Tag Archives: first presidency

186th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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I almost didn’t make it home from work on time. I have to cross a canal on the way home, and there is a website where you can check when the bridge will be up. I left work and it was supposed to be up in about an hour. Then 30 minutes later when I got there the bridge was up. Frustrating!

Regardless, as a family we are gathered in our family room watching the broadcast.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir made up of missionaries from the Provo Missionary Training Center sang Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (it was beautiful!)

The invocation was offered by Elder Daniel L Johnson

President Henry B Eyring did the sustaining of Church officers. As is usual now, there were those who opposed during the sustaining of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. There were a few General Authority Seventies released (Daniel L. Johnson, Jairo Mazzagardi, Kent F. Richards and Francisco J. Viñas) but no new ones called. There was also one Area Seventy released and two sustained. There were no other changes.

The choir sang Baptism

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • Eternal life is the greatest gift from God
  • There are obstacles that can stop of us from receiving that gift
  • The philosophies of men can lead people astray
  • We have to beware of gospel extremism, where we raise one gospel principle above another

Elder Gary E Stevenson

  • Told story of Mary Rollins
  • No one is ever too young to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon
  • He read recently that teenagers spend 7 hours a day looking at screens
  • He asked that they reduce some of that time and spend it reading the Book of Mormon

The choir and congregation sang Called to Serve

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • The bible tells us that God is love
  • The scriptures use terms other than “unconditional” to describe love
  • What matters is how we respond to His love
  • God will always love us, but He cannot save us in our sins
  • As we trust, not resist, our divine Teacher, we will learn from Him

Elder W Mark Bassett

  • He and his brother had replica gold plates when they were kids
  • They tried really hard to get at the “sealed” portion
  • They spent all their time trying to read something hidden when they
  • We need to focus on the things that matter
  • Keeping our life in harmony with God will allow Him to guide us in our spiritual development

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

  • We need to be ambitious for Christ
  • Missionaries are a great example of focus and faith
  • He told a story about a missionary who served in his mission (when he was president) and his challenges with a prosthetic leg

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

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • We need to share the gospel with everyone
  • We have a lot of modern technology that helps us
  • Are we using them to maximum effect?
  • Ideas that will work everywhere
  • We can all pray for desire to help in this work
  • We can keep the commandments ourselves
  • Faithful members are the most persuasive and they always have His spirit with them
  • We can pray for inspiration on what we can do in our individual circumstances to share the gospel with others
  • Invite people to learn about the gospel and about Jesus Christ, not just to learn about our Church

The choir sang Hope of Israel

The benediction was offered by Elder Allen D Haynie




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

Have you seen the Latter-day Apostles web site?

Have you seen the Latter-day Apostles web site? It is a cool site that someone has put together that shows all of the First Presidencies and Apostles that we’ve had since the Church was organized. You can pick a date in time or you can view a bit of a slide show and watch the changes happen over time.

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I spent a little bit of time the other day looking at the changes. I wondered what was the greatest number of future presidents that were in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the same time. This is what I’ve seen. I may have missed someone, but these are definitely going to be among the highest:

  • In March 1945 there was the President of the Church (Heber J Grant) with a future president as a counselor (David O McKay), and 5 future presidents in the quorum together (George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson)
  • In October 1968 there was the President of the Church (David O McKay) and 7 future presidents in the quorum together (Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W Hunter, Gordon B Hinckley, and Thomas S Monson)

Neat!

183rd Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

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I got home just as the choir was singing to open this session of conference. It was a hectic day at work, but it’s nice to be home now.


President Henry B Eyring conducted

A choir made up of students from Brigham Young University sang Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

Brother Russell T Osguthorpe offered the invocation

The choir sang Did You Think to Pray?

President Dieter F Uchtdorf presented officers for sustaining. There were lots of changes with Area Authorities. The only part that stood out to be with those names was that W T David Murray was released. He was the Area Authority in Southern Ontario. Then our own Stake President (David P Homer) was called to be an Area Authority. We have Stake Conference coming up in a few weeks, so I guess we’re getting a new Stake President!
There was also a new YW Presidency called. Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson, Carol Louise Foley McConkie, and Evelyn Neill Foote Marriott were called

Brother Robert W Cantwell, Managing Director of the Church Audit Report read the audit report for 2012

  • Based upon audits performed, the Church Auditing Department is of the opinion that, in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the Church have been recorded and administered in accordance with appropriate accounting practices, approved budgets, and Church policies and procedures.

Brother Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency presented the Statistical Report for 2012

  • 3,005 stakes
  • 347 missions
  • 591 districts
  • 29,014 wards and branches
  • 14,782,473 members
  • 122,273 children of record were baptized
  • 272,330 convert baptisms
  • 58,990 full-time missionaries
  • 22,961 church service missionaries
  • 4 temples dedicated
  • 2 rededicated
  • 140 temples in operation

Elder Richard G Scott

  • The world seems to want us to live a hectic life
  • We need a place of peace, ideally in our own home
  • The Savior is the true source of peace
  • Technology can be a protection if we use it right
  • Having the scriptures in your pocket (on a phone or tablet) won’t protect you, but studying them will
  • A Christ-centerd home will be where covenants are kept and love abounds
  • A good friendship is like asphalt that smooths over the holes and bumps
  • Recognize the good in others

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • He has been reflecting on the doctrine of peace
  • There is a difference between world peace and gospel peace
  • God is not the author of confusion
  • For those who reject God there is no peace
  • The Church is a refuge

The choir and congregation sang Rejoice, The Lord Is King!

Elder Stanley G Ellis

  • We are not spiritual orphans
  • With parents we do not need to be confused
  • One of the problems today is that every man walks in his own way
  • How we raise our children is more important than where we raise our children

Elder John B Dickson

  • Spoke quite a bit about the Church in Africa

Elder David A Bednar

  • Why is the law of chastity so important?
  • Every impulse of the natural man can be overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • Love increases through righteous restraint and decreases in unrighteous indulgence
  • Let virtue garnish they thoughts unceasingly

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • There is great enthusiasm for sharing the gospel
  • The youth need to share it with their friends
  • Apply to the school of your choice before you serve a mission
  • We all need to “catch the wave”
  • Our Living God is a Loving God

The choir sang More Holiness Give Me

Elder J Devn Cornish offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Youth Chosen Topic – Word of Wisdom

Yesterday was a 5th Sunday. In most wards this means that all of the MP/RS are together. Lately our youth have been included, not because the topics are particularly relevant, but just because. This is my first 5th Sunday since becoming the YM President, so my wife (she’s the YW President) and I decided to have the youth together on their own. Our presidencies had surveyed the youth over the previous few weeks about challenges that youth face. The overwhelming choice was Word of Wisdom, so we decided to spend our time discussing that. It was a tough choice to go with since it was Easter Sunday, but since they chose it, we went with it.

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One of our YW conducted, a YM played the piano, and we sang Called To Serve. I then did a bit of an intro and another leader then led a discussion about how the Word of Wisdom affects them and coming up with strategies to help them.

Here are my notes for the intro:

  • The Word of Wisdom was NOT given by way of commandment
  • It is a principle with a promise
  • Similar to Prohibition in the 1920’s, there was a temperence movement in the US around Joseph Smith’s time and it is likely that some early church members (or at least their families) were participants
  • There is also a suggestion that Emma Smith didn’t think that the men who attended the School of the Prophets should be chewing tobacco
  • Possibly affected by these circumstances, Joseph Smith prayed about this and received a revelation
  • It was affirmed by many leaders over the years, but wasn’t really a commandment
  • After arriving in the Salt Lake valley, the members committed to live it, but still didn’t follow through
  • During the following years they were persecuted because of polygamy, and had other focuses
  • In the 1890s apparently James E Talmage (the author of Jesus the Christ) had some sort of anxiety (“nerves”) problem and his doctor suggested he smoke to calm his nerves. The First Presidency said he could.
  • By around the turn of the century as polygamy was less of an issue the Word of Wisdom became more prominent, particularly during Joseph F Smith‘s time as President of the Church
  • In 1906 the church officially started using water instead of wine in the Sacrament
  • In 1915 church leaders were instructed not to ordain men to the priesthood or give temple recommends to people who didn’t follow the Word of Wisdom
  • In 1933 the Church Handbook of Instructions listed it as a requirement

I then spoke for just a few more minutes about some a few reasons why we follow the Word of Wisdom. I generally tried to “defend” against some of the arguments that might be out there against the Word of Wisdom.

  • Some people might say that they used to drink in the bible.
    There are all sorts of things that were done before that we don’t do now
  • Some people might say that having to follow the Word of Wisdom takes away their freedom
    I believe it gives us freedom. We are free from addiction, guilt and the consequences that come from not following this principle. My wife shared a story about a friend of hers who as a teenager got drunk at a party and ended up having a baby. The girl gave the baby up for adoption and stayed active in the church. In the later years she wanted to serve a mission but couldn’t. She had no idea. There are obviously more details of this story, but the point was that there are consequences to our actions and we don’t always know what those consequences are or how they will manifest themselves
  • It wasn’t given as a commandment
    This may be true, but it has essentially become a commandment. Many of our modern-day prophets have told us to follow it. We need to be faithful and try following it so we can realize the promises

The last point I tried to make was about how it gives us an identity. God’s covenant people have always had certain characteristics or observances that identified them as such. What did circumcision have to do with whether or not the people of Israel followed the Lord? Not much (that I can think of), but that gave them an identity and set them apart from others. The same could be said about certain clothing, Sabbath Day observance, and so on. Polygamy used to be our identity, and as it wound down, observance of the Word of Wisdom geared up. Now we are known around the world for it.

I took about 10 minutes and then the other leader took about 20 minutes to discuss other Word of Wisdom related things with them. The meeting definitely could have been better (it’s hard getting teenagers to be engaged and contribute), but overall it wasn’t bad. Some good points were made, and you could tell that some of them were definitely listening.

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Press Conference Regarding Lower Missionary Service Age

This morning I watched the press conference that was held between the two general sessions yesterday regarding the lower missionary service age. It was pretty good. Michael Purdy, Director of Media Relations for the Church led the press conference. He briefly introduced Elders Russell M Nelson and Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder David F Evans of the Seventy. Elder Nelson spoke for a few minutes, and then Elder Holland spoke for the rest of the time. Elder Holland fielded most of the questions, but did have Elder Nelson and Elder Evans contribute.

Here are my notes from the press conference. I didn’t make note of who said what, but most things were said by Elder Holland.

  • no one knew that this was coming. President Monson wanted to keep it confidential, so only the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles knew
  • the main qualification for missionary service is total personal worthiness
  • new missionaries will spend approximately 1/3 less time at their MTC, regardless whether they are speaking their native language or learning a new language
  • prospective missionaries need to have improved preparation
  • there is a fairly new 12-week training program that has been implemented that is done in-field by Mission Presidents that has helped
  • there are no new missions yet, but it is expected that there will be new ones (currently there are 347)
  • the Lord is hastening His work and needs more missionaries
  • parents need to take a strong hand in helping prospective missionaries prepare
  • prospective missionaries can be recommended for a mission up to 120 days before their 18th birthday or when they are finished high school
  • young men can enter the Missionary Training Centre after they have turned 18 and finished high school
  • young women can enter the MTC after they have turned 19
  • missionary work remains a priesthood responsibility
  • why the difference in age at which they serve? Years of experience has shown them this is the best way
  • young men can serve any time between the ages of 18 and 25
  • young women can serve from 19 onward. There is no upper limit
  • two years ago President Monson asked for more missionaries. In those 2 years, the number of YM becoming missionaries has increased by 6%, young women by 12% and couples by 18%
  • they considered many options when making this change including ages and length of service, but they decided to go with this for now. One miracle at a time.

Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

182nd Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

My wonderings about President Packer and Elder Hales have been half answered, and will be fully answered this afternoon. Elder Hales is present, so I assume he’ll be speaking. We’ll see.

I love watching at conference from home. It let’s us get some things done in between sessions. I did some painting, and played some New Super Mario Bros Wii with my sons.


President Henry B Eyring conducted

Missionaries from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah provided the music. I saw a tweet telling everyone to look and see if David Archuleta was in the choir 🙂

The choir sang Glory to God on High

Elder William R Walker

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • There is a new Presiding Bishopric and a new Relief Society General Presidency
  • I didn’t catch all of the names, but you will be able to read about it on the LDS Newsroom web site

Brother Robert W Cantwell, Managing Director of the Church Audit Report read the audit report for 2011

  • Based upon audits performed, the Church Auditing Department is of the opinion that, in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the Church have been recorded and administered in accordance with appropriate accounting practices, approved budgets, and Church policies and procedures.

Brother Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency presented the Statistical Report for 2011

  • 2,946 stakes
  • 340 missions
  • 608 districts
  • 28,784 wards and branches
  • 14,441,346 members
  • 119,917 child of record baptisms
  • 281,312 convert baptisms
  • 55,410 full time missionaries
  • 22,299 church service missionaries
  • 2 temples dedicated
  • 1 temple rededicated
  • 136 temples in operation

Elder Jeffery R Holland

  • shared the parable of the workers who all received the same wages
  • there are going to be times where people get unexpected blessings
  • don’t be hurt or envious when good fortune comes to another person
  • we are in the race against sin, not each other, and envy is a great sin
  • coveting, pouting or tearing others down does not elevate our standing
  • be kind and be grateful that God is kind
  • there is nothing that you have done that can’t be undone
  • there is no dream that cannot yet be realized
  • if you’ve made covenants, keep them; if you haven’t made covenants, make them; if you have made covenants and broken them, repair them

The choir sang Lead, Kindly Light

Elder Robert D Hales (Note: Elder Hales doesn’t really look any better, but sounds ok)

  • how do we increase our desire to repent
  • we are commanded to meet together oft and partake of the Sacrament
  • we need to obtain a temple recommend
  • Standards for recommend holders? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart
  • It is difficult for youth to understand how present actions will prepare/disqualify them from future service
  • Get on higher ground and lift others in need

Elder David S Baxter (Note: I read a tweet that said he sounded like Shrek)

  • spoke to the single parents, acknowledging that most of them are single mothers
  • in the Kingdom of God there are no second-class citizens
  • when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burdens become lighter

Elder Ulisses Soares

  • To enhance our spirit it is required that we let bitterness be put away
  • Do my actions place me in the Lord’s or in the enemy’s territory?
  • We need to keep ourselves strong against the fiery darts of the adversary
  • You can’t be right by doing wrong, you can’t be wrong, by doing right

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • the church’s profile has been raised significantly
  • some parts of the world are becoming very secular
  • we desire all members to awaken fully to faith
  • don’t judge others
  • the family is the most important unit in time and in eternity
  • praying with children may be more important than any other example
  • a testimony must be based on faith, not just on logic
  • when you are tone deaf to the music of faith, you are out of tune with the Spirit

Elder Richard G Scott

  • those who have gone before us can see us better than we can see ourselves, they love us now more than ever
  • one of the great lessons we need to learn is to ask
  • loud laughter can block revelation
  • he gave some good practical advice on how to be worthy to receive revelation, and how we might receive the revelation
  • inspiration carefully recorded shows God that it was important to us
  • God did not put us on this earth to fail
  • as you live righteously you will always be prompted to know what to do

The choir sang Praise to the Man

Elder Bruce A Carlson offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

The brouhaha over baptisms for the dead

Sometimes I think I’m pretty with it, and other times I just don’t get it. I don’t get all the commotion recently about the practice of baptisms for the dead in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t understand why some outside the church are so against it, and I don’t understand why some inside the church seem to intentionally break the “rules”.

If you haven’t been following it, for the last couple of decades the Church has had an agreement with Jewish groups that we will not baptize people who are proxy for holocaust victims. Unfortunately, there are members who keep submitting these names, along with the names of celebrities. Recently the First Presidency stated again these rules (the letter was read in our Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday).

Like I said, I just don’t get it. Why would anyone care what we do with a name? If someone came up to me and said that they had baptized my grandfather (who is deceased) as a Lutheran, it wouldn’t bother me in the least. If they don’t believe in what we teach, then I just don’t get why it matters what we do when they don’t believe it has any effect. On the other hand, if we have this agreement with these Jewish groups, then we need to keep our agreement. I don’t mean to downplay anyone’s concerns. The brouhaha is on both sides.

I think one of the problems that we have is trying to help non-members understand why we do these baptisms for the dead. Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond (and one of my favourite writers/authors) posted an article on the First Things web site called The Heavenly Logic of Proxy Baptism

181st Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

During the time between the two sessions, my family went for a walk in the ravine behind our house. Spring is slowly making its appearance 🙂  I also cleaned up (showered and shaved). Lastly, I watched the April 2011 edition of the World Report. I love getting some of that “behind-the-scenes” information that show report shares.

Now we’re all gathered together again in the living room ready for the second session.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted.

A combined choir from BYU-Idaho sang How Firm a Foundation

Elder Kevin W Pearson offered the invocation

Sustainings presented by President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • During the sustainings of the apostles, Elder Robert D Hales had a huge knee brace on. He also had small clear tubes on his lap. They looked like they were oxygen tubes. Did anyone see him with them on, or were they for something else?
  • A bunch of  Area Seventies were released and sustained
  • (at one point during the sustainings, the Internet feed paused and my 3-year-old daughter said it was scratched)
  • There were a total of 10 new General Authorities sustained
  • There were no changes to any of the auxiliary presidencies

Robert W Cantwell Managing Directory of the Church Auditing presented the Church Auditing Department Report

  • Council of the Disposition of the Tithes consists of the First Presidency, Quorum of 12, Presiding Bishopric
  • Things are being administer

Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency presented the Statistical Report of the Church for the year 2010

The choir sang How Great the Wisdom and the Love

President Boyd K Packer (he was sitting down)

  • 400 years since the publishing of the bible
  • We should use the full name of the Church whenever possible
  • Ordinances are done through the authority of Jesus Christ
  • We have the same organization as Jesus Christ had
  • If someone is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one
  • Regardless of what happens in the world, no power can stop this work
  • Do a lot of forgiving, and a little repenting, and you will be blessed

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • thank you for your uplifting service
  • our faith now becomes part of our posterity’s faith later
  • the forces of evil will ever be in opposition to the forces of good
  • to prepare to meet God, one keeps all of God’s commandments
  • when we are faithful, He and His angels will bear us up
  • God will hear your sincere prayers

The choir and congregation sang Press Forward, Saints

Elder Richard J Maynes

  • the principle of eternal families is an essential element in God’s plan
  • the family is ordained of God
  • establish celestial traditions
  • kids don’t remember the FHE topic, but they remember having FHE
  • kids don’t remember what was read in the scriptures that morning, but they remember that they read them
  • Shared a poem by C C Miller

Elder Cecil O Samuelson Jr

  • he has worked with the young people in the Church for many years
  • who is entitled to have a testimony? anyone who is willing to pay the price
  • everyone has worth because we are all children of God

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • what do we really desire?
  • desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, choices determine our actions
  • desire, labour, and faith brought Enos the blessings he wanted
  • told story of Aron Ralson, the guy who cut off his own arm to save his life
  • we need to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other things that prevent our eternal progress
  • the desire to receive and keep a marriage for eternity should be paramount (priority efforts)
  • we cannot follow the politically correct but eternally false concept that we don’t need to be married and have children

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • told a nice story about a person who wanted gold; he was looking for nuggets, and missing the flecks of gold that would fill his pouch
  • by small and simple things are great things come to pass
  • we should keep our lives simple
  • charity begins at home
  • practice the golden rule
  • we need to serve
  • the most important attribute that we should seek to possess is charity, the pure love of Christ

The choir sang Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Elder ??? offered the benediction (President Uchtdorf didn’t announce who it was going to be)


Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

180th Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say it every conference… I have a hard enough time getting through 10 hours, how do the apostles and First Presidency make it through?!

So, after 10 hours of General Conference have gone by, and I’ve had a few thoughts:

  • I was surprised with the number of talks about choice, agency, and accountability. I wonder if that means anything.
  • I commented in the beginning that I preferred the old Move Networks player, and I still think that. The Flash version wasn’t as smooth.
  • My favourite talks of the conference were probably Elder Kearon and President Uchtdorf from the Priesthood Session, Elder Oaks from the Sunday Morning General Session, and Elder Holland, Brother McConkie, and President Uchtdorf from the Saturday Morning General Session

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