News Story

Finding a Personal Way to Make General Conference More Meaningful

Yvette Barnes, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Victoria, Australia, always felt that she was a visual learner and enjoyed creating art.  Her artistic "bullet journal"  has become one way she meaningfully participates in General Conference.  As she reviews it frequently, she is reminded of her impressions and promptings. 

General Conference Journal
Journal of General Conference impressions is a visual reminder of messages2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

A few years ago, when her daughter started making "bullet journals" made up of blank pages in which one can write, draw, or do whatever is meaningful, she got interested.

“I was never completely satisfied with having multiple books—a diary, a yearly planner, a journal, financial records, and notebooks for spiritual thoughts and conferences.  [Bullet journals] are a perfect format in which I can combine them all to suit myself.  The unlined page gives me freedom to draw, be creative and use visual imagery to remember a concept or idea, or a place I have been.  It is a way of incorporating 'mindfulness' into my daily routine as well as organising myself.”

During this year’s annual General Conference, she included her bullet journal in her process of making the messages shared more meaningful and memorable.  For days beforehand, she experienced a joyful anticipation for what was to come, "anticipation that is like a blank page full of possibilities," she said.  Yvette prays and ponders to prepare her spirit to learn what is important for her to know. Just before conference she gathers her bullet journal and prepares to listen.

“As I listen, I hear not just the words the person is speaking, but I try to open myself for what I need to hear for my own spiritual growth and development.  Then I draw, write, and create as I listen.  It helps me move into a meditative state where I am present and focused on the message.”

“I know that there are many ways people seek to make General Conference meaningful to them.  When I was much younger, I noticed people writing copious notes and so I duplicated that process, thinking that it would be meaningful, but as I think back, I recall at times trying to rush so much to write something down, that I missed the next 'quotable quote.’  I came to realise that I needed to just listen with spiritual ears to hear what I needed at that moment in my life, rather than feeling the need to have 'perfect notes' of conference.”

Yvette's journal pages are not necessarily finished when conference is over either.  As she re-listens to the talks and ponders on what she has heard, she may add to it.  As she uses her journal on a daily basis and flicks past prior General Conference pages, she is once again reminded of the messages she has heard and the inspiration she has received.  Her journal has become a personal and easy way to help the feelings of General Conference linger in her life. 

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