Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sorta-liveblogging general conference: Sunday morning session

Not often that you get an explicitly stated thematic element to a session! But we got that with the international church here, i’m guessing in part because it’s the most-watched session worldwide? (That’s pure speculation about viewership patterns, by the way.)

Anyway, the opening of the session is at the bottom of the post, as always.

Russell M. Nelson, president of the High Priesthood
  • Faith is the conduit of divine power.
  • Every blessing of eternal significance begins with faith.
  • God does not ask us to have perfect faith, but does ask us to believe. Therefore, the call today is to work to increase your faith.
  • With faith, we can move any mountain we are faced with—“your mountains may vary”, but they can still be overcome, even if it takes a miracle.
  • “Stop enhancing your doubts by rehearsing them with other doubters.”
  • “The mountains in our lives will not always move how or when we like”, but “Jesus Christ and his church will never fail you.”
Michael John U. Teh, of the quorums of seventy
  • We need to put in more effort in knowing Jesus Christ, not just knowing about him.
  • As we study the words of the prophets and receive a witness, their words become ours—not because we are copying them but because they have become part of us. [But citation is still good practice! adds my professor self.]
Chi Hong (Sam) Wong, of the quorums of seventy
  • Both the wise man and the foolish man in the parable wanted to provide a good home for their family, and the surroundings were the same—but their foundation was what mattered.
  • We need to stay on the “sure foundation” of Jesus Christ—and the promise from God is that if we do that we cannot fall.
  • We can’t change all of what is coming, but we can choose how we prepare.
  • “The gospel is not part of our lives, but our lives are part of the gospel.”
  • God doesn’t just know the details of our lives, but rather the details of the details of the details of our lives.
  • [I still like Sister&Aburto gave the best address of the conference so far, but Elder Wong is winning for most quotable.]
Taniela B. Wakolo, of the quorums of seventy, pre-recorded
  • When we focus on God’s plan, we move away from selfish desires (performing a “spiritual excavation”).
  • We are surrounded by a noisy fray of voices, but our prophets and revelators rise above them.
  • Nobody likes surgery, but when done correctly it will save your life. Similarly, nobody likes the “spiritual surgery” of chastening, but it can save your spiritual life.
  • They’re not trials and tribulations, they’re learning opportunities.
José Augusto Teixeira da Silva, of the presidency of the seventy
  • Knowing that we are children of God, and that God desires us to return, is one of the first steps toward taking full advantage of the atonement.
  • We need to put our trust in “the safest place”, our redeemer Jesus Christ.
  • When we remember [his word!] to pray, we come closer to the love of God.
  • [One bonus of casting an international net this morning—local idioms and usage norms are different, and so you get kicked out of just blissing along as wording you're overly used to passes by unnoticed.]
Edward Dube, of the quorums of seventy, pre-recorded
  • When we are facing our fears of inadequacy (and, relatedly, self-centeredness), the love of others can help us overcome that and lead us to peace.
  • We need to accept God’s will, even when it is (even literally physically!) painful for us, letting our will be swallowed up in God’s.
  • “It is not so much about what we are going through in life, but what we are becoming.”
  • [Dang, he didn’t come to deliver a conference talk, he came to deliver a sermon.]
S. Mark Palmer, of the quorums of seventy, pre-recorded
  • We can be assured that we will see those we love in the next life, even if we can’t see them again in this one.
  • The knowledge that we will be resurrected gives meaning and purpose to our lives, leading us to endure hardship with hope.
  • His father’s declaration after a night reconciling his doubts: “I will be baptized today, or never.” [How much you want to bet that set the full-time missionaries in a bit of a scurry? I saw a reaction to this online that was just delightful: “Baptism speedrun!”]
Reyna I. Alberto, of the general presidency of the relief society
  • Quoting Russell M. Nelson (from back in 1992!): “The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life.”
  • Because of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, we will all be resurrected, including those who we lost to death too soon.
  • Without Jesus Christ there would be no resurrection, but there is a resurrection, and thus the string of death is defeated.
Ulisses Soares, of the quorum of apostles
  • [Ulisses Soares, rockin’ a low-key plaid suit!]
  • The atonement is evidence of the patience and longsuffering God has with our mortal weaknesses.
  • When we repent, we get to take full advantage of the atonement.
  • Even on our darkest days, the loving arms of the savior are waiting to embrace us.

Opening items

  • A choir from Mexico, and another from Korea, each singing in their own languages? I like it. (And Dallin H. Oaks, conducting the meeting, made it a point to say that the opening prayer would be offered by someone from Australia. That’s a bit of a doubling down on the international nature of the church at the beginning of (what i strongly suspect is) the most-watched session of general conference.
  • And yep, that is explicitly the theme! Speakers from the global (read: non-United States) church!

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