Monthly Archives: October 2009

Thomas S Monson pumpkin carving

Last year I came across a web site that showed a picture of Gordon B Hinckley carved into a pumpkin. This year, I’ve come across someone else who has done one of Thomas S Monson. Below is just a thumbnail. Click on through to Jay Ball’s web site to see a larger version.

ThomasMonson-pumpkinSM1

“A prophet’s visit”

The Church News has a nice article (with pictures) about a recent trip by President Monson to Nauvoo and Kirtland. I have never been to Nauvoo, but have been to Kirtland many times. It’s about a 3-4 hour drive from here. I love being there. I don’t generally talk like this, but there really is a special feeling being in the same place that the early Church leaders were in. In my mind’s eye I can see them working on the temple, living in the houses, and playing in the fields. It just makes everything seem more real.

The article is quite detailed, but starts off this way:

President Thomas S. Monson made brief visits to Nauvoo, Ill., and Kirtland, Ohio, on Oct. 9 and 10. It was the first time since he became president of the Church on Feb. 3, 2008, that he has visited the sites steeped in Church history.

179th Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

179th_semiannual_general_conference

Well, another General Conference has come and gone. There were no “Wow!” talks for me this year. This isn’t to say that they were boring or that they wouldn’t have affected anyone. There are definitely things that I will work harder on now. I’ve made my notes (obviously), and we’ll have lots to choose from for the 4th Sunday lessons.

I loved Elder Ballard’s talk during the Priesthood Session (suggestions for sons and fathers to get along better). As always, I also enjoyed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing was beautiful, as was O, Divine Redeemer.

One last time I’ll comment on how great the Move Networks player is. Perfect! It just amazes me that I can sit in my living room and watch General Conference in something close to HD on my living room TV. This might be normal for many parts of the United States, but not here.

It was neat hearing Sister Dibb mention our city by name. I drive by or over the Garden City Skyway almost every day. It is kind of neat to think that I’m the bishop of the ward whose city was mentioned by name in General Conference.

Watching/participating in General Conference reaffirms my testimony. I love the Church, and love its teachings and principles. It is true!

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

We watched the last session of conference at home again. As before, the transmission was perfect. My parents came over to watch with us, and we then had dinner together.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang “In Hymns of Praise”

Elder Marlin K Jenseon offered the invocation

The choir sang “O, Divine Redeemer”. Beautiful!

Elder Jeffrey R Holland ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Even those in the covenant could be deceived by the enemy of truth
  • The rod marks the way of that redeeming trail
  • “As one of a thousands elements of my testimony…”
  • In Joseph’s and Hyrum’s last hours, they marked a scripture in the Book of Mormon as their testimony
  • “I lie not!”
  • Shared his testimony by oath and his office of the Book of Mormon
  • These are the words of Christ and they teach all men to do good
  • God always provides safety for the soul

Elder Quentin L Cook ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • We live in perilous times where people feel they are not accountable to God
  • We do welfare work because we are doing what we believe God wants us to do
  • We try to do what is right because we love and want to please our Father in Heaven, not because someone is forcing us to obey
  • It is our responsibility to teach the Saviour’s standard of morality
  • “What happens in Sevier County, you can share with your friends”
  • See that all these things are done in wisdom and order
  • In all of our stewardship efforts we follow Jesus Christ
  • Review our stewardships and know we are accountable to God

Elder Brent H. Nielson ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Go ye into all the earth and teach all nations
  • Lengthen our stride and widen our vision
  • Every young man should serve an honourable full-time mission
  • Who are the labourers? They are prophets and apostles, stake presidents, bishops, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters
  • We have just begun to scratch the surface
  • The need has never been greater, the field has never been whiter

The choir and congregation sang “Hope of Israel”

Elder Dale G Renlund ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • If you feel good, all is NOT well
  • The ultimate operation is a spiritual change of heart
  • Our transgressions lead to our hearts that are hardened and diseased
  • Do not become casual with prayer and scripture study
  • Do not compromise our covenants or commitments

Elder Michael T Ringwood

  • Pray till you have faith
  • We need to allow the words to sink deep into our hearts
  • At some times, it is easier to believe the word of God
  • The teachings of this conference, if followed, will lead to an easiness in believing the good word of God

Elder Joseph W Sitati

  • The Church has become a global faith
  • Now, more than at any other time, we can more fully understand the gospel

Elder D Todd Christoffersen

  • We need moral discipline
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ provides moral certainty
  • Self-discipline has eroded
  • The lack of internal control in people, breeds external controls by governments
  • Moral discipline is learned at home

President Thomas S Monson

  • Study the addresses in the Ensign
  • We often find ourselves swimming against the current
  • We can survive this
  • We will be blessed as we do what is right
  • “I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you”
  • Leave this conference a better person

The choir sang “Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing”

The benediction was offered by W Douglas Shumway (released yesterday)

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Morning Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

It was so nice to sleep in this morning and then actually be able to help my wife with the kids. As we were driving to church today she said it was weird to be going together as a family. We also brought a YSA who lives with us (I saw her taking notes during the session) and an investigator.

We got to church for the last part of the Tabernacle Choir broadcast, just in time for Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. A truly beautiful hymn!

The choir sang sing “Praise to Him Who Reigns Above”

President Thomas S Monson conducted

The choir sang “I Need Thee Every Hour”

The invocation was offered by Elder Glen L Pace

The choir sang “Beautiful Zion, Built Above”

President Henry B Eyring ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • We have a desire to be better than we are
  • By living the gospel we can become like the Saviour
  • “I’m trying to be like Jesus”
  • The greatest joys and sorrows come in the family
  • Pray for the love that let’s you see the good in your companion
  • Persist in love
  • Pray for your children. Love them and reach out to them
  • Honour thy father and thy mother
  • The only one of the 10 commandments with a promise
  • Look for opportunities to do what He did

Elder L Tom Perry

  • The pioneers left us a great heritage
  • Reviewing the lessons of the past help us face the challenges of the future
  • The missionaries teach about the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Bishop H David Burton

  • Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the Lord
  • Virtue traits form the foundation of a Christ-like life
  • “Ity” virtues (charity, chastity, morality, etc)
  • We need not be part of the virtue malaise
  • Integrity is more important than revenge

The choir and congregation sang “How Firm a Foundation”

Sister Ann M Dibb

  • Shared a story about St Catharines, Ontario, Canada and the Garden City Skyway… I live in St Catharines! I’m the bishop of the St Catharines ward. There was quite a buzz in the chapel when she mentioned our city.
  • Workers fell because they didn’t have safety equipment
  • The iron rod brings us safety
  • If we are on strange roads, it is always possible for us to find our way back

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • Even more amazing than modern technology is the ability to get information directly from heaven without any special hardware or monthly service plan
  • Personal revelation can be honed
  • Develop faith, hope, charity, and love

The choir sang “Love is Spoken Here”

President Thomas S Monson

  • What did you do for someone today?
  • When you are in the service of your fellow being, you are serving God
  • Members responded to his request to serve others as a gift for his birthday last year

The choir sang “Have I Done Any Good?”

The benediction was offered by Enrique R Falabella

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Priesthood Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

Before the Priesthood Session, we had our annual sub-sational. This is where YM and their fathers gathered for a dinner of submarine sandwiches. It’s always a good time.

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang “High on the Mountain Top”

The invocation was offered by Dennis B Neuenschwander (released from the Seventy today). Note: He said “Uh” in his prayer at one point.

The choir sang another song but I missed it as I went into the kitchen to see if the clean up was almost done.

Elder M Russell Ballard ** a great talk, but not one that would translate well for the RS to use in a 4th Sunday lesson)

  • Seeing the priesthood together is a visual reminder of two important parts of our theology: priesthood and family
  • Sons
    1. Trust your father
    2. Take an interest in your father’s life
    3. Ask your father for advice
  • Fathers
    1. Listen to your sons
      • There should be at least monthly focused conversation
      • Conversations where you do 90% of the talking is not a conversation
    2. Pray with and for your sons
    3. Dare to have the big talks with your sons
      • Talk about sexual matters
  • Return Missionaries
    • Be where you can meet the right kind of friends
    • Rediscover courting
    • Do not drift to the ways of the world

Elder Walter F Gonzalez

  • Be a more powerful priesthood holder by using the Book of Mormon
  • 3 ways to use Book of Mormon
    1. Feast upon the words of Christ
    2. Apply in our lives what we learn of Christ
    3. Teach the doctrines and principles found in the Book of Mormon

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi

  • Told story as young men when he was a bishop
  • There leaders and wives became like mothers and fathers
  • Be obedient, even if you don’t know why yet
  • Attending their church meetings was very important
  • Teach our boys to change their lives
  • Be goodly parents to the rowdy boys

The choir and congregation sang “Praise to the Man”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf ** Might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Winter will surely give way to spring
  • We must remain steadfast in hope
  • 2 principles to get through tough times
  • Work
    • The Lord loves the labourer
    • Thrust in your sickle and your sins are forgiven you
    • Work to your capability
    • Cultivate a reputation of excellence
    • There is no retirement in the kingdom
    • Working diligently in the kingdom bolsters your “resume”
  • Learn
    • Education is not just a good idea, it’s a commandment
    • Intelligence rises with us in the resurrection

President Henry B Eyring ** a great talk, but not one that would translate well for the RS to use in a 4th Sunday lesson)

  • The call to give a blessing can come unexpectedly
  • The preparation is far more than having oil at hand
  • The preparation begins in families and quorums, but mostly in personal lives
  • You must have faith that you have won his confidence
  • Faith does not come in the moment. It is earned.
  • Have pure motives

President Thomas S Monson ** Might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Much in the news is a result of anger
  • Cease from anger and forsake wrath
  • Anger doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t build anything, but it can destroy everything
  • No one can make us angry; it is our choice

The choir sang “Rise Up, O Men of God”

Elder Lance B Wickman offered the benediction. Strangely enough, he also said, “Uh” during his prayer.

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

I’m at home now. I can’t say enough about how great the Move Networks player is. I watched it through my laptop on my 26″ HD TV, and it was perfect. Very impressive. The only thing is that the stream seems to be a few minutes behind the live broadcast (even when you are showing it “live”).

I liked watching all of the various leaders sit down before the session started. There is a lot of smiles, a lot of hand-shaking, and a lot of talking. I know people who are so uptight about reverence, and that when you walk into the chapel it should be silent. I know the Conference Center isn’t a chapel, but for the purposes of General Conference, it is, and it is great to see people being so friendly with each other. It’s also nice to see everyone (including the leaders) stand as the First Presidency walks in. I also liked seeing President Eyring whisk something off of President Monson’s shoulder. Maybe something from lunch? 🙂

President Henry B Eyring conducted the session.

The choir sang “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise”.

Elder Carlos H Amados offered the invocation.

The choir sang “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free”

President Eyring conducted the business. Several members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy were released, but no one was called to replace them.

Elder Dallin H Oaks ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • 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
  • 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 (shunning the person, or totally ignoring the disobedience)
  • Real love does not support self-destructive behaviour

Elder Robert D Hales ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • We live in a time where secularism is deepening
  • 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, life would end at the grave, and life would have no purpose
  • Cultivate a diligent desire to know God lives

Elder Jorge F Zeballos

  • From a purely human point of view at first, the commandment to be perfect seems to be an impossible task
  • The command to become perfect encourages us to achieve the best of ourselves
  • God will not require more than the best 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

President Eyring forgot 3 other names that are being released from the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy

The choir sang “Come, Ye Children of the Lord”

Elder Tad R Callister ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Joseph was the Lord’s anointed
  • He learned 4 fundamental truths
    1. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct beings
    2. The Father and Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones
    3. 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?
    4. The full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not on the earth
  • Hard to believe Joseph Smith saw angels? Were there not angels before? Mary, Joseph, Peter, James, John, Cornelius, Paul, Stephen all saw angels
  • There will always be an intellectual crisis, but there will always be faith that can strengthen us
  • Attempts to intellectualise salvation will never find the answers they seek. At some point, one must trust in God.

Elder Kent R Watson

  • Temperance
  • Exercise self-control
  • Peace of mind and security and happiness do not come from buying things we can’t afford
  • Security from our families comes from learning self-control
  • Peace of mind comes from faith in Jesus Christ
  • Happiness comes from being diligent in keeping covenants

Elder Neil L Andersen ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • I have felt His love in sacred and unforgettable ways
  • Spiritual arms of mercy, safety, love
  • We rejoice in repenting and the joy of forgiveness
  • There is no sin that cannot be forgiven (other then turning away)
  • “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” – I don’t fully understand, but there is One who does. He does. He has felt your pain. He has said “I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands”
  • I promise you, relief will come
  • Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance

President Boyd K Packer (spoke from a chair)

  • We must use our agency wisely
  • Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind
  • The Spirit can protect you
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost operates with men, women and children
  • Keep your mind clean and free from the clutter of the world
  • 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.
  • He has learned to conclude all prayers with “Thy will be done”

The choir sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”

The benediction was offered by Robert S Wood (who was released today)

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Morning Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

As mentioned in my pre-conference post, I watched this session at work. I pulled up the web site about 20 minutes early, and the transmission was flawless all the way through.

President Henry B. Eyring conducted.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “Glory to God on High” to start the conference. Following President Eyring’s introduction, the choir sang “Rejoice, the Lord Is King!” and then Elder John M. Madsen offered the invocation.

President Monson opened the conference

  • Oquirrh Utah temple was dedicated in August
  • 14,000 youth participated in 2-night cultural celebration
  • 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
  • President Joseph F Smith said that through our efforts in their behalf, their chains of bondage will fall
  • All members should befriend new converts
  • Continue to pray that ares of the world will be opened

The choir sang “Choose the Right”

Elder Richard G. Scott ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Communication with the Spirit
  • Inspiration to know what to do
  • 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

Sister Vicki F Matsumori

  • The influence of the Holy Ghost
  • 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 ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Life presses all kinds of burdens on us
  • Generally burdens come from 3 sources
    1. Natural product of the conditions of the world
    2. Imposed on us by the misconduct of others
    3. Imposed on us by our own mistakes and shortcomings
  • Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues
  • Adam was told the ground would be cursed. Work is a burden but a blessing.
  • Alma observed the Zoramites had been humbled. Economic challenges help us prepare to hear the word of the Lord
  • Because of the length of their war, the Nephews and Lamanites were softened. Political and social unrest may humble and motivate us to seek heavenly shelter
  • Joseph smith was told that his sufferings would give him experience. The suffering we experience is a valuable, if painful, school for improving our behaviour
  • We need to bear one another’s burdens

The choir and congregation sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”

Brother Russell T Osguthorpe

  • A good teacher can help save lives
  • Teaching involves sharing the key doctrine, an invitation to action, and then the promised blessings
  • Teachers can inspire their students to change, to do better, to set sights higher

Elder David A Bednar ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • “More diligent and concerned at home”
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
      Each family prayer, scripture study, each Family Home Evening is a brush stroke of the canvas of our souls

The choir sang “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”

The choir sang “Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • 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
  • God doesn’t need us to love Him, but we need to love God
  • God loves us completely and perfectly
  • Don’t get discouraged. 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
  • Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible, and that which seems possible, becomes a habit.
  • How can we hear the Father’s voice?
  • Why is love the great commandment?
  • If learn to love, all else will fall into place
  • Love is the way of the disciple
  • Let us be known as a people who love God

The choir sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints”

The benediction was offered by Elder Clate W. Mask

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Semiannual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

179th_semiannual_general_conference

The last 6 months have flown by, and General Conference is here again. I have to admit, I do enjoy that extra time in the morning! Usually I’m up at 5:30 so I can get ready and head to Church for the various administration meetings. Tomorrow I don’t have to leave the house until around 11:30 am. Nice!

Since last conference, we got a flat-screen TV (only 26″), which has a VGA connection to a computer. We’ve tested it out, and the Move Networks player looks beautiful run at full-screen. I’m at work today, and will watch the first session online there. My wife will watch at home. We’ll watch the second session together at home, and I’ll head to the Priesthood Session with my father tonight. We’ll go to Church to watch the first session tomorrow, and watch the last session at home again.

My wife and I were talking about what we were expecting from General Conference. My response was, “Same old, same old”. Unfortunately, that sounded much more negative than I meant for it to sound. If it is negative, it’s only because we, as members, don’t heed the counsel from previous conferences. In some way or another, I’m sure we’ll be reminded about staying out of debt, protecting our families, attending the temple, increasing our missionary work, and doing service. Hopefully we’ll all resolve to try a little harder.

As I do each conference, I will be thinking of which talks our ward can use as 4th Sunday lessons. The talks that impressed me in a certain way, are marked with **. This doesn’t mean the other talks weren’t good. It’s just that there are only 6 lessons, so we can’t use them all. At an upcoming Ward Council Meeting, the EQ President, the RS President and the HP Group Leader will all share their suggestions, and we’ll come to a consensus on the 6 talks to use.

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Sacrament Hymn 169 – As Now We Take the Sacrament

I’ve commented before how I love music. I like most of the hymns that we sing in the Church, but there are definitely some that I like more than others. My favourite Sacrament hymn is #169. “As Now We Take the Sacrament” has beautiful music and words to match:

With devotion

1. As now we take the sacrament,
Our thoughts are turned to thee,
Thou Son of God, who lived for us,
Then died on Calvary.
We contemplate thy lasting grace,
Thy boundless charity;
To us the gift of life was giv’n
For all eternity.

2. As now our minds review the past,
We know we must repent;
The way to thee is righteousness—
The way thy life was spent.
Forgiveness is a gift from thee
We seek with pure intent.
With hands now pledged to do thy work,
We take the sacrament.

3. As now we praise thy name with song,
The blessings of this day
Will linger in our thankful hearts,
And silently we pray
For courage to accept thy will,
To listen and obey.
We love thee, Lord; our hearts are full.
We’ll walk thy chosen way.

Text: Lee Tom Perry, b. 1951. © 1985 IRI

Music: Daniel Lyman Carter, b. 1955. © 1985 IRI

Doctrine and Covenants 138:1–4

Doctrine and Covenants 59:8–12

“169: As Now We Take the Sacrament,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 169

Here are a few of the things that touch me:

  • “We contemplate they lasting grace, Thy boundless charity” – So true!
  • “With hands now pledged to do thy work, We take the sacrament.” – What good does it do us if we take upon us the name of Christ, but don’t take any action? We need to commit to do the Lord’s work
  • “The blessings of this day Will linger in our thankful hearts” – I love Church. The meetings aren’t always the best. I don’t always go with a great attitude. But each and every week I leave Church a better person. I feel closer to God, and I’m thankful for the ward family that I have.
  • “…we pray For courage to accept thy will, To listen and obey.” – Most of us have a desire to do what’s right, but we fall short. We should, indeed, pray for courage.