Sunday Morning Conference

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Good morning! A beautiful crisp morning as Lloyd Newell works his magic. We will continue with our live coverage of today’s conference. Photos and other commentary to come. Sneak peek: two members of the First Presidency will speak this morning. Just a reminder, as Lloyd Newell wraps things up, that you can also join us simultaneously on Twitter.

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Eliza R. Snow looks on as the choir sings in the Conference Center.

Thank heavens “Sweet Hour of Prayer” only has two verses–otherwise, it could be like 24, and take a whole hour.

So happy to hear the acknowledgment of Palm Sunday!! Maybe we’ll even sing “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”!

One thing President Uchtdorf does really nicely is to keep a metaphor running through his talks–lots of sports ones today.

“Brothers and sisters, we have to stay with it. We don’t acquire eternal life in a sprint–this is a race of endurance.”

“Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.

It is not enough merely to speak of Jesus Christ or proclaim that we are his disciples. It is not enough to surround ourselves with symbols of our religion. Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessings of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, ‘spectator discipleship’ is a preferred if not a primary way of worshipping.”

He’s awfully good at powerful conclusions, too!

“Let us remember on this Palm Sunday, during this Easter season, and always, that the restored gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has the power to fill any emptiness, heal any wound, and bridge any vale of sorrow. It is the way of hope, faith, and trust in the Lord. …I bear my solemn witness that Jesus the Christ lives. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He is the promised Messiah. He lived a perfect life and atoned for our sins. He will ever be at our side. He will fight our battles. He is our hope; He is our salvation; He is the way.”

I wish the folks outside holding signs could come inside to hear this.

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photo: the Assembly Hall.

Up next: Elder Andersen (see, I finally remembered he’s not Swedish, and spelled his name right :))

It’s nice to hear the real sacrifices of families for church service honestly acknowledged.

I also like the way that he has spoken of Elder Wirthlin both yesterday and today, of his self-effacing diligence–I don’t remember hearing a new apostle explicitly talk about his predecessor quite that way before.

“The keeping of covenants in this day of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout all the eternities.” Nice.

“We are not alone…” There has been a really nice thread of ecumenism running through the talks this conference.

I love this story of Robert Gardner–it”s everything that baffles and delights me about Latter-day Saints, makes me feel happy to be part of this tribe and completely unworthy and alien from it, all at the same time.

“Just a few years later…one [friend] remarked, ‘I am glad to see you so well recovered from being broke. You are nearly as well off as you were before you lost your property and went on your mission. Robert’s history records:

My reply was: “Yes, I was well off once and it all went off, and I am almost afraid of another [mission] call.” Sure enough, a few hours later some of my neighbors, who had been to a meeting in Salt Lake City called in and told me that my name was amongst a number of names who were called today to go south on a mission to make a new settlement and raise cotton. We were to start right away. I looked and spit, took off my hat and scratched [my head] and thought and said; “All right.”

All right.

(I hope my kids didn’t catch the spitting part).

img_1241 photo: the crowds mill about the plaza outside the Conference Center.

Sister Thompson: “Each of us is in a different family situation.” Such a simple sentence, so much damage control!

“We must be ‘fixed in our purpose’ as we seek to increase in faith and personal righteousness, strengthen our families and homes, and serve the Lord and His children.” What a good, solid talk.

Incidentally, “The Time is Far Spent” is an ERS text. It would be good to say so.

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The Congregation sings as a skeptic looks on.

I’ve always loved Elder Holland’s talks–he just gets better and better, I think.

“…one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey bought us great company for our little version of that path–the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, and friends. All of these and more have been given us as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone or unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, “I will not leave you comfortless. [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you.]“

“My other plea at Easter time is that these scenes of Christ’s lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial, abandonment, and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. May I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without aid and assistance, that never again will He find unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along his via dolorosa in our present day. As we approach this holy week–Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb–may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times, but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear.”

Hard to type through the tears on this one.

UPDATE: Steve wants me to note that I’m the weepy one. —Kristine

OK–I’m not supposed to post spoilers, but seriously, if you have children, you may want to fast forward to the closing hymn. The stories of dying babies are too much for me.

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The congregation sings.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for these live coverages, Steve.

  2. I was just looking at the archives page and only the MP3 files are posted at this time for the Saturday sessions. It seems to me that normally, the Video files are posted almost immediately as well.

    I also discovered a few years ago that although the never posted regular video of the priesthood session, they always posted an ASL feed, which included the audio with it as well.

  3. Your blog feels like home to me, it is like meeting an old friend with whom you share a sacred testimony.
    Thanks for all the update on conference, right now it is just what I need.

  4. This arrangement of How Firm a Foundation (in Music and the Spoken Word) is one of my favorite hymn arrangements. :)

  5. Rob, the videos are available too, on the bottom of the LDS.org – Media page which also gives the live feed. I just finished watching some of the Saturday session. I’m in a weird time zone right now, and conference starts at midnight. I made it through about 2 speakers last night before falling asleep! We’ll see how I do tonight!!

  6. BCC rocks (and I need to comment so I can get the rest of the comments sent to the email on my phone).

  7. Tanya Spackman says:

    I’m totally with Ariel. That was a wonderful arrangement of How Firm a Foundation. I was just thinking I need to find that on a CD or online so I can add it to my iPod!

  8. Chris H., you’ll also need to keep refreshing the post itself, which is where we’ll include quotes and commentary. Alternatively follow the Twitter feed.

  9. Left Field says:

    Praise to the Lord! I love that hymn!

  10. Tanya Spackman says:

    ARGH! I hate the sunshine songs. The torture! The torment! The agony!

  11. Tanya, they’re singing it slow enough to make it sad, at least.

    Next up they will sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”

  12. Tanya, I just wait for the song that speaks to my heart. There’s always at least one.

  13. I’m already fighting to stay awake, so all this sweet singing is excruciating.

  14. thanks Steve, I am trying to partake while not getting in too much trouble.

    uchtdorf and andersen, a good start

  15. A palm sunday reference!! Yay!!

  16. Matt W. says:

    This song always makes me think of “It’s a small world” from Disney world

  17. Tanya Spackman says:

    Ariel, LOL! Nice toss back :-)

  18. Fortunately I can see sunshine out my window, so I don’t need it in my heart.

  19. Thanks! I’m glad I didn’t offend.

  20. Anyone else think that (so far, at least) this is one of Uchtdorf’s best talks?

  21. “The peaceable way of the follower of Jesus Christ… is not a quick fix or an overnight cure.”

  22. LDS in KC says:

    WOW! This is the first time in General Conference that I’ve heard any reference to or acknowledgment of Palm Sunday! This might even be the first reference/acknowledgment I’ve ever heard in any LDS Church meeting (that I didn’t make)!

  23. “We don’t acquire eternal life in a sprint — this is a race of endurance.”

  24. Aaron Brown says:

    Yes, Steve, we know you see and hear the words before they are spoken, but stop flaunting it, will you?

  25. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Steve Muad’dib!

  26. I love that he is talking openly about a friend who is struggling to retain a testimony. That’s awesome.

  27. Getting caught up in new theories isn’t just limited to truth in religion. It’s an issue in counseling as well, while according to massive amounts of research, the technique or theory only accounts for 15% of change in therapy.

  28. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Sitting on the couch giving advice… hmm…

  29. Anne (UK) says:

    LDS in KC: I thought that, about reference to Palm Sunday in Conference. Nice to hear. I’ve heard it mentioned here in talks on Palm Sundays before, though.

  30. He is sounding very Aristotelian. My wife just banned me from blogging during conference. You all enjoy.

  31. Aaron, you must have some wicked time delay. I’m already watching this afternoon’s session.

  32. Tanya Spackman says:

    Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk deserves to become a classic. It’s wonderful.

  33. Discipleship is not a spectator sport :)

  34. His examples are really good. Most times speakers have jokes that are forced humor, with a pause so people can laugh (and people feel obliged to laugh). But his examples are real-life situations that I laugh at because they’re true. He’s a wonderful speaker

  35. Steve,How do you get the text before it is aired

  36. Left Field says:

    A search of lds.org shows references to Palm Sunday in conference by Howard W. Hunter in April 1993 and Lance B. Wickman a year ago.

  37. I hope this is one of the talks I’ll get to teach in Relief Society.

  38. Possibly the most important part of Elder Uchtdorf’s talk: “It is never too late.”

  39. Pres. Uchdorf FTW!

  40. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Our Heavenly father sees us in terms of forever. :-) Wow.

  41. Steve, are you blogging from temple square or something?

  42. I love this man. Every talk he gives is powerful. This one, especially, is awesome.

  43. Kristine says:

    Hi, it’s me, Kristine, and yes, Steve and I are blogging from the Conference Center.

  44. LDS in KC says:

    I absolutely love hearing this man speak. And he says we can start from where we are. What an address (for Palm Sunday or any other day)!

  45. Pres. Uctdorf seems to give amazing talks on Sunday. Not that I don’t agree, but why do you think his talks have such an impact?

  46. Ya know, why would the prophet extend the call to be an apostle, and not the SAvior himself?

  47. Well, if he knows through the holy ghost, that debunks my seminary teacher’s idea that all apostles are “special witnesses” because Jesus is physically there when they are called.
    Darn.

  48. Aaron Brown says:

    Well, Rob, it would be kinda odd if Jesus served as his own apostle!

  49. “if you ever forget it [that you are nothing], the Lord will remind you instantly, and it will not be pleasant.”

  50. TrevorM says:

    @ariel

    Jesus was probably there, I just bet nobody saw him… They all had their eyes closed during the prayer.

  51. Rob,

    Probably to give His children fun and important things to do.

  52. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    I really like that he asked forgiveness before he starts his new calling – not that I imagine he needs to ask it, but I admire the wish to begin his calling in the best manner. He’s quite humble. We’ll keep him in our prayers.

  53. Second tribute to Elder Wirthlin. That’s neat.

  54. Jesus as Apostle- “apostle” means “sent one”- See

    Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

    John 20:21- as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you (the Twelve).

  55. I think I like this guy.
    He is definitely nervous. :)

  56. Wow, glad to hear someone acknowledging that prayers offered by those of other faiths are answered.

  57. “We are not alone in (every good thing we do).” “There is much we can learn from good people all around us.” I LOVE this part of his talk.

  58. Elder Anderson – PREACH!

  59. Elder Snow’s topic is beginning the next stages, next challenges of our lives. Dealing with change.

  60. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Do you have press passes?

  61. Steve M says:

    Re #57,

    I really liked those statements as well. Although I have to admit that it would occasionally be nice to hear that “there is much we can learn from good people all around us” without it being followed by an immediate “yet” or “but.”

    I’m not saying that the “but” isn’t important; I just think that it would be great to hear the “we can learn from others” line on its own, without it be swallowed in a larger point about how we are more special.

  62. Natalie says:

    #45 – Thinking about your question, one of the reasons that I believe they speak to me is that his language is much more devoid of cliches than some other talks that we hear. When he makes compelling references to contemporary culture, such as to spectator sports, he connects with me. He also changes the tempo of his talks – repeating calls in a way that injects energy into the room. His energy makes me want to listen more.

  63. “without it be swallowed in a larger point about how we are more special.”

    SteveM, fwiw, that was nowhere in his talk. He talked of the additional things of the Restored Gospel that is ours, but he never said we are more special. In fact, the point of his talk seemed to be that “we” are NOT more special.

  64. Natalie says:

    #62 con’t.: His examples and stories also speak to me more than stories about widows, the Depression, etc., because they seem more applicable to my life. As much as I admire the Brethern’s stories and believe that they have learned wisdom from the past, I find it useful to adapt that wisdom to our current moment, which I think he does very well.

  65. Chelsea says:

    Did anyone else catch Elder Uchtdorff’s references to “The Secret” (popularized by Oprah)? It stood out to me when he talked about the “quick fixes” and theories of the world and said “The Gospel is not a secret.”

  66. I agree with Ray (63) here. I think we are SO used to hearing the “we are more special” stuff that we just expect it. At the same time, we do have some differences, such as the BoM and etc. which imo are okay to be cherished.

  67. Natalie –

    I think you’re right. Leaving out the cliche’s and the “Mormon” stories, and giving real life example of all parts of the Mormon spectrum are refreshing and enlightening.

    For example, when Elder Anderson talked about pioneers not just coming from the plains, it caught my ear a bit more because I have no relation at all to pioneers from the plains (with my parents being converts).

    Perhaps its the new worldwide nature of the church? Crafting messages that aren’t just for Utah and SE-Idaho based members, but for those across the world?

  68. Aaron Brown says:

    I don’t need to be told I’m special, because when I compare myself to others, it becomes so evident how special I am that I don’t need validation in my true and correct beliefs about myself from my church leaders.

  69. Steve M says:

    Ray,

    Elder Andersen said that we can learn from others, “yet” we must not forget the things that we alone have (e.g., the Book of Mormon). The overall focus seemed to be on emphasizing the unique aspects of Mormonism. Don’t get me wrong–that’s great. But my point was that it would be great to hear “we can learn from other faiths–period” more often.

    But please don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed and appreciated Elder Andersen’s talk.

  70. Molly Bennion says:

    brandt, Don’t you think his impact is enhanced by his commonly understood metaphors, the exceptional and yet broadly accepted wisdom of his messages and his delivery, never sing-song, never artificially paused or inflected. He speaks to us as we would speak to him so it instantly resonates.

  71. Chelsea (65), I caught that, too. I have a deep and abiding dislike for that book.

  72. Steve M (69) – is that kind of like hearing the “by grace we are saved” once in a while without the “after all we can do” right after?

  73. Chelsea says:

    Me too Ariel (71). According to my dad it has become quite popular in Utah.

  74. Natalie says:

    #70 – I think you are definitely right. The message seems so much more genuine – and I don’t feel the urge to tune out – when the voice is one that seems “normal” and energized.

  75. Steve M says:

    AdamF–Exactly!

  76. It’s even more popular in SE Idaho, having replaced the scriptures as the primary source of revealed truth in a few small circles…

  77. It’s interesting to me how many times I hear people say that we have a gerontocracy that is out of touch, but when you listen to their talks there are SO many direct and subtle references to small details of currency in our society.

  78. Anybody else hear the choir sing “Softly and Tenderly” during M&theSW this morning?

    Terrific! Our choir is starting rehearsals next week!

  79. Great recognition of different types of families.

  80. There is a really great song about Archibald Gardner called the “the escape of Archibald Gardner” Written by Sam Payne.

    It is on a CD called the Ghosts of Gardner Village. It is a well-written song and a cool story. Music as good as this is a rarity in Mormon circles.

    http://sampayne.com/audio/SAM_PAYNE-The_Escape_of-3.mp3

  81. “Each of us is in a different family situation” and a description of different kinds of families!! I’m happy to hear someone mention something different than the man-woman-and-six-children ideal.

  82. Today’s word of the session is YOUTH. We’ve had 2 opportunities to partake of little packets of Fruit Gummies.

  83. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m watching on byu.tv, and I like that they, karaoke-like, are flashing the words of Redeemer of Israel so we at home can easily sing along if we like.

  84. Ariel–We’re not ideal either. We’ve got the man-woman-8 children.

  85. Leahhona says:

    This Sister is a single LCSW, I think….anyone know for sure?

  86. “All of us are poor in some way and will need the hep of others.” That’s a great way to say it.

  87. Tanya Spackman says:
  88. Loved Andersen’s talk…

  89. Tanya Spackman says:
  90. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    The female speakers have both spoken with force to the entire church membership. :-D

  91. I really love Sister Thompson.

  92. I can tell this is gonna be a doozy of a talk.

  93. This is going to be a heavy talk.

  94. I like Sister Thompson!

  95. ANOTHER palm sunday reference!!

  96. LDS in KC says:

    Ray, Adam, SteveM, a hearty amen to your observations! While we eagerly embrace the unique aspects of Mormonism, it does not enhance one’s journey for humility when we are taught the posture of having what there is of value, and no one else (no other religious tradition) has anything of value to offer. (We found it very humbling to be in a Muslim society and hear the call to prayer 5 times a day). The role of grace is one example. Another is the implication that God loves us IF we obey–in truth, He loved us profoundly way before there was any opportunity for disobedience.

