185th Annual General Conference – Post-conference notes


Well, another conference has come and gone. I think my favourite talks of the conference were Elder Andersen’s talk on faith and President Uchtdorf’s talk about making our church experience more meaningful.

Probably the most touching thing about conference was seeing President Monson struggle through his talk Sunday morning. He seemed to shrink physically before our eyes, but his Spirit was strong and he was determined to finish.

As always, I loved the music. All of the choirs sounded great. I had tears come to my eyes during one of the congregational hymns. The camera showed a group of people doing sign language. I’ve never seen that before. There wasn’t just one person signing so people knew what was being sung. The whole section was signing together. In effect, they were all singing! I loved that.

Well, I hope you all got something out of conference. I sure did, and I look forward to pondering on these things in the coming months

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Annual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session


Here we go on the last session. It has been good so far, and there have definitely been several talks that really touched me. Obviously we’ll get to hear from Elder Bednar.

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Praise the Lord with Heart and Voice

Elder Jörg Klebingat offered the invocation

The choir sang Our God is a God of Love

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • Why does God use a Church to carry out his work?
  • A community of saints can sustain one another on the strait and narrow path
  • We strive to help one another come to the knowledge of the son of God
  • We are prone to excuse and rationalize our faults
  • The Church has leaders who can reprove betimes with sharpness, after showing for an increase in love
  • We are not converted to the Church, but to Christ and His gospel
  • The Church was the family in the beginning. Today, they support one another
  • Together in the Church our ability to care for the poor and needy is broadened

Brother Devin G Durrant

  • By profession, he is an investor. He is also a disciple of Christ
  • He works by sound financial principles and lives by sound spiritual principles
  • Save money each week
  • Ponderize one verse each verse
  • Ponderize means 80% extended pondering, 20% memorization

Elder Von G Keetch

  • Told a story about some surfers wanting to surf some big waves
  • A barrier was stopping them, but an old local surfer helped them see the sharks in the distance
  • The commandments are sometimes viewed as barriers
  • Those barriers protect us from spiritual predators

Sister Carole M Stephens

  • Told story about taking her grand-daughter out and she didn’t want to wear her seatbelt
  • We can choose to see commandments as limitations
  • As we seek for greater understanding, we will see that His laws are a manifestation of His love for us

The choir and congregation sang Rejoice, the Lord Is King

Elder Allen D Haynie

  • It doesn’t matter how far into the pit we have sunk
  • What does matter is that Jesus Christ suffered so he knows how to succor us
  • He was willing to condescend
  • Repentance is real and it works
  • The Saviour’s atonement leaves not tracks or traces. What it heals, it heals. It’s fixed

Elder Kim B Clark

  • We need greater spiritual power and eyes to see more clearly
  • We do not have to be perfect, but we need to be good and getting better
  • Life may get hard, confusing and discouraging
  • Through the companionship HG, the light of Christ’s gospel will cut through the confusion, the pain and the darkness.
  • We need eyes to see and ears to hear

Elder Koichi Aoyagi

  • Experienced earthquake in Tokyo
  • Why do we face such trials?
  • Was in a car accident that caused him pain for 10 years. Why did he have to suffer?
  • We are here on earth to go through trials
  • We leave the rest up to the Lord
  • When we face trials, we need to turn to God
  • He could have died in his accident. He survived, and his suffering has been for his learning and growth.

The choir sang Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

Elder David A. Bednar

  • Why is it wonderful we have older men leading the Church?
  • When you can’t do what you used to be able to do, you do what matters most
  • He shared lots of teachings of the various apostles who he has served and who have passed away to demonstrate how wise they are

The choir sang Love One Another

Elder Scott D Whiting offered the benediction

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Annual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session


The baptism was beautiful this morning. My daughter was thrilled to be baptized and confirmed, and the turnout from the ward was great. The entire service was probably only about 40 minutes long, and then we had some light refreshments until about 11:30. We’re all back at home now to watch the first Sunday session.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Arise, O God, and Shine

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Redeemer of Israel

Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong offered the invocation

The choir sang If the Savior Stood Beside Me

President Thomas S Monson

  • We have lost 3 apostles since last conference
  • The new apostles are well qualified
  • Let your light shine
  • Be thou an example of the believers
  • Word and Conversation – the words we use can inspire or harm
  • Charity – the pure love of Christ
  • Spirit, Faith, Purity
  • An abiding faith is an anchor to our lives

Elder Ronald A Rasband

  • Read from I Stand All Amazed
  • President Monson told him that this call comes from Jesus Christ
  • He committed to serve with all his heart, might, mind, and strength

Elder Gary E Stevenson

  • Was called on Tuesday morning
  • One of his sons is on a mission in Taiwan right now

Elder Dale G Renlund

  • The fullness of the gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and simple
  • You are called because what the Lord will do through you
  • Told a nice story about a heart transplant patient he had
  • We must see people through a parent’s eyes

The choir and congregation sang verses 1, 2, 3, and 7 of How Firm a Foundation

President Russell M Nelson

  • Spoke lovingly about his three apostle friends who he misses dearly
  • Their wives were great examples
  • Covenant keeping women can make such a difference
  • Good women in the world will be drawn to the Church
  • We need the strength, conversion, conviction, ability to lead, wisdom and voices of covenant keeping women
  • We need women to speak up and speak out

Elders Gregory A Schwitzer

  • Told story about his grandson practising the piano
  • One man or woman who testifies can make a difference
  • Something changes in us… we take his countenance upon us
  • True disciples of Christ are not looking to make excuses for the doctrine
  • We should be more concerned about inspiring others rather than impressing them

Elder Claudio R M Costa

  • Partake of the sacrament in honour of the Savior
  • The sacrament is a time for su to receive revelation about the atonement

The choir sang There Is Sunshine in My Soul

President Henry B Eyring

  • At baptism we received the Gift of the Holy Ghost
  • We need the companionship of the Holy Ghost throughout our lives
  • Our hearts need to be full of charity in order to feel the Spirit
  • The most valuable information to receive is to know what God would have you do

The choir sang The Spirit of God

Sister Cheryl A Esplin offered the benediction

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session


Tonight we went to the annual “sub-sational”. My brother and his family is visiting for my daughter’s baptism, so he came with my father, my son and me. We had a nice time, but left room for our tradional post-priesthood session trip out. I’m pretty sure we’re going to Boston Pizza again.

There were about 40 priesthood holders in attendance tonight at the church as the meeting started.

President Henry B Eyring conducted

A choir made up of fathers and sons from the Orem, Utah area sang Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Elder Larry S Kacher offered the invocation

The choir sang Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • How does the Savior see your faith?
  • Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven
  • Faith is either getting stronger or getting weaker
  • The priesthood makes us different
  • Faith never demands an answer to every question
  • Answers from the faithless and the unfaithful weaken our faith
  • The Book of Mormon, First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve can guide and protect our faith
  • President Monson said our future is as bright as our faith

Elder Randall K Bennett

  • We are not alone
  • We have heaven’s help
  • 3 principles that will help us on our journey back to Heavenly Father
    1. With child-like humility we take steps toward or Savior and Father in Heaven
    2. the Lord meets and exceeds our expectations for promised blessings
    3. we must counter the natural man’s tendency to procrastinate or put off

The choir and congregation sang Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

President Dieter F Uctdorf

  • Told story of Daniel
  • Daniel probably had to work for his testimony like we do
  • Do we stand loyal to God? Do we practice what we preach? Do our actions reflect what we claim to believe? Do we help the poor and needy? Do we just talk the talk, or do we walk the walk?

President Henry B Eyring

  • When you do your part, the Lord adds his power to your efforts
  • Told a story of his great grand father
  • Reach out in faith to rescue those that you are responsible for

The choir sang Lord, I Would Follow Thee

President Thomas S Monson

  • Keep the commandments
  • Be strong and alert of anything that would rob you of the blessings of eternity
  • Disregard of the commandments has brought about the plagues of our day… permissiveness, pornography, abortion
  • Isaiah 32:13
  • Remain worthy to possess the priesthood

The choir sang We’ll Bring the World His Truth

Brother Stephen W Owen offered the benediction

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session


I spent most of the time between sessions watching whatever came on the Mormon Channel. I love watching the World Report and found it interesting (as always). I also cleaned up more around the house in preparation for the family visiting tomorrow after my daughter’s baptism.

We’re back in the family room again ready for this session to start…

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir made up of Primary children from stakes in the Riverton, Utah area sang Beautiful Savior

Elder Terence M Vinson offered the invocation

President Henry B Eyring conducted the sustaining of Church officers. The new apostles are:

The choir sang a medley of Search, Ponder, and Pray and I Think When I Read That Sweet Story

Elder Robert D Hales

  • Much has been written about the younger generation today that isn’t interested in religion and doesn’t consider marriage important
  • Try not to go into debt
  • No one marries for perfection, we marry for potential
  • Don’t date just to have a good time
  • Dating and marriage aren’t final decisions… they are the gateway to where you want to go
  • When seeking friends, reach up not across

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • No one in mortality comes closer to that of Jesus Christ than the selfless love of a mother
  • Mothering is a staggering feat
  • Most mothers know intuitively that theirs is a sacred trust
  • Elder Holland shared stories about the love of mothers

The choir and congregation sang Come, Follow Me

Elder Bradley D Foster

  • Spoke to and about children in the Church
  • They were God’s children before they became our children
  • We should always be in their corner

Elder Hugo Montoya

  • Help others when required
  • Smile
  • Express compassion
  • Invite others to come to Church

Elder Vern P Stanfill

  • He shared a story about a bike ride through a pitch black tunnel
  • The lights they had were inadequate
  • Everyone relied on the light of a friend, and the light that was off in the distance
  • No matter how intense the darkness of doubt, we choose how long it will influence us
  • Trust in the Lord to develop spiritual strength in ourselves

Elder James B Martino

  • Be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Our response to life will influence our testimony
  • Be strong to the knowledge of truth
  • Our testimony of truth gets us closer to the Savior

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • We have the certainties of death and sin
  • Christ suffered of “every kind” for us
  • He willingly experienced this and because of this the atonement empowers him to bear it all
  • We face lots of “infirmities” and troubles in our lives that are NOT caused by sin
  • His healing is available to all of us

The choir sang I Feel My Savior’s Love

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita offered the benediction

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session


We had a nice morning. We slept in a bit and after breakfast spent a couple of hours cleaning the house, and then the kids

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Press Forward, Saints

President Henry B Eyring conducted. He opened by noting the passing of Boyd K Packer, L Tom Perry and Richard G Scott.

The choir sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

Sister Mary R Durham offered the invocation

The choir sang I Know that My Savior Loves Me

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Tell a man there are trillion of stars in the universe and he’ll believe you. Tell him there is wet paint on the wall, and he’ll touch it just to be sure
  • Sometimes the truth is too straightforward and plain to appreciate
  • We put away what we know in search of mysterious information
  • When we chase after shadows, we are going after things of little substance
  • Are my efforts leading to my highest spiritual goals
  • Is my experience in the Church working for me? Is it bringing me closer to Christ? Is it blessing me and my family with peace and joy?
  • Some feel the Church experience is not what they had hoped for
  • Why does it work for some, and not for others?
    1. Are we making our discipleship too complicated?
      1. We need to simplify
    2. Start where you are
      1. God will take you as you are at this very moment as you start
      2. You just need a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord
  • Discipleship is our journey

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • Too many people think Church leaders need to be perfect
  • Our leaders have the best intentions, but sometimes we make mistakes
  • Looking for weakness in others is rather easy
  • We make a mistake if we see human nature and fail to see God working through those people
  • We need to keep the Sabbath holy
  • Sacrament Meeting is the Lord’s and should be rooted and grounded in his teachings
  • Stay on the old ship Zion
  • It is a vehicle to take us to a destination.. the full blessings of the gospel

Elder Richard J Maynes

  • We need to live a Christ-centred life
  • Shared story about making pottery, and the problem when the clay is not in the centre of the wheel
  • Elder Maynes shared several stories to illustrate this point
  • We need to be centred with exactness

The choir and congregation snag We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

Sister Neill F Marriott

  • We need to reform our lives
  • How can we continue to believe when things don’t always work out?
  • We need to yield to the Lord’s will

Elder Larry R Lawrence

  • He investigated the Church and was baptized as a convert
  • The journey of discipleship is not easy
  • We must be willing to act when we receive answers
  • The Holy Ghost really does give customized counsel
  • The Holy Ghost doesn’t tell us to improve everything at once
  • We need to ask what is stopping us from progressing

Elder Francisco J. Viñas

  • Some suffering and affliction will enter our lives
  • This can be caused by a lack of repentance
  • With the influence of the Holy Ghost we will not be offended or offend others

The choir sang Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer (a gorgeous arrangement!)

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • Ship-shape and Bristol fashion
  • The storms and temptations in life are unpredictable, but we know they will come
  • The following will help us survive the storms
    1. Righteous self-control and control and conduct
    2. Honor the sabbath
    3. Divine protection is provided when we are righteous

The choir sang Come, Come, Ye Saints (another gorgeous performance!)

Elder Adrian Ochoa offered the benediction

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Semiannual General Conference – Pre-conference notes


Well, here we go again! I didn’t do write-ups in April as I was travelling, but I’m back in the swing of things for this conference. There are some exciting things happening… we will get some new apostles, and my daughter is being baptized tomorrow morning!

I’m looking forward to some good messages, and hope that we all are uplifted by what we see and hear!

Read the recaps and other notes from the 185th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Last night’s Family Home Evening

Yesterday was election day here in Ontario, and my wife was working as a poll clerk for the day. I was off work, so I was in charge for the evening. I’m not nearly as organized as my wife is, but I still managed to fit in Family Home Evening. I shared a very brief message based on Alma 37: 36:

Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

The kids and I discussed for a while what it meant to have our thoughts directed towards the Lord.

Our activity was that line-by-line story thing again that I mentioned last week. Here is this week’s story…

One day [a girl]
picked her nose and it started to bleed
She gathered it all and prepared herself a milkshake
The blender then exploded in her face
She cut her whole face open and went to the hospital
She was very sad because her brother cut it open
But then her brother gave her
a wet willy and grossed her out
The she repeated the action and put her finger in [another girl’s] mouth
He then kissed her for hours
Which was horrible to watch
But then super girl came to save the day. The end

Remember, the ages are 7, 10, 12, 16, and adults, so you can probably guess who wrote which lines :-)

Family Home Evening activity – Line by line story

For family home evening this week, my 10-year-old son read the story from the September 2014 Friend called Tornado!Tornado! and shared a short message about prayer.

For our activity, we did one of those line-by-line stories. I’m not sure what the official name is, but it is when you write a story a line at a time. One person writes a line, and the next person only sees that line. They write a line that matches that first line, and then the story goes to the next person. That next person only sees the most recent line (not the first one) and adds a line. So every pair of lines should kind of make sense, but by the time you get to the end, it doesn’t really flow at all. We had a good time doing it.

Here is our story:

Today is a great day because…
it was a rainy day splash
and all my clothes got wet
so I ate them
and they tasted like ketchup.
Everyone thought that ketchup tasted disgusting
What was even more disgusting was seeing a person pick up dog poo and throw it at their brother
The brother denied that it was dog poo.
He thought it was disgusting. Ew! Ew! Ew!
Because [10-year-old boy]’s feet smelled so bad!!!
So [16-year-old girl] upchucked
and started crying
Then he was grounded
Unfortunately, the grounding lasted so long, he died in his room. The end

If you haven’t tried this with your family, you should. It is a lot of fun.

“Why Religion Matters”

The Mormon Newsroom recently ran a 5-part series of articles about Why Religion Matters. Of course, the PR arm of a large Church is going to believe that religion matters. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just dismiss the series. It really is a good read.

One of my favourite quotes from the series is from Making Selves Out of Others:

And yet a principle found in many religions is that there is little separation between you and the people around you. Jesus Christ put the charge quite simply: “love thy neighbor as thyself.” In other words, your well-being is much more than aloof personal freedom; it is tied to your neighbor’s well-being also. And so, religious institutions can be helpful junctures where two cooperating impulses meet — the desire for individual purpose and the desire for communal belonging. Like all human goods, these impulses fit within a balance.