Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Priesthood session

Priesthood session—the one lots of us still go to the church building to see even though it really isn’t necessary to do so anymore.

As with the others of these, the speakers are in reverse chronological order (i.e., bottom-up), but the comments for each speaker are in top-down chronological order, top-down. This session, then, begins at the end of the post, and you scroll up from there.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
  • Even the youngest Aaronic priesthood holder should be given a chance to magnify his calling.
  • [Yeah, he’s not looking well, but he can totally deliver a story with perfect comic timing—the man’s still got it!]
  • Each opportunity he has had to give a priesthood blessing has resulted in gratitude that God has shown such trust as to allow him that power.
  • “As bearers of the priesthood of God, we are engaged in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • [Wow—that was a rousing finish. It sounded like something you might hear in a general conference from the 1940s or 1950s from one of the general authorities who’d been a full-time missionary back around the turn of the 20th century—old school represent!]

Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
  • There are times when you will need inspiration without time to prepare, and to get that you will need to have prayed for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
  • We don’t need long or eloquent prayers, but we do need to pray often that God will recognize us and hear our prayers.
  • You need to learn to shut out the distractions around you to receive inspiration when you need it.
  • If we sin we reduce our power to receive inspiration, and thus to perform our priesthood responsibilities.
  • Pray for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and work to keep it—and if you do that, God will “warn and guide you into the right path”.
  • Remember the parable of the workers in the vineyard, where they were paid not for how long they worked, but how well they worked.
  • [This wasn’t necessarily my favorite address of the conference in terms of its delivery or even its content, but it’s probably the most powerful one so far in terms of how immediately useful the message is.]

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)
  • There is nothing wrong with wanting to look our best, but when taken to extremes it becomes deceitful.
  • Remember that if a priesthood holder tries to hide shortcomings, “amen to the priesthood or authority of that man”.
  • It is dangerous to confuse the form of godliness with the power of God.
  • The temptation to appear better than we are can occur in our personal lives, but it can also affect the way we fulfill our church callings.
  • When we set goals for a church unit or organization, we should ask how our goals will make a difference in the lives of our struggling and afflicted members.
  • Worthy goals can’t always be measured in ways that are visible to mortals, and what we mortals can measure isn’t always worthwhile in the eyes of God. [The next time someone in a ward council says we need specific, quantifiable, measurable goals, i am so whipping this out on them.]
  • What the Savior would want to know from us is not statistics or how we administer programs, but rather the condition of our hearts.
  • We should honestly ask ourselves: Why do i serve in the church?
  • Whether you are spiritually thriving or not, the good news is that you can build on whatever foundation you have now—and remember that most bonfires start with just a small spark.
  • “We come to church not to hide our problems, but to heal them.”
  • Remember that Jesus often told people he served not to tell others what he had done, and that when he was called “good” he deflected the praise to God.

Larry M. Gibson (recently released from the young men general presidency)
  • Let your eternal destiny drive all your decisions.
  • One of our most sacred priesthood duties is to be a father.
  • Remember that your sons will learn how to be husbands and fathers from your example. [Does this mean that i, as a father of girls but not boys, don’t have to be a good example of a husband and father?☺]
  • Fulfilling Aaronic priesthood duties prepares one to become a worthy father.
  • [Sometimes i feel like the non-general authority conference speakers put a little bit extra into their speeches, you know?]

Ulisses Soares (of the quorums of seventy), delivered in Portuguese
  • Remember that Satan and his angels also know the plan of salvation, because they were with us in the council where it was laid out for us.
  • If we have the moral courage to obey God’s will, we will be strengthened and can win the fight against Satan.
  • We must remember that Satan only has power against us if we allow it.
  • To conquer, we must place our trust in and have faith in God.

M. Russell Ballard (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Started with a reminder that he issued the challenge to “raise the bar” for full-time missionary service in 2002.
  • Prospective full-time missionaries used to be interviewed by a general authority; he wishes it was still the case, but the realities of a growing church make it impossible.
  • A description of the process of issuing a full-time mission call: A photo of the candidate comes on the screen along with comments from the bishop and stake president plus the answers the candidate gave in the paperwork.
  • 13 years ago he issued a call for the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the church; tonight, he is issuing a call for the greatest generation of young adults in the church—we need to “raise the bar” on being a young adult.
  • Post-mission, remember that preparing for life and family is a continuous process.
  • “‘RM’ doesn’t mean ‘retired Mormon’.”
  • Studying the gospel (including seminary, institute, or church college religion classes) provides balance to life.
  • Don’t fear marriage. [What is it with all the stuff about getting married? I mean, it’s not like i’m seeing some massive number of single thirtysomethings at church, so what’s going on here?]

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

We actually do have a lot of mid-singles here. When we were in Crystal City Ward nearly the entire gigantic ward was mid-singles.

The focus on families and getting married is because the Proclamation was issued 20 years ago. It was the focus of - and explained in - the women's session last week.

You know that comment about not having to be a good example is totally going to get you released from HP Group Leader and called to young men!

President Monson isn't doing well and President Packer is also failing. They are the two highest ranking apostles. L. Tom Perry is number 3 right now. He's also the oldest of them all at 92. I really like him.