Sunday morning—if for no other reason than tradition (it’s Sunday! And in the morning!), this is the one that people think of as the important one. To be honest, though, when was the last time something big was announced in this session rather than one of the Saturday sessions? he asked, wondering if karma would ensure he’d be proven wrong this time.
Anyway, as with the other entries in this series, the speakers are in reverse chronological order, with my notes on each speaker’s address in forward chronological order under each speaker. So now to the end of the entry and…
- As Thomas S. Monson left the stand, he offered a thumbs-up to a fellow fringe-bald guy. Serious LOL moment there.
- Also, how do the wives of the apostles get over to their husbands so quickly at the end of the sessions? Whoever’s moving people around is doing some impressive logistics there.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir, closing song
- Singing “How Firm a Foundation”—and i’m not a fan of MoTab, but they definitely do this one well. Would it have killed them to sing the whole thing, though? They certainly had time.
Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
- The purpose of this life is to gain a body, and see if we will obey the commandments.
- Knowing where Jesus walked is less important than emulating how he walked.
- Jesus was tempted and suffered, just as we must be tempted and suffer—but we, with Jesus, can walk the path of obedience and find great happiness.
- “As we strive to put Christ at the center of our lives…he has promised to share with us eternal life, that he died to gain.”
James J. Hamula (of the quorums of seventy)
- Jesus instituted a new ordinance with the last supper, replacing animal sacrifice with emblems of the body and blood of Christ.
- Just as the Passover feast memorialized that death passed over the Israelites in Egypt, death will pass over those who follow Jesus.
- The sacrament needs to be holy to us.
- The fundamental question facing each of us is not whether we will live after this life, but with whom we will live.
- The fact that we take the bread first and then the water in the sacrament is not inconsequential.
- We witness that we will remember, and then we witness that we do remember—and we make a solemn promise that we will repent, and take upon us the name of the Son.
- (So can we stop simply calling the covenants of the sacramental ordinance a renewal of baptismal covenants? He's outlining a case for it being a completely separate thing.)
Robert D. Hales (of the quorum of apostles)
- Has spent time reviewing the final testimonies of the prophets.
- Received a witness by the Spirit of their truth, which is one of the gifts of the Spirit—to believe on the testimonies of others.
- (This is a hard address to summarize in notes. Lots of stuff on the members of the Godhead and their roles and the importance of knowing about them—very cool and deep stuff, but very non-soundbite-oriented.)
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency), conducting
- He said “After their remarks, the choir will sing ‘Softly and Tenderly’”, at which my wife, with a smile, said “But what will the title of the song be?” [Insert rimshot here.]
Carol F. McConkie (of the young women general presidency)
- The president of the church is the one empowered to receive revelation for the entire church.
- We need to choose to heed prophetic counsel, and we will be protected if we do so.
- (Possibly heretical thought: Russell M. Nelson was basically talking about the distribution of revelation, while Carol F. McConkie is talking about the concentration of revelation. They're contradicting each other in some non-obvious but significant ways.)
Russell M. Nelson (of the quorum of apostles)
- How do we really sustain a prophet?
- No prophets have ever chosen themselves, or been elected to that office.
- Our sustaining is an oath-life affirmation that we recognize a prophet’s calling as a prophet.
- The calling of fifteen men to the apostleship provides safety, because their decisions must be unanimous.
- “These fifteen [apostles]…have very different opinions on many things. Trust me.”
- If the president of the church is incapacitated, remember that the counselors in the first presidency are part of the quorum of the first presidency, and can carry on the work.
Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
- We need a constant stream of revelation.
- Notice that Nephi didn’t say “I will go and do as my father commands”, but “I will go and do as the Lord commands”.
- Revelation received by leaders requires confirming revelation on the part of those being led.
- A description of the work done in the aftermath of the Teton Dam collapse, and the place of revelation in it. (Seriously, you want to get stuff done in a crisis situation, well, Mormons are good at that. There's a lot about Mormon culture that annoys me, but that part, yeah, i'm glad to be a part of it.)
- Love for the prophet is much more than hero worship—it is a gift from God, and will give us the confirming revelation we will need.
- I didn't get the wording precisely right, i think, but the way sealing powers are conferred is interesting: “Under delegation of power and authority of [name of prophet], who holds the keys to the sealing authority, i confer upon [name of recipient]…”