Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday morning

Finished seven minutes early! Is that legal?

Thomas S. Monson
→Nice contrast between intent and action, followed by a nice turn of phrase on why that gulf exists: “…we may find that we’ve immersed ourselves in the thick of thin things.”
→Good to know that a random statement of desire from a president of the church can result in near-immediate measurable good results. Pity to know that people needed prodding from a president of the church to aggressively do good.

Primary song interlude!

Russell M. Nelson
→He called his wife Wendy, not Sister Nelson! Cue the happy dance!
→His definition of “real intent” was pretty obvious (really intending to do something). Kinda sad if we actually need such definitions, and i suspect we do
→Serious question: Why does it so often take personal tragedy or difficulty to get people to change their lives? Is it simple mental inertia, or is there something else at the core of that tendency?

Ann M. Dibb
→Yes, the M stands for Monson, and yes, she’s the daughter of that Monson. I was very happy when she switched from calling him President Monson to calling him dad. Very, very, very humanizing, for both her and him—and in my opinion we need more of that.
→St. Catharines? I’ve stayed overnight there! (Cue music from the most annoying Disney World ride ever.)
→She points out that there are very few stories in the scriptures about people who lived in blissful times. It occurs to me that there are very few novels about people who lived in blissful times, either—narrative tension is apparently a positive in both religious and secular writing.

H. David Burton
→Are kids still expected to memorize the Articles of Faith? You hear all sorts of stories of people “having to” memorize them in order to graduate from primary—but then again, i never memorized them, and i didn’t get held back a grade (or whatever the church equivalent is).
→This speech leads to an interesting question: Can all the rest of the virtues he lists be subsumed within integrity?

L. Tom Perry
→I so have trouble focusing on the content of Elder Perry’s addresses, because he exhibits precisely the sort of linguistic behaviors i’ve been spending my career researching. I try to listen, but i find myself getting distracted by the shape of his vowel system.
→The Manti temple is in my top five prettiest list. (There’s a clear number one—try approaching the St. George temple from the south on I–15 and see if you don’t agree—but numbers two through five aren’t ordered in my mind: Manti, Utah; Kensington, Maryland; Cardston, Alberta; and Lāʻie, Hawaiʻi. (Hmmm…Can you tell i’m not an overwhelming fan of spires topped with Angels Moroni?)
→Cool story about building the roof of the Manti temple.
→He mentioned ward mission plans, and how excellent they are. I don’t know if i’ve ever seen a ward mission plan that everyone was happy with. I’ve wondered if part of the problem is that it seems very corporate (a succinct set of principles with measurable expected outcomes) for being something based in divine revelation.

Henry B. Eyring
→Yet another address saying it’s possible to become perfect in this life. Interesting.
→“I am often touched when someone asks, ‘How’s your family?’ and then waits to hear the answer.” I don’t think i got the precise phrasing right, but there’s a nice oblique commentary there on everyday impoliteness and the noteworthiness (and goodness) of politeness.

A couple opening thoughts:
→Sunday morning conference session, dudes and dudettes! It’s the big leagues now!
→I’m not a fan of the Mormon Tabernacle’s sound, as i’ve written before—and yet they get as much time as (if not more time than) any of the speakers. Oh well. This morning the fact that content doesn’t really start until about ten minutes in gave us the chance to get past a couple weird technical glitches without missing much of anything, so that was good for us.
→And speaking of technical glitches, the server load is clearly being pretty heavy during this session. I suppose that makes sense—this is the one session that everybody watches even if they don’t watch any of the others.


Michelle said...

Here's my list:
I noticed, too, that Elder Nelson called his wife by her first name and mentioned it to Jim. He pointed out that Elder Oaks does that now, too - both of them referring to their 2nd wives. I wonder if they just can't bring themselves to use the same name for both wives.
I always like Bishop Burton's talks. This one was interesting, though, to listen to in another country. How in the world does that talk get translated into other languages? In Romanian, none of those words have similar endings.
I liked that President Monson's daughter talked about being his daughter. She really needed to stop smiling so much, though. Maybe she was nervous, but she was even smiling while talking about the workers holding on for their lives for an hour.

David B said...

There was a GC address a few years ago encouraging people to use thou rather than you in prayers. It was completely untranslatable into, for example, German (especially since one of the reasons given was that thou is more formal and therefore better for prayer, but it’s the informal that German uses).

Butter said...

We had a bunch of problems with the audio feed. And then Adrian fell off the stairs which was an 8 or so foot head first freefall. Luckily the box with Michelle's marimba keys slowed him down and he escaped with a few bruises and two small cuts on opposite sides of his head. It made us all miss about a half hour of conference, though. Totally missed Sister Dibb's talk.

The kids don't "have" to memorize the articles of faith, but in Achievement they have worked on them. Ani memorized them as part of school and recited them for the bishop at her baptism interview. She didn't get to skip senior primary because of it, though. I don't think they work on them in Scouts. Cameron couldn't memorize them anyway. He even has permission not to memorize the stuff on the Bobcat Trail in Scouts because of his learning disability. He wanted to try anyway and has them basically, but not perfectly (and fast since he just started Scouts two weeks ago - he was motivated).