Friday, April 1, 2016

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

So, time again to post my notes on general conference. Just like i’ve done for [i’m kind of afraid to look up how many] years, i’m posting these in “liveblog” style (even though liveblogging really isn’t done anymore, at least not the same way it was—if it works better for you, think ”livetweet” style). If you’re new to this, that means that the first speaker of this session is at the bottom of this post, the next speaker is above that, the next is above that, and so on to the last speaker (who appears at the top of the post). This means that once the whole conference weekend is past you can scroll down to the bottom of the this 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 chronologically (i.e., the opposite direction), because i tried once to do the entire thing bottom-up and it really just didn’t work. So it goes.

Dale G. Renlund, of the quorum of apostles
  • “The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement.”
  • This is the case in temporal affairs, but also spiritually—if we are distant from God, we feel that God has an obligation to fix things and fix them now, and we can grow angry at God for not fulfilling our expectations.
  • “Murmuring is the scriptural equivalent of childish whining.”
  • Consider that the most unfair life situations belong to Jesus Christ—he was perfectly innocent, and yet punished. The closer we are to him, the more we realize this.
  • God is closer to repentant sinners who are trying to become better than to the self-righteous who don’t recognize their need for repentance.
  • By preparing for and partaking worthily of the sacrament each week, we draw closer to God.
  • No one is immune from life’s challenges, but we will be protected from spiritual ill effects from them by taking the sacrament.

Steven E. Snow, of the quorums of seventy
  • [He’s holding up a copy of the first hymnal produced by Emma Smith. I’m not into the whole collecting rare books thing, and so i don’t really get people paying top dollar for, say, first editions of the Book of Mormon. Emma Smith’s first hymnal, though, i might would be willing to shell out serious cash for.]
  • A new song in the most recent English-language hymnal is “Be Thou Humble”, and teaches truths of the necessity of humility.
  • We should teach our children humility, not by breaking their spirits, but by building their self-worth and self-esteem while helping them learn to take joy in the successes of others.
  • Quoting his mother when he’d get a bit too self-centered about something: “Son, a little bit of humility right now would go a long way.”
  • It isn’t just children who need to learn humility—we all need it.
  • All of us look forward to exaltation, but to get there we must first pass through “the valley of humility”.

Kevin R. Duncan, of the quorums of seventy
  • Most of us want to forgive, but we find it hard to do.
  • We may even believe that if we are merciful, just punishments will not occur—but God will mete out needed punishment, and will also provide restitution to victims.
  • We need to see those we need to forgive as God sees them.
  • There may have been no greater enemy to the followers of Jesus than Saul of Tarsus, but he became Paul the apostle—and remember that there are Saul-like people around us with Paul-like potential.
  • We may form negative opinions of others based on superficial qualities such as differing from us in sports allegiances, political positions, religious affiliations, and so on. This runs counter to what God wants of us.
  • Receiving forgiveness for our own shortcomings is contingent on us forgiving others for their shortcomings.
  • “We do not need to be a victim twice—we can forgive.”

Gary E. Stevenson, of the quorum of apostles
  • Just like with the marvel of engineering that is an automobile, the administration of the gospel and its ordinances requires keys.
  • We need to understand what priesthood keys are to really fully understand the gospel.
  • Interesting: Ordinances that create a record in the church require keys.
  • The keys of the gathering of Israel enable the missionary work in this dispensation.
  • For youth, preparing for missionary service, performing proxy ordinances in temples, and simply remaining faithful and worthy can help with understanding what keys are and their power.

Donald L. Hallstrom, of the presidency of the seventy
  • We are all completely literally sons and daughter of heavenly parents—and this is so often taught that it can seem ordinary, but it is actually an amazing doctrine.
  • The song “I Am a Child of God” is one of the most widely sung in the church—but do we truly believe that?
  • [Donald L. Hallstrom isn’t a fan of the supernatural aspects of Halloween, it appears. Rather a pity—it’s a fun day.]
  • What happens when bad things happen to us? Does it throw us into doubt, or do we remember that we are children of God? If we do the latter, we will receive strength from that.
  • [We don’t normally sing verse 7 of “How Firm a Foundation”?? Clearly, he needs to visit more wards i’ve attended.]
  • We need to avoid one of the great distractions of our day: Being led to forget our relationship to God.

Mary R. Durham, of the general presidency of the primary
  • “If we are not careful, the things of the world can drown out the things of the spirit.”
  • Children are baptized and then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; sometimes we overlook the importance of the gift of the Holy Ghost, perhaps because of it is a deceptively simple ordinance.
  • How do we raise our children so that they’ll be able to stand for themselves as they grow older? Help them learn to feel and recognize the Holy Spirit.
  • In the home, spiritual principles should form the foundation of daily life.
  • When the Holy Spirit speaks to a child (or anyone else, for that matter), the Spirit adapts its communication to the capacity and needs of that child.

Henry B. Eyring, of the first presidency
  • A thought to start out from me: Henry B. Eyring’s a pretty overtly emotional guy. I’ll admit that it bothered me a bit when i first saw him speak at conferences, but i’ve seen him often enough to realize that it’s clearly entirely genuine, and that makes it cool.
  • Jesus is there wherever two or three are gathered in his name; at this conference, there are far more than two or three.
  • Telling of two people with firm faith who fear that they will lose that, and therefore desperately want to be strengthened by this conference; they are not alone in that worry and desire.
  • Those who are sad at feeling their faith lessen are the blessed ones, because they can react to it, rather than being tempted into a false sense of security.
  • A reminder that even the songs of conference can lead you to greater faith in and love for God.
  • People have thanked him for saying the words they needed to hear, even when he doesn’t remember having given that testimony—but that’s the way divine inspiration often works, when a speaker is given inspiration to testify to those who need to hear that testimony.

No comments: