My notes (in between tweets) from the 179th Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Saturday Morning Session
President Henry B. Eyring conducted the Saturday morning session, with President Thomas S. Monson providing general commentary followed by talks from Elder Scott, Sister Matsumori, Elder Clayton, Brother Osguthorpe, Elder Bednar, and President Uchtdorf. Here are the key points made by each speaker (with direct quotes noted as such):
President Thomas S. Monson:
- 83% of members live within 200 miles of a temple
- There are 130 operating temples
- 16 have been announced or are under construction
- 5 new temples announced
- Brigham City, Utah
- Concepción, Chile
- Fortaleza, Brazil
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
- Sapporo, Japan
Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “Choose the Right”
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Twelve:
- Inspiration to know what to do | being guided by the spirit
- Power, to be able to do it
- Sometimes truth is revealed when you are not actively seeking it
- Pornography is one of the most damning influences on earth, and is overpoweringly addictive
- Commit to overcome it now
- If you pray with all your heart, you can learn to be consistent with the guidance of the Holy Spirit
- Parable: a humble priesthood leader in Mexico teaching a lesson inspired Elder Scott, while a well-educated Sunday School teacher in the States, using obscure examples, did not edify or inspire because it came from a desire to impress (pride).
Sister Vicki F. Matsumori, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency:
- Being touched by the Spirit is like being wrapped in a blanket.
- Help others understand
- The Spirit will not dwell in unholy temples
- We should find ways to feel the Spirit every day and weekly at Church
- “Be still and know that I am God”
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy:
- Generally burdens come from 3 sources
- Natural product of the conditions of the world
- Imposed on us by the misconduct of others
- Imposed on us by our own mistakes and shortcomings
- Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues — blessings in disguise
- “People struggle everyday under burdens that tax their souls.”
The choir sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”
Russell T. Osguthorpe, General President of the Sunday School:
- “We are all teaching future leaders of the Church.”
- A good teacher can help save lives
- Teaching involves sharing the key doctrine, an invitation to action, and then the promised blessings
- “Learning and teaching are not optional activities in the Kingdom of God.”
- Teachers can inspire their students to change, to do better, to set sights higher
Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve:
- “More diligent and concerned at home”
- Express love and show it. When was the last time you told your spouse, your child, your parents you love them?
- Testimonies that express love might be appropriate, but the public statement shouldn’t be the only time they hear it
- Feeling the constancy of love is a rich blessing
- Bear testimony and live it. When was the last time you bore your testimony to your spouse, your children, or your parents
- We need to bear it, we need to mean it, and most importantly, we need to live it
- Be consistent. Results don’t come each time
- The consistency of our intent and work is the great lesson
- A single paint brush stroke is not critical, but all of the strokes together create a beautiful painting
The choir sang “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”
The choir sang “Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, on showing love as a disciple of Christ and the unconditional love of God for us:
- Of all the things we are known for, are there things we should seek to be known for?
- How do we become true disciples of Jesus Christ? Love God. If ye love me, keep my commandments. Love should be the center of our life in:
- “Love should be our walk and our talk.”
- Keep trying. Try to believe, learn of God, study the scriptures, follow the prophets, listen to the Father, do the things He asks of us
- How can we hear the Father’s voice?
- Why is love the great commandment?
The choir sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints”
Saturday Afternoon Session
President Eyring conducted the Saturday afternoon session, featuring talks by Elder Oaks, Elder Hales, Elder Zeballos, Elder Callister, Elder Watson, Elder Anderson, and President Packer. Direct quotations (based on my notes) are given in quotes; phrases without quotes are my summary of the remarks given.
The choir sang “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise”.
The choir sang “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve, on God’s love and law:
- God’s love and God’s commandments
- The love of God does not supersede his commandments. His commandments do not diminish the love of God
- Despite mortal confusion over the relationship between love and law, love does not supercede or render inapplicable law or God’s commandments. Mercy cannot rob justice.
- Counsels a balanced response — every parent knows you can love a child and be angry and disappointed
- The love of God is so universal, even those who are rebellious benefit
- Where do parents draw the line with children that are not following the commandments? Don’t go to extremes.
- Real love does not support self-destructive behavior
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Twelve, against secularism and atheism:
- We live in a time where secularism is deepening. “Atheism … is spreading across the world.”
- We declare We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost
- Why is belief in God so important?“Without God, … our mortal experiences would have no purpose.”
- Cultivate a diligent desire to know God lives. He does.
Elder Jorge F. Zeballos of the Seventy, on the Atonement:
- The command to become perfect may seem impossible, but it encourages us to achieve the best of ourselves
- “God will not require more than the best that we can give.”
- Let us with enthusiasm do all that is within our reach
- It is possible to achieve the impossible. We can receive eternal life. We can be happy now.
The choir sang “Come, Ye Children of the Lord”
Elder Tad R. Callister of the Seventy, on the Restoration:
- Joseph was the Lord’s anointed servant. He restored knowledge of four fundamental truths not recognized by contemporary Christianity:
- God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct beings
- The Father and Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones
- God still speaks to man today; the heavens are not closed
Does God love us as much today as before?
Does God have the same power today as then?
Do we need him as much today as then?
- The full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not on the earth
- Were there not angels before? Mary, Joseph, Peter, James, John, Cornelius, Paul, Stephen all saw angels
- Some people get sidetracked and lose their faith over minor issues: “There will always be some intellectual crisis looming on the horizon.” At some point, one must trust in God.
Elder Kent D. Watson of the Seventy, on temperance:
- Temperance = avoiding anger and pride.
- Peace of mind and security and happiness does not come from buying things we can’t afford. It comes through self-control and faith in Jesus Christ.
- Happiness comes from being diligent in keeping covenants
- Like tempered glass or tempered steel, a tempered soul is one that has gained increased spiritual strength.
Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Twelve, on repentance:
- Testifies of the Savior’s overpowering love for a repentant soul. Spiritual arms of mercy, safety, love
- We rejoice in repenting and the joy of forgiveness
- Apart from the rare unforgiveable sin against the Holy Ghost, “there is no sin that cannot be forgiven.
- “Will ye not now return unto me… that I may heal you?”
- Repentance is more of a journey than an event
- “You can’t feel what I have felt” One who does understand. He does. He has felt your pain.
- I promise you, relief will come
- Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance
President Boyd K. Packer of the Twelve, on hearing the guidance of the Spirit:
- “We are given our agency; we must use it wisely.”
- We must use our agency wisely
- Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind — the Spirit can protect you
- Keep your mind clean and free from the clutter of the world
- “One of the adversary’s sharpest tools is convincing us that we are no longer worthy to pray.” No matter who you are and what you may have done, you can always pray
- Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees.
- Prayer is your personal key to heaven and the lock is on your side of the veil.
- “Thy will be done”
The choir sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”.