Do I really need a “Conference Notebook”?
Your asking yourself “is it really that important that I have a specific notebook for conference?” The Short answer?
Then you think “Maybe I’ll grab a few sheets of paper and write what I need to. Won’t that be enough.” Again the short answer?
My suggestions and the reasons why are based on my personal experience with this process, which means there is and should be tons of personalization, and variation. The guidelines I have for what make a good note book are specific but simple and so can encompass many different styles. So we will look at what a good note book should be, What it shouldn’t be, with some ideas for individualization sprinkled thoughout. Now, please don’t think that I am telling you that you have to go out and buy some super fancying bound book, with gold leaf on the front that sits in some honored space on the mantel.Not at all. This book is supposed to be practical. You are supposed to use it, not just during conference but the entire time between conference.
For me my conference notebook sits right along side my scriptures, in many ways scripture itself, it doesn’t lay out the plans of God for men, and the revelations received by Prophets for all people, it shows me God’s plans for Me, it is a record of my personal revelations from Him. It is personal scripture. President Benson said in a BYU address in 1980,
“God’s revelations to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the ark. Noah needed his own revelation. Therefore, the most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the one living in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us. Therefore, the most important reading we can do is …any words of the prophet contained each month in our Church magazines. Our marching orders for each six months are found in the general conference addresses, which are printed in the Ensign magazine.” Ezra Taft Benson (emphasis added)
What Your Notebook Should Be
- It should be solid. This isn’t something that you will use for one conference and then put away, it’s not even something brought out every conference then tucked away for six months. This book is meant to be used. Opened up repeatedly, added to drawn from. It can be a bound blank journal, a study three ring binder with lose leaf paper in it, even a composition book, or a spiral bound note book. I would not suggest the kind were the pages are perforated, they fall out to easily
- It should be have lots of pages. Something with only 20 pages just will not do, probably not for even the first 6 months. Unless you have writing the size of a Tom Thumb your going to need some space. Again this isn’t one time and put it down. I personally get lined paper, and while taking notes either double space it, or however much space a talk took up, leave at least that much blank space before taking notes on the next talk. We are supposed to study the talks. You will see new things upon reading them or watching them again that you will want to take not of. Because I do this blog as well, I usually leave 2x the amount, so if a talk takes half a page I will leave the rest of that page and one full blank page open before starting the next talks notes.
- It should speak to YOU. Do you want something pretty, or something practical? Do you like Denium or Satin? Plain is fine as long as that is something YOU like. For me a blank page does it regardless of the wrapping (hey I’m a writer, what do you expect 🙂 ) If you have ever had a nice set of scripture covers, think along those lines. What did you want to get, go for a book with the same kind of feeling. This is one of the great parts of a three ring binder.It is forever expandable. As it fills up remove pages from the front placing those in something permanent while still adding more pages at the back. And because of the blank nature of the outside, you can make it be whatever you want it to be. Pictures, stickers, permanent marker quotes, an ever growing piece of art that .shows you journey of growth in the gospel.
- It should be flexible. If you start off with one kind of book and you find it isn’t working for you, try something else. Experiment with things throughout the six months, there are any number of opportunities to create “notebooks” so that you can find what works for you. A Sacrament notebook, a Relief Society/Priesthood book. A personal study note book. Even practical books like home decoration, or budget books. I have kept/keep books recording personal prayer what I am asking for and what my answers are, priesthood blessing book, detailing what was said and my impressions, Some books are 1/4 sheet spiral note pads, others are three inch solid board ring binders. Each one may be different but they will all have common points that work for you.
- It should be portable What if you are traveling during conference, or you get to actually go see a session live. You might go to another family’s house for a session, or be in the hospital for some reason. Something with a hard back (composition book, binder) so that your lap can be your table, and not so big that you can’t easily carry it if not put it in your bag or backpack.
What It Shouldn’t Be
- It shouldn’t be neat. Neat is different than tidy. Organized so that it makes sense to you sure, but I promise you if you are using it to it’s full extent there will be writing in the margins, you may even end up taping pages into the book just to have more space (another advantage of the three ring binder style). I sometimes end up drawing things if I can’t find the words to express what I am thinking. I make mind maps (ideas written in bubbles connected by lines to similar ideas or themes in a overall descending pattern similar to an outline. Great for visual no linear learners check out this here, here and here for a couple of free apps and tutorials,). Try different techniques for different talks, experiment. If you are a person who needs order and you love neat organized outlines with Roman Numerals and the whole deal, you may want to try some of the new quick entry outlining apps for tablets or phone, it’s something I have wanted to experiment with, but don’t want to take the chance of missing something while messing with unfamiliar tech. But if you do try it let me know how it works for you. I don’t imagine many propehts of the past first drafts where all that composed. I encourage you to take the real gems you find and put them into a book or your journal to preserve. This is a working book treat it as such.
- It shouldn’t be what others think it should be, meaning this is yours. A lot of people take notes during conference, but how many continue to use those note through out the year? Our goal is for this to be something you use, so just because they do it this or that way, or have this great idea (including me) if you won’t use it what is the point? Find what works for you.
- It shouldn’t be static. It will grow and change, it won’t look the same two years from now as it does today. And it shouldn’t. you are growing and changing in your path of Disciple ship, so will the record of that path, have fund with it, but most of all use it. Personal study Church classes, Sacrament meeting talks. You will have the most amazing talk resource on this planet, because it is yours it make sense to you, and you will find stories and deep personal meaning here unlike any other mass market “quotes
book or Conference talks commentary.
Okay This Is Great, But Why?
at this point I am going to veer off from what has been largely opinion (though well founded I might add haha jk/njk) and go to the opinion that matters most….Prophets…..during Conference talks……
“(a) neighbor asked, ‘You say you have prophets and apostles? And twice a year in a worldwide conference they reveal the word of God?’
‘Absolutely,’ the member replied with confidence.
The neighbor thought about that for a moment. He seemed genuinely interested and then asked, ‘What did they say in the last general conference?’
At this point the good member of the Church went from feeling excited about sharing the gospel to feeling embarrassed. Try as he might, he couldn’t think of the details of a single talk.
His friend found this troubling and said, ‘You mean to tell me that God speaks to man in our day and you can’t remember what He said?'”President Uchtodorf
“Satan wants us to be slow to remember what we have received and heard. He wants us to minimize and even forget the quiet witnesses of the Spirit that have told us who we really are.” Susan L. Warner April 1996
“In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us. One member testified: ‘As I listened to your address, I was astounded. … Your talk was personal revelation directly from the Lord to my family. I have never experienced such a strong manifestation of the Spirit in my life as those minutes when the Holy Ghost spoke directly to me’…..When I take notes at conference, I do not always write down exactly what the speaker is saying; I note the personalized direction the Spirit is giving me.’ Elder Hales Oct 2013
“We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.” Elder Hales Oct 2013 (emphasis added)
“Decide now to make general conference a priority in your life. Decide to listen carefully and follow the teachings that are given. Listen to or read the talks more than once to better understand and follow the counsel. By doing these things, the gates of hell will not prevail against you, the powers of darkness will be dispersed from before you, and the heavens will shake for your good.” Paul V. Johnson Of the First Quorum of the Seventy October 2005
I think that pretty much says it all. In Jesus Christs Name Amen.
Tomorrow: How to Help Our Kids Prepare for Conference