Saturday AM General Conference: Everybody. Be. Cool. Let’s not embarrass Mitt edition

This is the right place! for your conference chitter-chatter. Comment On!

Thus the announcer hath spoken: 182nd Semiannual General Conference is now underway.
And remember, in the comment thread: Everybody. Be. Cool. Let’s not embarrass Mitt. UPDATE: Just kidding. Go ahead and embarrass Mitt.

HUGE NEWS: Here is the press release about the change in missionary age.


How Firm a Foundation Nice and uptempo! And they’re doing the extra verses, which are the best ones. Excellent.

Thomas S. Monson: Two new temples! Tuscon, AZ and Arequipa, Peru. Mission age change! All worthy and able young men who have finished high school can serve at 18. Audience faces have a lot of shocked looks! Bigger news!! All young women may serve starting at age 19.

Lord, I Would Follow Thee

Quentin L. Cook: Talk is all about Alma’s questions about our spiritual readiness. Interesting mention of internet resources about shortcomings of early church leaders harming spirituality. When we get baptized we leave neutral ground and can never go back. Two huge issues harming spirituality: abuse, disrespect in the home, sexual immorality.

Ann M. Dibb: Addressed to the Young Women. Praising a young woman she ran into at the grocery store who was wearing a “I’m a Mormon, Are You?” shirt. “What phrase would I figuratively wear on my TShirt? … I’m a Mormon. I know it, I live it, I love it.” (Cue manufacture of shirts actually saying this in 3, 2, 1, ….)

Craig Christiansen: Teaching children about the Holy Ghost. Very sad story about Grandpa collapsing while playing with the grandchildren.

We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet

Shayne M. Bowen: Oh no! A dead children and babies talk. I’m glad they give these to minister to those who experience this tragedy, but my goodness, they’re so hard to listen to. I like the frank honesty of this–denial, sense of a dream not waking up, sleeplessness, guilt, “felt dirty,” anger. This isn’t a talk about cheap and instant comfort. Long periods of torment merely punctuated by occasions of comfort from the words of wise, caring leaders.

Russell M. Nelson: Missionary work talk. A nod to people in the audience perhaps being just curious outsiders. This sounds like “Mormons 101: who we and our missionaries are in 15 minutes.” Interesting. We don’t often get these outside-facing talks in General Conference.

I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me (the requisite Primary song of the meeting)

Dieter F. Uchtdorf: He thanks President Monson for the important announcements about temples and missionary service. Facing our own mortality–reflecting on our lives and regrets. Men in particular regret spending life on “daily treadmill of work” and not spending more time with people they love. “We often wear our busyness as a badge of honor. … Is it?” He has tried to imagine Jesus bustling from meeting to meeting and “multitasking,” but cannot imagine it. Instead He had slow moments of compassion. “He gave them the precious gift of His time.” “Posting humorous pictures, forwarding trivial things” is not true connecting with other people. Don’t just announce that you’re going to make time for family prayer and family scripture study–better is “steadily doing it.”


  1. Oh. I thought you were quoting the memo instructing the general authorities.

  2. Mark Brown says:

    “Let’s not embarrass Mitt.”

    Too late!

  3. Cracking game between Everton and Wigan. COYB!

  4. taking our seats I see…

  5. Bruce Bogtrotter says:

    Everybody be cool. You, be cool.

    A classic dance anthem to get you the conference mood.

  6. Interesting documentary just finishing up on BYUTV: “Fires of Faith: the coming forth of the King James Bible.”

  7. David B checking in, still before sunrise in Alaska. Does that make me extra holy?

  8. Those big red chairs look comfy, how do they stay awake?

  9. Hello again, friends of BCC! Eating cheap donuts from Kroger while watching at my parents’ house. (Oddly enough, my parents aren’t here watching. Just me, my wife, and one of my brothers and his wife and son.)

  10. Checking in from beautiful Maryland. Love this Hymn!

  11. Where in Alaska loathing? We’re gathered in SOldotna, Alaska. THe conference donuts have been purchased. The candy bowl is filled, and the word of the session is SACRED. Each time that word is heard by a speaker, the children and their cousins will each be able to partake from the candy bowl.

  12. Ha, good point scw!!

  13. Not a fan of MoTab, but even i have to admit that they can pull off a switch into a capella better than anybody else.

  14. Checking in from, well, Huntington Beach, CA. Not at the beach though. That would be weird to watch conference while watching beach babes. Love how almost every shot of the men’s section of the choir includes Alex Boye. (Or however his name is spelled)

  15. I’m in Anchorage. J8veg—where in Maryland? I’m originally from Southern Maryland. (Bryantown, near Waldorf, if either of those ring a bell.)

  16. First time watching with a small child (three-year-old) in a long time. The word of the session is Prophet. He has to tell his mum he heard the word to get candy.

  17. I’m following from Azerbaijan and haven’t been able to make streaming work thus far. Therefore, please be as informative as possible!

  18. loathing, I lived up in Anchorage in the 1990s. I went to Service HS up there and attended the building where the temple is now.

  19. I think “belovedprophet” is a single compound word for Mormons now.

    Also, that was a long list of upcoming speakers. Is all that going to be on the test?

  20. Stick with those music lesson!

  21. Our kid is just barely a year, so he doesn’t get to enjoy the candy, but we’re loving it. This session’s word is “love” for me and “church” for the husband.

  22. That’s my regret for myself, that I don’t practice piano anymore, so I’m sure I’ll be like Pres.’s mom and guilt my kids if they don’t practice.

  23. Gaithersburg! Hello Alaska! Yes, I have been to Waldorf, Indian Head, and I worked at Andrews for a little while.

  24. Boyd K PAcker dedicated a temple? Has a temple ever before been dedicated by someone besides a member of the First PResidency?

  25. This is it.

  26. Whoa this missionary thing is amazing!

  27. WOW!!!! A drop in missionary eligibility age!!

  28. Wow…changing the missionary age!

  29. There have been a good number of temples dedicated by apostles, if i recall correctly. Not sure about seventies, though.

  30. Sharee Hughes says:

    Wow! Did you all hear that? Boys may now be missionaries at 18 and girls at age 19!

  31. I approve. Particularly the sisters. Yeah! This was applauded in my house, including my Mom

  32. Women can serve full-time missions at age 19 now! High-fives from my daughters!

  33. For those with a lag, mission age 18 for boys, 19 for girls. Globally. No joke.

  34. A nod in the right direction for some semblance of gender equality.

  35. I heard the gasps in the conference center through my tv!

  36. Kent Larsen says:

    The number of women missionaries serving will increase substantially — perhaps by 50%, I would think!

  37. Re: Alaska folks. I was born in Fairbanks. Don’t remember it much, though, as my parents moved from their when I was between 2 and 3.

  38. What a fun way to begin conference! Shout out to my hometown of Tucson…. too bad I don’t live there anymore :)

  39. Wow! This is great news! Wish it was 18 for both, but hot dog, this is awesome.

  40. !8 & 19!

  41. John Taber says:

    In fact, President Packer dedicated a temple previously. Several apostles have dedicated temples – I don’t have my Church Almanac on me so I can’t see who at the moment.

  42. Kent Larsen says:

    BYU’s registration and planning just got a lot more complicated!!

  43. How often is there an address from the prophet where the throwaway line is that there will be two new temples?

    (One was Tucson, Arizona, but i didn’t catch the other—where is it?)

  44. Holy Cow! 18 and 19 for missionaries?!?! Major announcement! Loved the shot of the gape-mouthed boy!

  45. Peru

  46. Yes, this will definitely increase the # of girls who serve. That’s a big effing deal.

  47. WOWZEERS on the Mission age change

  48. Why didn’t they do this years ago? Finally. Also, they should have pictures of the congregation when he made that announcement. A lot of dropped jaws.

  49. I really like the new age rules. Does anyone think it is for equality or to prompt members to get married earlier?

  50. I loved the crowd reaction shots when they made the announcement.
    Also another temple in Arizona and in Peru

  51. I think this is more about addressing the single adult problem than about missionary work.

  52. Brad, It’s a huge deal.

  53. Whoa! Women can serve at 19?! And men at 18?! No more premies floating around BYU. I wonder if I would have served if I could’ve at 19, and if things would be much different now.

  54. Well, that’s rather emotional news here since I have a 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son (as well as younger children). My daughter was very excited to hear the news. (Understatement.)

  55. BHodge, my thoughts exactly. I wish it were 18 for both, but we’re narrowing the gap!

  56. This missionary ages thing is great news. Kinda lolz that they didn’t just go ahead and make the YW 18 as well? But 19 is huge, HUGE, for the young women. We’ll see many, many more young women serving. I think this will have huge downstream effects in terms of shaping a generation of (even more than usual) outstanding female leadership. I never served a mission and still feel a bit sad about that. There is an understanding of church service and leadership that comes from serving a mission that can take years and years to obtain without one. I’m very happy and excited about this.

  57. No cable and my antenna hardly picks up anything here in Rexburg (shudder), so I woke and hauled my desktop across the apartment to plug it into my TV so my wife and I can get a nice, fullscreen experience without huddling around the computer, and as a result of my futzing around with the speakers we almost missed the missionary announcement. Almost.

  58. My husband is now thinking of all the young people in our ward who can prepare NOW for their missions. Yes, a huge deal.

  59. Good point, that a reduction in full-time missionary age has happened before.

  60. @Indiana- I love that they lowered the age for both girls and boys– but why, oh why, couldn’t they just make it the same age for both? Why does everything always have to be different between men and women? Any thoughts on this?

  61. I’m guessing that most young men will still serve at age nineteen, but we’ll see.

  62. Did anybody catch the city in Peru? All I caught was Peru.

  63. Arequipa.

  64. My 7-year-old just woke up, and we told her about the mission age announcement, and she starting giggling and jumping around the room. Way cute.

  65. Ah, Arequipa, Peru.

  66. Casey — We cancelled our cable last year after conference, and this time we are counting on my iPhone, connected to the TV via APple TV for our conference experience. It is working out wonderfully.

  67. John Taber says:

    I worry that mission ages will be interpreted to send everyone out at those ages. I don’t see it as that – I see it as the Brethren saying, “You each have an optimal window for service. We don’t want to get in the way of that window with a minimum age that’s arbitrarily high.”

  68. Mike R.M. says:

    I wonder if the majority of guys will go at 18, or if it will continue to be 19 for most?

  69. @Margaret: ‘We’ll see’ is right. My sense is that social pressures will work against these young men and the prejudices that currently and quietly judge those who don’t leave immediately at 19 will simply early up by a year.

  70. You know, I’ve always been among those who felt like GAs were overblowing the moral decay of “the world.”

    But you know what… after years of trying to sympathize with our secular culture and see the good in it (and succeeding to some degree), Quentin Cook is right – our secular society sucks.

  71. Political views can pull people away from the gospel — Dog whistle for highly conservative members alert!

  72. Hmm…Quentin giving the slightly veiled smack-down on any source that’s critical about the early church. Seems to condemn it all with a casual sweep of the hand, as it were.

  73. Nope, it’s your fault for any spiritual drought you feel. What a healing balm.

  74. My son just entered the MTC this last Wednesday. I bet there was a large group MTC approved swearing as all the guys thought “I could have been done a year!”

  75. Quickmere Graham says:

    Accd. to Elder Cook, it seems church leaders are essentially finding precisely what they are expecting to find–increasing scary evil. Cook said church leaders are noticing two major trends: society is wickeder, and church members are more apathetic. From another angle it seems this could be a reflection that our Mormon capacity for judging other people is increasing as much as anything. Is that the gospel?

    Also, leaving neutral ground, never going back, seems to fly in the face of the arms of mercy being extended to those who repent.

  76. Margaret (#61) has a point; it may very well work out that the de facto missionary age for men and women will, for all practical purposes, now come to be the same.

  77. Good one Jacob M.

  78. Kent Larsen says:

    Does Elder Cook realize that the announcement means that fewer people are listening to him?

  79. Young men have to have graduated high school to serve at 18—that’ll push the minimum age back for several, since in a lot of jurisdictions one doesn’t usually graduate before one’s 18th birthday, and graduating at 19 (not from failing a grade, just from age of starting) is not uncommon.

  80. Yeah, my boy would be on his way home if he left at 18!

  81. David M. Morris says:

    Outside the 1st Presidency :
    Boise – James E. Faust 29 May 1987 (remodelling)
    Saskaatchewan – Boyd K. Packer 14 Nov 1999
    Tahiti – L. Tom Perry 12 Nov 2006 (remodelling)
    Tonga – Russel M. Nelson 4 Nov 2007 (remodelling)

  82. J. Stapley says:

    I want to get the precise quote on the bit about early church history and the internet.

  83. Being able to serve immediately after High School is a huge, huge deal.

  84. The earlier age for missionary service was prefaced with the point that 18-year-old men in other countries have been able to serve for country-specific reasons. The follow up was that every guy can, but should not be required, to go at 18. There will still be pressure in the Mormon Corridor, probably, but since there are guys who don’t graduate until they are almost 19, anyway, I don’t see this being a huge change in numbers for guys, but it will help to open the window. And I’m glad that women can serve earlier. My baby sister could go on a mission next year if she wanted to!

  85. John Taber says:

    Kent #42: This would have changed the dynamic for both my brothers and myself – we each graduated HS at 17 and went to college two years before heading out. My father wanted me to try to pull strings to go at 18 – I was at BYU then – but I didn’t feel ready to go at the time. Looking back, the bar would have been raised on me at 19 1/2 anyway.

  86. Kent, that’s so true :)

  87. I have some real problems with this talk, but if it gets interpreted as meaning that domestic abuse is a graver sin than premarital sex, that’s huge progress.

  88. Sorry Elder Cook, I can hardly hear you over the ringing in my ears caused by shock… I can’t believe they lowered the mission ages! I met a girl just a week or two ago who is counting down the days (all 550ish of them) to age 21, looks like she’ll be starting her papers today.

  89. Watching conference at my wife’s old apartment with her former roommates. The new missionary age announcement was a big deal here–though the girls are at or around 21 already.

    I’ve told them that, if they end up being the oldest sisters in their missions, they should tell their companions that they had to wait because of what they did in their gang days.

  90. 18 *if already graduated from high school*…

  91. #75: I’ve long felt that church leaders have an extra-negative view of the world ’cause they have to deal with the hard cases, and so see an extra amount of evil in their daily lives.

  92. Arsenal vs. West Ham kickoff…between the game, conference, and liveblogging I can probably only pay attention to two of the three, so cheers, y’all :)

  93. My daughter is dancing around the house right now, because now she can serve *and* still go to the college she was wanting to go to (but that discouraged girls going on missions). She’s long felt that she had to BYU because that was the only way to serve. Going at 19 changes the equation.

    And to Margaret’s point, most young men planning to go to college will probably still go at 19. It’s a lot easier to apply to colleges when you’re 18 and competing against your graduating class than 20-21 and competing against that year’s crop of 18 year-olds.

  94. He said there’s no real pushback in the world at large against pornography (as there is against, say, smoking)? Part of me thinks that he needs to start reading more anti-porn feminism.

  95. loathing, I’ve gotten more than my fill of the filth, cruelty, trash, and poverty of the modern American mind simply by participating on the Internet.

    Political analysts have noted that our society is more angry and polarized than it has been at any time in our nations history except the period prior to the Civil War. And I’ve certainly seen more than my share of it in nearly ten years of Internet dialogue.

  96. #93 queuno: Which college is that, if you don’t mind?

  97. Puzzel @60: not sure. Really, there’s always going to be some deep-seated inequality, if only because the church is a bit of a gerontocracy and gender inequality – even for well-meaning if patronising causes – is more prevalent at least in its more benign forms amongst older generations. I don’t have any hard data for that assumption beyond the anecdotal, so I’m willing to be proven wrong.

  98. I’m glad for the announcement, cuz otherwise I would have paid more attention to this talk, which is really annoying me in many ways almost everytime I do pay attention.

  99. My understanding of the age difference is to reduce the numbers of Elders and Sisters falling for each other.

  100. Yes, i’ll say it: I’m tired of the Eric Liddel story. Find another Sabbath-keeping story for us, please.

  101. This age change will have a huge impact on BYU football.

  102. Sis Gibb is Pres Monson’s daughter.

  103. Anybody whose general conference word was “supposition”, time to chug the root beer!

  104. I’m a Mormon – the modestly sexy new PR campaign t-shirt!

  105. What does my shirt say? “Mormons for Obama.” I am not ashamed!

  106. Odds that t-shirts that say, “I’m a Mormon” will start being sold online within a week – Even.

  107. The idea of a faith statement on a T-shirt would be silly from anybody other than a member of the young women general presidency. From that group, it seems fitting (and, dare i say, cute—in a good way) to me.

  108. Sharee Hughes says:

    You can see that Sis Gibb is Pres Monson’s daughter. She looks very much like him.

  109. “I’m a Mormon. I know it, I live it, I love it.” And with that, a whole shipping container worth of merchandising was born.

  110. An increase in gospel knowledge lets us apply the gospel in our lives. There’s a lot packed into that, really.

  111. Cynthia – And with that merchandising, the difference between us and the evangelical “my co-pilot is Jesus” has now pretty much disappeared!

  112. She’s giving Quentin L. Cook’s address better than he did.

  113. I’m curious what Elder Packer is thinking about the “I’m a Mormon” theme. (re: “It is one thing for others to refer to the Church as the Mormon Church or to us as Mormons; it is quite another for us to do so.”) –

  114. Too bad a woman said it. If it were a FP member, we’d be talking about 25 shipping containers.

  115. @lothing wordpress…I agree. I’m glad she mentioned that you ought to be conversant with the principles you say you believe.

  116. I agree with the whole “the world is wicked”phrase so long as they address the actual problems in the world–rape warfare, the killing of openly gay Iraqis, etc. Not do much with the first-world problems we experience in America.

  117. The age drop is going to affect parent’s pocket books – gone is the year the typical missionary helps contribute to the financial requirement.

  118. Seems like the “graduated from high school” requirement is going to make the MTC very busy from June to September!

  119. Don’t worry. I’m sure there’ll be another talk given this conference about the importance of using the actual name of the church. And I don’t mind that, because it shows, in a subtle way, that the bretheren don’t always think the same.

  120. T-shirts, framed stenciled artwork, bookmarks, books, painted decorative blocks of wood, etched glass, embroidered pillowcases…

  121. Yeah, I’m just confused about what to call myself!

  122. Why are General Authorities’ daughters called to auxiliary presidencies so frequently?

  123. Is it weird to y’all that she refered to her father by his full name?

  124. Is it just me or is President Monson getting hotter?

  125. One good possibility from the T-shirt thing: My YW-age daughter has expressed interest in learning how to do silk-screening, so maybe they’ll get to play with silk-screening on T-shirts sometime soon.

  126. I heard an extra loud Amen after Sister Dibb. Was that Tommy?

  127. John Taber says:

    The MTC is already very busy from June to September.

  128. “The age drop is going to affect parent’s pocket books – gone is the year the typical missionary helps contribute to the financial requirement.”

    I bet it doesn’t impact it that much. What it impacts is that class of boys who aren’t going to college anyway, who until now had a year to blow off and get into trouble and then not serve.

  129. “The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy.” Interesting to hear that in phrasing usually used to refer to God or Jesus Christ.

  130. THe word of the Session, SACRED, has paid off about 5 times so far.

  131. Most missionaries only save their money for a year before a mission? Why do we have all of those mission fund boxes we give Primary kids?

  132. “Love” is cleaning up…nearly 20 times so far.

