Gender, Authority and Strange Loops

I want to expand on thoughts expressed by commenters in the Sunday PM General Conference Open Thread, specifically, “…Or maybe, if we’re going to talk about how wise mothers are, and what good teachers, and read sentimental poems about grown men longing to hear their mothers’ voices, we could just, y’know, hear their voices….”

The immediate context of this comment was Brother Foster’s talk, “Mother Told Me,” but the point applies to the entire conference, and more broadly to women’s influence in the church. I’d like to delve deeper into an analysis of some details in Brother Foster’s talk. I want to emphasize that this should not be read as a condemnation of the whole talk. It is both much narrower (a quibble with just one particular example he selected), and much bigger (the whole situation of women in the church), than his talk. Also, on some level, this is just a golden opportunity for me to geek out on some of my favorite geeky topics: logic, paradox and feminism.
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Sunday PM General Conference Photos

More photos from around the Conference Center during the last session of General Conference.

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Sunday PM General Conference: A Morally Clean AND Socially Just Session

We now conclude By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 180th Annual General Conference from the Conference Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City! Check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter in addition to coverage of this final session on the blog. We also encourage you to follow Conference streaming live from

I remember last October when the final session of Conference started I was essentially out of energy and ran out of things to say after the first 10 minutes. I have taken precautions this time around to ensure that such a letdown won’t happen again. Basically I spent the entire break scarfing Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. My hands are shaking a bit, but my eyes are open. Roll BCC! [Read more…]

Sunday AM General Conference Photos

More photos from around the Conference Center before and during the Sunday Morning Session.

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Sunday AM General Conference: An Especially Eastery LiveBlog

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

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. [Read more…]

Primary General Presidency News Conference

The New Primary General Presidency

We just got finished attending the press conference for the new Primary Presidency. A few photos are below, as well as a few bits of information from the Q&A session we attended.
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Priesthood Session: I’m a Man!

Welcome to BCC’s continuing coverage of the 180th Annual General Conference. Up next: The Priesthood Session, brought to you by Old Spice: We’re Men! [Read more…]

Saturday PM General Conference Photos

Photography from around the Conference Center on Saturday afternoon.

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Saturday PM General Conference: Only 8 More Hours to Go!

Welcome back to BCC’s coverage of the 180th General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For those concerned, I would like to affirm that this session is being recorded and administered in accordance with appropriate accounting practices, approved budgets, and Church policies and procedures.
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The Illuminated Matsby: A Very Special Conference Edition

My favorite part of General Conference is hearing the church statistical report during the Saturday afternoon session. And as a BCC exclusive, we have a sneak peek of who will be reading the numbers this afternoon.


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Saturday AM General Conference Photos

The feeling of excitement is up through the roof here at the Conference Center. Some met up with their friends and family, and quickly found their seats. Some where passing the wait time by strolling around and looking at the art work on display. There are smiling patrons everywhere checking tickets and directing people to the correct areas. It’s General Conference.

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General Conference: Live from Salt Lake, it’s SATURDAY MORNING!

Welcome to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 180th Annual General Conference on this freezing cold Saturday morning in Salt Lake City! BCC is pleased to 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

A couple of ground rules for participation today:
1. Don’t be rude (unless you’re an admin)
2. Don’t dominate conversation (unless you’re witty)
3. Don’t criticize the speakers (unless they tell unfunny jokes)
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Conference is coming!

Spring is in the air, the snows are melting, and General Conference is this weekend. As a heads-up to our readers — we will be continuing our tradition of live Conference coverage, with open threads here at BCC as well as live Twitter coverage here. Additionally, we will be photoblogging conference and providing some special features throughout the weekend. Please let us know if there are any special events you’d like us to cover. BCC permas will be on hand outside the Conference Center to sign autographs.

Also, I heard that this weekend they’re totally going to announce the formal transition to a two-hour block. No, seriously! My sister-in-law’s former roommate married the grandson of a GA and that’s all they talk about these days…

Elder Choi: I Love Loud Boys

The noisy sturm about Elder Holland notwithstanding, I believe Elder Yoon Hwan Choi gave the sleeper hit talk of this past General Conference. His address was a simple narrative of personal revelation and how Christ can enter the lives of our youth. More than this, it was an example of how we as lay clergy ought to approach our sermons. I’d like to look at his sermon, both in terms of its message and its form. I’m not doing any deep textual analysis, just taking an informal look at Choi’s story, his lessons and his structure. [Read more…]

Sunday afternoon photos

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Sunday Afternoon General Conference: The Only True and Living Session With Which the ‘Nacle Is Well Pleased

The True and Everlasting Warm Fuzzy Jar

The True and Everlasting Fuzzy Jar

Welcome to By Common Consent’s coverage of the 5th and final session of the 179th Semi-Annual General Conference! Please stay tuned for updates, and also remember to check out our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter, and watch it live streaming from While we at BCC are understanding of the difficulties in staying awake during the last session because we overate during lunch, there will be no tolerance for comments that are less than zippy, peppy, or loaded with warm fuzzies.

