Tag Archives: missionaries

My report from the Palmyra Pageant

As mentioned yesterday, this year we went to the Palmyra Pageant as a family. It had been several years since I had last been. Previously, the main parking lot was across the street, so you would have to walk right past the protestors. Some of them were quiet, but others were loud and obnoxious. Since the last time we were there the parking arrangements have changed. Now you park on the same side of the street as the Hill Cumorah, so you never have to walk directly by the protestors. I was there on Wednesday, July 17, and it was probably the hottest day of the year. It could have been because it was mid-week, or because of the heat, but there were very few protestors out that night. They were making some noise until the opening prayer, and then I never heard them again.

I live about a two-hour drive from Palmyra, so we got there at around 5 pm. The pageant doesn’t start until after 9 pm, so we had a few hours to go and view the sites. Since there are so many people who visit the area during pageant time, there are no official tours offered at the various historical sites. There are, however, lots of missionaries and volunteers around to explain some things and answer questions.

Other than the heat, it was a beautiful day. The kids particularly enjoyed walking through the Sacred Grove. There was some steam/fog among the trees, so you could see the light coming through in visible beams. it looked just like something you’d see in a movie.

The pageant itself hasn’t changed much in several years. That is both a good and bad thing. I like it because it is comfortable. You know exactly how long it will be, and it is easy to tell the kids to pay attention to a specific part that is coming up. On the other hand, since it hasn’t changed it just didn’t feel as exciting to watch it this time.

Ultimately, we had a great day. My three kids thought it was awesome, and I guess that is what matters most.

I took a bunch of pictures and will post them tomorrow…

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 – Pre-conference notes

183rd_general_conference_header

Here we are at another April, and General Conference is here. I’m not sure how this happened again, but I’m working today, so I’ll have to watch the first session while at work. I think I’ve worked 5 out of the last 6 conferences (or something like that). Otherwise, the plan is the same as last time. We’ll watch the other general sessions at home, and I’ll go with my father to the Priesthood session broadcast at Church. Since I’m now the YM President, I’m also in charge of our “sub-sational” that we have beforehand. Even though we are eating, I’m sure my father and I will find some excuse to still go out together afterward.

I have no predictions about anything. The stats will be interesting. This is the first General Conference since the big “Mormon Moment” (Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House, the Book of Mormon musical, etc). That moment seems to be passing, so it will be interesting to see if it led to increased baptisms. It will also be interesting to hear how many missionaries are currently serving.

Enjoy the conference!


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

181st Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Afternoon General Session

Well, here we go into the last session of conference. It has been good so far. I haven’t started to fall asleep even once 🙂

Between these two sessions on Sunday, we watched several of the Mormon Messages that the Church has put out. I highly recommend The Sting of the Scorpion and Watch Your Step. Both are very powerful!


President Henry B Eyring conducted

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Arise, O God, and Shine

Elder F Michael Watson offered the invocation

The choir sang I Feel My Savior’s Love

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • spoke about his recent trip to Russia
  • temple covenants are sacred and powerful
  • we are children of the covenant
  • He is our God, we are His people

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • What think ye of Christ?
  • When you consider all of the things the Saviour has done for us, don’t you have many reasons to come back to church?

Brother Matthew O Richardson

  • when I left my mission, my mission didn’t leave me
  • we need to be “real” in every area of our life
  • real life requires real learning which requires real teaching

The choir and congregation sang Now Let Us Rejoice

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

  • spoke about missionary work and the missionaries who serve around the world
  • missionaries are a treasure to this great church

Elder Randall K Bennett

  • he shared a story about how he almost drowned as a child
  • that day he made a poor choice that almost permanently separate him from his family
  • you can’t make eternal decisions without eternal consequences
  • in our choices we make every day, are we choosing eternal life
  • we essentially only have two choices
  • are you choosing to be busy and apathetic that you don’t take time to study the words of Christ?
  • are you choosing to follow the prophets or the world?
  • your eternal destiny will not be an accident. It will be a choice

