Tag Archives: elder ballard

2012 Canada-wide Stake Conference

On Sunday, May 27, 2012 we had what appears to be a bi-annual Canada-wide Stake Conference. The Saturday portion of Stake Conference was still a local event, but the Sunday morning session was broadcast from one of the studios at the Conference Centre.

In the morning while still at home, my 9-year-old son offered our family prayer, and he prayed that the speakers at the conference wouldn’t be nervous speaking in front of a lot of people. Cool!

Elder William R Walker conducted and President Boyd K Packer presided. They were accompanied by D Todd Christofferson and Sister Carole M Stephens.

A couple of days before the conference I asked my wife which of Elder Ballard or President Monson would be speaking. She said Elder Ballard for sure, but thought both of them would be there, seeing as they have such a connection to Canada. Well, neither of them was there.

Apparently there was something like 47 stakes and 3 districts participating in the conference.

The opening and closing of the conference were done locally.

Here are my notes from the meeting:

Elder William R Walker

  • We need to point our children to the temple
  • In 1912 there were 7,000 members in Canada, most of them from Southern Alberta
  • The Alberta Temple was announced in October 1912 and the ground-breaking ceremony was on July 27, 1913 by Joseph F Smith
  • The temple was dedicated by Heber J Grant in August 1923
  • There are now temples in Cardston, Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Calgary will be open soon, and Winnipeg has been announced
  • There will soon be 9 temples in Canada, the same number of temples that were in all the Church in 1955
  • The temple should be the great symbol of our membership

Sister Carole M Stevens

  • We need to prepare our children for the evil world ahead of them
  • We need to act with faith, not fear
  • Don’t waste time with “I wish I would have…” Start today!

The intermediate/congregational hymn was “How Firm a Foundation

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • He recounted his connection to Canada
  • Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life is made
  • Why must we be commanded to serve one another?
  • Even though President Monson can’t reach everyone, he still does what he can
  • We are a church of service
  • The most crucial services is in our own home
  • The Savior is the great Exemplar of service

President Boyd K Packer
Note: President Packer did NOT sound good. He was hard to understand, and didn’t seem to be able to remember things. He would try to speak without looking at his notes, but then had to refer back to them

  • He spoke of his experiences of Canada
  • He was President of the New England Mission, and that involved trips to Eastern Canada
  • We have to remember the Gospel is true
  • When we get that feeling in our hearts, we know what we need to know
  • It’s not an easy thing to be a member, but it is easier than anything else if we do what is right
  • Never be ashamed of the Church
  • He blessed us to “take faith”

Canada-wide Stake Conference

I was going through some drafts that I had, and this one stuck out. Apparently 2 years ago we had a Canada-wide Stake Conference that was broadcast from Salt Lake City. Well, here we are 2 years later, and we have one this coming Sunday. I figured that I might as well post the notes that I typed up (but never posted) from the conference from 2 years ago, and then I’ll post the current notes next week. Obviously I paid a lot more attention to the Saturday broadcast than the Sunday one. I was still the bishop of the ward at that time, and the Saturday session essentially took the place of the local Priesthood Leadership session.

Saturday

Elder Pace

  • We can’t receive too much counsel
  • Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are lacking because they are failing to tap into the power of the quorum
  • our leaders try to prime the pump of revelation, but we need to receive the revelation from deity

Elder Ballard

  • Q) how we do combat pornography
  • A) we draw a line in our minds over which we will never step
  • stop, repent, quit, draw the line
  • make a resolve and commitment with the Lord that you will not step over into the devil’s playground
  • pornography will destroy your spirituality
  • if this is an issue, stop it today
  • be careful on other sites as well (like Facebook)
  • stay on the Lord’s side
  • Matthew 25 – do not be a goat

President Uchtdorf

  • he has lived more of his life in districts than in stakes
  • don’t wait to make an impact in the lives of our children
  • in today’s world, don’t trust the compass the world is offering
  • trust the Holy Ghost
  • spoke of compass ambiguity as he traveled in northern Canada (has been to Frobisher Lake and Goose Lake)
  • use the time you have in your calling
  • don’t dare say “if only I was the…”
  • 1 Samuel 10 – the Lord will turn us into another man
  • there is no small calling in the Church

Sunday

  • 111 downlink sites
  • 10 + languages
  • my son asked if there was another episode
  • Elder Pace on both days called Elder Ballard by the name Russell M Ballard
  • President Uchtdorf was very fidgety
  • Truly a united nation of the Church
  • 800+ missionaries
  • President Uchtdorf said that sometimes we have to look for something different to see the true identity. Bald Eagle, golf balls

What’s wrong with Elder Hales?

