“How a Conference Message Can Change Your Life,” New Era, October 2017
Feeling a bit spiritually undercharged? Think you could use a little spiritual direction? Well, you’re in luck, because general conference can be just the trick! Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “To the young members of the Church, I promise that if you will listen [to general conference], you will feel the Spirit well up within you. The Lord will tell you what He wants you to do with your life.”1
And it doesn’t end with conference weekend—you can continue to feel the Spirit by studying the talks afterward too!
Conference helps us in a lot of ways. Maybe most important, it lets us draw closer to the Savior by teaching us how to become more like Him. A great way to get the most out of conference is to pay specific attention for teachings about Christlike attributes—whether during the broadcast or while you’re studying the talks afterward. As you listen or read with certain Christlike attributes in mind, the words and the Spirit can help you learn how to be more like Christ.
You can take this quick quiz to see which attribute or two you might want to focus on as you study conference messages. (For a more in-depth quiz, check out the October 2016 New Era or chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel.)
For each of the nine Christlike attributes below, pick the statement that best describes you.
I’m unsure if Jesus Christ is my Savior.
I believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as my Savior.
I hope Jesus Christ is my Savior.
I feel peaceful and optimistic about the future.
The future terrifies me!
I usually just ignore the future—if I don’t think about it, I don’t have to worry about it.
Charity and Love:
I try to love other people, but there are some people who always seem to get on my nerves.
I’m so busy trying to work on my own life that I have a hard time thinking about anyone else.
I desire the eternal welfare and happiness of other people.
“Being pure in thought and action.” That doesn’t sound like much fun!
I am clean and pure in heart.
I have a difficult time staying clean and pure.
I have so much going on that I can’t really find time to look for answers to my questions.
Ugh. Studying? Sometimes it feels so boring trying to learn things.
I earnestly seek to understand the truth and find answers to my questions.
I am able to wait for things without getting upset or frustrated.
I guess I can wait for things, but I can get kind of upset about it.
Waiting for things is the worst. I want everything now.
I want to make sure I do everything on my own.
I rely on the Lord for help.
When working on something, I often forget that I can ask Heavenly Father for help.
I spend pretty much all of my time watching TV, hanging out with my friends, and avoiding responsibility!
I often struggle to focus on the important things in my life, but I do try.
I spend my time and energy on the most important things.
I willingly follow the counsel of my leaders and parents.
I’m usually my own boss—I often have a hard time listening to anyone else.
I follow the counsel of my leaders and parents, but I sometimes grumble about it.
Now look at your answers. Which attributes would you like to work on? To learn how to develop them, you could pick one or two and pay attention for them as you listen to conference.
And if you answered that you’re doing great on every one, keep it up! You can still pick one or two that stood out to you during the quiz and focus on those during your conference study. Wherever you are on your journey of becoming Christlike, you can always turn to the teachings of our leaders to help you on your path.
If you can’t decide on an attribute now, don’t worry! You can always listen to conference and see what stands out to you then.
Once you’ve chosen the attribute you want to focus on, you might want to write it down so you’re ready to receive revelation about it while you listen to conference or as you study the talks afterward. As you listen and study, let the Spirit guide you to some specific ways you can work on the attribute. Check out this example below!