This past weekend, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in the 183rd Semiannual General Conference through television, radio, live streaming and many social media sites. Although some topics such as the priesthood, women's roles, missionary work and the Atonement of Jesus Christ received the most discussion online, several light-hearted and tender moments were also highlighted.
Over the years, members of the LDS Church have become familiar with the exaggerated facial expressions President Thomas S. Monson shares while telling stories at the pulpit to convey his emotions. He gave several "eye rolls" during his talk in the priesthood session, which were later mentioned in conversations online.
But one facial expression that was continually shared this weekend came from a young boy singing with the family choir during the Saturday morning session of conference. While the camera was focused on the young boy, he happened to yawn.
Some chuckles were also heard when Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Seventy had to acknowledge a fly that continued to buzz around his face while he was delivering his message in the Sunday afternoon session. Many commended Elder Vinson for his ability to stay focused. An account titled "LDSConfFly" popped up on Twitter later that day.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve also drew several laughs during their messages after they shared humorous personal experiences.
President Eyring told of his parents, and of their life when they lived in New Jersey.
"My father and my mother were very different from each other," President Eyring said. "My mother was a singer and an artist — my father loved chemistry. Once in a symphony concert, my mother was surprised when my father stood up and began to leave before the applause began. My mother asked him where he was going. His response was, in all innocence, 'Well, it's over isn't it?’”
President Eyring relayed another story about his parents. Although his mother was fond of her home in New Jersey, she had early on let her husband know that eventually she would want to move back to Utah. President Eyring then told a story that took place years later when his father had a job opportunity out West.
"He asked my mother, again in all innocence, 'Mildred, what do you think I should do?' She said, 'Henry do whatever you think is best.' He turned down the offer," President Eyring said. "The next morning, she wrote him a letter that I wish I still had. He immediately sent a reply accepting the offer. He said, 'Mildred, why didn't you tell me?' She said, 'You were supposed to remember.’”
During the Sunday morning session, Elder Andersen shared a personal story of his own regarding church callings. He said it was when he and his wife Kathy were living in Florida that he learned we do not determine the callings we receive.
"One Sunday, a counselor in the stake presidency explained to me that they felt impressed to call Kathy as an early morning seminary teacher," Elder Andersen said. “‘How will we do it?' I asked. 'We have small children, seminary begins at 5 a.m. and I am the ward young men president.' The counselor smiled and said, 'It'll be OK, Brother Andersen. We will call her and we will release you.' And that is what happened."
Although the entire conference contained words of inspiration and encouragement, one act by President Monson at the close of the Saturday afternoon session received one of the largest reactions of all.
When leaving the Conference Center at the close of the session, President Monson called for a young boy to come close to him as he was leaving the stand. The young boy walked up to the prophet and held his hand while President Monson spoke to him for several seconds. This act has received an overwhelming response. Many have shared the image and video of the prophet.
Video and audio of the conference can be found at lds.org.