Category Archives: General Religion and Spirituality

183rd Semiannual General Conference – Priesthood Session

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So, here I am with my father, sitting in our family room. This is weird! But I think I like it. The pizza and wings have been ordered and should be here mid-session. Like I mentioned earlier, I think we’ll do this in April as well, and then head back to the Church for when my oldest son joins us next October.

I wonder how many women are watching…


President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir made up of Aaronic Priesthood holders from the Murray, Utah area sang Sing Praise to Him

Elder Paul E Koelliker offered the invocation

The choir sang Like Ten Thousand Legions Marching

Elder L Tom Perry

  • Memorizing the Articles of Faith is just a bunch of words unless we understand the doctrine in each of them
  • He reviewed each of them briefly
  • Priesthood is a vital source of power and will last beyond the veil
  • A church that doesn’t teach truth is like a phone without a battery

Bishop Gérald Caussé

  • A promise has been made to everyone in the Church… we are no more strangers, but fellow citizens
  • We may feel like outsiders in the world
  • Jesus went beyond the obligation of hospitality and tolerance
  • All received an equal part of his teachings and ministry
  • Fellowshipping is an important priesthood responsibility
  • Reach to anyone who appears at the door of your meetings

Elder Randy D Funk

  •  He was a mission president in India
  • Told a story about a missionary who couldn’t understand much English at all, but became a great missionary
  • If you are humble, you will want to be obedient
  • Look at what good can come from breaking things…
  • You break ground to plant something
  • You break wheat to make bread
  • You break bread to partake of the Sacrament

The choir and congregation sang Do What Is Right

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Told a story about falling while skiing. He couldn’t get up, and his grandson came and said “You can get up now!”
  • No one likes to fail, but we don’t become champions without first falling down first
  • We need to repent
  • If see goals as only the leaders goal, we won’t be successful, but as we make it our goal, we will accomplish it in a goal that will bless others and ourselves
  • Rise up and be men of God
  • “You should hear President Monson pray for you”
  • Your paths will at times be difficult
  • Rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Savior and Redeemer
  • No matter how many times you have slipped and fallen, rise up, stand tall, and walk in the light of the restored gospel

President Henry B Eyring

  • All of us are blessed with responsibility for others
  • Shares a story about an EQ President getting a last-minute call to help someone move
  • Remember, we should be the Samaritan, not the Levite
  • You can’t know all of your quorum members well, but the Lord does
  • Don’t be hardened to the pains of others

President Thomas S Monson

  • Christ is the perfect shepherd
  • Home teaching is inspired, a response to modern revelation
  • It is our duty to bring the gospel to every home and every heart
  • Learn about each family member
  • Home teaching is more than a mechanical visit once a month
  • We teach, inspire, and motivate and bring to activity the sons and daughters of God
  • “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend” – Abraham Lincoln
  • A friend is more concerned about helping people, then getting credit
  • If you have become complacent in your home teaching, there is no time like the present to rededicate yourself to fulfilling your home teaching duties

The choir sang God of Our fathers, Whose Almighty Hand

Elder Walter F. González offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

183rd Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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Wow! Wasn’t President Uchtdorf‘s talk this morning awesome?! Hopefully there is another awesome one this session.

As I make my notes, I’m also following the #ldsconf tag on Twitter. As was expected, the hashtag was trending after the first session.

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In between sessions I watched The World Report, and then played some Mario Kart Wii with my son. Fun stuff!

We settle down to watch this next session…


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A family choir made of members from the Roy, Kanesville, Hooper and West Haven, Utah stakes sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

Elder Paul B Pieper offered the invocation

Persident Henry B Eyring read the sustaining of Church officers

  • A few members of the 1st quorum of seventy were released
  • A few Area Seventy were released and a few sustained
  • There is a new 2nd Counselor in the General YM Presidency

The choir sang I Know That My Savior Loves Me

President Boyd K Packer

  • A gospel-centred home is a safe place
  • “In the last days perilous times shall come”
  • Perilous times are present
  • The cure for most mistakes can be found in forgiveness through personal prayer

Elder D Todd Chistofferson

  • Society has relied on the moral force of women
  • A woman’s noble influence is felt at home
  • There is no better setting to raise the rising generation
  • Your moral authority is vital, and we may be taking you for granted

Elder S Gifford Neilsen

  •  What would you do if the prophet called you?
  • They do call us. Are we listening?
  • We have been called to do more missionary work
  • We need to serve with enthusiasm next to the full-time missionaries

The choir and congregation sang Press Forward, Saints

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela

  • By small and simple things are great things brought to pass
  • We need to teach in simple ways
  • The small and simple means often bring greater results

Elder Timothy J Dyches

  • Recounted several bible stories of Christ’s compassion and miracles
  • There is opposition, and this helps us see Christ’s healing power

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel” – Joseph Smith
  • It is impossible for us to fail if we do our best
  • Pray
  • If we all reach out to just one between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what a wonderful gift to the Saviour
  • You will have many opportunities

The choir sang Love at Home

Sister Carol F McConkie offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

183rd Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

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So here we sit in our family room getting ready for this session. As we usually do, we will have our kids watch the first half hour of every session, and then President Monson on Sunday morning.

