The “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Pentecost” Sunday AM Session



Welcome, everyone! The Conference Center is filling up and we’re ready and raring to go.

Dig, Brother.

Dig, Brother.

Elders + hats = retro!

Elders + hats = retro!

Nothing to see here

Nothing to see here

You say you didn’t like some of the talks yesterday?

The choir reaches crescendo and we’re ready to roll.

President Erying

President Erying is the definitive affirmative response to the eternal question: “Can there any good thing come out of Rexburg?” His dad was a famous physical chemist. When I was in grad school in the early 2000s professors in the chemistry department, when they found out that I was from BYU and a Mormon would say, “Henry Erying was a great man.” I think it runs in the family.

“No two families are alike” “a loving Heavenly Father has set the same path to happiness for all of His children…that plan is to follow all of the commandments of God.”

Magnify every calling extended and find spiritual healing.

“You were supposed to remember.”

“I have prayed with faith that human angels would come to their aid, and they came.”

This is the Erying equation. Good for calculating reaction kinetcs, not for calculating when to leave a concert:


Elder Oaks

Elder Oaks has been talking about the “freedom of religion” or “religious liberty” for the past while. See, for example this transcript of a talk he gave last May. Also one year ago.

“Our theology begins with Heavenly Parents”

“we grieve at the sharply declining numbers of births and marriages in many western societies”

Elder Oaks has always like the numerated points with associated fingers.

Here are the birth stats in the US from the CDC, and the Euro-data in case you wanted the data.

Cohabs! We should get the marshals to crack down on that action.

No other Gods…for an interesting comparison, see President Kimball’s circa 1976.

Bonnie Oscarson

You can follow President Oscarson on Pintrist, MORMOR20. Ros had a nice write up on Oscarson in the Post-Dispatch.

From our twitter feed: Sis Oscarson likes “Prophet-Warriors”. Possible new curriculum for the youth? #ldsconf

President Oscarson quotes from True to the Faith on Conversion.

Richard Maynes

Elder Maynes is part of the Presidency of the Seventy and received an “MBA from Thunderbird: School of Global Management.” He also got married in the best of the temples: Manti. He was perhaps CEO of Fountain Fresh International, which was discussed on This American Life. Maynes’ earliest dream was to play football but a career ending injury suffered on the last day of practice before the season began ended that dream. He was named basketball MVP three years aat his high school in Hollister, CA.

Looking forward to the day when we have Cricket analogies. #RonanForGA

Spiritual Stamina, I guess that rules out Cricket.

Still, this is the second talk invoking British ancestors.

Elder Richard G. Scott

Elder Scott was a nuclear engineer. It was during his years working with nuclear physics that he developed his powerful LASERVISION. He talked about the atonement 6 years ago in conference.

“fortified by the faith” Scott misses Elder Maxwell, too.

Through the atonement we can become pure, however, “sometimes our poor choices leave us with long-term consequences.”

Fortifying the weakest cities – and lives. “taller and wider fortifications between their faithful lives and the unrighteous behavior of their past.”

“When the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it it always with mercy.”

“Make the spiritual development of your spouse and your children a very high priority”

“As you lose your life in the service of Father in Heaven’s children, Satan’s temptations lose power in your life.”

President Thomas Monson, 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

Tomorrow would have been President and Sister Monson’s 65th wedding anniversary. BCC’s coverage of her passing, Saint Francis indeed. Ann Dibb eulogizes her mom. Also, President Monson can rock the skinny tie.

“It may be safely assumed that no person has ever lived entirely free of suffering and sorrow.”

“We can say, with Job of old: ‘Man is born unto trouble’.” “Job kept the faith. Will we do likewise as we face those challenges which will be ours?”

“They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This is what will pull us through whatever comes our way.”

Was that an example of Mormon last rites? After all this time, President Monson can still get to me. This is moving stuff.

“Only the Master knows the depths of our trials…he alone touches our tortured souls.”


  1. Wow, this thread is certainly open early today. It is about 30 minutes before the choir performs and an hour before conference. I guess it’s time to get moving so we can get all the breakfast fixings ready.

  2. Feel free to describe here your Conference Breakfast. Malt-O-Meal bags figure prominently in the lives of the righteous.

  3. Leftover cinnamon rolls, non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries, and mini-mints for Conference Tic-Tac-Toe.

    Family schedules are crazy today, so the homemade waffles, syrup, bacon and fruit salad will be dinner tonight, a couple hours after conference ends.

  4. The last image isn’t showing up for me. The one with the caption “You say you didn’t like some of the talks yesterday?” What’s it a picture of?

  5. Its not showing for me either

  6. Strawberry sweet rolls and a mug of Crio Brü

  7. Asparagus frittata, applewood smoked bacon, fresh-cut watermelon and cantaloupe, waffles and OJ and ice water. Kids are scrubbed and dressed in their best and the family is anxious to sing along with the hymns.

  8. THe last image is a moving GIF of Pres. Monson rolling his eyes.

    In the intro to Music and the Spoken WOrd, we couldn’t hear Lloyd Newell very well. It seems to have been cured now.

    My oldest daughter is somewhere in the Conference Center.

  9. My youngest daughter is scrambling the eggs, which will be combined with some already cooked Jimmy Dean sausage, Shredded CHeddar Cheese, and Salsa on flour tortillas for COnference Tortillas. Beverage options include White Milk, Chocolate Milk, Orange Juice, or Hot Cocoa. Anyone wishing to awaken themselves with a cup of coffee will need to go elsewhere.

  10. Time to start of conference: 21 minutes. Time to watch entire South Park episode All About Mormons: 21 minutes. Coincidence? I think not.

  11. I like this song they’re singing (about the cedars of lebanon). It’s very soothing. What’s it called?

  12. Mandy, It’s “O Thou in Whose Presence My Soul Takes Delight” (attributed to Joseph Swain, I think, although that’s purely random memory, might well be wrong)–some of the words are in “Redeemer of Israel.”

  13. Peanut butter on toast + Godiva dark hot cocoa (about a half gallon).

  14. I think the dude believes in free will. But does he really?

  15. WVS–who cares? They’re singing Isaac Watts :)

  16. Cameron White says:

    Man, some of you guys are fancy! (Applewood smoked bacon? Frittatas? Can I come over to your house). My wife and I are having just plain ol’ cereal.

  17. The internet feed of M&tSW seemed to be holding up pretty well here while we were getting ready for the morning (hey—don’t judge us!), but there were a couple weird glitches, so we’ll see how it holds up when the it’s-the-one-session-anybody-watches server load hits in about 6 minutes.

    And a big conference breakfast didn’t even happen for us when we lived on the east coast and it didn’t start til noon, so it’s certainly not happening here before 8. Breakfast for us is whatever we happen to graze into.

  18. Lunchtime here, so we’re having chicken salad on croissants.

  19. Thanks, Kristine (and Ray, for the gif description). I’m having turkey, feta, and dill baked egg white cups with sourdough toast covered in honey butter and raspberries. Yum!

  20. This is our day for cinnamon rolls. Bacon too. SImple and yummy!

  21. Now that’s an idea. Roll the bacon in the dough.

  22. Egg omelette, sausage links, bagel, oj. Courtesy of the Holiday Inn. I’m currently a thousand miles from home and missing my family. First time I’ve ever missed watching conference with them. At the moment I’m very grateful that the local stake center is open and airing the broadcasts. Watching sessions there yesterday and today takes a lot of bite out of the sense of isolation.

  23. John Taber says:

    And that’s why I’m still going to go to a meetinghouse for the priesthood session where possible.

  24. Every time we sing “the keys of death and hell are giv’n” set to that music (which requires stress on the ‘the’), an angel kicks a puppy.

  25. Pity, since otherwise it’s an excellent song.

  26. Note to self: while husband is at PH session, check pantry for ALL cinnamon roll ingredients.

    Lady prayer #2!

  27. loathing ftw. Not even gonna try to make any snide comments about hymns anymore today :)

  28. Looks like all male choir members use the same knot for their neckties.

  29. In a few years you’ll have a hard time locating an active member who is even aware that women were ever NOT giving conference prayers.

  30. Oh noes. Did I just commit to not being snide RIGHT BEFORE THEY SING “Master, the Tempest is Raging”?


  31. “MAster The TEmpest is Raging” — perhaps a subtle reference to yesterday’s protests outside the PRiesthood Session?

  32. Not my favorite song, but his is a good arrangement of it.

  33. Kristine, channeling her inner Elder Perry.

  34. President Uchtdorf’s tie selection this morning isn’t one of his better choices.

  35. “The wonderful world of family creation” is totally going to be my go-to euphemism for teen pregnancy from now on.

  36. I’m really hoping this isn’t a hurry up and get married/ single men are evil/marriage talk. I don’t need anymore guilt.

  37. My 10 yo is super amused that the camera angel on the organist makes it looks like a 3 armed man.

  38. Also while they’re still getting started, I (of course) absolutely love that painting of the groundbreaking in St. George. Thanks for including it in the intro, Steve.

  39. It’s just gone midnight here so I’m about 5 seconds from crawling under the covers and going back to sleep. The wife is watching Agents of SHIELD and I’m contemplating whether this sore throat is bad enough to skive off work tommorow.
    Very conferencey in our house right now!

  40. er…angle…

  41. That would be the “inadvertent world of family creation”.

  42. I love President Eyring’s talks. He’s a very wise man and he doesnt mince words.

    BUT: his mouth noises make my flesh crawl, to the point that I literally can’t listen to his talks. It’s a problem I struggle with a lot during GC. I’ll read this talk as soon as the transcript is up on

  43. “I forgive you in the name of the Lord.”

  44. melodynew says:

    Did anyone else hear “sucker a boy” and momentarily think: practical jokes in teachers quorum?

  45. vs. succor

  46. John Taber says:

    “My father was chemistry” – so was/is mine.

  47. I hope my wife is paying close attention to this.

  48. Angels!!! Eyring is testifying of angels that are charged to watch over each and every one of us!

  49. Early payoff at the CAndy Bowl this morning for the word of the session, which is FAITH. Yesterdays word selections, “Repent/Repentance” for the first session and “Spirit” for the second session, acted more as guardian angels for the candy concoctions waiting to be devoured.

  50. @Rob: ‘Repent(ance)’ would have paid off this morning, too.

  51. I love this thought, that our extended families have a great responsibility to support those within them that struggle. I have seen for myself aunts, uncles, siblings, etc., have deep, unexplained connections with other family members, especially with those who have had struggles. Pres. Eyring’s quote about the grandma makes me think about our purpose in helping them.

  52. Oaks continues yesterday’s striped tie motif.

  53. Glad to know that there are imperfect parents of GAs, and not all are have sainted parents who never fought, or were widows who never struggled spiritually or never complained about loneliness.

    My husband said, “See, even fathers of General Authorities have to be trained to be good husbands.” (The first play we went to, he almost left before the final scene, because he thought that the story seemed done. ;-) We now read a basic outline of a play before we go, along with reading the last line, so he knows when it is the end.) I love that he still goes, not because I physically can’t go alone, but because it is important to me. Even when I don’t need help, he may not come with me every time, but he won’t stop coming either.

  54. The whole family-support thing Pres. Eyring discussed makes me wonder about Mormon parents (not many, but i’ve met multiple) who have effectively cut off their gay children from the family.

  55. Likening Political Correctness to jealousy. I like it!! I have always thought political correctness was evil.

  56. Is he calling out a certain group from yesterday?

  57. I have never been able to figure out quite what people mean when they talk about “political correctness.”

  58. I think PC is not the root problem. Vanity and the desire to be popular and fashionable is the problem. I can’t help but feel that would have been a better example.

    And before the conservatives here start the smug, it should be noted that Oaks has also blasted right-wing patriotism as a source of idolatry.

  59. Given that nobody actually advocates for “political correctness”, it’s an empty red-meat buzzword.

  60. I don’t get the whole ‘low birth rate’ is horrible meme. If the infant mortality rate has dropped, then it would seem the right choice to make, you know?

  61. John Taber says:

    “Political correctness” is a somewhat arbitrary measuring stick. To me, it can be wrong to be “politically correct” in one setting, but wrong to be “politically incorrect” in another.

  62. I think that we are all PC on some level, we just pick and choose what we want to be PC about.

  63. How long since we’ve had a pro-eugenics talk?

  64. Oak’s theology=Talmage!

  65. ^^ What kirkcaudle wrote. Stop it with the smugness/bashing, all.

  66. I’m really liking the theme I’m seeing of tolerance, inclusion, and respect for different opinions I’m seeing in this conference

  67. I thought that PC meant that “my politics are correct, while yours are offensive”.

  68. Did ELder Oaks just say that I can’t have sexual relations with my wife just for fun?

  69. You never realize how much modern first world society looks down on having and raising children till you’ve actually had a large family outside the enclaves (like Utah) where they are still accepted.

    Pregnancy these days is largely viewed as a disease to be eradicated.

  70. StillConfused says:

    Well this talk is a downer compared to the prior talk. “Marriage is between a man and a woman who are legally married.” Well, guess the guys in the bible with the concubines are screwed. And all the polygamists.

  71. “Procreative powers” = not a good phrase to use if you’re actually trying to use them in a given moment with your lawful partner.

  72. @Casey – Took you long enough to figure that out… ;)

  73. I don’t so much disagree with what Elder Oaks is saying here, I am just not sure that I agree that they are “religious freedom” issues.

  74. Now he is sounding like the lawyer and judge he is

  75. @Seth R: Not true, actually—the problem is that there’s a bit of confirmation bias going on. If someone is nice to you when you’re out with your 8 kids, they’re just being polite; if they glare at you, then it’s confirmation that they’re unfriendly to large families (even if they’re not, they’re just having a bad day and immediately regretted snapping at you).

  76. Same-sex marriage? I’m in!

  77. Relatively new member (2 years) husband quotes:

    “He’s being kind of condescending, isn’t he?”

    “Don’t we support people being able to make the best choices for themselves and their families?”

    “What legal and policy changes does he want to make that increase how we love people?”

    I do love this man!

  78. Any local police department can tell you that the child abuse rate in cohabitating homes is much higher than in the married ones.

  79. Speak the Lord’s truth Elder Oaks

  80. As a father of 8 children, I love having these debates with people about large vs small families. They’ll often start with some sarcastic remark like, “HAve you figured out what caused that yet?”, to which I respond, “Yep, and apparently I’m getting more of it than you are.”

  81. I don’t think he is being condescending. Perhaps he understands the legal implications better than I do because of his training and profession.

  82. I’m not sure what he’s saying—is he saying we need to change civil law to match our religious beliefs, or is he saying we simply need to follow religious beliefs when civil law would allow us to not follow those religious beliefs? If the former, then this is a political address; if the latter, then isn’t that just what one would normally do?

  83. Why is it “so-called” same gender marriage, instead of, you know, same gender marriage?

    Also, it’s not so called, it’s called same-sex because it is related to physical anatomy, not mentality… But “gender” sounds more family-friendly I guess.

  84. I wonder how Elder Oaks will handle the eventual re-legalization of polygamy.

  85. Loathing, that’s nice. I suppose if I told one of the oppressed minorities that YOU support that they were just experiencing “confirmation bias” I’d get a much different reaction from you.

  86. Lady talk! Her mouth smacking rivals that of Pres. Eyring.

  87. Nobody calls it same-gender marriage except for Mormons, because we don’t like to say the word sex.

  88. @Brooke — I Think it’s her lipstick that causes that.

