Category Archives: Mormon Church Hierarchy

186th Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

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Normally we go to the sub-sational dinner before the Priesthood Session of conference, but tonight we went out to dinner at a local Chinese food place instead. It was a buffet, so I ate way more than I should have, but it was good!


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir comprised of students from Institute in the Logan area sang In Hymns of Praise

Elder Stanley G Ellis offered the invocation

The choir sang I Stand All Amazed

President Russell M Nelson

  • we all have divine roles as men of God
  • he told a story of two girls that he did heart surgery on who died. It haunted him for close to 60 years
  • the father and brother held a grudge against him
  • he had a dream/vision that the girls needed to be sealed to someone so he approached the less-active father and brother
  • we need to forgive and let go of old hurts
  • we need to listen to counsel
  • we need to be worthy to hold the priesthood
  • too many have have authority but lack priesthood power
  • laziness, dishonesty, immorality block the power
  • only men who have paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bless their family
  • priesthood power can heal fractures in the earth, and can calm the hearts of your family

Brother Stephen W Owen

  • went hunting with his father. His father knew where he was going. Brother Owen thought “If I follow him I’ll be ok”
  • Jesus Christ in the perfect/greatest Leader
  • He is also the greatest Follower

The choir and congregation sang Come, O Thou King of Kings

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • saw an old couple holding hands at the Frankfurt temple and was impressed that they were still affectionate
  • we have a disposable society
  • strong marriages don’t just happen because we are members of the Church
  • if there were a perfect woman, what makes you think she’d be interested in you
  • great marriages are built brick by brick
  • if you are flat right now, you eventually will build something majestic
  • remember why you fell in love
  • every family needs saving as there are no perfect families
  • whatever problem you have, the solution is charity
  • charity never faileth
  • pride has no place among priesthood holders
  • build bridges, don’t destroy them

President Henry B Eyring

  • he quoted Joseph Smith when he said that the Church would fill North and South American and fill the world
  • we all need to strive to achieve a Celestial marriage
  • our priesthood obligation is to put our family and families around us at the fore of our concerns
  • lead your family with the Spirit

President Thomas S Monson

  • Note: it was only a few minutes
  • we hold the priesthood
  • may we always be worthy to call upon its power

The choir sang Redeemer of Israel

Elder Craig A Cardon offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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I thought I would nap between sessions, but I ended up watching the season finale of Star Wars Rebels with my kids. It was pretty awesome!

The first session today was pretty good. This afternoon I guess we’ll get the sustainings and statistics, which are always interesting.

We’ve had great weather this winter and spring, yet today it is snowing now as I sit here. We shouldn’t be having snow at this time of year!


President Henry B Eyring conducted

A choir comprised of students from BYU Idaho sang Sing Praise to Him

Elder Hugo E Martinez offered the invocation

President Dieter F Uchtdorf presented the general authorities and general officers of the Church for a sustaining vote.

Kevin R Jergensen read the audit report. All is ok.

Brook P Hales, the secretary to the First Presidency, read the statistical report for 2015

  • 3,174 stakes
  • 418 missions
  • 558 districts
  • 30.016 wards and branches
  • 15,634,199 total members
  • 114,550 children of record were baptized
  • 257,402 convert baptisms
  • 74,079 full-time missionaries
  • 31,779 church service missionaries
  • 5 temples dedicated in 2015
  • 2 temples rededicated in 2015
  • 149 in operation as of the end of the year

The choir sang Israel, Israel, God Is Calling

Elder Ronald A Rasband

  • sustaining is a privilege
  • as we follow our leaders we follow the Lord
  • (my daughter spilled her smoothie, so we mised much of this talk)

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • children are entitled to be born to mothers and fathers
  • we need to remember that not everyone comes from a picture perfect family
  • knowing someone’s name can make a difference
  • the greatest influence on our youth can be other righteous youth
  • we need to reach out to the youth who seem alone or outside the fence

The choir and congregation sang Now Let Us Rejoice

Elder Mervyn B Arnold

  • the Savior understood the need to rescue Heavenly Father’s children
  • his mother was a good example of reaching out
  • we must be organized, but we not must delay going to the rescue
  • sometimes many weeks pass talking about people who have needs, meanwhile our lost brothers and sisters are needing help

Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

  • he attended the Sao Paolo temple open house and afterwards received a clear answer that the church was true
  • keep searching for your testimony
  • if you lack wisdom, ask of God

Elder David A Bednar

  • quoted from King Benjamin
  •  we will always rejoice and always retain a remission of our sins
  • holy ordinances are essential to the gospel plan
  • the sacrament is critical to help us feel the power of godliness
  • the blessings of retaining a remission of our sins help us understand that baptism is a point of departure. It is not a destination we should yearn to visit over and over again.
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost and the Sacrament are elements in an additive plan of redemptive progress

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • he feels strongly about the importance of councils
  • family councils have always been needed
  • 4 types of family councils
    • general family council (everyone)
    • executive family council (mother and family)
    • limited family council (parents and one child)
    • one-on-one family council (one parent, one child)
  • it used to be that shutting the doors and locking the gates kept you safe. Today it is much harder with the ways that bad influences can enter our home

The choir sang I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Brother Tad R Callister offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

186th Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

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We’re gathered in our family room. My daughter and I have some maple candies we got at the sugar bush this morning. My one son is drinking some milk and the other son is giving me shifty eyes (I’m not sure why). We’re settled in and ready to go…


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang How Wondrous and Great

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Come, Ye Children of the Lord

Sister Linda K Burton offered the invocation

The choir sang I Feel My Savior’s Love

President Henry B Eyring (President Thomas S Monson did NOT open the conference)

  • technology lets us meet together as if in one great hall
  • we meet in His name
  • the Lord is in our midst
  • we have all had seeds planted in our hearts
  • we can choose to have our hearts softened so we can nourish the seed
  • we need to listen to the Spirit during the conference

Sister Mary R Durham

  • told a story about a man rescuing his children but feeling dragged down by the shoes he still had on
  • what can we do when we feel like we are being dragged down?
  • children learn a language best when in an immersion program
  • we need to do the same thing with the language of the Spirit

Elder Donald L Hallstrom

  • one of God’s most sacred names is Father
  • this is so basic, it can seem ordinary, but in reality it is one of the most extraordinary knowledge we can gain
  • it is foundational to understanding the Plan of Salvation
  • mortal life can be agonizing, but our hardships have eternal significance
  • “you can have what you want, or you can have something better”

The choir and congregation sang Secret Prayer

Elder Gary E Stevenson

  • without car keys, a fully functioning car will not work
  • we never have to question where are the keys?
  • keys are necessary for the saving ordinances
  • attend the temple to experience keys in action

Elder Kevin R Duncan

  • there is not a soul alive who not be a victim of someone else’s sinful conduct
  • we can forgive
  • our hearts can be softened
  • most of us want to forgive, but we find it hard to do
  • to forgive is not to condone

Elder Steven E Snow

  • hymns create a feeling of reverence and unite us as members
  • he quoted from Be Thou Humble
  • we must be humble
  • pride can break of marriages and friendships
  • think of the heartache you can avoid by humbling yourself and saying sorry

Choir sang The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare

Elder Dale G Renlund

  • for those who need welfare help, the further the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the giver has a sense of entitlement
  • murmuring is like childish whining
  • the closer we are to Jesus, the more we appreciate his innocent suffering

The choir sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

185th Annual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

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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 – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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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:

When is a prophet a prophet?

Often critics of the Church will bring up something that a prophet or apostle has done that was wrong (in their opinion) and ask how a man of God could do something like that. Defenders of the Church often then reply with this quote from Joseph Smith:

“a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such”

History of the Church 5:265

I definitely understand the concept, but I have to admit that seems kind of like a cop-out. It kind of gives the impression that a prophet can be a prophet, and then decide to be mean, and just say that he wasn’t being a prophet while he was being mean.

I heard a quote mentioned on a recent FairMormon podcast that I think gives more clarity on this topic. The quote was, “when God makes the prophet, he does not unmake the man.”

The full quote is from David O McKay, and is as follows:

Someone has said that when God makes the prophet, he does not unmake the man. I believe that, though being “born anew,” and being entitled to new life, new vigor, new blessings, yet the old weaknesses may still remain. The adversary stands by, ever eager and ready to attack and strike us at our weakest point.

David O. McKay, “The Divine Church“, Conference Report, April 1962, pp. 5-9

For additional thoughts on this, check out this By Common Consent post from a couple of years ago

“Debunking that Quote about Brigham Young’s Greatest Fear”

Many of you are familiar with the quote from President Brigham Young that people use where supposedly he said:

The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.

Well, the Millenial Star had a  nice write-up about this recently. Apparently this is not a transcript from a talk, but a summary of a comment that Brigham Young most likely made. Interesting reading… check it out!

“We are His Work and His Glory”

Just a quick thought/note here…

Recently the Atonement Blog posted some remarks that Neal A Maxwell offered in his first address as an Apostle. We are all familiar with Moses 1: 39:

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

The Atonement Blog highlighted the fact that Elder Maxwell said that WE are God’s work, and His glory.

We can love Him, we can honor Him, we can worship Him! We can keep His commandments, and we can feast upon His scriptures! Yes, we who are so forgetful and even rebellious are never forgotten by Him! We are His “work” and His “glory,” and He is never distracted!

A very nice thought! Thanks to the Atonement Blog for sharing this…

184th Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

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Well, it’s over. I think my favourite session was the Saturday Afternoon General Session.

I mentioned that I had some things that I was hoping to get some inspiration for. I can’t say that I received any particular answers, but I have definitely felt the Spirit, which helps me to have some clarity. I appreciate that.

There were several talks that I quite liked. Here are a few of them:

  • Lynn G Robbins from Saturday Morning General Session
  • Cheryl A Esplin from Saturday Morning General Session
  • Dieter F Uchtdorf from Saturday Morning General Session
  • Dallin H Oaks from Saturday Afternoon General Session
  • Tad R Callister from Saturday Afternoon General Session
  • Jörg Klebingat from Saturday Afternoon General Session
  • Jeffrey R Holland from Saturday Afternoon General Session
  • Quentin L Cook from Priesthood Session
  • Henry B Eyring from Priesthood Session
  • Henry B Eyring from Sunday Morning General Session
  • M Russell Ballard from Sunday Afternoon General Session

Read the recaps and other notes from the 184th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: