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182nd Semiannual General Conference – Post-conference notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

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 Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session


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: