Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

Due to stuff my family is doing, people we’re hanging out with for conference, that sort of thing, my notes for the Saturday afternoon and priesthood sessions aren’t going to go up until i can transfer my notes from paper to an electronic format. This is a placeholder post until i can put my notes for the Saturday afternoon session up (probably Sunday evening), so that things stay in order.

Saturday afternoon is kind of a weird session—it’s stuck on a Saturday and therefore not what people are likely to default to watching if they don’t watch all the sessions, but some years it’s kind of a must-see, what with it being the session with the sustainings (and therefore the announcements of who the new apostle is during conferences with an opening in that quorum). Not this year, though.

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 thoughts

  • This closing song, “Home”, is…Let’s just say i vote no on the lyrics. That is all.
  • Wait—the women are singing about fathers and the men about mothers? Heresy! (Well, at least the children sang about the children, so maybe lightning won’t strike.)

Richard G. Scott (of the quorum of apostles)

  • He has two basic speaking modes: the really quiet, mellow, and frowny one, and the really quiet, mellow, and almost-but-not-quite-smiley one. He seems to be in almost-smiley mode today.
  • Jeanne just whispered to me “I’m finding this very hard to follow.” Amusingly, that’s pretty much what i was just about to type. That makes two votes—anyone else?
  • Satan has no ability to take away blessings. I’m not sure that Job would agree—maybe he means that Satan has no ability to do that without clearance from God?

Neil L. Andersen (of the quorum of apostles)

  • Good warnings against taking offense and having that push you away from the church. Part of the problem, though, is that it’s difficult to see the difference between reasonable and unreasonable reactions when you’re in the midst of them (or, for that matter, reasonable reactions with ultimately unreasonable effects).
  • I don’t know that we’re actually all that different from other people—it’s just really easy to recognize differences rather than similarities.

Gerrit W. Gong (of the quorums of the seventy)

  • Fresh-baked bread in the Missionary Training Center? Man, do you realize how much you could sell that stuff for in some of the side hallways of that place?
  • Okay, the thank-you notes from the missionaries was one of the best general conference opening jokes i’ve heard. I’m normally not a fan of trying to open with a joke, but for this guy i’ll happily make an exception.
  • Okay, but i didn’t get the “Blackberries, when read in church, make green bishops blue” joke. Why green? (Still, one for two is better than a lot of these get.)
  • It took me a while to get the “temple mirrors of eternity” thing—i must have somehow missed the first mention of it, or at least the context for it.

Kevin R. Duncan (of the quorums of the seventy)

  • Is this the first extended riff on the Mormon pioneers of this general conference? We’re past the halfway mark in the second general session—that may be a new record.
  • I’ve always been curious whether Jim Bridger ever paid up on his challenge about corn grown in the Salt Lake Valley.
  • Having lived in the Utah Valley (immediately next to the Salt Lake Valley, i have to say that whether the Salt lake Valley has actually “blossomed” is somewhat debatable. You see, i grew up in the southern mid-Atlantic, where we actually have a reasonable amount of vegetation…
  • I wonder if this guy heard the address given this morning on Ezra Taft Benson’s “14 fundamentals” about prophets, and had this intense sinking feeling, figuring he’d been preempted. (Fortunately, as a Mormon you can always get away with saying “Because this is so important, i’ll repeat it now.”)

Richard C. Edgley (of the presiding bishopric)

  • “Yes, faith is a choice” and, by extension, a lack of faith is also a choice. I’ve known people, though, who wanted to have faith, desperately wished to have it, but found that it eluded them. How are they choosing to lack faith? Or are they? Can lack of faith simply be a simple trial of life?
  • I like the admission that there are things in his religious beliefs he can’t explain or doesn’t understand—it’s something we don’t here much from church authorities (or rather, we hear it but we don’t usually hear it quite so bluntly).

Quentin L. Cook (of the quorum of apostles)

  • I have to admit that when i hear the name Vera Lynn, all i can think of is the brief song of that name from the Pink Floyd album (and movie) The Wall. This, of course, is proof that i’m evil.
  • He mentioned attacks on morality and religious liberty. I haven’t noticed any significant attacks on religious liberty lately in the United States (aside from some protests against the building of mosques), so i’m curious what exactly he’s referring to.
  • My oldest was thoroughly confused by his metaphor about “blacking out” attacks on the home and such—she thought he was trying to say we need to live in spiritual darkness. Lesson: Be really, really careful with metaphors, especially when they rely on images much of your audience has no experience with.
  • A straight-up naming of human trafficking as a significant evil practice! That may be a first in general conference.
  • He keeps talking about “Judeo-Christian” values and such, but the values he’s talking about are found throughout non-Judeo-Xian religions, as well, and even in non-religious traditions—and he acknowledges that. I’m curious, then, why he keeps coming back to Judeo-Xian traditions. (It’s clearly being used for some rhetorical purpose, but what the purpose is is being utterly opaque to me.)
Robert D. Hales (of the quorum of apostles)
  • It’s good for Mormons to learn that a lot of the words we use (agency, in this case) don’t mean to other people what we think they mean.
  • By using one’s agency, one can lose one’s agency. There’s a bit of irony there (possibly classical irony, even).
Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency), presenting the general authorities and officers of the church
  • He gave Neil L. Andersen’s name as “Neil Andersen” (no middle initial). It was almost jarring to hear it without the L.
Opening thoughts
  • The music is being given by a “family choir”. What in the world is a family choir? I’m assuming they’re not all part of one big family, since they’re pretty much filling up the choir seats. Maybe it just means kids are allowed in?
  • And how do they pick the non-Mormon Tabernacle Choir choirs for general conferences, anyway? Is there an application process? Auditions?
  • Okay, so i kind of understand the rationale behind those whose native languages aren’t English having to give general conference addresses in English (though i really think we have the technological ability to make that unnecessary), but can we let people at least pray to God in their native languages one day?

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I clicked mute every time a song started. I really am not a MoTab fan. At all.

Very hard to follow, yes.

After Elder Anderson's talk I joked that I was thinking about leaving the church if Elder Oaks didn't speak in a non-PH session of this conference because I'd be totally offended.

His opening with those notes was awesome. I assumed green meant jealous?

A quick google search didn't turn up whether he paid or not. It's a matter of what you are used to I suppose. Like when my friend was driving back from a few months living in Las Vegas going back to Salt Lake and she thought "Wow, it's green!" And then she thought "What the heck am I thinking?!?!" It was interesting that two wrote the same things in their talks.

I can't remember anything at all about Bishop Edgley's talk...

He explained what a black out was pretty well before going on to his metaphor. I think most people only understand Judeo-Christian as a phrase. Many honestly don't believe other religions have x things in them.

Many non-Mormons can't understand what Mormons means about things. Happy Valley people seriously don't understand that because most around them are Mormon and those who aren't figure it out because they are surrounded by Mormons and Mormon-speak.

I didn't notice the missing L.

I think family choir means men, women, and children. I love it when prayers at Stake Conference are in another language. We've got a Spanish ward (might be a branch) in our stake and there was one in our last two stakes. It was nice when a member of those prayed. They always did it in Spanish.