Saturday PM General Conference: The Hanging-By-A-Thread Thread!

Welcome back to By Common Consent’s live coverage of the 180th Semiannual General Conference, as the Saturday afternoon session is about to get started. 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

Only 8 more hours to go, folks.

That is a BIG family choir! Even I don’t have that many cousins.

Called: Elder Wenceslao H. Svec, 53, of Talca, Chile was sustained as an Area Seventy. He currently serves as a CES Seminaries and Institutes coordinator. He and his wife Alicia are the parents of four children.

Released: (1st Quorum) Spencer Condie, Bruce Hafen, Kenneth Johnson, Glenn Pace, Lance Wickman

2nd Quorum: Spencer Jones, Wolfgang Paul

Area 70s: Fernando Maluenda, Jose Torres

Beautiful Zion, Built Above–we should sing this more often.

Elder Robert D. Hales:

When we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. There is always a way out, but it may mean more work.

By our righteous choices, we liberate ourselves and others.

Come out of the corner. Trust that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind–even you, even me–may be saved.

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Freedom and light have never been easy to attain or maintain. Since the war in heaven the forces of evil have used every means possible to destroy agency and extinguish light. The assault on moral principles and religious freedom has never been stronger. As Latter-day Saints we need to do our best to preserve light and protect our families and communities from this assault on morality and religious freedom.

An ever present danger to the family is the onslaught of evil forces that seem to come from every direction. While our primary effort must be to seek light and truth, we would be wise to black out from our homes the lethal bombs that destroy spiritual development and growth. Pornography, in particular, is a weapon of mass moral destruction. Its impact is at the forefront in eroding moral values.

We need to greatly increase religious observances in the home. If we make of our homes holy places, we will be protected…

In addition to protecting our own families, we should be a source of light in protecting our communities.

Our day has been described as “a time of plenty and an age of doubt.” Basic belief in the power and authority of God is not only questioned, but denigrated. How under these circumstances can we promote values in a way that will resonate with the non-believers and the apathetic and help abate the spiraling descent into violence and evil?

My personal experience of living and interacting with people all over the world has caused me to be optimistic. I believe that light and truth will be preserved in our time. In all nations there are large numbers who worship God… As Church leaders we have met with leaders of other faiths and have found that there is a common moral foundation that transcends theological differences and unites us in our aspirations for a better society.

We also find the majority of people are still respectful of basic moral values.

There has always been an ongoing battle between people of faith and those who would purge religions and God from public life. …Still, the majority of people aspire to be good and honorable. The Light of Christ…informs their conscience. …This is why many will accept moral values even when founded on religious convictions which they do not personally support.

In our increasingly unrighteous world it is essential that values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse. Moral positions informed by a religious conscience must be accorded equal access to the public square. Under the constitutions of most countries a religious conscience may not be given preference, but neither should it be disregarded.

Examples of religious beliefs with value in society–honesty & a belief in treating other human beings as children of God

Let me be clear that all voices need to be heard in the public square. Neither religious nor secular voices should be silenced. Furthermore, we should not expect that because some of our views emanate from religious principles, they will automatically be accepted or given preferential status. But it is also clear such views and values are entitled to be reviewed on their merits.

[my emphasis–I really appreciate this nuance in the discussion of religious voices in the public square]

Bishop Richard Edgley

When our sacred doctrine and beliefs are challenged, this is our opportunity to become acquainted wiht God in a most private and intimate manner. This is our opportunity to choose.

Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice–a choice of peace and protection, a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. …So I say choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.

Faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours.

If confusion and hopelessness weigh on your mind, choose to awake and arouse your faculties.

When logic, reason, or personal intellect come into conflict with sacred teachings and doctrine or conflicting messages assault your beliefs…choose to not cast the seed out of your heart by unbelief.

If your faith is proven and mature, choose to nurture it with great care. As strong as our faith is, with all the mixed messages attacking it, it can also become very fragile.

I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But, because of faith I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed.

Savior, May I Learn to Love Thee [How cool would it be to conduct this giant congregation? Except they don’t actually sing. It makes me soooo sad. This is why we should quit saying “rest hymn.” If I were in charge, I’d lock the bathrooms during the hymns. That is probably why I’ll never be in charge. /disgruntled singer commentary]

Elder Kevin Duncan

Many Church members had faith in Brigham Young’s prophecies, while others remained skeptical and left for what they assumed would be a better life. Yet history has shown that every prophecy Brigham Young declared has come to pass. The valley did blossom and produce. The Saints prospered. The winter of 1848 was a great catalyst for the Lord to teach His people a valuable lesson. They learned–as we all must learn–that the only sure and secure road to protection in this life comes through trusting in and obeying the counsel from the prophets of God.

Surely, one of the crowning blessings of membership in this Church is the blessing of being led by living prophets of God.

With frozen feet and a barren wasteland, it surely took faith for those early Saints to trust their prophet. Their very survival and lives were at stake. Yet the Lord rewarded their obedience and blessed and prospered those who followed His mouthpiece. And the Lord does the same today for you and me. [With so much information available] it is easy to get caught in the trap of looking to the “arm of flesh” for advice on everything from how to raise children to how to find happiness. While some information has merit, as members of the Church, we have access to the source of pure truth, even God HImself.

