And here you thought we wouldn’t do anything special for April Fool’s Day…
Welcome to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 181th Annual General Conference, live from Salt Lake City! BCC will provide near-continuous live commentary, photography, and other goodies throughout the weekend’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.
Good morning BCCers! This is Neylan reporting on the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference.
Okay, enough from me. The choir ladies are sporting a lovely magenta this morning. 5:30 minutes till kickoff!
Prelude hymn: Rejoice the Lord is King! Chipper and straightforward. A few people still getting seated.
President Uchdorf conducting. This Conference marks the 75th anniversary of the Church’s Welfare System.
Opening Hymn: Glory to God on High. Wilberg conducting, Clay Christiansen on organ.
Opening Prayer: Elder Allan [didn't catch first name] and now President Monson welcoming.
“When this building was planned, we thought we’d never fill it. Just look at it now.”
Recapping a highlight from the busy past six months: the rededication of the Laie Hawaii Temple and the cultural celebration, “The Gathering Place,” that accompanied that event.
[Not to be missed is the video about the Kiev Temple dedication’s youth cultural celebration that was recently featured on LDS.org.]
Three new temples announced: Fort Collins, CO; Meridian, ID; Winnepeg, Canada
Hooray for a shout out to the Church’s aid to Japan! 70 tons of supplies; 40,000 hours of service donated by 4,000 volunteers.
“Our help will be ongoing in Japan and in any other areas where there is need.”
Hymn: Come Listen to the Prophet’s Voice, conducted by Ryan Murphy. Promises to be an intriguing arrangement. Men started alone… now women.
Whoa, there’s the modulation! It’s getting exciting! A big ending? Nope, getting quiet again.
Elder Perry up. Testifying that the voice we have just heard, President Monson, is the voice of the living prophet on the earth today.
Jesus Christ: dual citizenship in heaven and on earth. Emphasizing the importance of the New Testament — “a sacred volume which is the centerpiece of scriptural history, as the Savior is the centerpiece of our lives.”
It’s a Sabbath Day talk! “I can think of no better way for us to begin or continue to be an example of the believers than in our observance of the Sabbath Day.”
“The pattern of the Sabbath day observance must always include worship.”
“It is remarkable that even through the dark period of the Apostasy this pattern of the Sabbath Day worship and the Sacrament continued to be practiced in many forms.”
[No longer using quotation marks for direct quotes.]
Partaking of the Sacrament is the center of our Sabbath Day observance.
Three things the Lord requires of us as we consider the Sabbath and the Sacrament: first, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Second, to go to the house of prayer and offer up our sacraments. And third, to rest from our labors.
I believe He also desires us to dress appropriately. Our youth may think the old saying “Sunday best” is outdated. Still we know that when Sunday dress deteriorates to everyday attire, attitudes and actions follow.
[Teutonic shift? Children don't have to wear Sunday clothes "until the sun goes down"]
In today’s work, “labors” include the everyday work of our lives. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” [Although Elder Perry said "the Sacrament" was made for man!"]
Youth reminiscences…. remembering the first Sunday he passed the Sacrament as a deacon… and then as in the Marine Corps in the Pacific during the war.
Next up: Sister Jean A. Stevens of the Primary General Presidency. “There is so much we can learn from children.”
It was Jesus Christ Himself who taught us to look to children as an example. Matthew 18: 3-4
What is it we should learn from children?
Now sharing examples of children’s reverent behavior, including an example from Armenia where a 10-year old greeted the oldest member of his branch.
A close relative, Liam, is battling aggressive brain cancer. Although only 6, he only needed his dad’s voice to lie still during 33 rounds of radiation.
[Modern day Joseph Smith story? Children + disease = the go-to heartstring puller]
Discussing the action of the verb “behold” as in “behold your little ones”
There is not a more perfect place to “behold our little ones” than in our families. We see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children.
[Tearing up while mentioning her own children and their example to her.]
Now: Elder Walter F Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy
Mentioning his visits to Argentina, Ghana and Nigeria and the people he met there. “Most were not members of the Church. We were happy to see their desire to follow Christ expressed in many of their conversations, in their houses, on their cars, on their walls and on their billboards. We had never see so many Christian churches next to one another. As Latter-day Saint, ours is the duty in invite millions such as these to come and see what our Church can add to the good things they already have.”
[Yay for the global perspective of a non-American GA! Love the positive emphasis on "what we can add"]
I have pondered about the purpose of pain… Much of our suffering is not necessarily our fault.
Followers of Christ are loving people. Second, followers of Christ make and keep covenants. Citing Ruth the Moabite and Joseph of Egypt, and comparing them to a Brother Olvera from Ecuador who risked losing family when he decided to serve a mission. [Happy ending to that one: eventually, his parents wanted him to stay on his mission longer cause they were receiving "so many blessings"]
Making covenants is an expression of love. It is a way of saying to Him, yes I will follow thee.
Choir and Congregation together: I Know That My Redeemer Lives [all verses!]
Elder Kent F Richards of the Quorum of the Seventy kicks off the second hour.
I have pondered about the purpose of pain…. Much of our suffering is not necessarily our fault…. There is another kind of pain for which we are responsible.
As Nephi saw in vision, much of Christ’s mortal ministry was devoted to blessing and healing the sick with all kinds of maladies — physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Personal story about when he was a patient and not the doctor. He came to understand that during his mortal life Christ chose to experience pains and afflictions in order to understand us. Perhaps we also need to experience the depths of mortality in order to understand Him and our eternal purposes.
Children’s response to pain – more “naturally accepting.” Story of a child seeing familial angels when coming out of an operation. “Daddy, all of the children here in the intensive care unit have angels helping them.” [Another child + disease story. Definitely moving this time.]
Bears testimony that Jesus is our Redeemer, our Friend our Advocate, the great physician, the great healer.
Twelve Apostle Alert: Elder Quentin L. Cook up now. It’s about the ladies. “LDS women are incredible.”
Most significant attribute of the pioneer women: their unwavering faith in the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The stories of these women are a “priceless legacy to the Church.”
I believe the women of the Church today are every bit as strong and faithful.
[Holding off commentary till we see where this story goes....]
[Props for the American Grace callout.]
Our women are not incredible because they have managed to avoid the difficulties of life – quite the opposite. They are incredible because of the way they face the trials of life.
Appreciation for sisters – both married and single — and their role in the creation of the new Handbooks.
[Tangent into the execution of the Handbook's new injunction to delegate Bishop's responsibilities.] In the Church the role of women in the home is highly respected. When the mother receives a Church calling that requires significant time, the father will often be given a less demanding calling in order to maintain balance in the lives of the family.
Example of a woman – a stake Relief Society president – proposing a plan for preparing young men who hadn’t gone on missions to prepare for the temple, rather than be ostracized.
For some, marriage and family are becoming a menu choice rather than the central organizing principle of our society.
Don’t judge women for wanting to stay home full time. ALSO don’t judge women who work.
I would hope that Latter-day Saint would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accommodating to both women and men in their responsibilities as parents.
[Moving right along... ]
Choir: Primary Song… points to the first person who can name it! Both Kristine and I have blanked….
I Know That My Savior Loves Me
[President Eyring in the house! YES...addressing "poor and the needy" on a global level, not just within our local communities]
“Living the Law of Consecration”… then the “United Order”… in our time, it’s called the “Church Welfare Program.” The names and details of operation are changed to fit the needs and conditions of people. But always the Lord’s way to help those in temporal need requires people who out of love have consecrated themselves and what they have to God and to His work.
Quoting lyrics to “Have I Done Any Good In the World Today?”
More shout outs to our humanitarian aid efforts: 1500 volunteers helped in Queensland, Australia.
Discussing the effects of service on children. “The Lord’s way of caring for the needy provides another opportunity for parents to bless their children.”
Wherever you live, you have seen that miracle of sympathy turned to unselfish action. [Choking up, reflecting on service given in the wake of the Teton Dam burst on June 5, 1976.]
We celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Church’s welfare program this year. The principles at the foundation of the Church Welfare Program are not only for one time or one place. They are for all times and all places.
Elder Eyring’s personal principles of service: First, everyone is happier and feels more self-respect when they can provide for themselves and their family and then reach out to take care of others. I have been grateful for those who helped me become self-reliant. And then I have been most grateful for those who showed me how to use some of my surplus to help others.
Second, the power and blessing of unity.
Third, draw your family into the work with you so that they can learn to care for each other as they care for others.
Fourth, it is the bishop’s duty to find and provide help to those who still need assistance after all they and their families can do. The Holy Ghost makes it possible to find those in need.
[Elder Eyring improvises: RS presidents may get the revelation before the bishop!]
News Flash: there will be a worldwide members “Day of Service”
Three suggestions for planning a project for this day: First, prepare spiritually. Second, chose recipients whose needs will touch the hearts of those who will give the service. Third, draw on the power of the bonds of families, quorums, and organizations.
Choir concludes: High On the Mountain Top. Ye nations now look UP!
This is Neylan signing off. I’ll be back tomorrow morning.