Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday afternoon

Thomas S. Monson
→Not much time to say anything with huge content—mostly a pep talk. I wonder what would happen with these conference-closing addresses if general conferences weren’t constrained by satellite bandwidth sessions.

D. Todd Christofferson
→I vote that the best moral for the opening story should be: Being passive-aggressive goes against gospel principles. (Might be an unpopular interpretation in Utah County, though.)
→So is he saying that small government would be best, but given current situations paternalistic governmental regulation is needed? I don’t think that’s his intended point, but it sure sounds like it.
→Is the claim that moral discipline must come from faith in God, or merely that moral discipline best comes from faith in God? The rhetorical structure seems to point toward the former, but i don’t know that that’s actually a defensible position—and the actual text of the address seems to be ambiguous between those possibilities.

Joseph W. Sitati
→I have to look up the quote from Joseph Smith he gave—did it say, basically, that some nations haven’t had the gospel preached to them ’cause they don’t have enough of a clue? Harsh, if it does. I’ll check up on it once the transcript comes out.
→Interesting discussion of ways the church is helping to bring social stability to its members in areas with rapid urbanization and de-agriculturalization (like Elder Sitati’s Kenya).

Michael T. Ringwood
→So an “easiness to believe” is good—fine. But how do we develop that? The answer: Do the things believers do. However, if someone doesn’t believe, they’re unlikely to do all the stuff one who believes would do. I’m sensing a Catch–22 here.

Dale G. Renlund
→I don’t think that i’m getting the moral from his story that i’m supposed to be getting. (What am i getting, you may ask? Simply this: Avoid swing shift work at all costs.)

Now, the choir and congregation sing together
→They cut it off after one (short) verse? Ooh, somebody went past their time limit!

Brent H. Neilson
→A member of the Seventy focusing laser-sharp on missionary work and nothing else—makes me feel like i’m in the 1950s!
→So is it that we’re doing well, or that we’re not doing well?
→Cool—a direct invitation to the young men and young women of the church to grow up to be full-time missionaries. (As a father of daughters with no sons, i notice these things.)

Quentin L. Cook
→An address largely about sex, but without ever once using the word. (Not that unusual, actually.)
→A thought comes to mind: If God forgives completely, then that means we ought to, as well. This, presumably, includes not gossiping about others’ misdeeds. Linking gossiping and forgiveness isn’t a link i’ve ever heard made (though i’m sure it has been somewhere).
→Back a few decades ago, detailed financial reports were given during general conference, including (in some years) stats like which stakes and missions had the highest tithing and fast offering rates per capita. I know some of the reasons the church doesn’t do that anymore, but it’d be fun to get some competition going. (Hey! Can’t let the Anchorage Chugach Stake have a higher fast offering rate than us!)

Jeffrey R. Holland
→Is anyone else picking up on a marked uptick in references to Lehi’s dream? It seemed to have fallen out of frequent use as an image, but it’s back with a vengeance this weekend.
→Direct references to claims against the Book of Mormon’s authenticity? Wow—you often get vague references, but usually not nearly so specific.
→This one is, i think, simply in terms of style of delivery, the most compelling address of the conference so far.

Opening thoughts:
→The opening prayer called Thomas S. Monson God’s “chosen prophet” rather than our “beloved prophet”. There’s certainly going to be some sort of ecclesiastical punishment for a slip like that!
→The prayer also made direct mention of the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in the Pacific islands—i may have missed something, but that’s the first direct mention of them i’ve noticed at this conference.
→A female organ player? Gotta be yet another thing the fundamentalists’ll start using as evidence of our apostasy (under the reasonable assumption that anything that makes someone like me happy would make them intensely unhappy). And was she wearing a pantsuit? Couldn’t quite tell, but it would seem only sensible, given the mechanics of playing a pipe organ.
→Ah, Sunday afternoon conference—after the excitement of the one everybody watches, we have the session that nobody watches. I kind of like this one best, the stepchild of questionable paternity among the conference sessions, though—the speakers act more relaxed, like they know the stage isn’t as big for this one.
→Why is it that the video feed switches from live as sessions approach, then to pre-recorded for a minute or so, and then back to live? Is there some sort of secret-not-sacred ritual that occurs immediately before a conference session?


Urban Koda said...

On your final question about the live feed. It is my understanding, that the entire conference is pre-recorded. The reason being that if something happens during the conference, the video feed can cut to the pre-recorded feed. If it's serious enough, the GA's and other dignitaries will then be transported to an alternate location which looks just like the front of the conference center, whereon the feed will be switched back, and remote viewers will be non-the wiser.

Urban Koda said...

I suspect the minute or so switch from the live feed gives the audio visual techs a minute of buffer time with which to work, should a feed switch be needed.

Butter said...

I got from Elder Christofferson that we need to be moral because too much government intervention is a bad thing.

And I vote that anything anti-passive aggressive is a good thing. That was one thing that annoyed me about all the Utahns in Crystal City Ward. They were so incredibly passive aggressive. All of them.