We have satellite at Hacienda Woody, which means we can pull down BYU-TV. And that means we get to watch General Conference in our living room, except for the Priesthood session. This ability is a real boon for anyone with children who just aren't ready for sitting through 8 hours of religious instruction over the course of two days at a local church building. (Note: Woodyettes don't attend Priesthood sessions, so I have an advantage over dads with sons in that respect.)
It was a wonderful conference in my opinion, made better by the fact that our newly baptized Woodyette actually sat through at least one hour each day. Contiguously, I might add. Then, of course, her fanny springs couldn't take it anymore, and she resumed bouncing all over the house. Once the kids have been unleashed, all we can do is try to contain them down at the other end of the house so Mommy and Daddy at least can listen to the speakers.
One highlight for the girls was when the Tab Choir ended one session with "I Believe in Christ." "I know that one!" they chorused. Indeed, they've been singing that hymn every morning as part of their school devotional (if only the first verse) and they were thrilled to pieces to hear it on TV. Also, even though the younger Woodyette didn't sit through anywhere near an hour (combined!) of Conference, she still managed to pick up on scripture stories that were quoted by several speakers. Both girls have that wonderful capacity for hearing things that we (The Parents) are absolutely certain they weren't listening to. They'll sit with that glazed expression of one who can't believe how long this talk is lasting, only to spring to life and say, "The Liahona was the compass that Nephi used, huh, Daddy?" Aha. They do listen.
Speaking of music for the Conference, one highlight for me was the new arrangement of "The Iron Rod." I didn't see who the arranger was, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Mack Wilberg's name attached to it. What I enjoyed about it, however, is that it was based on a melody that I have loved for years and always wished someone would do something choral with: a passage from Holst's "The Planets," found during the movement entitled "Jupiter." I hear this will be performed again during the bicentennial celebration of Joseph Smith's birth. I must have a recording of it.
As Conferences go, this one was, for me, more comforting than previous ones. It's not that the other Conferences didn't contain words of comfort, especially from Pres. Hinckley. This one just seemed to have more talks in it that seemed to be directed at me and my family, and nearly every one of them contained a message of hope, love, or comfort. I was, for example, particularly affected by Pres. Faust's address in the first session. It was, I remarked to Mrs. Woody, the most animated I believe I've ever seen Pres. Faust in all his years as a General Authority. He exuded the warmth and kindliness of a grandfather addressing his family over the dinner table. His talk about having the light of the Spirit in our eyes was very inspirational to me.
Pres. Hinckley's story of the woman who not only forgave but helped the young teenager who put her through multiple surgeries because of a careless act during the commission of a crime; this is the stuff of true Latter-day Saints. These are the examples that we not only need, but should crave in our lives.
Many stories and testimonies were, of course, borne in support of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. I found my own testimony being strengthened as I understood exactly how and why the Lord chooses the humble through which to build his Kingdom on earth. I needed these talks as well.
In fact, I heard nothing in this Conference that caused me any distress. On the contrary, all of the talks reminded me that even though I am imperfect, yet I have the opportunity to improve myself on a daily basis. I need to give more heed to the counsel of the Brethren. I need to be more supportive of my wife and family. (Mrs. Woody may argue that one with me, but I think I always have room for improvement!) I need to be more dilligent in my family history responsibilities. I need to do more to prepare myself and my family for coming calamities.
Most of all, I need to be on my knees more.
P.S. Yeah, I know several cable outlets offer BYU-TV now. But our local cable company, the one we are forced to use if we want cable, the one that has a hard time keeping its executives out of jail, does not. So I got satellite because it does. Neener, neener.