What the prophets teach may, to some, seem outdated, unpopular, or even impossible. But God is a God of order and has established a system whereby we may know His will.

[Uh-oh. D&C 1. My Least Favorite Prooftext]

[Fourteen Fundamentals again.]

Brothers and sisters, like the Saints of 1848, we can choose to follow the prophet, or we can look to the arm of flesh. May we have the wisdom to trust in and follow the counsel of the living prophets and apostles.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong

Temple mirrors of eternity remind us each human being has divine nature and destiny; sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for family to be united eternally; and, growing together in love and faithfulness, we can give children roots and wings.

In temple mirrors of eternity, I reflected on First Dragon Gong, born 837 A.D. (late Tang dynasty) and the succeeding Gong family generations to my father, our family’s 32nd recorded generation. My brother, sister and I are in our family’s 33rd generation; my sons and their cousins, the 34th generation; our grandson, the 35th recorded Gong family generation. In temple mirrors of eternity, I could not see a beginning or end of generations.

[I LOVE this! So nice to be reminded that 5 or 6 generations of Mormon roots are not so very impressive!]

Mortality’s great lessons distill upon our souls as we learn and teach in eternal roles including child and parent, parent and child.

The world pursues enlightened self-interest. Yet the power is not in us to save ourselves. But it is in Him. Infinite and eternal, only our Savior’s Atonement transcends time and space to swallow up death anger, bitterness, unfairness, loneliness, and heartbreak. …A Lamb innocent and pure, our Savior weeps with and for us. His faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

A miracle of the images we discern in temple mirrors of eternity is that they–we–can change. As we reach out to each sister or brother, we bless generations.

I humbly witness: God lives. He shall wipe away all tears from our eyes, except the tears of joy when we see through temple mirrors of eternity and find ourselves home, pure and clean, our family generations sealed by priesthood authority in love, to shout hosanna, hosanna, hosanna.

[Wow. Just wow.]

Elder Neil Andersen

The question “Will ye also go away?” makes us think about our own vulnerability.

As we follow the Savior, without question there will be challenges that confront us. Approached with faith, these refining experiences bring a deeper conversion of the Savior’s reality. Approached in a world way, these same experiences cloud our view and weaken our resolve.

We need the believing heart of a child.

In our weakened moments, the adversary seeks to steal our spiritual promises. If we are not watchful, our injured, childlike spirit will retreat back into the cold, dark crust of our former ego, leaving behind the warm, healing light of the Savior.

Offended has a corrosive companion called ashamed. …As disciples of Christ, we stand apart from the world. There may be times we feel uncomfortable as the fingers of scorn mock and dismiss what is sacred to us. Paul admonished…”Be not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.” We never leave him.
I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval. You will know that you are becoming more like Him.
Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.
Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix, and forgive others when it hurts.
Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely.
Will be astonished at times to see the anger a few feel toward the Lord’s Church, and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak? Yes. But this will not deter the growth or destiny of the Church, nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Perfection does not come in this life, but we exercise faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and keep our covenants. …We push our spiritual roots deep, feasting daily on the words of Christ in the scriptures. We trust in the words of living prophets, placed before us to show us the way. We pray and pray, and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost that leads us along and speaks peace to our soul. Whatever challenges arise, we never, never leave Him.

True confession time: Elder Scott’s voice makes me very, very, very sleepy…………………….

Elder Richard G. Scott

“A testimony is not emotion. It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions”


1. God uses your faith to mold your character
2. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming.
3. Strong character results from consistent correct choices.
4. The bedrock of character is integrity.
5. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to exercise the power of faith.

Four principles which have brought the deepest feelings of peace:

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His program to acquire the power to achieve.
2. Repentance to rectify the consequences of mistakes of omission or commission.
3. Obedience to the commandments of the Lord to provide strength and direction in our lives.
4. Selfless service to enrich the lives of others.


  1. I hate to admit this, because it indicates that I am a bad person, but I’m not that impressed by announcements of non-Jackson County temples anymore. President Monson needs to step up his announcement game.

  2. Wow – I actually managed to get the entire yard done before the next session. AND got in an episode of Buffy!

    I asked my wife to try to find something for us to use for a not-drinking game, but I don’t know if we have anything suitable. Will need to plan better for tomorrow.

    By the way, because we missed the announcements at the beginning, we completely missed that there is going to be a temple in Indianapolis! Super exciting for us in Champaign, which is only two hours away, but we may remain in the St. Louis Temple district anyway.

    Anyway, time to start!

  3. A family choir is providing the music, as in 1 family, the sessions is providing the muisic. They had a lot of kids.

  4. do we have a “Word of the Session” for this one? I’ve got some Diet Mt. Dew that I need to get rid of…

  5. brandt, that is a sin. Get some M&M’s and/or sprite like the rest of us.

  6. pornography?

  7. I am gonna get flamed for this, but this is a terrible arrangement.

  8. No, Trevor, I think you’re right. But I happened to open the helmet cam footage from the top of the sidebar during the song, and the sound effects at the very start of the video made the end of the song much, much more interesting.

  9. The variety of neckwear for this choir is better than the morning selection.

    The word for this session allowing a raid on the candy bowl is FAMILY. Due to the FAMILY choir, the kids have already started.

  10. Ariel, the only sin is that it is flat. And flat Mt Dew is gross.

    John C, you win this round. PORNOGRAPHY IT IS!!!!

  11. 6 – Risky, you might not get a sip, or you might get such caffeine jitters that you can’t type.

    That WOULD be a fun one for the priesthood session. See if people get weirded out by a section of men sipping a drink every time a GA mentions the Prawn.

  12. Maybe “family” would be more appropriate…I’ll save “pornography” for tonight at Priesthood….I’ll keep some Skittles in my pocket.

  13. Skittles it is.

  14. Family it is. I’ll have to grab a bag of M&Ms for priesthood tonight!

  15. Tom’s doing fine with the choir. Probably because of his PBS from texas

  16. For some unaccountable reason, I’m amused to see a few young boys scattered amidst those sopranos.

  17. Phd, not pbs

  18. I would like to see a family tree showing how all these people are related.

    And what’s with putting the young boys in the soprano section? That’s just mean. Although some of them probably aren’t complaining.

  19. Is it just me, or did Pres. Monson look incredibly bored as his name was being read?

  20. I wasn’t going to sustain Uchtdorf, but with that intimidating look of authority, I’m scared not to!

  21. John Taber says:

    Pres. Packer looked like he was asleep. (Cable apparently switched on late.)

  22. online dictionary reference – Elder Hales isn’t old school.

  23. online dictionary as opposed to Webster’s 47th annotated american extra-special edition? blasphemy.

  24. Let’s follow Elder Hales’ example and never use dictionary definitions in our sacrament talks again.

  25. Has Webster’s sponsorship run out?

  26. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    “Beautiful Zion, Built Above–we should sing this more often.”

    Shimai, Shimai..

  27. Did anyone else notice that Russell M Nelson didn’t appear to be seated in the conference when they were doing the sustainings?

  28. Nor Elder Holland

  29. Rob,

  30. Rob, they don’t seat everyone in the conference center. What if there was a bombing and all the keys were lost?

  31. Quick Survey — Where’s everyone from?

    Soldotna, Alaska here.

  32. My goodness, the word should have been “Agency”

  33. John Taber says:

    Elsmere, Delaware currently. I’ve lived in five states not counting college or mission.

  34. There are always 2 apostles missing from the conference center. One in the Tabernacle one in the assembly hall.

  35. Does anyone else get confused by the word wherefore? it seems to be used in the scriptures as both “So, …” (particularly at the start of a sentence) or “because” (also, oddly, often at the start of a sentence.” Sometimes also “Why…” i.e. “wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” I always have to pause and try to figure out what it means in the context of the moment.

  36. I know in the past, they used to announce that some GA’s were seated on the stand in the Assembly Hall, and even the Marriott Center, but I don’t remember them doing that recently, and seens that the past few years, I’ve always seen all 12 apostles seated in the conference center for the sustaining.

    Yes, there is a risk of a terrorist attack and lost keys, but I think that could be rectified.

  37. It’s interesting because the LDS usage of the word “agency” is unique to our people. No one else uses it the way we do.

    The word also isn’t found in the Book of Mormon apparently. I think it’s primarily a legal term derived from British Common Law.

  38. Next time an ex-Mormon accuses LDS leaders of whitewashing the unpleasant details of the Old Testament, refer them to Elder Hales talk.

  39. Seth, it also might be derived from the concept of being “agents unto ourselves” – which is a Book of Mormon term.

  40. Ram fat is my favorite of all the fats.

  41. Isn’t that in the D&C Ray?

  42. I like the fat on a Ribeye steak.

  43. Well, this just proves that Brits have no taste in music.

  44. I think the Book of Mormon uses the term “act unto themselves” not “agents.”

  45. I think it interesting that we talk a lot about agency, but rarely use the term “agent.” I think I’ll start referring to myself in public as a free agent.

    I think my wife will roll her eyes, though.

  46. @26 Rigel: lol. Or should I say : warachatta!

  47. #41 – You’re right, Seth. I was thinking of 2 Nephi 2 – but the wording is “act for themselves”, not “agents unto themselves”.

  48. War in heaven. Do you think they read my blog post?? Nah.

  49. pornography!

  50. D&C 58:28 is the reference to “agents unto themselves.”

  51. yes – the key concept here is soooo agency.

  52. Pornography AND Family references. Drinks all around!

  53. The Pantheon of Best Fats:

    1. Ram Fat
    2. Ribeye Steak Fat
    3. Brad Kramer Fat

  54. I really hate the “in but not of” cliche.

  55. “Pornography.” [drink]

  56. Scott, what about Rapper Fat Joe??? No love on your “pantheon”?

  57. you all can drink after each “pornography” reference, but as for me and my house, we will imbibe after all definite and indefinite articles.

  58. LaurieinKC says:

    Another shout out to other religions! Twice in one day!

  59. Mommie Dearest says:

    4. Butter

  60. A Family Double!!

  61. There’s 2 for pornography…I need to trust my instincts.

  62. And Hales through out a Triple Family in his talk.

  63. I prefer Heavy D

  64. I’m kind of waiting for Prop 8 to come up here. Or a slam against the New Atheists.

  65. I was wondering why this thread was called the “hanging by a thread” thread. Now I know it was in reference to Cook’s coming talk.

  66. Interesting list of evil people – human traffickers, and unethical business people (if I heard that right).

  67. Also, the Fat Boys

  68. Seth, methinks Prop 8 has already come up, albeit not by name.

  69. B.Russ,
    I only do a Top 3 for Fats, and Brad Kramer squished out Fats Waller for the last slot.

  70. Although the Notorious B.I.G. has had more critical acclaim

  71. Yes Stapley, you heard that correct. He should have thrown lawyers in that list too.

  72. B.Russ,
    You can go ahead and call me a prophet–I came up with that title last night, long before we knew anything about the topics or speakers.

  73. amen, one vote for Notorious BIG into the pantheon

  74. Judeo-Christian-sigh…

  75. Scott–Any reason we aren’t getting the full lineups early this conference?

  76. “Defending the institution of marriage”? William Wilberforce was a Prop 8 supporter?

  77. Treating all people as sons and daughters of God.

  78. Nice reference to Wilberforce.

    New Atheists are notorious for ignoring the crucial role that religion played in eliminating slavery and racism.

    I predict a lot of howls from the ex-Mormon forums about him claiming most Mormons were opposed to slavery – but it does seem to have been true.

  79. I love Elder Cook.

  80. Vote Republican! ’cause God says so.

  81. Scott–Any reason we aren’t getting the full lineups early this conference?

    Because we like keeping you in suspense. Or else it’s against the rules. One of those two.

  82. #78,
    Most Mormons, perhaps. Most religious folks, not remotely.

  83. “universal for all of us” – I love me some repeated redundancy.

  84. Was that podium purposely designed to be grabbed on the left and right by speakers? With the exception of people who talk with their hands (e.g., Pres. Uchtdorf), it seems like everyone comes to it with the same left/right grab stance.

  85. Seth, I think Cook over-correlated the church’s position regarding slavery to the extermination order; but you are correct that many early converts were anti-slavery.

  86. And being opposed to the institution of slavery hardly qualifies as believing that all of God’s children are equal…

  87. Is it just me, or did Elder Cook lean pretty liberal in the last quarter of his talk? Or was that just wishful listening?

  88. What needs to be remembered Brad is that the elimination of slavery came about primarily because of the triumph of one reading of the Bible over another reading of the Bible. Not just because of common, a-religious values of human decency.

    It was a religious fight, and a religious triumph.

  89. Is this the male version of a primary voice? Given my reaction earlier, I should admit I’m having to ignore the voice to get the message.

  90. As for Wilberforce’s defense of the institution of marriage, he was an outspoken critic of polygamy.

  91. Bishop Edgley just said he doesn’t know where Zarahemla is. It looks like Rod Meldrum’s inspired Heartland theory hasn’t reached high up enough in the COB.

  92. Mike, the Deseret News has an article up today about a pulpits exhibit at the Church History Museum. Short answer to your question: Yes.

  93. I won’t howl about the slavery thing, but I will snort.

  94. Mommie Dearest says:

    Edgeley is a personal favorite of mine. Faith as a choice is my operating definition. I am loving this.

  95. John Taber says:

    Uh oh, I think we just got an endorsement of anti-intellectualism here . . .

  96. “As for Wilberforce’s defense of the institution of marriage, he was an outspoken critic of polygamy.” I did not know that. Good for him!

  97. It was a religious fight, and a religious triumph.

    And a religious defeat.

    But, more seriously, it wasn’t primarily a religious fight. It was primarily a political fight which sometimes appropriated the language and themes of religion on both sides.

  98. Not sure what scientific knowledge attacks faith. I haven’t come across any so far.

  99. He’s never seen a real mountain moved? My testimony just died.

  100. He said he doesn’t know where Zarahemla IS. He didn’t say Meldrum doesn’t know where it WAS. Listen carefully, Mike.

  101. John Taber says:

    To some, especially in the Bible Belt (including among LDS in the Bible Belt) it all does.

  102. @ #80

    President David O. McKay said:
    “Latter-day Saints should have nothing to do with the secret combinations and groups antagonistic to the constitutional law of the land, which the Lord ‘suffered to be established,’ and which ‘should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh according to just and holy principles.’.” (Gospel Ideals, by David O. McKay, p. 306..)

  103. I guess Wayne thinks President McKay wanted us to vote for Democrats…

  104. Mommie Dearest says:

    I must’ve missed the part where my intellectual bent and scientific knowledge were attacked.

  105. The woman who wrote this song is an active member and lives in Provo. I wonder what she thinks whenever this song is announced in conference? I think that would be a really odd feeling…

  106. Sorry, no more troll-feeding from me.

  107. Is it really hot in the conference center? It looks like none of the men in the congregation are wearing their jackets.

  108. Neil Anderson got his middle initial back. I think it was ommitted during the sustaining of officers.

  109. @ 103

    Keep guessing

  110. Pioneers crossing the plains! [drink]

  111. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Um…wasn’t Utah a ‘slave territory’ for a time? That’s what I heard on a Mormon stories podcast.

  112. I like this tie.

  113. Mommie Dearest says:

    Awesome tie. I have so much turbulence in my brain I forgot to check the ties and their knots.

  114. [removed by admin]

  115. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Elder Duncan looks quite young.

  116. Wayne,
    Add to the discussion or beat it. Don’t just advertise your own blog.

  117. click of a keystroke?

  118. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Re 46 Chad Too

    Yosh! Dareka sono jodan ga wakarimashita!

  119. Elder Kevin Duncan is giving a wonderful talk.

  120. Fourteen Fundamentals TWICE in a single day? Whoa.

  121. Second time Amos 3:7 has been quoted in this conference. And also the second time that the JST has been ignored.

    Oh, look, a second reference to the 14 Fundamentals, too!

  122. 14 fundamentals, again. Sigh. Can anyone back up this morning’s assertion that the higher bretheren demanded an apology for the original talk?

  123. Wow, Fourteen Fundamentals again.

  124. LaurieinKC says:

    The Fourteen Points Again.

  125. 14 Fundamentals, round 2.

    I wonder if he feels like his message is validated by Elder Costa saying the same thing, or if he feels like Elder Costa stole his thunder?

  126. Wait, wait, wait, really? We’re hearing this again??

  127. Are we getting these 14 fundamentals twice as a predecessor because of something President Monson is going to be telling us later in the conference?

  128. Wayne,
    Full points for cheeky. Your reward is bannination.

  129. John Taber says:

    I’m not sure I’d want Pres. Monson taking over my wife’s surgery this week – but then he wouldn’t want to either.

  130. This is the Prop 8 stuff.

  131. 111, yes, slavery was present and legal in Utah for a time. I’m sure someone here can give more and better details than I can.

  132. Mommie Dearest says:

    I wonder why we are hearing this again?

  133. Is it ironic that they’re quoting a dead prophet to say that a living prophet’s words are more important?

  134. Two references to breadmaking in one day? Wow.

    Warning, naughty comment below:
    Am I the only one who blushed at “the best thing that’s been in my mouth?”

  135. Love Brother Gong, and love his wife even more.

  136. 122 Ariel, I think two people towards the end of the comments on the last thread showed where to find reference to that.

  137. Wow. Missionaries hoping that GA’s wives will divorce them so that they can get more good bread.

  138. tavitav #33, Yes.

  139. “blackberries read in church make green bishops blue.” :)

  140. Given the bannination, how about deleting #114?

  141. Unless Pres. Monson comes out and says the 14 Fundamentals are not appropriate, I think we can safely assume that they are not as verboten as some may think.

  142. FAMILY is paying great dividends from the candy bowl this talk.

  143. 141, given that numerous people gave reference to the fact that SWK DID, isn’t that enough, or do they need to be continually repudiated in order to not become doctrine?

  144. “I could not see a beginning or end of generations.”

    I really like this description of family.

  145. Where did these 14 Fundamentals come from? I’ve been a member more than 8 years, and never heard them before today.

  146. Meems, it might be prop 8 stuff, but not necessarily. It doesn’t all have to be all politics, even if it is an ETB quote.

  147. Tracy,
    It’s from a talk at BYU. See the thread from this morning for a link.

  148. I have to say that having a specific word to listen for does a pretty good job of keeping 13 kids between the ages of 16 and 4 pretty attentive.

  149. For those interested, President Kimball’s reaction to Elder Benson’s 1980 BYU talk can be found in Edward L. Kimball, “Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball” (Deseret Book, 2005) pp. 160-161; see also Working Draft, chapter 16, page 13.

  150. John Taber says:

    But are they as binding as they’ve been presented to be today? And do local leaders have license to assume, between those fundamentals, and Bp. Edgley’s talk, that anything any prophet has said trumps anything in a science book?

  151. Mommie Dearest says:

    They’re famous now, Tracy

  152. 136 B.Russ, thank you.

    Assuming that Pres. Monson would have to refute these is a pretty strong expression that he, a living prophet, is more important than the dead prophet that refuted that statement. It’s kind of circular logic.

  153. B. Russ – What I am saying is that a past president of the church may not have approved, but these words have been shared in conference 25 years after SWK passed away. Several prophets later, I wonder if Pres. Monson, who was an apostle when the talk was originally given, will say anything about it.

  154. [removed by admin] will get you to the 14 fundamentals talk. Still had it on my CTRL+C from earlier.

    [please stop linking to anti sties, Rob. OKThxBye]

  155. Re Benson’s apology to the Twelve for his 14 Fundamentals speech – Pres. Monson was a member of the Twelve at the time; if the apology occurred as advertised then Monson would have heard it.

    His “correcting” the doctrines promoted in that talk as reiterated today, the next time he takes the pulpit–or his failure to do so–will be very telling.

  156. Rob, as was pointed out earlier, that’s an anti site and there is a pro site with the same information. It was linked a few comments ago.

  157. 154, I doubt it, but that doesn’t make it correct.

  158. Gerrit Gong is my new hero.

  159. Only is an anti-Mormon site. I wouldn’t direct anyone there. Go to the source — BYU Speeches. :^(

  160. Ray, I ran into your son between sessions at the grocery store. He was having lunch with his district. I introduced myself and told him I was an online friend of yours, and he said “everyone is”. He looked good, I just thought you’d like to know.

