Category Archives: Mormon Church Tradition

187th Annual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

Between sessions, I napped for a bit while my kids watched Moana in the background. We’re all gathered around now for the last session of conference. It looks like President Thomas S Monson is not in attendance for this final session.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Come, Rejoice

The invocation was offered by Elder Eduardo Gaverret

The choir sang More Holiness Give Me

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • We should have a desire to warn others, to share the gospel with our neighbour
  • Parents need to warn their children
  • In a moral system, life is based on who is included and not included
  • It is a culture of sensitivity and panic
  • The modern shame culture is supposed to include everyone, but is unmerciful to those who disagree
  • As watchmen and disciples, we cannot be neutral

Elder Joaquin E Costa

  • Things he learned as he met with the missionaries
    • Meet with the missionaries
    • Attend Church
    • Read the Book of Mormon and pray about it
    • Experience repentance
  • If you are investigating or a friend of the Church, you are very close. We invite you to go and be baptized

Elder S Mark Palmer

  • How can we be filled with Christ-like love so we can help others to change
  • As we learn to see others as the Lord see them, a love for them will grow and so will our desire to help them
  • No teaching or learning will ever occur when done in frustration or anger
  • Love should never be withdrawn when someone fails to live up to our expectation
  • Because He loves us, the Lord expects much from us

The choir and congregation sang The Iron Rod

Elder Gary E Stevenson

  • How does the Holy Ghost help you?
  • The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead
  • The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands
  • He told the story about how missionaries were safe after the Fukushima Japan earthquake because a leader was prompted to have the missionaries attend a meeting inland

Elder C Scott Grow

  • We can begin to know God through prayer
  • As you read the scriptures, you will hear his voice
  • We do the will of the Father by keeping our covenants and keeping
  • As we strive to become like God, he can make of us more than we can make of ourselves

Elder Benjamín De Hoyos

  • We can be a light or ensign to other people
  • We can be an ensign by doing family history work
  • We can be an ensign by teaching in the Savior’s way
  • We can be an ensign as we keep the Sabbath holy

The choir sang Keep the Commandments

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • Spiritual guidance is received when needed and according to the Lord’s time
  • The Urim and Thummim and the seer stones may have been like training wheels that were only necessary until Joseph had the confidence to do it himself
  • Weekly participation in weekly Sacrament Meeting has spiritual ramifications we do not understand
  • Faith is a principle of power
  • What are the blessings of faith? Our sins are forgiven, we have communion with the Holy Spirit, salvation comes, we receive strength according to our faith, we can enter into His rest, prayers are answered, God can do miracles
  • Our faith in Jesus Christ is the eseential foundation for our salvation

The choir sang How Firm a Foundation

The benediction was offered by Elder Marcos A Aidukaitis


Read the recaps and other notes from the 187th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

187th Annual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

I saw this every 6 months, but I love General Conference morning! I slept in until 7:30, which is pretty late for me. We got up, watched a family movie together while having a yummy French Toast Bake that my wife made. We then played a game and went for a walk. My wife and daughter had a choir practice this morning as well.

We’re all gathered around now, finishing up Music and the Spoken Word, and ready for the Sunday Morning General Session to start.


One of the Bible videos played at noon right when the session should have started

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Press Forward, Saints

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang Now Let Us Rejoice

The invocation was offered by Sister Neill F Marriott

The choir sang Love is Spoken Here

President Thomas S Monson

  • 5 new temples in Brasília Brazil, Manila Philippines, Nairobi Kenya, Pocatello Idaho, Saratoga Springs Utah
  • The power of the Book of Momron and the power we have to study it
  • A strong testimony of the Savior and His gospel will help us to safety in the world today
  • If you are not reading the Book of Mormon regularly, please do so
  • The testimony of others will only carry us so far. We need our own testimony and to maintain it

Sister Joy D Jones

  • We need sin-resistant children
  • They need learn patterns of daily personal discipleship
  • Begin at very early ages
  • There is unusual power in making and keeping covenants with our Father in Heaven
  • Helping children understand covenants is key in making a sin-resistant generation
  • Keeping covenants is always independent of our situation

