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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:

184th Annual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

184th_annual_gc_header

I think that conference Sunday are my two favourite Sundays in the year. I haven’t lived in an area where I go to Church in the afternoon, so for us to have the morning available is a real treat. We got up this morning, had toaster waffles, watched The Pirate Fairy (the latest Tinkerbell movie… it was excellent!) and then went for a walk. We’re all getting settled now to watch the session.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Come, We That Love the Lord

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

The invocation was offered by Elder L Whitney Clayton

The choir sang Let Us All Press On

President Dieter F Uchtdorf  ** one of my favourites

  • We all will at some point feel alone and adrift. No one is immune
  • There is something that will take away the bitterness… gratitude
  • We need to lift the goblet of gratitude and drink of the peace that comes
  • Most scriptural references do not refer to gratitude FOR things, but an overall attitude of gratitude
  • We can choose to be grateful not matter what
  • Be grateful IN our circumstances
  • There are no endings, only everlasting beginnings

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • Told of how he met and courted his wife and how that taught him to follow-up
  • He is following up on a couple of his past talks
  • We need to call the Church by its proper name
  • We can all be more consistently involved in missionary work
  • Invite someone once a quarter to be taught by the full time missionaries
  • Everyone should have a copy of and study from Preach My Gospel

Sister Jean A Stevens

  • We are not alone
  • We receive promptings to help other people
  • Our prayers are answered in the way that will help us the most

The choir and congregation sang Teach Me to Walk in the Light

Bishop Gary E Stevenson

  • Told the story of Noelle Pikus Pace
  • She had urgency and knew the 4 minutes of her runs would affect her life. Every second counted.
  • In our lives, certain things are essential, checkpoints that help us along the way
  • Self discipline is needed
  • Mentioned a couple of other LDS olympians

Elder David A Bednar

  • Told a story about his friend wanting a truck, and getting stuck when in snow
  • The heavy load helped him get traction
  • Each of us carry a load. Is it producing the spiritual traction that will allow us to press forward?
  • It is a mistake to think that happiness is the absence of a load

The choir sang A Child’s Prayer ** Awesome! The best song so far in the conference.

President Thomas S Monson ** one of my favourites

  • We cannot love God if we do not love our fellowman (and vice versa)
  • Christ’s life was a legacy of love
  • The opportunities to show our love come unexpectedly
  • Love should be the very heart of family life
  • President Hinckley asked, “Why is the ones we love the most become the targets of our harsh words?”
  • Forgiveness should go hand in hand with love
  • Blame keeps woulds open; forgiveness heals

The choir sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

The benediction was offered by Sister Neill F Marriott


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

181st Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

I helped a woman in the ward move this morning, and I got back just before noon… just in time to setup the laptop and get everything working on the TV.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir opened the conference by singing The Morning Breaks

President Henry B Eyring conducted.

The choir sang With Songs of Praise

Elder Gary J Coleman offered the invocation

NOTE: President Thomas S Monson did NOT open the conference with any remarks

Elder Richard G Scott

  • We don’t need to be concerned about the truth of the scriptures as the Holy Ghost prompted the writers
  • The scriptures are like packets of light
  • To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship
  • Scriptures can provide a foundational support

The choir sang We Ever Pray for Thee

Sister Barbara Thompson

  • As we grow we have challenges that help us know we need divine help
  • “have ye inquired of the Lord?”
  • The way to receive personal revelation is quite clear; we need to have desire, not harden our hearts, ask in faith
  • A woman said that she didn’t keep a testimony during trials, the testimony kept her

Elder L Whitney Clayton

  • The gospel is filling the earth
  • The work is great and marvelous

The choir and congregation sang Redeemer of Israel

President Thomas S Monson

  • Time flies when we are busy
  • Recounted recent temple dedications
  • The building of temples continues uninterrupted
  • No church built facility is more important
  • Announced
  • There is a new fund for people who still aren’t near a temple to help them financially to go

Elder Jose L Alonso

  • The Saviour’s life was a life of service
  • There are many who are lost who do not know they are lost

President Boyd K Packer

  • NOTE: President Packer spoke from a chair (sitting down). He had very small oxygen tubes going around his no. They were hardly noticeable.
  • The youth of today are better than the youth of his day
  • The youth are being raised in enemy territory
  • You may feel uncertainty in your life
  • The family is the centre of the great plan of happiness
  • Perhaps the single greatest thing he’s learned from reading the Book of Mormon is that the Holly Ghost helps you feel spiritual things
  • If you are associating with people who will pull you away, use your agency and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost

The choir sang I Am a Child of God (they also sang the fourth verse in the Children’s Songbook)

