I always come away from General Conference feeling enlightened, cheerful, and confident that, with God, I can face whatever is coming next. General Conference is such an uplifting event for our spirits, it’s no wonder so many people love it.
One of the first things I do when General Conference ends is quickly list all of the doctrines, principles, and suggestions that were frequently repeated during the Conference. I thought I’d share what I noticed repeated in this October 2020 Conference because I think the repeated themes are essential for the coming six months.
God Loves Us
I think this is one of the most repeated themes in every General Conference, but I did notice it a lot during this October 2020 Conference. Our leaders know that we are all facing challenges and pain that is new right now along with many of the usual difficulties as well. Life is never easy, but there is one truth that helps us through it all.
God loves us.
And when we face trials in our lives, even global ones, it does not mean that God has stopped loving us. God is always aware of us, and He always loves us. Illness, loss, fear, and other trials simply give us the opportunity to choose to turn to our Father more or not.
But whatever we choose, God still loves us enduringly and eternally. It’s a reminder many of us need right now, that we have a loving Father to turn to when we don’t know how to keep going alone. That He has not abandoned us. And that we are His children.
I was surprised how much preparation was addressed during this October General Conference. Many speakers reiterated the direction to prepare temporally by building up food storage and other such emergency preparations.
But even more of them spoke about spiritual preparation. That we need to build a solid foundation on Christ and maintain it constantly and diligently. That we cannot continue to stay strong in our faith if we do not make the necessary preparations for coming challenges and attacks from the adversary.
I particularly liked that President Russell M. Nelson reminded us about Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon and his preparations for war. Our lives are part of the war between good and evil, so the preparations of Moroni are extremely relevant to us. It might be worth revisiting the chapters in Alma that describe Moroni’s efforts to prepare his people.
Lead Out in Ending Prejudice
2020 has been a tense year for a few reasons. I appreciated our Church leaders efforts to address the pain of colored people throughout the world who face constant racism. Several of our leaders emphatically reminded us that, as members of an international church with the belief that every person on earth is a beloved child of God, we are responsible for leading out in love to end racism and prejudice everywhere we live.
Ending racism can happen with love and peace. We were also instructed that we abide by the laws of the land in our efforts to end injustice, and where the law is unjust, that we support legal efforts to change the law.
Christ intends His people to be one fold with one Shepherd. When there is cruelty, prejudice, and division, that kind of unity cannot exist. When Christ wanted people to change, He worked to teach truth and change hearts to come to God. Living our lives by the truth will change us and help us to make wonderful changes in the world.
In a time of fear and difficulty, it isn’t a surprise that we were pointed to prayer by several speakers in this October 2020 General Conference. Prayer builds our relationship with God. It points us to Him, helps us understand His will, and humbles us to follow our God.
Prayer is not limited by location, time, or circumstance. We can and should “pray always.” Family prayer, individual prayer, and congregational prayer are all essential, but our individual prayers will give us particular strength and guidance when we are struggling – and when we are not struggling. It’s a power we should draw on liberally.
As we draw closer and closer to the Second Coming of our Wonderful Savior, we should expect to hear more and more about the gathering of Israel. We have a very real and essential responsibility to share the gospel, to speak of Christ, and to bring others the truth of our Father’s plan.
Again, I loved President Nelson’s remarks about the gathering of Israel. “Let God Prevail” is a powerful statement and cause for us to center our lives on. It not only helps us gather others, but it helps us gather ourselves and maintain our faith.
We must remember this cause every day. Each of us can contribute to the cause of gathering Israel in our own unique and powerful way. Pray and ask God what you personally can do to support this cause, and I promise He will give you a clear answer. Look to the talks from this October Conference for guidance in your efforts.
We all know how difficult 2020 has been. We’ve all seen the memes and experienced the pain, fear, and disappointments that have made up this year.
But there have been reasons to rejoice as well. We celebrated the 200th anniversary of the First Vision to Joseph Smith. We’ve seen temples announced and begun. We’ve had time with family that had been pushed aside before. God has worked in us this year, and He will continue to do so.
Let’s be realistic for a moment – the effects of 2020’s events will not be fixed overnight. We will not return to our old normal easily or quickly or maybe at all. But we don’t need to look back at 2020 as a cesspool of misery. Instead, we can look back at the work of God and build our optimism for the future on Him.
And there will be plenty for us to rejoice in as we move into the coming days. God will not forget us or abandon us.
What Do We Do Next?
Now that the October 2020 General Conference is over, we need to decide what to do with these teaching for the next six months. If we never revisit them, we will miss out on a lot of guidance and strength.
I suggest finding a way to study the talks from this Conference. There are several groups online who study General Conference together, and there is so much to gain from hearing the insights and testimonies of others who are studying the words of our prophets and leaders.
For your individual studies, you could also try one of these ideas:
- Find the invitations given during Conference. Make each one a focus in your life for a month.
- Find the promises given during Conference. Study what you need to do to have each promise fulfilled and the impact each promise would have on your life.
- Pick some repeated themes to study more deeply on your own. Give special attention to the October 2020 talks on those themes.
- Make a goal to read a talk every week or so. Dig deep into the talk and try learning from the footnotes as well. Take notes and mark phrases that stand out to you.
- Write down a few questions you have right now about the gospel or your life. Study the talks with these questions in mind and see what answers you can find.
I’ve created a 6-month study book that can help you with most of these study methods. It’s designed to be flexible – you pick what you study and when. The study book gives you a structured outline to help you make the most of your study, and you can scale it to the level of intensity you want for your study.
If you’re interested in it, you can download a printable copy for free here. If you try it, I’d love to have your feedback on it!
However you choose to study General Conference for the next six months, make sure it’s something you can and will do. It will be worth every moment and every effort you give it.