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Departing conferencegoers inspired by messages, pledge follow-up

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 9:34 p.m. MDT

Angel Lono, from the Congo, is all smiles after the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Angel Lono, from the Congo, is all smiles after the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — As they left the Conference Center Sunday afternoon, several members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said messages from the 184th Annual General Conference would stay with them long after they returned home.

Pushing her wheelchair toward Temple Square, Kathy McAnallen from Leeds, England, asked, "How do I put it into a sentence what it's like to be here in the presence of the prophet and his apostles? There's a different spirit in the room."

McAnallen said the messages inspired her "to be more diligent in the things I should be doing, (such as) visiting teaching, (promoting) peace in the home and (being) less confrontational."

The experience of attending conference was faith-affirming, she said. "Most of all, I know the church is true."

President Boyd K Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says goodbye to fellow apostles at the conclusion of the 184th Annual General Conference. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) President Boyd K Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says goodbye to fellow apostles at the conclusion of the 184th Annual General Conference. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Ian Patton, a young adult from south Florida, said attending conference was "much different in person. I need to contemplate the messages and apply them." Accompanying Patton was Mary Garbett of Salt Lake City, who said "it was nice to be there" in the Conference Center for the session.

Visiting from a closer location — North Ogden — Sara Middleton and her daughter, Kaytlyn, 11, each had choice recollections of the event.

Of comments from President Thomas S. Monson, Sara Middleton said, "When the prophet said 'Heavenly Father is real,' I said, 'That's it!’ ” She also said the messages gave her thoughts she could "use throughout the week," and she would try to "help other people feel the Holy Spirit."

Friends gather under an umbrella after the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Friends gather under an umbrella after the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Kaytlyn's impression of conference included, "How cool the spirit was and seeing the prophet" in person.

Returned missionary Kalyn Walker, from Claremont, Calif., who just returned from the Berlin area, said she "loved (President) Boyd K. Packer's statement that 'every broken heart shall be mended.’ ” She also appreciated Elder William B. Walker's emphasis on family history and the legacy all Latter-day Saints can claim of the faith's pioneers.

Her cousin, Heather Jensen from Layton, said being at the Conference Center helped her recognize "our responsibility to read the (conference) messages and listen to them again."

Jensen said she appreciated Elder Michael John U. Teh's talk, "For Where Your Treasure Is," which included Teh's experiences with Philippine earthquake survivors who had lost many material goods but not their faith.

View from the foyer after the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) View from the foyer after the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"I loved how he talked about worldly things that maybe I place too much emphasis on," Jensen said.

One of the more-distant visitors was Jean Claude Mabaya from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"I was very, very happy to be here," Mabaya said as sunlight bathed the area outside the Conference Center. "I understood many of the topics. I am happy to be here and to hear the prophet's thoughts. And, yes, I will study the conference messages again."

Those studies are likely to continue in many locations: Blake Boatright, bishop of the Winder 12th Ward in Salt Lake City, said that while he and his wife plan to "live, review, pray and apply" the lessons of the messages they heard at conference, he and his associates in the ward will also use these messages to plan themes for lessons.

Statue of the Prophet Joseph Smith looms during the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Statue of the Prophet Joseph Smith looms during the Sunday morning session of the 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Email: mkellner@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @Mark_Kellner

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