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Talked of Moses
  • Moses knew of the grandeur of a worldly kingdom
  • Years later he spoke to God face to face
  • “I know that man is nothing”
  • Even though man is nothing, the worth of souls is great
  • the great Deceiver uses extremes to get to us
  • compared to God we are nothing, but to God we are everything
    1. God loves the humble and meek
    2. The Lord entrusts the fulness of his gospel to declare the gospel
    3. No matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father
    4. Please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be

The choir sang Press Forward, Saints

Elder Lowell M Snow offered the benediction


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

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 – Saturday Morning Session

179th_semiannual_general_conference

As mentioned in my pre-conference post, I watched this session at work. I pulled up the web site about 20 minutes early, and the transmission was flawless all the way through.

President Henry B. Eyring conducted.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “Glory to God on High” to start the conference. Following President Eyring’s introduction, the choir sang “Rejoice, the Lord Is King!” and then Elder John M. Madsen offered the invocation.

President Monson opened the conference

  • Oquirrh Utah temple was dedicated in August
  • 14,000 youth participated in 2-night cultural celebration
  • 83% of members live within 200 miles of a temple
  • There are 130 operating temples
  • 16 have been announced or are under construction
  • 5 new temples announced
    • Brigham City, Utah
    • Concepción, Chile
    • Fortaleza, Brazil
    • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    • Sapporo, Japan
  • President Joseph F Smith said that through our efforts in their behalf, their chains of bondage will fall
  • All members should befriend new converts
  • Continue to pray that ares of the world will be opened

The choir sang “Choose the Right”

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

  • Communication with the Spirit
  • Inspiration to know what to do
  • Power, to be able to do it
  • Sometimes truth is revealed when you are not actively seeking it
  • Pornography is one of the most damning influences on earth, and is overpoweringly addictive
  • Commit to overcome it now
  • If you pray with all your heart, you can learn to be consistent with the guidance of the Holy Spirit

Sister Vicki F Matsumori

  • The influence of the Holy Ghost
  • Help others understand
  • The Spirit will not dwell in unholy temples
  • We should find ways to feel the Spirit every day and weekly at Church
  • “Be still and know that I am God”

Elder L Whitney Clayton ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Life presses all kinds of burdens on us
  • Generally burdens come from 3 sources
    1. Natural product of the conditions of the world
    2. Imposed on us by the misconduct of others
    3. Imposed on us by our own mistakes and shortcomings
  • Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues
  • Adam was told the ground would be cursed. Work is a burden but a blessing.
  • Alma observed the Zoramites had been humbled. Economic challenges help us prepare to hear the word of the Lord
  • Because of the length of their war, the Nephews and Lamanites were softened. Political and social unrest may humble and motivate us to seek heavenly shelter
  • Joseph smith was told that his sufferings would give him experience. The suffering we experience is a valuable, if painful, school for improving our behaviour
  • We need to bear one another’s burdens

The choir and congregation sang “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”

Brother Russell T Osguthorpe

  • A good teacher can help save lives
  • Teaching involves sharing the key doctrine, an invitation to action, and then the promised blessings
  • Teachers can inspire their students to change, to do better, to set sights higher

Elder David A Bednar ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • “More diligent and concerned at home”
    1. Express love and show it
      When was the last time you told your spouse, your child, your parents you love them
      Testimonies that express love might be appropriate, but the public statement shouldn’t be the only time they hear it
      Feeling the constancy of love is a rich blessing
    2. Bear testimony and live it
      When was the last time you bore your testimony to your spouse, your children, or your parents
      We need to bear it, we need to mean it, and most importantly, we need to live it
    3. Be consistent
      Results don’t come each time
      The consistency of our intent and work is the great lesson
      A single paint brush stroke is not critical, but all of the strokes together create a beautiful painting
      Each family prayer, scripture study, each Family Home Evening is a brush stroke of the canvas of our souls

The choir sang “My Heavenly Father Loves Me”

The choir sang “Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf ** might use as a 4th Sunday lesson **

  • Of all the things we are known for, are there things we should seek to be known for?
  • How do we become true disciples of Jesus Christ?
  • Love God
  • God doesn’t need us to love Him, but we need to love God
  • God loves us completely and perfectly
  • Don’t get discouraged. Keep trying
  • Try to believe, learn of God, study the scriptures, follow the prophets, listen to the Father, do the things He asks of us
  • Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible, and that which seems possible, becomes a habit.
  • How can we hear the Father’s voice?
  • Why is love the great commandment?
  • If learn to love, all else will fall into place
  • Love is the way of the disciple
  • Let us be known as a people who love God

The choir sang “Come, Come, Ye Saints”

The benediction was offered by Elder Clate W. Mask

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