  133. Grandpa dies in front of you, it is devastating. No matter what the truth about the afterlife is, a death in front of you is something to be devastated about. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the hope from the resurrected Christ, but goodness gracious! Death is devastating, no matter what we “know” about the eternities!

  134. One of the reasons Pres. Monson quoted about the reasons for the change from 19 to 18 for boys is due to the military obligation in certain countries. In South Korea, when a boy becomes 20 years old, he is obligated to serve a military duty for 2 years unless he is a full time student. By lowering the age by one year, the young men in South Korea could serve a mission for 2 years and then their military duties for another 2 years! So they will go to college at 22!

  135. The speaker kept referring to the Holy Ghost as ‘he’, but also make clear that the Holy Ghost doesn’t have a body. How do we know it is a ‘he’ spirit and not a ‘she’ spirit?

  136. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    I think the mission age changes are wonderful. I also predict a few thousand engagements to be broken off within the next few weeks.

  137. Not liking the organ arrangement.

  138. Oh the surprising vindictiveness of Pioneer-era hymns.

  139. Elder Christiansen may have used a suboptimal pronoun for the Holy Spirit.

  140. I think talking about “distant” problems like human trafficking in Thailand and murder of Iraqis is a way that people in civil societies, living “nice” lives AVOID talking about the moral decay in their OWN lives.

  141. Thinking about it, I think it actually is significant that they officially lowered the age for the girls, and basically kept it for the boys but opened up the option for boys to go a year earlier if they need to.

  142. I just read that this guy was imprisioned in Chile during his mission! With a son in South America, I’m a bit concerned.

  143. “He” is still, for many older speakers, only partially marked for gender.

  144. We know that the Holy Ghost is a HE because the scriptures tell us so. As in, “But the comforter, which is the HOly Ghost, HE shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

  145. Mike R.M. says:

    So this will most likely result in a large increase is sister missionaries. Will this lead to sister district leaders and zone leaders? Will some missions start segregating elders and sisters into different districts and zones?

  146. Casey #138, agreed.

  147. I hate these type of talks!

  148. I always used to tune-out whenever people told these stories of children dying or in pain.

    Then I became a parent, and I don’t feel that way anymore.

  149. I realize there’s a necessity to them, but i have trouble listening to these sorts of stories.

  150. Good (as far as i can judge) description of survivor guilt, and the problems related to it.

  151. Seth R. – That’s a really good point. So good, in fact, that I don’t really want to think about it too much. I don’t really want to admit that that’s what I often do.

    By the same token, is talking about the sins of the western secular world a way that church members avoid talking about / thinking about our own sins?

  152. Have we embarrassed Mitt yet?

  153. I could be wrong, but I thought that lowering the age for the boys was mostly for the young men outside of US due to military obligations and other country specific restrictions. I still think that 19 is a good age for boys in US since spending one year at college away from home (especially at BYU) will help them prepare for their missions and adjust their career plans when they return from their missions.

  154. Thanks, Elder Bowen. I needed a good cry today. D:

  155. Wonderfully honest and personal account of child death and its aftermath.

  156. One day, I was a tired mom, in the middle of a cross country, having packed my own home up. I was on the plane with 5 of my children and saw what I was certain was Stephen Colbert. I said something like, “Hey, how are you? (in an I-know-who-you-are-sort-of-way)…………instead it was Elder Bowen. He was traveling with wife, lovely couple. He had spoken to my Stake just a few months earlier, and spoke just as well.

  157. andrew h: stay on point. (grin)

  158. “Wouldn’t it be tragic if we didn’t feel sorrow when we lose a child?”

  159. Beautiful talk by Elder Bowen

  160. Robert C. says:

    Did I hear Elder Jensen was released? To what extent should this be understood as relating to his strong sympathies expressed re Prop 8?

  161. I wasn’t liking this at the beginning. He drew me in. Beautiful address.

  162. @Harry re #153 — While I agree that a year at BYU can add to a young man’s preparation for mission, I think that in a properly functioning young men’s program can supplement parents in properly preparing their young men for missionary service at age 18. I also think that there are likely many young men “lost” between high school graduation and the wait to turn 19 who will now make it out into the mission field.

  163. Personally I don’t mind raising the age for the boys from 19 to 20. I am a convert and started my mission when I was 23 after graduating college. Some of the missionaries I served with were not mature enough to be effective missionaries.

  164. #160 Robert C.: I hadn’t heard that, but i just checked Wikipedia, and he’s 70, which is the normal retirement age for non-Qot12/FP GAs.

  165. Robert C.,

    Absolutely nothing. He’s 70 years old. It would be surprising if he wasn’t being released.

  166. Am I the only one who can note how Elder Nelson just said that a mission is a “priesthood duty” and then turned around and said that a mission is a voluntary service? Made me laugh, is all.

  167. Elder Jensen will become an emeritus seventy (next session I believe). I don’t think it’s related to his sympathies on Prop 8, but I have no proof of that.

  168. Robert #160, see here:

    I’m not really calling you stupid though.

