I spent most of my morning in a very enjoyable Stake Conference. Many of you were probably there, too. After all, it included 61 stakes and one district covering nine Midwestern states.
President Boyd K. Packer presided, and Elder Robert C. Oaks conducted. Elder Keith K. Hilbig, a Milwaukee native, also spoke, as did Sisters Packer, Oaks, and Hilbig. All six of the speakers were in Salt Lake City, while I listened with the members of two wards in the Madison, Wisconsin stake. Other attendees were scattered across the Midwest in any Church building with a satellite feed. According to Elder Oaks, this is the new order of Stake Conferences:
* Two Stake Conferences per year
* The Stake President presides at one Stake Conference per year
* A General Authority will visit each stake once every two years
* An Apostle will preside via satellite over a multi-Stake Conference once every two years
I hope this doesn’t sound petty and ungrateful, but what is the point of having a satellite Stake Conference? Although the talks contained occasional references to the Midwest, this didn’t have the feel of a tailored message. And, of course, the General Authorities did not conduct any local business or perform any local leadership training. It felt a lot like a less formal version of General Conference, and even though I enjoyed the talks, I couldn’t see the point.