Jeffrey R. Holland (of the quorum of apostles)
- He called his wife “Sister Holland”—i’m going to have fun tracking this bit of variation. But then again, i’m a sociolinguist, so my sense of fun is bound to be a bit twisted.
- Interesting that he defines “lust” as a fleeting, temporary thing. I don’t know that i’d define it the same way. Adopting his definition for the discussion, though, his points stand.
- Ooh! Really, really nice job of playing on the multiple meanings of “prostituting”!
- He’s having a lot of fun with wordplay in this address, actually. Heavy topic, but lightened a bit by the manner of delivery—it makes for a nicely effective preaching style, to be honest better in terms of style than i usually expect from him.
David A. Bednar (of the quorum of apostles)
- Is the Book of Mormon actually the only book that God has testified to be true? It seems to me that the book of Doctrine and Covenants and (less directly) the Bible both can be described that way, as well (minus the “only”, of course).
- Hurrah! for the statement that parents should both teach and learn from their children.
- Interesting that he talks about parents bearing testimony (and, therefore, teaching gospel principles) “spontaneously”. I wonder whether, if that was actually widespread in the church, there would be a need for family home evening.
- More hurrah!s for his endorsement of pretty-much-unstructured family home evenings.
Bruce A. Carlson (of the second quorum of seventy)
- Courtesy of Wikipedia: He was appointed director of the National Reconnaissance Office last year. That’s a pretty heavy government post. (He’s also from Minnesota, which makes me happy for some reason.)
- Interesting application of the story of Jeroboam, saying that partial obedience can’t gain blessings. (I understand why he followed that up with the story of Naaman. Given the end of the scriptural account of that story, though, i don’t know that it fully supports his thesis. Understandable, though—lots of stories in the scriptures are complex enough that they don’t fit into the neat little packages we so often work on fitting them into.)
Koichi Aoyagi (of the second quorum of seventy)
- A journey from Buddhism to Mormonism? I want to hear more about this.
- I wonder if his future wife sent him the postcard he talked about because she was interested in him back then, or whether that came later. A cool story either way, but it changes the spin—and if the interest developed later, the vaguely knowing audience laughter is a bit less well-placed.
- Also, he’s a native speaker of Japanese, which brings to mind something i’ve wondered for a long time: When are non-native-English-speaking speakers finally going to be allowed to speak in their native languages in general conference? I mean, i remember listening to Ángel Abrea speak back in the day, and being able to tell he had something to say, but not being able to really follow along when he spoke (and i tend to be better than most at following along with non-native speakers). I’d rather have had him speak perfectly fluently in his native language, and let me listen to a translation.
D. Todd Christofferson (of the quorum of apostles)
- I like his idea of the scriptures being communal memory. I think it might be fun to have a conversation with him about memetics.
- Interesting that he critiques the idea that God wants us to work for social justice, but doesn’t care how we behave. I suspect that a number of church members are going to read this as saying that God cares about our personal behavior, and doesn’t want us to work for social justice. Actually, the critique says nothing about whether God wants us to work for social justice.
L. Tom Perry (of the quorum of apostles)
- Listening to all the learning his mother had them do at home, i’m surprised i hadn’t heard how days used to be 34 hours long when he was growing up.
- Teaching in the church would be improved by improving teaching in the home. I agree, wholeheartedly—so does this mean i get to be with my children to teach them at home for more than 90 minutes on Sundays now? Just asking.
- I’ve published linguistic studies on the card-cord merger—the variable pronunciation of or as are found along the Wasatch Front of Utah (among other places). L. Tom Perry’s speech is one of the clearest examples of this among the current regular general conference speakers, with reparted, carner, and such making regular appearances in his speech. Not a doctrinal note, simply something that makes me professionally happy.
Brook P. Hales (secretary to the first presidency): statistical report
- It looks like we’ll hit 14 million nominal members sometime this year or early next year. Less than a third of a percent of the world’s population, but still.
- So the number of full-time missionaries has remained more or less flat over the past many years, but the number of convert baptisms is down a bit from its peak around 20 years ago. I wonder what the comparative retention rate between then and now is, since the full-time missionaries are now used more intensely in retention efforts. That’s the sort of thing that’s interesting to stats and demographics geeks like myself, but it’s probably never going to get mentioned in this speaking slot, I guess.
- What are the rules on who gets mentioned in the “prominent members who died” section of these reports?
Robert W. Cantwell (managing director of church auditing): church auditing report
- This has to be the most boring speaking slot in general conference. It’s turned into a nearly-set bit of text—nothing like the full financial reports (the stake with the highest per capita fast offerings is…with an average donation of…) that used to be given. I understand some of the reasons for the change, but why use up the satellite time with an auditing report at all?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (second counselor in the first presidency): presentation of general officers and general and area authorities
- I find it interesting that area authorities are presented in general conferences, rather than in area, regional, or stake conferences. I wonder whether and when the number of area authorities will grow large enough that the current practice will end.