Monthly Archives: March 2012

182nd Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

Just in case you are wondering how I do these, I usually write the comments as the session starts. Then I take notes during the session and post it when it is done. That explains why at the beginning of the last session I guessed we’d hear from Elder Hales and but when it was posted, Elder Hales had already spoken.

There have been two pretty good sessions of conference so far. I can’t pick a favourite, but there has definitely been lots to think about.

I’ll be leaving shortly to go to the Priesthood Session with my father, and then I think we’re going to Boston Pizza afterward.


President Henry B Eyring conducted

The music was provided by a combined choir from the Salt Lake university Institutes

The choir sang Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi offered the invocation

The choir sang Carry On

Elder David A Bednar

  • in one sentence say what the most distinguishing feature of the church is
  • it is the authority of the priesthood
  • worthiness and willingness is what is required to receive the priesthood
  • the priesthood is active, not passive
  • priesthood holders need authority and power
  • me who bear the priesthood should be different

Brother Richard C Edgley

  • we need to take part in the rescue effort
  • loved ones are on their knees daily pleading with the Lord
  • we have less-actives who are trying
  • less actives need to be treated as equals
  • he has an ancestor who went inactive, and he figures that over 6+ generations it could be as many as 3,000 people who are lost
  • when he sees one person who is lost, he sees 3,000 people

Brother Adrián Ochoa

  • many young men don’t understand the good they can do
  • stand up boldly for what is true

The choir and congregation sang Ye Elders of Israel

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • holding the priesthood is no small blessing
  • the basic gospel principles need to be part of our life’s fabric
  • gospel doctrine becomes more precious when it is put to use

President Henry B Eyring

  • the sealing keys reside in the church today and will till the end of time
  • connections to our family are sure because of sealings
  • nothing is more important than honouring marriage and family covenants made in the holy temple
  • 4 things to lift and lead your family home again
    1. gain and keep a sure witness that the keys are with us
    2. love your wife
    3. enlist the entire family to love each other
    4. lead your family in the Lord’s way when discipline is needed

President Thomas S Monson

  • shared quotes from several past prophets about the priesthood
  • “I love and cherish the noble word of duty”
  • time marches on, and duty keeps cadence with that march
  • when God speaks and man obeys, that man will always be right
  • do your duty that is best, leave unto the Lord the rest
  • the world is in need of our help

The choir sang Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

The benediction was offered by Elder Larry R Lawrence


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

182nd Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

My wonderings about President Packer and Elder Hales have been half answered, and will be fully answered this afternoon. Elder Hales is present, so I assume he’ll be speaking. We’ll see.

I love watching at conference from home. It let’s us get some things done in between sessions. I did some painting, and played some New Super Mario Bros Wii with my sons.


President Henry B Eyring conducted

Missionaries from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah provided the music. I saw a tweet telling everyone to look and see if David Archuleta was in the choir 🙂

The choir sang Glory to God on High

Elder William R Walker

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • There is a new Presiding Bishopric and a new Relief Society General Presidency
  • I didn’t catch all of the names, but you will be able to read about it on the LDS Newsroom web site

Brother Robert W Cantwell, Managing Director of the Church Audit Report read the audit report for 2011

  • Based upon audits performed, the Church Auditing Department is of the opinion that, in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the Church have been recorded and administered in accordance with appropriate accounting practices, approved budgets, and Church policies and procedures.

Brother Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency presented the Statistical Report for 2011

  • 2,946 stakes
  • 340 missions
  • 608 districts
  • 28,784 wards and branches
  • 14,441,346 members
  • 119,917 child of record baptisms
  • 281,312 convert baptisms
  • 55,410 full time missionaries
  • 22,299 church service missionaries
  • 2 temples dedicated
  • 1 temple rededicated
  • 136 temples in operation

Elder Jeffery R Holland

  • shared the parable of the workers who all received the same wages
  • there are going to be times where people get unexpected blessings
  • don’t be hurt or envious when good fortune comes to another person
  • we are in the race against sin, not each other, and envy is a great sin
  • coveting, pouting or tearing others down does not elevate our standing
  • be kind and be grateful that God is kind
  • there is nothing that you have done that can’t be undone
  • there is no dream that cannot yet be realized
  • if you’ve made covenants, keep them; if you haven’t made covenants, make them; if you have made covenants and broken them, repair them

The choir sang Lead, Kindly Light

Elder Robert D Hales (Note: Elder Hales doesn’t really look any better, but sounds ok)

  • how do we increase our desire to repent
  • we are commanded to meet together oft and partake of the Sacrament
  • we need to obtain a temple recommend
  • Standards for recommend holders? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart
  • It is difficult for youth to understand how present actions will prepare/disqualify them from future service
  • Get on higher ground and lift others in need

Elder David S Baxter (Note: I read a tweet that said he sounded like Shrek)

  • spoke to the single parents, acknowledging that most of them are single mothers
  • in the Kingdom of God there are no second-class citizens
  • when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burdens become lighter

Elder Ulisses Soares

  • To enhance our spirit it is required that we let bitterness be put away
  • Do my actions place me in the Lord’s or in the enemy’s territory?
  • We need to keep ourselves strong against the fiery darts of the adversary
  • You can’t be right by doing wrong, you can’t be wrong, by doing right