Elder J Devn Cornish (President Eyring had a hard time pronouncing his name)

  • in His mercy, the God of heaven hears our prayers
  • Why would God concern himself with small things?
  • He loves us so much, what is important to us becomes important to him
  • it is contrary to the economy of heaven for God to do something for us we can do for ourselves
  • do not forget to ask the Lord to protect you and be with you
  • when we think we are too sinful to pray, that is like someone saying they are too sick to go to the doctor

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • something stirs within us when tragedy strikes innocent people.
  • why are righteous people not immune
  • we can exercise our faith
    1. God loves and understands us perfectly
    2. The atonement compensates
    3. The plan of salvation provides for eternal life
  • Cool story of missionaries cancelling trip on Titanic
  • have  a spirit of gratitude in our hearts
  • we prosper when we have the spirit in our lives
  • some challenges give us experience and purify us and prepare us to meet God
  • God has enough lifeboats for everyone

President Thomas S Monson

  • expressed gratitude and appreciation for a variety of things
  • Heavenly Father is mindful of the challenges we face

The choir sang Lord, We Ask Thee Ere We Part

Elder Gregory A Schwitzer 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 – Priesthood Session

After the afternoon session, while the kids were eating dinner, we watched Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration. It was very well done. My kids seemed to enjoy it. We live close enough to some of the sites (Palmyra and Kirtland) that we told them we’d visit the sites this summer.

I go to Church a little before 8 pm. A YM has just returned from his mission. While he was away, his parents moved, so he won’t be staying in the area. Tonight was the only chance to catch up with him.

Afterward, my father and I continued a tradition we’ve had for probably 20 years… We went out for food. We went to Boston Pizza where I got a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and a smoothie. Great times!


The Priesthood Choir was made up from Ogden and Logan Utah Institutes

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang See the Mighty Priesthood Gathered

Elder Rafael E Pino offered the invocation

The choir sang Guide Me to Thee

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • Spoke to 12 to 25-year-olds
  • These are your days
  • Told story about a 19 year old future rugby star, Sid Going, in New Zealand served a mission instead of joining the All Blacks. He felt that sharing the gospel was more important
  • Sid Going The sun never sets on missionaries sharing their testimony In the years before your mission, consider the sacred assignment ahead of you

Elder Steven E Snow

  • Hope is an emotion which brings richness to our lives
  • Hopes brings a calming influence
  • Our hopes leads us to dreams, which inspires us
  • Don’t let hope be displaced by despair
  • The spiritual journeys today require great hope

Brother Larry M Gibson

  • Went over responsibilities of a Deacon
  • Go to the scriptures and discover what your duties are

The choir and congregation sang Redeemer of Israel

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Are we living below our priesthood privileges?
  • In our daily lives, our actions indicate our understanding is little more than a rehearsed definition
  • Set your “Do it” switch to “Now” not “Later”
  • Read the owner’s manual, the scriptures and handbooks
  • Re-read sections 20, 84, 107, and 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants
  • Become an expert in the doctrines of the gospel
  • Seek the revelations of the Spirit
  • Find joy in priesthood service
  • Our religion is a joyful one

President Henry B Eyring

  • 3 aids to growing in the priesthood
    1. Listen and council together
    2. Have love for each other
      • Discord inhibits the Spirit
    3. Labour for the salvation of men

President Thomas S Monson

  • Wants to discuss a few personal worthiness things
  • The moral compass of the masses has shifted to an almost anything goes direction
  • There is a wide chasm between us and the world
  • Do not subject yourself to the filth that is found
  • Do not do anything that you wouldn’t be proud of
  • Avoid pornography, alcohol, tobacco
  • A strong testimony will help see you through to safety
  • Don’t postpone marriage
  • The saddest thing he has to do is a cancellation of sealings
  • Be fiercely loyal one to another
  • “Choose your love. Love your choice”
  • A happy marriage isn’t so much because of marrying the right person, but in BEING the right person
  • We are married for time and all eternity, and then must put forth the effort to make it so
  • The gift of the priesthood is priceless