  97. Sister Thompson is great.

    I love all these Easter references!

  98. If you want mp3s of choir performances, they are available from the General Conference Audio (MP3) Podcast of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  99. I met Jeff Holland last month! He gave our congregation an apostolic blessing. He is AWESOME.

  100. Leahhona says:

    #87, #88 Thank You, Tanya!

  101. Anne (UK) says:

    #85: what’s an LCSW? thanks!

  102. To Rob #46 – The Savior delegates His authority to call apostles to the President of the Church, in much the same fashion as the President of the Church delegates his authority to call Sunday School teachers to the local bishop.

    Delegation of authority is an eternal and divine principle.

  103. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Licensed Clinical Social Worker

  104. Leahhona says:

    # 100 Licensed Clinical Social Worker

  105. Suggesting the possibility that Jesus Told his apostles to deny him…. A new idea to me.

  106. Mephibosheth says:

    I’ve never understood the significance of the Bar-Abbas/Jesus “son of the father” duality. What are we saying here? God set this up so we would choke on the irony all these years later?

  107. I love how Elder Holland has said more than once, “We don’t know . . .”

  108. Anne (UK) says:

    thanks NCM Tom…I was thinking L? C? Single Woman :-( (in true Church mode!)

  109. What a powerful talk from Elder Holland.

  110. Leahhona says:

    #104 It is popular in Protestant Doctrine, as a way to get Judas ‘off the hook’ for his deeds – if Jesus told him to do it, it would make it okay – and that would mean Peter was told to deny him, so he could stay alive to establish the Church.

  111. I like the disclaimer, “It is MY PERSONAL BELIEF….”

  112. Thank you, Elder Holland, for not unduly fixating on Gethsemane but instead giving Jesus’ death its due. Thank you, thank you.

    And I liked how Elder Holland took the liberty to express his “personal belief.” I love it.

  113. “Why hast THOU forsaken me?” That is a fascinating emphasis, the way he explained it in context of Jesus’ prior statement that the Father does not leave him alone.

    This is powerful.

  114. Tanya Spackman says:

    #97, Norbert, thank you for the link. I don’t know why I never thought of downloading the mp3s of conference and then cropping the music with Audacity.

  115. I loved that emphasis too Ray. Powerful indeed.

  116. “trumpeted from the summit of Calvary”

    I know my widowed mother is loving this talk.

  117. It’s an idea promulgated by President Kimball- that it was a commandment, not a prophecy.
    http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/GenlAuthorities/PeterMyBrother.pdf

    I personally don’t subscribe to that idea. I think it cheapens Peter a bit, makes him too one-dimensional.

  118. and i thought the pair of Christofferson/Eyring talks yesterday would be the highlight of the conference. this talk by holland is completely off the charts

  119. Yes, the emphasis on “thou” and the way Elder Holland expresses it, it makes it very human – very real and powerful.

  120. I remember many years ago reading an article in the Ensign, I think it was, where the author suggested the possibility that Peter was instructed to deny Christ so he would be preserved to lead the church. I have searched for the reference and haven’t been able to find it. It seems that following the instructions of Jesus to deny Him would cause Peter to weep bitterly. But I’ve always remembered that and been resistant to join in when some question the weakness of Peter.

  121. Elder Holland’s reference to remembering the events of Holy Week:

    I think I may faint from joy.

  122. I love this man.

  123. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    A plea not to crucify the Savior anew through our sins. It’s like reading Paul again. Hard-hitting.

  124. Elder Holland’s talk is just what I needed. Awesome. Love it. Can’t wait to read it.

  125. May he never walk alone again, because we are active disciples. What a great way to frame that.

  126. “I think I may faint from joy”
    Exactly. That entire talk was phenomenal. Especially with this song right afterward…

  127. Ok, #116, thanks — maybe that’s the reference I’ve been looking for. It doesn’t cheapen Peter in my mind. But I also think it’s okay to realize that he may have had a moment of weakness and fear.

  128. Next up: Pres. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer.”

  129. Leahhona says:

    #116 I have my issues with this, as well. I just have so many friends who subscribe to the ‘everything is part of the plan/everything was destiny idea, and this gives those Apostles an ‘out’ for their blunders, and part in Christs pain and suffering.

    I also like a fallible Peter. It makes him accessable to me for all the boneheaded thigs I do…

  130. Leahhona says:

    #116 I have my issues with this, as well. I just have so many friends who subscribe to the ‘everything is part of the plan/everything was destiny idea, and this gives those Apostles an ‘out’ for their blunders, and part in Christs pain and suffering.

    I also like a fallible Peter. It makes him accessable to me for all the boneheaded things I do…

  131. Elder Holland’s talk has given me goosebumps all over. Amazingly powerful.

  132. This is a great talk (still going) and I’m way behind all of you — I don’t understand why there is such a difference in internet delay.

  133. Cousin Mose says:

    Elder Holland knocked it out of the park. First Via Dolarosa reference?

  134. “In my heart, I hear God tell me: This is my beloved son. Hear Him!”

  135. Re: Peter, I like that Elder Holland said, “We don’t know . . . might have said . . .” I think he was saying we shouldn’t judge too harshly based on just assumptions.

  136. This rendition is giving me a new appreciation for the song, “this is my beloved Son” especially coming right after Elder Holland’s talk.

  137. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Hmm, perhaps you should have chosen “economy” for the candy game.

  138. Pres. Monson will share three examples of people that remain determined and cheerful in the face of adversity. Timely.

  139. LDS in KC says:

    Elder Holland;s address–what can one say? Of all the sermons I’ve ever witnessed as a Baptist (and there were many), of all the Billy Graham Crusades I attended–and LDS talks, this is the most insightful and profound treatment of these events that I have ever heard. And he included all Christians in this in many ways. The is stunningly moving.

  140. Mephibosheth says:

    Part of the rationale is who can doubt Peter’s resolve to stand up and be counted when he wacked off the ear of the guy arresting Jesus? One can understand his bitter weeping at having to stand and just watch what was happening. But then again, he fell asleep in the garden. I like that the greek is ambiguous.

  141. MoTab could sing the phone book!

  142. Prop 8 shout-out.

  143. Leahhona says:

    #133, I agree. Tis is one of those talks I want to print out, tuck in my Scriptures, and highlight.

    Profound and so moving. I love when he had to take his hanky out because he was crying so hard. This must have been hard to write, as well…

  144. Left Field says:

    Great talk. Good comments here, but I quit refreshing the page to read them, and just listened to Elder Holland.

  145. That was a shout out song to the primary, who learned that song last year as one of the required primary program numbers.

  146. That talk by President Kimball is included as an appendix in the NT Institute manual.

  147. Cousin Mose says:

    Either Steve has a peepstone or is a witch.

  148. @ben

    With that idea, Peter remains a bonehead for refusing to obey Jesus’ advice to deny him. In this context Peter is Haughty enough to say, “I can handle it I won’t leave you, even if you tell me to.” Then Peter proves doubly foolish when, although obeying a supposed commandment to deny, he Does so under duress.

  149. BURN HIM!

  150. “If we allow ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong”

    “God hath not given us the spirit of fear…”

    I hope Brother Beck is listening…

    ;)

  151. Mephibosheth says:

    No witchcraft here. Remember what Louis CK said on Conan: give it a second, it’s going to space!

  152. randyandmeganchristensen says:

    #105:

    Bar abbas literally means “son of the father.” This is yet another great example that all things point to Christ…beautifully!

  153. Get your hankies folks, Pres. Monson’s stories are INCREDIBLY sad.

  154. Latter-day Guy says:

    Elder Holland definitely wins this session. Wow. Still stunned.

  155. Kevin Barney says:

    Huh…a talk about Jesus at Easter-time. What a concept!

    The thing about Peter is actually a common Mormon midrash. I think Elder Holland handled it well, by raising it as a possibility without committing to it.

    Yeah, I noted via dolorosa, too.

    This talk makes up for that Easter Sunday several years ago when the theme of sacrament meeting was *tithing*.

  156. Steve turned me into a newt.

  157. Re: 147
    “We shall use my largest scales”

  158. Cousin Mose says:

    Tithing at Easter-time….ouch.

    And, yes #148, let’s hope Brother Beck is playing the candy game using the word “FEAR”.

  159. It struck me during Pres. Holland’s talk how Barabbas could be seen as representing humanity, or us as individuals, who are set free while Christ goes to the cross.

  160. *Elder Holland.

  161. Steve,

    Poor show w/ the lame previews. Let the speakers have their say and then provide commentary. Getting yourself out in front of them is self-serving.

  162. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  163. Ebenezer Robinson says:

    Over 70 years of General Conferences, and I can’t remember a talk which touched me so much as Elder Holland’s. Just amazing. Like #142, I quit refreshing to give the talk my whole attention.

  164. Kristine says:

    Make it stop!!

  165. #159 I don’t agree – it gives me things to watch for.

  166. “She used the only implement she had-a tablespoon-to dig a grave in the frozen ground for her tiny, precious child.”

  167. Tanya Spackman says:

    This is the most depressing conference talk ever.

  168. Steve, seriously, we’ll burn you if the precognitive posts don’t stop.

  169. By The Rules says:

    A prelude to things shortly to come to pass for us?

  170. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    I can’t remember hearing a sadder story from Conference… whew. What faith in God to not rail against the heavens but instead rely ever more on God!

  171. I think it’s rather obvious that Steve and Kristine were issued media credentials and that as part of that they a) receive the text of the talks at some point before each session and b) are allowed to take photos inside the conference center.

    Both of those would be standard media relations practices for this kind of event.

  172. Tanya… yep. I’m trying to figure out why Monson felt it necessary to make us all really sad.

  173. Cousin Mose says:

    It is precisely Steve’s show that keeps me coming back.

  174. Don’t read the precognitive posts then.

    I, for one, welcome our prescient peep-stone wielding overlords.

  175. Amazing love for the Savior in the midst of tremendous sorrow. How can we be worthy to live in the company of these? I don’t know that I wouldn’t have ended things.

  176. Please… no more small children dying. Please?

  177. Didn’t he say he wanted us to focus on things to be cheerful about?

  178. You think maybe we need to stop complaining about some things?

  179. Cousin Mose says:

    Nope #169, I’m sticking with the witch theory.

  180. Left Field says:

    Ariel’s seminary teacher (#47) needs to listen to Elder Holland’s testimony to learn what “special witness” really means.

  181. *weeping*

    This is called “Be of Good Cheer”?????

  182. Why am I not feeling ‘of good cheer’?

  183. Tanya Spackman says:

    Despite that final talk, this session has lifted me and filled me with the Spirit. I love the gospel and the Church!

  184. Great pictorial essay during the closing song.

    Speaking of pictorials, Steve, I’m still looking forward to the pics of the protesters you’ve promised.

  185. Can the MoTab get any better?

  186. I don’t really like the photo-montage to close conference. Not gonna lie. “We thank The O God For a Prophet” isn’t even about having a prophet on earth.

