Sunday Afternoon General Conference Open Thread

Last chance for them to shrink Sunday meetings to two hours! Come on, guys!!

Comments

  1. Nice ad when I turned on the TV. For Mormons who think “The Secret” is too secular or new-agey – here’s “The HOLY Secret.”

  2. Duke of Earl Grey says:

    I’m afraid I can’t hear the name “C. Scott Grow” without thinking, “Grow, Scott. Grow.” Considering other prayers have been given by Elders Gary Coleman and Anthony Perkins, it’s as if they’re deliberately assigning prayers this conference to the GAs whose names make me snicker.

  3. Melissa S. says:

    Wow–what a fun start to “Called to Serve”!

  4. Nothing spiritual, but I think Uchtdorf is a handsome man.

  5. In the spirit of good old fashion bible bashing. Quite different from accepting others and finding common ground.

  6. Stop being petty, troy.

  7. sister blah 2 says:

    Did Holland just approvingly quote Paster Wright?! Now we know Obama is the True candidate. (I kid! I kid!)

  8. annahannah says:

    Right to the point, Elder Holland!

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    I tried to get back on to BYU TV, and it was taking forever. But I finally managed to get on through lds.org just fine.

    Elder Holland just recited Marcan priority over the pulpit. And now he’s quoting N.T. Wright over the pulpit.

    At the end of this morning’s session while I was still tuned in to BYU TV there was a commercial for a new Mormon movie called “Rescued.” It appears to be about a hot girl and two hot guys whose plane crashes, and they end up on a deserted island. Is someone trying to make hay off of Lost? Is it two guys and a girl to avoid the appearance of a polygamy dynamic? But what about a polyandry dynamic? I thought this ad was hilarious, but now I really want to see this program.

  10. #7
    Yes–to the tune of the scriptures “pointing away from the scriptures themselves,” no less.

  11. #9 Nothing like shameless advertising of “mormon” products during conference weekend.

  12. Is it bad that I have a favorite Apostle?

    Is it any surprise that mine would be Elder Holland?

  13. sister blah 2 says:

    #7: hm, Paster -> Pastor…when will BCC add a spell check? :-)

  14. Just use Firefox, sister blah 2.

  15. paradox, not only is it ok but I concur wholeheartedly! Elder Holland has ALWAYS been my favorite apostle!!

  16. #9 (Kevin Barney) – What’s “Marcan priority”? And what’s the scoop on N.T. Wright?

  17. Marcan priority = Gospel of Mark was written earliest.

    N. T. Wright is a heavy hitting and very influential Protestant scholar of the historical Jesus.

  18. Which hour were you hoping they would cut?

    I vote for Sunday School.

  19. #18 – Relief Society.

  20. Thanks, Brad.

  21. Aaron Brown says:

    I swear if I had a dollar for every time an LDS woman tells me how gorgeous Elder Uchtdorf is, I’d have like 3,700 dollars.

    AB

  22. N.T. Wright recently caused a bit of stir when he flatly declared the popular Christian version of heaven and hell to both unscriptural and untrue. The version of heaven he claims from the biblical text sounds suspiciously familiar to a Mormon reader.

  23. Peter LLC says:

    Yes, Aaron; think how rich you’d be if you additionally earned a nickel for every Zeitcast listener who fell in love with Ronan’s voice. Americans dig foreigners.

  24. AB – is it wrong to appreciate the beauty of another?

  25. Duke of Earl Grey says:

    You should have asked for a Euro for every time someone says that, Aaron. You’d have $5,820.81!

  26. Here is a link to the Wright interview to which Seth R. referred in comment 22.

  27. Am I supposed giggle during conference? Good laugh at Aaron’s line and then the Duke shows him up.

  28. Okay, okay — I know this is a tired topic and I don’t want to start a big thing here, but what the heck is “moral agency” and how is it different from “free agency”?

  29. Eric Russell says:

    That depends on their usage, Brad. But in general Mormon parlance there is no difference.

  30. Aaron Brown says:

    Moral agency costs like $3,700. Free agency doesn’t. But you get what you pay for.

    AB

  31. “Free agency” was being interpreted by some as “free of consequences and responsibility” – kind of like “easy grace”. The wording was changed to fit scriptures better and to combat that interpretation, imho. “Moral agency” implies personal responsibility for choice, so it fits our actual belief better.

  32. Yeah, I don’t know that I buy the lack of distinction. I don’t think President Packer has ever strung the words “free” and “agency” together in a talk, and “moral agency” has become increasingly prominent — I think I’ve heard it 5 or 6 times this conference alone.

  33. #30 – That’s the best answer I think I’ve ever heard, Aaron.

  34. I’m laughing so hard at AB #30, I need a rest hymn to recover.

  35. Finally, a talk that speaks to us agoraphobes!

  36. Eric Russell says:

    Yes, what was once “free agency” has now generally become “moral agency” among the brethren, a movement I would agree has probably has origins with Elder Packer and I suspect is based on reasons along the lines of what Ray suggests.

  37. Elder Wickman kinda looks like Dana Carvey.

  38. After he said “flesh-wound” in the context of a battle story, I just can’t take him seriously.

  39. Steve: You just downloaded images of Dana in SNL’s skit of the “church lady”. Now I really need rest hymn.

  40. Aaron Brown says:

    Actually, in all seriousness, but also acknowledging that I might be totally out to lunch here (cause I’ve never systematically studied the issue), my sense is that some church authority started to worry that the term “free agency” sounded a lot like “our choices are consequence-free”, and so wanted to change the term to reflect the fact that there are good and bad exercises of agency, that is, moral implications of our choices. The misperception that free agency means “we should be free to exercise choice without constraint or consequence”, which is real enough, is in no way meaningfullly combatted, however, by focussing on the word “free” and changing it to “moral.” (IMO). It’s a misdiagnosis of the cause of the confusion to say otherwise.

    This is similar to the thinking I suspect was behind the “unconditional love” brouhaha of a few years ago. That is, people were misunderstanding God’s unconditional love as tolerance or indifference to any and all behavior, so it was thought that this misunderstanding would be best addressed by focussing on the (unscriptural) term “unconditional” and trying to excise it from the discourse. But of course, the adjective “unconditional” was never really the source of the problem. The problem was a misunderstanding of the word “love.” And this misdiagnosis led to all sorts of unintentional misunderstandings that were arguable worse than the problem that was to be solved. At least that’s how I’ve tended to see it.

    End rant.

    AB

  41. Nice, AB.

  42. annahannah says:

    I notice that striped ties must be in this season

  43. Eric Russell says:

    “is in no way meaningfully combated”

    I dunno, Aaron. There are lots of stupid people out there.

  44. Very nice, Aaron. Very nice.

  45. Fwiw, my own favorite use is simply “agency” – without trying to find a one-word, summary adjective.

  46. Funny stuff — on the T&S thread (where I asked the same Moral Agency question) someone quoted from a Wiki article on the question. Am I the only one astonished by the fact that there is a Wikipedia entry on Mormon concepts of Free/Moral Agency?

  47. I use “free will” when I talk to my kids about it.

  48. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, these kinds of semantic gymnastics are just bizarre sometimes.

    “Free agency” is a disntinctively Mormon term (the analog to “free will” more generally), so I could see it if there were a movement to a more widely understood expression. But I’ve never encountered anyone who really thought free agency meant we could make decisions devoid of consequences. If that was the reason for the migration to “moral agency,” it seems kind of silly.

    But semantic silliness is nothing new for us Mormons. Witness distinctions between transgression and sin, or between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit (two different things, according to some commentators).

    There is also a kind of Mormon political correctness, which has led to such new usages as “less active” in place of “inactive.”

  49. Astonished, no; frightened, yes. *grin*

  50. This sounds like it could be juicy…

  51. Kevin, don’t get me started on “inactive” vs. “less active”. If we are being technical, people are both – but I laugh at the old adage: “Kind of active is like kind of pregnant.” (I want to attribute that to J Golden Kimball, but I’m not positive.)

  52. “Young Mothers who Know.”

  53. Sam Kitterman says:

    As Elder Wickman was talking, my wife turns to me and says, “doesn’t he look like Dana Carvey”?

  54. Mark B. says:

    Kevin,

    That’s not nearly as momentous as the change from “Senior Aaronic” to “Prospective Elder.”

