You’ll never feel it a day in your life. So get up and go.” And Jovany said that response changed his life.

“That’s part of the reason why I want to help my brother out so much because I thought that I didn’t need to go to church. Turns out that going and humbling myself has … blessed my life in immeasurable ways. So even if I don’t want to go, I’m going, because of my commitment to God. I do need to be a better person, and I can’t do it without the Lord’s help.”

As he was listening to conference after the fact, Levi says that Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “In the Path of Their Duty” clearly resonated with him. He was particularly excited when Bednar shared Alma 48. Levi says,

“Every young kid has read [Alma 48] and they think, that’s the guy I want to be like, the description of Moroni, ‘I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever.’ [A child may think,] ‘Yeah! I’d like to shake the powers of hell, that would be great!’” Levi says.

He felt the chapter become much deeper, however, when Elder Bednar went on to share how Helaman and his brethren were “no less serviceable.” He recognized that they weren’t just good, but that they were “on par” with Moroni. Levi then asked himself, “Who is this in my life?” Who are the people going about doing good? His mother and wife came first to mind, but then as he continued to ponder, he thought of those in his ward who quietly serve.

“One in particular was [our] ward music coordinator. [It] would have been easy [for her] just to phone it in, pick the hymns, and then say, ‘I did my job; I love having a super easy calling.’ But she would pray about the hymns, she would read the Come, Follow Me lessons, and try to pick hymns that were coordinated to that. She would seek additional musical numbers, even cultivating talent. She would work with [ward members] to [help them] be brave enough to sing a song or to play the piano,” says Levi.

The more he thought about all the amazing ward members who served without recognition or reward, the more people came to mind. Levi wanted to let these people know the difference they made but was unsure how to go about it. He felt awkward about drawing attention to such simple but profound services.

“I started just adding [these people] into my prayers and asked, ‘Can I have the opportunity to see more people like this?’” He also prayed to recognize the right opportunities to pull someone aside and thank them for their service.

Following these promptings, and implementing other changes from conference, can be difficult or overwhelming, so Levi has implemented a strategy. He explained how computers can sort emails in any number of ways: oldest to newest, largest to smallest, or other means of prioritizing. But research has shown that asking a computer to prioritize emails is actually one of the most inefficient ways of going through the inbox. Simply starting at the top and moving down is much more powerful and effective.

“I’ve tried to apply that in my life, instead of strategizing and overthinking. OK, I learned about people who are the unsung heroes of the Church, so one of the things I can do is recognize people in one-on-one moments. OK, I can do that, and then as other promptings come, it’s like, I can now do that,” Levi says.

Levi shares his experience in the video below. Beneath his video, hear from Aleisha, J Teresa, and Anna, who also share their experiences with recent general conferences.

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