My Hopes & Fears for the Next General Conference

We still have several weeks until the October General Conference, and given what’s happened in the meantime, many Mormons like me are concerned it could be gloat-mageddon.  If I were putting together a General Conference, here are the things I would include and what I would cut.  Of course this is already unrealistic because there are over a dozen speakers, each of whom has his or her own areas of focus and points of view.  But this is my list; YMMV.  I’ll start with the Fears and end with the Hopes.

My Fears

  • Anything that smacks of gloating or otherwise whips up the base (or the basest instincts in our fellow Mormons) against liberals, feminists, intellectuals, gay people, or Millenials.
  • Strawman arguments or caricatures, use of stereotypes and slurs to define groups of people the speaker disagrees with.  E. Holland used these kinds of slurs against liberals in his talk last General Conference.  He was definitely not the first to do it, but let’s hope that talk was the last.
  • Arguments equating motherhood with priesthood.  Enough already.
  • Talks praising women or putting them on a pedestal; please understand that nearly every woman sees right through this, and those who don’t should know better.
  • More harping on gay marriage; let it be already.  These talks aren’t actually changing people’s minds either way, and if you are gay or have gay loved ones, they do damage.
  • Anecdotes that imply men are not equal partners in marriage or in domestic duties (e.g. inept at caring for their own children or incapable of cooking or sewing or ironing).  These stories really rankle.  I’m reminded of the one in which the speaker’s mother had a physical ailment that made it difficult to iron, so her husband saved up for several months and bought her an ironing machine.  Here’s a thought:  iron your own damn shirts.  Wouldn’t that have been a simpler solution?  I also am not fond of the stories that imply men can’t handle their own kids or grandkids.  Tending children is not easy.  Women just don’t usually get a pass.  Quit talking about it like you should get some sort of medal for helping out.  It’s not babysitting; it’s parenting!
  • Black & white talks that imply you should get on board with 100% of whatever the speaker says or get out; too many are choosing the latter.  People we care about.  People I care about.
  • Anything anti-science:  jabs at evolution, the big bang, global warming, or any other anti-science digs that make us sound like home-schooled evangelicals from Texas.  Nothing drives Millenials out faster than this.  That sound is the collective eye roll of everyone under 25 and several of us over 40.
  • Talks that elevate the Proclamation’s gender roles as eternal and inherent; let’s quit being the dream crusher for women; motherhood’s as fine and noble as fatherhood, but women are capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time (and of course, not all women are mothers, and not all women are nurturing).  Being lectured by men on how to be a woman is long past its expiration date.  Let’s just talk to men & women as people who are trying to be like Jesus.  We can all learn more about being Christ-like.
  • Any sort of Fourteen Fundamentals nonsense; leader worship / thinking is done stuff.
  • Talks about scriptures that reveal that the speaker knows nothing about Biblical scholarship (e.g. attributing to Paul or Moses what wasn’t actually written by them).  This one’s a personal pet peeve.
  • Speaking of pet peeves, I don’t care for pioneer stories.  Haven’t we done anything of interest since the mid-1800s?  What I dislike about them is that many of them have been retold so many times and sometimes they are really just a humblebrag about the speaker’s pedigree.  I know I’m in the minority in not worshiping the pioneers.  So sue me.
  • References to Satan as the impetus of all the ills in the world; people do plenty of damage using their agency.  The image of Satan pulling the strings is less compelling, at least to me, than seeing that human mistakes create the misery that exists.  If it’s the doing of people, then people should be responsible to counter it and remedy it.  If it’s unseen beings, that feels more fatalistic.

My Hopes

  • A real olive branch toward women and equality and female authority, including women in charge of men as well as women and children.  Talking about women as whole people, not just in terms of our reproductive or nurturing capabilities would sure help.  Please no stereotypes!  I enjoyed E. Cook’s talk that sounded like he actually worked with some real women in the real world, not just in the domestic sphere.
  • Talks that are positive about the state of the world.  Things have never been better in many ways.  I’ve noticed that the more educated the ward I’m in, the more this is acknowledged.
  • Talks that reveal our leaders are tech savvy and connected to the world younger generations inhabit – there have been several of these in the past few years, and they usually make me hopeful.
  • Words that help create a viable space within our congregations for our gay members and their families; E. Christofferson’s family appears to be modeling this one.  Let’s hear about it.
  • Talks about strengthening marriage that actually talk about strengthening marriage, not about how gay marriage is wrong.  Marriage is important.  We have been light on addressing how to really create better marriages lately.  Again, let’s avoid stereotypes in the process if possible.  Good marriages aren’t just founded on being heterosexual and Mormon and breeding a lot while mom stays in the home vaguely nurturing.  Those are very superficial characteristics.  Real marriage is much harder than that.  There’s a lot more to it.
  • References to modesty that are about the virtue of being non-materialistic and unassuming, not strictly about female dress codes and inches of skin exposed.
  • Talks and speakers that celebrate the diversity within our global congregation.  I love speakers from other parts of the world (exotic accents are a treat for us all!), and I love hearing how the gospel applies in situations that aren’t as American and familiar.
  • Talks about personal revelation – these are always my favorites; I loved E. Scott’s talk on this from a few years ago.
  • Elevating individual accountability and prayerful choices over the drum-beat of obedience without articulated caveats; let’s create thoughtful individual spiritual strength among the members, not knee jerk order-takers.
  • Words of understanding for parents or family members of those who are disaffected, without making it sound like their children are bad people or lost souls.
  • A higher representation of female speakers and great talks from the same.  I do feel bad, though, that the weight of expectations is on those few, modestly-covered female shoulders.
  • Ending the meeting 15 minutes early again.  This is a new trend, and I like it.  But it hasn’t yet caught on at the local level for some reason.

Unrealistic or outside-the-box hopes that I have nonetheless

  • At least one female speaker at the Priesthood session.
  • The announcement of the 2 hour block.  I keep my fingers crossed on this one.
  • A replay of the talks with sports commentators discussing the various plays.
  • A one hour “best hits” reel published after the conference (maybe a month later), just little snippets of the best sound bites from the talks.  Of course “best” is subjective, but as a former English major, I like the Cliffs Notes.

What are your hopes and fears for the upcoming General Conference?

Discuss.

Comments

  1. “E. Holland used these kinds of slurs against liberals in his talk last General Conference.”
    in Costs and Blessings of Discipleship?

    Curious where’s the cite on this:

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng

  2. I look forward to a talk on both repentance and obedience and the blessings those two things bring.

  3. Amen and amen.

    I would really like to see a talk that improves on the “doubt your doubts” talk that treats those in our community that have lost belief or gone into activity some credit for personal integrity or thoughtfulness, modeling how to treat them with the true human respect they deserve.

    I would also like to see a talk that speaks to older parents who are seeing their kids and grand kids leave the church/activity with practical advise on keeping the relationships strong. My parents really need some balm on this and I know they aren’t alone. They are taking their kids disaffection really hard and need some hope from their leaders.

    An classy acknowledgement of President Monson’s mental health challenges.

    More Elder Caussee. He gave one of the best talks of recent memory that came awfully close to being a real step toward inviting women into full fellowship. He also fits into your accent/global diversity wish.

  4. Excellent list. You’ve nicely articulated the key issues that I see many members — esp. the youth in our ward — struggling with. And you’ve done so in a really constructive way. Well done!

  5. @jpv, I think the concern with Elder Holland’s talk is simply that the main message of the talk — to follow the teachings of Church leaders even when their teachings are unpopular — came across (to many, at least) as targeting liberals (because the Church’s anti-liberal teachings, against feminism and homosexuality, are foremost in public consciousness as being unpopular right now).

  6. If your hopes list were the actual line-up, I’d watch all five sessions with joy. But my fear is that your fears list will be spot on. In my current fragile emotional state, I just can’t take the risk of being more hurt and damaged. So I’ll read the cliffs notes version here on BCC’s live blog before deciding which talks it’s safe to watch. But I hope there will be more talks like Elder Causse’s last one. That is the sort of thing that brings me closer to Christ and gives me peace and hope. I also loved Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk on there being room for everyone. I wish talks like these weren’t so few and far between.

