Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

So this blog has become a home for these general conference summaries and nothing else. Oddly, i see that people still come by specifically for them, which i wouldn’t necessarily have expected. It’s a good excuse to take notes on what stands out to me in the meetings, though, so here i am again.

As always, these posts are done in semi-liveblogging style—the speakers are in chronological order, but backwards, as if they were each a separate blog post. Under each speaker, though, the comments i make are in chronological order, top-down (again, as if each speaker, not each comment, is a separate post). This means that to start reading, you’ll now scroll to the end and read upward from there (and by the time all of conference is over, you can read the whole ten hours of it, bottom up).

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)

  • Delivered in English (but with a joke about how it might sound like German anyway).
  • And airplanes immediately after the opening joke. That may be a speed record for him.
  • We used to not believe that there was anything beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Then we discovered there was much, much more out there—not that the truth changed, but that our ability to see changed.
  • It is “a trait of humanity to assume we are right, even when we are wrong.”
  • “God wants you to find your way back to him—and the Savior is the way”
  • Search the scriptures, ponder and be grateful, and pray—and do God’s will. Then you will know of the truth.
  • If you want to recognize spiritual truth, you cannot use non-spiritual methods to do so.
  • If we remove ourselves from the light of the gospel, our light begins to dim—not immediately, but over time—until we cannot even recognize why we knew what we once knew.
  • Everyone in the church is at a different point in our testimony—and that’s okay.
  • We are not to condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have.
  • If you seek God’s truth, that which now may appear dim will gradually be revealed by the light of God—and “it will come, and it will be glorious”.

D. Todd Christofferson (of the quorum of apostles)

  • God will not live our lives for us—he is not a puppetmaster.
  • God will not save us as we are, and will not compel us to become what we should be—but God will also not abandon us in the quest.
  • We can choose what sort of person we will become—and with the help of God, the result will be to become like God.
  • God is not arbitrary in saving some and not others.
  • Repentance allows mercy to take effect without “trampling” justice.
  • Repentance is allowed because of the atonement, but repentance is a self-willed change.
  • “A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist.”
  • The opportunity to make our own choices is a God-given gift.

Chi Hong (Sam) Wong (of the quorums of seventy), delivered in Cantonese

  • So we get our first-ever non-English-language general conference sermon. All’s i can say is, it’s about time!
  • A discourse on the man with palsy whose bed was lowered down in front of Jesus, and how it reflects the necessity of service by members of the church.
  • I like the way he’s overlaying modern roles onto the Biblical story, It’s a high-risk rhetorical move, but it works here.
  • “To assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and with harmony.” Every calling is important in doing this.
  • Jesus healed the man taken with the palsy because of their faith—and this could be the man, those who lowered him down, those who had prayed for him, those who were there, a spouse, parent, son, daughter…The list goes on.

Cheryl Esplin (of the primary general presidency)

  • How can the sacrament become a spiritual experience each week?
  • ”Obedience to the commandments brings the power of the gospel into our lives”.
  • The sacrament is an opportunity to bend our heart and will to that of God.
  • Jesus has his arms open to receive us, if we will.
  • If we prepare, we will receive a “renewal of our soul” from participating in the sacrament.

Lynn G. Robbins (presidency of the seventy)

  • The seventy don’t represent the people to the prophet, they represent the prophet to the people.
  • We need to have courage to do what is right, and not fear the social pressures around us.
  • Those who mock the prophets do so because they feel their own guilt.
  • Changing the standards of the church to match the standards of society is apostasy.
  • While he was on the earth, Jesus made it very clear that he was representing the Father.

Boyd K. Packer (president of the quorum of apostles)

  • Is it just me, or does he look a bit healthier than last conference?
  • The scriptures—with particular emphasis on those unique to our faith—testify of Christ.
  • Big important part of the atonement: It allows sin and guilt to be erased, leading to everlasting peace.
  • The atonement offers healing even to “the wounded innocent”.
  • He rhetorically equated the term testimony with the word hope. That’s ponder-worthy.
  • We need every member of the church, “for the body is one”.
  • So i haven’t always been terribly into Boyd K. Packer’s general conference addresses (no, not because of there frequent conservatism, just because i’m not totally into his rhetorical style), but this one was pretty amazing.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)

  • 90 years since general conference was first broadcast on radio! (Interesting—I’d thought it was 1921. Either way, pretty cool.)
  • Mention of the celebration of culture held at the rededication of the Ogden, Utah temple. Cue the jokes in 3…2…
  • No new temples to announce, due to a focus on completing the temples already announced.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir (opening song, “High on the Mountain Top”)

  • Hurrah! for gratuitous amens added by large choirs!

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I noted that the MoTab sang High on the Mountaintop full of vigor. It was nice.

I missed President Monson and the first 2 1/2 talks because we were at the doctor with Ani trying to figure out what's wrong with her. The doctor is still not sure so he's sending her to a rheumatologist.

President Packer has been looking healthier and healthier consistently for about a year or year and a half. I want whatever he's taking!

Sister Esplin - I only heard the last 3-4 minutes. Her voice/clicking was distracting.

Elder Wong - So cool hearing the Cantonese under the English. I loved how he likened the scriptures to today.

Elder Christofferson - He easily and clearly addressed some things I have heard people say we don't believe, but we really do, when it comes to repentance and being saved.

President Uchtdorf - I loved his talk. I always love his talks. He made a big deal about the real intent thing. I think that's often kind of glossed over, but it is really very important.