I can’t believe it’s conference time already. I just finished reading last conference’s talks (I’m redundant, I listen as much as possible, tape it, and read it in the Ensign—you’d think I’d be translated by now).

Awhile back, I can’t remember how long ago, in this last year—I decided to listen for messages of Christ and the atonement in my meetings and in conference. Talk of Christ was more regular than I’d expected, although less often than I’d hoped. We talk much more about programs and incidentals (I’d class genealogy in with these)than we do about the basic commandment to love one another and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I did notice, however, that without fail, President Monson spoke of Christ. Every time. He also seems to love the Bible and its stories of the Savior’s ministry on earth.

Because he was mocked (albeit lovingly) by some on the bloggernacle, I’d started to listen to him differently, half-heartedly.

I underestimated him.

I’m amazed and proud to see the new authority he’s exhibited when making public appearances and giving interviews. His face radiates with new joy and youth.

And I predict we’ll hear a lot more about Christ and the atonement in this general conference and in the years to come. I hope that as a people, as a religion, we’ll focus more on Christ’s mercy and grace over works. Go ahead and slap me all you want, I think we are too task oriented and our meetings reflect that in their dull preaching about programs, activities, and lesser commandments. I hear far more comparisons and pats on one’s back than exhortations to love and forgive.

I attended a wonderful ward yesterday and I felt the spirit there. But I was still bored, feeling the tedium, at times. I think we need more of the evangelical in our meetings and I think President Monson will bring that about.

I certainly hope so. But I have no idea who will be the next general authority.