This weekend is a very special time for Latter-day Saints around the world. Known as “Conference Weekend,” members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spend time during the weekend listening to the Lord’s chosen prophet, His 12 apostles, and other general authorities of the Church.
Conference happens twice a year, on the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October. This year "Conference Weekend" coincides with the celebration of Easter and I can think of no better way to spend it than listening to talks about the Savior, His life, love and example.
During conference the Lord's called and ordained leaders offer words of encouragement and counsel. Using the Spirit, scriptures, wisdom, personal stories, clarity, warmth and, even at times, humor they help lift us above the things of this world. Common topics include the Savior and His atoning sacrifice for us, how we can better keep the commandments, the need for repentance from weaknesses big and small, and how to remain hopeful in an increasingly darkening world.
While talking about the Lord’s plan for our salvation and happiness, they teach us about the sanctity of marriage and share ways we can build better, happier marriages. They offer parents hope and insight during the struggles of raising children. They talk of the importance of forgiving others, serving others, comforting others. You cannot listen to their talks without feeling the Savior’s love. Through that love you feel better about yourself and those around you. Suddenly life is easier, the way more clear, and Christ closer.
Despite the wonderful Spirit and eternal messages, though, teenagers and young children often struggle with listening to conference. For years we had to coax, encourage…at times require…that our children watch at least one session of conference over the weekend. Now all of our children eagerly gather in the room to watch and stay awake for almost all four sessions.
My sister-in-law told us of something they did in their home. We tried it, and it worked. My children have named it “Superbowl Conference.”
Prior to each session we fill bowls with a variety of snacks. (We use different snacks at each session so they don’t get bored with the snacks.) I let the children label each bowl with a word they think we will hear during conference. They choose words such as repentance, Jesus, baptism, prayer and others. Then, during conference, if they want to take a snack they have to wait for the appropriate word.
It is fun to see everyone diving for a Holy Ghost chip or a scripture M&M. Some speakers will wipe out an entire supply of prayer grapes while others will send my family snacking through all the bowls. (Over the years we have learned to include healthy snacks as well, such as grapes, apple pieces, dried fruits, nuts, cheeses, jerky, etc.)
Food really does help our family feast on the words of Christ!
The Church is also helping families with children keep them involved before, during and after conference. They have a new Web site filled with a variety of activities for all ages. There are coloring pages and games to print off and take with you. For fun at home there are also matching games on the computer, slideshows and videos, stories to listen to and ideas for things to make and do. If your children are Matt and Mandy fans they also have a section just for them.
The games are not just for conference but any time. Here is the link. Some of the games take a while to load, but they are a fun, entertaining ways to encourage them to listen and learn.
LDS Conference Games for Children
Thanks to modern technology, anyone can watch conference on television, by satellite, over the internet at lds.org (see link below), or get printed copies of the talks to read. If I counted right they can listen to conference in 67 different languages and get printed copies of it in just as many. Copies of past conference talks are also available and all of it is for free. For more information on the conference broadcasts, go to
LDS General Conference Page