Conference played a huge role in my life growing up. My parents went every year for as long as I can remember. As a result, when I was a child, Conference weekends in the spring and fall meant baby-sitters, some cool, some not. My parents would often have newly-married couples stay with us, giving them a peek into the world of having children. This usually did not end well for those couples, but that's another post. When I turned 12, I got to go to Conference for the first time - kind of my own first Hajj (well, not really). My friend Adam went with me. We flew to Salt Lake City on our own on this airline:
|NOT a banana!|
|The Hotel Utah|
When I was a freshman at BYU, Conference was a great weekend to impress the ladies - I was usually able to score tickets, good tickets, through my dad and it was pretty cool, or at least I, in my awkward, deluded 18 year old head, thought it was to take a date. It probably wasn't.
My first weekend in the mission field after two months in the MTC learning Spanish was Conference weekend. It was a little disconcerting to walk out of the Saturday afternoon session of the Hialeah chapel to see two alligators sunning themselves on the lawn of the church. That was the same weekend I was introduced to the magic of the all-you-can-eat Cuban buffet at King Yayo's on W. 49th Street.
Fast-forward to 2007...I'm the father of a son who has just turned 12 and it's time for three generations of Lyons' men to meet for Conference. The Boy and I flew out to Salt Lake City and met my Mom and Dad. We took Dad down to BYU and spent some serious quality time together. The highlight was the Saturday evening Priesthood session where the three of us would attend together for the only time, as Dad would be gone two years later. Conference was a powerful source of spiritual food and rejuvenation for my Dad and it was an honor to be there with him and my son.
So Conference weekend is here again. Take it in if you can. It's open to all. Go here to find out how to watch it or listen to it. And if you happen to be in Salt Lake City and have some spare tickets, the Middle-Aged Mormon Man is looking for some. He'll be the guy in a white shirt and may or may not be pulling a handcart.