We will be reporting and photoblogging the Morning session as it develops. For more instant updates follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ByCommonConsent .
The weather is terrible; don’t believe it if one of the speakers talks about the beauties of Spring.
The new apostle is Neil Linden Andersen.
He is 57 years old, was called to the First Quorum of the 70 in 1993. he has been in area presidencies in Western Europe and Mexico and Central America. He speaks French, Portuguese, and Spanish, and has experience supervising Church A/V productions, including “The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd.” He was mission president in France, Bordeaux and president of the Tampa Florida Stake.
Elder Hales speaks of self-imposed servitude, either through sin or overconsumption. We are driven by the natural man to consume things that enthrall us but cannot satisfy.
Sister Lifferth: “reverence will increase if our socializing is done in the foyer, and if sacrament mtg begins with the prelude music, not the opening prayer.” She notes showing respect for priesthood leadership, calling priesthood leaders by their titles, but she also mentions auxiliaries. And she wants us to turn off blackberries and iphones in church. COME ON.
Elder Neider: “The work of the quorum is to increase faith in Christ, prepare and save young men, and eliminate mistakes and sloth in implementing God’s will.” Excellent–I can’t remember the last time anyone said “sloth” in General Conference. It’s interesting that he’s trying to include the YW in his talk to the Aaronic Priesthood. It does seem awkward, though–the parallels don’t quite hold.
I just went out into the congregation for the intermediate hymn–and the singing was LAME! I’m so sad. When did we decide that being reverent included barely moving our mouths for the hymns?
Elder Christofferson: “We need strong Christians who can persevere against hardship, who can sustain hope through tragedy, who can lift others by their example and their compassion, and who can consistently overcome temptations. We need strong Christians who can make important things happen by their faith…” The new and everlasting covenant summed up by John 3:16–seems to me a remarkable manifestation of the Church’s re-emphasis on the centrality of Christianity to Mormonism’s essence over the last several decades.
OK–wow. “The gift of the Holy Ghost is part of the new and everlasting covenant. It is an essential part of our baptism, the baptism of the Spirit. It is the messenger of grace by which the blood of Christ is applied to take away our sins and sanctify us.” I think that’s beyond re-emphasis. I like it, but it strikes me as a fairly radical restatement. What do you all think?
And this is lovely: “Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to…faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. …I testify that God will keep His promises to you as you honor your covenants with Him: He will bless you in ‘good measure, pressed down…shaken together, and running over’ (Luke 6:38). He will strengthen and finish your faith.”
It’s interesting to me that both Elder Hales and Elder Eyring have framed their discussion of the economic crisis entirely in terms of individual morality–righteous preparation vs. sinful and addictive spending. I suppose that is the most important way for them to offer counsel, but I sure would like to know what they think about the larger structural issues.
I love the fact that the ending of the story was surprising to Elder Eyring even after giving the blessing–it’s nice to hear him testify of the undramatic kind of holiness and grace which is, ultimately, more significant than miraculous healing.