I am surprised and puzzled this General Conference that my primary emotion in anticipation is compassion for the speakers. 

For work I run seminars from time to time.  I’ve done it enough that I’ve had time to try to fix and ward off the typical misunderstandings and miscommunications.  It hasn’t worked.  No matter what happens, misunderstandings crop up.  If I take some time to fix a common misunderstanding, another misunderstanding arises–either because I spent less time on some other topic, or a misunderstanding opposite to the one I was trying to fix.

I see the brethren trying to craft a message for millions of people.  Men, women, children.  All races and tongues.  New converts, non-members, sullen less actives on their way out, spiritual giants, tepid saints.  Rich, poor, parents, single, happy, sad, successful, failures.  Some needing encouragement and comfort, some needing a kick in the pants, most needing an unpredictable and unique blend of both.

Whatever you say will discourage someone.  Whatever you say will exacerbate someone’s spiritual failings.  Nothing in General Conference will be understood exactly as it ought.  What one subset of your members needs to here is what another subset doesn’t.

You can’t give the general membership the opportunity to be witnesses without taking it away from the priesthood.

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