General Conference is coming up in 5 days! It will be held October 1-2, and will have morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday and Sunday, along with an evening session for everyone on Saturday. More information is available here.

In preparation, we are doing a daily countdown with posts from different people explaining how they feel about General Conference, how they prepare, tips for getting the most out of it, how to deal with associated social media posts, etc.

The Watchmen on the Tower

by Daniel Ortner

Isaiah sets up a really powerful contrast between the wicked rulers of his day, and the rulers that will lead the people of God in the latter days.

In Isaiah 56 he tears into those who are supposed to be watchmen on the tower:

His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

These watchmen do not “bark” indeed, they cannot even see. They are focused solely on their own well-being. They sleep and drink, drink and sleep without any regard for God’s people plans their wellbeing.

By contrast in our day God declared through his Prophet Isaiah:

I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62)

These watchmen are ever vigilant. They never become complacent. Instead, they continually make mention of the Lord and push his people to become better and to establish Zion. They are truly the Lord’s servants on the towers.

These verses fill me with excitement and appreciation for General Conference which is coming quite soon. Twice a year we have a chance to listen to watchmen on the tower who do not hesitate to “make mention of the Lord.” We are also blessed in our day to hear from these Prophets, Seers, and Revelators almost constantly through sermons, videos, Facebook posts and the like. They are always and continually pushing us to establish Zion. They are calling us to do better and be better.

Sometimes it’s easier to be led by watchmen who are like sleeping dogs. They do not demand as much from us. They merely encourage us to eat, drink, and be merry. But I am so grateful to be led by true watchmen who do not hold their peace but call us day and night to draw closer to Christ.

I hope that as General Conference approaches we will prepare ourselves to listen to these true watchmen.


Daniel Ortner is a public interest lawyer who focuses on the First Amendment. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an undergraduate from a Jewish background.

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