I’ve been reading some of the blog postings online about how people feel about General Conference. I find that General Conference is like a lot of Church meetings… before the meeting I can think of every reason in the world why I shouldn’t bother going/participating, but after virtually every meeting I’m glad that I went, and I got something out of it.

I’m sure I’ll be tired after my 10 hours of conference this weekend (plus Music and the Spoken Word, and probably The World Report), but I’m also sure it will be an uplifting weekend. I’m looking forward to it!


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang How Wondrous and Great to start the session.

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang Now Let Us Rejoice ** It was an awesome arrangement!

Elder Kent F Richards offered the invocation

President Thomas S Monson

  • Church membership just passed 15 million members
  • Missionaries serving has gone from 58,500 in October 2012 to 80,333 today
  • “Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”
  • Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together to labour in the lords vineyard to bring souls unto him
  • He thanked us for the donations that have come in for missionary support. The need is ongoing.
  • No new announcements of any kind

The choir sang Israel, Israel, God is Calling

Elder Robert D Hales

  • Note: Elder Hales looked about the same as previous conferences. He definitely still doesn’t look well. He seemed to have a bit of trouble reading his talk, but still spoke well. You could also faintly hear the oxygen feed (there was a slight hissing sound)
  • No topics are assigned for General Conference
  • In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord
  • What is said is not as important as what is heard and felt
  • “Oh how we need General Conference!”

Elder Ulisses Soares

  • You can’t have hope unless you are meek and lowly in heart
  • Meekness is the quality of those who are God-fearing
  • If we want to be meek, we need to improve day by day

Sister Carol M Stephens

  • We all need priesthood ordinances
  • Men and women need to have respect for each other
  • We need to trust in Heavenly Father’s plan and show reverence for Him
  • Sons of God needs daughters of God and daughters of God need sons of God

The choir and congregation sang There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today

Elder Edward Dube

  • “Never look back. Look at what we still have to do”
  • The past is to be learned from, not lived in
  • Faith always points us towards the future

Elder David A Bednar

  • Will speak on the importance of tithing for individuals and families and the importance of tithing in the growth of the Church
  • We often teach about dramatic blessings, yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain are significant but subtle
  • We need to be spiritually attentive and observant
  • The foundation for the fiscal affairs of the Church are found in D&C 119 and 120
  • These sections are so simple compared to the complex financial setup of worldly companies
  • The Church lives within its means and doesn’t spend more than it receives
  • A portion of the annual income as a reserve for contingency
  • The Church follows the same principles that are taught to the members
  • Paying tithing is not just a duty

The choir sang Keep the Commandments

President Dieter F Uchtdorf ** Excellent **

  • The Church doesn’t require anything from us, but the Lord does
  • This Church was restored in our day by Jesus Christ himself
  • Here you find the authority to act in His name
  • The Church gives opportunity to do good
  • People want to put their faith into practice
  • Walking the path of discipleship leads to precious blessings
  • Some people struggle for years about whether they should separate themselves from the Church
  • In the history of the Church, some things have been done and said that raise questions. Sometimes we don’t have all the information. Sometimes there is a difference of opinion of what the facts really mean. There have been times when people have made mistakes
  • “If there are faults, they are the mistakes of men”
  • No decision of significance to this Church is made without prayerfully asking for His direction
  • One of the purposes of the Church is to cultivate the seed of faith, even if it is in the sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty
  • Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith
  • We need your diverse talents
  • Here you will find the pathway to happiness

The choir sang Come, Ye Thankful People

Brother Matthew O Richardson offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

183rd Semiannual General Conference – Pre-conference notes

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Life has gotten in the way of my blogging over the last month and a half, but I’m definitely going to get some postings up this weekend about General Conference. It seems that most times I’m at work for one of the sessions, but this weekend I’m off, so I’m going to watch all conference sessions at home. This will also include the Priesthood Session. My father and I talked about it, and we think we’ll watch this one and April’s conference at home, and then when my son is 12 for next October’s conference, we’ll go to the Church so he has that tradition of going out with us.

I have no insight whatsoever into what will be shared this weekend, but I assume that much of the same themes we’ve heard in other meetings this year will be continued. The Work of Salvation, along with strengthening families will be hot topics for sure.

Enjoy the conference!


Read the recaps and other notes from the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“Are you a good person?”

I work in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and each day I go for a walk along the Niagara Parkway. It is a fascinating place to be as there are A LOT of tourists around in the summer. It’s nice to see families together enjoying themselves. Since there are a lot of people around, it also attracts others who are looking to speak with a lot of people. Occasionally I come across some tracts that people have left on benches or car windshields.

I recently came across one of the best tracts I’ve ever seen. The ones I normally see are usually just messages about how evil we all are and how we need to repent. This one has that same message, but it does it in the form of a cartoon. Since it is a cartoon, it doesn’t feel quite as harsh. I’ve scanned it to a PDF if you want to download it. I’ve also included it below.

I think my two favourite panels are on page 3 and page 5. The guy with his tongue sticking out as he lusts after a woman is pretty comical. And I love the panel where the guy compares himself to Hitler, a KKK clansmen, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and says at least he isn’t as bad as some people :-)

I wonder how effective these sorts of tracts are. Considering how ineffective door-to-door tracting can be, I would assume that handing out paper tracts or leaving them for others to pick up isn’t going to be any more effective. But I guess if they reach even one person it is worth it.

The tract ends by telling the reader to find a good church. Well, I feel that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a good church. I’m glad it’s a part of my life and that I have the truth of the gospel. I may sin more than 127,000 times in my life, but I know that the Savior died for me and that I can be forgiven. I hope others can find this out as well.

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LEGO Jesus on the cross

On Saturday we went to the Erie County Fair and had a great time. We saw lots of animals, had some good food, and enjoyed several show.

There was a building that was part antique barn, part flea market. There was a cabinet full of LEGO, and on display they had a LEGO Jesus on the cross! I assume this was something that was custom built, but it looks great.

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Hill Cumorah Draws Business and Protests To Streets of Palmyra

I’m a little late on posting this, but I still wanted to post it. A few weeks ago we went to see the annual Palmyra Pageant. It is always a fun day, and is pretty much the only time where I get to see any protestors against the Church. This article from YNN in Rochester shares a bit about this:

Jim Deferio has traveled from Syracuse and occupied the same street corner outside the bookstore for eight years.

Deferio spends the day preaching the Christian Gospel while holding a banner that says the Book of Mormon is full of lies.

“I don’t hate the Mormons, I hate their lies. I love the Mormon people because I was lost once too, so I just give them truth and I show them the contradictions in their own books,” he said.

Well, at least he doesn’t hate us :-)

I’ll share more about my trip tomorrow…

“The Church You Want”

This past Friday I was away at Girls Camp held at the Thomas S Monson Recreation Camp and then spent the weekend at a cottage right around the corner from it. We attended Church in Peterborough, Ontario. I used to live in Peterborough (my brother left on his mission from there) so it was nice to visit and see some familiar faces.

While I was there, I noticed a poem up on the wall. It has been there as long as I remember (25 years?) but I’ve never read it before this past Sunday. It’s quite nice. The main message is that Church will be what we make of it.

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Note: I couldn’t find who originally wrote it.

The Church You Want

If you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
You needn’t slip your clothes in a grip
And start on a long, long hike.
You’ll only find what you left behind,
For there’s nothing really new.
It’s a knock at yourself when you knock your church;
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

When everything seems to be going wrong,
And trouble seems everywhere brewing;
When prayer-meetings, young people’s meetings, and all,
seem simmering slowly-stewing
Just take a look at yourself and say,
“What’s the use of being blue?”
Are you doing your “bit” to make things “hit”?
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

It’s really strange sometimes, don’t you know,
That things go as well as they do,
When we think of the little–the very small mite–
We add to the work of the few.
We sit, and stand round, and complain of what’s done,
And do very little but fuss.
Are we bearing our share of the burdens to bear?
It isn’t the church–it’s us.

So, if you want to have the kind of church
Like the kind of a church you like,
Put off your guile, and put on your best smile,
And hike, my brother, just hike,
To the work in hand that has to be done–
The work of saving a few.
It isn’t the church that is wrong, my boy;
It isn’t the church–it’s you.

Most charitable states in America

There was recently a report about the most charitable states in America. Not too surprisingly Utah was number 1.

Utah, home to the nation’s biggest Mormon population, is also the most charitable state, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s most recent report that looks at giving as a percentage of discretionary income — your income excluding essential expenses.

Mormons are supposed to tithe at least 10 percent of their income to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the median donation among Utah households lines up with that requirement — amounting to $5,255 per household, or 10.6 percent of discretionary income.

On the one hand it’s interesting that the entire population, on average, pays 10% in charitable donations. This just happens to be what tithing is. On the other hand, I’m sure there are people who think that people should be giving to causes other than the Church.

If you read the entire article, and follow some of the links, the findings are quite interesting. Generally speaking, it seems that the more religious an area is, the more they donate. It also mentions that New Hampshire has a fairly high average income, but has the lowest donation rate.

A few laughs…

An usher at one of the wards that I visit had a few (sort of) funny jokes to share with me when I visited a few weeks ago…

:-)


Why are we the only church that sings “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”?

All the rest are non-prophet (profit) organizations.


What was the last thing that Jesus said to his disciples?

If you want to be in the picture, come to this side of the table.


Moses started out his life as a basket case. He was in denial (the Nile), but finally decided to go with the flow