Saturday Afternoon Anticlimactic Nothing Will Compare to Saturday Morning Session Session

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf conducts.

Choir sings: Arise, O Glorious Zion

Choir sings: I am a child of God

President Uchtdorf: “Thank you, dear choir.”

President Eyring: Leads the sustaining vote.

Elder Jay E. Jensen was released as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and replaced by Elder Craig L. Christensen.

Elder Marlin K. Jensen is released with thanks for his “excellent service” and replaced by Elder Steven E. Snow.

Elder L. Tom Perry:

Principles of the gospel are in jeopardy.  Two central values in crisis are the family and the importance of marriage.

“I could not turn away from the gospel now because my actions would reflect on you”.

“There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and practices common to all LDS members.”

“Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Elder Perry you must be the youngest 90 year old in the whole church”.

“All of this symbolism attests to one fact: Great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands.”

“Sweet is the fruit of service when working together like a group of honey bees, for a common cause in the Church.”

“One simple practice: in your morning prayer to God, ask for an opportunity to serve.”

Elder Larry Echo Hawk

Sistas in Zion: “We might know Elder Echo Hawk’s drill sergeant.”

“Yes, Sgt Instructor!”

“Yes, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I know the Book of Mormon is true.”

Choir and Congregation sings: Let us all press on

Elder Robert C. Gay:

“Would you sell your soul for a nickel?”

“God is mindful of each of us and never forsake us. We must always hearken to the voice of the Spirit.”

Elder Whiting:

“By requiring exacting standards…we show our love and respect for Jesus Christ”

Elder Neil L. Andersen:

The Apostle Paul identified something called “a trial of your faith”. He said he experienced it.

“A real and fiery trial for one, is manageable for another.”

“Within the sanctuary of the church, we protect each other.”

“Some of the information, about the Church, no matter how convincing, is just not true.”

“Our doctrine is not difficult to find”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

“Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves, and little influence on so much that.”

“Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests.”

“From the perspective of the plan of salvation, one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them birth.”

“When we consider the dangers from which children should be protected, we should include psychological abuse.”


  1. Elder Clifford T. Herbertson

  2. Pretty good for a youth choir.

  3. The females are smaller, and more colorful. (To paraphrase the Virginia Woolf character in The Hours.)

  4. Not bad, but their vowels are a little wide. (NB: I’m watching an internet stream that doesn’t have fantastic audio quality.)

  5. Let this be the session where a woman gives a prayer and it won’t be anticlimactic!!

  6. the opening prayer just said “this Sabbath day” — when did that switch to Saturday?

  7. Had some connection issues at first, but we’re all hooked back in now here Soldotna, ALaska. Word of the session for access to the candy bowl is SPIRIT.

  8. Did Elder Uchtdorf change his tie from this morning?

  9. My feed is still messed up in Oregon. Working on it.

  10. Oh hey, President Packer isn’t sitting with everyone else. Is he unwell?

  11. Coke Drinker says:

    Why was Elder Jensen released rather than elevated to Apostle?

  12. Pretty sure Dieter changes his tie for every session :D

  13. Visit from Marlin K. Jensen was one of the highlights of my mission. He’ll be missed!

  14. No Elder Hales either….

  15. because, coke, no apostle has died yet.

  16. No Packer or Hales seated with the 12. I suspected one of them would be the next speaker since as they have recently been seated to deliver their talks. But why neither would be seated normally right now is a bit puzzling.

  17. Why Pres. Eyring didn’t smile during the sustaining vote?

  18. Also: AAAAH is this the “This is the talk I want you to remember when I die” talk from E. Perry? So weird!

  19. I am guessing they are presiding over one of the overflow sessions?

  20. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Jacob M: they could have left Elder Jensen in office until a spot opened up in the Quorum.

  21. There is usually an apostle or two presiding in the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall, which could account for the absent apostles.

  22. As discussed in the previos session thread, Elder Jensen has reached the age of 70, which is when seventies are generally released.

  23. It’s traditional to release Seventy at the age of 70 – as was already discussed in the morning General Conference thread.

  24. I was cool enough to have the same thought as Ardis? Maybe having the flu isn’t so bad! ;-)

  25. Coke Drinker says:

    The Church could use a Democrat in the Quorum.