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi

  • Told of his father’s missionary efforts as well as family history efforts
  • All of us are in the middle of an eternal family
  • President Hinckley said to never let yourself be the weak link in our eternal family
  • Do not lose your faith because of the people around you. Don’t look around, but look up to Jesus

Elder Ronald A Rasband

  • Let the Holy Spirit guide
  • Joy that fills our souls brings with it an eternal perspective
  • We must strive to be worthy to have the Spirit with us
  • We must lay aside the things of this world for the Spirit does not dwell in unholy temples
  • We must always try to obey God’s laws
  • We must be willing to receive the Spirit
  • We must recognize the Spirit
  • We must act on the first prompting
  • Be a “first responder”. We need to respond immediately, just as firefighters, police and paramedics

The choir and congregation sang Come, Ye Children of the Lord

Elder L Whitney Clayton

  • We need to trust in the Lord
  • We need to return to simple acts of faith
  • When you are deliberate in your obedience, you are blessed with faith and strength that go far beyond the things which you are obedient to
  • God will always bless us for our steadfast obedience, but he rarely shows us His timetable in advance
  • That is where faith, hope, and trusting in the Lord comes in
  • Real obedience accepts God’s commandments unconditionally and in advance

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • What we believe about the Godhead is different than what other faiths believe
  • He reviewed the role of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

The choir sang Dearest Children, God Is Near You

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • He mentioned the Great Awakening that was happening during Joseph Smith’s youth and how often the preachers used fear to impact how people felt
  • How much do we use fear to motivate others?
  • People who are fearful often do the right thing, but they don’t feel the right thing
  • The Lord has made it clear what the fruits of the Spirit are
  • We need to rejoice in the Lord
  • There is no fear in Christ’s love
  • God knows you perfectly. He loves you perfectly. He knows what your future holds. He wants you to be not afraid, only believe and abide in His perfect love.

The choir sang High on the Mountain Top

The benediction was offered by Elder Richard J Maynes


Read the recaps and other notes from the 187th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

187th Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

My father, my brother-in-law, my two sons and I are gathered in our family room ready to watch the Priesthood Session. We have pizza and wings from Pete’s Pizza, Cactus Cut Potatoes from Boston Pizza, and some chicken from Popeyes


President Dieter F Ucthdorf conducted

A choir made up of Young Single Adults from the Holladay and Murray Utah sang Rise Up, O Men of God

The invocation was offered by Elder Vern P Stanfill

The choir sang Jesus, Once of Humble Birth

President Thomas S Monson (the broadcast had captioning since President Monson sometimes slurs his words now)

  • charity never faitheth
  • As preisthood holders, we must be kind
  • look at our own lives and be kind
  • we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven

Elder David A Bednar

  • Missionaries are called to serve
  • They are assigned to labour
  • If an assignment changes, missionaries should not feel disappointed or guilty
  • Priesthood/Temple/Mission all go together
  • Emphasis should be given to all, not just mission

Bishop Gérald Caussé

  • Shared a story about his boss at work promoting him because he knew his faith and values that he had learned at Church
  • If we could follow the pattern of Jesus and John the Baptist, the priesthood work would move forward in ways unimaginable
  • Get the YM involved, don’t just entertain them

The choir and congregation sang Redeemer of Israel

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Told of the Madrid Spain temple dedication and he did not receive an invitation
  • You can’t get honour in the kingdom of God by campaigning for it, nor can you power lunge your way to eternal glory
  • We need to see others as God sees them
  • Rejoice with those who are happy, weeping with those who grieve, lifting up those who are weak
  • God’s greatest reward goes to those who serve without expectation of reward
  • In the eyes of God there is no calling that is more important than another
  • One kind of service is not above another

