Tag Archives: Jeffrey R. Holland

Mormon Message about Stephanie Nielson

During the Saturday afternoon General Conference session, Elder Holland spoke about depression, and shared a touching story about a woman who had been in a plane accident. I’ve never heard this story before, but the Church has had a Mormon Message up for 3 years with the story of Stephanie Nielson. Rather than give you the details here, just go and watch the video.

183rd Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

183rd_seminannual_general_conference_header_screenshot

Wow! Wasn’t President Uchtdorf‘s talk this morning awesome?! Hopefully there is another awesome one this session.

As I make my notes, I’m also following the #ldsconf tag on Twitter. As was expected, the hashtag was trending after the first session.

twitter_ldsconf_trend

In between sessions I watched The World Report, and then played some Mario Kart Wii with my son. Fun stuff!

We settle down to watch this next session…


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A family choir made of members from the Roy, Kanesville, Hooper and West Haven, Utah stakes sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

Elder Paul B Pieper offered the invocation

Persident Henry B Eyring read the sustaining of Church officers

  • A few members of the 1st quorum of seventy were released
  • A few Area Seventy were released and a few sustained
  • There is a new 2nd Counselor in the General YM Presidency

The choir sang I Know That My Savior Loves Me

President Boyd K Packer

  • A gospel-centred home is a safe place
  • “In the last days perilous times shall come”
  • Perilous times are present
  • The cure for most mistakes can be found in forgiveness through personal prayer

Elder D Todd Chistofferson

  • Society has relied on the moral force of women
  • A woman’s noble influence is felt at home
  • There is no better setting to raise the rising generation
  • Your moral authority is vital, and we may be taking you for granted

Elder S Gifford Neilsen

  •  What would you do if the prophet called you?
  • They do call us. Are we listening?
  • We have been called to do more missionary work
  • We need to serve with enthusiasm next to the full-time missionaries

The choir and congregation sang Press Forward, Saints

Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela

  • By small and simple things are great things brought to pass
  • We need to teach in simple ways
  • The small and simple means often bring greater results

Elder Timothy J Dyches

  • Recounted several bible stories of Christ’s compassion and miracles
  • There is opposition, and this helps us see Christ’s healing power

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel” – Joseph Smith
  • It is impossible for us to fail if we do our best
  • Pray
  • If we all reach out to just one between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what a wonderful gift to the Saviour
  • You will have many opportunities

The choir sang Love at Home

Sister Carol F McConkie offered the benediction


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

My notes on the Work of Salvation broadcast

I’m sure many of you watched the Work of Salvation broadcast this past Sunday. It was a good broadcast, but I’d read so much “hype” about it online that I guess I was a little disappointed that there was nothing earth-shattering about what was shared. I acknowledge that is my fault for falling for the hype.

Overall it was a nice meeting. There were a few lines that really stuck out for me, and I’ve bolded them below and added a couple of comments in italics.


Look at all those missionaries… what a sight!

A choir sang Hark. All Ye Nations!

Ten of the Apostles were there

Elder Jeffrey R Holland conducted

  • You will never be part of a zone conference this large ever again
  • We’ve been thinking “there they go” but we need to think “here they come”

The invocation was offered by Elder Ludlow

Elder Holland

  • At Church Headquarters we counsel widely; we hear from everyone on all vital issues
    I loved the phrase (counsel widely)! I totally agree that leaders need to be open and discuss issues with everyone affected. Trust the other leaders that they have worthwhile things to say, and that they will keep the necessary confidences.
  • There was a Mission (Washington), a Stake (Peru) and a Ward (Hawaii) via satellite to represent all the other councils
  • The Seventy have clearly defined responsibilities for missionary work

Elder L Tom Perry (he almost jumped out of his seat… it’s hard to believe that he is 90 years old!)

