Why You Should Finish Your Mission Sitting Down


I have a cousin coming back from a mission in a few weeks. I guess it’s pretty common to know a family member is returning and think, “Wow, I wish I would have written her more,” but that doesn’t make me feel like any better of a letter-writer.

To fight that feeling, I took some time last night to send what I thought would be a quick email. I thought I’d say thank you for her Christmas letter, send some brief updates with pictures of our kids, and call it a day.

Instead, I ended up writing my thoughts about a mission and how to finish strong. I’ve tried to articulate these feelings before, but never got quite as close as I did last night.

Here’s some of what I wrote:

There's no way to avoid saying the words "my mission," but behind it all, we really do know it's His. We know that despite how hard we work in the mission field, He works harder. I remember thinking towards the end of my mission that, at the end of the day, a mission is really just a front-row ticket to watch the best show on earth-- seeing the Atonement change lives.

Having that ticket is something special. The best cousin-ly advice I can give is that as the show comes to a close, stay in your seat. Stay in your seat until the very end. Don't check-out early and be one of the people trying to rush to their car so they can get ahead of traffic. Squeeze all you can out of the experience. Soak up the show until the credits are over, the screen is black, and the lights come on.


If I were a better letter-writer, I would’ve said to stay in her seat until the staff comes to sweep up popcorn. To stay in her seat until the usher comes in to clear the rows. To stay in her seat until they call security and have her escorted from the building!

The truth is, however, that missions last just as long as they’re supposed to. When it’s your turn to leave the theater, it’s time to get up and go. But what you’ve learned can stay with you forever if you practice what you’ve preached. As King Benjamin said, “Blessed and happy [is the] state of those that keep the commandments of God” (Mosiah 2:41).

In continuing to live the gospel, you keep your front-row seats for the rest of your life. You see the Atonement working through your home and visiting teaching, through your callings, and through your family. And it goes without saying that VIP seats are just as good for those who never served missions. Anyone who wants to see the world this way just needs to “teach and preach and work as missionaries do.”

So, if I were a better letter-writer, that’s probably what I would’ve said. The message isn’t really to finish the mission sitting down, but to value your seat. Because when all is said and done, the show must go on!

5 Places to Follow #LDSConf on Social Media

The Saturday morning session of General Conference will start in less than 24 hours from the time of this post. This is traditionally the time when Mormons around the world meal-prep for a weekend of family time, pajamas, and note-taking, but recent years have seen members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints using General Conference weekend as a chance to share their beliefs and testimonies via social media.


The church itself has championed use of the hashtag #LDSConf, causing every Latter-day Saint to shriek a little on the inside when they see it trending on Facebook, Twitter, or the front page of YouTube. But aside from the church’s official social media accounts (and from Pinterest nearly catching fire over the next 48 hours), there are a number of other ways to follow-along with conference on social media.

Here are a few of our favorites!


1) @LeadingLDS on Twitter


For anyone not familiar with LeadingLDS.org, we can’t recommend it enough. Started by Kurt Francom, the mission of LeadingLDS is to “enchance leadership ability and capacity of lay religious leaders in order to accelerate the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” and they have a lot of fun doing it. During every session of General Conference, Kurt hands the reigns of his Twitter account over to a different member of the LeadingLDS community to live-tweet quotes, thoughts, and interesting things about their conference experiences. Be sure to check it out throughout conference to get a different perspective or find something you might have missed!


2) #howweconference on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

LDS Living is one of the biggest non-official Mormon websites out there. For the October 2017 General Conference, they’ve started a new hashtag, #howweconference, to encourage members of the church to share their stories of General Conference. This initiative is different than the others in that it mainly involves members sharing memories of conference weekends long past. If you’ve had questions answered, interesting spiritual experiences, or have had your life affected by conference in some way, be sure to share your story using #howweconference!


From @Mormonsketcher's Instagram

From @Mormonsketcher's Instagram

3) @Mormonsketcher on Instagram

Using plenty of color and character, Mormon Sketcher provides a way for you to review the conference talks in comic-form. The man behind the account, Ben Norris, has a remarkable ability to quickly summarize the main points of each talk and teach the principles visually. Perhaps the most entertaining part of his approach is seeing how he tells the stories told in conference in his own hilarious, cartoony way - yet all small enough to fit into a post on Instagram! Above all, however, Brother Norris is a father, and rightfully chooses to spend more time with his family during conference than sketching. This makes it all the more important to follow his account during the months after conference to keep-up on his posts and continue reviewing the lessons of conference.


4) @Maeserart on Instagram

From @Maeserart's Instagram

From @Maeserart's Instagram

Maeser Anderson (@Maeserart) has one of the most recognizable LDS-themed accounts on Instagram. You’ve probably seen his cartoon representations of prophets, apostles, and even the Savior as he’s shared uplifting quotes and scriptures over the last three years. His feed is clean, concise, and at the same time comprehensive. With over 2,000 posts and nearly 6,000 Instagram followers, @Maeserart operates on a whole different level than most who use social media to share their testimonies, and his activity during General Conference is no exception. If you have children, also be sure to print out his free General Conference Activity Packet!


5) /r/latterdaysaints on Reddit


While the other social media resources in this post are largely content-driven, the subreddit /r/latterdaysaints focuses on building a community around General Conference. For those not familiar with Reddit, it functions very much like a discussion board. During conference, the moderators of the board open a discussion thread for each individualized session, allowing participants to post their thoughts and observations. Others can then read the posts, comment, and share their own thoughts to continue the discussion. Imagine it like a digital conference-watching-party with 100+ interested people, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what conference at /r/latterdaysaints is like!


Hopefully this gives you a great start to following along during this General Conference weekend and keeping up on the talks over the coming months. And, of course, don’t forget to subscribe to the Talks on Talks Podcast and sign-up for our newsletter to stay plugged-in to our own discussions of the talks. We’ll be interviewing plenty of guests about their favorite quotes from conference, so let us know if you’d be interested in being interviewed!

As always, we’re excited to play a small part in helping you get more out of General Conference. Enjoy it and #sharegoodness!