Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Priesthood session

Thomas S. Monson
→This was one of the most throughly focused-on-a-single-topic speeches from a president of the church i’ve ever heard in priesthood session.
→The story about the couple with the brain-damaged child was really weird, if not creepy—i kept having trouble figuring out why criminal charges didn’t enter into the narrative. I’m thinking that the fact that it took place some decades ago (according to some of the contextual items he mentioned) probably had something to do with that—norms were different then.
→I’d heard the story of Thomas B. Marsh’s apostasy before, but this was one of the best narrative versions i’ve ever heard. I thought it was weird, though, that he said the “home teachers” tried to adjudicate the dispute between Sisters Harris and Marsh, when there were no such things as home teachers back then. I’m curious to see what that line says in the published version of the speech.

Henry B. Eyring
→Can somebody tell me what it was with speakers giving lists of three things tonight?
→His story of the bishop who used the “no lights out” method of helping the young men remain active was really very interesting, and it had a good moral (that we need to take some responsibility for those we have stewardship over). My only worry is that, even though Elder Eyring explicitly said it wouldn’t work everywhere, eighty percent of the wards in the church will institute something like that program on the basis of an apostle having said it’s a good idea.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
→It’s really unusual for a modern-era general authority to have been a refugee. It’s the kind of thing that really must affect the way you look at the world, you know?

Congregational singing!
→Can someone explain to me why we stand for congregational hymns in conference? I don’t get the purpose of it. (It made sense, certainly, when people had to sit on those painfully stiff benches in the Tabernacle, but most of us have padded seating nowadays.)
→Also, we sang “Praise to the Man”. Decent song, but the rhythm at the beginning of the final verse is weird.

Yoon Hwan Choi
→There’s not much to ofer commentary on here, but i will say that he offered a really fun extended story. If you didn’t hear it live, it’s worth digging it up and listening. (I suspect that it’s more fun in audio than in writing.)

Walter F. González
→He advocated a memorization and recitation approach to the scriptures, which i’m not a fan of. However, whatever the method one uses, i’m glad that his ultimate goal was much deeper: Reading and studying the scriptures until they become a natural part of our speaking and doing.

M. Russell Ballard
→This address was directed to fathers and sons. Since i only have daughters, i figured that that meant i could take a ten-minute nap. (It turned out to be applicable to parents and children, though, not just fathers and sons.)
→I was happy to see that he said that it doesn’t matter where and when you have meaningful conversations with your children, as long as you have them. There’s too much Mormon folklore floating around that you need to have formal “interviews” with your children—maybe this’ll get some people to relax about it a little.
→The address contained a warning to those in the courtship phase of their lives not to do the “hanging out” thing instead of dating. Whenever i hear this meme, i feel like channeling Inigo Montoya (you know: “You keep using that word. I don’t a-think it means what you think it means.”), since hanging out now means essentially the same thing that dating used to.
→Also, he pluralized son-in-law as son-in-laws. My word nerd self was very happy to hear this.

Some stuff from the songs before the first speaker started:
→So the choir sang “Sweet Hour of Prayer” The hymnal says to sing it at 42–48 beats per minute, but i think they sang it even slower. I half expected Elder Uchtdorf to stand up afterward and say “As out time is expired, we will close the meeting by…”
→The choir was a priesthood choir from a stake in Utah. (Jordan, was it? I’m not certain.) They made pretty good use of the boy sopranos in “High on a Mountaintop”, though not really in any of the other songs.
→I see that we’re back to panning the choir for non-pink faces.

A couple general thoughts:
→Not related to general conference at all, but fun: While walking into the church building, i passed a car with a bumper sticker that read “You have to be real secure to be seen in a car like this!”
→Also, can somebody explain to me why priesthood session of conference doesn’t get broadcast to all the same outlets as the other general sessions? (And priesthood session is a general session of conference—the Saturday morning session is the “first general session”, the Sunday morning session is the “fourth general session” you do the math.) I really don’t get it—it’s not like it all ends up being kept secret from non-priesthood holders, anyway, since it’ll all get published online and in the Ensign anyway. Oh well—add that to the list of church policies and traditions i doubt i’ll ever understand.

1 comment:

Butter said...

I've never understood why Priesthood session can only be watched at a church building.

And the story about the couple... yeah... clearly that was a long time ago. How hard must you throw a toy in order to cause permanent brain damage?

Funny that my verification word is emper. One letter off of Temper.