The Conference Game

“The Conference Game,” Ensign, Mar. 1984, 67

The Conference Game

The live transmission via satellite of all six sessions of conference in October 1982 was truly a time of spiritual feasting for our family. Since we hadn’t had this opportunity before and wanted to take advantage of this unique blessing, our family planned a strategy to help us get the most out of hearing the words of the Lord’s appointed leaders. Our goal was that everyone became involved in an activity so that even Mom and Dad could feel the spirit of conference.

On Friday night we held a special family home evening, where we discussed the importance of conference. We all agreed that listening is more fun when we are active participants. Then we proposed our plan, asking for alternatives and eventual agreement. This is how our plan worked:

1. We supplied each member of the family with notebook and pen.

2. We all wrote down interesting points from each speaker’s ideas, then made up questions based on each talk.

3. We mounted a large score card in our family room. After each session we came home and took turns asking our questions, keeping track of our answers on the card.

My husband and I were overwhelmed with the children’s response to our plan. They had become engrossed in the speakers’ messages. A few questions from the children’s notebooks will illustrate.

From our nine-year-old’s notebook:

“What did Elder Reeve say about love?” (All must have love in their hearts.) “What does it say on the new Book of Mormon?” (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”)

A sample from our eleven-year-old’s notebook:

“Who wrote ‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet’?” (William Fowler.)

The thirteen-year-old wrote:

“What was Elder Richards’s theme?” (Hymns.) “Elder Wells said there have been how many wars since 1945?” (141.)

The sixteen-year-old was slowest to get involved, but after the first question-and-answer session, she really got into it:

“Elder Benson talked about my favorite subject. What was it?” (Family and marriage.) “When was the first edition of songs published?” (1895.)

Finally, samples from the six-year-old:

“What is Elder Monson’s wife’s name?” (Frances.) “What was Elder Reeve’s talk about?” (Loving God.)

After each session we hurried home to reenact conference highlights. Each time it took us nearly two hours to do this and the children didn’t lose interest. (Dad and Mom were ready to move on long before the children were.) We also noted times we felt the Holy Ghost witness the truth of the speakers’ words.

This method of active listening did more than accomplish our goal to help us listen and feel the Spirit. It also gave us a new dimension of insight into our children’s ability to discern the truth. Ada Carol Steenhock, Downey, California

Illustrated by Bill Swensen