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Called to sing at general conference

By Kim Grant

Published: Tuesday, March 29 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Editor's note: One of several readers' memories of general conference.

It seemed from the very moment I made a decision to serve a full-time mission in the fall of 1991, my life began to be filled with firsts. My first significant time away from home, my first time trying to learn to speak a different language. And my first time singing in a real choir.

One of the sisters in our dorm room, Sister Farmer, had a beautiful voice, and she encouraged the rest of us to participate in the Missionary Training Center choir. I hesitated at first, doubtful my contribution would be appreciated. When we joined the rest of the group at practice, I made sure I stood next to Sister Farmer – hopeful her exuberant singing would drown out my pitiful attempts.

As we learned a new song that combined the lyrics and music from two beloved hymns, "Called to Serve" and "The Spirit of God," I felt myself uplifted and glad I hadn't let my fears keep me from singing. But I was even more glad when, at the end of the practice, the choir director made a startling announcement. He informed us he had received word from church headquarters that the missionary choir had been asked to sing in the Saturday afternoon session of the upcoming general conference.

We practiced diligently for the next three weeks and then, when Saturday arrived, we eagerly watched morning conference, anticipating the time when we would load up buses and driven to Salt Lake City.

As the day unfolded, I now found myself experiencing even more firsts. From my first time sitting in the famed choir seats to my first time hearing the tabernacle organ played in its full glory, I will never forget it. And then came my first time being in the same room as our beloved general authorities. Though President Ezra Taft Benson did not feel well enough to attend, I felt as if President Howard W. Hunter, President Thomas S. Monson and many of the others found a way to look into each of our eyes.

I may not have been able to sing like an angel that day, but I definitely felt a little closer to heaven.

Kim Grant has written for magazines such as LDSLiving, the Washington Family, Back Home, Parents & Kids, and Natural Life for eight years. She has two novels with Covenant Communications.

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