  187. Anyone notice that Pres. Monson looks a lot like current Pope Benedict?

  188. I kinda wish they wouldn’t show pictures of Pres. Monson during the last verse of that song, especially with the choir repeating “thy command … thy command … thy command.” Makes it too easy for people who don’t really listen to the words to assume that pledging to obey the command of the prophet rather than “O, God” to whom the song is addressed.

  189. Leahhona says:

    184, what is the Hymn about to you?

  190. Photoessay of the protesters to come soon.

  191. 187, try reading the words. It’s about the various blessings God has given us, and only the first line mentions prophets.

  192. Kristine says:

    183, Yes. But only if they stop using key changes to substitute for increased intensity.

  193. Kevin Barney says:

    8.5% unemployment no longer seems like such a terrible fate, does it?

  194. Lol, Ardis has my back.

  195. Maybe it’s just me, but I explode a little inside with excitement at good key changes. I don’t mind that at all.

  196. Be of good cheer. If those who have gone through far worse than we have found faith and cheer in their deprivation, we should thank God for our own lives and find peace and cheer in them, as well.

    That’s my take-away, at least.

  197. Ardis, I agree.

    Leah: Read the lyrics to the hymn. The prophet plays prominently in the first line, the rest is pretty much about God.

  198. I don’t know what 184 will say, but it’s a hymn addressed to God and thanking him for blessings in our lives. The first verse thanks God for the blessing of a living prophet. But otherwise the hymn is NOT about prophets — it isn’t the prophet’s “goodness and mercy” that we sing about, and it isn’t the prophet whom we “praise day and night.” The hymn is NOT about prophets.

  199. I think Pres. Monson is saying these people had it far worse than we in general have seen. We know events will worsen before the Savior returns and we need to have the faith necessary so that we may not be decieved. “The future is as bright as your faith.”

  200. Leahhona says:

    189 Thank you for Schooling this Convert! I have always likened this hymns lists of blessings to gifts that having a living Prophet gives us as a Church, but you are correct – this is a list of blessings, one of which is the Prophet. Thank You!

  201. I didn’t think it was at all a downer of a talk at all. Cathartic tears are good (I love a good cry!). Holding on to faith, *triumphing* in faith, is what came through to me.

  202. I seem to be repeating myself repetitiously and redundantly through my repeated comments with phrases that I say twice. Sorry.

  203. Pope Benedict has better hair.

  204. Left Field says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s noticed that the prophet is not the subject of “We Thank Thee, Oh God for a Prophet.”

    My wife says the problem with my singing is that I change keys during the song. I don’t even know what that means, but if the Tabs can do it, why not me?

  205. Ardis, we love you anyway.

  206. Anne (UK) says:

    I just discovered that that arrangement of ‘We thank Thee O God For A Prophet’ makes a great ‘row row row your boat’ song when dealing with 7 month old babies.

  207. My little two year old son walked into our living room while we were watching Pres. Monson with an empty cereal bowl on his head and a nerf sword in the other hand.

    Without thinking, I remarked to my wife – “look dear – our little soldier boy.”

    Then I stopped and thought about that remark and felt terribly sad.

  208. Seth, you just made me cry. (Ok, Holland made me cry, and Monson didn’t help at all, but you got me started again.)

  209. I’m with Ardis. I absolutely love the gospel and I love President Monson, but the photo montage with that music creeped me out. It gave the impression that we obey the command of President Monson and serve him, when of course we do not. We all serve the Lord and follow His commandments. I’m kind of amazed that with the extraordinary care the church puts into its public image they thought this was a good idea.

  210. I started to weep when he talked about the German sister feeling the cold frame of her three year old. My three year old was the first to climb on me to give me a hug of comfort. Her warmth made the tears flow more freely. My seven year old then joined in the hugs, right before hearing the fate of her 7 year old. I have heard the story before, but it means something different to me now.

  211. Leahhona says:

    The photo montage follows what I had always assumed about the song -

  212. I didn’t have a huge issue with the montage, but my question was “why”? Other than the fact that the solemn assembly was a year ago, was there any specific reason?

  213. I liked the photo montage but it did cross my mind that it could appear kind of creepy to someone who was just channel surfing and happened upon it.

  214. Kevin Barney – unless you or your husband is part of that 8.5%. Trials that affect our image of ourself are harder to endure than external trials. (Not that the trials in Pres Monsen’s talk were easy, I don’t mean that).

  215. BYU tv is showing some skateboarding video now. crazy…

  216. Alpha Echo says:

    President Monson’s talk made me cry and as I was crying my nieces and nephew finally calmed down and stopped running wild during conference. Well, at least the older two did, the baby found an open bag of M &Ms and kept quiet that way. That is the saddest talk I have ever heard in conference. I hope the afternoon session is more cheerful.

  217. skateboarding = the wrong path

    NOOOO!!!!

  218. I’m hoping to draw out a Greek scholar here, as I am not one. . .

    Re: Peter denying Jesus, the Greek version of “you will deny me three times” is NOT imperative, if I recall correctly, which for me kind of gums up President Kimball’s version of the story. It also goes against the whole thrust of the gospels’ narrative of the disciples as frail and human and incomplete. Comments from any true hellenists out there?

  219. I thought the photo montage made us look like a cult. Could you imagine changing the channel on your TV, and coming upon this out of context? And we would why people think we are weird

  220. Alpha–We had a 2 year old fall and split his head open during the choir song between Holland and Monson. While I was properly applying pressure to stop the bleeding, my wife was getting everything ready for a run to the emergency room. It all turned out OK, with no trip to the ER.

