I’m a Mormon. That means so many things, but this last weekend, it meant that I was able to participate in a semi-annual world-wide General Conference. Every April and October, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the official name of the Mormon church) has five two-hour sessions, spread over Saturday and Sunday. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to come and be instructed further about the doctrine that we believe in, and to take a moment to pause from our hectic lives to concentrate on things that really matter most.
For over ten years, I have taken extensive notes at each conference. A couple years ago, those notes transformed into some of my earliest sketchnotes. I have kept that tradition up this year as well, even when it meant using my phone as a small red flashlight because the lights were all turned off in the meetinghouse. Yes, I am a nerd. But I love doing sketchnotes!
In addition to sketchnoting most sessions, I also have the opportunity to participate directly in the conference as a Romanian interpreter. Each language team is a little bit different, but for our team, that means that I get the English text for the talks a week or so in advance of the conference, and the Romanian text anywhere from a few hours to a few days beforehand. I prepare delivering the text, so that when the talk is given, I perform a simultaneous reading, striving to match the speed, tone, and style of the speaker. The most important aspect is to convey the feeling of the message and provide an experience for those who listen in Romanian that is as close as possible to those who listen in English. My favorite part is when speakers like President Thomas S. Monson give a talk, because you never know how much they will stick to the text, and how much they will speak extemporaneously and require live interpretation.
General Conference is significant as a logistical feat—providing access in 93 languages to reach most of the 14,441,346 members around the world. But the most important part is the chance to hear from living prophets, the same as if Moses or Abraham was alive to give us insight into how to live our lives better. What a unique opportunity! I am grateful to have been part of it. Now comes the real challenge: putting all these great messages into practice!
Here is a fantastic infographic from the official lds.org site about the conference (click to see more).
And here are my sketchnotes.