President Henry B Eyring

  • We need to have confidence in the Lord that we can do what is required of us
  • He shared a few scriptural examples of people who were strengthened when they thought they couldn’t do it
  • Our ordination is an invitation to walk with Him
  • As soon as we accept the invitation, the nature of our service changes. It becomes more achievable
  • God will notice and support even the newest Deacon
  • The Lord’s work is not just to solve problems, but to build people
  • The most efficient solution isn’t always the best solution, as it won’t allow people to grow
  • Walking with the Savior in priesthood service will change the way you look at others

The choir sang Hope of Israel

The benediction was offered by Elder Carlos A Godoy


Read the recaps and other notes from the 187th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

187th Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

So, I’m home from work now and the family is gathered in our living room ready to watch the afternoon session.


President Henry B Eyring conducted. NOTE: President Thomas S Monson was NOT in attendance, but they did not announce it.

A family choir made up of members from the stakes in Tremonton, Garland and Fielding Utah sang Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth

The invocation was offered by Elder Von G Keetch

President Dieter F Uchtdorf did the sustaining of Church officers

Kevin R Jergensen, Managing Director Church Auditing Department

  • things are done in accordance to approved budgets, policies and accounting practices

2016 Statistical Report presented by Brooke P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency

The choir sang a medley of I Am A Child of God and How Will They Know?

Elder Robert D Hales

  • Weaving a tapestry of discipleship is more than a single thread
  • We minister to everyone, even if they are different than us
  • Now more than ever we cannot be part-time disciples
  • We can’t be disciples on just one point of doctrine
  • Discipleship is not limited by age, gender, ethnic origin or calling

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • Just as we sound better when we sing a song if we are beside someone with a good voice, we should be trying to stand as close as possible to Savior when we want to sing the song of redeeming love
  • It is by design that not all voices are the same
  • There is room for diverse languages, culture, marital status, childless and more
  • There is room for those who have questions, with differing sexual attractions. There is room for everyone who loves God and honours His commandments
  • Come as you are, but don’t plan to stay as you are

The choir and congregation sang Go Forth with Faith

Elders Gary B Sabin

  • We need to be all-in, not lukewarm
  • Often we don’t take the time to sincerely pray and do other important things. When we don’t we risk having our fire go out
  • We need to stand up inside
  • It is hard to measure the good we can do

Elder Valeri V. Cordón

  • He has observed that people who speak Spanish stop speaking the language. Within a couple of generations, the language is lost
  • Just as we need to preserve our mother tongue, we also need to preserve the language of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • We need to avoid traditions that stop us from keeping the Sabbath Day holy

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • We need to overcome the world
  • Told of Elder Bruce D Porter’s health problems and how he overcame the world

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • Those who accomplish the most in this life are those with goals
  • Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring great meaning to your life
  • A plan and a goal are different things
  • We need to interview ourself

The choir sang A Child’s Prayer

The benediction was offered by Elder Hugo Montoya


Read the recaps and other notes from the 187th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

187th Annual General Conference – General Women’s Session

I haven’t had a chance to watch the General Women’s Session of General Conference. We were driving home from Florida on that day and so we missed it. I’m sure my wife and daughter will watch it soon.

Since I don’t have any of my own notes, I wanted to share a few links in case you haven’t been able to find these yourself:


Read the recaps and other notes from the 187th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

184th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

184th_semiannual_general_conference_header

The family is gathered together and we are set to get started. Since my oldest is now 12, he is going to watch all of the sessions with us. The younger two will watch half an hour of each session, all of Sunday morning, and then President Monson’s conclusion on Sunday afternoon.

Let’s get going…


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang The Morning Breaks

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang High on the Mountain Top

Sister Bonnie L Oscarson offered the invocation

President Thomas S Monson

  • 90-year anniversary of radio broadcast
  • 65-year anniversary of tv broadcast
  • 1 new temple dedicated (Florida Fort Lauderdale) by President Uchtdorf
  • 1 temple rededicated (Utah Ogden) by President Monson
  • New Phoenix temple will be dedicated next month
  • In 2015 there will be 5 temples dedicated or rededicated, with more possible depending on how things go
  • When all previously announced are done there will be  170 operating temples
  • No new temples to announce
  • The Church continues to grow
  • Over 88,000 missionaries serving

The choir sang Beautiful Zion, Built Above

President Boyd K Packer (he looked good, but seemed to have a hard time speaking)

  • Told story about giving Oxford a copy of the scriptures, and pointing out the 18 pages about Christ in the Topical Guide
  • Our scriptures are full of references to the Savior
  • The mercy and grace of Chris is available to all
  • No matter how large the Church becomes, the true success of the Gospel will be measured by the spiritual strength of its individual members

Elder Lynn G Robbins

  • Which way do you face?
  • We should not flip/reverse the first two great commandments
  • We should not try to please others instead of pleasing God
  • If we are facing the wrong way, we can turn around
  • Lowering our standards to meet the world is apostacy

Sister Cheryl A Esplin

  • What do you wish you had known when you were younger?
  • I wish I had understood the significance of the Sacrament
  • Spoke all about the Sacrament

The choir and congregation sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

Elder Chi Hong Wong (spoke in Cantonese)

  • Reach out and rescue
  • He compared the story of the man with palsy being lowered through the roof to our efforts to rescuing
  • There are sometimes obstacles, but we can’t give up
  • With so many missionaries in our units, we need to get them involved
  • Our combined faith can help others

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • We see God’s love through His commandments
  • The Gospel opens the path to what we may become
  • Christ died not to save indiscriminately, but to offer repentance
  • Freedom comes not from resisting it, but from applying it

The choir sang If I Listen With My Heart

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • A century ago, we thought we were alone in the universe, that the Milky Way was the only galaxy
  • With greater light, we have been introduced to glorious vistas we had never before imagined
  • If people haven’t experienced things, received the more complete light of truth, then they don’t believe new truth
  • As humans we believe we are right, even when we are wrong
  • We can know truth for ourselves
  • Read the scriptures, ponder, and be grateful
  • Ask Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to manifest the truth of the Church unto you
  • Put the Gospel and Church teachings to the test in your life
  • Spiritual truth will fill your heart

The choir sang From All That Dwell below the Skies

The benediction was offered by Bradley D Foster


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

Why Don’t Mormons Recite the Lord’s Prayer?

This isn’t something I’ve spent much time thinking about, but Religion News Service has an interesting posting about why Mormons don’t use the Lord’s Prayer.

I remember reciting the Lord’s Prayer in elementary school (before it was decided that you couldn’t do that anymore). As a young kid, I didn’t think at all about what the words meant. I rarely come across the Lord’s prayer now as an adult. Since I’ve been a Mormon my entire life, I don’t really see how reciting it is helpful to people. The comparison is made to some of our ordinances having set wording, but the difference is just that… that it is an ordinance prayer, not just a “regular” prayer.

To me it is just like a lot of things with religion. If you feel the Spirit and feel closer to God, then go for it. If it doesn’t help you, then try something else.

On the wrong (or right) side of the tracks

tracks

For the first time in my time in the Church I will be experiencing the unique Mormon ritual of changing ward boundaries. I know that other churches have different methods of distributing their members, but no one seems to be as “strict” about it as we are.

I live in an area where there are three cities fairly close together with a fourth about half an hour away. The various boundaries were set 20 years ago and haven’t changed since. As demographics have shifted some wards have grown and some have shrunk, and so the existing boundaries lead to an imbalance of membership.

About halfway through my time as bishop we were looking at some boundary changes but nothing ever came of it. At the time it seemed that the wards were doing ok. The boundary work we were doing was just to clean things up. There were going to be very few members affected by the changes. However these days it seems that a couple of the wards are having a very hard time getting people out. Another ward is definitely smaller than they used to be. I’m pretty sure that the ward I am in is the biggest ward in the area  (not that I have much to do with that fact). I have absolutely no inside information, but I suspect that my current ward will be hardest hit by this.

So this coming Sunday all of the area wards will be meeting together and sustaining whatever changes are announced. They are expecting around 500 people and we’ll be having the Sacrament. The YM from two of the wards will be taking care of that. I’ve never been to such a large Sacrament Meeting, so it will be interesting. I don’t think this is a normal part of these meetings, but with General Conference earlier this month and Stake Conference at the end of the month, the Stake President was concerned that we’d only be taking the Sacrament once this month.

On the one hand, who cares where we go to Church? What does that have to do with my testimony and desires of my heart? We talk about ward families, but we wouldn’t just ship off our brother or sister in our real family to be part of another family (at least not by choice). On the other hand it shouldn’t matter where we attend. The Church is the same. We’ll make new friends and stay in touch with the friends that are changing wards. We should be willing to go where we are needed, and build up the kingdom where we are.

The only tough part for me will be not seeing some of my good friends as often as we did. We can obviously still be friends, but when most of our time together was spent at Church and Church activities, it just won’t be the same. We’ll just have to try harder to stay close.

I assume that where we live I will still be in my current ward, but depending on what the needs are in other wards they could shift a border and we’d end up going somewhere else. I guess we’ll find out soon enough…

Note: I’ve never been to one of these big meetings where changes like this are made, so I’ll report back on it next week.

The rain falls on the just and unjust

I have a Pocket PC device, and I was cleaning it up yesterday, and came across a couple of notes from last November’s Stake Conference. I can’t remember what the talk was about, or who it was that was speaking, but the person had quoted from Matthew 5:44-45:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

The Saviour is telling us to be kind to those who are unkind to us. I’ve always understood the last part of verse 45 to mean that rain is a good thing. We are to do good to others, even as He allows good things to happen (rain falling on crops) to everyone. However, the person who was speaking interpreted that verse to be a negative thing, as in just as rain falls on everyone, we all face tough times.

It just got me thinking about how there are often many ways something can be interpreted, and there is rarely a right answer as to which interpretation is the correct interpretation. This then got me thinking about how we do things in the Church. I’ve read online many times where people lament correlation, and how we have no freedom to do anything. That isn’t true. Sure, the Church Handbook of Instructions gives you guidelines, but I do think you have a lot of leeway in how you implement those guidelines. The problems that arise more often than not are because people think things are “supposed to” be a certain way. When talking to these people, I always think of a line from The Simpsons. The family moved, and Bart was put in an earlier grade than he was in Springfield:

Bart: Look, lady, I’m s’posed to be in the 4th grade
Teacher: Sounds to me like someone’s got a case of the spose’das

In the Church, there seems to be a lot of people who have a case of the spose’das. I don’t know if it is correlation’s fault or not, but too many people think things are supposed to be a certain way. They are always surprised when I nicely explain to them that it may have been like that previously, but now we have more options. Just because something was done before, doesn’t mean we are “s’posed to” do that.

There are very few things that are mandated. It really is one of the beautiful things about the Church. Local leaders extend calls to other leaders, and we all work together to help the work move forward. Sometimes we use the “best practices” of others and sometimes we try new things. We keep using what works, and take a pass on the things that don’t work.

Whether rain is a good thing or a bad thing, I’m glad that I can choose for myself.

Family Home Evening on Samuel the Lamanite

I’m not sure where my wife got the idea from, but recently she did a Family Home Evening lesson about Samuel the Lamanite. She made a “wall” out of Rice Krispie Squares and had a bunch of the kids toys standing on the table in front of the “wall”. A “Lamanite warrior” figure that my sister had purchased for my sons was used as Samuel.

In the crowd was smurfs, Geotrax men, army men, Little People (including a tourist, pilot, ice cream man, cave girl, and more) and a Mega Bloks Buzz Lightyear (that another sister had purchased for my sons).

It looks exactly like the scripture in Helaman 16!

And now, it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city. And as many as believed on his word went forth and sought for Nephi; and when they had come forth and found him they confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring that they might be baptized unto the Lord.

But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows.