Here is what it is like to be at the General Conference 2016 so far.
Imagine you are going to a family reunion. You pack your bags and include a fun game of badminton in your luggage. You did not know the rules of badminton but you spent some time brushing up on the rules over the previous months. You grow to like badminton and so you practice it so to ensure you understand the rules. Since you practice it you seem to get better at it and you are confident about playing badminton and finally getting the best of your cousin who always seems to win the family reunion games. Then you head off to the reunion excited to play badminton.
When you arrive it is clear that everyone is excited to be there, but everyone realizes that everyone brought different games to play. Some also brought badminton but others brought bocce ball, still others brought croquet, yard darts, horseshoes, kick the can and cornhole.
As you break bread to share in the opening meal, you realize the variety of games brought by family members, but everyone sees in the yard of the hosting home has set up lawn bowling.
Some people are excited to try this new game. Others are concerned that they don't have the equipment. Others are worried that it is not a fair game for all. Still others are fearful of looking like a fool and loosing, for another year, to that one cousin that always beats you at everything!
Lawn bowling is a game no one has ever played before or even knows the rules and there is great discussion about if it is possible to modify the rules of lawn bowling to "fit" the game each person is prepared to play. One person desires to use their mallets to move the lawn bowling ball, others think there should be a net along the outside to keep the lawn balls contained. Still others want to scrap lawn bowling and play the game they brought or at the very least ensure that we don't play badminton. And there are others who wonder on what authority anyone decided the family would play lawn bowling.
All the debate about what game the family should play makes the possibility to play any game impossible. The family not only cannot play a game but they cannot even delight in being in each other's company.
So far, the one thing that is missing in the events in the conference is there is not play or delight or joy. It will not be much longer before the family begins to question if it is even worth getting together.