  26. 21 & 22, since many of the conference talks repeat themselves, it shouldn’t be surprising that our comments tend to do the same. :)

  27. I wonder if they’re having teleprompter issues today. Elder Perry is the third speaker today I’ve seen go to the display on the podium rather than the teleprompter for an “extended” portion of their talks.

  28. Hah – “play-zure”

  29. Unique gospel culture. Oh, dear.

  30. Jacob, it actually is unique. It’s only because you are IN it that it might seem boring and commonplace to you.

  31. “Clever and carefully camouflaged” — very Neal Maxwell!

  32. It’s not the boringness about it that is problematic. It is the elevating of the culture to the status of gospel that I don’t agree with.

  33. Isn’t it rather a matter of elevating the Gospel to the foundation of culture?

  34. If you’re board, its your own fault.

  35. When I was in high school I started to feel, whenever a talk mentioned the blessings of eternal marriage, like a second-class citizen in the church because my parents are not. Now that I’m temple-married myself my feelings are a good deal more positive but still complicated. I wonder if there’s a way to teach this doctrine without making people feel left out or unwanted — I remember mentioning my situation to a member on my mission and I was told “Don’t worry, in the resurrection you’ll be sealed to a faithful family!” as though I’d be okay jettisoning my parents for a more righteous set…

  36. Personally I like living on the fringes (geographically) of that culture. I get the benefits of gospel culture and the “mission field.”

    My feed is a little slow, but I was just thinking what a priledge it is to be able to have confirmation from the Holy Ghost as we sustain the General Authorities. I sometimes forget, in between conferences just how much the outpouring of the Spirit means to me. I was in the hospital in April and didn’t get to have the experience. I am grateful to have that found for my soul.

  37. Creating culture is all we ever talk about in one of my education classes. I can’t escape it!

  38. Casey – the problem is – if we let concern for the divorcees, the unmarried, the widows, and all that paralyze us… we’ll end up never promoting the family at all.

    We can’t legislate to the exceptions. We have to stand for the trends we want to see.

  39. Are they ever going to teach valuable doctrine to childless marrieds?

  40. Of course Casey – we should preach the ideal without making up doctrines on the spot (like – “you’ll get a replacement family”).

  41. I’m not sure how something can be subtle and brazen at the same time.

  42. Peach = Face Off

  43. Teachings principles without accounting for people isn’t an acceptable compromise to me, Seth.

  44. I really like the overall message about parents working together as partners to create a strong family culture and identity, and I really hate the delivery. :-/

  45. Forgive the shortness of my reply, btw, I’m not trying to pick a fight. It’s just an old sore :)

  46. Coke Drinker says:

    I hope I have a Ballardesque hair when I’m 83.

  47. Jacob – I can think of a few examples.

    The shock television – that brazenly shocks us, all the while subtly desensitizing us to how much we are starting to find cruelty, rudeness, and irreverence commonplace, and eventually “no big deal.”

    Brazen and subtle at the same time.

  48. Seth R., when the exceptions that you talk about make up the majority of the human family, shouldn’t we address that too, besides just preaching the ideal?

  49. Jacob (41) – I was wondering about that one too. :)

  50. ” Casey – the problem is – if we let concern for the divorcees, the unmarried, the widows, and all that paralyze us… we’ll end up never promoting the family at all.”


    We can absolutely, easily do both.

  51. Seth R., #38, I’m on board with that, and I have no complaints about promoting the family. However, it would be oh-so-helpful if sometimes the particular needs of “the exceptions” were addressed, not in substitution to family doctrine, but to meet the needs of the rest of us. Never happens, though, except for the “no blessing will be withheld” line — and again, not that there’s any problem with that, except that it doesn’t address our mortal needs. That’s probably what Casey meant, too.

  52. Casey, reinventing the entire doctrinal ideal for the exceptions is an injustice to us all.

    And I know your not trying to pick a fight. But this is a terribly important topic for our society – and has crippled our national sense of morality in so many ways. So I felt it had to be said.

  53. On the subject of honey and bees, the original Latin poem on which Jesus The Very Thought of Thee (by St. Bernard of Clairvaux) says that the presence of Jesus is “super mel”: sweeter than honey. :-)

  54. “The Church could use a Democrat in the Quorum.”

    I’m fairly certain (although I can’t prove it) that President Uchtdorf shares the politics of most other German members of the church. While he’s obviously not eligible to vote in the U.S., he apparently encouraged Elder Jensen to run for office, and I imagine his politics don’t line up with most American members of the church.

  55. Conferenceisgreat says:

    I’m a little late with this comment, but didn’t it seem strange to anybody that nobody was called to the First and Second Quorums of Seventy? And no Area Authority Seventies sustainings and releases. They normally do that on Saturday morning, right?

  56. insert “is based” after “Clairvaux”

  57. Coke Drinker says:

    BYU needs to bring back the beehive logo.

  58. Always teaching to the ideals is problematic, and I think it is founded in the fact that the GA don’t have those non-ideal circumstances.

    I wish for a talk about eternal families that didn’t leave me feeling empty because I won’t ever be able to honor my biological father, and I long to be able to put a name that is not his on my church records. Staying home on Fatger’s Day is likely to be a life-long practice for me.

  59. Octaviano Tenorio was released from the 1st Quorum and granted emeritus status. Can anyone confirm that he reached the age of 70 (the normal release age) or does this have anything to do with the MAJOR High Profile sexual harassment lawsuit involving his brother who was groping his clients?

  60. @Conferenceisgreat – For the last few years they have done releases from the 70 in the October Conference and Callings to the 70 in the April Conference

  61. Andrew — re #59 — Octaviano turns 70 on OCtober 31, 2012.

  62. Tenorio was born on October 31, 1942, says Wikipedia. So he’ll be seventy this month.

  63. Julia, that’s not necessarily a fact. I don’t know what’s happened in all of their lives. It’s a mistake to make that assumption.

  64. Conferenceisgreat says:

    #59…he will be 70 on October 31.

  65. Hive Mind mentality!

    Just kidding.

  66. THE HONEYBEES – Thinking of the classic Gilligan’s Island Episode now where Mrs Howell, Mary Ann, and Ginger formed a rock and roll group called the Honey Bees

  67. Looks like he’s going to be 70 on Halloween.

  68. FINALLY — The word SPIRIT offers up it’s first trip to the candy bowl.

  69. 65 – You Borg!

  70. Tenorio will be 70 this month.

  71. Coke Drinker says:

    If BYU could do it over, they should choose Bees / Killer Bees for their mascot. It matches the Mormon beehive symbol. And in the past 10 years, the term “Cougar” has become slang for an attractive 40-something woman looking to date men in their early twenties, which doesn’t exactly fit BYU.

  72. Focus on the flowers, like the bees. Except for the killer bees.

  73. Ballard just skipped from single adulthood to parenthood in his list. Am I missing something?

  74. Seth, I get the sense that our different perspectives are rooted in differences in how we view procedural justice as it pertains to doctrine and society…but that’s probably too big a topic to address here. So for now, agree to disagree I guess.

  75. #63 if they have, it is not something that they talk about. Certainly I couldn’t prove that anyone had similar experiences by reading conference talks or the Ensign. Their childhood stories beat no resemblance to mine. (I wouldn’t wish them on anyone, but the lack of a perfect life seems to keep you from leadership positions any higher than the stake.)

  76. He was trying to be inclusive of everyone, Brooke.

  77. But a Beehive is also a 12 and 13 year old Young Woman……

  78. Sure Casey. I didn’t think it was a good idea to open up a full debate while Conference was still on, so I didn’t pursue it. We can leave it there.

  79. New Primary Hymn “Jesus Wants Me For A Honey Bee”?

  80. Coke Drinker says:

    @Seth (78)

    Whenever I get into a situation like that, I like to say “let’s agree to disagree.”

  81. Larry Echo Hawk sounds like the name of a Vietnam War movie protagonist.

  82. Honeybees take directions from a Queen bee, the Goddess of their world. :-)

  83. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Casey

    He’s a Pawnee Indian.

  84. 76 – Trying being the operative word… Having been married for two years but not yet having children, I feel like they often skip the fundamental building blocks of marriage that come before kids, even if all you get is 9 months to yourselves…

  85. He was Obama’s appointee for BIA director. Solid democrat.

  86. Julia, Dallin H. Oaks grew up in a so-called “broken home.”

    His father was absent and he and his brother were raised by their mother. She eventually had a nervous breakdown and had to be institutionalized for a while. He and his brother were sent to live with his grandparents – and he calls it “one of the darkest” periods of his life.

    Before making assumptions about the backgrounds of the General Authorities, please read up on their bios.

  87. Boot camp stories. Always fun. Always makes me think of the Kubrick movie, the name of which is escaping me at the moment.

  88. Coke Drinker says:

    As head of the BIA, was he pro-gambling?

  89. Full Metal Jacket! The first half of that movie should be required for any war movie fan.

  90. Thanks for the insults Seth.

    Signing off to go back to the place where all “broken ignorant people” belong. Away from the perfection that lives in the world of unrealistic ideals.

  91. Did somebody put up the “A Democrat is Speaking” warning? ;-)

  92. Thanks, Casey.

    Julia, I don’t think Seth was trying to insult you, but he can come across a little abruptly.

  93. Among vs. principal. Not back then. Not until 2007.

  94. If I recall correctly, Elder Oaks spoke about his atypical Mormon upbringing fairly recently in conference, and referred to several other members of the Twelve who had come from similarly atypical backgrounds.

  95. I so wish that Elder Echohawk was wearing a Donkey tie-tac

  96. No insults were intended.

    I was responding to criticism of the brethren as being “out of touch” that was implicit in Julia’s comment. It seemed to me to be saying that “they all have such perfect lives, they could never understand the lives of people in different circumstances.”

    To which I offered Dallin H. Oaks as a counter-example – and there have been many other such examples.

  97. He certainly can. And does.

  98. Elder Bednar also grew up in a home where his father was not a member. His dad joined the church when he was in his late twenties.

  99. 93: I noticed that, too — but he said it “says” not “said,” possibly very consciously, and was therefore correct.

  100. Coke Drinker says:

    Not a lot of diversity in the audience.

  101. Sure there is, Coke Drinker … there are 15,000 shades of opinion on Coke drinking.

  102. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Ardis…

    Sad but true.

  103. Lame joke time. Gay Elder speaks in Gen. Conf.

  104. #100 — RE the Audience — Has it ever bothered anyone else that they ban kids under 8 from the conference center? I understand this is a television production as well as general conference, but for a church that is so big on the family to basically ban families with young children from attending conference together seems a bit hypocritical in my mind.

  105. Coke Drinker says:

    So first we make fun of someone’s name because it’s Native American, and now we’re making fun of someone’s name because it’s also used as a slang term for homosexuals?

  106. My wife and I are enjoying Dr. Peppers at the moment…I’m a Coke fan, not so much her. But we mostly get along anyway.

  107. A talk I can relate to! Buying candy bars!

  108. 104 – No. Cuz I’m selfish and I actually want to hear the speakers over the crying babies.

  109. Ahh, .25 Cent movies, the good old days

  110. Agreed Coke, I think we can do better than that.

    We should make jokes only about things that don’t hurt. Like tie color.

  111. Coke Drinker says:

    The caffeine debate is sadly far from settled.

  112. I didn’t make fun of Echo Hawk’s name — I merely pointed out that it was an awesome war movie name, and I stand by that.

  113. Coke, I warned everyone it was a lame joke. It was just too easy to pass up. I am enjoying his talk, thus far, though.

  114. You can show your commitment for children by having enough backbone to let the children know their proper loved and secure place in society –

    And that that place is not in the middle of a televised world church broadcast. A culture that lets kids get away with anything is not a culture that values kids.

  115. I Wish that opening prayers during conference would also include giving thanks for the food that we partake of during the session so that when lunch is put out during the intermediate hymn, my wife wouldn’t argue with me over whether or not we needed to pray over the food in the middle of the next talk.

    We’re having Pulled pork sandwiches, chips and apples.

  116. “Sophisticated neutrals”….

    I can’t tell how close to home that hits for my own life and the things I’ve done myself in the past.

  117. Rob: What kind of barbeque for the pork? I’m fond of Carolina-style mustard BBQ myself, but since that’s hard to get in the west Sweet Baby Ray’s is good too.

  118. 114 Seth- what the heck?

    How does that relate to your stance on ideals guiding us? If I have to put up with insulting comments, without offense, because you seem oblivious to the huge varieties of hurt and pain the Christ’s Atonement heals daily in the members if His church, why can’t you find a way to be reverent in the presence of those for whom it is impossible to sin?

    Honestly, I don’t see you putting much value on adults or children.

  119. I teach the Valiant 9, 10, and 11 classes in my ward. My five students have a hard time sitting still during Sacrament meeting. The younger children in the ward have an even harder time. Why would anyone think it a good idea to subject children to a massively crowded space for two and a half hours, during which there is to be no talking and getting up is discouraged? It isn’t being unfair; it is understanding that the Conference Center is not a good location for small children.

  120. Julia, I LIKE having kids in Sacrament Meeting, on the other hand.

    And Stake Conference.

  121. Coke Drinker says:

    Do non-Mormon construction workers build temples?

  122. Coke, I can’t imagine how you’d build a temple anywhere outside of Utah and Idaho if they don’t.

  123. Sharee Hughes says:

    #115, you can solve that problem by blessing all the food you will eat that day in your morning prayers. That’s what I do. Then if I eat out, the restaurant food s blessed already. I learned that in a talk one time. I understand Pres. Howard W Hunter used to do that.

  124. I understand the point he’s trying to make here, but honestly this story seems more like a case study in excessive pedantry and unnecessary expenses.

  125. If the Lord can’t rest in a house with a 1/8″ window flaw I’m lost forever.

  126. Casey — Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce. I think I’m gonna need seconds This is yummy.

    The availablility of lunch during the session is a much better reason not to be in the conference than the ban on young children. But I still think it’s hypocritical. Do we excuse our kids from watching conference at the church building, or in our living rooms? If we expect them to pay attention and try to learn something from the proceedings, we shouldn’t ban them from the one location where they may get closer to the brethren than anywhere else they may go.

  127. 121 – I remeber a talk from a few years ago (could have been a stake conf, no idea…) where someone talked about Primary kids writing letters to the construction workers building their new temple telling them how important the temple was to them and would they please not swear/drink/etc. while they worked on it. Implicitly stated – the workers were non-members.

  128. Conferenceisgreat says:

    Re #125…maybe the exact construction standards of the temple is supposed to mirror or shadow the exact worthiness standards needed to enter. Just a thought.

  129. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Rob the Referee

    Is that the sauce that has Jack Daniels in it?

  130. Sweet Baby Rays. My favorite BBQ sauce!

  131. Not sure if it has Jack Daniels in it or not. But it’s yummy. I think I’ll have seconds.

  132. A friend of mine who oversees construction projects told me that at Church construction projects–I don’t recall whether specifically temples or all of them–they have an orientation meeting at the beginning of the project where all of the workers were told the rules: no smoking, drinking, swearing, catcalling, etc. on the site.

  133. Kai #125 – Amen and amen.

  134. 132 — I have heard of similar meetings, and I Think they are for both temples and meetinghouses. I think the church tries to use LDS contractor where it is feasible, but that isn’t always easy to do. And inevitably, some subcontractors will end up on the job who are not members of the church.

  135. Hurray for a praise for the single adults, even if it’s in a keeping chastity context.

  136. Coke Drinker says:

    The tone in his voice when he said “She is single” was a little negative.

  137. I wish someday I’d hear a general authority say that the “moral compass of society has been evolving at a rapid rate,” and point out how now things that used to be accepted–saying nigger, retard, or fag, for example–are now recognized to be demeaning and wrong.

  138. Taken back the hurray due to the “struggle with same sex attraction” story.

  139. StillConfused says:

    I was in Larry Echohawk’s first class he taught at BYU. Criminal Law. I remember him asking me if the criminal had rights. I said “Sure, the right to remain silent and, in Utah, the right to death by firing squad.” (that was true back then). He and I were buds after that. So he may be democrat but he appreciates all side of the political spectrum… and even some of us who are outside the spectrum altogether.

  140. Thank you, Russell. I was also thinking of something similar.

  141. Shout out to the Salamander letter!

  142. Coke Drinker says:

    When was the last time the Mark Hoffman story was mentioned in General Conference?

  143. Holy cow. A Mark Hoffman reference. Crazy.

  144. Coke Drinker says:

    Sadly, most Mormons act like Joseph Smith was perfect.

  145. ‘Nother lame joke. This is now an explosive session of Conference. That’s probably tasteless, too.

  146. Most internet exposes of Mormonism are indeed a joke…but when I hear members tell stories of not learning until they’re in college that Joseph Smith was a polygamist, that tells me the problem isn’t only with the bad guys trying to bring us down from the outside! I don’t know if blanket statements that such things are untrue are helpful in all cases.

  147. John Taber says:

    Doctrine is “not found in an obscure paragraph in one talk.” I can think of a few places in the Bloggernacle that would disagree with that.

  148. Parts of this talk need to be given in every church meeting we have. “Give thanks unto God that he has made known unto you our imperfections!” etc.

  149. Sharee Hughes says:

    #144, Who do you consider most Mormon?. Most Mormons I know are well aware that Joseph Smith was nowhere near perfect.

  150. 146 – so true. I heard first on my mission about the peep stone. Thought the anti’s were lying, and then read in an Ensign article where Elder Holland (I think) mentioned it.

  151. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Casey

    Agreed. His statement was a red herring. The most difficult issues for the Church are the ones that are true but unflattering.

  152. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Sharee

    Okay, what would you consider one of Joseph Smith’s mistakes?

  153. I’m trying to be charitable towards Elder Anderson, but his talks are regularly laden with landmines and casual dismissals of very serious issues.

  154. I always get a little nervous when we reach this point in the Saturday Afternoon session and Holland hasn’t spoken yet… I hope he’s speaking tomorrow and not tonight!

  155. Wow, Elder Oaks! Great, if horrible, topic.

  156. Dallin H. Oaks: natalist!

  157. Sharee Hughes says:

    I believe Joseph Smith tried very hard to do what God wanted him to do. However, he was not always successful. I want to listen to Elder Oaks, so I won’t go into a lot of detail, but his continued pleading with the Lord to let Martin Harris take the first 116 pages of the BofM translation could certainly be considered a mistake–a really BIG one.

  158. @Brooke, me too! (PS. Good to see you!)

  159. @ 152 running for President

  160. Well, he’s talking about the evil of children suffering, so that’s something for the folks who would like the church to address social injustice more directly.

  161. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Sharee Hughes

    For most Mormons, that’s the only mistake he ever made. And it’s really such a minor mistake. Most Mormons won’t concede that he made any serious mistakes, like the Kinderhook plates translation.

  162. Coke Drinker says:

    Do Mormons really need to hear that child prostitution and crack babies are bad?

  163. I don’t recall AIDS ever being mentioned specifically before. This is a really rough talk, but I really appreciate him not sugar coating the way things are.

  164. Coke, the Kinderhook Plates were not a Joseph Smith mistake in the first place.

    He never attempted the translation.

    End of story.

  165. I am regularly amazed at the number of things that people talk about being surprised to find out about. The vast majority of them I learned in Seminary, (along with things the prophets themselves felt were their own flaws – if I remember right Joseph Smith had a tendency to make jokes at inappropriate times, to be prideful or “full of himself” as my seminary teacher put it, and to make decisions for his family without consulting Emma or making arrangements for her and their children) and if we didn’t study them directly, I am least knew where to go look things up.

    Honors Seminary students often went on splits with the sister missionaries, and I was surprised how often I knew more of the answers to doctrinal “quirks” than they did. The priests reported similar experiences when doing splits with the Elders.

  166. No bullying or ostracizing re: same sex attraction! Great point, but needs to be extended to adults, too.

  167. Oaks condemns bullying those with SSA! Excellent

  168. The way he said “vile deeds” made me feel like a sinner.

    @Aaron R. Thanks! Good to be here. :)

  169. I’m loving much, if not all, of this talk: a fierce denunciation of abortion, child abuse, child deprivation and poverty, lack of medical care, parental irresponsibility, corrupt cultures, and more. The key is, after this parade of horribles, what will he emphasize as a solution?

  170. Coke Drinker says:

    @ Seth R

    You just unwittingly proved my point.

  171. RAF, is he quoting Sandel?

  172. 169 – evidently the Proclamation on the Family

  173. The answer: getting rid of no-fault divorce, apparently. I can accept that, but damn, that’s a hard teaching to swallow.

  174. Aaron R (#171), probably Mary Ann Glendon.

  175. Whatever Coke. The Kinderhook criticism has always struck me as one of the more ridiculous ones out there.

  176. Called it!

  177. John Taber says:

    And now divorce. That’s one I don’t think the Brethren do enough about within the Church.

  178. No-fault divorce has been an unmitigated social disaster in low-income America.

  179. Elder Oaks…. great talk!

  180. Selfish advocates of adult interests? Might that include people unwilling to pay taxes to provide for adequate health care or foreign aid?

  181. This talk and the last one have really left me cold.

  182. Yeah, and I’m sitting here with a mouth full of glass.

  183. Shh! Income was intended by the Lord to be sacrosanct!

  184. Unite to increase our care and concern for children–I can absolutely agree with that. Oaks’s particular interpretation of that care might involve a few things I would dissent from, and vice versa, but the overall call (which is, let us be absolutely clear, is a social justice, not a capitalist, one)? I’m completely there.

  185. Same sex marriage is an experiment. Yes, it is. We don’t know if it’ll be horrible for kids or not. But that is not an excuse to deny same sex couples adoptive rights. Because it might even be a good thing. We don’t know.

  186. Russel — RE #180 — Why should I want to pay taxes that are paid out as “foreign aid” to countries who want their countrymen to blow up America and it’s interests?

  187. John Taber says:

    That’s what they said about no-fault divorce, too. Now “single moms” are glamorized.

  188. I agree, Jacob. I encourage politicians and policy makers everywhere to heed Elder Oaks’ call for considering the welfare of children. We have thousands of orphans that would love to see legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt them.

  189. #185 – Yeah, I thought this was a weird piece of rhetoric. “We don’t know what the effects of same-sex marriage are, because the literature is a total mess. But I’m going to bring it up anyway, and throw FUD all over it.” Huh?

  190. Maybe advocating for children is the basis for swallowing the no fault divorce plug. Being on the verge of this issue about 50% of the time…. I appreciate that it was called out.

  191. Jacob, I see no reason to play mad-doctor with an issue this important to society.

    As for adoption – that’s different – just because I see a need for non-abusive adoptive parents. But it’s something I need to see the data on and be convinced on.

    I’m done with gay marriage advocacy groups hijacking the burden of proof here and acting like its the burden of society to prove why they shouldn’t have marriage rather than the burden of gay marriage advocates to prove why it’s a good thing.

  192. Jacob M (#185), agreed.

    Robthereferee (#186), perhaps because some of that money might actually immunize a child against measles here and there.

  193. In Oaks’ defense, at least he clearly acknowledged the literature on the subject.

  194. Kent Larsen says:

    @159 — not sure I agree that JS running for president was much of a mistake. I don’t think it accomplished what he wanted (calling attention to wrongs committed against Mormons — he didn’t expect to win, from what I can see) but I think there were a lot of side benefits — increased attention to the Church, greater efforts by the missionaries sent out, etc.

    I thin this is a rather complex issue, its not clear that it was an “error.”

  195. Phew, just when this threatened to turn into another tedious debate on gay marriage the session ends so we can all let it alone and not let it devolve into that…Or at least, I don’t have to read it!

  196. Sharee Hughes says:

    @Coke–Julia said it: “Joseph Smith had a tendency to make jokes at inappropriate times, to be prideful or ‘full of himself’ as my seminary teacher put it, and to make decisions for his family without consulting Emma or making arrangements for her and their children.” I don’t think JS himself ever claimed to be perfect. Seems to me the Lord was always chastising him for something or other.

  197. I wonder if Oaks was referring to this paper talking about how children of same-sex households are more prone to depression and suicide, among other problems:

  198. #191 – It’s impossible for gay marriage advocates to collect evidence if gay marriage is illegal.

  199. Seth, that’s not fair. Nobody has to prove they’ll be good parents before they’re allowed to have children.

  200. sbagleysd,

    My understanding was that there are quite a few gays with kids.

    Also, I’d like to keep the question of marriage and the question of specific benefits like adoption and so forth separate. As far as I understand, one is not necessary for the other.

  201. Trevor, gays don’t have to prove anything to be parents either.

    We’re talking about redefining the institution of marriage.

  202. I should state right up front that I’m a lot more ambiguous and willing to accept gays adopting. It’s marriage that I’ve gradually hardened on over the last couple years.

  203. How do you really keep matters of gay rights (whether marriage or adoption) separate, though? Is that even possible without making the whole conversation become strictly theoretical?

  204. It’s hard Trevor, but doable.

    You simply keep marriage for heterosexual unions, and expand, create, and reform a set of civil union laws to protect other households in need of protections and benefits.

  205. Perhaps gay adoption is an “experiment.” But the jury’s pretty much in on what happens to kids who graduate from the foster care system in the U.S., or to girls who age out of orphanages in certain parts of Asia, so I’m hardly on the fence about whether or not the gay adoptees I know personally are on a better path now than the one they started on.

