Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

So: Like all the rest of these i’ve done for some years, my notes are in “liveblog” style (is that even still a thing?). This means that the first speaker is at the bottom of the post, the next speaker is above that, the next is above that, and so on to the last (which is at the top). The result is that by the end of the conference you, the reader, can scroll down to the bottom of the Saturday morning session post for the start of the conference, and then scroll up to read through the entire conference chronologically. However, under each speaker, the comments are done top-down, because otherwise i’d just be confusing myself, even if that makes it more confusing to you. Sorry ‘bout that.

Closing song
  • Does it amuse anyone else when MoTab sings “Come, Come Ye Saints” in Utah, and doesn’t change the line that they’ll find a place “far away, in the west”? I guess Hawai’i really is Zion, then?

Quentin L. Cook (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Satan presents a false choice: Between happiness in this life, or happiness in the life to come (which may or may not exist). In actual fact, God’s plan holds out happiness in the life to come, and also in this life.
  • We need to be temple worthy in both good and bad times.
  • It is a cause for concern when self-aggrandizement is viewed as a positive thing.
  • Immoral conduct is never part of how to be happy.
  • Need to focus on righteous self-control and conduct.
  • Resisting something tempting once will help you resist future temptations.
  • Nearly a quarter of a million people are currently serving full-time missions or have served within the last five years, and they need to focus on resisting temptation.
  • Honoring the Sabbath strengthens us.
  • God provides us with protection when we are righteous.
  • The Holy Ghost cleanses us if we place the gospel first in our lives.

Francisco J. Viñas (of the quorums of seventy)
  • The “pleasing word of God” reassures us that we will be able to make it through our trials.
  • If we live faithful lives but were unable to do all that was required despite our best efforts, we will have all the exaltation and glory that anyone can lay claim to.
  • We need to discern the difference between trials that occur despite our best efforts, and trials that occur as punishment affixed to sin.
  • The pleasing word of God both comforts and warns us.
  • Brigham Young taught that sanctification comes from complete submission of one’s will to that of God.

Larry R. Lawrence (of the quorums of seventy)
  • We need to ask ourselves what we need to change and improve.
  • The Holy Ghost doesn’t tell us to improve everything at once—if that was done, we would become discouraged and give up.
  • By following the counsel of the Holy Ghost, even (maybe particularly) in small things, we will grow toward perfection and sanctification.
  • A suggestion for each of us to ask God what is keeping us from progressing—in other words, “What lack i yet?” If you then listen, you will receive inspiration specifically for you.
  • Sometimes we need to ask what we’re doing right, so that we can be uplifted and encouraged.
  • Be persistent—God is interested in the direction of our growth, not its speed.

Neill F. Marriott (of the general presidency of the young women’s organization)
  • [Hooray! For Southern accents!]
  • [I wonder how many general authorities and officers of the church aside from her graduated from Southern Methodist University.]
  • Even in the face of tragedy, we can have faith that it will all work out if we remain faithful.
  • Her family’s motto is “It will all work out”. Significantly, though, it doesn’t say “It will all work out now”.
  • Resentment damages your progress and keeps you from developing healthy, happy relationships.
  • In order for our hearts to be healed, we must first offer a broken heart as a sacrifice to the Lord.
  • “Can we love Jesus Christ and his way more than we love ourselves and our agenda?” [May have gotten a couple words wrong, but that was basically it.]

Richard J. Maynes (of the presidency of the seventy)
  • Starting out with an extended allegory from an object lesson one of the seventy gave a group of youth on making pottery—in order for it to work the clay needs to be centered on the wheel, just as we need to be centered on Jesus.
  • “If our lives are centered on Jesus Christ, he can successfully mold us into who we need to be”.
  • Consider that Nephi’s statement that his people “did live after the manner of happiness” came after decades of difficulty—but they had true joy because they were centered in Christ.
  • We can all find that peace, happiness, and joy if we have Christ-centered lives.

M. Russell Ballard (of the quorum of apostles)
  • A follow-up to his “Old Ship Zion” address from last conference.
  • God leads the “Old Ship Zion”, and it has prophets who, though mortal, can let us know what God wants us to do with it to lead the work of the Lord forward.
  • “Too many people think church leaders and members should be perfect, or nearly perfect.”
  • Church leaders, because they are mortal, occasionally make mistakes, like everyone—but we err when we see only each others’ human natures without recognizing the hand of the Lord in their actions and words.
  • We need to take care to keep the Sabbath.
  • Testimony meetings are a time to share brief inspiring stories and witnesses of principles of the gospel, not for delivering a speech.
  • Exaltation is our goal, and we can’t get there without both the ordinances and the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)
  • We have to be careful about looking for “secret” or “hidden” truths, because that can distract us from the truth.
  • We as church members should ask ourselves from time to time whether our experience in the church is blessing us and bringing us closer to Jesus.
  • “Why does [the church] seem to work better for some than for others?”
  • One possibility: “Are we making our discipleship too complicated?”
  • Church leaders must strictly protect the church and the gospel in its purity and plainness, and avoid putting too many burdens on the members.
  • Living the gospel doesn’t need to be complicated—hearing the word of God leads us to believe in and trust on God, which leads us to love God and others, which leads us to desire to follow and serve God and help others, which leads us to learn more of the word of God, bringing us back to the beginning.
  • If we focus on the simple core of the gospel, it will work better for us.
  • Another suggestion: Start where you are.
  • Remember that God promises to make “weak things become strong”. Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to sow doubt and keep us weak.
  • Even Moses saw himself as so weak “he wanted to give up and die—but God did not give up on Moses”.
  • We see ourselves through mortal eyes, but God sees our potential, and who we really are and can be.
  • “Exaltation is our goal. Discipleship is our journey.”
  • We should focus on the grace that is in Christ, and let it lift us—and then we will be able to say “in pride, and in all humility, and in great joy” that our membership in the church brings us joy.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

President Uchtdorf:
I love the way he says Zarahemla. I thought his comments about how sometimes we think the truth is too simple so we go after other things that are complicated but not truth were interesting. I often hear "The Gospel is so complicated" but I just don't think so.

Elder Ballard:
Every time someone talks about appropriate bearing of testimonies, I always think of a woman in the ward when we were first married. She gave very, very long travelogues every Testimony Meeting and once even brought props. It is good that multiple GAs have talked about how people are fallible since I've heard multiple times things like, "I once had a bishop who..., so I don't trust that God really calls people to callings."

Elder Maynes:
I don't even remember this talk...

Sister Marriott:
I like her family motto. I also like her accent.

Elder Lawrence:
I really liked his examples that are seemingly super simple but make you a better person.

Elder Vinas:
Basic talk.

Elder Cook:
This prompted a rousing chorus of singing the "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die!" scripture mastery song. When I was a teenager we were given the advice of decide never to drink and you will never become an alcoholic, etc. It's served me well.