Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

As with the rest of these entries, the first speaker of this session is at the bottom of this post with each following speaker entered progressively above the previous one; within each speaker’s entry, however, my comments run from the top down.

So now you can scroll to the bottom of the post and…

M. Russell Ballard, of the quorum of apostles
  • Success generally comes from knowing where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there; this is a difference between having a goal (the former) and a plan (the latter).
  • Goal-setting is beginning with the end in mind, and planning is devising a way to get to that end.
  • God’s goal is the eternal life and salvation of humanity, and God’s plan is the plan of salvation.
  • There are two central words to encapsulate the most important goals we can set: return and receive (that is, return to God, and receive the promised blessings).
  • It is occasionally worth asking yourself, “How am I doing?” It’s sort of like having a personal, private interview with yourself.
  • An admonition to take time during the coming weeks to review your own goals and plans to determine whether they are in line with God’s goals and plans.
  • We must keep the gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of our own goals and plans.
  • Yet another recommendation to review “The Living Christ”.
  • We often speak of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, but it must be read in the light of the content of “The Living Christ”.
  • The goals and plans of our Heavenly Parents are completely and utterly focused on helping each of us returning to them and receiving the blessings promised to us.

Neil L. Andersen, of the quorum of apostles
  • We are to overcome the world; overcoming the world is not one defining moment, but is the process of a lifetime that comes from praying, repenting, following the Savior, and receiving grace.
  • Overcoming the world means turning ourselves outward—helping our children love God, placing our spouse’s needs above ourselves, freely sharing of our substance with those in need, and letting ourselves be led to those in need of help.
  • Overcoming the world involves being unconcerned with the glories of the world.
  • Overcoming the world means that we can be secure that we will stand before our Savior at the judgment bar and be found worthy of inheriting the kingdom that has been prepared for us.
  • As we trust more in the Savior, we will have a greater assurance in this life, and in our eternal destinty.

Valeri V. Cordón, of the quorums of seventy
  • There are cases of language loss, where families and peoples lose the language of their ancestors due to migration or such—but there is also a more troubling loss of language that can occur when people or families lose the spiritual “language” of the gospel.
  • Language loss can occur when parents don’t make an effort to preserve the language with their children in the home—similarly, preserving the gospel in our families requires consistent effort and teaching.
  • It is not enough to teach our children about living the gospel, but rather they need to see us doing so ourselves.
  • Our Heavenly Father, as a loving parent, is patient with our mistakes, and [in a wonderful image that i do wish i could have caught the wording of perfectly] hears our mumblings as if they were poetry.

Gary B. Sabin, of the quorums of seventy
  • To have all forgiven, we must turn from all of our sins and obey all of the commandments—we must be “all in”.
  • As we continually repent, we gain strength as we become as a little child but now with the strength of life experience.
  • If we’re unable to walk forward as we are, maybe we need to make a U-turn, maybe we need to run, maybe we need to recalculate our route—whatever it is, we can make the changes needed to let us progress.
  • We know that things will work out for good in the end—this doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but we can have a certainty of hope no matter what.

Jeffrey R. Holland, of the quorum of apostles
  • [Cue the “Elder Holland’s about to speak!” memes…]
  • As a text, taking a line from “There Is Sunshine in My Soul” completely out of context: “Jesus, listening, can hear the songs [you] cannot sing.”
  • It is by divine design that all the voices in the divine choir are not the same.
  • “When we disparage our uniqueness…[insert a slap at expectations fueled by consumer culture here]…we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended.”
  • The loss of even one voice diminishes the whole, perhaps especially when those lost voices are on the margins of society or the margins of the church.
  • We cannot honorably fully sing our joy until the poor have been fully cared for—if we can more fully care for the poor, perhaps more could join in expressing joy with us, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
  • “Guns and slurs and vitriol are not the way to deal with human conflict.”
  • There is another, happier time that we cannot sing: When we experience those moments that are so deep and spiritual as to be beyond our ability to utter.
  • There is room for everyone who loves God and honors the commandments in the eternal choir, no matter our age, family status, sexual orientation, location, or anything.
  • Come as you are, God says, but don’t plan to stay as you are—we know that God intends to make us more than we otherwise could be.

Robert D. Hales, of the quorum of apostles
  • “Disciple” doesn’t simply mean “follower”—it’s an active, not a passive role.
  • “We measure our faith by what it leads us to do.”
  • Virtue is more than just sexual purity—it’s actually general cleanliness and power.
  • Brotherly kindness is a hallmark of all true disciples—like the Good Samaritan, we cross the road to minister to those who are in need even if they are not in their circle, we do good to even those who stand against us.
  • Discipleship is not constrained by age, gender, ethnicity, calling, or anything—everyone can be a disciple.
  • “We are all called to be disciples of our savior.”

Brooke P. Hales, secretary to the first presidency (statistical report)
  • [That was an incredibly short statistical report!]

Kevin R. Jergensen, of the church auditing department (annual report)
  • [Seriously, why do we waste valuable general conference time with this thing each year?]

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the first presidency (presentation of general authorities, general officers, and area seventies)
  • Seriously, y’all, if you want to vote opposed in a Mormon church sustaining session, raise your hand and don’t shout “Opposed!” (It’s “by the same sign”, after all.) Shouting in a Mormon religious service isn’t going to get the positive attention you want, it’s just going to annoy the people around you when you break basic social norms.
  • Reorganization of the relief society general presidency, and new counselors in the primary general presidency, with the new relief society presidency being Jean B. Bingham (president), Sharon Eubank (first counselor), and Reyna I. Aburto (second counselor), and the new primary counselors are Bonnie H. Cordon (formerly second counselor, now first counselor) and Christina B. Franco (second counselor).
  • The outgoing relief society general presidency, by the way, was totally cute when their release was announced.
  • Fun fact: The new relief society and primary second counselors are from Latin America. Also, Reyna I. Aburto studied industrial engineering.

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