Many years ago when I was a young medical student I stood waiting at a bus stop near the university. It had been a long day of studying, and I was feeling weary. While I stood there I was listening to a talk given by Elder Deiter F. Uchtdorf at the most recent General Conference, and I was struck by a comment he made near the end of his talk:
“This worldwide conference with its music and spoken word offers spiritual power, direction, and blessings “from on high” (Doctrine &Covenants 43:16). It is a time when the voice of personal inspiration and revelation will bring peace to our souls and will teach us how to become more Christlike. This voice will be as sweet as the voice of a dear friend.“
“Yes, this is the voice of a dear friend,” I thought to myself. And suddenly I found myself overcome with emotion, and tears filled my eyes. “I love these men, these prophets of God!” After years of listening to them and building my faith and testimony from their teachings, I considered them to be my friends.
This weekend is General Conference, and as I write this I have just returned home from the Priesthood Session, which was a remarkable revelatory experience. President Russell M. Nelson announced a major change to the organization of the priesthood quorums in local congregations, which will have a positive impact on the work we do to serve and minister to one another in our neighborhoods. As I sat in the session I felt the Holy Ghost in my heart, and I knew that this change was the will of God, declared through his prophet.
This is a familiar feeling for Latter-day Saints. Twenty years ago, in 1998, I was in the Missionary Training Center watching Conference on a big screen when President Gordon B. Hinckley announced his goal to complete 100 temples by the turn of the millennium. Being familiar with the blessings of the temple, and knowing how much good would be done in the lives of so many hundreds of thousands of people through this building effort, I felt like I was watching Moses bring forth water from the rock to quench the thirst of Israel on that occasion. I had a similar feeling when President Hinckley announced the Perpetual Education Fund in 2001, when President Thomas S. Monson challenged us to read and study the Book of Mormon daily, and on many other occasions over the years.
And so I invite you to listen to the General Conference addresses this weekend. If you listen carefully you will hear the voice of a dear friend, the sweet voice of our Lord Jesus, as his words are spoken by apostles and prophets and carried to our hearts through the Holy Ghost.