Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday afternoon

And now, after the big leagues of the Sunday morning session, we move to Sunday afternoon. I don’t have any evidence for this, but i’ve long strongly suspected that this is the least-watched of all the conference sessions.

(And as an aside, i sometimes wonder if i’m the only person in the church who absolutely loathes the song “Abide With Me, ’Tis Eventide”. Oh, well.)

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)

(Closing speaker)

  • “The world seems to have slipped from the moorings of safety…” Well, i seem to remember reading that the earthquake in Chile wobbled the earth’s axis a bit, so that would be correct. (Sorry. I know. Sometimes i just can’t help it.)
  • Anyway, not much to jot down here as notes from this speech—as with most closing addresses at general conferences, this was more of a pep talk and closing blessing (a benediction in its classic sense, i suppose) than anything else, which doesn’t lend itself to specific commentary.

Neil L. Anderson (of the quorum of apostles)

  • There are no assigned subjects or themes for general conference speakers. Why, then, do we assign topics (or, more often, general conference addresses as topics) for speakers in sacrament meetings? What is the crucial difference?
  • Lots and lots and lots about teaching children in this conference, including this address. That’s always a topic, of course, but it seems like a pretty intense focus this time around.
  • How many single fathers are there in the church? We get another set of comforting thoughts directed to single mothers, but unless i missed it i haven’t heard anything for single fathers this weekend.

Francisco J. Viñas (of the first quorum of seventy)

  • Interesting—if Ammon taught people “all things pertaining to righteousness”, and that led to a conversion so deep that they “never did fall away”, what does that tell us about what we need to teach those around us? I mean, “all things” is a pretty long list, and it probably goes beyond the bounds of what’s in any of the church’s lesson manuals.

Gregory A. Schwitzer (of the second quorum of seventy)

  • So is this the great day of the second quorum’s power, or what?
  • Ah! A public resuscitation of the image of Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. (For what it’s worth, i don’t read the story of Mary and Martha as being as harsh on Martha as most seem to think it is—but there aren’t a lot of us with such a point of view, i’ve learned.)
  • Good point about one’s actions not necessarily reflecting one’s internal state.

James B. Martino (of the second quorum of seventy)

  • Appreciative laughter all around from our family for the baseball story he opened with.
  • I like the reminder that even if someone’s trials don’t seem like much, they’re still very real to the person going through them. Probably not gonna stop anybody from playing “my trial is bigger than your trial”, but apparently we’re overly competitive that way.
  • Well, count him as a general authority who doesn’t put much stock in the claims of those who believe that immunizations aren’t worth it.

Bradley D. Foster (of the second quorum of seventy)

  • I don’t know that the story about the picture book illustrates the influence of mothers so much as that it illustrates that kids get used to specific practices really easily. (Good laugh line at the end, though.) Also, it is forcibly reminding of the P.D. Eastman book Are You My Mother?, which is, really, one of the dumbest children’s books ever.
  • I don’t like the claim that caring is a feminine attribute—i’ve known too many women with no propensity toward caring, and too many men who were amazingly caring individuals. Do most modern cultures encourage caring in females more than males? Sure. Are women inherently better at it than men? I really don’t think so.
  • Demographic thought: Single parents nowadays are more often mothers. I wonder if that’s been the case historically, given mortality rates in childbirth in the past.
  • Cool thought that one of the things that Jesus had to accomplish as part of the process of the atonement was to make sure that his mother was taken care of.

Robert D. Hales (of the quorum of apostles)

  • The way he presented the scriptural line “we do not doubt our mothers knew it” gives it an interestingly different spin than the way i generally read it.
  • Church leaders often plan scouting events, but do these serve their most important purpose? he asks. Well, in my unhappy experience with scouting, that’d be a no, unless their most important purpose is to push away kids who prefer drama to guns…
  • Great—now i have the Pink Floyd song “Is There Anybody Out There?” looping in my head.
  • There really is an inherent tension in the ideas that it’s vital to raise children in the light of the gospel, and that every individual has free will to choose their spiritual path.
  • Given the content of his address, it seems that the ones who really needed his blessing would be those children not growing up in homes where the gospel is lived well.

Russell M. Nelson (of the quorum of apostles)

(First speaker)

  • Interesting job of making sure to include young people in the process of genealogical research.
  • He says that oral histories (among many other things) are a crucial part of family history research. This makes me happy.
  • I think it’s cool that the revised Family Search system lets people submit corrections. What happens when you get the Family Search equivalent of a Wikipedia edit war, though? What if both sides have equally valid documentation of their claims (which is entirely possible, even likely in some cases)? This is a problem for any database that is built on an assumption that all datapoints have a single correct entry. I figure it’s a known issue, maybe even has a solution, but i don’t know where to look to find the answer.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Absolutely depressing that Dallin H. Oaks only spoke at the Priesthood session. He's my favorite. I love his talks.

There aren't a lot of single fathers statistically speaking at all and never really were. Historically, men tended to marry very quickly after losing a wife in childbirth. The children needed a mother. While women remarried often as well, it was generally a longer period of time before they did OR they didn't at all and would instead band together with other women (generally family) to get help in raising the kids.

When you edit NFS entries there is a trail. It doesn't totally change it. You have to back up your change claim with real information and everyone who views the record can see the change and why you made it. If someone else comes along and feels they have an equal or greater claim on changing the record to something else, they can do so, but both sets of information remain and future people can view both and choose which they want to believe, or can just accept both and have an either/or in their own personal file.