  169. @Robert C #160, Elder Jensen was on his way out already before Prop 8 and the Oakland reconciliation. Now lets hope he runs for public office!

  170. How many non-members actually watch general conference?

  171. Robert C.: Naw, Elder Jensen turned 70, which is the standard age for emeritus status now.

  172. Here’s the amendment of Ann M Dibb’s talk…

  173. jay, I think the sins of the “secular world” are too close for us to think that way.

    I suspect people do use them that way though – as if the sins were somewhere else.

    We want to talk about human trafficking – somewhere else.

    But we don’t want to talk about that porn website we looked at last night that was very likely funded by Russian mafia members exploiting women in-the-United-States in situations that are basically human trafficking (women are often lured to the US or Britain by scam operations, then robbed and forced to work in the Internet porn industry).

    We talk about “secret combinations” and piously cluck worriedly over youth gangs in LA. But we don’t want to talk about how our homeowners association is exploiting the homeowners in our neighborhood.

    We want to talk about rape – but we don’t want to talk about the erotic novel we read last night that indulged in a rape scene and how much we enjoyed the fantasy.

    We want to talk about violence in Iraq – but we don’t want to talk about the anger and violence in our own hearts that cause the VAST MAJORITY of Americans to want “payback” from places like Afghanistan and Iraq – and not care too much about whether our leaders had had time to really think it through and plan it properly.

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee alone.

    The problem isn’t in Iraq. You can’t do anything about that. The problem is in your bedroom and on your own monitor.

    The General Authorities – to the best of my knowledge – most of the time, focus on telling people to look to their own houses.

  174. Elder Jensen’s release has nothing to do with Prop 8 and everything to do with the fact that he turned 70 years old this year. Most GA are made emeritus at that age.

  175. Arsenal struggling to turn possession into goals and went behind early, but equalize about 10 minutes before the half… optimistic about the second half!

    On doctrinal matters, interesting that in an talk directed to those outside the church, E. Nelson omits any mention of Joseph Smith when talking about the restoration.

  176. Robert C. (160)– To absolutely no extent. Elder Jensen turned 70 and was made emeritus as a result, as is custom. He was replaced by Elder Steven Snow, who by all accounts is also a left-leaning attorney (apparently that’s a pre-requisite for the office of church historian and recorder).

  177. Elder Jensen has been eagerly anticipating his new life as an Emeritus Seventy. There was absolutely nothing controversial in his release. He remains deeply respected and loved by all of his associates. He spoke at a CES devotional several months ago, and at the Mormon History Association in July.

  178. Fun little missionary story.

  179. Hurrah for non-members receiving direct, specific revelation!

  180. Thanks to those correcting my stupidity re Elder Jensen (and I’m very relieved to see such a strong case that this is no reflection on his service!).

  181. Kent Larsen says:

    145: “Will this lead to sister district leaders and zone leaders? Will some missions start segregating elders and sisters into different districts and zones?”

    That already happened in my mission in the early 1980s. I don’t know why it didn’t happen more often or why it wasn’t continued long term.

  182. Kent #181, Your mission had sister district and zone leaders? You served in Portugal, right?

  183. Interesting suggestion, to ask the missionaries for help in things beyond just preaching the gospel. (Gotta put all those new younger missionaries likely to put in their papers this week to good use, eh?)

  184. Mary Bliss says:

    It will likely be at the discretion of each mission president.

  185. #181, 182: Some missions (not mine, though) had “traveling sisters” in the early 90s, at least, which were essentially female APs.

  186. Science is good, as long as it’s not the explosion in the printer shop. Snarky, I know.

    But I actually like this talk.

  187. Kent Larsen says:

    Re: Elder Nelson’s talk — how many non-members actually watch General Conference? I assume that the brethren have data on this from the data on the streaming servers, cable systems, etc. So apparently there is enough to warrant a talk specifically to non-members?

  188. Bruce Bogtrotter says:
  189. is available. =)

    I feel a little sorry for the missionaries after this. What kind of questions are they going to get?

  190. If you want to help us in humanitarian work, even if you’re not of our faith, that’s cool, and the missionaries can help you figure out how to help out.

    This is making me happy. Yeah, their primary job is to preach the gospel, but they can help make connections with those who they’re not preaching to, too.

  191. @186 Jacob: haha! Well done, sir. My husband just said the same thing.

  192. If someone had asked me about doing their family history on my mission I’d have said “Umm..well…err, you use a computer…and I’m really not supposed to…uhh….” Now I’m officially a new family history instructor in my ward and would probably still react similarly :)

  193. Bruce Bogtrotter says:

    Sorry. Mormons were actually the best on the subset of questions for Christianity and the bible.

  194. Primary song! The kids get to sing along, too!

  195. I don’t know why, but I love this song.

  196. From the 11-year-old on MoTab: I think they probably all have water bottles.

  197. The choir sure knows how to make a primary song sound great!

  198. So what’s the betting line on the first airplane reference?

  199. Seth R – I agree. I think the “distance” you’re referring to is relative – a sliding scale, so to speak. the closer something is to home, the less we want to talk about it. We want to talk about what our neighbor is doing more than what we’re doing.

