Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

So welcome to General Conference Saturday, the twice-yearly weekend when Mormons across the world convince themselves that they’re finally going to be able to get a decent amount of light housekeeping done, and then utterly fail to do so.

So it goes.

Anyway, this is also my twice-yearly weekend of sorta-liveblogging General Conference. As i s my complaint each year, blogging and social media have opted to go against centuries of English textual tradition, with the chronological order of stuff people write going from bottom to top, rather than top to bottom. Therefore, this post (after this intro) will begin chronologically at the bottom, with entries ordered by speaker or event from the bottom up. (Therefore, once conference is done you’ll be able to go to the bottom of the entries for the five general sessions and read through everything in one long bottom-up sweep.) However, any entries under a speaker will be ordered as one would normally expect them, from the top down. Confused yet? Good. That means it’s time to scroll to the bottom of this post and start reading backwards.

And one final note
  • Lots of upbeat arrangements of songs offered by MoTab this morning, and nice key changes in the closing song.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency
  • How in the world does he make “we’re all gonna die” sound so happy?
  • Busy-ness is not a sign of a good life, said directly by a member of the first presidency! Cue happy dance.
  • Slam at social media, then explaining to say that trivial interactions aren’t fulfilling in the way that deep personal interactions are.
  • This is actually a pretty intense call to repentance address, but he’s coating it in a presentation style that sweetens it a bit.
  • Doing is better than desiring.
  • We need to let ourselves be happy. (Does this extend to people talking about the evils of the world around us?)
  • He called his wife Harriett rather than Sister Uchtdorf! (And he reports her calling him Dieter!) Cue another happy dance.
  • “We will not be truly ready to die until we have learned how to live.” (Not sure if i got the precise wording right, but the basic meaning is correct.)

Russell M. Nelson (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Directing comments to the non-members watching. How many non-members actually watch general conference?
  • Interesting approach in talking to non-members, though—talking about the service of full-time missionaries, rather than basic gospel principles.
  • Way to thread the needle on calling the church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Mormon church.
  • Fun story about a non-member receiving direct and specific revelation.
  • Interesting suggestion, to ask the missionaries for help in things beyond just preaching the gospel. (Gotta put all those new younger missionaries likely to put in their papers this week to good use, eh?)
  • If you want to help us in humanitarian work, even if you’re not of our faith, that’s cool, and the missionaries can help you figure out how to help out.

Shayne M. Bowen (of the seventy)
  • Talking about the deaths of children? Heavy.
  • Good (as far as i can judge) description of survivor guilt, and the problems related to it.
  • “When did you get over it?” His answer is not yet, and never in this life—but one has to look forward to the fullness of joy in being reunited in the resurrection.
  • “Wouldn’t it be tragic if we didn’t feel sorrow when we lose a child?” Heavy.
  • I wasn't liking this at the beginning. He drew me in. Beautiful address.

Intermediate hymn
  • Please promise me that we will never have to hear this arrangement for the organ of this song (“We Thank Thee, Oh God, for a Prophet”) ever again. Low-end dissonance is okay, but only in limited circumstances.

Craig C. Christensen (of the presidency of the seventy)
  • The phrase “sacred feelings” to refer to the influence of the Holy Ghost has always felt a little weird to me.
  • “The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy.” Interesting to hear that in phrasing usually used to refer to God or Jesus Christ.
  • You don’t often get an entire address specifically on the Holy Ghost.
  • I’ve never actually grokked the “influence of the Holy Ghost” vs. the “gift of the Holy Ghost” thing. He’s explaining it as extra benefits from the gift; is that what it is?

Ann M. Dibb (of the general presidency of the young women’s organization)
  • Sidebar: Sister Dibb is President Monson’s daughter.
  • The idea of a faith statement on a T-shirt would be silly from anybody other than a member of the young women general presidency. From that group, it’s both fitting and (in a good way) cute.
  • An increase in gospel knowledge lets us apply the gospel in our lives. (There’s a lot packed into that, really.)
  • Snark: She’s giving Quentin L. Cook’s address way better than he did.
  • So does anybody else think that the odds are pretty high that there’s already been a bunch of orders placed for “I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.” T-shirts for sale online? Welcome to the newest Mormon pop-culture phenomenon!

Quentin L. Cook (of the quorum of apostles)
    Good point, that a reduction in full-time missionary age has happened before.
  • I’m always happy when general conference addresses include bits from non-Mormon theologians (here, a Baptist)—it’s good for the church to be reminded that we don’t hold a monopoly on religious insights.
  • He includes a lack of respect and civility in with abuse—a heavy concept, if you think it through.
  • He said there’s no real pushback in the world at large against pornography (as there is against, say, smoking)? Part of me thinks that he needs to start reading more anti-porn feminism.
  • Yes, i’ll say it: I’m tired of the Eric Liddel story. Find another Sabbath-keeping story for us, please.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
  • Foreshadowing of topics in a later address—you don’t actually get that very often.
  • Two new temples: Tucson, Arizona and Arequipa, Peru.
  • A reduction in the minimum age of full-time missionary service for men to age eighteen…and women can serve full-time missions at age nineteen now! High-fives from my daughters!
  • Seriously, though, how often is there an address from the prophet where the throwaway line is that there will be two new temples?

Opening prayer (didn’t catch the name)
  • Wow, that was a short prayer!

Before everything starts
  • Why does everybody stand when the current President of the High Priesthood walks in? I mean, i know it’s a sign of respect and such, but when and where did the tradition start?
  • I’m not a fan of MoTab, but i have to admit that they do the switch into a capella better than anybody else. (And really, “How Firm a Foundation” is one that they pretty much nail every time.)

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I actually enjoyed the MoTab today. They were singing at a good speed for once!

President Monson: I think there are a lot of girls, especially, pretty excited right now. The look on the young man's face in the audience that they held on for a while was absolutely darling when President Monson announced the age drop to 18.

Elder Cook: Most people I know are kind of the "whatever people want to look at on their own time" sorts of people when it comes to porn. Unless of course it's their OWN husband.

Sister Dibb: When she said her bit at the end about President Monson being the true prophet I said "Annnnnnd he's my great dad, too!" Ani wants an "I'm a Mormon, are you?" t-shirt now. And of course people will start with that line on t-shirts now...

Elder Christensen: Grokked? Jamie said he foresees lots of talks during baptismal services borrowing heavily from that talk.

Elder Bowen: I really liked his address. He choked up when he talked about his son's death and it was 22 years ago. Pop-pop choked up when talking about Edward's death 65 years later. True, you never get over it. Pop-pop believed he'd be with Edward again even though the Catholic church doesn't really teach that. He just knew/hoped/believed.

Elder Nelson: I know there are always some non-members (often already investigators, though). I think people are a bit curious about our church right now so there may be more non-members than normal this time around. It was neat having a talk addressed to non-members in conference since conference is generally a very "for members" sort of thing.

President Uchtdorf: It's the accent, and, apparently for the older ladies, the looks. Anyone's willing to willingly die if it comes from someone like him. I really loved his talk. I've noticed people tend to complain rather than talk about being happy. It's not healthy. His talk really reminded me of Uncle Ralph. Uncle Ralph came close to death last summer and now he's just loving life. Not that he didn't before. It's just intensified. He's in Sedona now because he got tired of waiting for other people to go with him. And he's planning to do everything he possibly can. Just enjoy himself.