Anyway, that said, here’s some observations on priesthood session. As with the other entries i’m doing, the first speaker is at the bottom of this post, the final speaker at the top.
Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
(He was the final speaker.)
- Not too long ago, i asked on this blog whether a sitting prophet had ever counseled the youth of the church not to date until age 16. Well, even if it had never happened before, it happened today.
- In connection with that, i think it’s interesting that he noted that not all teenagers want or need to date. (Or, in other words, if your kid doesn’t want to go to prom, don’t stress out about it.)
- Anyway, this address was basically a list of practices, a “here’s how to behave” sort of thing. It’s really hard to get anything substantive down from something like that.
- Money quote of the night: “…and he said, ‘Brother Monson, do you remember me?’ I get that everywhere i go!”
- And by the way, does the counsel to “avoid extremes” in grooming and dress include avoiding the extreme of looking like you just stepped out of a Brooks Brothers catalog? ’Cause if so, i can totally get behind that idea.
Henry B. Eyring (first counselor in the first presidency)
- He quoted Brigham Young to the effect that priesthood holders who are diligent will not only receive the blessings of God, but will also receive a knowledge of how to receive them. That’s a really interesting concept, if you start thinking about it at all.
- He called the sacrament “the sacrament of the Lord’s supper”. I’ve always liked the poetry (and historical accuracy) of that phrasing.
- And in his address we got another use of the full name of the Melchizedek priesthood. Interesting.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (second counselor in the first presidency)
- This was my favorite address on the night, but it’s hard to summarize, except to say that it was about patience. It was amazingly full of material—little to no fluff.
- A couple of quotes i jotted down: “As the Lord is patient with us, let us be patient with those we serve.” “Never give up on anyone—and that includes giving up on ourselves.”
- He explicitly used a non-King James Version rendition of a verse!Let happiness abound!
- I like having someone speaking in general conference who smiles a lot.
- Also, he talks with his hands a lot.
- Why do we stand for these songs?
- No, really—why?
David L. Beck (general president of the young men’s organization)
- I often get vaguely annoyed—and i did even when i was in my teens—that the majority of addresses in the priesthood session of conference are addressed to the teenaged boys in the audience. (I mean, don’t the older types count, too?) The general president of the young men’s organization, though, i think i’d be weirded out if he didn’t address himself to that group.
- So apparently i understood correctly earlier, and the church is tweaking the young men’s program.
Ronald A. Rasband (of the presidency of seventy)
- He opened by saying that God needs every able young man to prepare to become a full-time missionary. Is this a shift from the “raising the bar” idea in which it was stated that not every young man should serve as a full-time missionary, or is the stress here on “able” young men, thereby restricting the population being referred to?
- Interesting that in pretty much every reference to full-time missionaries after that opening, he was careful to include both male and female missionaries, plus one reference to older couples. (I have daughters and no sons, so i notice these things. He talked about his son and daughter receiving mission calls, so i wonder if part of it comes from having raised a daughter who served as a full-time missionary.)
- I hadn’t known it was individual members of the quorum of apostles who assigned missionary candidates to missions—i’d always assumed it was the missionary committee or somesuch.
- His story of observing and participating as Henry B. Eyring assigned missionaries was an interesting take on learning to receive revelation.
Dallin H. Oaks (of the quorum of apostles)
(He was the first speaker.)
- He gave an explicit example of the prayers of non-Mormons leading to a miraculous healing.
- Interesting that the “blessing” part of blessing the sick isn’t the essential part of the ordinance. I mean, i knew that, i just don’t think i’d ever seen or heard it stated so bluntly.
- I have to admit that, even after listening closely to this address for anything on the topic, i still don’t understand what the effective difference between a prayer of faith for healing on the one hand and a priesthood blessing for the sick on the other really is.