For this post, I will take as my text Mosiah 2:5-11.We begin with Mormon’s summary of the people traveling to the Temple in order to hear their king speak. Mormon tells us that they came as families, and that they pitched their tents so that the door thereof was towards the Temple, so they’d be able to hear King Benjamin’s words without having to leave their tent(Mosiah 2:5-6).
We also learn that there were so many people there, that King Benjamin caused that his words should be written so those that were not within the sound of his voice could also receive his words (Mosiah 2:8).Once Mormon has set the scene in our minds of this “General Conference”, he quotes King Benjamin’s specific counsel to those who had come to hear him. He told them that he had asked them to come hear his words, not so they could argue with him, but so they could listen to them; so they could be taught by the Spirit. He also told them that he didn’t call them there in order to exercise his authority and instill fear in his “subjects” or to make them think he was somehow better than them, and certainly not so they would think that he was perfect. He also reminds them that he is just like them, a normal person but that he has been called of God to be their king and that being their king meant that he was expected to serve them, the people.
Ok, so what can we learn from this? I think the parallels to a modern Annual or Semi-Annual General Conference are astounding! First, the families staying in tents. We now are able to gather around our televisions, radios, and computers in our very own homes to hear the words of the living prophets and apostles. But, in order to be able to understand the words of those chosen men, our doors must be “towards the temple”, or, in other words, we must have our lives in harmony with the Gospel and the Spirit must be present in our home. If our home is not a place where the Spirit can reside, we will miss much of revelation and counsel that is available to us in General Conference.
Like King Benjamin, our modern-day leaders have caused that their words be written and delivered to us in the Ensign, mobile apps, podcasts, CD’s and DVD’s. These, of course, are only useful to us to the extent that we use them. I find by reading and re-listening to the talks after conference is over, I am able to learn many things that escaped my notice when watching live. I would highly recommend re-reading and re-listening to conference a week or two after Conference has ended.
Finally King Benjamin’s counsel:
· Don’t argue with counsel received.
o Recognize General Authorities are inspired and we should heed their counsel.
· Have “ears to hear” and “hearts to understand”
o Watch determined to be taught by the Spirit and act upon the revelation and counsel you receive.
· Remember that the General Authorities and Officers are normal men and women.
o They face the same trials we do, life happens to them as it does to us. Therefore their counsel is from the perspective of an imperfect Saint striving to live a Christ-like and Christ-centered life.
· Remember that the General Authorities and Officers have been called of God.
o They are entitled to revelation that Heavenly Father would have them pass on to each of us.
There are several more lessons I’m sure King Benjamin could teach us, but I hope these few will help you get the most out of your General Conference experience!
“Whenever the Lord has recognized his Church, he has given through his prophets messages of warning, instruction, and hope…” –Hugh B. Brown