Anyway, a reminder: The entries for the session are arranged from the 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 each speaker’s entries are given in the order i write them. This means that this is where you scroll to the bottom of this post and start reading upwards.
Closing prayer (i didn’t catch who said it)
- I caught direct references to at least three, maybe four of the addresses this session. Nothing like proving your were listening, eh?
L. Tom Perry (of the quorum of apostles)
- Four apostles (not counting the first presidency member) speaking in one session—seems a bit of an overload. This plus the temple announcements this morning feel like an attempt to reward the people who are actually watching today.
- Lots of discussion of the church’s place as a topic for discussion and comment in the public sphere.
- Okay, i’m an academic linguist, and i’ve published a number of articles on the card-cord merger—that is, the ability of speakers of certain dialects of English to pronounce the or in words like cord as an ar, like in card. L. Tom Perry exhibits that merger a lot—and it’s distracting me, on a professional level.
- I’ve heard other Mormons characterize this blog as evil and a horrible public face for a member of the church to present, and i’ve also heard other Mormons characterize this blog as a quite positive and humanizing public face for a member of the church to represent. I’m curious how L. Tom Perry would categorize it.
- Good to hear a general authority explicitly say that it’s good to have a two-way conversation about religion with non-Mormons, contra the occasional Mormon meme that our job is to teach others, not to be taught by others.
- We need to be civil in our discussions of religion, no matter the tone others adopt when engaging us or discussing our religion. I think we tend to do that anyway, but it’s good to hear such direction from high levels occasionally.
- Interesting statement: When talking about the church, we shouldn’t try to make it sound “better than it is”. Very nice indirect acknowledgment that even though we believe that we have the truth, we can’t claim to be using that truth perfectly. (And so maybe L. Tom Perry wouldn’t mind this blog, after all.)
D. Todd Christofferson (of the quorum of apostles)
- What exactly is entailed in a “call to repentance”? He’s presenting it in a way that seems slightly different from what i expected, and i’m not entirely certain what exactly he means by that phrase.
- His reference to the baptismal covenant didn’t really parallel Mosiah 18:8–10 (which i’m not certain is actually the baptismal covenant myself, no matter what lots of gospel doctrine teachers have taught me). I’m going to have to look for his description of it in the written report.
LeGrand R. Curtis, Jr. (of the quorums of seventy)
- Cool—i thought for a minute he was going to talk about the importance of avoiding big sins and such. Yeah, that’s important, but he went in a more interesting direction—that it doesn’t matter whether our sins are big or little, since they’re all sins, and we all have them.
- I really, really, really like his story of being told cascading stories about reactivation.
Carl B. Cook (of the quorums of seventy)
- He’s doing a very good, focused job with his message (we need to remember to “look up”—that is, look toward Jesus), but there’s really nothing here i can hook into to comment on about it.
Ian S. Ardern (of the quorums of seventy)
- This is some of the most measured, slow pacing of speech i’ve heard in a general conference address in a long time (aside from, occasionally, Richard G. Scott). There’s sort of an irony about having that in an address about the importance of using time wisely.
- Contrasting prayer with things like texting very seriously popped my brain over into imagining what it might be like to text a prayer. (I then realized i don’t have any phone numbers of deities on my phone, so it wouldn’t work. At least for now.)
- Angry Birds mention!
Neal A. Anderson (of the quorum of apostles)
- He’s working at walking a really, really fine line here: Saying that married couples should make their own decisions on the timing and number of their children, and also saying that married couples should make sure to have children (if they’re physically able, as he mentioned in passing), while criticizing limiting the number of children a couple has. I’m not sure he’s doing it successfully.
- Sidebar: What’s the birth rate among Mormons, and does it vary by region?
- Serious question: What if God tells a couple to delay having children?
- Another question: What does it actually mean to “multiply and replenish the earth”? He’s presenting it as meaning to have lots of children. Jeanne and i have lots of children (well, well above the national average, in any event), and i’m not certain that’s what it means.
- He’s doing a much better job of highlighting the problems inherent in judging people who don’t have children.
David A. Bednar (of the quorum of apostles)
- If he’s right that nobody on earth had the sealing authority from Elijah’s ascension until Elijah’s appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration, does that mean the Nephites didn’t have the sealing authority (until, presumably, Jesus’s appearance to them)?
- Genealogical research is a calling of children of God, and is not limited to those who have reached a particular age. (Nice point.)
- Interesting job of drawing a line from skill in social uses of technology to potential skill in using technology for genealogical research.
- Ah! An announcement (re-announcement?—i don’t know if it’s been previously mentioned) of a web site on family history directed toward the youth of the church.
- On a related personal note, when Jeanne and i were in our late twenties, Jeanne was called as the ward family history consultant. We used to joke that she was the youngest family history consultant in the history of the church—rather certainly not true, but sometimes it felt like it was.
Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency), presentation of general authorities and officers
- A full set of sustainings in October? I thought this was an April thing, not an every conference thing. Am i just misremembering past practice?
- So Gary J. Coleman’s address in the previous session was a valedictory.
- Yoshihiko Kikuchi has been made an emeritus general authority. There’ll be a lot of people in the church who miss having him around, i think.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency), opening remarks
- A primary choir? Interesting—not something you see that often in meetings like this. (I do have to wonder—what sort of sedatives did they give them to keep them from fidgeting up there?)