This day in history – The transcontinental railroad in the US is completed in Utah

I get an email from the New York Times each day with some top news stories, and also an “On this day” section. For today (Saturday, May 10, 2014), is has the following:

On May 10, 1869, a golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.

I’m not much of a historian, but I remember something in the Mountain of the Lord video that mentioned how the completion of the railroad really helped with the building of the Salt Lake Temple.

The Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum has a short article about the Mormons who helped finish the railroad.

“Things overheard at Jesus’ wedding” Top 10 List from the Late Show with David Letterman

Our local newspaper prints the Top Ten from the Late Show with David Letterman in the paper. I don’t often read them, but did the other day. The list from Tuesday, April 22, 2014 was the “Top 10 things overheard at Jesus’ wedding“. Apparently they had been talking about this with an audience member earlier before the show had started recording. #6 on the list was:

Should’ve  used the Temple in Salt Lake City

It probably got the biggest laugh/cheer in the place, and they put the camera on a man in the audience. I have no idea if that was his joke, or if he’s a Mormon, but I think it was kind of neat that the temple was mentioned.

You can see the video here:

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April 2014 General Conference word clouds

A few years ago word clouds, or “wordles” were all the rage. This is a way to show the content of an article. The most commonly used words are bigger, and the least used words are smaller. At a quick glance you can get an idea of the main topic of an article.

On Wednesday LDS Media Talk published a couple of wordles for conference. I encourage you to check it out.

I commented in my summaries that one of my favourite talks was “The Choice Generation” by Brother Randall L Ridd. He spoke about the Internet and the choices that young people have to make. Here is the wordle from his talk:

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184th Annual General Conference – Post-conference notes

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Well, it’s over. It was quite good. I think my overall favourite session this time was the Priesthood Session. Each session had a talk I enjoyed, but that had more that I enjoyed in just the one session.

Overall, here are the talks I particularly enjoyed:

  • Jeffrey R Holland from Saturday Morning General Session
  • Russell M Nelson from Saturday Afternoon General Session
  • Dallin H Oaks from Priesthood Session
  • Randall L Ridd from Priesthood Session (probably my favourite talk of the whole conference)
  • Dieter F Uchtdorf from Priesthood Session
  • Henry B Eyring from Priesthood Session
  • Dieter F Uchtdorf from Sunday Morning General Session
  • Thomas S Monson from Sunday Morning General Session

I hope that all who participated in the conference will ponder the feelings they’ve had, and go forth and be better Church members, friends, and family members.


Read the recaps and other notes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

184th Annual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

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I can’t believe that conference is almost over. We’re just about to start the last session. In between these two Sunday sessions we watched Angels in the Outfield. It probably isn’t the typical movie that we would watch on a Sunday, but my wife and I both have fond memories of it from when we were dating, and hey, it has an “angel” in it, so it can’t be that bad. All of my kids said it was awesome :-)

As the session is about to start, I see that President Packer is there for the first time. I presume we will hear him speak. We also need to \hear from Elder Christofferson and Elder Perry.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Sweet Is the Work

The invocation was offered by Bishop Dean M Davies

The choir sang I Stand All Amazed

President Boyd K Packer **NOTE: President Packer had a very hard time speaking. A couple of times he paused and seemed to be trying to keep in a cough (or maybe something worse)

  • God lives
  • He knows the Holy Ghost is real
  • Arms empty will be filled and hearts now hurting will be healed

Elder William R Walker

  • Do you know your Church history, how your family came into the Church?
  • The two-pound note has “Standing on the shoulders of giants” on it
  • Do not forget the experiences you have

Elder L Tom Perry

  • Shared a story of how he used to speak with his grandfather after taking care of the lawns
  • He compared the way horses are trained to the way we learn obedience
  • We need to have absolute faith in the driver of the team, Jesus Christ
  • Obedience is not just passive
  • Obedience is an emblem of our faith

The choir and congregation sang Hark, All Ye Nations!

Elder Lawrence E Corbridge

  • Recounted the First Vision
  • Opposition, criticism & antagonism are companions to the truth

Elder Michael John U Teh

  • Spoke about the Philippines Typhoon
  • The material we work to acquire can quickly not matter
  • Do not spend money for that which is of no worth, no your labor for that which cannot satisfy – 2 Ne. 9:51
  • Lay up treasures in heaven

Elder Marcos A Aidukaitis

  • We can find truth in a world of garbage
  • We invite all to study the works and fruits of this Church
  • We can all receive revelation if we ask in faith

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • Recounted the resurrection of Jesus
  • The Savior makes all things right
  • He restores life
  • He will come again and reign personally on the earth
  • In due course, all will know, indeed every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ

President Thomas S Monson

  • May we resolve to do better
  • May we be kind and loving who do not share our beliefs
  • May we ever follow His example
  • May heaven’s blessing be with each of us

The choir sang Come, Let Us Anew

The benediction was offered by Elder Benjamín De Hoyos


Read the recaps and other notes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

184th Annual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

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I think that conference Sunday are my two favourite Sundays in the year. I haven’t lived in an area where I go to Church in the afternoon, so for us to have the morning available is a real treat. We got up this morning, had toaster waffles, watched The Pirate Fairy (the latest Tinkerbell movie… it was excellent!) and then went for a walk. We’re all getting settled now to watch the session.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Come, We That Love the Lord

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

The invocation was offered by Elder L Whitney Clayton

The choir sang Let Us All Press On

President Dieter F Uchtdorf  ** one of my favourites

  • We all will at some point feel alone and adrift. No one is immune
  • There is something that will take away the bitterness… gratitude
  • We need to lift the goblet of gratitude and drink of the peace that comes
  • Most scriptural references do not refer to gratitude FOR things, but an overall attitude of gratitude
  • We can choose to be grateful not matter what
  • Be grateful IN our circumstances
  • There are no endings, only everlasting beginnings

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • Told of how he met and courted his wife and how that taught him to follow-up
  • He is following up on a couple of his past talks
  • We need to call the Church by its proper name
  • We can all be more consistently involved in missionary work
  • Invite someone once a quarter to be taught by the full time missionaries
  • Everyone should have a copy of and study from Preach My Gospel

Sister Jean A Stevens

  • We are not alone
  • We receive promptings to help other people
  • Our prayers are answered in the way that will help us the most

The choir and congregation sang Teach Me to Walk in the Light

Bishop Gary E Stevenson

  • Told the story of Noelle Pikus Pace
  • She had urgency and knew the 4 minutes of her runs would affect her life. Every second counted.
  • In our lives, certain things are essential, checkpoints that help us along the way
  • Self discipline is needed
  • Mentioned a couple of other LDS olympians

Elder David A Bednar

  • Told a story about his friend wanting a truck, and getting stuck when in snow
  • The heavy load helped him get traction
  • Each of us carry a load. Is it producing the spiritual traction that will allow us to press forward?
  • It is a mistake to think that happiness is the absence of a load

The choir sang A Child’s Prayer ** Awesome! The best song so far in the conference.

President Thomas S Monson ** one of my favourites

  • We cannot love God if we do not love our fellowman (and vice versa)
  • Christ’s life was a legacy of love
  • The opportunities to show our love come unexpectedly
  • Love should be the very heart of family life
  • President Hinckley asked, “Why is the ones we love the most become the targets of our harsh words?”
  • Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love
  • Blame keeps woulds open; forgiveness heals

The choir sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

The benediction was offered by Sister Neill F Marriott


Read the recaps and other notes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

184th Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

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I’m sitting in our den with my father getting ready to watch the conference. We’ve got pizza, wings, chips, and pitas ready to go. I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to type with chicken wing sauce all over my fingers! :-)


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A Priesthood choir made up of students from Brigham Young University – Idaho sang Saints, Behold How Great Jehovah

The invocation was offered by LeGrand R Curtis Jr

The choir sang Secret Prayer (it was super long!!)

Elder Dallin H Oaks ** one of my favourites

  • There is no step up or step down in the Church. Just forward and back
  • Priesthood power is for all
  • Priesthood keys direct the work
  • Priesthood ordinances and authority pertain to all
  • Keys direct, control and govern the use of the priesthood on the earth
  • Note: He gave a very good description of the differences between power and keys and how it affects men and women
  • Forget about your rights and focus on your responsibilities!

Elder Donald L Hallstrom

  • Who we are is not who we may become
  • His atonement gives everyone of us a chance to change
  • We need to see our potential
  • How can we become what the Lord wants us to become?
    1. We need to be priesthood men
    2. We need to serve
    3. We need to be worthy

Brother Randall L Ridd ** one of my favourites

  • More choice means more opportunity, which means more choices for good, but also for evil
  • We need to discern between the mind-boggling choices available
  • Spoke a lot about the choice on the Internet. Think about where each click where lead you
  • Will technology empower you or enslave you
  • 4 principles to educate your desire and guide your use of technology
    1. Knowing who you are makes decisions easier
    2. Plug into the source of power
    3. Owning a smart phone does not make you smart, but using it wisely can
    4. The Lord provides technology to accomplish His purposes

The choir and congregation sang Rejoice, the Lord is King!

President Dieter F Uchtdorf ** one of my favourites

  • Talked about Rip Van Winkle
  • Don’t sleep through the restoration
  • Things that will stop us from building God’s kingdom
    1. Selfishness – those who are selfish seek their own pleasure above anything else. What is in it for me?
    2. Addiction – they often begin subtly. Thin threads that weave themselves into thick bonds of habits. Negative habits become consuming addictions
    3. Competing priorities – some of us are so busy that we feel pulled a dozen different ways

President Henry B Eyring ** one of my favourites

  • We all have heroes, especially when we are young
  • When we choose heroes, we begin to copy what we admire most about them
  • His father only took him to a MLB game once, but he was taken to Church each week
  • Each of us are models, whether we want to be or not
  • You can be great, average, or bad. It might not matter to you, but it does to the Lord
  • Pray, serve, and be honest

President Thomas S Monson

  • We live in a world where moral values have been tossed aside and sin is on display
  • Decisions are constantly before us which can affect our destiny
  • We need courage, to say no when we should and to say yes when it is appropriate, and the courage to do the right thing because it is right
  • If you ever find yourself where you shouldn’t ought to be, get out!
  • Are you the same person wherever you are?

The choir sang Abide with Me!

The benediction was offered by Brother Russell T Osguthorpe


Read the recaps and other notes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: