Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Priesthood session

And now it’s priesthood session, and so this comes from notes i took while i was sitting in a church building. Going in, I’d figured the over/under on dudes with no ties and dudes with non-white shirts (overlapping groups, but not perfect overlap) would be 5% of the audience—and we went over it on both, but not by much. (For the record, i was part of both groups.)

It’s always fun watching the pre-session conversations amongst the general authorities—some of them are very serious, even stern, but most are chatting, occasionally sharing laughs. The question, then: Why teach primary kids that reverence means silence?

Anyway, on to the comments. As with the others, you need to scroll to the bottom to get the first speaker, and then work your way up this post to get to the end of the session.

Salt Lake City institute choir, closing song
  • Very nice arrangement of “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd”—it got a little overly cute in one of the verses (the third?), but overall it was still quite pleasant.

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
  • Cool quote: “When God speaks, and man obeys, that man will always be right.”
  • We need to do our duty in the priesthood, which will lead us to joy.
  • When he was a bishop, he wrote monthly letters to the twenty-three active military serving from his ward. He’s said in other addresses how he frequently visited all the widows in his ward. My question: Did the guy ever sleep?
  • This has to be like the eighth time a speaker has quoted “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only”.
  • And a final thought, now that the final speaker’s done: There were really no speeches of the “I address my remarks to the young men of the Aaronic priesthood” type tonight (to which I say, good).

Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
  • The main thing to report from this one is a long one, his list of four things priesthood fathers should do: (1) Gain and keep a sure witness that the keys are with the church, and held by the president of the church; (2) love your wife, which requires faith to put her needs and happiness above your own; (3) enlist your entire family to love each other, including reassuring your children that they’re loved not just by their parents but also by their siblings, and so children should have the opportunity to pray for and serve each other; and (4) lead your family “in the Lord’s way” when discipline is called for, which he didn’t really explain, but he did quote from the unrighteous dominion bit from the book of Doctrine and Covenants.
  • And he was really, really intense about the sealing keys being held in their fullness only by the president of the church. Is there some group that’s suddenly showed up (besides the ordinary background of the fundamentalist Mormons, of course) claiming to hold sealing keys outside of that structure?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency)
  • As a deacon, he and his friends joked about how old-fashioned his branch president dressed and acted; now he laughs, because he figures many of the youth of the church think the same of him now.
  • It’s been nearly sixty years since he was ordained a deacon? Wow—the dude is well-preserved!
  • Need to tell people not just what their callings are, but why they are.
  • “Sermons that do not lead to action are like fires without heat, or water that doesn’t quench thirst.” Way to set the bar high, dude.
  • Doctrines are only worthwhile when we put them to use. (Is that always true?)
  • God understands that perfecting ourselves takes time and perseverance. Comforting thought, that.
  • Okay, it’s finally ending—i’d thought he was finishing it off like four times before now.
  • (And no reference to flying or airplanes? Um, i don’t know if we can accept this one as inspired, then.)
Congregation and Salt Lake City institute choir, intermediate song
  • ”Ye Elders of Israel” really does have some nice points where the chords open up in very excellent ways.
Adrián Ochoa (of the quorums of seventy)
  • He’s using “power” of the priesthood in exactly the same way that David A. Bednar defined it earlier this session.
  • Basically, this is a standard “young men, be good” address.
  • And a plug for the church’s youth website, and encouragement to use social media to declare the gospel.
Richard C. Edgley (just released from the presiding bishopric)
  • All members of the church (regardless of position, or sex, or age, or whatever) share a calling to bring others to Christ.
  • Fun story about calling an inactive woman as a stake missionary.
  • He first realized as a stake president that it’s hard for inactive folks to come back into the church, even if they want to do so? Took him a while to figure that out, dinnit?
  • ”The harvest is great, and the lab’rers are few”—except, he noted, the laborers are no longer few.
David A. Bednar (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Wow—the dude’s visibly aged some in the last year or two. He still looks young for being an apostle, but not quite as young.
  • Worthiness and willingness, not experience or education, qualify one to receive the priesthood. (I add: or any other church position.)
  • Priesthood holders need both authority and power, where authority comes from the ordination and power comes from the actual righteous use of that authority.
  • Yet another general authority talking about his non-member or inactive (or, in one case, absent) father. So does this mean the latest sure path to becoming a general authority is to not have an active father?
  • Very, very cool that he talks about learning important gospel lessons from his non-member father.

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

Due to family commitments, i won’t be putting my comments on the Saturday afternoon session right afterwards—they’ll go up late Saturday or (more likely) Sunday evening. This is just here as a placeholder in the meantime, so that these posts stay in order.

On update, i’m leaving this link in, since it’s so, so very wrong that you must all go read it now.

And: Is it just me, or when they did the obligatory pan-through-the-general-authorities shots before the session began, did Russell M. Nelson look a little hyper-awake and overcaffeinated to anyone else? Yeah, it’s just me—that’s what i thought.

Anyway, as before, time to scroll down and read from the bottom to the top, as with all of these entries.

Missionary Training Center choir, closing song
  • My oldest was thoroughly amused by the shot of the choir that caught one of the other cameradudes.
  • My second-oldest thinks the male full-time missionaries should have had suits as bright as the women’s blouses. Jeanne tried convincing her that the men’s ties are bright and colorful, but the child was (rightly) having none of that.
Richard G. Scott (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Wow—still feeling the death of his wife, some years later. His loss was palpable in that opening bit.
  • And it turns out to be a lead-in to the actual body of his address, not just a throwaway intro.
  • Anger, hurt, and defensiveness drive away the Spirit—the first one i’d heard, but the others are interesting.
  • ”Inappropriate loud laughter” drives away the Spirit—makes me wonder whether he thinks there’s appropriate loud laughter. (I suspect yes, given his endorsement of humor right after that, but i’m not sure.)
  • So if you’re sick and can’t feel the Spirit, don’t stress too much, just get better.
  • This is more of a discussion of revelation through dreams than i think i’ve ever heard in general conference, even in the mid-twentieth-century ones I’ve listened to (which contained a number of topics you’d never hear nowadays).
  • I’m liking this address, but i have to take issue with one part of it—it’s making it sound like we won’t feel the Spirit if pretty much anything is wrong with our lives. I don’t know that i agree—the Holy Spirit is a god, after all, and therefore can presumably show up wherever it needs to. That aside, though, this is some good advice.
  • “The closer you follow divine guidance, the greater will be your happiness here, and in eternity.” I thought that if you end up exalted, you get a fullness of joy—basically, everybody who makes it gets perfect happiness, so it’s not a scalar thing. Or am i misreading what he said?
Quentin L. Cook (of the quorum of apostles)
  • ”A unique confluence of factors has raised the profile of the church…” Insert chuckle here.
  • “An aggressive scientific atheism”? I realize that that was a quote from someone else, but what does he mean by this? Is this going to be a slash back at the New Atheists?
  • Love for the nursery leaders!
  • We love and respect everyone in the world? Well, i’ll certainly agree that we’re supposed to, at least.
  • Linguistic nerd happiness! He nearly monophthongized the /ɑɪ/ diphthong in righteousness!
  • Did he actually say that we shouldn’t judge, or even worry too much about, our kids’ (and others’) mistakes that aren’t sinful? Why yes, i believe he did—really a revolutionary thought for a lot of us in the church, i’m thinking, which is scary, given how much sense it makes.
  • Why, i do believe that he just made a backhanded swipe at the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon.
  • Actually, my favorite Mark Twain joke about the Book of Mormon was calling it “chloroform in print”.
  • Still more linguistic nerd happiness—he actually did monophthongize /ɑɪ/ in lives.
  • Okay, the finger signals thing is kind of a fun idea, but those of us with tweens or teens might worry at times about the finger signals they would come up with, i’m afraid.
Ulisses Soares (of the quorums of seventy)
  • So all we have to do is rid ourselves of malice, and evil speaking, and [insert half a dozen ills common to all mortals here], and all uncleanness. Well, if that’s all there is to it…
  • “If our attitudes are good, they are inspired by God”—i like the focus on the internal in this address better than i like Robert D. Hales’s focus on the outward, i must say.
David S. Baxter (of the quorums of seventy)
  • An address to single parents! There’s been a few of these lately, but they’re pretty rare—and few of them are this upbeat.
  • Admit it, fellow North Americans—you’re having trouble focusing on this address, ’cause you’re so in love with his voice.
  • “In the kingdom of God, there are no second-class citizens.” Lemme hear an amen from the people!
  • Urging leaders to help out and not judge—we need another amen.
  • A nod to the single fathers, too—good to hear, since we often forget they exist, and therefore have no idea what to do with them.
Congregation and Missionary Training Center choir, intermediate everybody-stand-up-for-no-reason song
  • Yep, it’s “Called to Serve”. Like you didn’t see that one coming.
Robert D. Hales (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Wow—his oxygen is loud. You’d’ve thought they’d’ve lined his microphone up better than that.
  • Pretty standard stuff, but the condition of the speaker is giving it a decent bit of extra gravitas.
  • Parents and leaders can help the youth understand the sacrament by providing them the opportunity to teach each other. Interesting, that.
  • Kind of odd that his list of items making one worthy to attend the temple were pretty much all outwardly-visible things, rather than issues of actual belief and faith.
  • ”It is difficult for youth to understand how present actions can qualify or disqualify them from future service.” (I’m sure i got a few words wrong, but the gist of it is right.) Leaves me wondering: What about repentance, though?
  • The big final point: If you are worthy to take the sacrament each week, are worthy to hold a temple recommend (nicely phrased, so as to include those who, say, aren’t old enough or haven’t been members long enough), and sacrifice to do good, then you’re golden.
Jeffrey R. Holland (of the quorum of apostles)
  • Interesting view of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard from the point of view of the last laborers, rather than the first (as is usually done).
  • Nicely delivered argument against envy.
  • Elder Holland, rockin’ four straight laugh lines!
  • He’s getting into this one—general conference addresses are usually so mellow that a delivery like this gets your attention, you know?
  • You know, a couple of the lines the audience just laughed at weren’t laugh lines. I think that there’s some nervous laughter going on out there—he’s delivering a pretty intense call to repentance here.
  • Ah! Mercy presented as the practical opposite of envy—and nicely done, too.
  • Nice attempt at peace with former members. Some will find it condescending, i’m sure, but i don’t think that it actually was (as opposed to some such attempts, which actually are).
  • You usually get calls for the men in the church to shape up in priesthood session—nice to hear it in one of these, too.
  • I think we have an early candidate for my favorite address of the conference.
Brook P. Hales, (secretary to the first presidency), statistical report
  • Nearly 3,000 stakes.
  • Just shy of 14.5 million members.
  • Around 55,000 full-time missionaries, just over 280,000 convert baptisms. This is a notably lower baptism per missionary rate than what you got in the late eighties and early nineties, but there’s more emphasis on retention efforts now, compared to more of a “baptize the world” mentality then. I wonder how activity rates have changed?
Robert W. Cantwell, (managing director of the church auditing department), audit report
  • Same script as always. Seriously, why do we even do this?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (of the first presidency), presentation of general authorities and officers
  • Dissolving the presiding bishopric, and making them all emeritus—interesting.
  • When he announced the release of Marvin T. Brinkerhoff (not sure of the spelling), he appeared to pronounce the name in German, including the middle initial.
  • What percentage of the general and area authorities have middle initials? How much time would be saved in reading these lists if most of them just went by first and last names?
  • Nice trilled r on Rivas!
  • Releasing the relief society general presidency—pity we won’t get to hear from Julie B. Beck any more, she didn’t usually do stereotypical relief society president addresses.
  • Is the Larry Echo Hawk that was called the head of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs?!?
  • Two of the names of the new presiding bishopric didn’t sound English, though it’s hard to tell with his accent—i’m gonna have to go look that up.
  • My oldest points out that we have a Jesus as a general authority now (along with a Moroni or five, and a Toronto).
  • Is the Burton called as the new general relief society president related to the Burton just released as presiding bishop? Something else to look up.
Combined choir from the Missionary Training Center, opening song
  • The male:female ratio of this choir is much more balanced than what i’d’ve expected from the Missionary Training Center. Did they do that on purpose to make the harmonies work better?
  • My kids very much approve of the multiplicity of colors the women in this choir are wearing, compared to the monochromaticity of MoTab this morning.
  • I do quite like the song “Glory to God on High”, and the bit in the middle of this arrangement with the male and female voices working against each other was quite excellent.

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

So welcome to the Saturday before the first Sunday in April—or, as it’s known to Mormons, Sunday.

Anyway, here we are at general conference again, and as i’ve done for the past few years, i’ll be semi-liveblogging the conference sessions. (That is, i’m taking notes during the sessions and posting them afterwards.) I complain about this every time, but blogs run chronologically backwards, where they start at the bottom of the page and work upwards, but i’ve given up on that fight—so each of these posts will go from the bottom up, with the first speaker at the bottom of the post and the last speaker right after this introduction; i do this so that once everything is posted, you can just scroll to the bottom of the whole thing and read up through general conference in reverse chronological order. (However, each speaker’s entries are ordered top-to-bottom. Yeah, it’s confusing, but i can’t figure out a better way.)

So now is the part where you scroll to the bottom, and start reading up.

Henry B. Eyring (of the first presidency)
  • Lots of talk about sacrifice and religious devotion this session.
  • What i’m getting from this: Tedious preparation may be necessary to build faith.
  • Integrity is necessary. I think i know what he means by integrity in general, but i’m curious what the specifics are.
  • Lots and lots and lots of quotation of scripture in this address.
  • Forgiveness leads not just to happiness, but hope. I like that.
  • Hurrah! A straight-up statement that earthly suffering is not necessarily a punishment for wrongdoing.

Dallin H. Oaks (of the quorum of apostles)
  • It occurs to me that he has a full and deep enough voice that he could probably do a really, really good Darth Vader impression.
  • Shout-out and love to Roman Catholic priests and nuns!
  • And recognition that other churches have lay ministries! (I don’t know that he’s actually correct that other religious organizations have less time spent by their members than we do, though—or maybe he simply hasn’t heard of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.)
  • This leads to an interesting question: If a sacrifice isn’t actually a sacrifice in the end, is it actually a sacrifice?
  • I’m curious what he thinks the limits of acceptable sacrifice for the gospel might be. (For example, Mormons don’t really actively seek after martyrdom or such, and i don’t think he’s saying we should.)
  • Final thought from me: I’m still rather surprised (and, i’ll readily admit, somewhat disturbed) by him saying very directly that Mormons sacrifice more than any other Xian group. I'm actually curious whether that's going to make it into the printed record of the conference.

Paul E. Koelliker (of the quorums of the seventy)
  • At least on my computer’s screen, this guy's tie looks like it’s rippling. It’s being way distracting.
  • This address is covering a lot of topical ground. I’m curious where it’s going to end up.
  • ”When we actually live the gospel…our ability to help others increases.” I think i got some of the words wrong, but the idea of it is there—it’s an interesting thought.
  • I hereby promise to never, ever, ever described the day Jeanne and i were married as “the day my own family was organized”.
  • This one had a lot of worthwhile stuff in it, but offered very little to comment on, actually. Very clear, very good, but certainly not exciting, you know?

Donald L. Hallstrom (of the quorums of the seventy)
  • He started out by saying that the gospel is separate from the church—but at least in the couple minutes following that, he presented them as being pretty non-separate. I’m not sure yet which side of that particular discussion (argument?) he’s going to end up on.
  • We have full-time missionaries comprised of “the young [slight pause] and the less so”. I admit it, i chuckled.
  • Activity in the church does not equal activity in the gospel—i nearly fist-pumped when he said that. (The big question he didn’t address: Yes, one can be simultaneously active in the church but inactive in the gospel—but can one be simultaneously active in the gospel and inactive in the church?)
  • Is he saying that anyone who leaves the church wasn’t actually fully converted? I don’t know if i buy that. (In fairness, though, it was delivered as a sort of throwaway line.)

Cheryl A. Esplin (of the relief society general presidency)
  • She remembers the birth of each of her children? This is actually interesting, ’cause it appears to mean that the auxiliary general presidencies are now of an age that the women weren’t being fully sedated during childbirth.
  • Why do Mormons have this idea that tears for no reason means that they must come from the Holy Spirit? I mean, they may, but that seems to be the default reading, and i don’t know that that’s warranted.
  • This brings up a pretty deep (and important!) question: What does it actually mean to prepare kids for baptism?
  • Learning leading to understanding leading to learning leading to… Not a new idea, but well delivered here.

Boyd K. Packer (president of the quorum of apostles)
  • Interesting question: Is it acceptable to use sacramental bread to feed the needy?
  • ”Neither man nor woman can bear children alone.” Depends on the meaning of bear these days, actually…
  • So folks that can’t have children when they want to are lucky? Well, i guess so.
  • Interesting discussion of his own family background, including the inactivity of his father—you don’t usually get that much personal detail in general conference addresses.
  • So we should reduce the number of church activities and programs to protect families? Does this mean we’re going to reduce the number of extra-special bonus meetings (e.g., priesthood executive committee, ward council, stake general priesthood meetings) to protect families? (Hey, a boy can hope!)

Thomas S. Monson (president of the high priesthood)
  • Pep talk time!
  • And yep, that’s pretty much what it was—a pep talk to start us off with.

John B. Dixon (of the quorums of the seventy), opening prayer
  • Hurrah! For short prayers!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

On turning 500

So this marks the five hundredth post on the Latter-day Snark since the blog began on 31 July 2008. That’s actually a pretty impressive milestone for a less-than-every-day blog, and so it’s a chance to look back at a couple interesting things i’ve learned, and to play with some statistics.

First, posts about testimony gloves (particularly when you’re not in favor of them, as is the case for me, as you can read here and here) get people’s ire up. I’ve been called nasty things in a lot of different fora, but the amount of venom (including a handful of really vicious responses from people who decided pseudonyms weren’t enough, they had to take it to non-public email) in response to my position that testimony gloves are most emphatically not a divinely inspired idea is kind of scary.

Also, stuff that i really expect to draw comments rarely does. Interestingly, though, much of what draws views (according to Blogger, at least) doesn’t draw many comments. So, for example, my post declaring that i won’t ever put ads on this blog? More views in the last week than any of my other posts. Yeah, i don’t get it, either.

Over the past couple months, a much more likely post led the pack: My post asking whether Mormons are Protestant—that one apparently links high enough on a number of Google searches containing the words Mormon and Protestant that it drives traffic to me.

(Speaking of Google searches, searches containing the words Mormon and evil apparently also drive traffic my way. Not necessarily surprising, i suppose.)

The all-time leader in views here, though? My original testimony glove post, of course—over a thousand views in a bit over three years, which isn’t a lot, but for a not-really-widely-publicized blog, it’s actually somewhat frightening that that many people would drop by.

Of course, my twice-yearly semi-liveblogs of general conference (next one this Saturday morning!) result in a spike in traffic, but that’s mainly ’cause people do searches for various addresses by speaker name rather than anything specific to my blog, i figure.

Finally, by far most of those who come to my blog come from the United States, as you might expect, but a strong second showing comes from the United Kingdom. The next few are bunched together, led by Germany; i don’t know if the relatively high number of German readers is because i’ve mentioned serving as a full-time missionary in Germany and Austria occasionally, but that’s the only explanation i can come up with.

Oh—and my youngest sister’s blog (which is largely but not exclusively her stories of homeschooling her kids) drives a lot of traffic this way, so here’s a link to see what might go the other way.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Was it real?

Whatever happened to the 1990(?) church-made movie What Is Real? I remember when it came out, and thinking that it was about time that the church made a film that had even remotely good production values. (Remember, this was back in the day when the only available church movies were things like the kitsch of Johnny Lingo and the stiltedness of Together Forever, and, perhaps worst of all, Pioneers in Petticoats.)*

Most all of the church’s movies (even the horror of Johnny Lingo!) are still available, but i can’t find What Is Real? anywhere—there are no DVDs of it on the church’s web store as far as i can tell, and it doesn’t even have an Internet Movie Database entry. (I mean, On the Way Home can be found both places, and i seem to recall not liking that one nearly as much.) I didn’t just imagine it, did i? Was there some sort of horrific doctrinal error that’s led the church to pretend it never existed?

* Actually, Man’s Search for Happiness was pretty good, but it wasn’t (and isn’t, as far as i can tell) really very widely available for viewing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is separate equal?

Why are the annual relief society and young women broadcasts separate events? I mean, the young men and the male adults of the church have theirs together (i.e., general priesthood broadcasts),* so why not do the same for the females in the church?**

* Insert obligatory snark about how they’re actually really only young men broadcasts, though, what with the number of addresses in them that begin, “I direct my remarks to the young men in the audience tonight.”
** Which would presumably give them two broadcasts, too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wisdom from the younger set

From my ten-year-old daughter, totally unprompted:

I think they call it “relief society” because you’re so relieved you don’t have to be with your kids.

Parenting: Clearly, we’re doing it right.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Do names make a difference?

So why did the church feel the need to add Another Testament of Jesus Christ to the title of the Book of Mormon? I mean, it’s not like we call the New Testament The New Testament: A Testament of Jesus Christ, you know? I still remember when it happened—it just felt (and still feels!) a little insecure to me, that’s all.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trying to have it both ways on children

So with general conference coming up, i’ve been thinking about the last general conference—and what with birth control having been in the news here in the US during the past few months, it’s gotten me to think about Neil L. Anderson’s latest general conference address.

I’ve thought a lot about that address, and the comments i made during my semi-liveblog of that conference session still hold true, i think—basically, i think his message was rather muddled, and that he wasn’t successful at explaining whatever it is he wanted to say. This may be why i’ve heard and read his address used by Mormons to support claims that the leadership of the church wants its members to have as many children as physically possible (and perhaps not even stop there), and also that the leadership is cool with its members having however few children they want.

Consider the following lines (not next to each other, as it appears here) from the address:

When to have a child and how many children to have are private decisions to be made between a husband and wife and the Lord. These are sacred decisions—decisions that should be made with sincere prayer and acted on with great faith.

Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family…[Quotes from others went here, including a statement that “a biblical perspective on motherhood” requires having children]…As the world increasingly asks, “Are these all yours?” we thank you for creating within the Church a sanctuary for families, where we honor and help mothers with children.

(That last one was followed by stories of folks having children despite, e.g., still being in school—and this is all presented as a Good Thing.)

Sorry, but this just seems a bit of trying to have one’s rhetorical cake and eating it, too—everybody gets to make a private decision, but in the context that decision is always going to be to have lots of kids starting pretty much right away.

Y’all’s thoughts?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pragmatic worship

So i’ve been away for about a week for business purposes (a research conference on language and aging), and i’d thought that i’d have a chance to post, but obviously i was wrong. Now i’m back, though, and having flown back home on a Sunday an observation, and a question:

Most of the research meetings in my field end on Sunday mornings, and as a result, when i’ve flown back from them, i’ve generally flown back on Sunday afternoons, after having attended job-related rather than church-related meetings. I’ve never seen this as a religious problem, as long as it occurs fairly infrequently. Further, during my exile in Utah, when i worked at Brigham Young University, the university’s travel agency* folks never batted an eye when i scheduled my return flights on Sundays (nor did the administration, when i submitted the paperwork).

I have friends in various other religions, though, who don’t do such things on their particular religions’ sabbath days.

So, the question: How is it that Mormonism is so pragmatic (for lack of a better word) about work-related stuff happening on the sabbath? What is it in our history that’s led to that view of the matter?

* Yep, a university with its own on-site travel agency. Kind of crazy, really.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A rambling man

I’ve had friends tell me that they miss LeGrand Richards (who was in the quorum of apostles until his death in the early 1980s), because late in life he lost his sight, and so he wouldn’t read from his prepared text, but would just kind of ramble about whatever he wanted to. (Some people have said the same thing about David B. Haight, more recently.)

Well, having listened to recordings of LeGrand Richards from the 1940s and 1950s, i have to say it had nothing to do with his sight—he was like that when he was much younger. Really, it was probably more that he came from an older preaching tradition, where you pray that the Spirit moves you to say something, and then just kind of go with it. I’m still trying to decide whether or not i wish we had folks in general conference who speak in such a stream of consciousness mode, rather than the hyper-prepared sound we generally get these days..