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In Between Conference Sessions

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Sunday Morning Photos

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Sunday Morning General Conference: One Session to Rule Them All

A Grand AM to you!

Welcome to By Common Consent’s live coverage of General Conference on this absolutely miserable and rainy Sunday Morning in Salt Lake City! Music and the Spoken Word is being played and…er…spoken right now, with the Sunday Morning session ready to get going in about 15 minutes. Don’t forget to follow our minute-by-minute coverage on Twitter. We also encourage you to (if you’re not already doing so) watch Conference live, streaming from [Read more…]

Priesthood Session: For Those Who Are Man Enough

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Afternoon Session Photos

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Saturday Afternoon General Conference: The Session Mighty and Strong

We here at BCC would like to thank you all for being courteous in driving after the Morning session concluded today. We are now back, with the Afternoon session set to get underway in about 3 minutes. Remember to get up-to-the-minute commentary, quotes, and door prizes on our Twitter feed, @ByCommonConsent.

More to come, but let’s get it started. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning General Conference Photos

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Saturday Morning General Conference: Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Welcome to By Common Consent’s live coverage of General Conference. We will be updating this post throughout the session, providing commentary, quotes, and photography as events unroll. For more up-to-the-minute coverage, please see our live coverage on Twitter. [Read more…]

What I’d like for General Conference this year

As a lover of all things gossip, I adore speculation about what might be announced in General Conference, what the big themes will be, etc. — especially when it comes to a new apostle, a new initiative or program, or a name change.

This session, however, I’m looking for something more simple: a time of refreshing. I want to feel the Spirit strongly and be reaffirmed in my testimony of this work, and leave Conference with a little more spring in my step.

What are you hoping for this time? And how can we at BCC cover Conference more effectively and meaningfully for you? Remember that we’ll have an open thread, as well as live coverage on twitter (@bycommonconsent).

What You WILL Be Doing For Conference!

Image courtesy of Brother Matsby

Image courtesy of Brother Matsby

You will be following our masterful coverage of all sessions of this weekend’s 179th Semi-Annual General Conference, of course!

Like last April, By Common Consent will be providing top-notch Live Blogging, Photography, Twitter feeds, Protest Interviews, and free babysitting (courtesy of Times & Seasons). We hope the experience is even better this time around, and welcome your suggestions and especially your participation!

What you need to know:
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Assigning GC Talks to Sacrament Speakers

We now go from the sublime (Russell’s “My Gifts” reflections upon Pentecost below) to the ridiculous. To wit: the growing practice of assigning ward members to speak on General Conference talks. [Read more…]

General Conference and the Flu

Two youths in Mexico with decorated face masks

Due to flu worries, and on the advice of the United States government, LDS church services were cancelled in Mexico today.

On a historical note, how many times has the LDS General Conference been cancelled due to flu outbreaks? [Read more…]

An Apostle’s First Words

When Elder Neil L. Andersen rose to the pulpit last Sunday morning for the first time as a newly sustained member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, these were his first words:

My dear brothers and sisters across the world, my knees are weak and my emotions close to the surface. I express my love for you and profoundly thank you for your sustaining vote. In so many dimensions, I feel inadequate and humbled. I take solace that in one qualification for the holy apostleship where there can be no latitude extended, the Lord has deeply blessed me. I do know with perfect and certain clarity through the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, the Beloved Son of God … To those who know me, if ever I have been less than I should have been in your presence, I ask for your forgiveness and patience. I so very much need your faith and prayers in my behalf. I know that I am not what I must become. I pray that I might be willing and moldable to the Lord’s tutoring and correction.

In short, Elder Andersen briefly acknowledged how nervous he was, and then immediately fulfilled the key responsibility of being a Special Witness–he bore a plain, but powerful, testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He concluded his introduction with a genuine prayer for forgiveness and patience from those he may have wronged.
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Elder Oaks’ Leaves of Grass: “Not a Song of Myself”

Mohammed Ali, in one of the last of the radio series “In This I Believe” spoke to how even now, though beset with Parkinson’s disease and needing his wife to read his essay for him, he is still the “greatest of all time”. A paradigm of self-confidence, Ali’s American swagger and confidence contrasts greatly with Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ similarly paradigmatic reading of C.S. Lewis such that a self itself sets a man up for a fall. [Read more…]


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