How to encourage young people to listen to general conference

As a bishop, I strive to encourage the young people in my ward to listen to general conference by planning or doing the following:

  • Encourage parents to attend the Saturday sessions with their families, not just the Sunday sessions. If someone in the family can't make it on Saturdays, other family members could take notes. Family members could be assigned a session and report on the session later.- Plan a sacrament meeting the Sunday before general conference to emphasize revelation. The Church is based on revelation, and our Church leaders are those the Lord has called to enlighten us. We'll call youth-oriented speakers and maybe some youth speakers, themselves. We'll emphasize that the ways we receive personal revelation are through the scriptures and through our living prophets who will be speaking to us during general conference. We will also speak of the importance of sustaining the Lord's anointed.

In addition, I want to emphasize that the speakers encourage the youth and others to take notes of the thoughts that come about what a speaker is saying. In other words, take notes according to one's feelings

  • Discuss with youth leaders how we can encourage young people to listen to general conference. We get ideas from these leaders. Maybe the leaders could call the youth just before conference and invite them to listen. Or maybe the class could make it a class project to attend at least one session together. Thus, they support and draw from each other.
  • Hold a fireside after conference. We could hold an informal discussion and question/answer session and ask youth leaders to participate.
  • Richard G. Dicks, Winter Haven, Fla.

What we did:

Voices of prophets

I'm an early-morning seminary teacher. I try just before general conference to emphasize how wonderful it is to live in a day and age where we can hear the voices of the prophets. One year, just before conference, we watched the video of President Gordon B. Hinckley's life.

I talked about how neat it was to listen to this prophet and how excited I was to listen to the prophet talk to us during general conference. I try to build up the prophets to the youth. This year in seminary, we're studying the prophets.

Last conference, there were a couple of my students who went to all the sessions. - Jeanette Merrifield, Red Lion, Pa.

Family tradition

We have made attending general conference a family tradition. We live outside of Utah, so we "attend" general conference at our stake center. What better way to strengthen our family than to listen together to the counsel of the Lord through His prophets!

Before general conference, I prepare a "conference folder" for each of our children. These folders contain pictures to color for the younger children and special sheets of paper with a picture of each of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles at the top.

We encourage our children to listen and take notes - making particular note of those things which impress them. We try to discuss the things we learn in a Sunday family time or a family home evening soon after general conference.

Here, we can make plans to implement the counsel we have been given. General conference has become a time that we look forward to - a time together that we cherish. - Julie Morain, Fort Collins, Colo.

Interesting facts

Being a 17-year-old teenager, I know of important solutions to this common problem.

  • Often-times if a parent, relative or friend will point out an interesting fact or bit of knowledge about the current speaker, I want to listen or see if that comes out in their talk. For instance, my mother told me of President Boyd K. Packer's love of birds and coincidently, birds were in one of his talks.
  • Another way is pointing out the callings of speakers. Sometimes my father will tell me that the Young Men or Young Women general president will speak next.
  • The following weekday after conference, we will go over or test each other in seminary about individual topics and speakers. It helps if the teacher reminds us before conference so we can participate in discussions later. - Tiffany Sanford, Sandy, Utah

Listen for topic

  • Young children in our family have focused their attention on conference speakers by choosing a word to listen for with each speaker, such as faith, love, family, home. They then count the number of times it was heard.
  • An older child has sometimes checked the Church Almanac for a fact about each speaker. Such facts include their date of birth, date sustained, number of children, etc.

My 14-year-old grandson phoned me from another city after he had attended the priesthood session of the April 1997 general conference. Elder Henry B. Eyring had offered an address. My grandson said, "The name is Bennion," meaning Elder Eyring's middle name. We had earlier memorized middle names, and my grandson was ahead of me in checking the full name of the newest apostle!

  • It has been a practice in our home for children and grandchildren to be able to name members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in order. This has added interest. - Ione J. Simonson, Phoenix, Ariz.

Family hour

Primary leaders often work up a questionnaire for the children to take home for things to listen for. These include simple questions, such as "Who was the first speaker?" and "What did President Hinckley speak about?" This has helped our children want to listen.

We always have a family hour after the last session of conference on Sunday. The children are encouraged to listen during the sessions, to choose their favorite speaker and to report on that to the family.

Adults need to set the example of listening. We have tried to use general conference topics as family home evening topics for the next six months. - Eris Clayson, Firth, Idaho

How to checklist:

1 Be a good example; listen to general conference yourself.

2 Make it a family tradition; discuss topics together.

3 Share with youth itneresting facts about speakers.

4 Explain importance of revelation given through leaders.


Oct. 4 "How to apply general conference counsel in your life."

Oct. 18 "How to find balance as primary caregiver of a sick or elderly loved one."

Oct. 25 "How to fortify your homes against evil."

Nov. 1 "How to avoid a mid-life crisis."

Nov. 8 "How to help your marriage grow while you're in college."

Nov. 15 "How to encourage children and young people to be physically active."

  • Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to get out of a rut in your career," "How to develop a healthy dating relationship," "How to help yourself or loved one overcome an abusive nature."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: [email protected] Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

Sorry, no more articles available