Tag Archives: M. Russell Ballard

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

I’m at home for the afternoon session. My kids are bundled up in their blankets (as is my wife) and we will watch at least the first half hour or hour together. The kids will probably then go off and play while my wife and I watch the rest. We also have a friend from Church (one of my institute students) who came to see it with us.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Arise, O Glorious Zion

Elder Gerrit W. Gong offered the invocation

The choir sang I Am a Child of God

President Henry B Eyring did the sustainings

Elder L Tom Perry

  • turned 90-years-old this summer
  • some values today are slipping and need to be defended
  • read a letter he wrote to his mother when he was in WWII
  • lessons taught at home are increasingly important
  • the adversary is attacking commitments to family life
  • parents must resolve that teaching in the home is the most sacred responsibility
  • strengthen our family cultures in these ways:
    1. parents can pray in earnest that love, understand guide their children
    2. hold Family Home Evening, scripture study, and eat together
    3. fully avail themselves of the Church support network  (talk to teachers, leaders, presidencies) to provide essential understanding
    4. share testimonies with their children and commit them to keep the commandments of God
    5. organize our families based on clear simple family rules and expectations, traditions, rituals, and economics
  • teach at the cradle-side

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • said that Elder Perry must be the youngest 90-year-old in the Church
  • spoke about how his father had bees to help pollinate peach trees
  • to produce 1 lb of honey, the average hive of 20,000-60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of 2x around the world
  • a single bees contribution is a mere 1/12 of 1 teaspoon
  • although seemingly insignificant, each bees contribution is vital to the life of a hive
  • they depend on each other
  • the beehive has long been a symbol in our Church
  • great things are brought about and burdens are lightened by the action of many hands
  • our troubled world needs the love of Christ
  • our minds and our hearts need to be anxiously engaged throughout the week
  • we don’t need religious fanaticism; we need to assimilate the doctrines deep within our hearts
  • in your morning prayer each new day ask Heavenly Father to recognize opportunities to serve

Elder Larry Echo Hawk

  • told a story about his marine sergeant; the sergeant was ridiculing everyone, but when he saw his Book of Mormon, he left him alone
  • shared his feelings about the  Book of Mormon; he felt it was a history of his people
  • the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture

The choir and congregation sang Let Us All Press On

Elder Robert C Gay

  • would you sell your soul for a nickel?
  • does one drink really matter?
  • Satan tries to get us to justify what we’ve done
  • we are to give up all of our sins, big or small
  • we must always hearken to the voice of the Spirit within us, wherever it takes us

Elder Scott D Whiting

  • told a story about the work on the Hawaii temple
  • the contractor had to fix some things that were very minor because they were not up to temple standards
  • the temples are built for our use, but there should be no doubt as to whose house it is
  • we are each made of the finest materials, however our own temple can come in need of renovation and repair

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • told story about the Marriott family losing their daughter
  • the gift of faith is a priceless spiritual endowment
  • our faith is protected in the Church (as we participate in the various programs/ordinances/meetings)
  • when you tested, stay within the security of the household of God
  • no trial is so large we can’t overcome it together
  • God’s ways are higher than our ways

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • all children are children of God
  • worldwide there are millions of children victimized by adults
  • one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them of birth
  • low birthrates is not just a religious issue; cultures and nations will be hollowed out and disappear
  • worldwide there are 40 million abortions per year
  • making a child feel worthless or unloved can hurt them for life
  • marriage isn’t just about the adults; the children are impacted for good or bad
  • divorcing parents teach a negative lesson
  • the family structure that produces the best outcome is two biological parents who remain married
  • 41% of all births in the US were to unwed mothers
  • for children, the stability of marriage matters

The choir sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

Elder José L Alonso 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 Annual General Conference – Post-conference notes

A few random thoughts as the conference comes to an end:

  • I say this after each conference, and I think I will say it forever… I have a hard enough time staying awake for 10 hours, how do these men in their 70s and 80s?!?!
  • General Conference was fantastic. I always enjoy it, but there was something different this year. I’m not sure why, but I welcome it. I felt the Spirit through many of the talks, and loved the music.
  • We are so blessed to hear from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir regularly.
  • In between sessions on Sunday I watched The World Report. It’s always interesting. I like seeing some of the “behind the scenes” activities around the world.
  • I’m sure other goofy people have thought this before, but I noticed that Elder Malm offered the benediction of the Sunday Morning session. We have a dresser in one of our dressers from Ikea that is called Malm.
  • I can’t get over how great Elder Perry looks. He’s going to be 90 this year!
  • Before I die I hope to make it to Temple Square to hear the choir sing in person
  • More than half of births to American woman under 30 occur outside of marriage. Nearly half of marriages end in divorce.
  • Elder Ballard spoke powerfully to both male and female YSA about marriage
  • I’ve never heard of Elder Wilson before, but I really enjoyed his style (as well as substance)

It was a long, but enjoyable 10 hours. I’m grateful that we have prophets, seers, and revelators and other Church leaders who can help us feel the Spirit in this way.


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

182nd Annual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

Well, here we are at the last session. I didn’t go into the conference with any particular question in mind, but wow, I have felt the Spirit through so many talks, and especially during the music in the session this morning. It is going to be tough to top Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing!


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

Elder W Craig Zwick offered the invocation

The choir sang Come unto Jesus

Elder L Tom Perry (Note: Can you believe Elder Perry is 89 years old, turning 90 this year?!?! Wow! I hope I look that good at that age)

  • the Book of Mormon is the most correct book
  • it is important for the world to have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon
  • we can be delivered from evil by turning to the teachings of the scriptures
  • “It’s a great book”
  • much of the greatness comes from its harmony with the Book of Mormon

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • the Liahona was a ball of curious workmanship
  • compared it to a GPS
  • 100 years ago Joseph F Smith connected happiness and the family. There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home
  • when people make the family and religious commitments to gospel principles they being to do better spiritually and often temporally as well
  • commitments to family and values are the basic cause. Nearly everything else is effect
  • society at large is strengthened as families grow stronger
  • prioritize… put everything outside your own in subjection to what happens inside your home
  • do things in the right order… marriage then family
  • to the YM bachelorhood carries to the superficial mind the idea that it is desirable because it brings with it a minimum of responsibility.
  • to the YW you must also not lose sight of this responsibility. No career can bring you as much fulfillment as raising a family
  • husbands and wives are equal partners… no one owns their spouse or children
  • use the family resources of the church… the church is the scaffolding with which we build eternal families

Elder O Vincent Haleck

  • where there is no vision the people perish
  • we must see ourselves as the Savior sees us
  • focus on the things that matter most

The choir and congregation sang Hope of Israel

Elder Larry Y Wilson

  • we must lead with principles of righteousness
  • compulsion builds resentment
  • women too may exercise unrighteous dominion
  • if parents hold onto all decision-making power they severely limit the growth and development of their children
  • prepare children to get along without you

Elder David F Evans

  • what can I do to build up the Lord’s church?
  • the most important work is within our own home and family
  • we must be faithful ourselves so our children can see our joy in the gospel
  • it is the worth of souls, no matter their condition, that is great in the sight of God and our Savior
  • was it worth it? Was all the effort over all the years worth it to have just one baptism. The answer is yes!

Elder Paul B Pieper

  • our experiences with the diving may not be like a prophet, but our strength to endure faithfully depends on holding sacred that which we receive from above
  • finding things to be sacred takes an act of agency
  • we can’t be affected by secular things
  • the sacred cannot be selectively abandoned in life
  • those who chose to abandon sacred things will have their minds darkened

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • what think you of Christ? what thinks Christ of me?
  • being a discipline in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout the eternities
  • we receive customized direction from the Holy Ghost
  • discipleship is not a competition, but an invitation to all
  • wherever you are on the road of discipleship, you are on the right road
  • whether in this life or the next, all will be made right

President Thomas S Monson

  • he thanked everyone who helped make the conference possible
  • the gospel gives our lives meaning, purpose and hope
  • settle contentions now

The choir sang I Need Thee Every Hour

Elder Jairo Mazzagardi 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:

181st Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

The Sunday morning of Genetal Conference is awesome. I’m in the Eastern time zone, so conference doesn’t start until noon. We have all morning to relax. We went for a walk in the rain, watched part of Pocahontas, and then had the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast on. We’re all set now for the first session.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Lead Me Into Life Eternal

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

Elder Paul K Sybrowsky offered the invocation

The choir sang Consider the Lilies

President Henry B Eyring

  • members recently did a day of service
  • spoke of the baptism commitment we read about in the Book of Mormon near the Waters of Mormon
  • charity is the pure love of Christ
  • feelings of charity can become part of your nature

Elder Robert D Hales

  • How sad to see Elder Hales to look the way he did. I wonder what is wrong with him. I don’t mean to be disrespectful in speaking about him, but his face seemed kind of “puffy”, but spoke well. He had the same small oxygen tubes that came around the side of his nose that President Packer did. It appears to be a neat contraption that hooked up to his glasses.
  • He spoke of the atonement
  • To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith
  • To wait upon the Lord is planting the seed of faith
  • Sometimes I don’t receive an answer to prayers because the Lord knows I am not ready
  • Too often we want patience, but we want it right now
  • Be kinder to one another, and kinder to ourselves
  • We are not alone in our Gethsemane
  • the Book of Mormon is either of God or of the Devil
  • feast upon the words of Christ
  • come unto Christ and be perfected in Him
  • shared a great analogy about a dot. You can draw an infinite number of lines through the point. That is the bible and different interpretations. Add a second dot, the Book of Mormon, and there is only one line between the dots.
The choir and congregation sang We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet
  • How do we raise girls?
  • The most important thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother
  • join with us in leading the world in returning to virtue
  • the importance of a name
  • the church was given a specific name
  • we take upon us the name of Christ
  • do we realize how blessed we are to take upon us His name? It is the only name under heaven by which man will be saved
  • went over the name of the church, and how it in some ways seems long, in another way it is a beautifully short and specific name
The choir sang I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go (the choir sang it beautifully!)

President Thomas S Monson

  • recounted how life has changed since he was born
  • along with technology changes, the morals of society have changed almost as rapidly
  • we’ve been spending our moral capital with the same reckless abandon as our financial capital
  • we can rely on God’s constancy
  • we need to reject anything that does not conform to our standards

The choir sang I Believe in Christ

Elder James B Martino 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:

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 – 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?

180th Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning Session

Another  General Conference is here. Time sure does fly by. Somehow or other it has worked out that I’m working again today, so I watched this session at work. I will be able to get home before the afternoon session starts.

I have no idea what the messages will be. The economy is slowly improving, but I’m sure there will still be some messages about being wise with our finances. I’m sure there will be messages about reaching out to less-actives. Of course, since it’s Easter weekend, I’m sure we’ll hear some good messages about Christ. A missionary from my ward is serving at Temple Square and helped at a General Authority luncheon. She got to meet President Monson, and he told them what he would be speaking on Sunday morning. This missionary wouldn’t tell us what it was, but said it starts with the letter “R”. We’ll see tomorrow if she’s right 🙂

As it has before, the Move Networks plug-in is amazing. It couldn’t get it to work with IE8 or Firefox 3.6.x, but I downloaded a portable version of 3.5.x and it worked fine.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Sweet Is the Work

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted the session

The choir sang Come, ye children of the Lord

The invocation was offered by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi

President Thomas S Monson

  • 180 years since Church was organized
  • Grateful for Prophet Joseph Smith
  • Reach out to the new convert or those making their way back
  • Surround them with love
  • Church humanitarian efforts are going around the world. It’s been around for 25 years.
  • Those who suffer are in our prayers
  • We will continue to build temples as our membership grows
  • His wife is recovering well

The choir sang There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today

President Boyd K Packer (sat in his chair)

  • Speaking to the fathers
  • Correlation and restructuring started under President Lee
  • Priesthood was the key
  • Gideon’s army was successful because every man stood in his place
  • It’s not easy to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t easy in His time. It wasn’t easy when the Church was first organized
  • The priesthood will lose great power when the sisters are neglected
  • The priesthood will not be successful until the power of the priesthood is secure in the homes
  • We need to activate the power
  • Power comes from faithful living

Sister Julie B Beck

  • Has met with thousands of sisters
  • There is much distraction, not enough peace and joy
  • No one is rich enough, beautiful enough, or clever enough to avoid a mortal experience
  • Relief Society teaches and inspires women to be strong
  • If we don’t get all the appreciation we think is do, what does it matter?
  • Refine and cultivate in ourselves in all that is good
  • It is important to seek appreciation and affirmation from the proper sources

Bishop Keith B McMullan

  • This is a troubled world
  • God helps us to forgive
  • Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligent
  • It isn’t just what is legal, but what is virtuous
  • Rests on personal responsibility, integrity and courage
  • Prayer gives us the guidance we need
  • Our path of duty is clearly marked

The choir and congregation sang Guide us, O thou great Jehovah

Elder Wilford W Andersen

  • Visited Nauvoo with his family
  • The early Saints were filled with hope
  • Hope does not depend on circumstance
  • The Haitian Saints are filled with hope for the future
  • Christ has overcome the world and will not forget or abandon us

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • Mothers and daughters play a critical role, despite the undermining influence of the world
  • Men cannot do what women can do in nurturing and influencing
  • Don’t look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors
  • Do not model yourself after celebrities
  • Trust your mother
  • “Hold your tongues about the things of no moment”
  • Teach your daughters the importance of keeping covenants and then show them how to keep them
  • Teach them to repent and stay worthy
  • Parents and children need to learn from one another

The choir sang He Sent His Son

President Henry B Eyring

  • We help children most by helping them build faith
  • The Lord has put rescuers in place
  • Some of the best rescuers work with people in their teenage years
  • Learn what you should learn, do what you should do, be what you should be
  • We need to make plans that are not only wishes but covenants
  • The YW Personal Progress program recently was revised. AP Duty to God is also revised and there will be one common book for all quorums/ages

The choir sang How Firm a Foundation

The benediction was offered by Elder Erich W Kopischke

Read the recaps and other notes from the 180th Annual 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 – 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: