Saturday, October 3, 2020

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Saturday morning session

Welcome to another pandemic edition of So You Want to Hear a GA!

Anyway, last time i said that would probably be the last of these i did, but I figure it’s still worth doing in a time when things are decidedly Not Yet Normal again.

So: As with the others of these, I’ve arranged everything “bottom up”, with the first speaker at the bottom, and going later in the session upwards from there. (The comments under each speaker’s name, though, read from the name downward.)

Before getting into it, though, a quick note: I like the socially-distanced setup they’ve got for the First Presidency and Quorum of Apostles. And they’re wearing masks when not speaking! Yay them for modeling good public health behaviors! (You know how you hear sometimes the faith-promoting rumor that God plans who’s going to be president of the church for any given moment? Yeah, a medical doctor just happening to be president of the church through this year makes that seem all the more plausible.)

Dallin H. Oaks, of the first presidency
  • We are in a time of stark political divisions, and these have unfortunately sometimes even spilled over into our church meetings.
  • Jesus taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who do wrong to us—that was a revolutionary teaching, but still applies to us.
  • This requires great self-discipline, but it is central to the two great commandments, and it is doable.
  • Anger is the way toward division and enmity, and so we must work to avoid it.
  • One way to learn to love our adversaries is to simply get to know them at a personal level.
  • We are required to obey the laws—not that we always agree with them, but we still obey them, and if needed work to peacefully change them.
  • [He’s doing an interesting tightrope walk of calling out everybody all at once. Not sure he’s entirely successful—people are more likely to hear the denunciations of those they disagree with than those they agree with—but interesting nonetheless.]
  • There is no appropriate place for racism in our society—and the United States in particular should be better than that.
  • [Did he just offer a passing swipe at judicial originalism? Why yes, yes he did.]
  • Knowing that we are children of God gives us the knowledge that helps us to recognize others as children of God and love them, even those who are our adversaries.
  • [Wow, it’s been a while since i’ve heard a conference address that had as much purely US-centric political content as that one. A long while.]
Ronald A. Rasband, of the quorum of apostles
  • A temple recommend interview gives you the opportunity to search your soul to gauge your faith and practice in the context of a life devoted to Jesus Christ.
  • We need to be worthy to attend the temple, and so should all hold a current temple recommend (including limited use recommends for youth).
  • While temple worship was temporarily suspended during the pandemic, being worthy to attend the temple has not.
  • Bring recommended to the Lord requires us to develop Christlike characteristics.
Quentin L. Cook, of the quorum of apostles
  • Unity is advanced when people are treated with dignity and respect even when they are outwardly different.
  • Remember that our faith teaches that we are all children of the same God.
  • We live in a moment of particularly strong divisions, but those of us who have chosen to join with the church of Jesus Christ are required to move toward unity.
  • Unity and diversity are not opposites—we should have unity that acknowledges and celebrates our diversity.
  • Church units are defined by geography and language, not culture or race—race is not identified on church records.
  • The culture of the gospel of Jesus Christ requires us to leave behind those aspects of our own backgrounds that conflict with it.
  • [Editorial: I don’t mind these sorts of speeches, i just wish that at least once one of them would make explicit the fact—and yes, i said fact—that Wasatch Front Utah culture includes some of those bits of baggage that don’t match with the culture of the gospel, and so need to be discarded.]
Michelle D. Craig, of the general presidency of the young women organization
  • We need to clearly see who God is, and who we really are—because we are sons and daughters of God, with an eternal destiny.
  • Seeing how God sees us prepares us to see others as God sees them.
  • We need to be seen deeply; we should strive to find opportunities to see others deeply.
  • As we recognize others’ true identities and purposes we will discover our own.
Scott D. Whiting, of the quorums of seventy
  • Jesus told us to become even as he is, which may seem unattainable and thus not worth effort—but what if it is actually what we are supposed to do?
  • To best heal ourselves and society, we need to become more like Jesus.
  • The first step in becoming like Christ is not just knowing of the command, but rather to have the desire to fulfill it.
  • Once you make the decision to start along this path, you will need to repent.<.li>
  • As you work to become more like Christ in one attribute, you will necessarily increase in other attributes.
David A. Bednar, of the quorum of apostles
  • Before becoming a general authority, he was a teacher, and so worked to help students learn how to learn.
  • Part of that was giving tests. Students didn’t like tests, but they were necessary.
  • The word test doesn’t appear in the standard works in English, but related words do, such as prove, examine, and try.
  • This year has been marked in part by many tests.
  • The scriptures tell us, though, that if we prepare for the tests of mortality, we will come out okay.
  • Remember that just because the general authorities haven’t talked about specifics like food storage and such lately doesn’t mean we have no need to be prepared, either spiritually or temporally.
  • We should make use of what we’ve learned through the testing of this past year to take stock of what preparation we need.
  • We need to make choices—not making a choice means that your choices will be made for you.
Russell M. Nelson, president of the high priesthood
  • The world is in turmoil, but the work of the Lord moves forward.
  • We’ve had to learn to do some things differently, and in some cases that means more effectively.
  • The church has provided pandemic aid in 150 countries.
  • We should be using “this unique time” to spiritually grow.

No comments: