Conference Open Thread

In the interests of serving the needs of those interested in discussing conference and related events, I have opened this thread.


  1. Wirthlin_relative says:

    To those interested, Elder Wirthlin is fine. He has had extensive back problems over the past 8 years or so (hence his somewhat diminutive appearance; he once stood 5?10?). He had a back spasm during his talk, but thanks to the support of the Spirit, Elder Nelson and his stubborn personality, he made it through, and remained in his seat at the conference center for the duration of the session.
    Elder Holland, speaking to Elder Wirthlin after the session, said, if we ever go up a mountain, I want you to lead us.
    Or something to that effect.He is well.

  2. Thank you Wirthlin relative, for the update.

  3. Jon in Austin says:

    Does anyone know what the shouting was coming over the satellite feed at the end of priesthood session? It was in between when Pres. Hinckley was sitting down and the choir singing.

  4. during the first general session, there was some laughter while elders eyring and cook were taking their seats. what was that about? the camera was zoomed way out because the choir was about to sing.

  5. Paul — According to news accounts, President Hinckley playfully tapped Presidenti Erying on the head with his cane.

  6. President Eyring.

  7. Personally, I thought this was one of the most memorable days of General Conference I have seen in my decades seeing it. I don’t think I will ever forget hearing Elder Wirthlin speak of the Savior trembling while watching him trembling, then hearing him speak of succoring the weak while watching Elder Nelson help him remain standing while he continued to speak about charity. The talk itself was incredible, but I think that image has been burned into my brain forever.

  8. BTW, does anyone else find it ironic that the movement of Elder Eyring into the FP is getting WAY more press around the country than the calling of Elder Cook into the Q12? In my mind, filling a vacancy in the 12 is far more momentous than a change in responsibility for an existing apostle – but from the outside I can see why Elder Eyring’s move is seen as more prestigious and important by those who perceive a hierarchical promotion.

  9. Wirthlin_relative, I was going to call my Grandfather in SLC to find out if he had heard anything about Elder Wirthlin. He has been a family friend, specifically of Joe Jr., for years. He used to do the plumbing work for Wirthlin Meats. Glad to hear he just had a back spasm.

  10. I’ve been arguing this over at T&S, but I shall throw it out here too. I hope that Elder Holland’s necessary counter-attack against those who smear Mormonism’s Christianity is not used by Mormons to similarly bash Christianity. Most Christians do not tape the Athanasian Creed to their forehead, nor is there much that is “incomprehensible” in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. And I think it is true to say that there are a few blind spots in our godhead doctrine too.

  11. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    I overheard one of the priests in our ward talking after Priesthood Session last night. The priests and deacons are going to dye their hair red next Sunday morning.

  12. Floyd, that would be pure awesomeness.

  13. Eric Russell says:

    The interesting thing is that I don’t think the story is going to get reprinted in the Ensign or online. They could make an exception in this case, but generally extraneous comments are not included. It would be funny if red hair attained a sort of folklore to it, while anyone trying to track down the source of it won’t be able to find it.

  14. I also loved that he kept saying “flaming” red hair, every time.

  15. 11. Ronan, this morning, the Salt Lake Tribune starts their story, “Not only is Mormonism a Christian faith, it is the truest form of Christianity, said speaker after speaker on the first day of the 177th Semiannual LDS General Conference.”

  16. What an awesome conference! My wife is a readhead as well as two of my children. The rest of the boys talked last evening about dying their hair! What could I do but smile?

    I also wondered what an 80 year old Elder Nelson would have done if Elder Wirthlin had started to go down? Still, it was touching to see the love that was demonstrated.

  17. Steve Evans says:

    Another conference reminds us that the chief dismantlers of LDS feminism are female.

  18. Paul – The laughter while they were taking their seats was because President Hinkley ‘knighted’ them with his cane as he walked by.

  19. #18 Steve- Dude, you’re not kidding.

  20. Steve, That hit you, too?

  21. I’m copying this from my personal blog ( ):

    I’m teaching a class on C. S. Lewis right now, and I told my students I wasn’t sure whether he’d be quoted in General Conference this time. But he has been once so far. It was wonderful passage from The Screwtape Letters. I’ll give the complete passage here. Keep in mind that this is advice from one devil to another, so we have to do some subtle translating to get the point:

    “Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary. There is no good at all in inflaming his hatred of Germans if, at the same time, a pernicious habit of charity is growing up between him and his mother, his employer, and the man he meets in the train. Think of your man as a series of concentric circles, his will being the innermost, his intellect coming next, and finally his fantasy. You can hardly hope, at once, to exclude from all the circles everything that smells of the Enemy: but you must keep on shoving all the virtues outward till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy, and all the desirable qualities inward into the Will. It is only in so far as they reach the will and are there embodied in habits that the virtues are really fatal to us. (I don’t, of course, mean what the patient mistakes for his will, the conscious fume and fret of resolutions and clenched teeth, but the real centre, what the Enemy calls the Heart.) All sorts of virtues painted in the fantasy or approved by the intellect or even, in some measure, loved and admired, will not keep a man from our Father’s house: indeed they may make him more amusing when he gets there.”

    This is a passage maybe especially relevant to the world of blogging, given its ambiguous place somewhere between face-to-face and fantasy.

  22. Re: 18, 20, 21
    Did you like Sister Beck’s talk then? I was a little surprised by her boldness and directness, but in my opinion, she spoke truth and gave much needed counsel.

  23. Steve Evans says:

    Hi, mr. troll!

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m crossposting my comment no. 412 from the T&S Sunday a.m. thread, because it is no doubt lost there and it interacts with Steve’s observation:

    I wish to publicly thank T&S for this great public service. This way I can watch football and catch up with conference by reading these threads, which are way more entertaining than the real thing (even at 400 plus comments). Seriously, this is great and I appreciate it.

    I didn’t hear the Beck talk, but based on the discussion here, I wonder whether someone like Sister Beck doesn’t go out of her way to take a very traditionalist approach to gender roles and womens’ issues in an effort to sort of superappeal to what she assumes the brethren would like her to say. What I’m thinking is that a woman speaking in GC is so rare, she might put undue pressure on herself not to blow it for possible future women speakers by not being sufficiently traditional in this sphere. Sort of the way that middle managers in the Church bureaucracy are kind of superorthodox, trying to appease what they assume their leaders would want, even if they end up going further than their leaders in fact would do.

    Just a little psychoanalysis to chew on.

  25. Kevin, maybe she was trying to appeal to past brethren, not present. I got the impression she made a subtle dig at President Hinkley’s focus on young women receiving education. She said effectively that all the education in the world will avail us of nothing if we are not the best homemakers in the world. Nice. I’m sure no such dig was intended, but that was my impression. (She really said that latter-day saint women should be the best homemakers in the world.)

  26. and why should lds women be the best homemakers in the world? hint: she answered this question.

    being educated does not preclude ones ability to raise children in the gospel. rather, i would suggest that it enhances this ability. what it seems that sister beck was suggesting was that if educational pursuits come at the expense of family life, then priorities are misguided.

    in fact, so many of the talks seemed to be centered around priorities. i was reminded of steven r. covey’s words — highly effective people almost do not prioritize their schedules; instead, they schedule their priorities.

  27. Re: Ronan (#11),

    I hope that Elder Holland’s necessary counter-attack against those who smear Mormonism’s Christianity is not used by Mormons to similarly bash Christianity.

    No doubt Holland’s talk will be used precisely in that manner by well-meaning sacrament meeting speakers, testimony bearers, and elders quorum teachers for the next six months.


  28. I thought it was interesting that there was someone from Latin America speaking in every session, including Priesthood and Relief Society. It seems like leadership is slowly beginning to reflect the fact that there are large numbers of members there.

    I slept through Sister Beck’s talk, unfortunately. But I continue to feel disappointed that women in conference always feel compelled to speak about family and homemaking. What would happen in one of them gave a talk like Elder Holland’s? I know many women who are excellent scriptorians, but that is usually not the example set by women in leadership. Also, why is homemaking and nurturing children always talked about simply in terms of physical things like cooking or sewing? What about teaching our children the gospel from the scriptures or teaching them about things like physics or poetry? I guess I should read the talk before assuming things…

    I mostly liked conference and thought a lot of these talks were good.

  29. Paul, her answer was because home is where women have the most power and influence. I don’t see that strong a connection between having power and influence in your home and cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry. Often these tasks distract from spending time with family members. Many of the most powerful, spiritual women I know hire a housekeeper.

    I understand and appreciate her main points. However, I was surprised by her emphasis on the superficial: missionary haircuts, hair brushed to perfection, white shirts, ironed clothes, and clean homes.

  30. StillConfused says:

    I am glad that the lady speaker today did not use that annoying “primary voice.” Finally, a woman speaker that I could actually listen to.

  31. I find sister Beck’s talk to be very positive. She hit the nail on the head. What is the most important role of a woman? To be a mother. In the end, it’s not important, how many academic titles and what annual income a person – be it a mother, or a father – achieved during mortality. But it will be very important, whether she or he will have fulfilled her/his duty as a mother or father.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an advocate of “women don’t need much education”. I don’t know, who came up with this silly idea. But we need to be careful to find the right balance. One doesn’t exclude the other. But sometimes we need to postpone certain things, if other things are more important at the moment. Again: This isn’t only true for women, but for men as well. How many fathers are there, who don’t find the right balance between family, job, and church calling? Often enough the family comes last. Years later, they regret their decisions. But often enough it’s too late.

    Mortality is a very short time, compared with eternity. And for eternity, the family is most important.

    First comes the family. And if there is spare time, women and men can seek education, entertainment, an additional job or whatever they like.

  32. It seems to me that many of the talks mentioned the importance of family, and I appreciate this focus. And regarding Sister Beck or a women speaker in general speaking of family and the significant roles of women, assuming that the issue needs to be addressed at all (which it apparently it does), for me it is appropriate that a woman discuss these topics.

    Was #23 was addressed to me? I’ve never been called a troll before and certainly didn’t intend to be trollish. If so, although I’ve found many interesting discussions here, I’m beginning to agree with others that have commented that it seems like this site caters to the select few insiders….

  33. I thought I had posted a comment here this afternoon, but if I did it disappeared. I’ll try again with an abbreviated version. I’m teaching a class on C. S. Lewis right now, and I told my students I wasn’t sure whether he’d be quoted in General Conference this time. There was a stretch of several years when you could almost count on it every time.

    Lewis was quoted once that I noticed this conference, by Elder Michael Teh on Saturday afternoon. It was wonderful passage from The Screwtape Letters. I won’t quote it here, but you can find it on my personal blog, I think the passage may be especially relevant to the world of blogging, given its ambiguous place, somewhere between face-to-face and fantasy. To what extent are the benevolence and the malice displayed in blog postings real? To what extent does blogging establish and enrich real relationships? To what extent is it an alternative to the harder but more substantial world of face-to-face encounters?

  34. missionary haircuts, hair brushed to perfection, white shirts, ironed clothes, and clean homes are hardly superficial. read the transcripts from last night’s priesthood session. or the one before that. or the one before that.

    the brethren are deeply concerned about raising youth that are better prepared to serve the Lord as full-time missionaries. and a significant part of that process is expecting young men to start acting and looking like missionaries long before their service in the missionary field. so where is that going to happen? primarily in the home.

    so to whatever extent a mother can influence these aspects of life, she should feel that it is her responsbility and privilege to do so.

  35. Not a cool kid says:

    Jim –

    like many large group blogs, BCC is a clique. Once you figure that out, it isn’t so bad. It all depends on if you fit with the clique or not (or are at least willing to engage in discussion without being one of the “cool kids”).

  36. Jim, I suspect #23 was a non sequitur allusion to Lord of the Rings. Steve has some residual PTSD about attacks from shorter non-human species. I suspect many BCC readers would disagree with your characterization of Beck’s talk, but there are a variety of views among readers of BCC. Feel free to comment.

    My personal worry about Beck’s talk is the effect it may have on women already plagued by self-doubt and overwhelmed by their lives and responsibilities. Those who have decided resolutely to not fit the description Beck offers will likely just be annoyed, but those who are struggling may find such bold advice spiritually and emotionally defeating. Those who resolutely endorse Beck’s model and feel that they are able to meet its requirements are likely to feel supported in their endeavors, but is there a way to support them without the possible damage to others?

  37. Haggis Never Dies says:

    #34 (Not a cool kid) … Nice observation … couldn’t agree more!

    It’s unfortunate to see, at least on this site, that comments about a talk like Sister Beck’s seem to focus on whatever ulterior motive can be drummed up which is of interest to hem/haw about; be it an attack on the feminists, or kissing up to the hierarchy, etc. Isn’t it more likely that a woman with immense spiritual insight and power prayed for inspiration, received it, and acted on it (w/o regard for how or who it would impact)? I guess that is less interesting to chew on (psychoanalyze) … for intellectuals, that type of an explanation just isn’t any fun.

  38. Jim, the longer an administrative blogger like Steve is in the business, the less and less open-minded they get about trolling. The benefit of the doubt seems to be inversely correlated to how long you’ve been in the business.

    Personally, I have a much more liberal approach to comment moderation than a lot of the permabloggers I’ve known here. But then again, I’ve never had to deal with any of the responsibility for keeping blog discussions on topic either. So self-congratulation would probably be premature I suppose.

  39. There are, indeed, a variety of opinions and viewpoints here at BCC. We are not a uniform face- and we welcome comments from anyone, as long as they maintain decorum and their manners. We promise to try and do the same. Excluding, of course, Steve’s penchant for Troll poaching.

    Carry on.

  40. Seth, you might be on to something, on all points.

    I’m amused that it’s inevitably people we’ve never heard from before with spanking new IP addresses that print inflammatory comments then insist on being taken seriously. The Jims, not-cool-kids and Haggises of the world arrive with seemingly ever-increasing frequency. Perhaps that is why I get less and less open-minded — experience has shown me that the participation by people like those will rarely be fruitful. I look forward to being proved wrong on this point, and sometimes I am wrong. I initially felt that way regarding Ray, for example, and he’s a nice guy. But for every Ray there’s a dozen LDS Anarchists and Jareds that waste everyone’s time.

    Ahh, the life of a moderator. Continue, all.

  41. Amen brother Steve, amen.

    A fellow LDS blog administrator and troll slayer

  42. As the potential troll Steve mentioned in #41, I simply want to concur with what he said.

    I am not known as someone who is shy with my opinions. (Surprised, anyone?) I am not concise, no matter how I try – as evidenced by this sentence that, while intentionally verbose, is indicative of my basic problem. *grin* Also, I was new to public blogging and assumed that my naturally twisted and sarcastic sense of humor would fit right in with the others I read.

    It took offense and being called on the carpet by more than one moderator to help me see that I actually was making assumptions I shouldn’t have made. I’m no permablogger, and I’m not a moderator, and I have no authority on this blog – but I have developed a sense of ownership despite those limitations. That has made me more sensitive and understanding of the difficulty that Steve and others face in trying to encourage open and full communication while protecting this site from what plagues so many others.

    Steve might make a mistake occasionally in initial assessment, but overall I personally appreciate the care and protection he and the others provide for this site.

    Fwiw, Jim, if you seriously want to contribute to this blog and feel you have something worthwhile to contribute (and if you actually do), be patient, become familiar with the interaction, tone down your rhetoric a bit and avoid sounding condescending and sanctimonious. You’ll be accepted soon enough.

  43. Personally, I both liked and was bothered by Sister Beck’s talk – and I was glad that Elder Oaks’ talk followed hers. The women who needed either of them heard both of them, and the more gentle one was last – the order I think they should have been.

  44. Sam #37,
    I guess I’m doubly cursed as I haven’t read or seen any of The Lord of the Rings. I appreciate your comment though.

    And yes, as you mention, it is always difficult to address a wide audience without offending someone, even though that obviously was not the intent. In my opinion, there are much more grievous sins than not wanting to fit the “traditional” role of women as portrayed by church leaders, but in a society where gender roles are more and more blurred and women’s significant role in the home is diminished, it is a good reminder of the “ideal” that we should strive toward. And although I also sympathize with those that take exception, I will always stand firmly on the side of the prophets.

    And Steve, although I’m definitely not a Ray- I, too, have found him to be a “nice guy” and enjoy his comments. But if I have ever made any inflammatory comments at this site, please let me know as that was never my intention. I really didn’t understand the position you were taking in 18.

  45. Haggis (#38), my new post is especially for you. Enjoy.

  46. I watched Saturday’s conference by podcast on the LDS media website (and later showed it to my neighbor). Elder Cook, who is now an Apostle, was at one time Managing Partner of a law firm that has for decades represented a company my Father founded. It was with pleasure that I watched this man of great character reach a place where he can positively influence so many. His kind, quiet, respectful demeanor and eloquence are a powerful magnet within the Church and without.

  47. I get so tired of the “cool kids” and “clique” comments. It has stopped being funny.

    If that were true, how do you suppose BCC came to have such a large audience and faithful group of commenters? Also, as Steve rightly pointed out, those comments inevitably come from the most resolute “anonymous” commenters. What a surprise that “not a cool kid” has a comment complaining about and disparaging the “cool kids?” Maybe you should lose the chip on your shoulder and actually try to come up with a relevant comment. Or is that too hard?

  48. Ronan #11 — Agreed. Am I struggling to understand the heights and depths of non-Mormon Christianity as vigorously and sympathetically as I expect non-Mormons to consider the complexities of Mormonism? It’s a two-way street.

  49. Ray – WRT your question about the gap in attention given Eyring’s and Cook’s callings … I had a theory on this over on the other blog where you asked this, and I’ll repeat it here.

    (a) Eyring is a known commodity. Cook is not. Bruce Olsen at the end of the press conference made reference to the fact that they would have an extended bio of Cook posted as soon as they could meet with Cook to write it.

    (b) It’s been quite a long time since a new counselor was put in the FP without also calling a new prophet. This is noteworthy in its own right.

    (c) Given the differences in ages and health, there’s a decent chance Eyring is “running the Church” in a few years as the lone functioning counselor, similar to how Hinckley did it.

    (d) Eyring is well-acquainted with the media, given his work with the Public Affairs committee, the MMM speech, etc. Cook is very capable, but is a little less known. Cook didn’t say much during the press conference, deferring to Eyring.

  50. Excellent points, queuno.

  51. Wikipedia states it so well (I’m looking somewhere for a list of FP changs): “The First Presidency which included Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, and James E. Faust served from 12 March 1995 until 10 August 2007 (the date on which James E. Faust passed away), and was the longest consecutive First Presidency (no change in president or counselors) in the history of the church.”

    I can’t find an exact timeline, but I’m pretty sure that the last time we had an apostle called to the First Presidency *without* the president passing away was .. Gordon B. Hinckley (when President Kimball selected him as the 3rd Counselor).

    So this weekend was particularly notable.

  52. Haggis Never Dies says:

    In the spirit of one of the prevailing themes from this conference, I will not procrastinate in proffering an apology for my earlier comment, which would have been adequate w/o the negative editorial on the perceived insular nature of this site, which may or may not be true but in any case is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. I’m sure that sentance is a violation of some rule in English grammar. Another apology.

    I do enjoy reading the posts here at BCC – thanks to all who participate. I will trundle over to Kristine’s post and play in that sandbox for awhile.

  53. Not a cool kid says:

    MCQ –

    I wasn’t trying to be funny. It’s the truth. As for the large audience BCC has – well, the number of regular commentators isn’t really that many more than the number of people in the athletic clique (or the artsy kids clique) at a large high school.

    Once one comes to that realization, BCC (or any large group blog) is much more enjoyable. I was just trying to give one newbie some advice on how to “get” BCC before being branded a troll.

  54. No, see, I know you weren’t trying to be funny. I used to think you were inadvertently funny. Now I’m just bored by you.

  55. Not a cool kid says:

    MCQ –

    my point proven.

  56. Kudos to for providing an American Sign Language video of the Priesthood Session this year. The audio quality stinks, but that kind of goes without saying…

  57. Hello

    What do you think about this? When it happens?