Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Priesthood session

So here are my notes from the third general session of this round of general conference. (Yep, priesthood session counts as a general session, even though it’s not open to the general membership of the church. Go figure. However, i will say that this was perhaps the one priesthood session i’ve ever seen that actually merited that label—every address actually dealt with the priesthood in very specific ways.)

So: The entries for the session are arranged bottom-up, with the first speaker at the end of the post, preceded by the second speaker, and so on, with the final speaker at the top of the post—but with each speaker’s entries given in the order i write them. This means that the start of the session is down by the bottom of this post.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
  • He started out by saying he was going to address a number of issues that have been worrying him lately, and then went through essentially a laundry list of wide-ranging topics (profane language, the word of wisdom, pornography, and so on).
  • What’s the marriage rate in the church? Thomas S. Monson isn’t the first one at this conference who’s said that men (and, in other sessions, women) shouldn’t avoid marriage.
  • You know, they guy has really good pacing when he tells his stories.
  • So how stressed are marriages among church members? Is the divorce rate rising, or was his bit against divorce a reaction to other trends?

Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
  • All priesthood holders need to learn the duties of their offices.
  • I wonder how much of his commentary about how tough the neighborhood that he lived in as a kid in New Jersey was will make it into the written report.
  • Love is both a cause and an effect of priesthood learning.
  • Great priesthood quorums have peacemakers, allowing unity to occur even when there are differences.
  • The priesthood is a source of knowledge.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)
  • The priesthood shouldn’t just be used to bless our church and family, but also out community.
  • For many, a testimony comes quietly and gradually, and this is an important thing for people to know, or else they might not realize it. Sometimes, though, i wonder if we say that so often that it might lead those whose testimonies come loudly and/or suddenly to doubt their own just as real experiences.
  • We need to be joyous as priesthood holders (and, given other stuff he said, as members of the church).
  • Avoid being the three Ws: weary, worried, whining.

“Redeemer of Israel” as the congregational hymn. Why don’t we ever get to sing verse 5 or (especially!) verse 6, when those are the coolest parts of the song?

Larry M. Gibson (of the young men’s general presidency)
  • Only one point that really struck me, but it’s both interesting and important: Priesthood quorums aren’t classes, but rather councils.

Steven E. Snow (of the presidency of the seventy)
  • Two straight addresses (even briefly) mentioning the world cup? That may be a new general conference record!
  • You know, you don’t generally get as much focus on hope as you do on faith and charity.
  • Interesting point that hope can lead to action. You hear that about faith fairly frequently, but not hope so much.
  • More reasons to care about hope: He quoted Moroni to the effect that hope is necessary for salvation.
  • He directly said that today’s trials require the same level of faith and hope as the early Mormons required for their trials—thus providing a nice counterpoint to those who talk about how amazing they must have been and how people now are soft and wouldn’t be able to handle that sort of persecution and such.

Neil L. Andersen (of the quorum of apostles)
  • So he’s addressing his remarks mainly to the 12- to 25-year-olds. Does this mean i get to nap for a while? (Yeah, yeah, i know—you have to pay attention so that you know what your sons need. But since i don’t have any sons…)
  • Was he reading his address from paper? If not, the teleprompter was adjusted way wrong.
  • So every young man should prepare to serve a full-time mission. This leads me to wonder whether the requirements for being a full-time missionary have changed since M. Russell Ballard talked about “raising the bar” for missionary service back in 2002.
  • He explicitly addressed people who can’t serve as full-time missionaries due to health concerns and such, and told them not to feel bad about it. Good to hear that group get addressed, especially with what turned out to be the intense focus on full-time missionary service this session.
  • Why do general conference addresses get to use visual aids, but sacrament meeting speeches don’t?

The guy that said the opening prayer had a really strong foreign accent. So when do people finally get to give prayers in their native languages in general conferences?

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