Welcome back to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 180th Annual General Conference on this lovely Easter Sunday morning in Salt Lake City! BCC will continue near-continuous live commentary, photography, and other goodies throughout the day’s activities. Don’t forget to check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter in addition to coverage on the blog. We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from LDS.org.
In addition to myself and my stellar wife providing photography, we are pleased to offer all the kids at home a special treat today–John C., the Crawdaddy, will be on site with us to give his keen insights, profound thoughts, and to fetch me water and gummy bears when I need sugar. Conference won’t start for a little over an hour, but I wanted to open the thread early so that people could heap praise upon Crawdaddy, or provide feedback and/or requests for coverage today. Also, please feel free to share how your Easter Morn has been spent thus far.
Music and the Spoken word is about to begin–we’ve got MoTab in spectacular form. The women are wearing azure blue and the men–in a surprise twist–are donning black suits. Lloyd Newell just announced that today is the 4,203rd broadcast of Music & the Spoken Word. What a tradition!
I missed Music & Spoken Word last year during coverage, and it’s nice to be here to listen to the music. Very appropriate for getting in the mood for General Conference, but also wonderful to listen to the Easter-centered program today.
Early photos from Easter Morning at the Conference Center are now up!
MoTab is now performing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah. It’s just extraordinary. Wish you were all here to see and hear it. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!
And we’re off! President Eyring conducting, wearing a silver-gray tie, I believe. Music is from MoTab, naturally. Opening hymn and invocation coming up now, followed by “This is the Christ” from the choir.
President Uchtdorf, Elder Scott, then Elder Hallstrom up to bat first.
President Uchtdorf: “You Are My Hands”
“When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched; reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. And He always talked with–never down to people. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation. That is what He did during His mortal life; it is what He would be doing if He were living among us today; and it is what we should be doing as His disciples and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“Unfortunately, from time to time we also hear of Church members who become discouraged and, subsequently, quit coming to and participating in our church meetings, because they think they don’t fit in.”
“I am not suggesting that we accept sin or overlook evil. Nevertheless, in our zeal, we sometimes confuse sin with sinner and we condemn too quickly and with too little compassion.”
Strong message from President Uchtdorf so far on welcoming people from all walks of life–this is such a needed message. Really, Pres Uchtdorf is such a rockstar. This sermon is just amazing, and so timely. I can’t think of any better “Christian” message for the body of the Saints to hear today than that of the need to reach out and mourn with all those who mourn.
Elder Richard G. Scott: “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!”
“I realize that no mortal mind can adequately conceive, nor can human tongue appropriately express, the full significance of all that Jesus Christ has done for our Heavenly Father’s children through His Atonement. Yet it is vital that we each learn what we can about it….Your understanding of the Atonement and the insight it provides for your life will greatly enhance your productive use of all the knowledge, experience, and skills you acquire in mortal life.”
(btw, Crawford informs me that he has no time to think, and thus has not had any thoughts yet. We all hope he’ll start thinking soon. I think he can.)
Elder Scott’s tie looks like it’s brown, if I’m not mistaken.
(In case you’re keeping score at home, Crawford does want you all to know that he was complemented on his tie while riding Trax to the CC this morning. It is truly a work of art, and I will get a picture of it for the next session. My tie is mostly yellow. Yellow and spectacular.)
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom: “Turn to the Lord”
Everything you ever wanted to know about Elder Hallstrom: http://www.gapages.com/hallsdl1.htm
“Throughout the world and among the membership of the Church, there is great joy and great pain. Both are part of the plan. Without one, we cannot know the other. ‘Men are, that they might have joy’ and ‘For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things’ are not contradictory; they are complementary.”
In less than ten months, Symonds Ryder went from an eager convert to a mob leader, his spirtitual decline starting with the offense taken over the mispelling of his name…by one letter.
Interesting–this seems kind of like a Thomas B. Marsh-ish story (yes, BCCers, I know how we feel about the milk-strippings story; please control your outrage), but Elder Hallstrom at least noted that the spiritual decline “started” with an offense–as opposed to being entirely comprised of a single offense.
From the Twittersphere: RT @LaYen: Dear Simons Ryder: you are a big baby. #ldsconf
Elder Hallstrom’s List of possible offenses:
3. Church leaders
4. Business associates
7. Health problems
8. Financial Reversals
I was kind of surprised he included Peeps, but I’m happy he did–they are the worst Easter candy in the whole world. Truly offensive stuff.
Sister Lant (recently released from the Primary) and Elder Cook of the 12 to follow a hymn.
(Quickie Question: When someone is released from the Primary General Presidency, does someone test their ability to repeat all of the Articles of Faith?)
Sister Cheryl C. Lant: “That Our Children Might See the Face of the Savior”
“What does it mean to seek the face of the Savior? Surely it means more than just recognizing His picture. Christ’s invitation to seek Him is an invitation to know who He is, what He has done for us and what He has asked us to do.”
After Sister Lant, we will have heard from the Relief Society (Beck, yesterday), Young Men (Beck, last night), and Primary. I would guess that at some point we’ll be hearing from either the Young Women or Sunday School presidencies, but probably not both. Also, the High Priests have been omitted from the program, because they are a drag on TV ratings.
Elder Quentin L. Cook: “We Follow Jesus Christ”
(FYI: This talk is fantastic, start to finish. Eyes open, folks)
“As we ponder what it means to be Christians today, think about what our path of discipleship will require of us. I suggest that we contemplate and in appropriate ways emulate what the Savior did in those last two days of His mortal life.”
“The sacrament allows us to witness to God that we will remember His Son and keep His commandments as we renew our baptismal covenant. This increases our love and appreciation for both the Father and the Son.”
“Many in this world are afraid and angry with one another. While we understand these feelings, we need to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our interactions. This is especially true when we disagree. The Savior taught us to love even our enemies. The vast majority of our members heed this counsel. Yet there are some who feel that venting their personal anger or deeply held opinions is more important than conducting themselves as Jesus Christ lived and taught. I invite each of us, individually, to recognize that how we disagree is a real measure of who we are and whether we truly follow the Savior. It is appropriate to disagree, but it is not appropriate to be disagreeable.”
How many think that the above quote relates, at least in part, to the current political discourse among members of the Church?
Elder Cook closes with the following, penned by Eliza R. Snow’s How Great the Wisdom and the Love:
“How great, how glorious, how complete,
Redemption’s grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet
In harmony divine!“
One more talk, and you may wish to consider grabbing a tissue.
President Thomas S. Monson: “He Is Risen!”
Starts off with a simple “Thank You!” to the recently released Primary Presidency. Well said, TSM.
“If there is a design in this world in which we live, there must be a Designer. Who can behold the many wonders of the universe without believing that there is a design for all mankind? Who can doubt that there is a Designer?”
Well well well, you BCC heathens! It would appear that you and your evolution-believing heresies have been smacked down! (I said you should grab a tissue!)
President Monson has taken this talk and, while starting off with a discussion of the Creation, has turned it into an Easter sermon–a depiction of the last days of Christ’s life, Gethsemane, the Cross on Calvary, and forward to the Resurrection. Although I sort of always hope for something “different” or spectacular when the President of the Church rises to speak, in a sense this sort of talk is the most appropriate and should be expected–a clear testimony and statement of our belief in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
What a story about the young Jason who passed away unexpectedly. TSM brings the tear jerker again this conference. Wow.
“He is risen! He is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice.
He has burst his three days’ prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered, man is free.
Christ has won the victory!“
And MoTab sends us out. Great session, folks.
We’ll see you back here in a couple of hours.