Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Priesthood session

And now it’s priesthood session, and so this comes from notes i took while i was sitting in a church building. Going in, I’d figured the over/under on dudes with no ties and dudes with non-white shirts (overlapping groups, but not perfect overlap) would be 5% of the audience—and we went over it on both, but not by much. (For the record, i was part of both groups.)

It’s always fun watching the pre-session conversations amongst the general authorities—some of them are very serious, even stern, but most are chatting, occasionally sharing laughs. The question, then: Why teach primary kids that reverence means silence?

Anyway, on to the comments. As with the others, you need to scroll to the bottom to get the first speaker, and then work your way up this post to get to the end of the session.

Salt Lake City institute choir, closing song
  • Very nice arrangement of “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd”—it got a little overly cute in one of the verses (the third?), but overall it was still quite pleasant.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
  • Cool quote: “When God speaks, and man obeys, that man will always be right.”
  • We need to do our duty in the priesthood, which will lead us to joy.
  • When he was a bishop, he wrote monthly letters to the twenty-three active military serving from his ward. He’s said in other addresses how he frequently visited all the widows in his ward. My question: Did the guy ever sleep?
  • This has to be like the eighth time a speaker has quoted “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only”.
  • And a final thought, now that the final speaker’s done: There were really no speeches of the “I address my remarks to the young men of the Aaronic priesthood” type tonight (to which I say, good).

Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
  • The main thing to report from this one is a long one, his list of four things priesthood fathers should do: (1) Gain and keep a sure witness that the keys are with the church, and held by the president of the church; (2) love your wife, which requires faith to put her needs and happiness above your own; (3) enlist your entire family to love each other, including reassuring your children that they’re loved not just by their parents but also by their siblings, and so children should have the opportunity to pray for and serve each other; and (4) lead your family “in the Lord’s way” when discipline is called for, which he didn’t really explain, but he did quote from the unrighteous dominion bit from the book of Doctrine and Covenants.
  • And he was really, really intense about the sealing keys being held in their fullness only by the president of the church. Is there some group that’s suddenly showed up (besides the ordinary background of the fundamentalist Mormons, of course) claiming to hold sealing keys outside of that structure?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)
  • As a deacon, he and his friends joked about how old-fashioned his branch president dressed and acted; now he laughs, because he figures many of the youth of the church think the same of him now.
  • It’s been nearly sixty years since he was ordained a deacon? Wow—the dude is well-preserved!
  • Need to tell people not just what their callings are, but why they are.
  • “Sermons that do not lead to action are like fires without heat, or water that doesn’t quench thirst.” Way to set the bar high, dude.
  • Doctrines are only worthwhile when we put them to use. (Is that always true?)
  • God understands that perfecting ourselves takes time and perseverance. Comforting thought, that.
  • Okay, it’s finally ending—i’d thought he was finishing it off like four times before now.
  • (And no reference to flying or airplanes? Um, i don’t know if we can accept this one as inspired, then.)
Congregation and Salt Lake City institute choir, intermediate song
  • ”Ye Elders of Israel” really does have some nice points where the chords open up in very excellent ways.
Adrián Ochoa (of the quorums of seventy)
  • He’s using “power” of the priesthood in exactly the same way that David A. Bednar defined it earlier this session.
  • Basically, this is a standard “young men, be good” address.
  • And a plug for the church’s youth website, and encouragement to use social media to declare the gospel.
Richard C. Edgley (just released from the presiding bishopric)
  • All members of the church (regardless of position, or sex, or age, or whatever) share a calling to bring others to Christ.
  • Fun story about calling an inactive woman as a stake missionary.
  • He first realized as a stake president that it’s hard for inactive folks to come back into the church, even if they want to do so? Took him a while to figure that out, dinnit?
  • ”The harvest is great, and the lab’rers are few”—except, he noted, the laborers are no longer few.
David A. Bednar (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Wow—the dude’s visibly aged some in the last year or two. He still looks young for being an apostle, but not quite as young.
  • Worthiness and willingness, not experience or education, qualify one to receive the priesthood. (I add: or any other church position.)
  • Priesthood holders need both authority and power, where authority comes from the ordination and power comes from the actual righteous use of that authority.
  • Yet another general authority talking about his non-member or inactive (or, in one case, absent) father. So does this mean the latest sure path to becoming a general authority is to not have an active father?
  • Very, very cool that he talks about learning important gospel lessons from his non-member father.

No comments: