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UP CLOSE: Online Life– General Conference

By Michelle Lehnardt

9718_6285_firstpresidency_stI didn’t get to relish Elder Uchtdorf’s talk yesterday.

Between some sort of scuffle over Legos and finding crayons and gathering ingredients for apple cake it was all too soon that his sonorous voice pronounced, “Of this I testify, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Argh! I missed it.

No worries. I can simply go to lds.org, pull up the screen with his handsome face and watch or listen to his talk as often as I please (but with Elder Uchtdorf it’s always best to watch). On Monday morning I may just turn on the entire session to keep me company as I clean the kitchen. By Tuesday, I’ll be able to pull up written transcripts, print them out if I like and start marking them up for my lesson next Sunday. A talk from this conference may remind me of an old favorite and with a few clicks on the lds.org search engine I’ll find that talk too.

It’s a wonderful, wonderful online life.

I grew up in Utah, so watching General Conference has always been pretty convenient. But once the words faded on Sunday afternoon, you didn’t see them again until the Ensign arrived 4-6 weeks later. And for my friends outside of Utah, the Ensign was their first glimpse at the modern prophet’s words.  Satellite dishes spread the feast across the United States in the 70s and the advent of VCR in the early 80s allowed tapes to be sent across the ocean. From my understanding these tapes were played during the 3rd hour of church over the course of several weeks– a strange sort of spiritual banquet.

If you wanted to reread a talk from conference, the dog-eared Ensign (or Liahona) was your only option. And if you wanted to find an older talk you’d better hope that Mom had saved them all in a box in the basement.

With greater access to the words of the prophets we should also gain greater understanding. How has the internet affected the way you watch General Conference? Have online discussions of conference talks enriched or detracted from your testimony? How often do you look up information on lds.org? How does the internet help you understand the words of the prophets?

About Michelle Lehnardt

(Blog Team) I'm the kind of mom who drives through mud puddles, throws pumpkins off the roof and lets the kids move the ping-pong table into the kitchen for the summer. Despite (or probably, because of) my immaturity, my five sons and one daughter are happy, thriving, funny people. I'll climb a mountain with you, jump into a freezing lake hand-in-hand or just sit with you while you cry. I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ will heal the earth. Founder of buildyourteenager.com, scenesfromthewild.net and rubygirl.org.

12 thoughts on “UP CLOSE: Online Life– General Conference”

  1. Today the internet really helped me out, because for some reason our antenna cut out on KSL right when Conference started (it worked fine yesterday). I thought moving to Utah meant I didn't have to watch on my little laptop anymore, but until we're willing to pay for cable it might be the best option. Like you, I love having options, especially since my kids aren't always quiet and I'm not so good at staying awake. I like using the internet to reread talks, especially when they come up as topics for RS lessons later in the year.

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  2. The internet has increased my viewing of General Conference, be it on Conference weekend, the first week after when we still haven't seen the recording at church, or any time during the year when I want to review a talk and can't find my dog tired conference Ensign. I can't imagine having to wait for tapes to arrive – instant gratification please thank you very much!

    LDS.org is my go-to resource, I go there at least once a week. I love Pres Uchtdorf as well. The first time I heard his "create" address was on my MP3 player, as the plane was descending into Brisbane, where I was going to spend the weekend at the temple and with my friend Tasha. That memory is burned into my heart, and wouldn't have been possible without internet access.

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  3. I'll be even more emphatic and say not only has the internet increased my attention to and enjoyment of Conference and my maturing ability to see Church leaders as beloved individuals instead of a faceless wall of suits (black, charcoal, or pink) – I will say that the Bloggernacle, and its semiannual set of Conference-related threads have taught me to love, to celebrate, and to anticipate Conference more than I ever thought possible.

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  4. I really miss going to the stake center to watch the conference on satellite. I wish that I could do it here in Utah and my husband and I could take turns staying home with the kids and watching uninterrupted.

    I didn't get much out of the first 3 sessions because of my kids, and decided to do something about it during the last session. I sat at the computer, ready to blog my notes, and listened to the audio stream online. It was really great. "Yes I doooo, love technology. Always and forever."

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  5. I often clean while listening to General Conference talks. I remember one time when I was working away, trying to regain some order in the chaos that was my children's room. I listened to a talk by Elder Holland that I ended up replaying 10 times. It was so powerful and just what I needed at that time.

    I'm so grateful for the internet. I only work one day a week, on Saturday and so I missed the first day of conference. Being able to access it online is a tremendous blessing.

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  6. A couple weeks ago I listened to last April's conference while I painted the bathroom. I got through two full sessions and Elder Uchtdorf's Oct. 2008 RS message (classic). It was a good way to prepare for this conference; I might just find more rooms to paint.

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  7. As I was struggling to stay awake during Elder Cook's talk today I was especially grateful for the Internet. I just could not stay awake (too many cinnamon rolls!) and I fell asleep to the thought, "It's okay, I'll catch it online later tonight…"

    Hooray for the Internets.

    Also it never occurred to me to really savor General Conference weekend the way I do now until I started to find all these wonderful LDS bloggers who write about their traditions. I tell you, a lot of my friends think the Internet is a waste of time, but I really think it's the cat's pajamas, and my testimony has been strengthened immeasurably because of it.

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  8. I love what technology does for us in this way, although sometimes I miss gathering with other saints to watch.

    I have had to change some of my online activities during conference time, though. For all that I love discussion and hearing what inspired others, sometimes the wrong kind at the wrong time can distract from and/or bias my own processing of the messages.

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  9. I can relate to the Conference craziness, but my six year old inspired a new Conference game:
    CONFERENCE SCRABBLE!
    After he had dumped the game all over, adding the bazillion pieces to his pile of Legos, the Spirit said, "Hey, you could make temple, and prophet, and…." and Conference Scrabble was born!
    I wrote out a few familiar church words, and my son spent the next fifteen minutes trying to make them.

    That just leaves me with 7.75 hours to preoccupy next Conference :-)!

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  10. The Internet doesn't affect my conference experience during the actual conference, but I love being able to look up the talks before the Ensign comes out and long after my conference issue has been lost. I also love being able to download both MP3 and video versions to my iPod. I often listen to talks while shopping or running errands.

    There is much to be gleaned from the written word and I love printing out talks and marking them up for my personal use, but I also love being able to hear the emotion and meaning in the speakers' voices. I love that the Internet makes either just a click away.

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