Southern Virginia to host 18th conference, spiritual retreat June 20-21

By Hannah King

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, June 5 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Attendees watch presentations at Southern Virginia University's 17th annual Education Conference. Southern Virginia University's 18th annual Education Conference will feature a keynote presentation by Elder Spencer J. Condie, emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Lindsey Morgan, Southern Virginia University

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Editor's note: The following was published at svu.edu.

Southern Virginia University's 18th annual Education Conference, a spiritual retreat in Buena Vista, Virginia, held June 20-21, will feature a keynote presentation by Elder Spencer J. Condie, an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The conference, hosted by the private liberal arts college with a Latter-day Saint environment, will feature two days of presentations on the theme “By Their Fruits.” The conference will also feature other activities and entertainment, including the Southern Virginia theater program’s production of the musical “Dear World.”

“The conference theme this year, ‘By Their Fruits,’ was inspired by the Lord’s words,” said Kathleen Knight, who has organized the conference since its inception in 1997. “To his disciples and followers, in both the old and new worlds, Jesus gave a simple, failproof test by which his followers might avoid deception, which is most applicable today: Ye shall know them ‘by their fruits.’”

In addition to fulfilling numerous church callings throughout his life, Elder Condie has served in both the first and second quorums of the Seventy during a time span of more than 20 years. After receiving emeritus general authority status in 2010, he served for three years as president of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.

Professionally, he worked at Brigham Young University as a professor of both sociology and ancient scripture for more than 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree from BYU, a master’s degree from the University of Utah and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to Elder Condie, this year’s presenters include Bruce Olsen, the former managing director of public affairs for the church. Olsen oversaw the LDS Public Affairs Department for nearly 20 years, directing worldwide offices in 11 countries and domestic offices in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles. He has previously served as president of the Massachusetts Boston Mission and the San Diego Temple.

Lee Donaldson, who served as president of the San Diego Mission while Olsen served as temple president in San Diego, will speak at the conference for the second year in a row. Donaldson currently serves as manager of proselytizing services in the church’s Missionary Department and previously served as global director of leadership development for the church. He also has 26 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in the LDS Church Educational System.

Other presenters will include Dr. Barbara van Kuiken, professor of chemistry at Southern Virginia; Rod L. Meldrum, an author and lecturer; Tyson and Brittany Anderson, a dentist and stay-at-home mother raising four children; and Linda Schneider, who will present a textile display.

“Our theme will be expanded by fabulous presenters in the areas of missionary fruits, fruits of the Spirit, fruits of service and more,” said Knight. “A fruitful life is a happy life. It is an abundant life. It is a Christ-centered life. … It is our hope and prayer that this conference will prove valuable, inspiring and uplifting and give us renewed determination and skill to avoid deception in our personal lives and to motivate us to a more fruitful life.”

Full biographies of each presenter and registration information are available at svuconference.com.

Hannah King is the lead writer and editor at Southern Virginia University. She received a bachelor's degree from Southern Virginia and currently resides in Buena Vista, Virginia, with her husband, Andrew, and their pet rabbit, Mochi.

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