Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

Once again, the first speaker of this session is at the bottom of this post with each following speaker entered progressively above the previous one, but within each speaker’s entry my comments run from the top down.

So now, everyone take a sip of your unspecified diet soft drink and scroll to the bottom of the post…

Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of apostles
  • We have been commanded to proclaim the gospel in all the world, and we desire to be more effective in doing so.
  • There are a number of ways that this can be done that will work in specific regions and circumstances, but since this is a worldwide church (and a worldwide conference), it is right for this address to focus on ideas that will work in all circumstances.
  • Faithful, obedient members are the most persuasive representatives of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ—and those faithful members will have the right to inspiration about how best to preach the word.
  • We should pray to be able to share the gospel—not praying for the missionaries, but praying that we will be inspired to speak to someone about the gospel—and commit to actually doing so.
  • We should not set ourselves up as judges of who is or is not ready to hear the gospel message.
  • A caution: We often desire to share doctrines of the gospel, but those around us are often more interested in the results of those doctrines than in the doctrines themselves.
  • We need to invite people to be converted to the gospel rather than being converted to the church. Further, love for the church follows from love for the gospel, not the other way around—“put first things first!”
  • Member missionary work is not a program, but rather a reflection of an attitude.

Kazuhiko Yamashita of the quorums of seventy
  • We need to (quoting William S. Clark) “Be ambitious—be ambitious for Christ!”
  • We will experience trials, but if we are ambitious for Christ, by focusing on Jesus we can overcome them with patience and faith, and find joy in the covenant path.
  • [By the way, what happened to speakers of languages other than English being able to deliver addresses in their native languages? I don’t feel like any of the ones who would have been eligible so far were necessarily deficient in English to the point of being hard to understand, but was the experiment ended, or is it still an option?]

W. Mark Bassett of the quorums of seventy
  • Our development can be slowed or even halted by searching out things that are not yet revealed while ignoring the precious truths that have already been given to us.
  • We can’t force the mysteries of God to be opened up to us—rather, they will be revealed to us as God wills it.
  • We don’t need to have a perfect knowledge of all things, but rather to hope for things that are not seen but are true.

D. Todd Christofferson of the quorum of apostles
  • We often say God’s love is unconditional, but that descriptor doesn’t appear in scripture.
  • Sometimes, calling God’s love unconditional leads to mistaken notions about sin and God’s tolerance for it.
  • God will always love us, but will not save us in our sins.
  • The greatest manifestation of God’s love is the gift of repentance, which allows mercy to satisfy justice rather than leaving us exposed to all of justice’s demands.
  • God’s aim is not simply to bring us back to our original innocent state, but rather to bring us to the same state as God has.
  • “Divine love can transform a willing soul.”
  • It can be quite possible for us to be satisfied with reaching a state we think is enough, when God has a much richer future in store for us.

Intermediate hymn
  • What’s that? A choir made up of missionaries from the Missionary Training Center singing “Called to Serve”?? Who could have ever seen that one coming?

Gary E. Stevenson of the quorum of apostles
  • “No one is too young to receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon.”
  • Reading and developing a testimony of the Book of Mormon can result in it becoming the keystone of your religion [emphasis mine].
  • It is a gift from God that the keystone of our religion can be something as tangible as the Book of Mormon.
  • Some of the time we spend in entertainment could be easily transferred to reading the Book of Mormon.
  • Learning the truths of the Book of Mormon will bring great blessings of knowledge and spiritual light into your life.

Quentin L. Cook of the quorum of apostles
  • We need to take care to avoid “stumbling blocks” to our continued growth.
  • One of these stumbling blocks can be the philosophies of men—but our faith should not (as Paul said) stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.
  • “Without religious beliefs there are no feelings of accountability [here’s where i started to be like, ‘Wait a minute, i’m not so sure…’] to God [‘…oh, okay, that’s cool, i’m with you there’].
  • Looking beyond the mark is another stumbling block—this includes particularly taking one point of doctrine or religious practice and turning it into an element of religious fanaticism.
  • If we elevate anything above the Savior Jesus Christ, we are looking beyond the mark.

Henry B. Eyring of the first presidency, presentation of general officers and authorities
  • [The shouting of “opposed” by those voting opposed isn’t even shocking or surprising anymore, it’s just annoying. If i agreed with them, i’d be distressed that they were putting such a negative face on my movement, you know?]
  • [Also, i liked President Eyring pausing slightly and waiting until after the first "opposed" shout to ask for dissenting votes, making the shouting look extra silly. Whether it was done on purpose that way or not, all i can say is well played, sir, well played.]

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I kind of wonder about people shouting opposed. Do they not realize they are really looking silly now? They are just going to be told to see their stake president anyway. It's not like they get to go in a special room with the prophet where he'll say "Oh, of course you know better and we shall now do it your way. Thanks for shouting!"

Elder Cook:
I had to leave a Facebook group (of LDS homeschooling moms) because many of them were pretty fanatical about some gospel things. It was nuts. Some believed if you taught kids anything outside of what is in the scriptures, you were sinning. Some even thought BYU was WAY too liberal and a very dangerous place with lots of liberal professors. The reason? BYU teaches evolution. I mean, after all, we should all realize that scientists are absolutely wrong to group us in the same order as monkeys when we all know that we are children of God (so apparently are outside of scientific classification). (That whole discussion was the final straw for me. And I became very worried for many LDS kids' homeschool education.)

Elder Stevenson:
I don't know why I had previously never thought about how the Book of Mormon people never had the complete Book of Mormon. Kind of blew my mind. I recently was talking to some people about how sometimes people in church seem to think something is only worthwhile spiritually if it is difficult, tedious, or a major sacrifice (like seminary at 6am when high school doesn't even start until 8:45). So I really liked when he talked about reading the Book of Mormon should never be onerous duty.

Watching the missionary choir was extra fun for us this time because one of the sister missionaries, Lane Gibbons, was one of my little boys' swim instructors this past summer. It was so cool seeing her (inner left side, green shirt, dark hair - we got to see her several times). Ani noted that all the girls with long hair had it only over one shoulder. It was kind of creepy once she pointed that out. Also, she saw a sister wearing purple lipstick. This made her happy.

Elder Christofferson:
I thought it was interesting that he said repentance is God's gift to us.

Elder Bassett:
My big takeaway was not to take the scriptures we already have for granted because we want what we don't yet have.

Elder Yamashita:
I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the logistics of non-English talks didn't work somehow. Last year a church spokesman said the First Presidency decided all talks would be given in English.

Elder Oaks:
Loosing thumbs, go to it, youth made me laugh. Very interesting that there is no correlation between depth of relationship and whether the person will accept the gospel