Tag Archives: president monson

What’s wrong with Elder Hales?

If you saw General Conference, you definitely noticed that Elder Robert D Hales looked significantly different. He looked “puffy”, spoke from a chair, and had oxygen tubes in his nose. He didn’t say what was wrong with him. Elder Ballard and President Monson both referred to how it was nice to see him, but no one shared what was wrong.

Yesterday and today the Church News & Events page, the LDS Newsroom, and the Deseret News all posted about a statement issued by Elder Hales:

I continue to work with doctors and physical therapists to regain my strength. I am grateful for the faith and prayers that made it possible for me to participate in general conference and resume my responsibilities. I am touched by the many kind expressions of love and support shown to me and your continued prayers.

None of the three sources I mentioned talk about what the health challenges were that Elder Hales faced.

Do you think it was a good idea to post the statement, or does it lead to more questions? Part of me says they should share what is wrong with him. There are millions of people who are concerned about him, and continually using the phrase “health challenges” seems pointless. Another part of me says that it is his health, and he deserves privacy, so we should all back off. Yet another part of me says that if Elder Hales shared what is wrong with him, there would be critics of the Church who would use that as an excuse to talk about the “old men” who lead the Church and that they aren’t capable.

I’m still not settled on what I think the best way is to handle this, but I do know that I hope for the best for Elder Hales. I hope and pray that he isn’t suffering, and that he recovers.

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:

180th Semiannual General Conference – Sunday Morning General Session

I went to Church a little early today. I had to do an interview before the main broadcast. I went with my sons who sat and watched the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast while I was in the interview. By the time I was done my wife was there with my daughter, and we all got to sit together (one of those few times in the year).


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Truth Eternal

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Jehovah, Lord of Heaven and Earth

Elder Gerald Caussé offered the invocation

President Henry B Eyring

  • the Lord grants unto all nations to teach His words
  • trust comes from knowing God
  • be still and know that I am God
  • he has revealed himself that we may trust him
  • Latter-day Saints can be a light to the people

The choir sang Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

President Boyd K Packer

  • the Family Proclamation is 15 years old
  • it is revelation and members would do well to follow it
  • the devil can deceive or fool, but can’t force us to do anything
  • the dreadful sin of pornography is like a plague
  • the effects can be spiritually fatal
  • the priesthood has authority to stamp out evil influences
  • don’t look back, ahead of you is peace and happiness

Elder Jay E Jensen

  • the gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts
  • quote from President Gordon B Hinckley‘s 4 cornerstones
    • First Vision
    • Restoration of Priesthood
    • Testimony of Jesus Christ
    • Book of Mormon

Sister Mary N Cook

  • we must be examples of the believers
  • be an example in faith
  • strengthen your own faith
  • we need to show youth how to strengthen their own faith
  • be an example in purity
  • For the Strength of Youth is a beautiful tool

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • we have 2 lines of communication with God, personal and priesthood
  • the personal channel is based on worthiness
  • priesthood line is usually for governing the kingdom
  • people should get their own communication in the personal line, not the priesthood line
  • the two lines are connected
  • you cannot have communication in the personal line if you are disobedient to the priesthood line
  • some members fail to understand the importance of the priesthood line
  • the voice of the Lord’s servants is the voice of the Lord
  • the priesthood line doesn’t mean we do not need the personal line

The choir sang Love One Another

President Thomas S Monson

  • do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive?
  • we need to focus on what we have instead of what we lack
  • while there are many things wrong in the world, there are many things which are good and right
  • not showing gratitude is like wrapping a present and not giving it

The choir sang Now Let Us Rejoice

Elder Carlos A Godoy 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:

180th Semiannual General Conference – Priesthood Session

As indicated in the write-up for the Saturday afternoon session, I watched that one at home. I had to be at the Church by 6:15 pm (Eastern time), so I left about halfway through Elder Scott’s address and picked up my father. We both had to be at the YM sub-sational which started at 7:00 PM (I had a meeting before then).

The sub-sational was great, with around 15 YM attending with their fathers. Include the YM leaders, the missionaries and the bishopric, and we probably had 30 people there. Good times for sure!

My father has always taken me out after the Priesthood Session of conference, and that tradition continues. Even after eating a couple of subs, we went out afterward to Boston Pizza and had some chicken wings and cactus cut potatoes. As to me as I dropped him off at home, “Good conversation, good company.” Thanks Dad!


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The Priesthood Choir sang Hark, All Ye Nations!

Elder Marcos A Aidukaitis offered the invocation

The choir sang Go, Ye Messengers of Heaven

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • we need to remember why we have missionaries
  • “go ye into all the world”
  • 52,000 missionaries in 340 missions
  • missionaries serve to make life better for all of God’s children

Elder Patrick Kearon

  • he told a story about growing up on the “Arabian peninsula” and got stung by a scorpion
  • he knew he was supposed to wear shoes, but didn’t
  • disregarding what we know to be right brings

Elder Juan A Uceda

  • story of a man and his daughter, the man yelled at his daughter because she didn’t want to read the scriptures with his family
  • after a short time both the daughter and father said they were sorry
  • our home has to be a place where the Spirit can dwell
  • the home is next to the temple in sacredness

The choir and congregation sang High on the Mountain Top

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • remembers President Ezra Taft Benson’s talk on Pride from 1989
  • there is a difference between being proud of something and being prideful
  • pride is self-elevation
  • pride is a gateway sin
  • there is a lot of pride in sports
  • in life, we all wear the same jersey
  • we are to encourage all people
  • we can be grateful, but when we obsess or focus on those things, that is when the trouble begins
  • pride is a switch that turns off priesthood power
  • humility is a switch that turns on priesthood power
  • there are so many people in need we could be thinking about other than ourselves

President Henry B Eyring

  • the power of a holder of the priesthood is magnified by the Holy Ghost
  • we should pray for the Holy Ghost in our service
  • pondering is the thinking and praying after reading and studying

President Thomas S Monson

  • the 3 R’s of choice
    • right of choice
    • responsibility of choice
    • results of choice
  • we cannot be neutral, there is no middle ground
  • we are bombarded by the messages of the adversary
  • the lies are endless
  • we cannot afford the luxury of a detour from which we may never return
  • it’s easier to keep the commandments 100% of the time than 98% of the time

The choir sang Called to Serve

Elder James J Hamula 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:

180th Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

Here we go…

Wait, what’s up with the audio? I can hear the choir, but no voiceover, and nothing from President Eyring (who is conducting)…

Phew! There is audio now.

In general (and not because of the audio problem that has been resolved), I prefer the Move Networks plugin that the Church used to use for these broadcasts. I find this Flash (Brightcove) plugin is choppy.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

President Henry B Eyring conducted the session

The choir sang Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Elder Octaviano Tenorio offered the invocation

President Thomas S Monson

  • 4 temples have been dedicated since April
  • Laie, Hawaii temple will be rededicated next month
  • Announced 5 new temples in
    • Lisbon, Portugal
    • Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Urdaneta, Philippines
    • Hartford, Connecticut
    • Tijuana, Mexico
  • The ordinances performed in our temple are vital for salvation
  • spoke of need for worthy missionaries
  • Sisters and senior missionaries are also needed

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

Elder Jeffrey R Holland

  • Thank you for sustaining us
  • We sustain you in return
  • Can’t express the gratitude the brethren have for the members
  • members make the gospel what it is, a power manifestation of the life Christ gave bringing peace and salvation to other people

Sister Rosemary M Wixom

  • take my hand and hold on tight
  • help children understand Plan of Salvation
  • if we don’t teach our children, others will
  • if we want them to know something in 5 years, we need to teach them now
  • the Savior has marked the path and led the way

Elder Claudio R M Costa

The choir and congregation sang Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

Brother David McConkie

  • what matters most is the attitude or spirit by which a teacher teaches
  • successful gospel teachers love the gospel
  • a teacher’s attitude is not taught, it’s caught
  • suggestions for effective teaching
    • before we teach the gospel, we need to know the gospel
    • apply in your life the things you learn
    • seek heaven’s help
    • exercise our agency and act on promptings

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

  • we have freedom to use our time
  • our life is a stewardship of time and choices
  • we should live a consecrated life
  • one who lives a consecrated life does not seek to take advantage of another

The choir sang Tell Me the Stories of Jesus (it had a verse I’ve never heard before)

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • started off by talk about a tree, then said that most of us were probably wondering what that had to do with an airplane. The crowd laughed, as did I. I was actually think that exact thing! 🙂
  • you don’t necessarily go faster through turbulence
  • this life seems to have us moving faster despite the turbulence we face
  • it’s easy to be busy
  • focus on the fundamentals, don’t get distracted
  • ** partway through his talk he started coughing, and cleared his throat a bunch of times. He said that he’d lost his voice and that it was one of the fundamental things he needed 🙂
  • we would do well to slow down and proceed at the optimum speed
  • some important fundamental relationships include
    • our relationship to God
    • our relationship to our family
    • our relationship to our fellowman
    • our relationship to ourself

The choir sang The Morning Breaks

Elder Eduardo Gavarret 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:

Funny junk mail received at Church

We don’t get a lot of mail delivered to the ward meetinghouse. I’m sure this is pretty common. All orders get delivered to the bishop’s home. The Church building group takes care of the standard bills. That leaves junk mail as pretty much the only thing that gets delivered to the building. I’ve found that most of our mail is addressed to “The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS”. We must have gotten on some mailing list with that abbreviation, and then that list was shared.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, so we didn’t have any administration meetings in the morning. I still got to Church just after 8:30 am (Sacrament Meeting starts at 9:30 am) and brought my two sons with me. They know the drill… the first thing I check before I unlock the door is the mail. Yesterday there were several pieces of junk mail, including this Staples leaflet.

I didn’t bother paying attention to the mail at all. I went in the building, and the missionaries were already there. I joked with them that I remembered how much missionaries liked getting mail, so I gave them the junk mail. One of the missionaries looked at it, and then gave it back to me and showed me the other side.

Did you notice who the recipient was?

Funny stuff! Several of us were joking that we should forward it to President Monson.

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

“A prophet’s visit”

The Church News has a nice article (with pictures) about a recent trip by President Monson to Nauvoo and Kirtland. I have never been to Nauvoo, but have been to Kirtland many times. It’s about a 3-4 hour drive from here. I love being there. I don’t generally talk like this, but there really is a special feeling being in the same place that the early Church leaders were in. In my mind’s eye I can see them working on the temple, living in the houses, and playing in the fields. It just makes everything seem more real.

The article is quite detailed, but starts off this way:

President Thomas S. Monson made brief visits to Nauvoo, Ill., and Kirtland, Ohio, on Oct. 9 and 10. It was the first time since he became president of the Church on Feb. 3, 2008, that he has visited the sites steeped in Church history.

Does President Thomas S. Monson of the LDS Church have dentures?

Good thing Yahoo! Answers is around to help people with these pressing questions (don’t forget this one)…

13 Former Ad Men Who Found Fame in Other Fields

mental_floss magazine has a blog posting on their website about 13 Former Ad Men Who Found Fame in Other Field. President Monson makes the list at #13:

13. Thomas S. Monson
Monson, the current President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, got his start as an advertising executive for newspapers in the 1940s.

Cool!