  7. About the ironing machine story….I don’t read it that way at all. In the medical sociology literature, there is a lot of research about the “sick role” and implications thereof. It can be devastating to one’s sense of competence and ultimately mental health to lose the ability to do things in which one used to take satisfaction. Robin Williams was not the first and will not be the last to end their life when diagnosed with an illness. And for women the statistics are particularly grim: among women diagnosed with a chronic illness, studies show that most (as high as 80%) will be divorced within 5 years.

    So when I listened to that the story, I heard that a husband was sacrificing in order to keep his wife from being forced into a sick role. That seemed a Good Thing to me.

    Sure other people could have done the ironing, but at a cost to her self-esteem. And I think the point was that the husband gave up lunches for a year to give her what she needed, which is a worthwhile principle to teach. A principle that could be applied in various contexts, with different needs for different spouses.

    Should she not have taken satisfaction in ironing those shirts? That is a judgment call that none of us should be making. I can understand, because I took satisfaction in laundering (I don’t iron, and I am glad to live in a time of permanent press unlike Sister Christofferson) the six white shirts per week my husband needed as a bishop.

    Should GC speakers stop telling stories from their own lives in order to save their family members from being criticized? I think that would be a sad day. I don’t ever get the impression that they are pointing their lives out as the only way to live, only providing an example of how they applied general principles.

  8. Thanks for this, Angela: I have family members and friends who dread GC for the reasons you give, and who often leave the weekend frustrated because their hopes so seldom materialize. I certainly don’t envy the speakers the nasty rhetorical situation in which they find themselves, needing to address a diverse and global church regarding principles that are supposed to unite us all. Maybe it’s okay to have a talk here or there addressed to what might be called #wasatchfrontproblems, because, after all, there are Mormons in Utah too, but I’d like to see the bulk of the talks aimed outward, giving us meaty sermons on how to really follow Jesus in our diverse situations.

    And Amen to those calling for more Bishop Caussé!

  9. Yeah, I hear you about the gloating, but our current roster hasn’t been the gloating type. We’re far more likely to hear the simple message that there is safety in following the Brethren, that their ways are not the world’s.

    My hope for this General Conference, simply put, is that it not be boring.

  10. Richard Caldwell says:

    Yes, yes, enough on the pioneers! I was born in Utah and I don’t place as much importance on something that relates to a portion of members. All it does is keep a focus on Utah history. It has little to do what is going on now with today’s church and the growth of the kingdom. It was part of the beginning of the restoration history and we are past that now.

  11. I enjoyed the post. But how about a hope and a fear that are much simpler?

    Hope: That GOD manifests His Will so clearly that I can recognize it and confidently obey.
    Fear: Anything else.

    Although I sympathize with many of the hopes and fears of this post, shouldn’t we be willing to accept and obey God’s will – whatever it may be, and however unpalatable – as long as it is indeed God’s? Who are we to counsel God? But if the message isn’t God’s, then regardless of its content, perhaps we have bigger things to worry about.

  12. Or if we’re going to hear about the pioneers, we could at least hear some more original stories. We talk so much about the handcarts and wagons–and so little about the trip over the Atlantic, both prior to and after the railroad. So little about those who passed through Utah on the way to the Gold Rush and decided to stay. So little about those who stayed in their country of origin and built the church up there. There’s such a diversity of stories and yet we stick with the same old boring ones.

  13. I hope there will be messages that resonate for me and for almost all other members (not sure I want messages that will resonate for Cliven Bundy, for example, and I know I need to repent of that judgment, but . . .) – and that means I actually hope there will be messages that won’t resonate for me. I just hope the ones that don’t resonate for me will not be so grating for me that I will need to ignore them completely. I fear there might be one or two like that, but I hope there aren’t.

    From October 2009, immediately following General Conference:

    “Paul v. John – Oaks v. Uchtdorf: Why We Need a Quorum of 12 Apostles”

    http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009/10/paul-v-john-oaks-v-andersen-why-we-need.html

  14. More pioneers! And lots of them! Ancient! Nineteenth century! Modern!

    Seriously. It’s a scriptural charge. “…have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers [and mothers]? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them?”

    It’s a great lesson: if God could put up with the early Saints and all their complaining and bickering and boundary drawing and trials and sicknesses and heartbreak and wars and misunderstandings and doctrinal debates and political difficulties and still make them a great nation, there’s hope for us.

    I saw a glimpse of the interconnections of history yesterday in Church as a new convert told about a miraculous healing that came to his family as they met with the missionaries. As the congregation struggled to understand his broken English I heard in his words the echoes of my Danish and Swedish and Welsh ancestors standing in meetings a century or more ago telling the same kind of stories.

    In our quest for our future, let’s not lose a sense of our past and the way it can ground us in the present and provide meaning for our lives and those of our fellow Saints who likewise need these connections to the past.

  15. I’m very interested in a side issue regarding conference, but it links with what you articulate on several levels. Since at least the time of Harold B. Lee, GC has been characterized as a “revelation for the next six months” kind of thing. At the same time GC seems deeply subordinate to the Standard Works, almost tracking Evangelical views of inspiration in some important ways. The evolution of the cultural/religious importance of GC is fascinating to me. The event approaches iconic status. (Methodists should cheer, or not.) Also, I note the increase in the number of “Regional Conferences” taking the place of Sunday stake conferences. These events seem like a rejuvenation of the old “area conference” idea. I suspect the agendas for these conferences are just as important for your lists as that of GC. One of these will be held in my region in mid September, involving 150+ stakes.

    As topics go, please let science alone. On the other hand, imagine Steve Peck as an apostle. Bound to be some fun New Era articles there!

  16. Tim, have you seen the Church History series “Pioneers in Every Land”? As Church historians collect and share these stories, perhaps some of them will make their way into the rotation.

    http://history.lds.org/section/pioneers

    And, as an additional resource for stories of Saints throughout the years, don’t miss Ardis’s series “Latter-day Saint Lives” at her blog Keepapitchinin. Go to the Topical Guide listed in the top left corner of the blog and then search for “Latter-day Saint Lives.” You’ll find dozens of amazing stories of Saints from Syria to Siberia.

  17. Formal Union says:

    Right on, Angela! I’m tired of the prophets saying things that make me feel uncomfortable. If they don’t stop it, I’ll find some prophets who tell me what I want to hear instead.

  18. I like your lists, Angela. I’m afraid that some GAs’ entire repertoire would be wiped out if they dropped everything from your “fears” list.

  19. I’m not afraid of feeling uncomfortable in General Conference. I certainly have a lot to repent of and being reminded of it is useful for me. Whenever my personal prejudices or tendencies toward complacency align with popular culture, I appreciate that the gospel asks me to set cultural pressures aside and examine my beliefs to determine if they are genuinely good and in alignment with God’s will for me. We need more of the discomfort that generates repentance and christian charity.

    My hope: That we will each find something in conference that inspires us to become a better disciple and a better overall human.
    My fear: We’ll all do what we almost always do and just find confirmation of our current manner of living.

  20. rameumptom says:

    I’m with Steve Evans on this. They aren’t going to gloat. I hope that they are inspired to teach us the things we need to hear. I’m not going to set the agenda for them, as it needs to be the Lord’s agenda, not mine. By putting forth our own lists, we are questioning or doubting whether the Brethren are guided or not in what they teach. What they teach may not be popular with certain groups (not just liberals), and as a people we need to realize that God isn’t asking us what is right or wrong, or how to do things better. We need prophets and leaders that teach God’s will, not push political viewpoints, whether right/wrong, better/worse, good/bad. Along with Steve E, I believe they can be inspired, but still be boring in the delivery. I hope those that tend to put me to sleep work with some speech writers on the final delivery….

  21. Old Codger says:

    My hope for General Conference is that liberals will not read their agenda into every talk given. It seems that some of you (us) are either aching for a spanking or carrying an agenda/rubric into the meeting by which you judge every message.

  22. The Pioneers in Every Land initiative is a good thing, and while I don’t favor dropping the 19th-century pioneers, it’d definitely be good to elevate these global experiences in the collective consciousness.

    WVS: Thanks for inviting me to imagine Steve Peck as an apostle. Not only the science, but also the hellfire and damnation aspects of GC would get a whole lot more interesting in his hands.

  23. ” carrying an agenda/rubric into the meeting by which you judge every message.”

    We all do that. It’s called being human.

  24. “By putting forth our own lists, we are questioning or doubting whether the Brethren are guided or not in what they teach.”
    This is plainly false, Ram. Show a little charity. Speculation is human.

    Old Codger,
    Add conservatives (greens, libertarians, whigs, federalists) to your list and I’ll sign on.

  25. Old Codger: nobody can help carrying an agenda/rubric into GC. We can’t make sense of the world without them. That said, of course one ought not be too dogmatic about these things. We should be open to the possibility of inspired revision.

  26. it's a series of tunes says:

    I hear you, Formal Union! I don’t want any boat rocking, let alone any rowing!

  27. Maybe a talk on pride would be good. I’ll hope for that.

  28. If they did this then how would they be able to keep everything Us vs. Them?

  29. No talks about tithing. Especially that you’ll burn in hell if you don’t help fund the next mall. And especially not about a very poor person making huge sacrifices to help fund the mall. Disgraceful!!

  30. I hope for a new apostle with a beard a who says “I am the Jesus’ Apostle to the tattooed and divorced and all those who do not look like the cover of the Ensign. I have it on good authority that Jesus welcomes you to His church.” I feel the desire for less pioneer stuff, too. We could replace some of the the brazen serpenting of the past with something that actually grows a vision of what a future Zion might look like. Something that has never been > something that never was.

  31. Where is the edit button?

  32. One the one hand, I feel I understand the sentiment of the post, but on the other hand, if you go to conference looking for what you want to hear, you’ve pretty much guaranteed that you’ll defeat its purpose, at least for you personally.

  33. I’ll add that it’s just as easy for us to hear the wrong things as it is for the apostles to say the wrong things. And, it’s just is easy for us to hear the right thing the wrong way, as it is for an apostle to say the right thing the wrong way.

    It’s very easy for some to treat conference as just another battle in the culture wars.

  34. John C: “My hope: That we will each find something in conference that inspires us to become a better disciple and a better overall human.
    My fear: We’ll all do what we almost always do and just find confirmation of our current manner of living.” Well said.

    Steve E makes a great point – I really didn’t think actual speakers would gloat, just feared that members would do what they usually do and take up their words as a cudgel against their fellow members. The gloating is the membership, the base that is whipped up by what they already think. That gloating is unseemly, especially since it is so often steeped in ignorance.

    I too hope it’s not boring, and that there is advice that does improve my life – same thing I hope for every week at church. Oddly, in my case, church succeeds more often than General Conference does, and it’s not because we are like-minded in my ward.

  35. In the spirit of Martin’s addition, I’ve changed my hope. I hope for ten hours of nothing but things I don’t want to hear. Although if things that I don’t want to hear _are_ the things that I hope to hear …

  36. Kevin Barney says:

    Angela, I deal with this sort of thing by practicing the Gospel of Lowered Expectations. That works pretty well for me.

  37. Yes Kevin, lowering expectation is good. I am finding however, that the lower I go, the less this church is mine. I keep lowering to save my breaking heart, each week I sit in it I feel like I am wasting my time. The question is am I ready to leave?

  38. Gospel of Lowered Expectations FTW

  39. Carrie: I hope you’re not! I’m sure there are friends of yours who take some comfort in feeling like there is room for them in the church given the fact that Carrie’s around.

    Angela: This post was especially helpful in helping me think again about what sort of things I expect from GC. To the commenters criticizing the post as an effort to impose a blogger’s will upon the will of God as manifest through our church leaders I recommend you reconsider the value of approaching GC with greater consciousness.

  40. Wow. Millennials have been added to the list of intellectuals, feminists, and gays? Seems like a bad move to target an entire generation.

    Oh, I agree. No man should get a cookie for taking care of his children.

  41. @ Formal Union…..Kind of like the Church paying to take surveys of its members to figure out how they can make words more “comfortable” to members or the world at large? Seems like prophets wanting to teach what the populace wants to hear.

  42. Great post! What an amazing list of hopes! How uplifted would the entire Church be if each of those bullet points were realized in General Conference!

  43. Love the list Angela. Amen from me.

  44. Love it.

    My favorite hope is “Talks that are positive about the state of the world.” I hope we hear more about how we can make the world a better, more hopeful place. Individually and collectively, I know we could make a big difference.

  45. I fear that I’ll hear somethings that will be difficult for me to bear. I hope that I can bear the chastisement.

  46. My money is on your collective fears, not your hopes.

    Remember that Brother Holland is the one who admonished the saints to sit the prescribed distance from the Church campfire and to simply shut up and conform. Expect more of the same.

