Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

Due to family commitments, i won’t be putting my comments on the Saturday afternoon session right afterwards—they’ll go up late Saturday or (more likely) Sunday evening. This is just here as a placeholder in the meantime, so that these posts stay in order.

On update, i’m leaving this link in, since it’s so, so very wrong that you must all go read it now.

And: Is it just me, or when they did the obligatory pan-through-the-general-authorities shots before the session began, did Russell M. Nelson look a little hyper-awake and overcaffeinated to anyone else? Yeah, it’s just me—that’s what i thought.

Anyway, as before, time to scroll down and read from the bottom to the top, as with all of these entries.

Missionary Training Center choir, closing song
  • My oldest was thoroughly amused by the shot of the choir that caught one of the other cameradudes.
  • My second-oldest thinks the male full-time missionaries should have had suits as bright as the women’s blouses. Jeanne tried convincing her that the men’s ties are bright and colorful, but the child was (rightly) having none of that.
Richard G. Scott (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Wow—still feeling the death of his wife, some years later. His loss was palpable in that opening bit.
  • And it turns out to be a lead-in to the actual body of his address, not just a throwaway intro.
  • Anger, hurt, and defensiveness drive away the Spirit—the first one i’d heard, but the others are interesting.
  • ”Inappropriate loud laughter” drives away the Spirit—makes me wonder whether he thinks there’s appropriate loud laughter. (I suspect yes, given his endorsement of humor right after that, but i’m not sure.)
  • So if you’re sick and can’t feel the Spirit, don’t stress too much, just get better.
  • This is more of a discussion of revelation through dreams than i think i’ve ever heard in general conference, even in the mid-twentieth-century ones I’ve listened to (which contained a number of topics you’d never hear nowadays).
  • I’m liking this address, but i have to take issue with one part of it—it’s making it sound like we won’t feel the Spirit if pretty much anything is wrong with our lives. I don’t know that i agree—the Holy Spirit is a god, after all, and therefore can presumably show up wherever it needs to. That aside, though, this is some good advice.
  • “The closer you follow divine guidance, the greater will be your happiness here, and in eternity.” I thought that if you end up exalted, you get a fullness of joy—basically, everybody who makes it gets perfect happiness, so it’s not a scalar thing. Or am i misreading what he said?
Quentin L. Cook (of the quorum of apostles)
  • ”A unique confluence of factors has raised the profile of the church…” Insert chuckle here.
  • “An aggressive scientific atheism”? I realize that that was a quote from someone else, but what does he mean by this? Is this going to be a slash back at the New Atheists?
  • Love for the nursery leaders!
  • We love and respect everyone in the world? Well, i’ll certainly agree that we’re supposed to, at least.
  • Linguistic nerd happiness! He nearly monophthongized the /ɑɪ/ diphthong in righteousness!
  • Did he actually say that we shouldn’t judge, or even worry too much about, our kids’ (and others’) mistakes that aren’t sinful? Why yes, i believe he did—really a revolutionary thought for a lot of us in the church, i’m thinking, which is scary, given how much sense it makes.
  • Why, i do believe that he just made a backhanded swipe at the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon.
  • Actually, my favorite Mark Twain joke about the Book of Mormon was calling it “chloroform in print”.
  • Still more linguistic nerd happiness—he actually did monophthongize /ɑɪ/ in lives.
  • Okay, the finger signals thing is kind of a fun idea, but those of us with tweens or teens might worry at times about the finger signals they would come up with, i’m afraid.
Ulisses Soares (of the quorums of seventy)
  • So all we have to do is rid ourselves of malice, and evil speaking, and [insert half a dozen ills common to all mortals here], and all uncleanness. Well, if that’s all there is to it…
  • “If our attitudes are good, they are inspired by God”—i like the focus on the internal in this address better than i like Robert D. Hales’s focus on the outward, i must say.
David S. Baxter (of the quorums of seventy)
  • An address to single parents! There’s been a few of these lately, but they’re pretty rare—and few of them are this upbeat.
  • Admit it, fellow North Americans—you’re having trouble focusing on this address, ’cause you’re so in love with his voice.
  • “In the kingdom of God, there are no second-class citizens.” Lemme hear an amen from the people!
  • Urging leaders to help out and not judge—we need another amen.
  • A nod to the single fathers, too—good to hear, since we often forget they exist, and therefore have no idea what to do with them.
Congregation and Missionary Training Center choir, intermediate everybody-stand-up-for-no-reason song
  • Yep, it’s “Called to Serve”. Like you didn’t see that one coming.
Robert D. Hales (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Wow—his oxygen is loud. You’d’ve thought they’d’ve lined his microphone up better than that.
  • Pretty standard stuff, but the condition of the speaker is giving it a decent bit of extra gravitas.
  • Parents and leaders can help the youth understand the sacrament by providing them the opportunity to teach each other. Interesting, that.
  • Kind of odd that his list of items making one worthy to attend the temple were pretty much all outwardly-visible things, rather than issues of actual belief and faith.
  • ”It is difficult for youth to understand how present actions can qualify or disqualify them from future service.” (I’m sure i got a few words wrong, but the gist of it is right.) Leaves me wondering: What about repentance, though?
  • The big final point: If you are worthy to take the sacrament each week, are worthy to hold a temple recommend (nicely phrased, so as to include those who, say, aren’t old enough or haven’t been members long enough), and sacrifice to do good, then you’re golden.
Jeffrey R. Holland (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Interesting view of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard from the point of view of the last laborers, rather than the first (as is usually done).
  • Nicely delivered argument against envy.
  • Elder Holland, rockin’ four straight laugh lines!
  • He’s getting into this one—general conference addresses are usually so mellow that a delivery like this gets your attention, you know?
  • You know, a couple of the lines the audience just laughed at weren’t laugh lines. I think that there’s some nervous laughter going on out there—he’s delivering a pretty intense call to repentance here.
  • Ah! Mercy presented as the practical opposite of envy—and nicely done, too.
  • Nice attempt at peace with former members. Some will find it condescending, i’m sure, but i don’t think that it actually was (as opposed to some such attempts, which actually are).
  • You usually get calls for the men in the church to shape up in priesthood session—nice to hear it in one of these, too.
  • I think we have an early candidate for my favorite address of the conference.
Brook P. Hales, (secretary to the first presidency), statistical report
  • Nearly 3,000 stakes.
  • Just shy of 14.5 million members.
  • Around 55,000 full-time missionaries, just over 280,000 convert baptisms. This is a notably lower baptism per missionary rate than what you got in the late eighties and early nineties, but there’s more emphasis on retention efforts now, compared to more of a “baptize the world” mentality then. I wonder how activity rates have changed?
Robert W. Cantwell, (managing director of the church auditing department), audit report
  • Same script as always. Seriously, why do we even do this?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency), presentation of general authorities and officers
  • Dissolving the presiding bishopric, and making them all emeritus—interesting.
  • When he announced the release of Marvin T. Brinkerhoff (not sure of the spelling), he appeared to pronounce the name in German, including the middle initial.
  • What percentage of the general and area authorities have middle initials? How much time would be saved in reading these lists if most of them just went by first and last names?
  • Nice trilled r on Rivas!
  • Releasing the relief society general presidency—pity we won’t get to hear from Julie B. Beck any more, she didn’t usually do stereotypical relief society president addresses.
  • Is the Larry Echo Hawk that was called the head of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs?!?
  • Two of the names of the new presiding bishopric didn’t sound English, though it’s hard to tell with his accent—i’m gonna have to go look that up.
  • My oldest points out that we have a Jesus as a general authority now (along with a Moroni or five, and a Toronto).
  • Is the Burton called as the new general relief society president related to the Burton just released as presiding bishop? Something else to look up.
Combined choir from the Missionary Training Center, opening song
  • The male:female ratio of this choir is much more balanced than what i’d’ve expected from the Missionary Training Center. Did they do that on purpose to make the harmonies work better?
  • My kids very much approve of the multiplicity of colors the women in this choir are wearing, compared to the monochromaticity of MoTab this morning.
  • I do quite like the song “Glory to God on High”, and the bit in the middle of this arrangement with the male and female voices working against each other was quite excellent.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

We've watched these talks over the last few days. Only a little behind.

I liked the sisters' clothes quite a lot. I also liked the speed of their singing (we only watched Praise to the Man). The ending close up shot of David Archuleta including the clear shot of his nametag was amusing.

I will miss Sister Beck. She was totally awesome.

Yes, Larry Echo Hawk was the head of Indian Affairs.

If our ward is any example of activity rates, we are certainly increasing the percentage.

Elder Holland:
I liked his talk.

Elder Hales:
Even though his oxygen was loud, I still think it's a really cool delivery method. I think a lot of people think being a "good" Mormon is really hard, but I don't think that's true. I think that was some of his point. It's not hard.

Elder Baxter:
I loved, loved, loved his talk (and accent).

Elder Soares:
I think his talk with Elder Hales go together very nicely.

Elder Cook:
Can't imagine what that confluence of factors is lol I thought his distinction between sinful things and just youthful mistakes was very interesting. Good to think about. When he said the thing about poking fun Mommie said, "Like the Book of Mormon musical." Yup, backhanded slap indeed. My 5 year old reads a few verses and usually complains if it's not at least 5 verses. We're lucky if we can get Adrian to repeat two lines let alone pay enough attention to watch for a hand signal.

Elder Scott:
He really does miss his wife. I've always said that there is appropriate loud laughter. There was a woman in a previous ward who was 100% opposed to having ward activities because it might lead to loud laughter and that *wasn't okay.* She was kind of insane. I liked the part about dream revelations since that's how I usually get revelation.