  200. agreed jay

  201. How in the world does he make “we’re all gonna die” sound so happy?

  202. This session of conference seems to be about Loving Mormonism (ie. missionary related stuff) and Death. Kinda weird combination, but it also seems to be working.

  203. Did he just say that life is “schwart”?

  204. Coke Drinker says:

    Why didn’t they just lower the age for sisters to 19? Lingering sexism?

  205. I can’t believe I’m the first to comment on the soothing lavender tie that Pres. Uchtdorf is wearing. I like it.

  206. Brooke, would that make many lives be “schwartz”? :)

  207. Thanks for popping Mel Brooks into my head, folks!

    (Spaceballs, “May the schwartz be with you.”)

  208. “The Daily Treadmill of Work”….as a runner, I also dread the treadmill. I’d rather run outside. Even in some freezing temperatures. Down to about 10-15 degrees at the coldest. After that, I get on the dreadmill.

  209. My first thought when hearing about the nurse asking those about to die “do you have any regrets?” was “that’s a pretty gutsy question to ask.”

    But the more I think about it, the more I think that people in that situation are probably looking for someone to talk to – more often than not. Maybe it’s needed in some sense.

  210. Busy-ness is not a sign of a good life, said directly by a member of the first presidency! Cue happy dance.

  211. Jacob and loathing, I see your schwartz is as big as mine.

  212. Slam at Facebook!

  213. Sounds like facebooking, tweeting, etc. is maybe only good, and not best.

  214. I see a wonderful connection to Pres. Uchtdorf’s opening and the Buddhist idea of contemplating the moment of one’s death as a spiritual practice and, paradoxically, coming to value living in the present moment.

  215. Thank you Elder Uchtdorf.

    Now maybe my ward members will quit sending me stupid Facebook invites to Bubble Safari.

  216. Love is called TIME.

  217. I Think a better analogy would have been the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he actually took a shower.

  218. Oh! Love that good and better stuff! Pres. Uchdorf is the best!

  219. I think it’s a fallacy to say that “quality” time is better than “quantity” time.

    Love comes naturally to people – you spend the quantity, the quality is very likely to naturally follow.

  220. STILL waiting for Pres. Uchtdorf to give his first merely mediocre talk.

  221. John Taber says:

    My mission is one of six where the missionaries are on Facebook. The mission president is also on Twitter and has a Church-issued iPhone.

  222. We need to let ourselves be happy. Does this extend to people talking about the evils of the world around us?

  223. Important point about how vital it is for us to accept happiness.

  224. YES!! Utchdorf is a bicyclist! I knew it!

  225. loathing – that’s not happiness and joy.

    That’s denial.

  226. Euthyphronics says:

    This thread needs a “like” feature.

  227. He called his wife Harriett rather than Sister Uchtdorf! (And he reports her calling him Dieter!) Cue another happy dance.

  228. True story- I had a man tell me he killed someone on his deathbed. Some careful of what you ask for!

  229. My new t-shirt: Enjoy the moment!

  230. How happy is Cynthia about the music mention?

  231. #225, Seth R.: Doesn’t it seem to you that a lot of people get a little *too* wrapped up in the evils of the world around us, though? I mean, there’s some good stuff around us, too!

  232. I like how Uchtdorf talks about his wife. He obviously loves her, and praises her, but it doesn’t come off as pedestal-like. He seems to like her the most when she is being assertive.

  233. I love how Elder Uchtdorf’s talks are always about living practically. Always about achieving a measurement of happiness.

  234. My daughter (6) thought the organ was out of tune too during the intermediate hymn.

  235. @Cynthia: me too! He’s consistently the best in my opinion.

  236. I don’t understand this talk because he isn’t talking about airplanes.

  237. @Robert I think you mean Kristine. Though I totally did a little happy dance at that moment as well.

  238. loathing,

    If the evils of the world around us are actually impacting us and threatening us – then joy is not to be had by pretending they don’t exist or don’t matter, or that we should “just talk about something else” because the topic is making us uncomfortable.

  239. But yes – getting morbidly obsessed with evils you see “elsewhere” is equally another form of denial.

  240. Pres. Utchdorf! For. The. Win. Beautiful way to end the conference. His talk reminded me why I stay.

  241. That’s right. I did mean Kristine. My bad.

  242. #239, Seth R.: Right, and that’s what i was referring to. I just feel like i’ve been surrounded by a bit too much of that (both locally and more widely, including online) lately.

  243. “We will not be truly ready to die until we have learned how to live.” (Not sure if i got the precise wording right.)

    This and Elder Bowen’s address make an interesting (in a good way) pair.

  244. Ron Madson says:

    “Resolve to spend more time with loved ones…” I can’t believe how many hours I have spent in my life in three hour blocks and watching GC….. I am going sailing the rest of the day and tomorrow with grandkids…

  245. Uchtdorfians, chemicals that circulate in the brain as a result of listening to Elder Uchtdorf’s conference addresses, even messages that some day we will all die. Thanks to my Matt for identifying this compound and is effects for science.

  246. Seriously, those early saints positively reveled in the future suffering of the wicked if the hymns are anything to go on.

  247. The 11-year-old: Hey! He’s in the Liken videos! I didn’t know he was in this, too!

  248. Key change!

  249. Puzzled, same with me. It’s much easier to stay with leaders who get it, like Uchdorf.

  250. Mack Wilberg always throws in some electrifying upward key modulations. Woo-hoo!

  251. Alright everybody, see ya in a couple hours!

  252. I won’t be here this afternoon, due to that whole spending quality *and* quantity time with family thing that i don’t need to feel guilty about anymore. See y’all tomorrow!

  253. Mary Bliss says:

    It was likely a psychological response to the general sense of frustration at their inability, despite best efforts to find justice in this life in the face of sometimes egregious and violent and deadly persecution and injustice in early church history.

  254. Seth R. – just want to say I appreciate all your comments on this thread.

  255. Anybody else experienced a bunch of weirdness with BYU-TV? First it was off for a while, now the Spanish translation is running over the regular audio. (I’m watching BYU-TV through cable.)

  256. I love Pres. Uchtdorf! Also, I think I need a bike.

  257. I guess this is why they are building a new high-rise at the MTC

  258. Ha!!!! SCW. That’s funny. And probably true.

  259. @253: I guess that’s on my mind particularly because I’m reading the Turley/Walker/Leanoard Mountain Meadows Massacre book, so the whole siege mentality of the early saints obviously played a significant role in that. Not that I’m drawing any larger conclusions between hymns and violence, but it’s just an interesting topic to think about.

  260. Re: #244

    Some of my best and most cherished memories with my family come from watching GC together.

    I guess it’s all about your attitude.

  261. Late to the party because I had homework to do. I saw about the announcement on fMh. If women could go at 19 I probably would have gone, but I got married 2 days after I turned 21 so obviously that was out.

  262. Just arrived home…I need to field test if my wordpress is messing with me

  263. 260 regarding your comment to 244, be nice. I love general conference and try never to miss a session but one of my greatest parenting regrets was deciding to watch conference at home with the family instead of traveling a couple of hours on a Saturday morning as a family to watch my oldest daughter compete and win first in state with her winter drum line. It was the wrong choice and wrong priority that Saturday morning for me for our family and I will always regret not being there for my tall beautiful snare playing girl.

  264. I really want a like button for each comment. I have nothing original to say but would like to weigh in on what everyone else says.

  265. I am sure Elder Cook’s remarks will be subject of much discussion in the bloggernacle in days to come. But I cannot help to feel like I’m in the twilight zone when I hear remarks as extremely one sided as his and the need to share my feelings.

    I would love to sit down with him and explain to him that a lot of members’ faith is weakened not because of the “world’s wickedness” but because of the wickedness found in the Church’s self-righteousness and the countless non-Christlike attitudes of modern Pharisees that make it difficult for many trying to get nourished in the Church.

    Would love to tell him that many times the “exaggerations and magnifications” of Church leaders’ shortcomings is often a result of the “minimization” of the same within the Church and the current negligence to correct them, rectify them and educate the members of the Church about them, so that all of us may be aware and can learn from them.

    Once again, an extremely disappointing, self-serving, patting themselves in the back attitude about real issues that need to be resolved within the Church, not just ignored, minimized and blamed on “the wickedness of the world.” How sad to see so much lack of connection with reality.

    Hope to enjoy other messages from conference that are more in tune with reality and less self serving.

  266. [nr] I’ll just assume you liked all mine. :-D

  267. Sharee Hughes says:

    Just got home from a funeral that I had to miss Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk to attend. I will have to catch him online later. He is one of my favorite GAs–and not just because he’s so nice to look at. Looking forward to what we’ll hear this afternoon.

  268. We’re all Sabbatarians now?

  269. Manuel – we always get comments like yours whenever a General Authority decides not to act like a cheesy low-budget 1980s self-esteem video.

  270. Seth R.,
    Don’t get it. (like, honestly I don’t get it). Wasn’t a member in the 80s and my self esteem back then was sky high (just like it is now) so never watched one of those videos.

  271. Oh wait I think I get it now! I am one of those sinners whose world just got rocked by Elder Cook’s words because I am in need of repentance because I find the shortcomings from leaders and subsequent negligence of the Church to properly address them an actual issue that is affecting members of the church. Yeah, I was wanting something like a self esteem video, you know, something shallow that would strengthen my unrepentant ego.

    Yeah… I remember the 80s now, that’s when I left the Catholic Church because it was infected with that same Sanhedrin virus: “We are right and if you find fault with us it must be that you are a sinner in need of repentance.” Who knew the virus has spread this far? ;P

  272. Left Field says:

    Just for the record, some other temples initially dedicated by an apostle not in the First Presidency:

    Nauvoo: Orson Hyde
    Manti: Wilford Woodruff (there was no First Presidency at the time)

  273. I’m so excited!

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