Priesthood session, the weird in-between session. It’s called a general session, but it’s only open to less than half the membership of the church (male members twelve years of age and older).
As with all the rest of these posts, this is presented bottom-up, with the first speaker at the end of the post, preceded by the second speaker, and so on, up to the final speaker at the top of the post, with my thoughts on each speaker given in the order i write them. This means that to get a chronological view of the session you’ll need to scroll to the bottom of this post and read upwards.
- Yet another bit of evidence i’m evil: I’m really curious what an “Auto-Tune the General Conference Speakers” (along the lines of “Auto-Tune the News”) would be like.
Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
- Lots of stuff about choices. I was particularly gratified to see that he made it clear that there are some choices that really don’t matter in the eternal scheme of things.
- Wow—he said “In closing…” and there was an immediate rustle of people sitting up a bit throughout the room. Rather amusing. (Especially since he went on for a few minutes after that.)
- He said not to make exceptions to obeying commandments for extenuating circumstances, because life itself is a series of extenuating circumstances. There’s one to ponder on for a while.
Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
- What is the gift of the Holy Ghost? It’s central to our religion, but it’s not nearly as well-defined as, for example, the sacrament or even sealing.
- He said that if we’re called to speak in a meeting in the name of the Lord, we should banish all self-doubt. Hurrah! Now nobody will ever start a sacrament meeting address by apologizing for their lack of speaking skills, right? Of course!
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)
- He noted that after Ezra Taft Benson’s 1989 sermon on pride, it became taboo for members of the church to say that they were “proud” of anything (their children, their country, their work, or whatever). I remember that, and i remember thinking that that was taking things a bit too far. I’m glad that Elder Uchtdorf and i agree on that point.
- He said (though in different words) that social darwinism is bad. My social welfare-fan self gave a little internal cheer at that sentiment.
- He said that sports fans who vilify opposing teams and fans are exhibiting the sin of pride. Interesting. Has the Brigham Young University-University of Utah rivalry been particularly nasty lately?
- He said that such vilification also spills over into politics, ethnicity, and religion, and that it’s equally sinful in those spheres. Well, at least there’s little to no vilification of political opponents going on these days, so we’re okay there. Right? Right?
- There’s yet another reference to James E. Faust. Interesting—there’s been at least three so far today, at least that i’ve caught.
- It took a long time for this address’s first mention of flying airplanes.
Juan A. Uceda (of the quorums of the seventy)
- ”Only the home can compare to the temple in holiness.” We hear stuff like this a lot—but what does it actually mean?
- Yet another bit of evidence i’m evil: All the repetitions of “I am sorry” as something we need to say started Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” looping in my head—probably not what was intended.
Patrick Kearon (of the quorums of seventy)
- Not much to really report on here, except to say that i think this guy is actually a superhero, MetaphorMan! (However, his full name is English Accent MetaphorMan!, so it’s all okay.)
Russell M. Nelson (of the quorum of apostles)
- He asked all of the full-time missionaries, wherever they might be in the world, to stand. You don’t get audience participation like that very often in general conferences.
- He repeated President Monson’s call for every worthy young man to serve as a full-time missionary, and said he hopes that counsel will be followed in every home in the church. Well, for those of us who are in homes without any sons, that’s going to be an interesting one to try to follow…
- Do people really not know they’re welcome to visit our church meetings? I thought it was generally assumed that the default is that religious meetings of all types are open to all who wish to drop in unless there’s some sort of signage stating otherwise.
- Interesting news: You can now create a personal member profile at mormon.org for nonmembers to view.
- This address was a fun listen—he was on tonight, even though the subject was fairly pedestrian.
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf was conducting. He read the order of service from paper—you could hear it rustling—and not from the teleprompter. I though that was interesting.
- ”Hark All Ye Nations” still sounds better in German than in English, no matter how it’s arranged.
- People were still filing in during the opening song. I’m mildly surprised that they didn’t have everyone seated a few minutes before the meeting began.