A Not-So-General Conference
November 2023

A Not-So-General Conference

General conference didn’t feel personal to me—until I made it that way.

woman writing in a notebook

Growing up, I struggled to understand the hype over general conference. My lack of interest didn’t have anything to do with my faith—I’ve just never been that engaged in it. Unlike a lot of my friends, I didn’t celebrate it like a holiday. I didn’t have an elaborate brunch planned or invite people over to watch with me. I didn’t prepare bingo cards or dress up for the occasion.

But as I paid closer attention to conversations surrounding conference, I started to see that those traditions weren’t what people were looking forward to. They were excited about the revelation that they might receive. They had personal questions that they expected prophets and apostles to answer.

It never occurred to me that I could also prepare my own questions or that I could actually get answers too.

I’ve always known that God can speak to us through others, but I always thought general conference was just about general direction for the Church and its members.

Now I know it’s so much more than that.

Trying Something New

The first time I tried to actually seek answers from general conference was during my mission. I was in the missionary training center (MTC) and having a hard time with my family. Not all of my family members were supportive of me serving a mission, and I felt their disapproval when we’d talk. Family challenges had sometimes made life rocky, but it was becoming unbearable when coupled with the pressure of being a missionary.

One day, I overheard a missionary talk about how excited they were for conference. They couldn’t wait to get answers to their questions, questions that they had been preparing for the past week.

I had never felt that way before.

I decided that I would try to prepare questions too and see what happened. At first, I wasn’t sure what I should—or could—ask for. I had some heavy questions, things that weighed on my heart that I didn’t want to share with anyone. I thought maybe my questions were too personal—too specific to my situation. But when general conference came, I had my questions written down and my tablet in my lap, ready to take notes. I didn’t expect much, but I was ready for anything.

As conference started, I couldn’t believe what was happening. The first talk answered my first question. It was direct—clear as day. And then I heard the second talk and got another answer. It was like God was ticking off my checklist. It kept happening, and I was shocked, rushing to record all of my thoughts.

After the first session, I said a prayer of gratitude in my heart. The weight on my shoulders seemed to disappear. I was finally at peace.

Bring Questions, Expect Answers

Every general conference since then, I think back to that experience in the MTC. I’ve realized that I avoided bringing questions to conference because I was scared that I wouldn’t find answers—and even more scared that I would. I didn’t understand what that kind of personal revelation would mean to me.

President Russell M. Nelson has reminded me to always seek guidance from prophets, seers, revelators, and the Holy Ghost and that I can trust those voices to show me what to do.1

Nowadays I’ve made it a habit to prepare at least one question for conference. And let me tell you, my experience in the MTC wasn’t just a fluke. Many conferences have passed, and many of my prayers and questions since then have been answered. They haven’t always been immediate answers, but I always get them.

I’ve witnessed how seeking answers to personal questions from Heavenly Father has changed my feelings about general conference. General conference can be as personal as you make it. Even more importantly, I learned to expect answers. I know now that God is just as eager to answer our questions as we are to ask them.


  1. See Russell M. Nelson, “Think Celestial!,” Liahona, Nov. 2023, 116.