Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

The Saturday afternoon session of conference: When we get to find out who got released.

To remind, the first speaker is at the end of this post, and the most recent speaker is at the beginning. However, within each speaker’s entries the various bulleted comments i have made are in top-down order.

So now you scroll down to the bottom of the post, and start there…

Closing prayer, J. Devn Cornish, of the second quorum of seventy
  • So does that give us a new record for shortest ever general conference prayer?

Closing song
  • This is slow. I guess they didn’t want to finish up ten minutes early, like the last session.

Russell M. Nelson, of the quorum of apostles
  • Encouragement to apply to colleges before missions, because many institutions of higher education will grant an 18- to 30-month admissions deferral. Really? As someone who’s in higher ed, that seems like a really long deferral to grant. One year, sure, but two or more?
  • We preach the gospel because God wants everyone to achieve immortality and eternal life. (And yes, he used the word wants, which was kind of fun to hear.)
  • This was a wide-ranging address, and thus is really hard to summarize.

David A. Bednar, of the quorum of apostles
  • Straight-up mentioned at the outset: This will be an address on chastity.
  • “And Eve became Adam’s wife and helpmeet.” He said that like he was quoting scripture, but helpmeet doesn’t occur in the scriptures. Was he quoting something or was that original text, then?
  • The church only accepts sexuality expressed within the bounds of heterosexual marriage—or at least that’s what he just said in about twice as many words.
  • Our goal is to overcome the “natural man” and to “bridle all of the passions of the flesh”, and the atonement can help us do that.
  • Interesting idea, that part of Satan’s motivation is based in jealousy at a bodily resurrection.
  • The greater the sin, the rougher the road to repentance.

John B. Dickson, of the first quorum of seventy
  • This is a pretty straightforward “we are a missionary church, just like the early Christian church” address.
  • Ah! Here’s the turn—moving from the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to those of African descent as a parallel to Peter’s revelation extending preaching the gospel to the gentiles, to the state of the church in west Africa.

Stanley G. Ellis, of the first quorum of seventy
  • He says he’s wearing his “virtue tie” (it’s solid yellow). It got a laugh, but i didn’t find it funny. Different strokes, i suppose.
  • He grew up as a farmboy in Burley, Idaho. Hasn’t that town produced a few other general authorities? Seems like Burley may be overrepresented.
  • He says that if we do what the Lord says, the Lord “is bound to bless us”. Is that actually what the scriptures say? It’s not how i read it, i have to say.
  • I hear stories of people buying a house to be in a particular ward, and i don’t get it. Having just bought a house last year, how would you do that? It really quite honestly boggles my mind.

Quentin L. Cook, of the quorum of apostles
  • He delivered the eulogy for one of the children killed in the recent Newtown, Connecticut shootings. I hadn’t known that.
  • This is being a straightforward “Why do bad things happen to good people?” address.
  • If we do good, even with all the evil around us, “we can achieve the peace that is the promised reward of righteousness.”
  • The peace promised by Jesus Christ is not only desirable, it is a gift from God (quoting John Taylor).
  • About those who say they feel spiritual but not religious: Feeling spiritual is “a good first step”, but the church gives us more (including not just fellowship, but saving ordinances). Interesting that he still mentions such partial progress as worth appreciating—we get faced with all-or-nothing judgments more often than not, you know?
  • Sidebar: Since an apostle has talked in general conference about how horrible the Newtown, Connecticut shooting was, can all the Mormons i know online who have been going on and on about how it’s actually just a conspiracy for the government to take away their guns simply stop now? Please? Pretty please?

Richard G. Scott, of the quorum of apostles
  • Did he just basically say that if you’re not marking off all the family practice checkboxes (family prayer, family home evening, &c.), then you won’t make it? Depressing, if that’s what he meant.
  • Technological advances can be improperly used, but they can also be a great help for spirituality if “used with discipline”.
  • “Become friends with your children’s friends” and be a good example to them.
  • “Reach out to those living in adverse circumstances. Be a true friend.” I like that, and especially the linkage he makes between the two thoughts.
  • “Recognize the good in others, not the stains.” Even if you need to help someone with those stains, that shouldn’t be what you focus on.
  • “We can’t simultaneously do all the things the Lord has counseled us to do” and that’s okay. There’s some comforting words right there.
  • This one started out slow, but got most excellent—and early contender (along with Henry B. Eyring’s) for my favorite address of the conference.

Conducting remarks, Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the first presidency
  • He specified that everybody should stand once we get to the intermediate hymn—not something that gets mandated all that often at general conferences.

Statistical report, Brook P. Hales, Secretary to the first presidency
  • All figures as of the end of 2013,
  • Total membership a quarter milling shy of fifteen million.
  • Over 22,000 church service missionaries—cool to hear that number reported separately.

Auditing report, Robert W. Cantwell, managing director of the auditing department of the church
  • Seriously, why do they even do this? It made sense back before the church closed its books, but now? No point now that i can see.
  • Though i gotta say that he at least put on a non-boring tie for the occasion, so there’s that.

Sustaining of general officers and authorities, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the first presidency
  • It’s gotta be weird to say your own name during this ritual—or maybe by the time they’re at this point they’re used to it. I know i would find it kind of odd to be presenting my own name for sustaining, for sure.
  • One change in the presidency of the seventy.
  • Lots of releases among the area seventies.
  • One advantage of being Dieter F. Uchtdorf, as a native speaker of German presenting non-English, non-German names in an English-language broadcast is that nobody expects him to pronounce them “right”. (Of course, he gets to—i think it was—Manfred Sch├╝tze, and there were no questions about it.)
  • Release of the young women general presidency and board.
  • New members of the first and second quorums, including one called from being a counselor in the young men general presidency.
  • And here’s the corresponding large number of calls to being area seventies. I wonder how long before they move these out of the general conference sustainings, so as to save time.
  • Hugo Montoya? I would have been so tempted to call him Inigo.
  • New young women general presidency. Don’t recognize who they are, but the names (McConkie, Marriott,…) are certainly Mormon aristocracy, you know?

Opening prayer, Russell T. Osguthorpe, president of the Sunday School organization
  • Not a general authority (he’s a general officer), but he spoke in the last general conference and is praying in this one. Interesting, that’s all.
  • “We thank thee that all the priesthood keys have been restored…” All of them? Is that true? Or does God reserve some of them? (Serious questions—i don’t actually know the answer.)

No comments: