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Mormon Ghost Stories

The Twilight Conference

Cover Image for The Twilight Conference
Moroni's Ghost
By: Moroni's Ghost

“Prophets have always taught by repetition; it is a law of learning. You will hear repetition in themes and doctrines in general conference. Let me reassure you: this is not due to a lack of creativity or imagination. We continue to hear messages on similar issues because the Lord is teaching and impressing upon our minds and hearts certain foundational principles of great eternal importance that must be understood and acted upon before we can move on to other things.”

First Presidency Message, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, September 2011

Hyrum jolted awake. He had been woken up by the sudden sound of organ pipes blaring out of the chapel speakers. He looked down the row of metal chairs at his parents and the rest of his 6 siblings all seated together. Emma and Sarah were both looking groggy like they had just woken up as well. Joseph leaned up against their mother’s arm as she lovingly scratched his back.

“Is this the closing hymn?” he asked Parley who was seated next to him.

“What? No, this is the opening hymn.”

Hyrum looked up at the large projector screen that had been pulled down from the chapel ceiling. Men in uniform suits and ties stood next to an army of women in bright green dresses. The camera panned across their faces as they sang. Their faces strained with the exertion of High on The Mountain Top.

That was weird, he did remember them singing this song to start off this session of conference. But he could swear that he had listened to at least 3 speakers after that. It had been President Monson, then Elder Wirthlin, then some other Elder, then a Relief Society sister he couldn’t remember the name of.

“Did I already fall asleep?” he asked Parley.

“I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention”

“I swear they already sang this song”

“You must have fallen asleep during it.”

“I guess”

Maybe he had dreamed it all. He had already watched three 2 hour long sessions yesterday. He must have been experiencing conference overload.

The song finished and the opening prayer was said. Then President Monson stood at the pulpit.

“Brothers and sisters, we are so blessed to be here together on this historic conference morning. Already at this conference, we have been inspired, directed and fed, by He who gives us our daily bread. Even Jesus Christ. We are grateful to be here with our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. We will be blessed to hear from him later on this morning. But first, I will have the privilege of addressing you. I will be followed by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He will be followed by Elder Earl C. Tingey, of the Presidency of the Seventy. Our Relief Society General President, Sister Mary Ellen Smoot will then address us. After which the choir and congregation will stand together and sing, Oh say, what is truth?”

President Monson proceeded to give his address about building an eternal home. But Hyrum couldn’t pay attention. That was the exact group of speakers he had just remembered hearing.

“Maybe I’m a prophet,” he thought to himself. “I just listened to this.”

It was the strongest sense of deja vu he had ever experienced. His stomach knotted at that thought of having to sit through the exact same talks again. But he passed the time playing a game on his notebook with Parley. They drew lots of little dots then had to draw lines between them in order to create and claim boxes. He had almost forgotten about his odd nap when he noticed that Sister Smoot was bearing her testimony.

“As Latter-day Saints, I pray that we will be about our Father’s business and create something more of our lives. No matter what our situations, we can pray as Isaiah: ‘O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.’ May our work and glory be a reflection of His is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

The congregation in the chapel all droned out an amen in unison. The choir director on the screen then directed everyone to stand up.

Hyrum started to oblige but stopped to fidget with his tie first. It had been loose this whole time while his dad couldn’t see him at the other end of the row, but if he caught a glimpse of Hyrum during the hymn he would hear about it when they got home.

He finished adjusting his tie, stood up and stared blankly at the screen, waiting for the song to begin.

“Hyrum! Please sit down!” his mother hissed from a few chairs away.

Hyrum blinked. He could swear that everyone around him had just been standing up, ready to sing. It was then that he paid attention to the music coming from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

High on the mountain top

A banner is unfurled.

Ye nations, now look up;

It waves to all the world.

Hyrum hurriedly sat back down, feeling confused. Hadn’t they just sung this song at the beginning? Weren’t they singing some other song for the next hymn?

He looked around the room, no one else seemed to think it was strange that they were repeating a hymn. No one else appeared to think it was odd that the congregation wasn’t singing either.

The song finished and the opening prayer was said. Then President Monson stood at the pulpit.

“Brothers and sisters, we are so blessed to be here together on this historic conference morning. Already at this conference, we have been inspired, directed and fed, by He who gives us our daily bread. Even Jesus Christ….”

Wait, this is what he had already said. He mouthed the next words with President Monson. “We are grateful to be here with our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley.”

He hadn’t been dreaming the first time. This was really the third time he had heard this talk. “I must be dreaming,” he thought, “too much conference yesterday.” He pinched himself. He felt pain. But President Monson was there on the screen, starting his talk.

Hyrum’s stomach dropped worse than before. This was very odd indeed. It didn’t feel like a dream. It felt very real. He leaned over to Parley.

“Parley,” he said, “punch me in the leg.”

Parley, not needing an explanation, slammed his fist down into Hyrum’s thigh.

“What the heck?” Hyrum yelled.

“You told me to.” Parley said.

“Shhh” came the voice of their mother. “Hyrum, please quiet down, what is going on over there?”

“Sorry mom,” Hyrum whispered “I just need a drink of water”

“Wait until the intermediate hymn please sweetie”


Hyrum sat through the next three speakers until the music for Oh say, what is truth? Started to play. He got up as quickly as he could and headed out of the chapel to the hallway. He stooped down to get water from the child drinking fountain as the adult one had a sign saying it was out of order. He closed his eyes as he drank the water. When he opened them, he could see a large projector screen as the opening music for High on the Mountain Top started to blare through the chapel speakers.

Hyrum sat there dumbfounded. He had just been at the drinking fountain. How did he get here? The sensation in his stomach dropped even further. Panic had started to set in. Would he really need to watch this a 4th time?

He hurried out of the chapel, telling his mom that he really needed to go to the bathroom. He went to the couch in the foyer and sat. He waited 45 minutes until he could hear the music to Oh say, what is truth? start to play.

He sat there and stared at the chapel door. He tried his best to not blink. But eventually the pain in his eyes grew too strong. He blinked. The foyer door was replaced by the projector screen yet again.

How do I stop this! He panicked to himself. He reached over and pulled on his mother’s dress to get her attention.

“Mom, I need to talk to you”

“Later dear, after conference”

“No, now mom… please.” He couldn’t hold back the tears starting to form in his eyes. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what to tell her.

“Ok” she said. He led her out to the foyer where they sat on the couch.

“Mom, I don’t know what is happening but I have already watched this session 4 times already.”

“How can that be? This is a live session!”

“I don’t know, I came out here to get a drink of water once, then I sat on the couch. But then it all starts over again”

She put her hand on his head “Well, you don’t have a fever, are you feeling alright?”

“No… mom, I’m scared, I don’t know what’s going on.”

“Well... I’ll sit with you dear, maybe that’ll help you feel better”.

He lay his head down on her lap as they sat on the couch. The speakers went on with their talks until Oh say, what is truth? started to play. He held as tightly as he could to his mom’s dress and held his eyes shut tightly. Maybe if he didn’t open them during the song this would go away.

He fell over suddenly into Parley’s lap.

“What the heck?” Parley fumed. “What are you doing?... Are you? Are you crying? Mom, somethings wrong with Hyrum”

Hyrum couldn’t hold back the tears. This would be his 6th viewing. That was 6 hours of the same general conference talks over and over. His mom took him out to the foyer.

“What’s wrong honey? Are you feeling well?” she felt his head “You don’t have a fever, whats going on?”

“I already told you mom” Hyrum said “I’ve already listened to this conference 5 times already”

“Well that’s silly” she said gently “this is the first time anyone has seen this conference. It’s all happening in Salt Lake City right now”

“It doesn’t make sense I know, but I already told you all this mom. And you don’t remember. Why am I the only one who remembers?”

He sat there, sobbing until Oh say, what is Truth? began. He braced himself. Suddenly the music transitioned to High on the Mountain Top as he blinked and the world in front of him changed.

He got up out of his chair and ran. He didn’t say anything to his parents. He just ran. His dad started running after him.

“Hyrum, what’s wrong?” he called out.

Hyrum ran out of the chapel into the carpeted hallway. He ran out the double set of glass doors that led into the building. He ran along the sidewalk up the large hill that the church sat at the base of. “Maybe if I get far enough away” he thought. He ran past the stop sign at the top of the hill. He ran past the elementary school down the road from his house. He ran past his house up the place where his old paper route used to be. He made it to a large intersection and hit the button for the crosswalk, finally stopping to catch his breath. As he did so, a car drove up waiting to turn right. Out of their radio he could hear the beginning lines to Oh say, what is truth?

Hyrum panicked. He sprinted into the intersection, trying to distance himself from the music.

A red pick up truck slammed on its brakes but still collided with him at a death inducing speed. Hyrum screamed as he felt all of his ribs break and his skull crack open. The entire world went black.

Suddenly he felt the cool sensation of a metal chair underneath him. He was still screaming. The entire chapel had turned to look at him. His mother looked over at him concerned, then got up and led him out into the foyer again. As he walked out he felt at his head. It was intact.

Hyrum got up during the opening lines of High on the Mountain Top. He had stopped explaining himself to his parents after about 100 attempts. He had tried running too. He had only purposely run into traffic a few times now. He had stopped doing that after about 10,000 repeats. That red pickup truck was very reliable, though he had found a few other intersections to try as well.

He’d tried unplugging the projector. He’d stolen his parents' car. He’d done everything he’d been able to think of. He walked into the primary room which had been outfitted with a TV and chairs for those that couldn’t fit in the chapel or gym.

He had been in here hundreds of times before. But this time he noticed someone new. A man with a dark complexion sat near the back. Hyrum went and sat next to him. The man leaned over.

“You know, the messages they share with you can change your life.” He said with a slight accent.

“I’m… pretty sure I’ve heard it all before.” Hyrum said dryly.

“Oh,” said the man, “you may have heard it all before, but did you really listen to it?”

“I… guess not, I’m not sure that I have” Hyrum had spent so many days, so many months, so many years running from conference. But there was one thing he hadn’t tried. The man stood up and left the room.

Hyrum got out his notepad and started writing down the speaker’s words. He needed to make sure that he didn’t miss a thing. His very life depended on it.

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