  206. NGO, I have to tentatively agree with your remarks there.

  207. Seth, out of curiosity, which definition of marriage are you wanting us to adhere to? It seems to me that what is and is not considered acceptable terms for marriage, even within the United States, have changed dramatically over just the past 50 years or so.

  208. John Taber says:

    It was nice seeing one of my cousins in the choir – he was one of the young men behind the organ.

  209. Alex, are you talking about the benefits and trappings that come with marriage, or are you talking about the core definition?

  210. There is no such thing as “separate but equal” we’ve already tried that, and it failed miserably.

  211. EOR

    It works just fine when there is an actual difference.

    In fact, we do separate but equal in all sorts of contexts in our modern democracy and it works just fine there as well.

  212. There is no difference between a black man and a white man that matters for work, education, or friendship.

    There is a BIG difference between a heterosexual and a homosexual union.

  213. No, there isn’t.

  214. That wording didn’t come out right. There isn’t a difference between a homosexual and heterosexual man either for work, education or friendship either.

    What I’m trying to say is the nature of the union is fundamentally different, and the government response to it must be different as well.

  215. As soon as he got to that point in the talk, I knew this thread would end up where it is now.

  216. The real threat to marriage isn’t homosexuals, it’s the government. If the Church really wanted to protect the institution of marriage they would advocate getting the government out of the marriage business.

  217. No, it isn’t. The only difference is that instead of two different sexes, they are two of the same sex. How on earth does that make their union different?

  218. When a guy and guy have sex, it isn’t likely to easily produce children.

    That’s a HUGE difference right there.

    Secondly, part of the whole point of marriage is to unite the inequalities of the two genders in a socially stable arrangement.

    In gay marriage – there is only one gender, and therefore – no gender imbalance that anyone has to worry about.

  219. You know what, you’re right Ray. I am going to stop here.

  220. Except to say Seth, when you get on board with banning marriage for infertile couples (based on your logic) I will likely be able to take you more seriously. There, now I am done.

  221. zo-ma-rah,

    I said the same thing back in 2008:

  222. Maybe we should wrap this discussion up or at least take it back a notch.

  223. The infertile couples argument is irrelevant.

    Because at the macro level – infertile heterosexual couples are part of a larger class that is likely to produce children naturally.

    Gay unions are not.

    The only way gays have children is through adoption, surrogate wombs, artificial insemination and a lot of other expensive, difficult and involved procedures. Which makes the government interest in their unions – as a class – less.

  224. Aaron R.

    I’ve got to leave anyway. So anyone who wants the last word on me is welcome to it.

    Anyway – great talk by Oaks. And the part about the culture of entitlement at the heart of these problems absolutely needed to be said.

  225. Okay, Melissa (my wife) and I just argued a bit about Oaks’s talk, and I need to walk back some of my (limited) praise for it. I still think it is both right and important to be willing to confront the way in which selfish individualism plays out in our acceptance of certain less-than-ideal family and cultural outcomes, and to put such in the context of global poverty and other crimes against children. However, the annoyance she felt, and which many others apparently feel, is appropriate, because Oaks never actually addressed that poverty, or any of the complex realities which generate the parade of horribles he mentions. Indeed, he wasn’t willing to own up to any complex issues at all–except, of course, no-fault divorce and abortion, which, whatever their harms, are undeniably easy ones for a man in his position to call out. But along the way, he didn’t call out taxation, he didn’t call out consumerism, he didn’t take on any of these broader pathologies. He wasn’t even willing to go for the full-bore natalist response, though he flirted with it. So, yes, Melissa has cooled my sympathy for his talk somewhat.

  226. Russell,
    Let’s realize that he has 20 minutes, not 2 hours to address the issue of children. Is there any question that he understands the other issues. None. He understands it all, only at this point he addressed children and pointed the finger. Do we feel any guilt?

  227. Seth R., my comment was not aimed at one person in particular. I hope that it did not seem that way.

  228. Code Red Mountain Dew. Mmm.

  229. Last Lemming says:

    That reminds me, I need to put a can in the fridge.

  230. If you want to play a different game, come play “Fantasy Fourth Ward” and help me make a perfect ward, filled with celebrities. ;-)

  231. No Aaron, it did not seem that way. I just took advantage of it to end my part in fueling the controversy.

    I’m sure there will be other posts where discussion of this is more appropriate.