Reader Led General Conference Discussions

[ 30 ] Comments

by RI Editors

Wasn’t that a wonderful General Conference? As usual, a spiritual and mental feast! The still warm leftovers are available quickly; already has the audio and video versions of all the sessions available online, with the transcripts coming soon. Usually in the days immediately after conference we’re trying to piece together talks from memory and notes as we discuss them while they’re still warm in our hearts. Now we can discuss them with more clarity and certainty through technology.


We are excited to invite you, our reader, to take the lead in the Real Intent General Conference discussion!

Please share your favorite talk from the 183rd General Conference, including the General Young Women meeting, in 50 words or less in a comment below. We will then select a comment to open the forum discussion for that talk.

The breadth and depth of our discussion will be determined by you. If everyone wants to talk about Elder Holland’s talk (because we all want to discuss how to stuff a turkey through the beak), then we’ll have one large in depth conversation. If many people write comments about different talks then we will have a broad discussion of many talks. Of course we’ll only be able to choose one comment to open the discussion for each talk. It might be worth your while to look at what others have commented and choose a talk that hasn’t been mentioned. Please include two questions at the end of your comment to prompt discussion.

Share this with your LDS friends so that we can have many enlightening discussions.  We look forward to reading your thoughts and sharing faith as we continue to ponder, meditate, and implement the words of God’s servants!

Bednar and Perry

Photo credits:, Salt Lake Tribune

30 Responses to Reader Led General Conference Discussions

  1. SilverRain says:

    I absolutely loved Elder Holland’s talk. But most of the subsequent talks rubbed my soul raw. So often, we say thinks like, “people who are faithful are happy,” “people who believe in Christ have strength,” “here is a story of someone who was strong enough to overcome these great obstacles without a whisper of complain or a hint of faltering.” What else can be concluded than if I don’t feel happy or strong, if I am struggling with my particular challenges, I must not be faithful or believing enough?

    It’s simply NOT TRUE. The scriptures are replete with people who lived through misery and self-doubt, yet were faithful. In fact, it often seems those who are MOST faithful live with the most misery, hardship, and weakness. The Book of Mormon began and ended with two prophets who lived out their lives feeling inadequate and alone.

    For the most part, I had a good Conference experience. Elder Holland’s words energized me to better future action. But by the end of Sunday afternoon, I was so discouraged. Each talk sapped a little of that newfound energy. I kind of wish I had just left early!

    • Becca says:

      I loved Pres Eyring’s talk from October General Conference (honestly, I didn’t hear it the first time, because, like you, I was a little put out about General Conference, and I was pouting – someone recommended it after my blog posts I wrote last fall about how I had been feeling – including the “I’m living the gospel but I’m not happy, WHY NOT!?” President Eyring’s talk made me feel better about not feeling crazy happy all the time)

      And the song “I Believe” by Chris August.

    • Adam G. says:

      The prophets and apostles may be–almost certainly are–taking a longer view than you are able to at this point in your life.

  2. Bonnie says:

    There have been times in my life that I felt like that too SR. In fact, I spent three hours at the house of a friend last night who is raw from the preaching of a family member. We discussed the Book of Job, which contains some lovely discussion of how true principles can be toxic if they don’t apply to the situation, and the insistence about misapplying them makes them go further and further afield. The comparison between the way Nephi experienced his life and the way 1 Nephi seems to explain how he experienced his life is profound, and we get a glimpse of it when the record is no longer a discussion of events thirty years in his past, in the first part of 2 Nephi. That has given me a great deal of comfort. Nephi struggled terribly. Jacob struggled terribly. Happiness, in that giddy all-is-well-because-I’m-doing-everything-right way is elusive and uncommon. Unfortunately, people who have not suffered are often quick to imply that of course doing right makes you happy. That’s a long-term end. Not every bad thing that happens to people comes because that’s what they created. Blessings to you.

    I was especially enlightened by the talks on obedience and Pres. Monson’s brilliant discussion of the fire. How foolish we are when we toy with the things of God – like children with matches and gravely limited perspective. I felt like the responses of the brethren were loving and focused on doctrine in current issues instead of calling people or movements out specifically. I especially appreciated Pres. Monson’s encouragement at the end of conference that we be tolerant of those who do not share our values.

    • SilverRain says:

      Bonnie, seriously thank you.

      I have found that when something hurts, it is almost always best to let the waves of pain crash over you. Accept them for what they are, part of mortal life, and don’t make any decisions while you’re feeling them.

      The truth is that I’m sure many people needed to hear example after example of people who don’t complain. It just happened to hit my tender spots. That doesn’t make the speakers uninspired. We always have a responsibility to take our pain to God and let the influence of His Spirit help us sort out what we’re supposed to learn from the pain and do.

      Pain is just pain, emotional or physical. It is there to tell us there is something we need to pay attention to.

      • jendoop says:

        I don’t think it’s just sour grapes. When the Ensign asked for reader feedback recently that was my feedback – I don’t need rosy stories of people who did everything right and things turned out perfect, I need stories of everything but. I must not have been the only one to feel that way because I think they’re changing how they portray faithfulness. This is why Christ is so key to our healing and pain. He doesn’t just look down from a cloud and tell us to do what is right and we’ll be happy. He knows as well as anyone that you can do everything right and still suffer a great deal of pain and heartache.

        • jan says:

          This is SO true……..
          Real life is FULL of ups n’ downs and crazy-ness. I have found the secret is to CHOOSE to look to the good side of life while being very very aware of life’s often bitter challenges. And pray pray pray always, take all feelings to Father Above in prayer, ask Him to help bring peace and understanding to soul. Take it to Him immediately, He is the great sifter, so be completely honest with Him. He knows our every suffering, and wants us to have peace while facing deep challenges as well as the small ones too.

  3. Becca says:

    Elder Holland’s talk struck me on a personal level, especially this part (from the Church News Summary):

    “I am not asking you to pretend to have faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have.” Sometimes people act as though an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. “It is not,” he said.

    Especially in today’s environment where faith is ridiculed, and doubt is seen as this “higher manifestation of moral courage” this was a timely message.

    • Ramona Gordy says:

      My husband and I invited a friend over to watch the conference. My friend has been inactive for the past 2 years and recently came back this past Dec. He has been struggling, not only to “find his place” in church again, but also with feelings of guilt and unworthiness. So my husband is now his home teaching companion, and he hopes to help him. Before Elder Holland’s talk, he was telling us how he felt; he said he knew he believed in God, but he supposed that he didn’t measure up in the faith department, he went on to tell us of feelings of isolation, and unhappiness. We were at a loss as to how to console him. when all of our suggestions seem to fall on deaf ears. So these words by Elder Holland caught his attention:

      “I am not asking you to pretend to have faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have

      Afterward, my friend was crying and he said that was just what he needed to hear and he felt that he could go forward and learn to trust God with his life again.

  4. Paul says:

    I came to conference with specific questions and got a few specific answers — too sacred to share publicly still. I dozed through a couple of talks and will need to re-study them when i can read them. Other talks made my heart sing.

    A few nuggets that really caught me:

    Elder Uchtdorf: “Start where you are.” This is a favorite expression of mine and I’m glad to see an apostle has adopted it!

    I loved Elder Clayton’s counsel to watch and learn. I have learned many of life’s lessons this way — watching quiet examples of my fellow saints, usually without their knowing it.

    Elder Holland’s talk was built around my second favorite story of the New Testament (#1 is John 20). I learned about expressing faith first and doubt second. Very instructive to me.

    I loved Elder Christofferson’s parting shot that without Christ we have only a gospel of social justice and that is not enough.

    I remembered why I love Elder Packer.

    I enjoyed Elder Ballard’s reminder that the men of the church are not the priesthood. This is not new news, but good to have the reminder.

    I was impressed that Elder Cook taught the doctine of Peace. I had not thought about peace as a doctrine before.

    I was impressed at how many times Africa was mentioned.

    And, lest we should forget, we are still a missionary church!

  5. kaylie says:

    Elder Holland’s talk was the winner for me, too, though Pres. Uchtdorf’s PH talk was pretty amazing. Some of the talks were hard for me to listen to, but I try to remember JRH’s words about how sometimes not all the talks will apply to you personally. I felt a lot of love coming from Elder Holland’s talk. In church, you hear a lot about having a testimony as if once you get that witness, that’s all you ever need, because if the Book of Mormon is true, then so is everything else and everything the leaders of the church ever say or do is perfect so don’t you dare question that because priesthood. I don’t believe that. Faith and belief are not linear, not for me, anyway. I build my faith line upon line, and sometimes branch off in ways I never would have expected. I love that he tells us to declare our faith first but also to be as candid in our questions as necessary.

    • jendoop says:

      Kaylie, We used your comment for our first reader led General Conference discussion! We’re talking about Elder Holland’s talk:

  6. Liz C says:

    I’m still working my way through all the sessions, but so far, Elder Holland and Elder Falabella are top contenders for Best Sermon for me… Elder Holland because it was a flat-out gorgeous sermon start to finish, and Elder Falabella because of the deep and sweet love that just poured off of him when he spoke of his wife.

    My husband and I talked awhile about gospel-happy versus everyone-else-happy… he’s recently had some cool experiences related to understanding forgiveness, and I think I was finally able to explain to him what it’s like in MY head most of the time (I’ve spent a lot of years trying to understand what’s in his head, with varying degrees of success)… he’s spent multiple days-long stretches of full-on optimism recently, giving him some insight into why I’m generally pretty happy, even when things are very hard. For me, there’s a huge difference between “giddy constantly” as a definition of Happy, and the peaceful, energized (or sometimes entirely still), patient hope and belief that even though situations are hard, things are under God’s control and I can relax and look forward. For me, the latter is “happy.” The former is just frantic, and unsustainable.

    I’ve had similar conflicts with the word “true”… right now, my working definition as regards the gospel is more of a sense of true = loyal to Christ, not true = we’re right, everyone else is wrong. But when my husband hears “This is the true church”, he hears the negative connotations of the latter, and I hear the positive ideas in the former. When words have different meanings to individuals, the different responses are huge.

    • Brenda says:

      Liz, I love your “gospel-happy versus everyone-else-happy” comments. I spent many years as a self described pessimist. A default position that was the result of trials in my life. The “live the commandments and you will be happy” stories used to grate on me because I compared myself to those stalwart souls and found myself lacking. I was trying but didn’t see the happiness result.

      Over time I came to realize that gospel happiness was not the same thing as the world view of happiness. Happiness was confidence that God knew I was trying. That he knew that even though I was a complete mess he loved me. That there was hope for me. Happiness I found, was peace in my heart even if my temporary life situation was less than what I wanted it to be.

      Now when I hear the stories faithful people who overcome really difficult situations I try not to compare myself but allow those stories to give me hope that it is possible to overcome. I admire those people, I want to be more like them but I also know that God has me on the perfect path for me.

      • jan says:

        ‘live the commandments and you will be happy’ for me means: live the commandments and choose to focus on the good side of life, thus maintaining a sense of happy peace given from the Lord. I am a young widow of 12 years now; out of 6 children only one is active (all raised in the Gospel), 4 believe in God but not church, and one is an athiest. Have a son with high end autsim, NO husband here for us to support each other emotionally/mentally while going through this painful, ongoing challege. Financial/Emotional/Mental strains up the ying yang…..especially coming from my background of abuse by our dad when I was growing up….very difficult abuses. Could go on, but this is the thing I want to stress: Father in Heaven, through much prayer on my part, has taught me to choose His offered peace though the other stuff of life is a raging crap unhappy storm all around. As I do this, life is more possible and do-able……in other words, He is asking me to TRUST Him in spite of every challenge that pulls at me in this life……and I don’t think life is wonderful by a long shot……..but I do love God’s wonderful miracles and helps in life.

  7. Brenda says:

    I was moved by Sister Dalton’s talk on the value of being a daughter of God. She beautifully reiterated the different yet equal roles of men and women and the privilege of being a woman, a wife, a mother. Womanhood is devalued not by her role but by the cheapening of virtue in society. How would women be treated and viewed if everyone understood who she is?

    Elder Holland was amazing as always. I loved his call to be kind when a church full of volunteer leaders exhibits human frailty. To try to understand that when infinite oil is poured that finite vessels can’t contain it all. That resonated.

    • Brenda says:

      And… Elder Bednar’s direct and incredible talk on the question why is chastity so important? When he spoke about murder as perverting God’s way of taking life and loss of chastity as the similar perversion of God’s power to give life it reminded me of a similar discourse given by Bruce R. McConkie in his Mortal Messiah series. It brought clarity to a subject that is becoming less and less understood in our culture.

    • jendoop says:

      Brenda, Thank you for your comment, it led the discussion about Sister Dalton’s talk today.

  8. Angie says:

    I was struck by the multiple promises of peace and strength for obedience and faith. I don’t remember ever hearing a time table on those promises, though it really would be nice to have one! Like Bonnie, it is comforting for me to realize the mighty strugglings of prophets, to see their feelings of weakness even their (to us) apparent strength (psalm of Nephi). There is a tiny scripture in Alma 17:10 that I highlighted during my mission where the Lord sees the sons of Mosiah in their afflictions and tells them to be comforted and they were comforted. I marked that as a sign of their obedience in all things and as a promise of eventual fulfillment from the Lord. They really were comforted, eventually.

    Sister Wixom’s talk was a direct (and painful) answer to prayer for me. We have been struggling with the distinct lack of peace in our home. Even my mother (at 3,000 miles away) felt the need to call and tell me I yell too much. So to have S. Wixom’s talk open with an admonition for a still voice of perfect mildness and then to proceed to outline every aspect of my home that isn’t working and how the inner light of children is dimming was painful counsel to hear. But, that’s often how counsel precisely for me feels. But some of the subsequent talks helped me to take that counsel in a more productive light.

    Elder Clayton’s marital discourse and his seeming laundry list of (even more) things I might not be doing didn’t play like that in my notes because I heard and wrote instead “Do all things that lie within your power.” And I realized that there are a lot of things not within my power to be doing, as difficult as that is to realize and release.

    The thing that I wrote most distinctively about Elder Holland was his admonition to hold fast to what we already know (and do) and wait for more. I can hold to my tiny list of things that are actually going right and wait for the ‘joy [that] cometh in the morning’ that Pres. Monson promised.

  9. I was touched by President Uchtdorf’s story about the African saints who sang hymns while waiting for the power to come back on in their church meeting. It got me thinking about the difference in our cultures that made that a natural response for them.

    I loved Elder Kopischke’s talk on acceptance. I’ve been feeling a little bit rejected and inferior lately and wondering how I could get out of that. I’ve also worried about not being accepting enough of other people because of my internal feelings, so it was wonderful to hear how I could maker sure I am seeking the acceptance of Heavenly Father. Also, it was intriguing to see how he lowered his voice in some parts of his talk that made him seem more gentle.

    My Saturday conference experience wasn’t particularly ideal — trying to catch it on an ipad while waiting for my husband’s 3rd operation in 3 weeks to be finished–but I am certainly grateful for the Spirit that I felt. I loved the emphasis on peace. I also loved Elder Porter’s story about his optimistic roommate who sang “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” on a dark, snowy, winter day. Most of the time I’m that kind of person, and my situation is one where I especially need to practice that. Cheer is often the outright and deliberate choice to defy the darkness of one’s circumstances.

  10. jendoop says:

    Elder Uchtdorf’s talk was for me, my questions were answered! More than questions, it was a confirmation of recent decisions. It was wonderful to hear a prophet acknowledge, over the pulpit in General Conference, in front of the world, that therapy can be a step on a faithful saint’s path of progression. It goes far in getting rid of a stubborn stigma in the LDS community, as well as virtually putting his arm around all of those who have been on that kind of a journey and felt inferior because of it. Hearing of the wonderful life long journey to happiness of a woman who had started life in such difficult circumstances gave me hope, as well as concrete words to share with those who suffer in similar ways.

  11. Deborah says:

    Unfortunately we often see and hear things as WE ARE and not what was being interpretted. I believe truth can’t be changed, and obedience always brings peace. That’s what I heard in the encouraging stories. Why not be drawing out into the light what is positive and possible? They were each very good and inspired talks. All revelent.

  12. Cheryl says:

    Elder Bednar and Elder Ballard answered the doubts and questions I had been feeling — from a political and social aspect. They made it very plain what the commandments and doctrines of the Priesthood are compared with what our society (specifically the USA) has been pushing for lately. I felt relieved, in a way, that my knowledge of the doctrines was not as “outdated” as I had been told, but I felt the stinging rebuke of humility for the way they shared those doctrines. It reminded me that I needn’t be smug or arrogant, harsh or cruel, preachy or unkind– I shouldn’t be! Whether or not I am asked to share truth, I learned that the WAY I share truth is just as important.

    • Cheryl says:

      I agree with you Cheryl, sometimes I don’t know HOW to present my views on socially charged issues and so I come across as smug and harsh. I don’t want to portray that as it’s not how I really feel. I feel strongly about them, but I don’t want to put anyone down or sound holier than thou on issues like that, I know I have a lot of friends and family who have vastly differing opionions and I don’t want to offend, but I do want my voice out there.

  13. Ali says:

    Elder Cardons talk was exactly ehat my husband and I needed to hear because of a situation with a family member.

  14. jan says:

    Elder Holland’s talk……….I cried almost the entire talk……….feeling like someone finally understood me. And only recently have I been understanding myself… emotionally lost was I from childhood abuses done to me/my siblings by our dad. The struggle has been so huge, like this mountain with straight sides and no way up.

  15. templegoer says:

    I so love the humanity of all the contributions here as we engage together in the process of growth that conference offers us, I can identify with each response from the this -is -more- than -I-can-deal- with-right-now, to the take-what-is-good-and-leave-the-rest-behind. It’s so good to have one’s own reactions validated, and then moved on a little. Honesty savoured with kindness allows us to grapple with how things really are and improve upon them, it’s what I’d love to see more of in our heavenly conversations as a church. I want to reach out and give each of you a virtual hug for your honest grappling with the things of eternity amidst very earthly trials. A thing of beauty that bears witness of the truth’s edifying influence. Thankyou, and will be using your words alongside these talks in our family conversations.

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