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • the church’s profile has been raised significantly
  • some parts of the world are becoming very secular
  • we desire all members to awaken fully to faith
  • don’t judge others
  • the family is the most important unit in time and in eternity
  • praying with children may be more important than any other example
  • a testimony must be based on faith, not just on logic
  • when you are tone deaf to the music of faith, you are out of tune with the Spirit

Elder Richard G Scott

  • those who have gone before us can see us better than we can see ourselves, they love us now more than ever
  • one of the great lessons we need to learn is to ask
  • loud laughter can block revelation
  • he gave some good practical advice on how to be worthy to receive revelation, and how we might receive the revelation
  • inspiration carefully recorded shows God that it was important to us
  • God did not put us on this earth to fail
  • as you live righteously you will always be prompted to know what to do

The choir sang Praise to the Man

Elder Bruce A Carlson offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

182nd Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

Well, here we go…


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir opened the conference by singing High on the Mountain Top

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Praise the Lord with Heart and Voice

Elder John B Dickson offered the invocation

President Thomas S Monson opened the conference (Note: there were no announcements of anything)

  • We meet to build faith
  • We are here to learn
  • We come together as one
  • Quoted the “Standard of Truth” from Joseph Smith:
    No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
    History of the Church, 4:540.
  • Quoted 13th article of faith:
    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
  • He thanked the members for faith, devotion, love, service

The choir sang You Can Make the Pathway Bright

President Boyd K Packer (Note: President Packer spoke from his chair. His glasses still have the fancy oxygen tubes)

  • Shared a couple of examples of helping poor children
  • Little children are alive in Christ
  • No pain will last forever
  • Life wasn’t meant to be easy or fair
  • The ultimate end of everything in the Church is to see a family happy at home, sealed by the Priesthood
  • Family time is sacred time

Sister Cheryl A Esplin

  • God knows what our children need to know
  • The best way to teach children is in the moment

Elder Donald L Hallstrom

  • Sometimes we use the words gospel and church interchangeably
  • The gospel is the glorious plan of God
  • It is possible in the Church, and less active in the gospel
  • Activity in the church is highly desirable, however it is insufficient
  • Activity is an outward indication. It is visible.
  • The things of the gospel are less visible, but are of greater spiritual importance
  • We need the gospel and the church
  • 3 ways to have the gospel be more meaningful
    1. deepen our understanding of diety
    2. focus on the ordinances and covenants
    3. unite the gospel with the Church

The choir and congregation sang How Firm a Foundation

Elder Paul E Koelliker

  • He loves the missionaries, both young and senior
  • They are a powerful persevering force for good
  • Missionary work is a template for nourishing people throughout life
  • We have a duty to help others to learn
  • We need to love
  • The family helps us understand that God loves us all equally and fully

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the central message of all the prophets
  • The Savior asks us to make mortal sacrifices
  • There are wonderful examples of people who have given their full time lives fully to serve the Lord, but most of us can’t give all of our time
  • President Hinckley said that the symbols of our faith are the lives of our people
  • Converts to the Church also sacrifice much
  • Families sacrifice much as well
  • Mother bear and raise children. Father’s support the family
  • As you sacrifice for your children, the Lord will bless you
  • Latter-day saints look at their sacrifices as schooling for the eternities

The choir sang Love Is Spoken Here

President Henry B Eyring

  • President Kimball spoke of asking for the mountains of life to come
  • The Lord suffered more than all of us
  • The way to overcome trials is to believe their is balm in Gilead
  • We need an unshakeable foundation
  • The ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into each of our lives.
  • We need to have integrity, but choosing the right consistently
  • Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and gain unshakeable faith
  • Adversity seems to make clocks slow down

The choir sang Redeemer of Israel

Elder Wilford W Andersen offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

182nd Annual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

It is amazing that another 6 months has gone by, and another General Conference is upon us. In a way, not much has changed since last conference… the economy still isn’t great; the Church has been in the news lots; there have been no “scandals” that have rocked the church. I guess it is “steady as she goes”. That is mostly a good thing. Instead of having to put out fires, the Church can focus on the doctrine.

The only thing I’m kind of wondering about is the health of some of the apostles. Last conference President Packer and Elder Hales both had oxygen tubes in place. I wonder if their conditions have improved, or worsened.

We’ll be watching General Conference from home again. I’m not working this weekend, so we’ll watch all 4 regular sessions, and then I’ll go with my father to the Priesthood session at Church. We’ll go out to eat afterwards.

Enjoy the conference!


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Encouraging children to read

I’m sure many of you have heard that last week Sister Julie B Beck answered questions that had been submitted by members on the Mormon Channel. A lot of the “buzz” has been about her comments about blogging. She says that women have always needed a way to communicate, and as long as there is balance and a purpose (my interpretation).

The part that I was particularly interested in was what she said about reading. The blog A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman has a partial transcript, and this is what was reported (italicized text is a quote, non italicized is a summary):

I remember a conference where President Hinckley stood up and prefaced his remarks by saying, “In preparation for this talk I read…” and then he gave this list that was probably two thousand pages long, if not more. Other times he quoted from Shakespeare or other writers or poets. He loved Tennyson. That taught me something about President Hinckley. I remember sitting in conference once listening and thinking “My goodness, Pres. Hinckley loves to read”.  Another time he said, “I love the heft and feel of a good book”.  So reading isn’t evil.  Reading is a blessing and the Lord has created records for us to read and to study. A lot of good things have been written to elevate us, so I don’t think reading is a waste of time, and I don’t think we can only read church sponsored books. There is a lot of good out there. It’s on us though, to learn to make the choices that will create the climate in us that enables the Spirit to grow and flourish.”

Sister Beck then shared this sweet tidbit about how she raised her own children to love reading:

As a young mother when needing to get up in the middle of the night, she thought ‘oh good‘ I can read for 20 minutes! She always had something that she wanted to read that she saved for those quiet, in the middle of the night hours, when no one would bother her.

I love that! And this…

She never told a child to turn out the light if they were reading a book before bed. She let them read as late as they wanted — even if they were young children.  She wanted to foster a love of reading.

I quote her here: “A reading child is a child that will stay out of trouble. That’s a belief that I have. There’s something wholesome in a child wanting to feed their mind. You have to imagine things when you are reading, that only you can see. And visualize things that only you can see. That’s why it’s important to select good things. I don’t know that there’s enough great literature for younger children. I wish there was more of that.  But I encouraged my children to read and put a lamp by the side of their bed. They always had a little bookcase by the side of their bed. Yes we read the scriptures. Yes we read The Liahona, and The Friend, and The New Era…” 

I spoke to my wife about this earlier today. Right now our two sons share a room, but we’re moving in a couple of months and they will have their own room. We think we’re going to try the reading thing once we move. If they go to bed and are reading, we’ll let them keep reading.

Be good for something

Last week I went out for dinner with the two men who were my counselors when the bishopric I was in was released. We went to a cheap Chinese food place down the street from my house and had a great time talking about life, our time together, and more.

Normally I’m not a fan of fortune cookies. I don’t need any lucky lotto numbers, and usually the little phrases aren’t very inspiring, but the one I got that night was particularly good. It has probably been said many times by many people, but it is the first time I’ve heard it:

Be not simply good, be good for something

“The solution of the problems that vex his life [will come]”

A couple of days ago I quoted from Elder John A Widstoe about the power of temple worship and yesterday about the importance of sealings. Here is another good one (the last one from this talk):

I believe the busy person on the farm, in the shop, in the office, or in the household, who has his worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. If he will leave his problems behind and in the temple work for himself and for his dead, he will confer a mighty blessing up on those who have gone before, and quite as large a blessing will come to him, for at the most unexpected moments, in or out of the temple, will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life. That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly, because it is a place where revelation may be expected. I bear my personal testimony that this is so.

Widstoe, John A. “Temple Worship.” Genealogical Society of Utah. Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City. 12 Oct. 1920.

Overcome by the meaning of the words of sealing

Yesterday I quoted from Elder John A Widstoe about the power of temple worship. Here is another good one about the power/meaning of the words of the sealing ordinance:

The mere words of sealing may be easily spoken at the alters of the holy temples, but they are so full of meaning that any man with even a particle of imagination who witnesses or participates in the sealing ordinances must be overcome with the feeling of responsibility and opportunity and enjoyment that it carries with it

Widstoe, John A. “Temple Worship.” Genealogical Society of Utah. Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City. 12 Oct. 1920.

The power of temple worship

A great quote by Elder John A Widstoe:

Men grow mighty under the results of temple service; women grow strong under it; the community increases in power; until the devil has less influence than he ever had before. The opposition to truth is relatively smaller if the people are engaged actively in the ordinances of the temple.

Widstoe, John A. “Temple Worship.” Genealogical Society of Utah. Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City. 12 Oct. 1920.

The brouhaha over baptisms for the dead

Sometimes I think I’m pretty with it, and other times I just don’t get it. I don’t get all the commotion recently about the practice of baptisms for the dead in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t understand why some outside the church are so against it, and I don’t understand why some inside the church seem to intentionally break the “rules”.

If you haven’t been following it, for the last couple of decades the Church has had an agreement with Jewish groups that we will not baptize people who are proxy for holocaust victims. Unfortunately, there are members who keep submitting these names, along with the names of celebrities. Recently the First Presidency stated again these rules (the letter was read in our Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday).

Like I said, I just don’t get it. Why would anyone care what we do with a name? If someone came up to me and said that they had baptized my grandfather (who is deceased) as a Lutheran, it wouldn’t bother me in the least. If they don’t believe in what we teach, then I just don’t get why it matters what we do when they don’t believe it has any effect. On the other hand, if we have this agreement with these Jewish groups, then we need to keep our agreement. I don’t mean to downplay anyone’s concerns. The brouhaha is on both sides.

I think one of the problems that we have is trying to help non-members understand why we do these baptisms for the dead. Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond (and one of my favourite writers/authors) posted an article on the First Things web site called The Heavenly Logic of Proxy Baptism