  161. I just took the first link that came up when I googled it when it was referenced this morning.

  162. I will be shocked if Monson does anything resembling a correction of these talks, even if he was present for an apology and retraction in front of the apostles. These comments today passed Correlation, and that’s the marker of church-approved truth these days. Whether or not the 14 points are incorrect or misleading, I expect they’re going to be seen as “not a huge problem” by Monson and anyone else who would have been there 25 years ago.

  163. No matter how Pres. Monson feels about the talk, the odds that he will discuss it directly are so small as to be non-existent. Just leave it in the arena of things that we don’t really know the doctrinal value of.

  164. “We learn of something spoken from a Church pulpit . . . that bothers us.”

    Oh, the irony. ;)

  165. Unless Elder Bednar was lying to my ward, conference talks don’t go through Correlation. They are submitted for translation only. And the translators get annoyed when a talk is changed a week before Conference.

  166. #161 – Thank you, kevin.

  167. Ebenezer Robinson says:

    Just remember how long it’s been since Pres. McKay privately condemned BRM for Mormon Doctrine. And what effect did that have? GAs don’t publicly disagree with other GAs in this generation of the church. I can’t imagine how strong a disagreement would be required to generate any kind of public statement.

  168. “These comments today passed Correlation”

    No, they haven’t.

  169. The text of general conference are not run past anybody for approval prior to their delivery, Ariel. The Correlation Boogeyman isn’t relevant here.

  170. LaurieinKC says:

    Could it be that the repetition of the Fourteen Points are related to widely reported healing comments of Elder Jensen at a stake conference in California a few weeks ago?

  171. Mommie Dearest says:

    Are we so spoiled that we cannot process a little uncorrelated stuff? Cognitive dissonance won’t kill ya.

  172. Rob, the first link is great, but let’s find an original BYU source instead and not give traffic to anti sites. Kthxbai.

  173. Laurie, I bet the talks were written in advance of the Jensen’s remark.

  174. Reed Benson made his students memorize the “14 Fundamentals” for his Sharing the Gospel Class at BYU, guess he didn’t get the SWK memo. Of course, his dad was prophet then.

  175. #165 – Yep – but at least he said it.

  176. John Taber says:

    OK – so we’re back to “Good Mormons aren’t allowed to think for themselves” here.

  177. LaurieinKC,
    I have no idea how the one would relate to the other so I doubt it.

  178. 177 That does seem to be the overarching message of this session.

  179. Mommie Dearest says:

    Anderson’s black suit jacket has a soothing note of chocolate that is emphasized in the presence of that deep flame red tie.

  180. #166 — Alex — When Charles Dahlquist was the YM President and visited Alaska to do some traininag, he made a statement and said that he wished he could say it during General Conference, but that he knew it would never make it through Coorelation review. That would seem to indicate that these talks are reviewed. That was in approximately 2007.

  181. #181 – They aren’t. Let’s drop it, ok?

  182. Elder Bednar’s comments were made to my ward less about a year ago. (It was actually Labor Day weekend of last year, a few weeks before conference.)

    I’m not saying that my GA can beat up your GA, I am just saying that he made a point of discussing the process of preparing conference talks, and emphasised that there is no review process.

  183. Is it just me, or has Elder Scott picked up a lot of weight?

  184. LaurieinKC says:

    John C, the two might be related to the extent that the 14 points are a warning to get in line. But as TrevorM points out, these talks may well have been crafted before the events associated with Elder Jensen’s visit to California,

  185. As much as I dislike and emphatically disagree with the premise and content of the ETB talk, is was published as a 1st presidency message in 1981. That leaves me wondering– in light of the apology demanded by SWK, did this just slip through? Were there dissenters among the 12 that were there? Did someone in the COB not get the memo? I would do backflips if Monson would correct this, but at this point I don’t expect anything that illuminating to come out of GC.

  186. Hales and ex nihilo??

  187. Is there anyone here that knows FIRST HAND whether these talks are reviewed?

  188. Another faith talk!

  189. Okay everyone, I believe you all that correlation is not involved, and I’m totally aware that a little cognitive dissonance won’t kill me. I did hear an apostle say in a fireside in about 2005 that he had wanted to say something in a conf talk but correlation wouldn’t let him, but later he was glad because he would have been embarrassed. Perhaps he was speaking of something that happened much earlier, or it was a talk other than gen conf, or something.

  190. See my note #313 in the AM thread were I [mostly] debunk the idea that Elder Benson apologized for the talk. Rather he was asked to explain what he said to the 12 and other GAs. Publicly the Church distanced itself from political interpretations of the speech.

  191. Maybe the non-12 talks are correlated but those by 12 and higher are not…

  192. Laurie,
    Elder Jensen didn’t do anything that was out of line. I really don’t see any relation at all.

    Regarding whether or not these talks are reviewed, who cares? It was obviously a powerful talk for both Elder Costas and Elder Duncan. Don’t make it something bigger or smaller than it is.

  193. 192 — I Was wondering the same thing.

  194. Elder Scott for the Zen of the day!

  195. For the record, my GA can beat up your GA, and I’m not afraid to say it!

  196. jeans (159)–me, too. That was just gorgeous.

  197. Smaller than quarks? Awesome.

  198. I’m not trying to be nasty, but who would they be reviewed by? Why would a committee have trump power over prophets, seers and revelators of the Lord?

  199. #188 – Yes, so drop it, please.

  200. Nope, RS and Auxiliary talks are not correlated either.

  201. Elder Scott’s voice always makes me sleepy.

  202. John Taber says:

    Again, would you want President Monson walking in off the street to operate on you? He’d be the first to say “Of course not” but the implication in the 14 Fundamentals is that he’s the one you’d want.

  203. #184
    He does look like he has put on a few pounds

  204. Meems, see the very very long but enlightening correlation series. is an okay point of view on one of the relevant points, and is much shorter.

  205. #203 – I think it’s pretty well established that there aren’t a lot of people here who are convinced of the points in that talk. We get it.

  206. Tracy, I’ve never heard of those 14 Fundamentals either. I guess I didn’t go to the right schools!

  207. LaurieinKC says:

    John C., of course Elder Jensen did not say or do anything out of line. The 14 points repeat might be for those who, as a result of those events, might hope a change in official policy, or a reinterpretation, might be possible or even an appropriate topic for speculation.

  208. Thanks, Ariel.

  209. I have heard of the 17 points of the true church

  210. “A testimony is not emotion.”

    Glad that was said, also.

  211. Mommie Dearest says:

    Yup, Elder Scott zens me right to sleep too.

  212. Elder Scotts is powerful with the spirit

  213. It’s 1:00 in the morning where I am… talk about being sleepy!

  214. John Taber says:

    Just what I need right now . . .

  215. #211

    That is important. Some people think when they cry at church it must be the spirit and not emotion.

  216. Correlation is about much, much more than the formal oversight or pre-approval of a staffed committee. The talks are, in some sense, hyper-correlated. That said, the formal influence of the Priesthood Correlation Committee over the talks is probably limited to after the fact editing in preparation for publication in the conference Ensign.

  217. Closing hymn is not a hymn. Take that, Michael Moody! ;)

  218. Mommie Dearest says:

    That choir is way cool for a lot of reasons besides the music they are singing.

  219. Well, I’ve found my new maxim from this conference: With faith in Christ, your struggles can refine you, rather than define you.

    That’s not what Elder Scott actually said, but it is definitely what I heard.

  220. What Brad said.

  221. And now, off to sit in a dark room, where people will read to me from a teleprompter for two hours, and I will fight like mad to keep from falling asleep and setting a bad example for my 14-year-old son.…

  222. This choir gets mega points for having discernible lyrics. As much as I love the MoTab, have the time I have no idea what they’re saying, and this is really refreshing.

  223. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    I finally got bingo when “prayer” was mentioned. My daughter still beat me to it.

  224. cutest boy doing the ASL for the song!

  225. #203

    Neither in support of or dismissing the 14 Fundamentals…..but I do NOT read into them that I’d necessarily want Pres Monson operating on me. I suppose you are referring to #5, 8 or maybe 9. I think those points refer more to what is possible than what is likely. If God wanted Pres Monson to be able to do something he has not been trained to do, God will make it happen regardless. In any event, no, I do not want Pres Monson operating on me. He’s too busy.

  226. Mommie dearest–agree. And they’re good. Intonation and diction are solid.

  227. Pres. Uchtdorf keeping it real.

  228. “The Hanging-By-A-Thread Thread!”

    Kristine, I bow to your greatness.

  229. Re pres Monson doing surgery: Laman and Lemuel felt the same about Nephi building a ship.

  230. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Re 223
    I told my wife I’m taking the baby to Priesthood session with me. If he is fussy, I will walk him in one of the rooms where I can listen while I entertain him. Score 1 for breaking out of the dark room. Score 2 for the grateful look on my wife’s face.

  231. Chris H.,
    That was my doing, thanks.

  232. And the Niblet for best Conference commentary thread title goes to . . . . . . . . Scott B.

  233. Jeff W,
    That’s a great, and not at all irrelevant, comparison. When Nephi was president of the Church, Laman and Lemual should totally have assumed that he could build a big ship because he was president of the Church.

  234. Can Neil L Anderson at least get his first name spelled correctly in the comments at the top of the page where his talk is summarized?

  235. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    D&C 58: 28
    For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

  236. Folks, I suspect many of you are overanalyzing the import of the “14 Fundamentals” references, and what they do or do not mean about the current status of church “doctrine” on the scope and nature of the prophet’s powers. (Disclosure: I missed both talks). I rather doubt there is a definitive, legalistic answer to the question of what import or status ETB’s claims currently have. I tend to think the Brethren are just dragging out certain overly robust versions of the “Follow the Prophet” idea and presenting them, because they feel like they are unusually pertinent right now, what with so many Mormons not vocally jumping on the Prop 8 bandwagon. There’s always going to be an unresolved tension between the status of the Prophet’s admonitions vs. independent, individual judgments. The issue will always be with us, debated ad nauseum, and many of us will swear we’ve absolutely figured out the RIGHT ANSWER, but we’ll be kidding ourselves. Don’t tell yourself the issue is ever going away, or that it’s going to be definitively resolved to your satisfaction. It ain’t, and it won’t.

  237. Rob – Only if you promise to spell Elder Andersen’s last name correctly.

    (Just kidding. I have no say in the matter.)

  238. Good gravy, people.

    2 men from the 70 quote the same bunch of ETB principles and you are all out of sorts like the sky is falling. “Binding”–honestly…in what universe is a statement from a non-PSR “binding” in any way, shape or form?

  239. Well, folks, it has been fun, as always! Time for dinner, cleaning up, and heading off to the church for the Priesthood Session.

    See you all in the morning!

  240. Or, what Aaron B. said in 238.

  241. Alex,
    BCC will have a thread open for the Priesthood Session as well–so be sure to tune in and report your thoughts!

  242. I can’t wait to see R. Gary pounce all over this fourteen fundamentals thing.

  243. I wish I could watch priesthood session at home :(

  244. How some pictures of you guys in action?

  245. mondo cool says:

    Elder Andersen!!!
    Next on-line poll: Who is offended or ashamed by –
    1. ETB’s 14 Fundamentals…?
    2. ETB having been the Prophet and President?
    3. The Church’s support of Prop 8?
    4. The Correlation Committee?
    5. etc…..

  246. 247
    There are many things which have happened through history or even currently today which leave me both offended and ashamed. A couple of them may even have had something to do with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    However all of these things have a common thread, along with the 4 that you listed in your trollish comment: they have nothing to do with Jesus Christ atoning for all of our sins, nor our ability to be saved through faith in him.

    Let us not be offended or ashamed of Christ or his atonement. Let us also not confuse the bedrock of our faith with things that are tangentially related to how we live our faith. And let us not think that things tangentially related are immune from righteous offense or shame.

  247. Someone clarify to me the problem with the 14 fundamentals? I always liked that talk.

  248. Ron Madson says:

    Yes. During the “great apostasy” a theory developed that the Pope was inerrant and could, therefore, “never lead the church astray.” A man saying he will never lead you astray or a man/women telling us that another man/woman will never lead you astray OR worse you should follow them right or wrong is just simply beyond arrogant–I call it self or group idolatry and false worship–and circular reasoning, ie, a man telling you he will never go astray. I did not need Pres. Kimball or Pres. George Albert Smith and others to tell me that a doctrine of infallibility is not to be entertained. I am always amazed when anyone or any group needs an authority to tell them whether another human being whatever his calling might err or lead astray doctrinally or practically—it has happened, will happen so put on your spiritual receptors and get your own answer/ conscience and quit relying on any other human to be the final answer.

  249. Kristine,

    Any footnotes on Elder Cook’s talk? It has my Rawlsian public reason juices flowing

  250. Ron – I haven’t read the entire 14 Fundamentals talk, but I have skimmed it a few times and I saw nothing that said that members of the church should not seek their own answers, follow their conscience, or seek confirmation that what the prophets teach is true.

    I saw only a call to follow the prophet because we claim to have sustained him and accept him as the Lord’s mouthpiece. Other than the point about the prophet not needing training to do anything, which I think was meant to be much more harmless than others are claiming, I don’t see any doctrinal errors in the statements, and can probably go through and find scriptural support for all of them. So other than SWK reportedly disliking it and demanding an apology (which I haven’t seen any links to verify), I, too, fail to see the great problem with the talk.

  251. Alex- From Ed Kimball’s book, it appears it was more that Kimball was uncomfortable with the political implications.

  252. Ron Madson says:

    I think reading the whole talk and then read the context by reading Mormon Hierarchy: Extension of Power by Quinn. My observations:
    first, we have an Apostle, not a prophet/president giving the Fourteen Fundamentals so is it binding? Is Costas giving it now binding? Pres. Kimball, whatever, his concerns did not endorse the talk but rather had “concerns” and was not pleased.
    Second, ETB did become a prophet but now he is now longer alive anymore then Wilford Woodruff who was quoted in that address—both deceased.
    Third, following the logic of the 14 Fundamentals talk we need the very living prophet to say:
    1. I will never led the church astray;
    2. Follow me even if I am wrong and you will be blessed;
    3. My words are more important/binding then scriptures and dead prophets.
    I would be surprised to hear someone actually mouth those words above–I think one’s visceral reaction would inform us that there is something intuitively if not outright doctrinally off kilter with such statements by any mortal

    Finally, this talk quotes BY stating that he never preached a sermon and sent it out but that it was scripture. Fine. So Adam God is scripture? And lots of other good stuff?

  253. Elder Scott rivets my attention. More than any other of the apostles, he speaks to my soul, and always does. No sleepiness here.

  254. Linda, I’m glad! I think it’s wonderful that there are different personalities among the Brethren–enough for everyone to have favorites. I usually find a lot to learn from when I read Elder Scott’s talks; he’s just one I appreciate more in written form. :)

  255. I agree with Seth R. (#37). The way Mormons use the word “agency” is fairly unique. We do not use it the way the dictionary or people outside of our church use it–or even the way those in the early church used it.

    When I read the words agent and agency in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Moses, I see indications that it is being used in a way consistent with the dictionary’s definition. It could be used in the primary sense of acting or having instrumentality, but there also seem to be indications that it is used in the secondary, legal sense wherein an agent legally represents and acts in behalf of his principal.

    The idea of men being, “agents unto themselves,” (D&C and Moses) points to the legal definition as well, indicating that men are allowed to legally represent themselves and be bound by the consequences of their actions–just as the actions of an agent legally bind the principal. From this point of view, agency is more about accountability for one’s actions, and not synonymous with “freedom of choice” (although that is certainly implied).

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