It’s that time again. General Conference. Pajama church. Church for literal days. #ldsconf. Church at home. 12 hours (if you watch all the sessions) of staring at flowers and a really nice podium.
This is a time of rich spiritual feasting for some, boredom for many, and pain, suffering and deep internal conflict for others. I’ve been a member of all these groups, as have many (maybe all) of you. More recently I’ve spent time in the deep internal conflict camp, but for the last 3 or so conferences I’ve had overall positive experiences.
- Social media use. I live-tweet GenConf and have for the past 3 conferences (I think). I’ll be doing it again this time (from my personal account @HiltonConor and during Priesthood Session for The Cultural Hall @TheCulturalHall, so check it out if snarky conference commentary is your thing). It has been marvelous. I largely avoid Facebook and don’t read lots of tweets and that’s been a great balance for me. Some people may feel a sense of camaraderie with using social media, which is partially true for me with my live-tweeting, but other uses tend to shift my focus to the negatives in ways that has not been productive for me.
- Not for everyone. The whole idea of GenConf is that it is general counsel, not specific. This means that some stuff may not be for you. And that’s totally fine. Not to mention that the format may not be the best for everyone (I doubt it’s the best for anyone…). Some people may benefit from splitting up GenConf and taking it a talk at a time or a session a day over a week or two. Customize it for your needs.
- Humor and games. Most of my tweets are snarky. I use humor to deal with stuff that’s insensitive or ridiculous or maybe just really hard to do. I just channel all of the conflicts and pain/suffering/difficulties that I have into my snarkiness. It has been wonderful. It may help to play goofy games, like conference bingo. Or to take shots of Coke whenever people say certain words or phrases.
- Look for God. Some people find God throughout GenConf. Others need to search a little harder. This may be something to do with the individuals, but it could also just be that different people feel the divine in different ways. I’ve found that watching GenConf is a sign of my desire to learn and to be taught, especially when I watch and things are just driving me crazy. I don’t frequently receive answers in what is said, but often have some sort of spiritual experience while watching. Seek that spirit, wherever it is for you. Listen to that because that can be personalized.
- Find support. Surround yourself with people that will help enhance the GenConf experience. It helps to not feel alone. Sometimes this isn’t possible physically, but social media can help provide those sorts of communities. Again, make sure that they enhance the experience. Sometimes being around too many like-minded people can intensify negativity or otherwise push behaviors and reactions to extremes. Figure out what works best for you and do it.
Let’s make conference a good time for everyone. Well, as many people as possible. Do what you need to do to make GenConf the best it can be, for you. But, I mean, who can survive? Not one of us will be alive… (sorry, I just couldn’t help it. I was at the premiere of the new Saturday’s Warrior yesterday and just had to drop a reference.)