Tag Archives: apostle

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.

Elder David A. Bednar Talks about the Ministry of an Apostle

Did you see this? Apparently someone sat down with Elder Bednar and did an interview with him. He talked about his life as an apostle, what he has learned, and more. I watched the 11-minute video last night. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a real “interview”. I cause that’s why the title says that Elder Bednar “talks” about things. I think it would have been nicer to have him actually interacting with someone.

Anyway, the point of this posting isn’t to talk about what was said, it was to talk about what was in his office 🙂  I wished we would have gotten some sort of tour of his office. He has a laptop, a larger screen above it, a snazzy desk phone, a clock radio (with what appeared to be an MP3 player sitting on top), and candy jars (I think). Did you notice anything else in his office, or did I see something that wasn’t there?

Leadership Training Conference with Elder Ballard

This past Saturday I attended a Priesthood Leadership Conference held at the Brampton Ontario Stake Centre (beside the Toronto Temple). It was presided over by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy traveled with him. Our Area Authority, W. T. David Murray was also there. The whole meeting lasted 4 1/2 hours (including a 1/2 lunch break). Even though an apostle was going to be there, I have to admit the thought of driving an hour and a half to go to another meeting wasn’t very appealing. It turned out to be a fantastic meeting. I am so glad I went.

Here are a few random notes:

  • Elder Ballard sounded good, and looked about the same as he does in General Conference
  • The technology setup was neat. When I heard this was going to be for all of Eastern Canada, I assumed it would be done via satellite, but it was done via a webcast. Through the whole meeting there was a screen up that showed people in Ottawa, Sudbury, Montreal, and in a few places in the Maritime provinces.
  • Rather than having them up at the pulpit, the first couple rows of pews were removed and a stage was setup. There was a long table with three chairs setup at the front of the room where they sat. It gave a more intimate feeling to the meeting. I was in the third row, about 20 feet away.
  • Throughout the meeting, you certainly could feel the humility of each of the men
  • Elder Ballard wore a Canada flag pin
  • Elder Ballard spoke of several problems, and each time told us to “Fix it!”
  • As a side note, after sitting through 4 hours of meetings, it occurred to me that pornography wasn’t mentioned once

We were never asked not to share our notes, so I’ll share a few highlights , but not everything (I had 6 pages of notes!)

—————–

Elder Clayton showed us this picture and we discussed what we saw.

The picture shows a pearl in a nice box. We discussed what the pearl and the box might be. Some people said it could be a man. The pearl is the heart. Others said it could be the Church (box) and the doctrine (the pearl). Elder Clayton then read from a talk by President Packer at the dedication of the Conference Center. President Packer shared a parable:

A merchant man seeking precious jewels found at last the perfect pearl. He had the finest craftsman carve a superb jewel box and line it with blue velvet. He put his pearl of great price on display so others could share his treasure. He watched as people came to see it. Soon he turned away in sorrow. It was the box they admired, not the pearl.
Boyd K. Packer, “The Cloven Tongues of Fire,” Ensign, May 2000, 7

Of course there is no right or wrong answer, but the point they were trying to make is that the pearl is the one thing that you need to do, whatever that may be. Don’t be distracted by the other things. We need to focus on the important thing(s).

—————–

Elder Ballard told us about some training that President Monson had done with all of the General Authorities. He spoke on the topic of “The Rescue”. He showed us this picture:

This is a painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner. It shows a boat in danger off in the distance, and they’ve set off a flare. There is another boat going out to rescue them. There are also people on the shore. Regardless of what the artist was showing, there are some clear gospel parallels. There are people in desperate need that we need to rescue. Sometimes it is hard or even dangerous, but there are people counting on us.

—————–

Elder Ballard said he and President Monson have known each other since 1951. President Monson used to work for Deseret News and Elder Ballard worked at his father’s car lot. President Monson used to come around and pick up the classified ads.

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Elder Murray (I think it was him) shared the store of Clinton T. Duffy. I believe this was from a talk called Judge Righteously by Bishop Keith McMullin, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric at LDS Business College Devotional on September 15, 2009.

“…famed prison warden Clinton T. Duffy, who became the warden at California’s San Quentin Prison in 1940. When he was appointed, he began one of the most dramatic housecleaning jobs in penal history. He fired the brutish captain of guards and six of his lieutenants. He closed up a dungeon of airless, lightless, unfurnished, iron-door [clad] stone cells into which convicts were thrown as punishment for even the most trivial offenses. At the time he became warden, men were being fed from buckets. He installed a cafeteria and hired a dietitian. To the horror of his staff, he strolled, unarmed, into the prison yard and chatted with convicts. To their infinite surprise, he strolled out again. He established a broad program of vocational training. He was the first warden to let prisoners listen to radios in their cells. He encouraged athletics, inaugurated a prison newspaper to which he contributed a regular column and established the first prison chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. In cleaning up San Quentin, he became one of the best-known, most admired prison administrators in U.S. penal history. But the most eloquent acclaim came from inside the walls, from the prisoners themselves, who truly respected him.
“A critic who knew of Warden Duffy’s efforts to rehabilitate the men said to him, ‘Don’t you know that leopards can’t change their spots?’
Responded Warden Duffy, ‘You should know that I don’t work with leopards. I work with men, and men change every day.’”

Great line there at the end!