  55. “There is no one good way to be a good mother.” “What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.” Great message

  56. Aaron Brown says:

    Kevin, I’m curious to hear you expound on how the sin/trangression distinction is purely semantic. Isn’t it just meant to track the malum in se/malum prohibitum distinction in the law, which is hardly just semantic. Of course, I’m sure it gets used in ridiculous ways in the Church, but I can imagine using it in a way that isn’t ridiculous.

    AB

  57. Kevin Barney says:

    Funny intro, but talking about this sort of thing requires a very deft touch, which is generally lacking in men over a certain age. Talking about mothers raising their kids (and not parents collectively) is going to raise hackles, I suspect.

    Before I hit send he gave lip service to fathers’ involvement, but I don’t know if that will be enough.

  58. Joe Johnson says:

    I recall as a young man, Elder Jacob de Jager coming to one of our stake conferences, and in referring to people who are not currently participating them, he called them “presently not participating,” rather than inactives or less actives.

    I could be wrong here, but it seems that in a conference a few years ago, sometime between 1997-2003, Elder Ballard even made a comment in conference about the usage of these terms inactive and less active. I think he even questioned whether catholics use these terms at all.

  59. annahannah says:

    or blogging. don’t waste your time

  60. Aaron Brown says:

    My 19-month old daughter likes to sit in my lap and look at Google Images of puppies, kitties and bowls of grated cheese. But internet surfing was just condemned in GC, so I’ve had to tell her that she no longer gets to look at her favorite online pictures. She is in tears. But no matter; in my house we believe in being obedient.

    AB

  61. Kids above sports. My wife will love that comment.

  62. I dislike the term “inactive”, because it is irrelevant. “Activity” has no saving grace. (See Mathew 7:21-23). Furthermore the term is almost always applied to others, not self. (hence judgmental, because the person using the term is saying they are not going to heaven)

    I didn’t mind the term free agency, because I always understood it to mean free to choose behavior, but not free to choose consequences. However if others were confused by it, I don’t mind changing to moral agency if that helps somebody.

  63. Put the keyboards down.

  64. you know that cheerios story I first heard about 17 years ago at a Stake Conference on my mission. It seems less amusing since as I have often been left with the cheerios…

  65. Joe Johnson says:

    Elder Ballard just kicked my butt.

  66. Sam Kitterman says:

    My wife’s admonition would be for her husband not to try to put up anything on the walls. Like to put holes in drywall.

  67. Aaron Brown says:

    As I did last year (or was it two years ago?), I cannot let General Conference end without confessing that whenever I watch Elder Uchtdorf, I can’t help but imagining him exclaiming, “Now is the time on Sprockets when we DANCE!!!”

    AB

  68. He might if you pay him $3,700.

  69. [Pictures Elder Uchtdorf saying “house on fire, house on fire, put it out, put it out!” and then leaves to repent]

  70. Sam Kitterman says:

    AB, shouldn’t it be “ven ve dance?”

    In a related note, my wife asked me to assist her with the stake Achievement Day activity which was visiting different countries. Yes, served my mission in Southern Germany and had four or five groups of 20 girls. She would begin with me translating into German and then would turn it over to me. I would ask the girls if they wanted me to speak with my German accent or “American”. All groups shrieked, “German! German!”
    LOL

  71. The way he navigates between the amusing, lighthearted and the serious, profound is masterful. Seriously.

  72. Kevin Barney says:

    Aaron, Mormons use transgression to refer to violating the law without understanding, or choosing to violate law to uphold a greater good. There is indeed a distinction there, and I don’t have a problem with that. The problem I have is that that distinction is not inherent in the word transgression. We’ve just hijacked that word for that particular purpose; no one else uses it that way. Transgressio is a crossing of a bound; it is simply a latinate synonym for sin, with no necessary implicit statement of the presence or absence of intent. So I don’t object to the distinction, I object to our hijacking of the word transgression to represent that distinction.

    We mostly do this in the context of trying to talk about Adam partaking of the fruit.

  73. Wow. Amen, Brad.

  74. Sam Kitterman says:

    That was a short prayer….

  75. A short benediction! Amen and Amen!

  76. Re #32, Elder Packer used the term “free agency” in General Conference 32 years ago. I remember the buzz in the Tabernacle like it was yesterday.

    Also see Elder Condie’s September 1995 Ensign article in which he points out President Packer’s issue with the term.

    The August 1992 Sunstone had a brief note on the shift in terminology as well (p. 68).

  77. Aaron Brown says:

    OK, Kevin, I get you.

    AB

  78. Patricia Lahtinen says:

    As a woman just starting to transition out of young motherhood, I found Elder Ballard’s profoundly moving and validating.

    And President Monson’s stories, as always, are masterfully shared. And his appreciation of the musicians of the church made me cry.

    Lovely, lovely ending to this conference.

  79. Thomas Parkin says:

    Couple things: this was the first time in the last couple years I haven’t been at Conference with my parents, who live near the Conference Center, and I missed it and them awfully. I’d really have liked to have been there.

    I thought I had work in Monroe yesterday – when that fell through I stopped to watch conference in Seattle, at the N Seattle Stake Center, all be-denim’d and bearded – that was nice. Saw Pres Olsen and Sis Whipple at a distance (lost sight of her before I was able to say hello). Although I miss the City of Seattle as I might an abcessed tooth, I sure do miss Seattle 1 and N Seattle Stake – new friendships and adventures notwithstanding.

    This, and Pres Monson’s beautiful final comments have me feeling somehow very far from and yearning for home. It’s awful dark and cold out here in the hinterlands. One might even feel the need for Jesus.

    ~

  80. I swear if I had a dollar for every time an LDS woman tells me how gorgeous Elder Uchtdorf is, I’d have like 3,700 dollars.

    AB

    Now you have $3,701. He is gorgeous.

  81. sister blah 2 says:

    So….are a bunch of young LDS moms taking meth to keep up with the kids and laundry? I was a little surprised by the admonition against substance abuse. (Unless he’s talking about emotional overeating, which I think you could very easily argue is a pervasive and damaging form of self-medication.) Has anyone heard talk of problems with this in the church??

    In general, I feel like the treatment of women’s issues in this conference was very good. Although I wasn’t hugely upset by Sis. Beck’s talk, I shared many of the same concerns as those who were. In contrast, in this conference I felt loved and validated. Without compromising the heart of the message, important inclusions about men/fathers and diversity of roles made all the difference. But please tell me that Monson DOES actually know how to operate a microwave and dishwasher, and does so at least occasionally!

  82. sister blah 2 says:

    My 19-month old daughter likes to sit in my lap and look at Google Images of puppies, kitties and bowls of grated cheese.

    Ha! I do the same with my younguns. Google Images is endless magical entertainment for kids. They say something they want to see and–poof!–it appears. We mostly do different sea creatures and bugs.

  83. Patricia Lahtinen says:

    Sister Blah 2 (#81), I was just going to comment on that same thing, Elder Ballard’s admonition to “AVOID SUBSTANCE ABUSE! It won’t help you get more done!” Very interesting. It made me think of Angels in America, and the young LDS wife hooked on valium…

    Good point on self-medicating with food…

    Thomas (#79), Seattle = abscessed tooth?! Seattle is one of the greatest places in the world! What could you possibly be talking about? It’s not perfect, (and yes, Steve, not as great as Vancouver), but it’s not even close to being as bad as red, inflamed, tender, bleeding, painful gums!!!

  84. Patricia, there are prescribed drugs for those gums.

  85. For the record I don’t think it semantic silliness to either choose a different word or even coin a neologism if one particular word has come to have baggage.

    I think the problem with free agency is that it’s a kind of moral agency that isn’t free. (It required the atonement) Further I think far too many do think free agency entails a kind of laissez faire approach to choice. Perhaps it’s not an outright denial of consequences but it seems to be a view where any socially imposed consequences are illegitimate.

  86. Last Lemming says:

    I could be wrong here, but it seems that in a conference a few years ago, sometime between 1997-2003, Elder Ballard even made a comment in conference about the usage of these terms inactive and less active. I think he even questioned whether catholics use these terms at all.

    You’re probably remembering his attempt to abolish the terms “nonmember” and “non-Mormon.” He noted that he didn’t consider himself to be a “non-Catholic.”

  87. Just a couple of comments on what has been said here.

    First of all, the comment about Elder Wickman’s resembling Dana Carvey has been made before—about 15 years ago when he was in a stake presidency in California, I believe. He actually played with it when speaking to young people. He would say things like “Not gonna do it,” “Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture,” and “A thousand points of light” to imitate Carvey’s imitation of George Bush Sr. He was spot-on and very funny.

    Secondly, the free agency vs. moral agency thing may seem like a semantic quibble, but it is somewhat legitimate. The term “free agency” does not appear in the scriptures, whereas “moral agency” does (see D&C 101:78). (I, too, prefer to simply say “agency,” since it is also used in the scriptures by itself.) The distinction lies not in the idea of consequences for actions but in the idea that there is no such thing as free or unbounded agency. In this life our agency is restricted by a number of things. We are not free to make any choice; some choices are simply not possible. For instance, someone living under a repressive government or in an impoverished country will not have as many possible choices for his or her life as someone in a free or prosperous country. But they can both exercise moral agency, which, according to the distinction drawn here, is the only kind of agency that counts—choosing between good and evil.

  88. Thomas Parkin says:

    Patricia,

    I lived in Seattle for many years (17!), the last ten or so on First Hill. I loved Seattle – but it has changed. It is nothing like the hometown blue-collar down to earth we’re all in this together with all the advantages of a major city place I fell in love with. Tech money changed Seattle a lot. Seattle is also a little politically smug and uptight for me now. I do miss some things, though – walking to Mariners games mostly.

    Excuse the threadjack – I can hardly pass on an opportunity to gripe about what has happened to Seattle. ;) And any moment now I’ll start griping about how blogs stifle conversation, as compared to USENET.

    I’m not from here
    but people tell me
    it’s not like it used to be
    they say I should have been here
    back about ten years
    before it got ruined by folks like me
    – James McMurtry

    ~

  89. denebug says:

    My thought on young mother substance abuse was diet coke…
    maybe chocolate.

  90. Kevin Barney says:

    I’ve never encountered anyone in the Church who mistook “free” agnecy for some sort of Bonhoefferian cheap grace. If we want to change the terminology because it doesn’t mean anything to outsiders, that’s a good reason, but if we think we’re curing some internal misunderstanding by changing it, I just don’t see it.

  91. SC Taysom says:

    Kevin,
    I agree. I would add that anyone who understood “free” agency as representing the separation of choice from consequence was engaging in willful misunderstanding and would not be particularly likely to reform based on a slight shift in terminology.

  92. I agree, Kevin; I was just offering an explanation – not saying I agree with the rationale. That’s why I prefer “agency”.

  93. Eric Russell says:

    As silly as it is, I have heard “but what about free agency?” in response to what people believe are restrictive commandments on more than a few occasions – even in the bloggernacle. It’s unfortunate that a language shift is necessary, but it would seem it might be.

  94. My first instinct on the substance abuse comment was to assume he was mentioning the high level of anti-depressant use in Utah.

  95. Left Field says:

    I agree with Kevin. I don’t think I ever heard anyone equate the free in free agency to mean “free from consequence.” It was always understood to mean that we can freely choose our own actions. I think the change in terminology was a solution in search of a problem.

    To me, the misunderstanding mentioned in #93 is not based on a confusion of the meaning of “free.” Rather, it is based on a self-serving and false claim that the mere existence of a rule literally makes a particular act impossible, and therefore restricts the person’s agency to choose that act. Dropping the term free really does nothing to stop that rationalization, since the rationalization wasn’t based on the word free to begin with. Regardless of whether one uses free agency or moral agency, the claim can be made (albeit illegitimately) that a rule restricts free/moral agency by preventing a particular choice from being made.

    Outside of the church, the term usually refers to the legal status of professional athletes.

  96. Kristine says:

    94, I hope not–taking prescribed anti-depressants is *not* substance abuse, and confusing the two would be really, really unfortunate, as there’s already so much stigma around getting treatment for depression.

  97. Eric Russell says:

    Left Field, it’s the use of the word ‘free’ in conjunction with the word ‘agency’ that I think has confused some less-thinking people. I can’t imagine anyone ever saying, “but what about moral agency?” in that same context.

  98. Last Lemming says:

    94, I hope not–taking prescribed anti-depressants is *not* substance abuse, and confusing the two would be really, really unfortunate, as there’s already so much stigma around getting treatment for depression.

    Agreed. When my dad was in rehab, the only female patient was in for abuse of Tylenol III. That seems like a much more likely target.

  99. 81 You made me laugh & 96: I agree – There is a huge difference between needed USE and ABUSE.

    And, did anyone notice this? Was it 3 or 4 times that it was mentioned that a dear sweet wife never uttered a word of complaint? I replied to my husband, “Well, you’ll never be able to say that about me!” (The only way that’d happen is maybe if I abused anti-depressants!)

    C’mon, am I the only one who said “Hasta La Vista Baby” to Elder Uchtdorf?

  100. Antonio Parr says:

    Kevin Barney writes in 90 that

    I’ve never encountered anyone in the Church who mistook “free” agnecy for some sort of Bonhoefferian cheap grace.

    I have never encountered the phrase “Bonhoefferian cheap grace” before, but am concerned that it may somehow refer to the great Christian hero Deitrich Bonhoeffer, who both spoke and lived the classic phrase, “when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”. Since Bonhoeffer died a martyr of Christ, in brave opposition to Hitler’s evil regime, I would never think to employ the word “cheap” in the same paragraph as Bonhoeffer, not to mention the same sentence.

    If I have misunderstood Kevin’s comment, then I apologize. (Although I do not apologize for extolling the great example of Rev. Bonhoeffer, who he a real hero of the faith.)

  101. Antonio Parr says:

    It never fails — I hit send and only then discover the need to edit!

    My last sentence should read who ~is~ a real hero of the faith.

  102. Nate W. says:

    Bonhoeffer coined the phrase “cheap grace” while simultaneously rejecting it. Wikipedia has a good summary of his views.

  103. chimera says:

    Re 81 comment, Elder Ballard’s talk was very healing to me. As one who was hurt and pained by Sister Beck’s last conf talk, I really felt his talk tried to heal, and unify instead of polarizing – and I thought he did it in a largely transcendant way – leaving room for individuality of situation in a way that was lacking in the “mothers who know”. I only wished he had addressed it to older mothers/grandmothers and non-mothers as well.

  104. chimera says:

    Oh, I really was sad the choir sang “If you could hie to Kolob” which is a little bit of a strange hymn but has quite lovely music – but replaced the original tune with something very nondescript – very poor choice.

  105. sister blah 2 says:

    #94, I agree with the others–It would be really sad if that’s how people take it. If people have medical depression, they should be medically treated, just like you would for any other bodily malfunction.

    Diet coke, diet pills, Red Bull, that’s what I would hope he meant.

  106. Kevin Barney says:

    Antonio, I coined the term Bonhoefferian not as a characterization of cheap grace, but as the characterizer of it, because he so famously coined the expression and argued against it. It was a positive and not a negative allusion.

  107. Chimera – that was the original music. When they changed from old hymnals with the embossed front to the current hymnals they changed the music. I agree that the new music is much better though.

    Kevin, the issue wasn’t cheap grace. It was folks forgetting what Christ did to make freedom of the moral sort available. (I think Blake Ostler does an outstanding job clarifying this for Mormons in his second volume)

    The bigger issue which I’ve seen many people fall into is the idea that free agency implies no rules or restrictions.

  108. Aaron Brown says:

    “Dropping the term free really does nothing to stop that rationalization, since the rationalization wasn’t based on the word free to begin with. Regardless of whether one uses free agency or moral agency, the claim can be made (albeit illegitimately) that a rule restricts free/moral agency by preventing a particular choice from being made.”

    Well put, Left Field.

    “it’s the use of the word ‘free’ in conjunction with the word ‘agency’ that I think has confused some less-thinking people. I can’t imagine anyone ever saying, “but what about moral agency?” in that same context.”

    But, Eric Russell, I suspect the reason you can’t imagine it has as much to do with the highlighting of the problem and the discussion of it that accompanied the terminological change, as it does with the terminological change itself.

    It looks like nobody here really disagrees about the underyling issues at play in the free agency/moral agency debate. The only disagreement is whether the switch from “free” to “moral” meaningfully addresses that subject or not.

    AB

  109. Kevin Barney says:

    Clark, I have no inside knowledge whatsoever on what the issue was with the powers that be that sought to change the terminology; I’ll take you at your word. If there were a serious issue, I should think the preferable remedy would be actual education of our people, not a superficial emendation of terminology. And I’ll also take you at your word that you’ve seen many people so misunderstand “free” agency; I’ll continue to assert that I’ve never seen a one.

  110. if anyone is reading this blog at this late date and hour- it frightens me that no one seems to understand the huge abuse of drugs, particularly Meth,by Utah women,MANY of whom are LDS. We absolutely have to get our heads out of the sand folks!

  111. Peter LLC says:

    C’mon, am I the only one who said “Hasta La Vista Baby” to Elder Uchtdorf?

    You could very well be the only one who conflated a German with an Austrian. That’s like calling an American a Canadian. It simply isn’t done in polite circles.

  112. Mark B. says:

    Out of concern for whom? The Germans, who can complain that both World Wars of the 20th century were in fact caused by Austrians: Franz Ferdinand and Adolf Hitler, respectively. Both Austrians.

    Or the Austrians, from that peaceful land of Mozart and Strauss and sachertorte and schnitzel, who can blame it all on those Prussian militarists?

  113. Thanks Justin. In the Condie article you linked in # 76, the following explanation for the differentiation is given:

    I am indebted to President Boyd K. Packer, who made us aware of the fact that the term free agency appears nowhere in holy writ. Instead, the scriptures generally speak of agency or free will, but when agency is modified, it is referred to as “moral agency” (D&C 101:78; emphasis added). Because the term free agency has been used by various modern prophets, I use the terms free agency and moral agency interchangeably, aware that the latter term is more correct.

    Perhaps this will be helpful to Kevin and others in wondering about why Church leaders now seem to use the term “moral agency” more than “free agency”.

    The short answer is that “moral agency” actually appears in the scriptures whereas “free agency” does not.

    But Condie also points out that modern prophets have also used the term “free agency” so his approach was to use them interchangeably. Since “free agency” is descriptive of the actual scriptural term/concept of “moral agency”, this seems like a rational approach.

    I agree that avoiding the term “free agency” because of a fear that it would lead people to think that there are no consequences for choices might not be the best approach. I am just not sure if that is actually the reason people are using the term “moral agency” more than “free agency” these days.

  114. Kristine says:

    I think it’s interesting that Elder Packer has also pushed towards using “Plan of Happiness” instead of “Plan of Salvation.” It’s curious that one person’s linguistic preferences should become so broadly accepted. (Of course, if it were my preference being adopted, I’d never complain :))

  115. The term “Plan of Happiness” always reminds me of an episode of the old Doctor Who from the late 80’s, “The Happiness Patrol.” Per Wikipedia:

    The Seventh Doctor and Ace visit a human colony on the planet Terra Alpha where they find unhappiness to be an illegal act. In a perverse society ruled by the vicious and egotistical Helen A, the Happiness Patrol is a secret police force which hunts down killjoys and eliminates them.

    Be happy…or else.

  116. I definitely agree with 96 and 98 that anti-depressant use is not substance abuse, and ought not to be confused with it or stigmatized in the ways that it all too commonly is, deterring many from seeking needed help out. I only said it was the first thing that came to mind, not because I was condemning it, but because I lack any other knowledge about drug use among Mormon women. Anyone have any info to share? I certainly hope that diet coke is not among the “drugs” he was referring to. :) It would indeed be unfortunate if members did construe from President Monson’s categorical grouping of “substances” that he was referring to anti-depressants.

  117. To post 8: Should it be polygyny dynamic versus polygamy dynamic?

  118. Re Elder Ballard’s reference to substance abuse, he may have been referring to recent headlines in Utah regarding the heavy incidence of meth use in Utah among women of childbearing age.

    See here and here.

  119. An accompanying ad campaign also highlights the theme of women using meth.