(Yawns, stretches fingers, flexes neck muscles…)
Welcome to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 180th Semiannual General Conference. 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.
(On site today are Kristine Haglund, M Miles, and the Crawdaddy himself, John C.)
Two more hours, folks. You can do it.
Opening Hymn: Come, Rejoice (#9?), arranged and conducted by Ryan Murphy
Lead, Kindly Light (#97), arr. Mack Wilberg
The more things change, the more they stay the same…except for technology.
…a record player is something we used to go to the family room and play so we could listen to music. Imagine that, we had to go to it, instead of carrying it around with us everywhere.
Not only do young men of the Aaronic Priesthood receive the power and authority to be agents of the Lord in carrying out their priesthood responsibilities, but they receive the keys of the ministering of angels.Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, I testify to you that the Lord is bound by solemn covenant to bless your lives according to your faithfulness. If you will heed the voice of warning of the Holy Ghost and follow His direction, you will be blessed with the ministering of angels. This blessing will add wisdom, knowledge, power, and glory to your life.
Parents of these magnificent young men and women, we charge you with the sacred responsibility of teaching your children the doctrines of the holy priesthood.
Bishops, …please be certain each young man who is worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood understands the obligations and blessing which come to him as a bearer of the priesthood. Help them learn to magnify the priesthood now by giving them important assignments and by helping them serve and minister to others.Young men, I challenge you to build your lives on a foundation of truth and righteousness. It is the only foundation that will stand the pressures of this life and endure through the eternities.
Prepare yourselves for the great blessing of receiving the Melchizidek Priesthood. The Lord needs you to prepare yourselves for His service, especially the great responsibility you will have of declaring His gospel to the world.
The Holy Ghost is manifested to men and women on the earth both as the power and as the gift of the Holy Ghost. The power can come upon a person before baptism; it is the convincing witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the power of the Holy Ghost sincere investigators can acquire a conviction of the truthfulness of the Savior’s gospel, of the Book of Mormon, of the reality of the restoration, and the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith.
These four words–“Receive the Holy Ghost”–are not a passive pronouncement; rather they constitute a priesthood injunction–an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon. The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts.
What should we do to make this authorized admonition to seek for the companionship of the third member of the Godhead an ongoing reality? Let me suggest that we need to 1) sincerely desire to receive the Holy Ghost, 2) appropriately invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, and 3) faithfully obey God’s commandments.
We cannot compel, coerce, or command the Holy Ghost. Rather, we should invite him into our lives with the same gentleness and tenderness by which He entreats us.
Everything the Savior’s gospel commands us to do and to become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost.
Quoting Brigham Young: Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the still voice; it will teach [them] what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord, they will go right.”
Your bright and energetic youth are the future of the church and…a prime target of the adversary.
There are no perfect parents and no easy answers, but there are principles of truth we can rely on.
In these last days, what the world really needs is courageous parenting.
Parents are responsible for the protection of their children, that means spiritually as well as physically.
Parents who love their children cannot afford to be intimidated by them.
[Well, there went sleepovers. I wonder if Scout campouts will still be ok. I know my brothers' first experiences with arson occurred at Scout camp ;) I, of course, was a perfect angel at Girls' Camp.]
Parents, be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid.
Ah–President Uchtdorf with the rolled R’s!
Ryan’s eyebrows go up when the congregation goes flat. Just so you know what that means :)
[I wonder if the IKEA dresser is named after him?]
Just like a young…tree grows bit by bit into a sturdy tree,…we can grow step by step in our capacity to
Through the healing Atonement of Jesus Christ…we may have the strength to stand tall and strong and
to have our souls filled with light, understanding, joy and love.
Peace is a gift from God and it only comes through the Spirit of God. In our day-to-day actions, it is often the small and simple things that will have a lasting impact.
Now, the hollow tree that I told you about no longer stands. Some youths put firecrackers into the empty space, which caused the tree to catch on fire. [No doubt it was during a sleepover.] …Beware of things that will destroy from the inside out, whether big or small.
The promise to enter into the rest of the Lord, to receive the gift of peace, is far from a temporary, worldly satisfaction. It is indeed a heavenly gift.
Elder Mazzagardi’s granddaughter: Grandpa, what is sin?
Sin is the intentional disobedience to God’s commandments; it makes [Him] sad; and its results are
suffering and sadness
Elder Mazzagardi’s granddaughter: How does [sin] get us?
Sin gets us slowly and subtly, like how a tree pulls up a sturdy post.
When I was a teenager, my curfew was 10:00 pm. [Oh, man--teenagers are really getting hit hard this afternoon!]
We must be alert not to letsin grow around us
Decisions about standards to follow must be made in advance, not when temptation appears. Our parameters must be:
–This I will do because it is right, it comes from the Lord, and it will bring me happiness.
–This I will not do because it will drag me away from truth, from the Lord, and from the eternal happiness He promises to the faithful and obedient.
If we sin, we must look for help quickly, because alone we cannot escape sin’s trap. Someone must help us get rid of the deadly embrace.
Just as the tree I have described brought sadness, pain, suffering, and entrapment, another tree can bring the opposite. Dear brethren and sisters, stay strong and make good choices that will allow you to eat the fruit of the tree of life. If, for any reason, you have erred or left the path, our hand is extended and we say to you, “Come. There is hope. We love you, and we want to help you be happy.”
[It seems to me that almost all of the strong warnings about sin this conference have had equally strong assertions of the power of repentance immediately following. I can't remember hearing quite so much about mercy and grace and forgiveness before (although that could be just because I've been exceptionally wicked and in need of forgiveness lately :)]
Each week as we partake of the sacrament, we covenant…that we are willing to take upon us the name
of Christ. Someday each of us will have to account to our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for what we have
done with His name.
“As I thought about the role of the fence, I realized that it was a protection, just as the commandments and my parents’ rules were a protection. The commandments and rules were for my own good. I realized that obedience to the commandments could save me from physical and spiritual death. That enlightenment was a pivotal point in my life.”
[I love that we've gone from Swedish and Brazilian accents to Utah farming analogies--we really are starting to be diverse.]
Our kind, wise, and loving Heavenly Father has given us commandments…to bless our lives and to
protect our good name
The commandments are clear, they are protective, they are not restrictive, and the…blessings of
obedience are numberless.
Our Lord and Savior invites us on a daily basis to cleanse our names and return to His presence. His encouragement is full of love and tenderness.
Before you act,…ask yourself, “Would you think it, say it, or do it, knowing [Christ] is there?” For surely He is there.
In that glorious day when we stand before the Savior to report what we have done with his name, may we be able to declare, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” I have honored Thy name.
[Elder Ballard appears to be a fly fisher (and a sneaky one at that)]
The use of artificial lures to fool and catch a fish is an example of the way Lucifer often tempts, deceives,
and tries to ensnare us. Lucifer knows our hunger, or our weaknesses and tempts us with counterfeit lures…
Lucifer does not catch and release!
The battle over man’s God-given agency continues today. Satan uses addiction to steal away agency.
Satan knows how to exploit and ensnare us with artificial substances and behaviors of temporary pleasure. I have observed the impact when one struggles to win back control, to become free from destructive abuse and addiction, and to regain self-esteem and independence.
I am grateful for doctors who are trained to prescribe proper medications to relieve pain and suffering. Unfortunately, too many…become addicted to and then abuse prescription medications.
Now, brothers and sisters, please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I’m not questioning prescription medications for those suffering treatable illness or great physical pain. They are indeed a blessing. What I am saying is that we need to carefully follow the doses prescribed by doctors. And we need to keep such medications in a safe place where youngsters or anyone else cannot gain access to them.
Medical research describes addiction as a “disease of the brain.” This is true, but I believe that once Satan has someone in his grasp, it also becomes a disease of the spirit.
Any kind of addiction is to surrender to something, thus relinquishing agency and becoming dependent.
No matter what addictive cycle one is caught in, there is always hope.
If anyone who is addicted has a desire to overcome, then there is a way to spiritual freedom, a way that is proven. It begins with prayer–sincere, fervent, and constant communication with the Creator of our spirits and bodies.
There is hope for the addicted…this hope comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and by humbling
oneself before God…
Fervent prayer is key to gaining the spiritual strength to find peace and overcome an addictive craving
Set aside all pride and turn your life and your heart to Heavenly Father.
Ask to be filled with the power of Christ’s pure love. You may have to do this many times, but I testify
to you, your body, mind and spirit can be transformed, cleansed and made whole–and you will be freed.
Our love for our Father in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ needs to be reflected in our daily choices
May we all be aware of the artificial flies being presented to us by the counterfeit fisher of men, Lucifer. May we have the wisdom and spiritual insight to discern and refuse his many dangerous offerings.
For those of you who have fallen prey to any kind of addiction, there is hope because God loves all of His
children and because the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ makes all things possible.
I have seen the marvelous blessing of recovery that can set one free from the chains of addiction.
Wow, he even inverts Robert Frost :)
We have been spiritually fed
I express deep appreciation for the truths we have been taught
I hope we will take the time to read the conference talks
President Monson, of his counselors: They serve selflessly and effectively
How blessed we are to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ
We live in a troubled world
We are here on this earth to deal with our individual challenges to the best of our ability
Endure to the end we must, for our goal is eternal life in the presence of our Father in Heaven
We are deeply grateful for you and for all that you do to further the Kingdom of God on earth.
May heaven’s blessings be with you. May your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the spirit of the Lord. May you constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you.
Conference is now over. As we return to our homes, may we do so in safety. May the spirit we have felt here be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day. May we show increased kindness toward one another. May we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.
May we show increased kindness toward one another; may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord
I love you; I pray for you. I bid you farewell ‘til me meet again in six months’ time.
Closing Hymn: Sing We Now at Parting, arr. Mack Wilberg
It’s a brutal arrangement to have to sing anytime, lots of tricky parts to keep in tune, even when the choir isn’t exhausted at the end of the day. And starting in unison, pianissimo, a capella, with the organ coming into expose any lapse in intonation is every tenor’s nightmare! Brother Wilberg rehearsed the men on the opening phrase at least a half-dozen times. Also, the women’s diction on “mercy.” /end choir nerd geekout