The choir sang For the Strength of the Hills

Elder Joseph W Sitati offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Annual 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 Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon Session

I made it home from work to watch this session at home (4 PM start where I am). It was much easier to pay attention at work. Saturdays are always slow, so I could just watch the session. However, at home, there were 3 small children running around, talking, and being generally distracting. It’s hard to be mad at them for being themselves, but it was also a little frustrating. We still managed to get through it 🙂


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

A choir from the Orem Institute of Religion sang Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

The invocation was offered by Lynn G Robbins

President Dieter F Uchtdorf presented the sustaining of church officers. There is a new Primary Presidency as well as a few new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Second Quorum of the Seventy. There were also loads of Area Seventies released and called.

Robert W Cantwell, Managing Director of the Church Auditing Department, presented the Church audit report. It’s all good.

Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency, presented the Church 2009 Statistical Report.

  • Stakes 2,865
  • Missions 344
  • Districts 616
  • Wards and Branches 28,424
  • Members 13,824,854
  • Child of record baptism 119,722
  • Convert baptism 280,106
  • Full-time Missionaries 51,736
  • Temples dedicated 2
  • Total temples in operation 130

Elder L Tom Perry

  • Mother’s best teaching occurred at home, not with the sisters at church
  • His mother thought a mind would become weak if it was not constantly being exercised
  • Though times change, a parent’s teachings should never be devalued
  • One of the most important activities is parents teaching the children in their home

Elder D Todd Christofferson

  • William Tyndale translate the bible into English and was put in jail
  • His work became the foundation for almost all future English translations of the bible
  • Through the scriptures God shows His power to save His children
  • We have the scriptural record to enlarge our memory
  • We are becoming illiterate because we aren’t opening books. We are forgetting things our grandparents knew.
  • His commandments are the voice of reality
  • The central purpose of scriptures is to fill us with faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ
  • Scriptures are revelation and will bring added revelation

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

Elder Koichi Aoyagi

  • Hands that help
  • Shared story of conversion
  • “I realized that I was not praying with all of my heart, and decided to do so. One morning I woke up early and knelt in my small apartment and prayed sincerely. To my surprise, the confirmation of the Holy Ghost came upon me as promised. My heart burned, my body shook…”
  • Follow the prophet, he knows the way
  • Sometimes we feel we lack the experience to rescue others, but we need to do it
  • We are surrounded by those who need us

Elder Bruce A Carlson

  • Strict obedience to God’s law brings blessings
  • “The safety in the Church lies in the members keeping the commandments. As they keep the commandments, blessings will come”
  • If we don’t keep the commandments, we are headed for disaster
  • Faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task will bring the Lord’s guidance, assistance, and peace
  • “When the Lord commands, do it”

Elder David A Bednar

  • He was recently driving in the rain. A sign said standing water ahead. The road seemed safe, but this sign helped him prepare
  • Early warning signals are evident in many aspects of our lives
  • Spiritual warnings should lead to increased watching
  • An early warning signal consists of 3 parts:
    1. Reading and talking about the Book of Mormon  with your children
      Book of Mormon speaks to the spirit and heart of the reader more than any other volume of scripture
    2. Bearing testimony spontaneously to your children
      A naturally occurring family conversation is a great way to testify of blessings received during the day
    3. Inviting children to act, not merely to be act upon
      Be doers of the word.
  • A child is never to young to take part in this pattern of learning
  • We are not in the business of distributing fish. We are teaching people to fish
  • The best Family Home Evenings are not necessarily from purchased or downloaded packets. Search the scriptures together
  • Are we teaching our children to be anxiously engaged?