  • As all these missionaries go out we ask “what will they do?”
  • They will do what they have always done
  • The nature of missionary work must change in order for the work to move forward
  • Missionaries will be able to use computers during less busy time
  • This will be phased in over several months
  • Internet safety is paramount
  • Missionaries will give building tours
  • 70,274 missionaries
  • 52 new missions this year for 405 total
  • 173 new mission presidents this year
  • What we are being asked to do has not changed, but how we do it has changed
    I think this is true for much of the gospel. The core doctrine does not change, but how we implement it in our lives can change depending on the time we live in.
  • If or greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel than we all have the responsibility to invite everyone to come unto Christ
  • Every Ward should have a Ward Mission Plan
  • We should be anxiously engaged

Elder Holland

  • An invitation that is born of our love for others and our love of the Savior will never be seen as offensive and judgmental

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • Our work begins on our knees
  • When we leave our meetings is when we bring about His most important purposes
    Attending meetings isn’t as important as committing to action at the meetings and then going forth to do it
  • He shared some stories from the Tampa Florida area. In the end, 32 men were sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood at their recent stake conference
  • We often receive different help from the Lord than expected; but it is always better
  • There is a new section of LDS.org called “Hastening the Work of Salvation”

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • He showed a video with Sister Neill F Marriott of the General Young Women Presidency about her conversion
  • Too often we split the work into areas that seem unrelated
    The work is indivisible
    They are not separate but all part of the work of salvation
    Great points!
  • The Bishop and Ward Mission Leader set the pace of missionary work
  • Good leaders, like good parents, take actions because of love

President Boyd K Packer

  • Everything comes down to teaching
  • Live so you can depend on the Spirit
  • The greatest teaching that goes on in the Church is done by mothers
    I couldn’t agree more. My wife is a superb teacher to my children
  • The Atonement is the mighty healer
  • Just do it right; be better

President Thomas S Monson

  • Now is the time for us to come together to bring souls unto Him
  • Shared the story of how the St Thomas Branch in Ontario grew
  • Have faith in the work

The choir sang Called to Serve

Sister Estorga offered the benediction

183rd Annual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

183rd_annual_general_conference_screenshot

After the morning session of General Conference I watched The World Report (I like their new logo and theme). I then had a nap for about an hour. I awoke to some of the Bible videos being played. I haven`t seen them before, and they looked pretty good.

Well, here we go with the final session…


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang  Come, Ye Children of the Lord

Sister Carol M Stephens offered the invocation

The choir sang Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • All things are possible to him that believeth
  • When facing the challenge of faith, the father in the scripture exerts his faith first, then acknowledges his weakness
  • The size of your faith is not the issue; it is the integrity you show when your faith is tested
  • When questions arise, don’t start your quest by saying you don’t have faith
  • Be as candid as you need to be, but if you need to be healed, don’t let your questions stay in the way of faith and its miracles
  • Imperfect people are all God has to work with (other than Jesus)
  • When doubt comes, do not be afraid to ask for help

Elder Dallin H Oakes

  • Come, Follow Me
  • All of the messages in conference help us to follow Christ
  • He compared many things that Christians do and how we fit that description

Elder Christoffel Golden Jr

  • We are to inherit all that the Father has

The choir and congregation sang Now Let Us Rejoice

Elder Enrique R Falabella

  • There is no special school for parenting, but we have our homes
  • Marriage in the temple is for time and all eternity
  • “In order to contend, you always need two people, and I will never be one of them”
  • “I need you to hug me”
  • A child who sings is a happy child
  • I love the Book of Mormon and my Savior Jesus Christ
  • It is not enough to know the scriptures; we have to live them

Elder Erich W Kopischke

  • We all want acceptance
  • Unfortunately we sometimes try to get acceptance from the wrong sources

Elder Bruce D Porter

  • The apostles didn’t know that the Passover meal was the Last Supper
  • We need not fear the future
  • God is with us

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • Spoke about how Jesus Christ is our Redeemer

President Thomas S Monson

  • Study the messages given at conference
  • We are a world-wide church
  • Be tolerant and kind
  • May we ever follow his example
  • Be aware of the needs of those aware us

The choir sang Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

Elder Larry Y Wilson 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:

Talk repeats by General Authorities

If you are lucky enough to go to enough meetings, chances are you’ve heard the same story told numerous times by a General Authority. This came to mind the other day when in the Institute class I teach we were talking about Elder Jeffrey R. Holland powerful talk (The First Great Commandment) from the Sunday Morning Session of General Conference. One of the students said that he had heard the talk about a year or more before. He was a missionary in one of the missions in Russia, and apparently Elder Holland had given that talk to mission presidents in Europe with a slightly different twist (it was more about missionary work than about love/commitment).

I had the same sort of experience when I was a YSA. I had attended a few different regional conferences over a period of a year. Vaughn J Featherstone spoke at each one of them and gave the same talk at each one of them.

Whenever I hear or experience that, my first reaction is, “That stinks. Why didn’t they write a new talk?” But then I think about the number of times a year that these leaders speak, and this goes on for anywhere from 5-50 years (depending on what position they hold). There is no way they could come up with hundreds or thousands of new talks and topics over their “career”. Even President Hinckley’s invitation to read the Book of Mormon a few years ago was a repeat of the same invitation he had given years before that.

Ultimately I’m ok with this. I guess in a way it is just like a lot of other things in the Church. We are always taught the same general principles because the Gospel doesn’t change and because we haven’t kept the commandments as we should. Maybe when we are more on the ball we’ll hear some new things.

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

Another conference has come and gone. It was excellent. I enjoyed almost all of the talks, and definitely felt the Spirit. In fact, when President Monson announced the change in the missionary service age, I felt a rush of the Holy Spirit. I wasn’t hoping for a change and therefore wasn’t expecting a change, but it was a welcome change. The feeling of the Spirit I felt was quite unexpected, but wonderful!

It always good to hear from all 15 of our prophet, seers, and revelators. Some of the men are obviously suffering with health challenges, but it is wonderful to see them and hear them. President Packer looked pretty good. Elder Hales looked way better than he did a year ago. At that time he seemed incredibly frail, and kind of puffy. I’m not sure if he was taking some steroids for something, but he looks more like his normal self than before. It was nice to see.

Elder Oaks sure spoke with authority when he spoke about caring for children, and Elder Holland sure spoke with passion about Christ and the need for disciples.

Probably my favourite line in conference was Elder Andersen who said that doctrine is taught by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, not in one line in one talk to one group. It was a good definition.

There has definitely been lots for me to think about over the coming months. I resolve to do better.


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

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

We had a great morning! We got up after 7 am, had a nice big breakfast (regular bacon, peameal bacon, eggs, pancakes, bagels and toast) and then went for a long walk. When we got back, the kids watched a cartoon movie, and I watched the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast.

We’re all set now to watch the Sunday Morning General Session. The whole family will watch the session together.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Oh Say, What is truth?

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang The Morning Breaks (a gorgeous arrangement!)

Elder Marlin K Jensen offered the invocation

President Henry B Eyring

  • many of us feel that God is far from us
  • in moments of pain, confusion, we do not need to see Jesus to know that he is there to help
  • don’t let things of life stop of us from seeing the things of God
  • we can’t insist on our time table when God has his own
  • His time should be enough for us since he wants only what is best
  • some delays seem long, but they are always calculated to bless
  • we can be assured the Lord keeps his promises

President Boyd K Packer (spoke from his chair)

  • told a story about going to American Samoa years ago
  • there was a horrible storm and along the coast there was a light above on land, and a light below
  • quoted from Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy
  • we need to repent and turn away from sin
  • guilt can be wiped out

The choir sang Does the Journey Seem Long?

Sister Linda K Burton

  • we are surrounded by people who need us
  • we need to love one another
  • it isn’t easy, but we can do better with practice
  • observe then serve

The choir and congregation sang Called to Serve

Elder Walter F. González

  • we need to come unto Christ
  • navigating millions of pages on the Internet will not be enough
  • we have another source for greater knowledge
  • we need to navigate the celestial web in our hearts and minds
  • iniquity hampers our ability to love

Elder Jeffrey R Holland (he always speaks with such passion!)

  • we forget how inexperienced the original apostles were and how much they depended on the Savior
  • when Jesus left them, the apostles must have asked “What do we do now?”
  • they went fishing, and saw the Savior again
  • the Savior asks, “Do you love me?”
  • Christ needs disciples and needs them forever
  • at judgement day, we very well may be asked if we loved God
  • we can’t quit and we can’t go back
  • the commission to a missionary as he baptizes people changes the convert, but it was to change the missionary as well
  • love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation
  • our Father in Heaven expects our loyalty and love

The choir sang If the Savior Stood Beside me

President Thomas S Monson

  • an apostle for 49 years
  • take an inventory and recognize the blessings you have received
  • our prayers are heard and answered
  • the more we act on impressions and inspiration, the more the Lord will trust us with his errands
  • never postpone a prompting
  • shared a few stories of ways he had responded to a prompting to find out the person had been praying for help
  • the opportunity to be a blessing in the life of another comes rather expectantly
  • the Lord is in the details of our lives

The choir sang If the Way be Full of Trial, Weary Not

Elder Keith R Edwards offered the benediction


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

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:

More on Elder Holland’s CES Devotional address

A couple of weeks ago I posted my notes from Elder Holland’s CES Devotional address. As you will probably recall, it was a great talk!

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, but the part that I’ve thought about many times in the last two weeks was regarding how we deal with people who appear to be living their lives contrary to gospel standards. He told a story about a 3o-something woman who “had a couple of tattoos, a variety of ear and nose rings, spiky hair reflecting all the colors now available in snow cones, a skirt that was too high, and a blouse that was too low.” He said he had several thoughts go through his mind and then said this:

However one would respond to that young woman, the rule forever is that it has to reflect our religious beliefs and our gospel commitments. Therefore, how we respond in any situation has to make things better, not worse. We can’t act or react in such a way that we are guilty of a greater offense than, in this case, she is. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have opinions, that we don’t have standards, that we somehow completely disregard divinely mandated “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” in life. But it does mean we have to live those standards and defend those “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” in a righteous way to the best of our ability, the way the Savior lived and defended them. And He always did what should have been done to make the situation better—from teaching the truth, to forgiving sinners, to cleansing the temple. It is no small gift to know how to do such things in the right way!

I couldn’t agree more. Whether reaching out to family members, young adults, youth, or anyone, we have to make things better, not worse. It is so easy to point out problems, but what are the solutions? Are we strengthening people with our interactions, or hurting them? This part of Elder Holland’s talk has definitely led me to think about how I interact with people. I hope to be better.

Elder Holland speaks at CES Devotional

Did you watch the devotional on Sunday night? I know it was for college-aged adults, but since it available on the Church web site, anyone can watch. I figured since I am a Stake Institute Teacher, it’d be good for me to know what the leaders are saying to the YSA.

It was fantastic! There was a 10-minute section of the middle where I wanted to yell out “Amen!” at the end of every statement. I’m not sure what the “title” of his talk was, but he spoke about how the scriptures are filled with examples of how God called his people to move to a place where things would be well. They would flee or escape and then settle and build. This time in world history we are not doing that. Rather than fleeing, we are attacking. We need to stand for what is right. It was great!

Here are my notes:

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • God is always calling the children of Israel to a place where things will be well
  • They would flee and seek, run and settle and escape and build
  • Our dispensation is different
  • It is a time of might accelerated change
  • We will never again flee
  • Zion is not where you are but how you live
  • Told 3 stores of “Babylon”
    1. Basketball player
      • told a story about a basketball player who left a team to play for another
      • when he returned to the original town to play, the people booed him
      • one fan said they checked their religion at the door and just were fans
      • for the establishment of Zip in the latter-days, you never check your religion at the door
      • We stand as witness at all times and in all places
    2. Girl with rainbow hair
      • spoke of seeing a girl that had hair the colour of all the flavors of sno-cones and lots of piercings
      • how we respond to someone like her needs to make things better
      • we can still have standards, but we need to live them and defend them in a righteous way
      • this is no small task to be able to compassionate, yet still stand up for what you believe to be right
      • there is a sheepfold, and we are all supposed to be in it
      • we can never dumb down our doctrine
    3. Story of family living in awful conditions
      • told a story about visiting a location and speaking with a member who was a policeman
      • the policeman talked about a situation where the family was living in horrible conditions
      • we need to take gospel values to our communities
      • we can’t solve every problem overnight
  • Israel, Israel, God is calling
  • we aren’t fleeing; we are attacking
  • when He comes again, I want to be caught living the gospel
  • God loves you and needs you

I’m looking forward to reading the text of Elder Holland’s talk when it is available.