Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just a little vignette for you this evening

So my family* is going through the Book of Acts in the Bible. At one point, Paul and his companions stop for a while at the home of Philip the Evangelist, who has four unmarried daughters who all prophesy.

Well, we use a lot of different Biblical translations simultaneously in our family scripture reading,** and the version that was being read through at that moment rendered it “four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy”.

My oldest recognized the parallel in the family structure, and said “Well. That would be hectic.”

So it would, kid. So it would.

* Which, in case you don’t know (and this is necessary information for the story), is me, my wife, and our four daughters.

** Yeah, i know, i just started J. Reuben Clark, Jr. spinning in his grave again. Not to worry—he’ll stop eventually.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Just making sure

So today has been 20 April, a date on which it has become tradition (in the United States, at least) for certain people to hang out and smoke marijuana publicly.

So i figured it was a good idea to re-read the Word of Wisdom, and i found that, fortunately for us all, it’s totally cool with contact highs.

I mean, the text has definitely got nothing against them, right? Cool, then.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Riddle me this, dear reader:

The Mormon church leadership has repeatedly stated its opposition to permanent body modification, specifically tattoos and body piercings.*

However, they do not offer counsel against certain permanent body modifications such as, for example, elective breast augmentation.

So what’s up with that particular inconsistency?

* Except for single ear piercings for women on which—and this makes me giggle every time i think about it—they take no position.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday afternoon session

Final session! The big question: Will everyone be able to stay awake for the ninth and tenth(!) hours of church this weekend?

And as with the other general conference entries, the first speaker is at the end of this post, with the most recent speaker at the beginning, with each speaker’s entries made in top-down order.

Thus, starting with the bottom of this post …

Thomas S. Monson, president of the high priesthood
  • Be good neighbors in your communities, including reaching out to members of other faiths.
  • Be tolerant, kind, and loving to people who don’t share our beliefs or standards. (Yes, or standards—he totally said that.)
  • There are challenges, but there are plenty of grounds for rejoicing, particularly if we put our trust in the Lord.
  • Nice close to conference—it was the usual closing pep talk, but with a little more substance than usual.

D. Todd Christofferson, of the quorum of apostles
  • Interesting idea: That part of the atonement that redeems us from physical death is universal because it’s a universal state that we’re simply born into, but the redemption from spiritual death depends on our own choices because that state is a result of our own choices. I don’t think i’ve ever heard that before, and my initial reaction is that i think i like it.
  • Jesus was said to have gone about “doing good”, which included both spiritual and temporal redemption.
  • I’m really liking this one, which is cool, ’cause i have to admit that Elder Christofferson’s sermons usually leave me a bit cold.
  • Some redemption requires a collaborative effort, which is why God created a church.
  • Interesting—talking about the church’s humanitarian efforts not in number-of-dollar terms, but (mostly) in number-of-people terms.
  • Yeah, i think that overall i liked Elder Holland’s address more, but this one’s a really, really close second.

Bruce D. Porter, of the first quorum of the seventy
  • God has promised that there will be peace in Zion and in her stakes.
  • If we trust God, we will be given direction and peace in our trials.
  • This is totally turning not into a “why do bad things happen to good people?” sermon, but rather a “who cares why bad things happen to good people?” sermon.

Erich W. Kopischke, of the first quorum of seventy
  • “What no one around us knows, we surely know.” We need to be honest with ourselves as we judge whether we really are the sorts of people we should be.
  • If we are contrite we acknowledge our sins and are willing to repent.
  • Sacrifices don’t have to be big to be important.

Enrique R. Falabella, of the first quorum of seventy
  • First really good laugh line of the conference!
  • Lowering the boom on emotional abuse! Not something you hear mentioned directly in conference all that often.
  • “It is not enough to know the scriptures—we have to live them.”

Christoffel Golden Jr., of the first quorum of seventy
  • South African accent in da house!
  • The world has (and has had) a lot of God-fearing people, and this certainly isn’t just limited to Mormons.
  • Joseph Smith’s vision of the Father and the Son accords well with such visions in the scriptures.
  • The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the key of the knowledge of God. This sermon suddenly just got deep, and will require later reading rather than on-the-fly interpretation.

Dallin H. Oaks, of the quorum of apostles
  • “Like all other Christians, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…” Makes me almost wish i was still faculty at Brigham Young University so that i could bring this up as an example in the linguistic presupposition unit I’m in the middle of teaching right now.
  • This is the second address in this conference that’s mentioned “political correctness” as a bad thing, and that seems to presume everyone knows what was meant by it (and i’m not certain that i do).
  • Did he just try to mandate that family prayers have to involve everybody kneeling?
  • It’s not terribly often you get precise dollar amounts of church charitable service in conference.
  • This one’s being difficult to summarize. Part of that’s because it followed what really was an amazing address, but part of it is also that i’m having trouble figuring out what the central thesis of the whole thing is.

Jeffrey R. Holland, of the quorum of apostles
  • Just the beginnings of faith are enough for God. I like this. Nice echo of topics in Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s addresses this conference, too.
  • He’s addressing his comments to those who are young, whether young in years of age, or young in years of membership in the church, or young in years of faith—and he says (interestingly) that that includes all of us.
  • The level of your faith is unimportant—what’s important is your integrity with regard to the faith you do have.
  • Rather than focusing on acknowledging your lack of faith, make an honest declaration of the faith you do have.
  • You have more faith than you think you have, anyway.
  • When you see imperfection, be patient and kind and forgiving.
  • If you can’t say you know that the church is true, but you believe it is, you never need to apologize for “only believing”—after all, Jesus himself said “Be not afraid, only believe”.
  • I’ve said before how amazed i am at Elder Holland’s exegetical skills—this one’s not fully exegesis (though it started with one), but I’m still liking it. Probably my favorite of the conference so far.
  • Also, this.

Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the general presidency of the relief society organization
  • After having heard on the interwebs some people grumbling about how Sister Stevens’s prayer yesterday was a closing prayer and so wasn’t as high-profile as it should’ve been, along with a few people grumbling that women shouldn’t be authorized to close off a meeting, here’s a woman saying an opening prayer just so that both sides can knock themselves out at silliness some more.

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday morning session

Sunday morning session—the one session where the speakers can be guaranteed an extra-large audience for their message.

And as with the other general conference entries, the first speaker is at the end of this post, with the most recent speaker is at the beginning, with each speaker’s entries made in top-down order.

Thus, starting with the bottom of this post …

Closing prayer, didn’t catch the name, probably of the seventy
  • Did he just pray that we’d be blessed to come back to the next session of conference on time? If so, has this been a problem?

Closing song
  • What’s with the dirge-level tempos for the songs this conference? I mean, here’s “Come, Come Ye Saints”, which is supposed to be a joyful song, and it sounds like…well, like it’s about death and mournfulness.

Thomas S. Monson, president of the high priesthood
  • A parallel between a child learning obedience to parental rules to us learning obedience to God’s laws.
  • Thomas S. Monson, pyromaniac!☺
  • I have to say, the fact that he’s so willing to admit stupid things he’s done is very humanizing, and i think that’s a very healthy thing for us as a church, to recognize the humanity of our prophets.
  • Obedience has provided prophets with spiritual strength, and all of us are entitled to the same strength through our obedience.
  • I’d previously heard the story of Johann Denndorfer receiving home teachers in Hungary after World War II and taking the opportunity to turn in his accumulated tithing at that point. You know, it’d make for a bit less busy-ness for bishops on Sundays before church if home teachers could accept tithing payments nowadays.

L. Tom Perry, of the quorum of apostles
  • <nerd>He just hypercorrected the card-cord merger (in the word armaments)!</nerd>
  • Satan fills “a role in God’s eternal plan”. That’s a pretty obvious thing, but you don’t hear it described as such very often.
  • As a larger society, we routinely ignore six of the ten commandments.
  • Here’s a difference stemming from age: The release of Proclamation on the Family seems recent to him; it seems a good while ago to me; and for my kids, well, they weren’t even born when that happened.

L. Whitney Clayton, of the presidency of seventy
  • “Repentance and humility build happy marriages.”
  • Husbands treating wives as secondary partners are going against divine law. (You know, this has big implications if people were to take it seriously, and a lot of Mormon culture doesn’t actually match well with this bit of counsel.)
  • This address is one of the few blunt attacks on sexism I recall ever hearing in general conference.

Rosemary Wixom, president of the primary organization
  • This is an amazingly bright, bright yellow outfit, and very Nehru jacket-like, too. (Kind of a pity to focus on the clothing a female speaker’s wearing, but let’s face it, there isn’t enough variation in what the men wear to focus on theirs, you know?)
  • Soft voice=spirituality. So: Is this actually true?
  • In a description of a parent being around but not really interacting with their child: “In both cases, Doctor Halcomb [or however it’s spelled] observed a dimming of the child’s inner light.” Um, how exactly does one measure that?
  • Basically, we need to be nice to kids.
  • And that was a rather abrupt ending—makes me wonder if she had more to say, but the time-over light went on or something.

Neil L. Andersen, of the presidency of seventy
  • A pep talk on full-time missionary service.
  • After the age limits were changed, there were a number of applications from 18-year-old men and 19-year-old women already in within five days.
  • Those who aren’t serving as full-time missionaries need to catch (or regain) the spirit of missionary service.
  • The important thing in missionary work is the invitation, not the acceptance of that invitation.
  • A pitch for sharing the gospel online.
  • An interesting story on how to deal with preaching the gospel in areas where there are sociocultural barriers to full acceptance of the gospel (in this case, in Mozambique). Wish we had more details about how they got past the dowry thing—did they just teach people to ignore it, or did they manage it some other way?

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the first presidency
  • He’s is a fan of semi-representational art! Does this mean we might start getting decent abstract stuff in future church art competitions?
  • Continuing the anti-bullying theme from his priesthood session address, it seems, but this time with a direct focus on the bullied/abused person.
  • Another continuation from last night: God’s okay with and understanding of our occasional stumbles.
  • I love that he calls his wife by her first name in conference addresses. He’s not alone in that, but he does it pretty frequently. The whole tradition of general authorities calling their wives “Sister X” squicks me out a bit, and it’s been filtering down to the local level, too—so here’s hoping that that trend is on the way out.
  • No airplane stories today, or last night. The times, they are a-changin’!

Opening song
  • Really, MoTab? Pepto-Bismol pink dresses? Not a good idea, seriously.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Priesthood session

So now for priesthood session.

Question: Nearly every ward i’ve ever lived in, there’s been an ice cream get-together for all the priesthood holders in the ward following priesthood session. Why? (And why ice cream?) I mean, it always seems a bit weird to me that after we’ve had two hours of being told how much we need to pay attention to our families, we end up not going home to hang out with them. Weird, really.

Anyway, as with the other general conference entries, the first speaker is at the end of this post, with the most recent speaker is at the beginning. However, within each speaker’s entries the various bulleted comments i have made are in top-down order.

So now, starting with the bottom of this post …

Thomas S. Monson, president of the high priesthood
  • Dedication to missionary service results in eternal glory.
  • How to be successful in missionary service: search the scriptures with diligence, plan your life with purpose, teach truth with testimony, and serve the Lord with love.
  • Remember that missionary service is not limited to time spent serving formally as a full-time missionary.

Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the first presidency
  • Members need to find the honest in heart for the missionaries to teach.
  • He told stories about his experiences in New Mexico and New England, both ending with the district he was in being organized into a branch on the last Sunday before he moved away. The moral of these stories: If you want to live in a stake, invite him to live there and simply wait for him to move away.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the first presidency
  • We have all sorts of titles that identify us in various ways, but there are four that apply to all priesthood holders: son of God, disciple of Christ, healer of souls, heir to all that God has.
  • Satan tries to take advantage of our feelings of weakness when we come up short of the glory of God, but just as a father doesn’t scold a toddler for stumbling while trying to walk, our loving heavenly father isn’t bothered by our stumbling attempts to grow.
  • Even though we stumble, we shouldn’t use that as an excuse to keep from trying to reach our goal of eternal life.
  • While the atonement is intended to make us like Christ, it isn’t intended to make us all the same as each other.
  • Personal differences are not sins, they are part of the plan of God. The fact that we are diverse in our cultural, social, and political preferences strengthens the church.
  • We are healers, which ranges from blessing the sick to feeding the hungry to comforting with the word of God.
  • Given that we are heirs to all that God has, it doesn’t make sense to spend so much effort simply to gain wealth or prestige.
  • You may feel unwanted or unloved, but you certainly aren’t unwanted or unloved by God, and the church needs your special contribution.
  • Did somebody shout something (one word maybe, i didn’t catch what) at the end of this address? What was up with that? Was it like the folks who shout “You da man!” after their favorite player’s swings at professional golf matches?

David L. Beck, president of the young men organization
  • He related, in some detail, the story of Chy Johnson and Carson Jones that target="_blank">made the news last year.
  • There are people all around us who need love—and “virtually anyone could benefit from your ministry”.
  • ”There are more active Aaronic priesthood holders than ever before in the history of the church.” Interesting little factoid, that.
  • Quorum meetings involve counseling together and sharing feelings—mocking and demeaning are right out.
  • This whole address was a pretty intense smackdown on bullying, and it’s in the running for my favorite address of the conference.

Tad R. Callister, of the presidency of seventy
  • He’s directing his remarks to Aaronic priesthood youth (and especially Aaronic priesthood presidencies) and their adult leaders. I am none of these, so can i take a nap now?
  • We should entrust, e.g., deacons quorum presidents with large responsibilities just as we do with full-time missionaries.
  • Aaronic priesthood quorum presidents will rise or fall to the level expected by their leaders.
  • Youth leaders need to teach youth how to lead, and not simply lead the youth.

Robert D. Hales, of the quorum of apostles
  • A statement that nowadays temptations are greater and more available than in earlier times. Is this actually true (especially the part about temptations being greater now), or is it just remembering earlier times via rose-colored nostalgia?
  • A claim that “the world” has changed its standards, but the church hasn’t.
  • We all know people who say “i’ll be your friend if you change your values to match mine”, but a true friend wouldn’t try to make us give up our values. This leads me to wonder: If we’re true friends to people, do we then let them keep their values without trying to swing them over to ours?
  • We are not authorized to negotiate the conditions of [God’s] eternal plan.”

Opening comments, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor on the first presidency
  • And so we finally get a mention of Eldred G. Smith’s death!

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday afternoon session

The Saturday afternoon session of conference: When we get to find out who got released.

To remind, the first speaker is at the end of this post, and the most recent speaker is at the beginning. However, within each speaker’s entries the various bulleted comments i have made are in top-down order.

So now you scroll down to the bottom of the post, and start there…

Closing prayer, J. Devn Cornish, of the second quorum of seventy
  • So does that give us a new record for shortest ever general conference prayer?

Closing song
  • This is slow. I guess they didn’t want to finish up ten minutes early, like the last session.

Russell M. Nelson, of the quorum of apostles
  • Encouragement to apply to colleges before missions, because many institutions of higher education will grant an 18- to 30-month admissions deferral. Really? As someone who’s in higher ed, that seems like a really long deferral to grant. One year, sure, but two or more?
  • We preach the gospel because God wants everyone to achieve immortality and eternal life. (And yes, he used the word wants, which was kind of fun to hear.)
  • This was a wide-ranging address, and thus is really hard to summarize.

David A. Bednar, of the quorum of apostles
  • Straight-up mentioned at the outset: This will be an address on chastity.
  • “And Eve became Adam’s wife and helpmeet.” He said that like he was quoting scripture, but helpmeet doesn’t occur in the scriptures. Was he quoting something or was that original text, then?
  • The church only accepts sexuality expressed within the bounds of heterosexual marriage—or at least that’s what he just said in about twice as many words.
  • Our goal is to overcome the “natural man” and to “bridle all of the passions of the flesh”, and the atonement can help us do that.
  • Interesting idea, that part of Satan’s motivation is based in jealousy at a bodily resurrection.
  • The greater the sin, the rougher the road to repentance.

John B. Dickson, of the first quorum of seventy
  • This is a pretty straightforward “we are a missionary church, just like the early Christian church” address.
  • Ah! Here’s the turn—moving from the 1978 revelation extending the priesthood to those of African descent as a parallel to Peter’s revelation extending preaching the gospel to the gentiles, to the state of the church in west Africa.

Stanley G. Ellis, of the first quorum of seventy
  • He says he’s wearing his “virtue tie” (it’s solid yellow). It got a laugh, but i didn’t find it funny. Different strokes, i suppose.
  • He grew up as a farmboy in Burley, Idaho. Hasn’t that town produced a few other general authorities? Seems like Burley may be overrepresented.
  • He says that if we do what the Lord says, the Lord “is bound to bless us”. Is that actually what the scriptures say? It’s not how i read it, i have to say.
  • I hear stories of people buying a house to be in a particular ward, and i don’t get it. Having just bought a house last year, how would you do that? It really quite honestly boggles my mind.

Quentin L. Cook, of the quorum of apostles
  • He delivered the eulogy for one of the children killed in the recent Newtown, Connecticut shootings. I hadn’t known that.
  • This is being a straightforward “Why do bad things happen to good people?” address.
  • If we do good, even with all the evil around us, “we can achieve the peace that is the promised reward of righteousness.”
  • The peace promised by Jesus Christ is not only desirable, it is a gift from God (quoting John Taylor).
  • About those who say they feel spiritual but not religious: Feeling spiritual is “a good first step”, but the church gives us more (including not just fellowship, but saving ordinances). Interesting that he still mentions such partial progress as worth appreciating—we get faced with all-or-nothing judgments more often than not, you know?
  • Sidebar: Since an apostle has talked in general conference about how horrible the Newtown, Connecticut shooting was, can all the Mormons i know online who have been going on and on about how it’s actually just a conspiracy for the government to take away their guns simply stop now? Please? Pretty please?

Richard G. Scott, of the quorum of apostles
  • Did he just basically say that if you’re not marking off all the family practice checkboxes (family prayer, family home evening, &c.), then you won’t make it? Depressing, if that’s what he meant.
  • Technological advances can be improperly used, but they can also be a great help for spirituality if “used with discipline”.
  • “Become friends with your children’s friends” and be a good example to them.
  • “Reach out to those living in adverse circumstances. Be a true friend.” I like that, and especially the linkage he makes between the two thoughts.
  • “Recognize the good in others, not the stains.” Even if you need to help someone with those stains, that shouldn’t be what you focus on.
  • “We can’t simultaneously do all the things the Lord has counseled us to do” and that’s okay. There’s some comforting words right there.
  • This one started out slow, but got most excellent—and early contender (along with Henry B. Eyring’s) for my favorite address of the conference.

Conducting remarks, Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the first presidency
  • He specified that everybody should stand once we get to the intermediate hymn—not something that gets mandated all that often at general conferences.

Statistical report, Brook P. Hales, Secretary to the first presidency
  • All figures as of the end of 2013,
  • Total membership a quarter milling shy of fifteen million.
  • Over 22,000 church service missionaries—cool to hear that number reported separately.

Auditing report, Robert W. Cantwell, managing director of the auditing department of the church
  • Seriously, why do they even do this? It made sense back before the church closed its books, but now? No point now that i can see.
  • Though i gotta say that he at least put on a non-boring tie for the occasion, so there’s that.

Sustaining of general officers and authorities, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the first presidency
  • It’s gotta be weird to say your own name during this ritual—or maybe by the time they’re at this point they’re used to it. I know i would find it kind of odd to be presenting my own name for sustaining, for sure.
  • One change in the presidency of the seventy.
  • Lots of releases among the area seventies.
  • One advantage of being Dieter F. Uchtdorf, as a native speaker of German presenting non-English, non-German names in an English-language broadcast is that nobody expects him to pronounce them “right”. (Of course, he gets to—i think it was—Manfred Sch├╝tze, and there were no questions about it.)
  • Release of the young women general presidency and board.
  • New members of the first and second quorums, including one called from being a counselor in the young men general presidency.
  • And here’s the corresponding large number of calls to being area seventies. I wonder how long before they move these out of the general conference sustainings, so as to save time.
  • Hugo Montoya? I would have been so tempted to call him Inigo.
  • New young women general presidency. Don’t recognize who they are, but the names (McConkie, Marriott,…) are certainly Mormon aristocracy, you know?

Opening prayer, Russell T. Osguthorpe, president of the Sunday School organization
  • Not a general authority (he’s a general officer), but he spoke in the last general conference and is praying in this one. Interesting, that’s all.
  • “We thank thee that all the priesthood keys have been restored…” All of them? Is that true? Or does God reserve some of them? (Serious questions—i don’t actually know the answer.)

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

So welcome to the only reason more than half of our unique visitors ever come to this site—my twice-yearly semi-liveblog of general conference!

(Definitions, for those of you new to this: This isn’t a liveblog, ’cause i’m not putting things up as they happen—i’m typing them as they happen, but i’m not uploading them until right afterward.)

For those of you new to these, or those of you who haven’t looked at one for, oh, six months, a note on formatting: Because blogs have changed the way we deal with chronological order, putting the most recent stuff on top rather than at the bottom, each of these posts is arranged the same way, so that the first speaker is at the end of this post, with the most recent speaker at the beginning. However, within each speaker’s entries the various bulleted comments i make are in top-down order.

This is confusing, but it works. We’ll all survive.

Oh—and before we get started, anybody know the betting oddslikelihood that Peggy Fletcher Stack’s right, and a woman will finally say a prayer in general conference? (More interesting may actually be which session, if she’s right.) And with that, onward!

(So this is where you scroll down to the bottom of the post. Or not—suit yourself.)

Closing prayer, Jean Stevens, first counselor in the primary presidency
  • History in (very, very slow) progress, folks!
  • And she’s done, and got us out early so that we have ten minutes extra for lunch/brunch (depending on your time zone)—see y’all in a couple hours!

Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the first presidency
  • I love, absolutely love general conference exegesis. Elder Holland’s my favorite at it, but President Eyring’s work is nicely impressive, too.
  • This may change, but there isn’t really anything to comment on yet in this address—but it’s still a good one, and worth listening to again, i think.

M. Russell Ballard, of the quorum of apostles
  • Sidebar: I must say that i like being part of a religious tradition that doesn’t get freaked out by our world being simply a part of something cosmologically much larger.
  • Nice job dismantling the priesthood (male) vs. procreation (female) dichotomy.
  • Nice allegory (based on a story of a tomato plant): We have great potential, and we can still reach it even when we seem too far away from it to ever reach it.
  • Did he just talk about Mary Fielding Smith using the power of God—or in other words, given the definition he gave earlier, priesthood power—to raise her family as a (single) mother? Why yes, yes he did.

Craig A. Cardon, of the second quorum of seventy
  • The requirement to forgive, and the ability to repent, isn’t just limited to “small” sins.
  • Not really a groundbreaking discourse on forgiveness, but a quite interesting one nonetheless.
  • “The Savior wants to forgive.” (And the emphasis was certainly there in the way he delivered it.)

Elaine S. Dalton, president of the young women organization
  • My sociolinguist self is so going to have to one day finally do a proper study of female speakers’ intonation patterns in general conference addresses.
  • Kind of fun that she got inspired n her discouragement by the same thing as David O. McKay did when he was discouraged. (It was parallel enough that at one point in her story i was wondering if she was actually quoting McKay’s story and i’d simply missed the intro.)
  • Her mother insisted that all of her daughters receive a college education so they could fully contribute to the world. Most excellent.
  • Nice turn! She quoted something about the importance of mothers for their daughters, and then extended it to fathers, as well, and it didn’t seem forced at all.
  • Sometimes being a linguist is distracting: virtue has, as its root, a word meaning man, as in a male person and not the generic meaning, and so once in a while it weirds me out when it’s applied to female behavior. (Yeah, I’m just odd. Carry on as if this never happened.)

Dean M. Davies, second counselor in the presiding bishopric
  • I’ve lived this! (That is, not this specific earthquake, but thinking i must have a flat tire before realizing it’s actually the ground shaking.)
  • It’s a general conference address on structural engineering!
  • He’s being at once very focused (here’s how to strengthen yourself spiritually) and very general (as in he’s covering lots and lots of parts of that). Given its structure, i’m thinking that this is one that’s more intended as written than as oral text.

Boyd K. Packer, president of the quorum of apostles
  • I was afraid this whole poem thing was going to be kind of annoying, but it’s actually turning out to be funny, and in a very good way.
  • Somehow, hearing about a possible “once in a lifetime event” has some extra poignancy coming from someone who’s aged and frail.
  • Sidebar: I really wish that if general conference speakers are going to react to trends toward allowing couples of the same sex to marry, that they’d just talk about it directly rather than talking around it. That is all.

Thomas S. Monson, president of the high priesthood
  • New temples to be built in Cedar City, Utah and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 65,634 full-time missionaries, with over 20,000 who have received called but not started and over 6,000 more with applications at some earlier point in the process.
  • Requests to contribute to the general missionary fund of the church to support the increased size of the missionary force.

Before things get started
  • So everybody’s walking in, there’s some chatting going on, a bit of a murmur of voices—so why do so many stake and ward leaders around the world insist that we ought to have deep, profound silence whenever we’re in a meetinghouse chapel?
  • Why do Mormons stand when the prophet enters a room? Yeah, yeah, respect and all that—but you can respect someone while you’re sitting down, you know? So why do we do it that way? When did it start?
  • I can’t decide whether i like this shade of purple on the Tabernacle Choir women. I generally like purple, so i’m inclined to like it, but it’s a little unexpected.