Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday morning session

Sunday morning! I don’t know if it’s still the case, but back in the day when you had to go to the local church building to see these, this was the big one, that one that pretty much everybody in the church went to see even if they ducked all the rest.

As with the rest of these, the addresses are presented in reverse chronological order, with the last speaker first and the first speaker at the end. If you want this session in chronological order, you need to scroll to the end of the post and work upwards. However, the notes for each speaker run top-down.

So now, scroll down to begin.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)

  • We need to be kind.
  • All of those we meet are those God has given us to love and serve.
  • Forgiveness goes with love
  • When we are given an opportunity to be kind, we should take it.

David A. Bednar (of the quorum of apostles)

  • We all carry loads, and they can help us—but we need to ask: (1) Is the load i am carrying allowing me to press forward with faith, and (2) is the load i am carrying helping me return to God?
  • We are not, and need not be, alone in carrying our heavy loads.
  • Making covenants and receiving ordinances allows the atonement to take effect in our lives.
  • Believing that we must carry our own loads alone through sheer grit and willpower stems from a misunderstanding of the atonement.
  • (Editorial comment: By the end of this address, my brain was totally looping “Nobody knows the trouble i’ve seen/Nobody knows my sorrow/Nobody knows the trouble i’ve seen/Nobody knows but Jesus”.)
  • (Another editorial comment: The church has explicitly taken no position on the date of Jesus’s birth. Certain speakers do not appear to have gotten the memo.)

Gary E. Stevenson (presiding bishop)

  • Our brief moment in mortality is parallel to the brief period of time Olympic athletes have to perform, in that much preparation is judged based on a single event.
  • (Editorial comment: The preceding address said life in the gospel isn’t about checklists, and this one explicitly outlines checklists for life in the gospel. Hmmm…)

Jean A. Stevens (of the primary general presidency)

  • Our Heavenly Father knows us, and knows the desires of our hearts.
  • In the scriptures we read about the God answering prayers, and that continues today.
  • Even when the answers we get to prayers aren’t what we want, what we get is for the best.
  • “The gospel is not a checklist of things to do.”
  • (Editorial comment: It’s not infrequent for a woman speaking in general conference to give an address that doesn’t focus on women or child-rearing, but one that’s as completely general as this is noteworthy. Particularly noteworthy is that this is a member primary general presidency who’s not focusing on children.)

M. Russell Ballard (of the quorum of apostles)

  • Delivering a followup to his October 2011 address on the name of the church, and his October 2013 address on praying to be led to someone they could share the gospel with.
  • (Thought: I’ve heard general conference addresses arguing against using the term “Mormon church”, but i don’t recall ever hearing preaching against using “LDS church”.)
  • It isn’t enough to just invite by authority, but also to take people by the hand and walk with them on their spiritual journey.
  • A plug for Preach My Gospel as a resource for helping us know how to teach the gospel.
  • As we share the gospel with faith, God will bless us with success in our efforts.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)

  • God commands us to be grateful, whatever our situations.
  • The Lord doesn’t expect us to be less grateful in times of trial than in times of ease.
  • We should see gratitude as a way of life that stands independent of our current circumstances, whatever they might be.
  • Being grateful is not what we do after problems are solved—but think of how limiting that would be, for while we waited to be grateful for the rainbow we’d miss the blessing of the rain.
  • “Gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony.”
  • God has promised that those who receive all things with thankfulness will be made glorious.
  • (Editorial comment: Really, an excellent address. W. Craig Zwick’s address may still be edging it out for my favorite of the session, but this one’s easily up there.)
  • (Another thought: He hasn't mentioned it today, but recall that he was a war refugee, so he knows whereof he speaks, no?)

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