  221. #200

    you can say that again!

  222. I’ll say it again, then. Twice. While I repeat it over again another time.

  223. #65

    Yes!! Talking about self-help fads, etc., Elder Uchtdorf said, “The gospel is not a secret.” Sam and I looked at each other, “The gospel is not THE Secret.” Just had to chuckle.

  224. I’m waiting for someone to start commenting the fact that Pres. Monson universalized Utah Pioneer narratives by using one drawn from post-war Europe that is, in its basic details, indistinguishable from the old standbys that have cemented generations of the faithful in the Mormon Corridor. I think this is another evidence of the increasingly international church, and I love that we are beginning to see hagiography (used here by me in the general sense of sacralized human stories) applied to people near us in time, without significant church callings, and from disparate geographical settings.

    He did remind me some of that idea from Nietzsche that we love tragic tales because they allow us to rehearse and imagine our responses to tragedy in our own lives.

    And I personally find the image of a teaspoon on frozen earth brilliant, wrenching, and absolutely gorgeous. I don’t normally enjoy the sentimentalized story tradition from which this is drawn, but I find this an almost perfect image of our feeble attempts to scratch meaning in stone, to record our own passings, to insinuate ourselves into the cosmic memory. God bless President Monson for sharing this image with us, thereby fulfilling the unspoken aspiration of this stricken sister.

  225. Kevin Barney says:

    But nr 212, I think your parenthetical suggests that you actually agree with me, does it not?

    Given a choice between becoming unemployed in the U.S. in 2009 and possibly eventually losing the house and many material possessions, but no one in my family starving to death or dying (given family and church and government support structures), and walking a 1,000-mile death march with absolutely nothing and no support structure to turn to and a child dying in my arms, I know that I would take the former scenario. I think that was the point President Monson meant to convey with his series of disheartening stories.

    Of course I acknowledge that being unemployed is a terrible trial, and I’m very sorry that it is one so many people today are having to endure. I apologize if my comment seemed to minimize the reality of such trials.

  226. Left Field says:

    Let me get this straight: Oprah wrote a book about some secret, that is regarded as scripture in Utah and Idaho, which has now been condemned by Elder Uchtdorf?

    I guess somehow the book, Elder Uchtdorf’s allusion, and the condemnation have all gone right past me. I’ve never heard of any of this before, and haven’t got the foggiest idea what it’s all about. Anyone care to fill me in?

  227. matt w. says:

    Fyi, giant f word in the “possibly related posts” for this thread?

  228. Matt w., those are auto-generated. Those viewing BCC on the web don’t get those extra links, which come from wordpress.com.

  229. Yes, Kevin, I guess I do agree with you. Just feeling some sympathy for friends with economy-related issues right now.

  230. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m with ya, nr.

  231. Casual Mormon says:

    Monson’s talk had me and my wife in tears. It’s funny to see everybody here criticize the depressing nature of the talk…I have a friend who recently lost her four month old baby and I found the whole thing very moving. I felt like President Monson delivered that talk especially for us.

  232. belledame2 says:

    This session of General Conference was great. I was extremely impressed with Barbara Thompson’s talk. Overall, these sessions have been very inspirational.

  233. #224 Oprah wrote a book about some secret, that is regarded as scripture in Utah and Idaho, which has now been condemned by Elder Uchtdorf?

    Rhonda Byrne wrote a book called The Secret–which is anything but a secret–and was, apparently, promoted by Orpah. (I can’t speak to that, since I haven’t watched her in the late 80′s.) It’s a book about the “law of attraction”–which is anything but “law”–and is based loosely on the rantings of a woman named Esther Hicks who tells everyone she’s channeling an alien she calls “Abraham.” It has tens of thousands of “followers,” mostly among those with either severely limited analytical ability or with a financial stake in its success.

    I have known a few LDS proponents of it. Not as a replacement for scripture but by those who can’t seem to tell the difference. I did once witness a woman bear testimony, saying that she had heard all about the book and finally read it, only to find that, “It’s just the gospel without the God part.”

    By and large, however, I haven’t heard much about it here in Utah. But I have seen huge groups in business circles outside the area who have found their new, secular religion.

    We read/reviewed it on my site a couple of years ago.

  234. Kinda O says:

    Re: “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” song. If the photo montage could have matched the words a better, then fine. Stop with the Monson pictures after the first two lines. Move to pictures of Jesus, sunsets, etc.

  235. Anyone know if Anderson is of the bloodline?

  236. Left Field says:

    So is it plausible that Bro. Uchtdorf really is alluding to this book, and is speaking in code to those who know about it? Or could he be as oblivious to it as I was, and just happened to use the word “secret” in his talk? If you haven’t heard much about it in Utah, perhaps he hasn’t either.

  237. Left Field, I’m 95% certain it was an allusion to the book.

  238. #234 – The apostles are FAR more aware of cultural things than most people realize.

  239. Left Field says:

    OK, thanks. It wasn’t so much that I thought the apostles were unaware of cultural things. It was that I’m unaware of cultural things, so I didn’t know if this Secret thing was something relatively obscure or if it was widely known by nearly everybody but me. Apparently it’s widely known enough to make it quite plausible that the reference was a deliberate allusion to the book.

  240. Who care’s about some Oprah book. Is Anderson from the bloodline or not?

  241. What bloodline, DKL?

  242. I’m with Ariel, Left Field. If you have heard the stuff, it’s was pretty much smack-you-in-the-face what-I’m-talking-about phrasing. Too funny.

    I want to know what “the bloodline” is, too. I think it’s changed over the years. Where is it now?

  243. MarkinPNW says:

    #208 – Chris H;

    When I read your comment (about 15 hours or so after Pres. Monson’s talk) I totally lost it, the poignancy of that sister’s experience and what. Pres. Monson was conveying finally hit me in the gut! and in the Heart! as well.

  244. MarkinPNW says:

    Also, I wonder if President Benson’s experience with personally meeting that sister, and hearing and seeing firsthand the results of her forced march at the hands of the Soviet and Polish communists, had something to do with Pres. Benson’s strident and vocal anti-communisim in the 60′s and 70′s.

  245. Left Field says:

    I assume DKL is asking if Andersen is related to all the other apostles. A fifth half-cousin twice removed through L. Tom Perry’s great-great-great grandfather’s seventh wife, or perhaps Sister Andersen’s dentist’s home teacher is a second cousin once removed of Sister Monson. That sort of thing. ‘Cause nothing says nepotism like picking another apostle from among the 100,000 people related within ten degrees of consanguinity.

  246. Antonio Parr says:

    137 – re: Elder Holland’s talk:

    Amen and amen. If I get to live to be 120, I will never, ever forget this talk. And I intend to share it with my many non-LDS friends who question our perception of and devotion to Christ.

    So deeply profound and worshipful . . .

  247. Antonio Parr says:

    216 – re: Christ’s statement to Peter that he would deny Jesus 3 times — I read it like you, a sad prophecy that was about to be fulfilled, as opposed to a strategy to ensure continuity of leadership/authority. One should note that (a) Elder Holland spoke of this interpretation speculatively, i.e., did not affirmatively state this this was the Church’s official interpretation of Peter’s denial; and (b) at least one other authority (I think it was President Hinckley) referred in a General Conference address to Peter’s denial in the more traditional sense, i.e., as a moment of a weakness in the otherwise remarkable life of Simon Peter.

    Either way, this does not in any way detract from Elder Holland’s masterful talk, which is as moving an account of the sacrifice of Jesus as I have ever heard.

  248. Antonio Parr says:

    Too often, I am like the character Aylmer in the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story “The Birthmark”. Aylmer is married to the perfect Georgiana – perfect, that is, but for one small birthmark on her cheek. Instead of focusing on his wife’s beauty, Aylmer becomes obsessed with her one “imperfection”, and strives to concoct a potion that rids his wife of her birthmark. He succeeds, only to find that with the fading of his wife’s birthmark, her life fades from her, as well. “At all the seasons which should
    have been their happiest, he invariably and without intending it…reverted to this one disastrous
    topic…it [the mark] became the central point of all…a symbol of imperfection.”

    General Conference, with all of its wisdom and faith and beauty and spirit, reminds me that the Church is so much more than its birthmarks. The Church and its leaders — from Joseph Smith through Thomas S. Monson — all come to the table with real imperfections. Similarly, our collective history is not seamless, and there are more than a few events that rightfully trouble the sincere investigator. But when one is willing to accept the inevitability of human error, and look past those errors, one finds a beauty to and in the Church which offers such great happiness and peace and joy. One also finds opportunity for service that wind through Christ’s path, his via dolorosa.

    We are blessed, indeed, to be a part of it all.

    “At all the seasons which should
    have been their happiest, he invariably and without intending it…reverted to this one disastrous
    topic…it [the mark] became the central point of all…a symbol of imperfection.”

    and behold the beauty that we have been given by way of the Churchwhen the spiritually hungry come looking for nourishment, the Church offers light and truth that, if embraced, will provide comfort, joy and inspiration, and a path of service that leads to the Savior’s via delorosa.

  249. Antonio Parr says:

    (Darn sloppy editing, and not noticing the stray comments at the end of a post . . . ) Here it is, as intended:

    Too often, I am like the character Aylmer in the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story “The Birthmark”. Aylmer is married to the perfect Georgiana – perfect, that is, but for one small birthmark on her cheek. Instead of focusing on his wife’s beauty, Aylmer becomes obsessed with her one “imperfection”, and strives to concoct a potion that rids his wife of her birthmark. He succeeds, only to find that with the fading of his wife’s birthmark, her life fades from her, as well. “At all the seasons which should
    have been their happiest, he invariably and without intending it…reverted to this one disastrous
    topic…it [the mark] became the central point of all…a symbol of imperfection.”

    General Conference, with all of its wisdom and faith and beauty and spirit, reminds me that the Church is so much more than its birthmarks. The Church and its leaders — from Joseph Smith through Thomas S. Monson — all come to the table with real imperfections. Similarly, our collective history is not seamless, and there are more than a few events that rightfully trouble the sincere investigator. But when one is willing to accept the inevitability of human error, and look past those errors, one finds a beauty to and in the Church which offers such great happiness and peace and joy. One also finds opportunity for service that wind through Christ’s path, his via dolorosa.

    We are blessed, indeed, to be a part of it all.

  250. Left Field: ‘Cause nothing says nepotism like picking another apostle from among the 100,000 people related within ten degrees of consanguinity.

    ROTFLMAO

  251. nasamomdele says:

    I think Anderson admitted in his talk that he was married to Elder Packer’s daughter.

    Don’t know about bloodlines.

  252. nasamomdele says:

    Maybe not. It seems her maiden name is Williams.

    He did audiovisual work on “The Testaments” movie. Just one more confirmation that Church leadership is imperfect.

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