—————–

As part of his concluding testimony, Elder Ballard shared “The Oak Tree” poem by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr:

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

Random 179th Annual General Conference notes

Now that General Conference is over, here are a few random thoughts/notes:

  • best line of the conference (in my opinion) was when President Monson said that “your future is as bright as your faith”. That really puts things back on us
  • Elder Andersen seemed very humble. I’ve read some grumblings on the Internet about how he’s another white guy from Utah. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that he’s not the man whom the Lord wants
  • The Church had about 265,000 convert baptisms in 2008. During the press conference, Elder Andersen said that over 40,000 convert baptisms were in Brazil. If those numbers are true and are talking about the same sorts of statistics, that is amazing that around 1/6 of the convert baptisms in the Church are happening in one country
  • The music was great as always. I thought “Sweet Hour of Prayer” during the Sunday Morning session was perfect.
  • There seemed to be lots of “pep” talks… talks that encouraged us to be strong, endure, and have faith
  • Isn’t President Uchtdorf is great?!
  • A kid in my ward wore a Batman mask during the Sunday morning session
  • There were several talks on the temple. I guess this ties into the “pep” talks above. Go to the temple and feel the strength there.
  • There were fewer talks on budgeting than I expected
  • I have a hard time getting through all 10 hours. I don’t know how the people up on the stand do it.

Read the recaps from the sessions of the 179th Annual General Conference

179th Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning Session

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We had planned on going to the Church to watch the first session of conference, but two of our children are sick, so we stayed at home. On the one hand, it’s nice relaxing at home, but on the other hand, it can be very distracting. However, given a choice, I’d probably rather watch at home.

It was reported to me that we had about 40 people attend the session at Church.

President Thomas S. Monson conducted

President Thomas S. Monson

  • opened the conference
  • noted the absence of Joseph B. Wirthlin
  • Announced Neil L. Anderson as new apostle
  • He said to him it would be “the longest walk you’ll ever take!”
  • They rededicated the Mexico temple
  • 87000 there for cultural night
  • also dedicated the Draper Utah temple
  • The Church is doing very well
  • We have 53,000 missionaries in 348 missions
  • Perpetual Education Fund is moving forward. 35,600 young men and women enrolled. 18,900 finished.

Elder Robert D. Hales

  • children growing up in time of uncertainty
  • excess debt and addiction have caused problems, undermined family relationships
  • our success is never measured by how strong the temptation, but how faithful the response
  • need to be provident providers
  • joyfully live within our means
  • keep basic command of “thou shalt not covet”
  • pay tithing
  • donate fast offerings
  • evaluate whether something has temporary or eternal value

Margaret S. Lifferth

  • respect one another
  • learn it at home, in sports, when discussing religion
  • each of us is a child of God and are brothers and sisters
  • respect for others is close to reverence for God
  • address leaders properly

Brother Michael A. Neider

  • commended YW for adding virtue to their values
  • don’t underestimate the youth and their abilities

Elder Alan F. Packer

  • tough times, but still a great time to be a live
  • learn to recognize the Spirit
  • we will receive answers and learn how the Spirit works in us
  • we will know, and know that we know

D. Todd Christofferson ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • told story of earthquake in Chile and the commitment of a branch president and his wife
  • we need strong Christians who can persevere and sustain hope
  • we need strong Christians who make important things happen because of their faith
  • we need to protect against militant atheism
  • follow the covenant path

President Eyring ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • How could this happen?
  • we have opportunities to face affliction
  • Remember, the Savior suffered as well

Read the recaps from the other sessions of General Conference:

Upcoming General Conference – a new apostle

It wasn’t until I saw a posting from LDS.About.com that I remembered that there will be a new apostle called at the upcoming General Conference. Hmmm… where are all the posts asking for predictions? 🙂 I don’t have any predictions myself. I have no idea whom the Lord will choose, but trust that it will indeed be the right choice.

With regards to topics, I assume that we’ll hear lots about financial responsibility, living within our means, and budgeting. Other than those obvious topics, I’ve received no email forwards of supposed rumours about some big earth-shattering announcement at the upcoming conference.

Speaking of General Conference, I expect that I’ll be doing my postings like I have for the last two conferences (see April 2008 and October 2008).

Brother Russ Ballard in the Instructor

1970_july_instructor_cover

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently borrowed some old issues of the Instructor magazine (see The Busy George Romneys – Juvenile Instructor May 1958 and April 1957 Juvenile Instructor – Draw It With Chalk… note: I erroneously called the magazine Juvenile Instructor). The July 1970 issue of the magazine had an article by some guy named Russ Ballard:

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Russ Ballard is president of the Family Achievement Institute and the organizer of several business in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he and his wife, Barbara Bowen, make their home. The couple have seven children and are members of the Monument park (Utah) Stake. Brother Ballard completed a mission to Great Britain in 1950, has served as a high councilor and twice as a bishop. He currently teaches Sunday School in the Monument Park 13th Ward.

Yes, that is Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love stuff like this. I loved hearing Presidents Hinckley, Monson and Faust, referring to themselves or each other as Gordon, Tommy, and Jim (I wonder if Dieter has an short-form). We show so much respect and reverence for their positions, that sometimes we forget these are men, who at one point lived just like me. I actually find it more faith-promoting to think of these men as regular men who have overcome the average challenges of life to become who they are, rather than as these perfected beings that we seem to associate with Prophets, Seers and Revelators. I wonder what type of a person Russ was… Was he a good Sunday School teacher? Did his members like him when he was a bishop? Was there any sign in 1970 that 15 years later he’d be an Apostle?

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