  47. Someone post a thread post-conference of the best of snippets you would like and is be happy to put them together in a single video file

  48. How sad that you go into conference looking for a fight! Attitude is everything. Heaven forbid a prophet says something that makes someone feel uncomfortable! Wow!

  49. This comment thread makes me super tired, ya’ll. Howsabout we stop assuming horrible things about each other and the Brethren, okay?

  50. wreddyornot says:

    My hope for conference would be that God (Mother *and* Father) would reply to our whiny inquisitive, immature, but sincere, kids’ prayers for greater light and knowledge through our representative brothers and, I’d hope, (for more and more) sisters (who should be held in equal esteem to authorized brothers). Further, I hope that us kids would then act upon such answers appropriately and then keep on whining, inquiring and being sincere in our agitations with other important questions and concerns, like kids do and will, until we begin to understand better and better and thereby become more and more mature and eventually grow up to love and understand our God (Mother *and* Father) and one another.

  51. John, to be fair, you were tired before you started reading the thread. Assuming horrible things about each other and the brethren is a time-honored tradition amongst idiots. Don’t deprive us of our livelihood.

  52. Naismith,

    I appreciate your comment above. I had similar feelings, and I appreciate your ability to share those thoughts in written words.

  53. I think we hear and remember what we hear and remember – and that much of it is not a conscious choice.

    I think the way we approach it can be (but isn’t naturally) a conscious choice and that our approach has a huge role in what we hear and remember – and that applies far beyond General Conference.

    I’ve heard and read enough of what people remember from talks, speeches and life experiences to realize we generally hear and see what we believe – rather than believing what we see and hear.

  54. I would love to hear any mention of the separation of church and state.

    I have heard Mormon friends say that they don’t know HOW anyone can vote a certain way or have certain opinions and “still be a Mormon.”

    I would like some clarification here. All this time I keep thinking I can believe in God’s rules without believing that it’s right to impose those rules on the unbelievers. This is America.

    On a related side note, I would never want to vote away the right of unbelievers to die with dignity. Does that mean I sympathize with groups opposed to the church (clearly against Euthanasia) or does it just mean that I believe in the separation between church and state?

    Ray I think it’s true that many people just hear what they want to believe, but sometimes the actual doctrine/rules are not taught. Instead, things are said at conference that don’t really clarify anything but do provide serious gloating fodder.

    “Doubt your doubts” put questioners in their place without addressing any of their questions. The story lauding the bravery of the “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman” facebook poster likewise shamed the marriage equality people without even mentioning the importance of keeping a separation between church and state.

    Ram, I agree with John C that going to conference with a list of hopes and fears does NOT equal “doubting whether the Brethren are guided.”

    Believing that our leaders (Sisters too) are guided means that we naturally open our ears and put our hearts on the line….hence the hopes and fears.

  55. Jessica,

    We have the right to be informed by whatever institution or philosophy that seems right to us as individuals — be it by the church or the academy or what-have-you. And being so informed we vote as we may. If there is to be separation of church and state with regard to how people are informed then there should also be separation of church and academy.

  56. Oops, I meant to say “academy and state” at the end of my comment.

  57. “‘Doubt your doubts’ put questioners in their place without addressing any of their questions.”

    No, it didn’t. Members who ripped it out of context and quoted it in isolation did.

    That’s an important distinction, and it proves what I said. It is a perfect example of people hearing only what they wanted to hear and changing the actual message given by quoting that part on its own.

  58. Ray: “Members who ripped it out of context and quoted it in isolation did.” Well, good thing members would never do that again, having learned their lesson and all.

  59. A really great post–I hope The Powers That Be are snooping and will make changes to conference.

    My Hope for Conference: At least one two-hour session is nothing but a member of the 1st Presidency (I would say the prophet, but he might be ill) going line-by-line over every bit of false doctrine that is taught (overtly or covertly) is any Gospel Doctrine, Relief Society, seminary, or any other setting, and said false doctrine is pointedly exposed as false doctrine. For example, I would love it if someone would stand up in General Conference and say, “Girls are not immodest if they wear sleeveless dresses. If you want your kid to cover her shoulders to prepare her for temple garments, that’s great for you and your family, but other kids are still fine in the eyes of the Lord.” Other examples might be “There will be no church proclamation asking righteous LDS families to run and hide in the mountains or hills prior to the second coming. Quit scaring people. If you are concerned about the end times, just do as we’ve always asked you to do–keep the commandments. And take a valium.”

    My Unrealistic Hope for Conference: Toward the end of the Sunday afternoon session, Ellen DeGeneres orders pizza for everyone, then leaps to the front podium and snaps a selfie with the 1st presidency. *That* is an image I’d keep in pinterest.

  60. Bethany West says:

    I’ve been praying for a while that garments will be made optional… There’s a revelation I could get behind!

  61. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and in the spirit of Elder Bednar’s admonitions, I hope to spend a session or two of conference here at BCC. I can only speak for myself, but I find uplift here more than many other places.

  62. Angela, so you agree with me. Cool.

  63. Bethany – you can stop praying about that. Garments have always been optional. So is tithing and the Word of Wisdom and all other things. Consequences (both good and bad) however cannot be optional, as they are simply a part of our choices.

  64. ““There will be no church proclamation asking righteous LDS families to run and hide in the mountains or hills prior to the second coming.”

    You may find this Ensign article helpful, which includes headings like

    “Myth #1: We’re going to walk to Missouri to prepare for the Second Coming….Myth #2: The entire Church will be gathered to Missouri.”

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/04/missouri-myths?lang=eng

    I seem to recall another one, but cannot locate it.

  65. Mike, I think on this one you’re both right and wrong. You’re right, of course, that obeying commandments is always a choice. However, for many women, wearing garments poses issues of comfort, health and hygiene that men simply do not know about or don’t appreciate. The desire to always bear the remembrance of the covenant is there, but it comes at a cost far higher than for men.

  66. Ben: man, they just don’t write Ensign articles like they used to. Can you imagine that being published today?

  67. Yeah, I agree that it seems unlikely that an article like “Missouri Myths” would be published today. I was mildly shocked when the author explicitly stated that “there are two schools of thought” on a given point. Wow!

  68. Go read the account of King Benjamin’s address to the people, take note of the reaction the people have. That is the GC I want to see. Not something that will cater to what “I want to hear.” The truth can be hard somethings. I’m tired of watered down milk. I want the meat!

  69. Ryan W: The response of the people to King Benjamin’s speech, meaning where they all chant in unison their assent to what he has said? That part always makes me LOL.

  70. melodynew says:

    Women’s voices. I am thirsty, parched even, from the lack of representative wisdom – the voice of age and experience – from women at the pulpit. We’ve enjoyed an abundance of words from Wise Men in this church since the beginning. But we’re living in a drought where Wise Women are concerned. I miss the golden age of Jack, Okazaki, and Clyde. (BTW – what’s with term limits for the General RS Presidency since then?)

    Half the congregation around the world is women. Surely, the spirit enlightens and informs women in general leadership positions with regard to essential gospel truths as readily as it informs men. Your point is well made, Angela: “the weight of expectations is on those few” is a problem unto itself. And that makes me sad. I fear, no, I’m certain I will be long gone from this world before my hope is fully realized. Still, I hope.

  71. I would love to hear again how we stand on dangerous ground when we denigrate another brother or sister over political differences. I’m tired of the contention that has arisen in this Church between Democrats and Republicans. We’re Mormons. That should be enough for us to think the best of one another.

  72. I look forward to GC and always hope I will hear something I need to hear.

    And BTW, the contention about the church wasting tithing money on a mall is a little tired for me. I wish people would engage a little more thought on that issue than they often do.

  73. Either the speakers are speaking from inspiration of the Holy ghost, or they aren’t. Either the brethren are authorized to receive revelation for the church or they aren’t. Their duty is to teach by the spirit. If they didn’t, then they would be removed from their places. Is this a church of God, led by God through men, or a church of men? What do you think?

  74. I am reminded of a passage that seems to apply to much of this content: see Isaiah 30: 9-15.
    The Lord has already commented on the Brethrens’ words in D&C 1:38.

  75. Ken, you’re amazing and thanks for that insight.

  76. Reblogged this on Untold Stories and commented:
    And here we go . . . !

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