Young men in the American Fork Utah Hillcrest Stake had a taste of mission life and gained a greater appreciation for the Prophet Joseph Smith during a unique three-day conference in June.
More than 220 deacons, teachers and priests dressed in white shirts and ties attended the stake's first-ever Aaronic Priesthood Mission Conference. They climbed to Ensign Peak overlooking Salt Lake City, learned about the Restoration and the martyrdom and did neighborhood service projects.
"The whole purpose of the conference was to get our young men to think more directly about serving missions and have some spiritual experiences," said President Craig B. Terry.
A Florida couple, who were not Church members, encountered the group at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and were intrigued with their dress and demeanor. After talking to an Aaronic Priesthood leader and viewing the new Church film "The Testaments," the couple wanted to know more about the gospel, President Terry said.
Jeff Toone, a deacon in the Hillcrest 2nd Ward, said he came away with a greater desire to fulfill a mission.
The conference ended with workshops on obedience, preparing for a mission and a testimony meeting. "We felt the Spirit very strongly in each of our sessions," President Terry said.