Mormon Channel Blog

How an Apostle Prepares for General Conference

March 3, 2016

In just a few weeks, people around the world will gather to hear leaders give inspired advice, warnings, and encouragement at the general conference of the Church.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is one of those leaders. In this open conversation with him and his wife, Elder Oaks lets us in on what it’s like to prepare and deliver a message on behalf of God and Jesus Christ. According to him, it is as difficult as it sounds.

“It’s probably the single greatest worry that I have—I’ve just got to be 100 percent sure that what I’m saying is what the Lord wants me to say. That’s a very, very heavy burden,” he says.

With just six months between every general conference, Elder Oaks doesn’t waste any time. After lots of prayer, he discovers the topic he should speak on. Then he notices that insights on that topic begin to flow to him through scriptures, personal experience, and even letters from members of the Church.

For each general conference message he gives, he writes an average of 12 drafts.

“I’ve never given a talk in general conference where I had less than eight distinct drafts,” he explains. “I’ve had as many as 15.”

Once one general conference is over, Elder Oaks immediately starts preparing for the next.

What do you think Elder Oaks and the other speakers will talk about in general conference this April?