Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday afternoon session

So we’ve finally gotten to Sunday afternoon, where the speakers can relax properly ’cause they know that everyone’s attention span has been used up by now.

As with all of these, i’ve written this post 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. My thoughts on each speaker, though, are given in the order i write them. Therefore, to get a chronological view of the session you’ll need to scroll to the bottom of this post and read upwards.

Closing thought

  • If they cut out all of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir bits, i’m thinking we could get general conference over and done with in something like two sessions instead of five.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)

  • So he requested that people read the conference addresses. Leads to the interesting question of why we’re requested to listen to all of them live, too.
  • Kind of a mellow benediction, overall. I have to admit—and here’s more proof that i’m evil—that near the end some of what he said reminded me of the philosophy Bill and Ted (of the pointless eighties movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) provided for the world: Be excellent to each other.

M. Russell Ballard (of the quorum of apostles)

  • So i’m guessing Elder Ballard is into trout fishing.
  • Addiction is bad. (I suppose that at this point i should disclose my own struggles with my addiction to oxygen.)
  • Wow! I don’t think i’ve ever heard a list of specific drugs like that in a general conference before—one may have been delivered, but i don’t recall it. (Of course, this makes me happy largely because i’m a fan of specificity—some parents may have been horrified that such things were mentioned where there kids could hear about them. As is so often the case, your mileage may vary.)
  • It’s sort of sad that he had to give a disclaimer that prescription medications (including painkillers) are a good thing—but i’ve seen people take statements by general authorities in similar weirdly wrong ways, so i guess it’s a sad necessity.
  • Hey! I’ve texted my wife when we were in the same room! Good way to keep the kids from overhearing our conversation, you see…
  • Interesting to hear the source of LDS Family Service’s addiction recovery program cited as Alcoholics Anonymous’s twelve-step program.

Mervyn B. Arnold (of the seventy)

  • A family of nine in a two-bedroom house, with an enclosed porch being pressed into service as a makeshift bedroom? What with the whole enclosed porch thing, i’m assuming he didn’t grow up in Alaska. (Quick googling: He was born in Maryland, but grew up in Arizona. That makes sense.)
  • He called For the Strength of Youth an “inspired pamphlet”. What did he mean by this? Did he mean that the contents are divinely inspired, or that its simple existence is inspired? It’s certainly not canon, and it’s subject to revision at any time, so the first of those possibilities doesn’t really work, at least not completely—but i suspect that’s closer to what was intended. Anyway, this leads to a deeper question: What does it actually mean for something to be “inspired”?

I didn’t have a hope of getting this name from the audio feed (of the seventy)

  • If sin is a willful disobedience of God’s laws, what about passive (but not ignorant) disobedience? I suspect it’s sin as well, but i’m not certain.
  • What does it mean to go to bed early and not sleeping in? I realize that it’s mentioned in the book of Doctrine & Covenants, but what were sleep patterns like back then? Most of what i’ve seen leads me to think eight hours a day would have been very low for back then.

I didn’t have a hope of getting this name from the audio feed (of the seventy)

  • It occurs to me that his metaphor of the hollow tree is a warning that we shouldn’t let ourselves become spiritually “hollow”, but i find it interesting that the tree was still able to stand with support from other sources—maybe there’s another lesson in the metaphor, which is that we ought to support others, no matter their weaknesses?

Larry R. Lawrence (of the quorums of seventy)

  • (I’m not certain i got who it was precisely correctly—we’re listening on the audio feed, not on video, so i don’t get to see their names on the screen.)
  • He’s speaking to the parents of teenagers. We don’t have any teens, only tweens—does that mean we get to take a nap now?
  • Actually, what with my oldest being who she is, telling her to get off the train tracks might get her to stay on more stubbornly…
  • The example of Alma correcting Corianton versus Eli not correcting his sons was well-done. There is another important situation to remember, though: Lehi, who corrected his sons but was unsuccessful in reaching all of them.
  • Interesting that he says that if either parent feels uncomfortable about their children doing something, they should support each other in their limits. This, of course, means that the most restrictive parent would always win; this isn’t necessarily a problem, i suppose, as long as the parents talk about their limits in private—it’s always possible for someone to be worried about something that isn’t worth worrying about, after all.
  • A well-placed warning about the dangers of sleepovers, and how they can lead to children’s first experience with various dangerous practices. Of course, sleepovers can also lead to a child having experience with a family praying together, or reading the scriptures, or doing other good things—but that doesn’t make for good headlines, i guess.

David A. Bednar (of the quorum of apostles)

  • Listening to this discussion of the Holy Ghost leads me to wonder what else, if anything, it does aside from acting as a messenger. You’d think a god would have more to do, but maybe not—maybe it’s an actual full-time divine job.
  • We can’t command the companionship of the Holy Ghost. That leads to an interesting question: Can we command the Holy Ghost to leave us?
  • Interesting definition of the word living in “true and living church”: essentially, that we have the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • So if you have no malice, strife, or evil in your heart you have the Holy ghost with you? I’m not sure i got the details of that quote (of Joseph Smith) right upon hearing it, but it certainly sounds reasonable.

L. Tom Perry (of the quorum of apostles)

  • Lots of discussion of “traditional values” today. If my generation and younger haven’t been taught them, though, i’m thinking it’d be worth telling us pointedly and explicitly what exactly that phrase means. As it is, i think i know, but i can’t be certain.
  • Interesting that he said the exercise of the ministering of angels will add wisdom and such to one’s life. That’s not the way we usually think of that sort of thing, i think.
  • This address exhibits an interesting tension in Mormon rhetoric. There’s a lot of despairing of the youth of today, but then there are lots of stories about how wonderfully and excellently they’re acting.
  • I’m starting to think that what Elder Perry had really wanted was a speaking slot in priesthood session.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency), opening remarks

  • Yes, this is the fifth general session of this general conference, making the priesthood session a “general session”. One would normally think that a session with restricted attendance like that wouldn’t count as “general”, but that’s the way these have always been counted as long as i’ve been watching them (and, as can be verified by listening to the recordings, for some decades prior). I wonder why?


Heather the Mama Duk said...

Again, splitting into parts. Part 1:

I'm thinking if the MoTab sang at a reasonable rate of speed it would cut things down by at least one session. Actually today they were a bit faster than usually, but I'm not sure WHAT they were thinking with the speed (or lack thereof) of Love One Another.

If you don't listen to them live you don't get the cute ad-libbed bits. I think President Monson said to cut out the "endure to the end" junk people moan on about. They make it sound so difficult. He seemed to be "endure to the end IF YOU MUST, but our goal is..." which sounds like we should enjoy that which we are enduring. And be excellent to each other.

I know people who would say "Elder Ballard said you might get addicted to prescription drugs and so we are not allowed to take them at all." It is dumb that the disclaimer was necessary, but I can see why. I think texting so kids don't hear you is a far cry from what I've seen teens do. They don't speak to each other, they just text. It's kind of weird. Especially weird to me because I don't have a cell phone and Jamie's doesn't have texting so I just don't get the appeal to kids. We use a sort of made up joint experience hint sort of thing to talk without the kids understanding. Drives the kids mad that they don't understand. Ani's friend at church who just turned 12 texts all the time. She stays up until 2 or 3 in the morning to text sometimes. Her parents are fine with it.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Part 2:

We've got 8 people living here and 4 are adults and 4 are children. It's essentially a two bedroom house now. Mommie and Daddy have one, Jamie and I have the other. The room that was mine and Michelle's when we were growing up is being used as a bedroom for the three boys. Ani's bedroom is the loft in the living room. Mom-mom and Pop-pop had a 3 bedroom house with a couple boys, a girl, them, Pop-pop's father, and our grandparents and Uncle Ralph in the summer kitchen turned into a bedroom. Amazing what you can do if you have to.

I suspect that, unlike what many Christians I know believe, there are various degrees of sin. So I'd say it's sin, but not as bad.

That sounds like a good metaphor, too.

You got the name right. It seemed to me that he assumed one would be more cautious sometimes and the other other times. I don't think he meant to cater to paranoia. The sleepover thing was well timed. Cameron was set up for a sleepover with a friend in a couple weeks, but he's decided he'd rather not because the kid is not the nicest... well, he's a brat. So we're going to tell his mom that at Conference there was a caution about sleepovers and we've decided not to do them. Cameron's very relieved. Side note: I get a little giggle out of names that are kind of parallel like John Johnston. Larry Lawrence gave me a giggle.

Elder Bednar looks like younger than he is. I bet we can command the Holy Ghost to leave us. We can certainly make Him leave for reasons other than commanding.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Part 3:

There are a lot of things people assume other people (younger people) know. I remember sitting in Young Women being confused as all get out when they'd say no heavy petting. I had no clue at all what that meant. Necking, too. No clue. I'm actually still not sure exactly what those things mean to be quite honest. I think I do, but the terms were definitely not used by the time I was a teenager. My friend, Michelle's age, also had no clue what those things meant. So, yes, defining things is a very, very good idea.

Clearly, it's because males are more important than females in our church ;-P

David B said...

Oh, i know you can fit a lot of people in a two bedroom house. (And the house y’all are in is three bedrooms plus a small loft, really.) It’s just that he said they turned an enclosed porch into a bedroom-like substance, and that’s just not something you can do in the climate up here, unless you put enough insulation in that you wouldn’t really be able to call it a porch anymore. In a warmer climate, it makes a lot of sense.