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • Why is there so much moral decay around us?
  • The Internet can blast a hole in your brain
  • The problems are no respecter of persons
  • Lust is  a deadly sin. It defiles the holiest relationship God gives us in mortality
  • True love we’re giddy about, but lust is characterized by shame and stealth
  • Love makes us reach out to Go, lust is anything but Godly
  • Start by separating yourself from people, material and circumstances that will hurt you
  • When fleeing temptation, do not leave a forwarding address
  • Ask for angels to help you
  • The only real control in life is self-control
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step
  • Remember the symbols you take with you from the temple, never to be set aside or forgotten
  • We can reject the evil one

The choir sang Nearer, My God, To Thee

The benediction was offered by Elder Craig C Christensen

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

Jim Carrey invites the missionaries over

Actually, it wasn’t the real Jim Carrey… it was Carl Allen, a character Jim Carrey plays in the movie Yes Man. In the movie, Jim Carrey’s character Carl is in a dead-end job, he is divorced, and seems to avoid everyone and everything. He bumps into an old friend who has really been enjoying life. This friend has been following a self-help program that is based on saying “Yes” to everything. Carl eventually tries it out and the movie is about the new life Carl has as he tries new things, but then the troubles he faces as he says yes to things he shouldn’t.

Anyway, at one point of the movie, Carl answers the door, and two men in dark pants, white shirts and ties are there. They don’t have name tags on, but they do tell him they are from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ask if they can talk to him and Carl let’s them in.

Wow… now not only do we have Steve Martin as a member (just kidding… it’s a myth), but now we can claim Jim Carrey as our own!

179th Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

179th_annual_general_conference

It has been tradition for 8 years or so that before the Priesthood Session of General Conference, the Young Men have a “sub-sational”. It’s for the young men and their father’s, their home teacher, or some other priesthood holder who brings them. There are several kinds of meat (including meat balls), chips, cookies, and pop. It’s a good time. Last night, the missionaries (who are of course always invited) even had an investigator. He is older than 18, but he was still welcome.

Actually, the missionaries had 2 investigators attend the session. This is the first time I can ever remember the missionaries having investigators at the Priesthood Session. It’s kind of hard to commit people to attend Church on a Saturday night for 2 hours. Overall, we had 48 people attend the session.

President Thomas S. Monson conducted

President Boyd K. Packer

  • priesthood authority
  • many accounts in scriptures of young men serving
  • “let no man despise thy youth”
  • don’t be discouraged about your physical features as you are a child of God
  • treasure the masculine part of who you are
  • don’t neglect learning the practical
  • a life of fun and games has come to an end
  • learn to be content

Bishop Richard C. Edgley

  • many natural disasters over the last few years
  • we are prepared, organized, have empathy, and have charity
  • no organization more prepared for the challenges of humanity than the Church
  • priesthood quorums can and must make a difference
  • rise up and let the brotherhood of the priesthood fulfill their duties
  • this is our “phone call”

Elder Claudio R. M. Costa

  • President Hinckley taught us we have 4 responsibilities
    • families
    • employers
    • Lord’s work
    • ourselves
  • preserve opportunities to strengthen our families
  • need to keep Monday night free
  • be a good employee
  • home teaching is one of great responsibilities

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

  • know for a few months what he wanted to say
  • story of plane crash in Everglades
  • plane was fine, but a light bulb burned out which distracted them
  • we often will focus on the insignificant things in life instead of what is most important
  • what matters most?
  • don’t be distracted from our sacred duties
  • put away childish things
  • become true representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • “I’m doing a great work and cannot come down”

President Henry B. Eyring

  • be brave and bold in your service
  • there has been conflict since the beginning
  • “no man left behind”
  • spiritual wounds can only be seen by inspired eyes
  • “none but fools will trifle with the souls of men”
  • have joy in your priesthood service

President Thomas S. Monson

  • priesthood is a great responsibility
  • 3 suggestions to live safely
  • study diligently
    • have daily scripture study
  • pray fervently
    • with God, all things are possible
  • live righteously
    • touch no unclean thing
  • chart your course and be cautious

Read the recaps from the other sessions of General Conference: