A couple weeks ago we had our NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCE. Normally when any kind of Stake or Regional Conference happens I look forward to a weekend of no church, but something about the NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCE caught my interest. The announcements regarding the NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCE were a bit vague. We were told that it would be a broadcast from Salt Lake City, and while each building in the NORTHEAST REGION would have its own opening to the conference, we would all start the main broadcast at the same time.
Let me say this: the only reason I went was to complain.
I know the LDS church is large and it is difficult to get people together for a combined meeting, but just because it is difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't try. I really don't like the idea of broadcasting these meetings. I know we broadcast general conference twice a year, but why not gather the members together whenever possible? Are we going to start broadcasting our weekly meetings? Can I Skype my home teaching visits?
So I went, and I learned a few things.
1- The opening portion of the broadcast was just another broadcast from another building in our stake. (that sucked)
2- People in our stake like to speak loudly into the microphone.
3- Musical numbers broadcast through the internet sound just as awful as you would think.
4- The NORTHEAST REGION is a lot bigger than I thought. (there was no way we could get everyone into one stadium) (and it would take way too long to drive to a middle spot)(See the picture below- Region 4 is us)
5- The broadcast from Salt Lake City felt more like people reading old talks from a different regional conference and changing the area to the NORTHEAST REGION.
Despite having a list of what I hated about the conference, there were a couple of things I liked. Neil Anderson and Robert Hales gave talks and each shared a little nugget that kept my attention.
In sharing his admiration for Elder Hales, Neil Anderson said "The Lord loves Elder Hales, and Elder Hales knows the Lord." It is a simple phrase but it made me think about the quality of life Elder Hales lives so that others do not doubt his commitment to the Lord. I have a lot of complaints. I have a lot of grievances. I also have a lot of admiration for those dedicated to sharing a message of peace and love.
Robert Hales, who was born on Long Island, said "never shut the door of your heart to any of your children." I think about this every day. I certainly don't envision a future where I would cut my children or family out of my life, but there are times when I feel like it might hurt less to have the door only halfway open. I have shut the proverbial door before and it has taken me a long time to reopen it. I decided that I just need to keep it open to everyone.
In summary: I went to complain, and I left grateful. Church wins.