The day started with us waking up extra early. We had a really hard time with that, but it's not like we have to do it every day. Of course, if we did wake up early every day, we wouldn't have a problem waking up early...
Anyway. We decided to give Mimsy her medicine before changing into our nice clothes for the conference, but we hadn't even managed to do that when our ride knocked on the door about half an hour earlier than we had agreed on. She had to wait outside while we finished with Mimsy, because we had already grabbed the cat by that point, and if we let her go, there was no telling if we'd get her back. Our driver apologized for being early and waited patiently while we got dressed, but we didn't have time to eat breakfast, boo. Apparently she had gotten bored or restless or something waiting for her brother and the two guys, who had come from out of town to go to the conference and were staying at her house, to finish getting ready. But her family graciously shared the breakfast they were having. But we're too hesitant to take people up on such offers, so we didn't eat nearly enough. This turned out to be a Bad Idea, but we were in convention mode now, so we were able to cope.
When we got to the West Stake Center--the church right next to the Fresno temple, where the Fresno branch of the conference was being held--it turned out to be exactly like all the other conventions we'd been to! We got in the pre-reg line where we got badges with our names that even had fancy lanyards. The difference with this conference, though, is that the lanyards were color coded (I guess they have color coding on the badges at AX and Comic Con, but the lanyards are all the same color). Our deductive reasoning (or rather, our ride's deductive reasoning) led us to the accurate conclusion that it was based on age groups. We had green lanyards, which put us in the old, decrepit group of about 26 or 27 and up. (We ran into our Relief Society president while I was saying we were in the decrepit group, and she overheard it and said, "Did you say decrepit? Definitely! ... ... ...not decrepit!" She's a cute person. She was in the blue group, right under green.)
I'm going to be honest and say that we were annoyed by the line situation. We were all waiting in line, and a shuttle came by (parking was faaaaar in the distance; there were a lot of people attending, but it was only one church building, with just one parking lot), and one of the usher people came by and asked us to move out of the way... and there was approximately nowhere to move to. They should have expected lines and planned for it! But I guess it was just because registration hadn't officially opened yet that the lines were a little longer than they expected them to be for the most part.
When we finally got our old green lanyards, we went into the chapel and waited for the first part of the conference. Of course we had arrived early for registration, which didn't take long at all, and the meeting wasn't going to start for at least another hour, so there was a lot of sitting and small talking. We did a lot of looking around at people's lanyards to see if our guess was right about the age-group color coding. (Later we ran into our bishop, and he just told us without us even asking, but it was because we asked about the pink lanyards. They didn't have an official group--they were for the ones where they ran out of the right color.) Also we were checking to see if there were any cute guys with green lanyards.
Prelude music was supposed to start at nine-thirty, but the organist was late and it didn't start until nine-thirty-five. This bothered me for three reasons. The first and most important to note is that I'm being dumb. The second is that I was bored just sitting and waiting for the meeting to start. And the third is that the organist is from our ward and so we know her and we know that she gets annoyed when people are irreverent in the chapel. Prelude music is one of the things we use to inspire reverence, so it really needs to start on time. We could see (or hear, actually) her annoyance with the loud chatter when she started playing the song "Reverently, Quietly" in a way that sounded like a mother yelling at her unruly children. I actually used to do the same thing when playing the prelude music in Relief Society, so I definitely understand her frustration. But now, as an outside observer, we were able to realize that it only added to the din, and it would probably have been better for her to play it much much more quietly. Like how the best way to get a child to stop yelling is to whisper to them (or so all the random shows we've seen on parenting, and a generic brand not-actually-Cheerios box, have taught us).
At nine-forty-five, they showed a short video on all the neat things the various wards had done before the conference, like beach-cleaning and quilt-sewing (to get ready for the quilt-tying) and the spaghetti dinner our ward had to raise money for registration for any guests our ward invited. The different branches of the conference were all held right next to one of the California temples, so they showed each of them, and when they got to the Fresno temple everybody cheered. Normally, we would have probably cheered... for the Los Angeles and San Diego temples... but we were in the chapel, which is not a place to be cheering.
Next they spent a good long time telling us the schedule in detail, including where everything was. That was unusual for a convention, or even a church meeting. For a convention, they just put all that stuff in the program, and at regular church meetings, they usually tell everybody where to go next once a meeting has finished. And then we finally got to the really good stuff.
They showed us a video message from Elder L. Whitney Clayton that centered on Luke 2:52: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." The reason Elder Clayton chose that scripture is that it's the only scripture that describes anything about the Savior's life between the incident when Mary and Joseph found him at the temple with the philosopher guys and when he started preaching and going around with the Apostles and stuff. Basically, it describes how the Savior grew up, and the idea is that we should grow that way, too. So Elder Clayton took the four different things mentioned and discussed each of them in more detail.
I'm not sure how much I can remember of each of them, but I'll try my best! For wisdom, he made sure to point out the difference between being learned and being wise. The main thing I remember is his definition of wisdom: accumulated good choices. Part of the idea is that you don't have to experience everything to know if it's good or bad--you can make good choices based on what you know, or the examples of other people. And as you make good choices, you gain experience and wisdom. I think it made more sense when he said it, because I'm clearly forgetting some details.
Stature was an interesting one that he went into, because he said it doesn't only refer to height. He said it also refers to... oh, what was it? Morality and stuff. This is where he talked about how every body is a temple and needs to be kept sacred. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a lot of rules in regards to this, like we don't drink alcohol or caffeine. It's not like you'd get excummunicated for these, but we're told not to get body-piercings (except women can have one hole in each ear) or tattoos. And of course staying clean is important, as is dressing modestly. Women tend to get the modesty lesson more than men, I think, because when women dress too immodestly, it gives the men ideas. There were a lot of different workshops and talks and things, so I don't remember for sure, but I think this is the place where the speaker said he definitely doesn't think it's the women's fault when men sin, but if all women were to raise their standards, everyone would be better in general.
Growing in favor with God seems pretty obvious--keep the commandments! Tadah! Also, read your scriptures, go to church, pray. Those are the answers they teach everyone from the time they're really really small, because they help with everything. Having grown up doing those things, I definitely think it helps in life. This is where Elder Clayton said that the one thing we have that truly belongs to us that we can give to the Lord (because everything else is already His) is our will.
Growing in favor with man was a good one. In the Church, we're taught not to do things just to be popular or stuff like that, so I was like, "Wha...? Why would we be learning about this?" But Elder Clayton said something very important, and that is to be the very best you can be, and not to settle for mediocrity. (Actually, we were really happy to hear this one, because we tend to lament the mediocrity of things, and we think more people need to learn to make things better than "good enough.") Of course he pointed out that you might not be able to be The Best at everything (and don't try too hard for that, either, because then you get competetive and stuff), but you can always be Your Best.
After the video, there was a brief discussion led by the presiding Area Authority, Elder Scott D. Whiting. I... actually don't remember much of that. He opened the floor to questions, but not many people were eager to jump up and say anything. There were people worried about college and how to figure out what major to choose and stuff. I listened but didn't pay much attention, because we graduated five years ago. Anyway, I think the response was not to worry too much about choosing The Right Major, because it's okay to adjust your decisions, as long as you have a degree in something. But everyone in the Church is encouraged to get an education.
And that's all for now! This conference was a lot shorter than the two conventions we went to, but it felt more jam-packed.
Today I'm thankful for having a lot of fun at the conference, Mimsy not being killed by having her medicine times out of whack, finding a check in the mail yesterday, all the good talks and workshops and stuff at the conference, and getting to play DDR.