If you saw General Conference, you definitely noticed that Elder Robert D Hales looked significantly different. He looked “puffy”, spoke from a chair, and had oxygen tubes in his nose. He didn’t say what was wrong with him. Elder Ballard and President Monson both referred to how it was nice to see him, but no one shared what was wrong.

Yesterday and today the Church News & Events page, the LDS Newsroom, and the Deseret News all posted about a statement issued by Elder Hales:

I continue to work with doctors and physical therapists to regain my strength. I am grateful for the faith and prayers that made it possible for me to participate in general conference and resume my responsibilities. I am touched by the many kind expressions of love and support shown to me and your continued prayers.

None of the three sources I mentioned talk about what the health challenges were that Elder Hales faced.

Do you think it was a good idea to post the statement, or does it lead to more questions? Part of me says they should share what is wrong with him. There are millions of people who are concerned about him, and continually using the phrase “health challenges” seems pointless. Another part of me says that it is his health, and he deserves privacy, so we should all back off. Yet another part of me says that if Elder Hales shared what is wrong with him, there would be critics of the Church who would use that as an excuse to talk about the “old men” who lead the Church and that they aren’t capable.

I’m still not settled on what I think the best way is to handle this, but I do know that I hope for the best for Elder Hales. I hope and pray that he isn’t suffering, and that he recovers.

180th Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

We watched this last session in the comfort of our own home. Our oldest son (8 years old) watched some of it with us.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Come, Rejoice

Elder Lawrence E Corbridge offered the invocation

The choir sang Lead, Kindly Light

Elder L Tom Perry

  • talked about how he had brought his grandson to the pulpit years ago
  • YM have priesthood responsibilities
  • children need to learn of the blessings of holding the priesthood
  • bishops have the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood
  • be certain the YM are worthy, and that they understand the obligations and blessings
  • give them important assignments

Elder David A Bednar

  • actually receive the Holy Ghost
  • revelations are conveyed through the Holy Ghost
  • the simplicity of the ordinance may make us not realize the importance of it
  • all gospel activities are based on helping us feel the Holy Ghost in our lives

Elder Larry R Lawrence

  • parents who love their children cannot afford to be intimidated by them
  • young people understand more than we realize

The choir and congregation sang I Am a Child of God

Elder Per G Malm

  • told a story about a hollow tree; it looks solid, but up close you could see it was hollow; it took years to get that way
  • we need to be solid and filled from the inside out
  • we need to handle the small things in a proper way
  • beware of things that would destroy from the inside out

Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

  • sins are intentional disobedience
  • forms of sin are everywhere
  • pornography destroys character
  • if we sin, we must look for help quickly

Elder Mervyn B Arnold

  • what have you done with my name?
  • as we partake of the sacrament, we take upon us the name of Christ
  • his parents gave them something more precious than gold. They left their testimony and taught them to be honest
  • before you act, picture the Savior standing by your side, would you think it, would you say it or do it knowing he was there, for surely he is there

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • talked about fly fishing
  • the use of artificial lures to catch fish is like Lucifer trying to capture us
  • he captures us with counterfeit lures
  • Lucifer does NOT catch and release
  • Lucifer is a clever and cunning intelligence
  • addictions can control us

President Thomas S Monson

  • he appreciates the truths that have been taught
  • we should carefully study the messages when we get the magazine issues

The choir sang Sing We Now at Parting

Bishop H David Burton offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 180th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

The temple recommend of a prophet, seer and revelator

I mentioned before that back in March, Elder M Russell Ballard came to do some training. He was physically at the stake centre beside the Toronto Ontario Temple, but the training was for all of Eastern Canada. Leading up to the meeting, we were told that there would be a special temple session that Elder Ballard would attend. We were to let the temple know if we could go so they knew how many people to expect.

I know the person who was checking the temple recommends that day, and he told me that Elder Ballard had a special recommend. It was NOT the same as ours. There was no barcode on it, no expiry date and all three members of the First Presidency sign it. Neat!

This of course brings to mind a few questions:

  • Did he have an interview when he first got it?
  • Does he have the same recommend since he first became an apostle?
  • Do they get new ones if something on the recommend changes, like a change to the First Presidency, or even the new Church logo from a while ago?

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.

—————–

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

179th Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

179th_semiannual_general_conference

Well, another General Conference has come and gone. There were no “Wow!” talks for me this year. This isn’t to say that they were boring or that they wouldn’t have affected anyone. There are definitely things that I will work harder on now. I’ve made my notes (obviously), and we’ll have lots to choose from for the 4th Sunday lessons.

I loved Elder Ballard’s talk during the Priesthood Session (suggestions for sons and fathers to get along better). As always, I also enjoyed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing was beautiful, as was O, Divine Redeemer.

One last time I’ll comment on how great the Move Networks player is. Perfect! It just amazes me that I can sit in my living room and watch General Conference in something close to HD on my living room TV. This might be normal for many parts of the United States, but not here.

It was neat hearing Sister Dibb mention our city by name. I drive by or over the Garden City Skyway almost every day. It is kind of neat to think that I’m the bishop of the ward whose city was mentioned by name in General Conference.

Watching/participating in General Conference reaffirms my testimony. I love the Church, and love its teachings and principles. It is true!

Read the recaps and other notes from the 179th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

179th Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon Session

179th_annual_general_conference

As I mentioned l last time, I was a little distracted during the first session, but I was able to pay attention more during this second session. There were several good talks that I made note of and we might use them in my ward for the 4th Sunday lessons.

It was reported to me that we still had about 46 people attend the session at Church.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf is conducting

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf did the sustaining

  • The Sunday School General Presidency and the Young Men General Presidency was changed
  • There were a bunch of Area Seventies released, including Clayton M. Christensen. Elder Christensen visited one of our stake conferences, and was awesome

Auditing Department Report

  • it’s all good

First Presidency Secretary Statistical Report

  • 2,818 stakes
  • 348 missions
  • 622 districts
  • 28109 wards and branches
  • 13,508,509 members
  • 123,502 child of record baptisms
  • 265,593 convert baptisms
  • 389,095 total baptisms (my calculation, not report in conference)
  • 52,494 missionaries
  • 4 temples dedicated
  • 128 temples total in operation

M. Russell Ballard ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • First and last Edsel dealership
  • Some of the most powerful lessons can come from those who have come before you
  • Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it
  • There are great lessons to be learned from the past
  • Learn them, so you don’t exhaust your spiritual strength
  • be wise and learn the lessons of the past
  • no new technology to help you can a testimony… you can’t Google it or text message

Elder Quentin L. Cook ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • there has been an increase in the discussion of our faith
  • in 1863 Charles Dickens was going to report on the Saints. He went onboard to bear testimony against them, but he found them to be the “pick and flower of England”
  • some descriptions of us are harsh
  • non-believers find it hard to accept the miracles in the scriptures
  • traditional definition of hell not consistent with the restoration
  • we need civility and mutual respect between people of other faiths
  • other churches do much good, bless mankind, and teach about Christ.. we should not criticize them

Kevin W. Pearson ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • faith is a principle of action and power
  • we can give our children many things, but if we don’t give them faith in Christ, we have given them little
  • if we desire more faith, we must be more obedient
  • fear and faith cannot co-exist
  • 6 destructive D’s
    • doubt
    • discouragement
    • distraction
    • lack of diligence
    • disobedience
    • disbelief

Elder Rafael E. Pino

  • told story of former counselor whose daughter had drowned
  • “my peace I give unto you”
  • endure adversity confidently

Elder Richard G. Scott ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • I’m going to speak heart to heart, without mincing words
  • temples
  • go to the temple often
  • what activity could have greater impact
  • remove your watch when you enter the House of the Lord
  • personal story of two of his children who died as small children, who are in the Celestial Kingdom and born in the covenant
  • when we keep the temple covenants, then come what may, we have no reason to worry or feel despondent

Elder Russell M. Nelson ** might use this as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • hearken to the will of the Lord
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • a pattern to follow, not a piece to repeat often
  • we can pray for unity
  • pray in Jesus’ name
  • don’t overdo our prayers and fasting
  • closing prayer doesn’t need to summarize and become an unscheduled sermon
  • private prayers can be as long as we want, but public prayers should be short supplications or expressions of gratitude
  • do not be casual in the way we speak in our prayers
  • we should pray to God “Thy will be done”
  • pray that His kingdom will go forth

Read the recaps from the other sessions of General Conference: