I can imagine the hate-mail I could get for this one (Alfie can be a real stickler at times πŸ˜‰ ), but I've decided that some General Conference traditions are now so ingrained that they deserve their own awards ceremony. Naturally, I will be the entire Academy panel and will make a Fair and Balanced Judgement(TM) on who gets the awards and what the awards are…yeah, anyway….

Our first award is the "Enos Award for Persistence in Mighty Prayer". I was originally tempted to give this award to everyone who offered a prayer at this conference (as they were all far longer than normal and far longer than necessary), but the efforts of Ronald T. Halversen at the beginning of the priesthood session were far above and beyond the call of duty. Never have I been punished for turning up late as much as when I turned up at the beginning of that prayer.

The winner of the "Most Humourous" category, somewhat predictably, goes to President Monson. It will be highly interesting to see him speak if he succeeds President Hinckley and actually has to give a serious talk.

"Most Cringeworthy" goes to Elder David R. Stone (Sunday Afternoon Session), who in the middle of an otherwise useful and uplifiting talk made the schoolboy error of putting the word "cool" in finger-quotes. It's not big, and it's not clever.

"Most Boring/Pointless" goes, like it does every April, to the Church Auditing Department Report. It's the only part of the conference that you can pull out an Ensign from 1974 and be mostly able to read along.

The "James E. Talmage" award (for grand intellectual discourse) cannot go to it's usual recipient, the dear-departed Elder Maxwell. In his absence, it has proven difficult to find a suitable successor. You get the feeling that Elder Henry B Eyring might any time now start making up words, but he never quite breaks through the barriers. The Academy Panel was unable to reach a verdict for this award at this time.

The "Eye-sync" award (for most blatant reliance on the autocue) goes to Elder David F Evans (Saturday Afternoon Session). He even brought his head forward in concentration on the text. πŸ™‚

The "Benbow's Farm Award for Exhortation to Missionary Work" goes once again to Elder M Russell Ballard. On a more serious note, for all those who missed the Sunday Afternoon session and are in any way concerned about their personal missionary work (or the lack thereof πŸ˜‰ ), this talk is now official required reading.

and finally, the "J Golden Kimball" award for the best faux pas goes to Elder Oaks for his misquote of 2 Nephi 26:33 :

and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, blonde and free…

He even managed to repeat the slip later on, bless him.

Getting more serious for a second, I have to say I found much more of the conference useful than I normally do. I usually only get anything out of two, maybe three talks from the entire conference, but there was at least one talk every session that brought something to me personally. That probably says more about me than it does about Conference I guess.

Elder Eyring managed to capture my current thought processes, Elder Nelson gave me tips for the future ;-), Elder Uchtdorf just exuded enthusiasm, President Hinckley gave a vision of a worthwhile life, and Elder Ballard reinvented missionary work (again).

Watching all 5 sessions of conference seems like quite a task on the face of it (especially as due to the scheduling of the broadcast in the UK we have 4 sessions on Sunday), but it's absolutely worth the effort, even if you are ready to just drop dead after it all. Even better, I'm actually motivated this year to read the conference report when it comes out next month. I bet they'll have fixed Elder Oaks' slip by then though…