I remember growing up, conference was a party. We didn't have to go to church on those Sunday's. Even in Colorado we were able to find a scratchy station that would broadcast conference. It didn't come in well, but we were always happy to stay home to 'go to church'. However, Conference Saturday's meant getting dressed up for the evening and going to church to watch the Priesthood Session. They often had ice cream afterwards, a sneaky attempt to get us young men to go. It worked. But getting dressed up on Saturday evening to go to church was not something I fully embraced.
And then came the shock of my life...
I don't know when it was, I have to believe I knew before my mission, but I really don't recall knowing, but somewhere between adolescent naivety and receiving my mission call, I learned that there were two additional conference sessions on Saturday, along with the Saturday evening Priesthood session, that went along with two Sunday sessions.
One full weekend every six months completely gone with general church leaders speaking on religious and moral principles.
That was, until I totally embraced it - which happened during the mission.
I looked forward to those two days. I relished at the opportunity to listen to church leaders and it gave me a break from normal missionary activity (which wasn't good or bad, just a change for a couple of days). It also helped my moral compass. Not perfect it, that is for me to do, but it aligns the dial just right.
And now, 12 years later, I continue to relish those weekends. And so does the family. The kids look forward to making tent 'temples' facing the TV as we prepare to listen to the Prophet and other leaders. Conference bingo, french toast with peaches and cream, Sunday afternoon walks between sessions and, often, heading down to Temple Square after the last session, are favored traditions. The older ones are starting to understand a little here and there why we follow this tradition. The younger ones enjoy the games we put together that allow mom and dad an opportunity to listen. But at least some of the excitement that they exude is genuine and real.
But only because we embrace it, and prepare for it. If we considered it a nuisance, we wouldn't get as much out of it.
So to those that watch conference, embrace it. Expect it. Look forward to it.
Good things will come if you do.