Category Archives: Mormon Church Doctrine and Teachings

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:

Some brief thoughts on the new temple video

Last night my wife and I went to the Toronto Ontario Temple and saw the new temple video. Overall we were very impressed. Here are a few random thoughts/observations:

  • The creation scenes are beautiful
  • Most of the additional length is in the video presentation, so it doesn’t really feel like the session is 15 minutes longer
  • One of the actors/characters sounded like (and even kind of looked like) Elder Hales
  • There is a lot more emotion shown in the Garden of Eden scenes. I have no problem with this, but it is different from the way it used to be. I need to ponder about what this means
  • There are a couple of scenes where it is obvious that a character is in front of a “green screen”. If I thought it was that noticeable now, what will we think in 5-10 years when the video is still being used…
  • I thought the way Satan was portrayed was very effective. He seems particularly manipulative
  • As others have commented, it doesn’t seem like there are any wording changes

I’ve read all sorts of comments online on other sites… some are complaining about the acting, some are complaining about the music, and some are complaining about the cinematography. I have to admit that I probably didn’t get as much out of the session last night as I would have normally, as I was absorbing all of the new changes. But overall I quite liked it and I’m looking forward to going back again so I can focus on the spiritual side of things.

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…

A dying Apostle’s testimony

I, like many of you, follow quite a few Mormon blogs. Ardis over at Keepaptichinin always has fascinating historical postings. A couple of months ago she posted something about President Joseph Fielding Smith’s last testimony. There is a line in his remarks where he says:

Now, my young friends, as I stand at the edge of eternity, I want you to know that in my many years on the earth, I have found great joy and happiness.

Who knows if he really knew he would die shortly after making those remarks, but in hindsight he certainly seems to foresee it.

That made me think of other final testimonies. Perhaps the most “famous” one was from Bruce R McConkie. He spoke in April 1985 General Conference and said this (and then passed away two weeks later):

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.

Maybe it’s just me, but it almost seemed like President Boyd K Packer was saying goodbye during the Work of Salvation broadcast. I wonder how much time he has left.

I still have very much to learn. I don’t know how long I’ll be learning for, but when it’s over I’ll go to the new realm and being a new school. I express my testimony to you that the Lord lives, that the restoration is true, that it was managed and determined beyond the veil for our benefit. I know the Lord lives, and I know the Lord.

My notes on the Work of Salvation broadcast

I’m sure many of you watched the Work of Salvation broadcast this past Sunday. It was a good broadcast, but I’d read so much “hype” about it online that I guess I was a little disappointed that there was nothing earth-shattering about what was shared. I acknowledge that is my fault for falling for the hype.

Overall it was a nice meeting. There were a few lines that really stuck out for me, and I’ve bolded them below and added a couple of comments in italics.


Look at all those missionaries… what a sight!

A choir sang Hark. All Ye Nations!

Ten of the Apostles were there

Elder Jeffrey R Holland conducted

  • You will never be part of a zone conference this large ever again
  • We’ve been thinking “there they go” but we need to think “here they come”

The invocation was offered by Elder Ludlow

Elder Holland

  • At Church Headquarters we counsel widely; we hear from everyone on all vital issues
    I loved the phrase (counsel widely)! I totally agree that leaders need to be open and discuss issues with everyone affected. Trust the other leaders that they have worthwhile things to say, and that they will keep the necessary confidences.
  • There was a Mission (Washington), a Stake (Peru) and a Ward (Hawaii) via satellite to represent all the other councils
  • The Seventy have clearly defined responsibilities for missionary work

Elder L Tom Perry (he almost jumped out of his seat… it’s hard to believe that he is 90 years old!)

  • As all these missionaries go out we ask “what will they do?”
  • They will do what they have always done
  • The nature of missionary work must change in order for the work to move forward
  • Missionaries will be able to use computers during less busy time
  • This will be phased in over several months
  • Internet safety is paramount
  • Missionaries will give building tours
  • 70,274 missionaries
  • 52 new missions this year for 405 total
  • 173 new mission presidents this year
  • What we are being asked to do has not changed, but how we do it has changed
    I think this is true for much of the gospel. The core doctrine does not change, but how we implement it in our lives can change depending on the time we live in.
  • If or greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel than we all have the responsibility to invite everyone to come unto Christ
  • Every Ward should have a Ward Mission Plan
  • We should be anxiously engaged

Elder Holland

  • An invitation that is born of our love for others and our love of the Savior will never be seen as offensive and judgmental

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • Our work begins on our knees
  • When we leave our meetings is when we bring about His most important purposes
    Attending meetings isn’t as important as committing to action at the meetings and then going forth to do it
  • He shared some stories from the Tampa Florida area. In the end, 32 men were sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood at their recent stake conference
  • We often receive different help from the Lord than expected; but it is always better
  • There is a new section of LDS.org called “Hastening the Work of Salvation”

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • He showed a video with Sister Neill F Marriott of the General Young Women Presidency about her conversion
  • Too often we split the work into areas that seem unrelated
    The work is indivisible
    They are not separate but all part of the work of salvation
    Great points!
  • The Bishop and Ward Mission Leader set the pace of missionary work
  • Good leaders, like good parents, take actions because of love

President Boyd K Packer

  • Everything comes down to teaching
  • Live so you can depend on the Spirit
  • The greatest teaching that goes on in the Church is done by mothers
    I couldn’t agree more. My wife is a superb teacher to my children
  • The Atonement is the mighty healer
  • Just do it right; be better

President Thomas S Monson

  • Now is the time for us to come together to bring souls unto Him
  • Shared the story of how the St Thomas Branch in Ontario grew
  • Have faith in the work

The choir sang Called to Serve

Sister Estorga offered the benediction

The passing of the Mormon pioneer in our family

I’ve lived in Ontario for my whole life. My parents were born in Ontario, and most of the generations before that are Canadian. We’ve been here for a long time. My ancestors did not know about the Church during the first wave of missionary work to Canada in the 1830s, so it wasn’t until 1961 that someone first joined the Church. That was my grandmother, whom I have written about previously. Well, after 96+ years on this earth, she passed away on May 26, 2013.

(That is why I haven’t been posting much lately… I obviously was busy around the time my grandmother was sick, and then when she passed away, and I just got out of the habit of posting. It has taken longer than expected to get back to it).

I’m not going to take up too much space writing all about someone you don’t know, but I did want to highlight a few things. As mentioned, she joined the Church in 1961. She was a member of the Church for more than 51 years, and never was less-active. My father was a teenager when she joined, and it was another 20 years before my grandfather joined. She knew the Church was true and persevered until my grandfather found that out for himself. I was only 7 years old when my grandfather was baptized, but I vaguely remember how excited everyone was at the time.

My grandmother loved family history work. Even though my grandfather wasn’t a member at the time, he took her all over Canada to find cemeteries and help with her research. By the time I got involved, she had a family tree with around 5,000 names!

She loved her family very much and she was always so proud to see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren progress in the Church. Many of us have moved around, but as often as she could she’d attend a baby blessing or a baptism. She just knew that she started it all and was thrilled to see it continuing.

Since family history work and family were so important to her, you can imagine that she always insisted on having a temple recommend. I have lots of great memories of my grandmother, but I’ll always remember the smile she gave me a few weeks before she passed away when I did her temple recommend interview. It was eternally memorable!

Good-bye Nanny. I will miss you, but I’m sure Poppa is ecstatic to see you. Say “Hi” to him for me and I’d appreciate it if the two of you could continue to watch over me and my family.