So as mentioned in a previous post one of our main purposes for this huge trip was to attend General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In our orginal plan we were going to be here for Young Women Conference held the Saturday before April General Conference but I had to let that dream go as we would have missed out on Northeren California and it may have wasted alot of miles. So I planned for the three girls and myself to go to the Saturday Morning session and then go out for lunch and shopping....then Michael and Jason could attend the Priesthood session and then the older 5 and parents could attend Sunday morning.
On Wednesday previous Uncle Bob took us to the area to pick up the tickets (which are totally free non member friends), we were pulling into a car park and I saw this lovely looking couple with a young one and said that looks like Mel and Peter Watt (I knew they were coming to this conference as well) and we all thought yeah right! As I got closer I thought oh no its not them, I am losing my eye sight in my old age! Then lo and behold as we went to pay for our parking ticket it was them!!! It was so lovely to see them and their son Will and Mel's brother as well. Then on Saturday after the morning session we ran into Mel and Peter again at the City Creek shopping mall. Then on the Sunday morning session Jordyn told me she saw Mel in the ladies restrooms....CRAZY but always great to see a fellow Aussie! Now lets hope they move back to Adelaide one day and into our ward (haha).
So on the 5th April 2013 my beautiful girls and I got up around 7am to get ready for Conference. They knew we were going shopping afterwards so they all wanted to pack there trousers or jeans....little did they realise at least half of the people shopping would have been in their skirts anyway. As I didn't want to take in too many bags as I was under the impression they may refuse entry to larger bags - we had a few tense moments in the morning trying to work out where we could fit all their change of clothes! It was like shopping was becoming more important that attending the conference. After removing myself from the situation (which is hard in a RV) and calming down we worked a few things out and in the end ladies were really allowed to take any sized handbag in with them so if I knew that it would have relieved alot of pressure (next time....maybe).
As the girls and I walked up to the Conference centre we knew there would be some anti-mormons shouting at us and holding signs against our beliefs so we were prepared for that...but I didn't realise or remember from last time that a lot of members line the streets with signs asking for tickets to enter conference. It actually made me cry to feel as though they may be missing out on something sooooo special! Obviously they don't miss out on conference itself but miss out on being in the conference centre with the prophet and 20,000 others attending! I really enjoyed Elder Packer's talk where he began with a poem. Fabulous ! (usually I fall asleep with Elder Packer's talks). I also felt really privileged to be in attendance when Sister Dalton gave her last talk as the Young Women General President. As I served in Stake YW she was the leader for most of the time and I really really admire this woman and the themes she introduced to the young women and her encouragement of young women worldwide to 'Return to Virtue'. The spirit was extremely strong with me as I listen to her speak. I used all my tissues for her talk.
After this session we did indeed go shopping which was absolutely fun! First of all we took time at Deseret Bookstore to visit with John Bytheway! A fabulous motivational speaker and author for youth of our church or anyone really. He was extremely genourous with his time and talked with us for ages as noone else was really lining up yet. And of course he loved listening to the Aussie accent. He kept telling the girls he had three boys as well that they could marry after their missions .... weird!
Then that night was Priesthood session for males over 12. When Michael came home he looked as though he was lit up from within! How special. We had a great moment talking about what he felt about what he just experienced and I will always be grateful that he was able to have that opportunity.
Then on Sunday 7 of us attended the morning session. Daniel stayed with the Garretts as you need to be 8 and over to attend. I was so overwhelmed again. You can get so caught up with the emotional high that you think about attending every couple of years or so....but then of course reality sets back in. I was thinking of how easy it could be to move to Utah to continually have these experiences (but then again if we lived there we wouldn't get conference tickets so regularly). I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to do this with our children and I hope and pray they felt as good as I did.
Before the Sunday morning session we were privileged to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle's - Music and the Spoken word. It is a half an hour show they do every Sunday morning. It was absolutely beautiful. So soothing I had a 5 minute nap! (which was actually great as I didn't nap during the conference session which usually happens for me)
President Monson's talk was soooo fabulous for us to hear as a family because as he described his experiences as a young boy and with fire he was using so much body language and facial expressions that the children and I were probably laughing a little too much. It was such a special moment to see the children relating to our prophet.
At all the sessions we were also happy to see other Aussie's attending which makes home feel a little closer....
When we were walking out of the Conference Centre Matthew said to me after I asked him how he felt, 'Its just like at home mum only bigger'. Glad you were so excited Matt (not), however it may be a good thing that he feels watching General Conference at home on a small screen is the same as watching it live. Hopefully he feels the Spirit whilst listening to any conference!