  89. Out theology begins with heavenly parents. Depends on who you ask.

  90. I think he is saying that when push comes to shove, we follow the law of God.

  91. So call me to repentance if I’m just a bad person, but I thought Eyring’s example of how his mom handled what she wanted his dad to choose was a little petty. I think we need to teach better communication skills in marriage over the pulpit. You can’t expect your spouse to read your mind…how about having an adult discussion about what direction your family should go? Seems healthier to me.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a 28yo female scientist :)

  92. Rob- my husband asked the same question. Can he kiss me just because he likes it? Should infertile couples never have sex?

    Another husband quote: “Talks with that are why people think Mormons are wackos. That just didn’t make sense.”

  93. I swear this story was in the Friend.

  94. @Seth R: No, that’s actually one of the difficulties in dealing with accusations of bias of any sort—if it’s not based on hard data, it’s based on anecdotal evidence, and therefore subject to confirmation bias.

  95. B. Russ – because if you have same gender, you don’t have a “marriage” and never will. I would guess that was his meaning. Agree with it or not- I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.

  96. It occurs to me that since ‘gender’ ultimately simply means ‘a classification type’, that two Mormons marrying could be called same-gender marriage.

  97. “Faith” Is paying off at the candy bowl pretty well this morning.

  98. EdwardJ- Hey Bro! We don’t use the word sex, because we don’t have sex, we just do procreation. Keep up! ;-)

  99. She’s not as used to the teleprompter as others—very much a reading intonation.

  100. I don’t know if I should be living the principle of polygamy, but…

  101. Seth R. Don’t you think rates of child abuse run along economic lines, just like marriage/cohabitation?

  102. Only member in her high school – where is she from?

  103. Yes, and cohabitation has been an unmitigated social disaster in the economic lower class. Pampered white Berkley grads never seem to consider that demographic when they set out to play social mad scientist.

  104. And remember, the first rule of the tautology club is the first rule of the tautology club, Seth R.

  105. Seth R. – If the law states you have a marriage, you have a marriage. Marriage is a legal construct, and will continue to be. And I believe Elder Oaks knows this, and why he referred several times to “legally wed”. So I have absolutely no idea what you mean when you say, “if you have same gender, you don’t have a “marriage” and never will.” There are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who have same (sex) gender marriages, all around the world. Legally and lawfully. So “never will” has happened. Lots.

  106. Dammit. That was re: “because if you have same gender, you don’t have a “marriage” and never will”

  107. Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, but her family moved often and she lived in five different places in the United States before attending Brigham Young University to study commercial art.

  108. Seth, you are ignoring my point there, but okay.

  109. @Seth R: Shouldn’t we try to figure out why people in the economic lower classes have been opting for cohabitation, then, and try to deal with *that*? I’d suggest that it’s not just a desire to be immoral, or even some sort of moral laziness or weakness on their part.

  110. Thanks to Steve’s link, I note that birthrates have not declined in Maine. This seems like an oxymoron. Does anyone have sex in Maine?

  111. You want to blame it on economics instead of the form of living arrangement Trevor. Or at least present it as an alternative. But I think the two are hard to separate.

  112. I Wihs that just once, who ever is conducting would stay, “The Choir and Congregation will now stand and sing, “RISE AND SHOUT, THE COUGARS ARE OUT!!!”

  113. All kinds of abuse; spousal abuse, child abuse, molestation, incest and rape happen in homes and families at all income and socio-economic levels. There is correlation some to a higher risk where there is drug or alcohol abuse, and when someone has grown up in an environment where abuse happened, and was normalized.

  114. Julia: my bad. I stand corrected!

    It occurs to me that, unlike scriptural prophets who often had quite colorful pasts, most GAs and GOs have always made the “right” life decisions, so they have difficulty speaking to the majority of human beings who are, you know, flesh and blood. A kind of Mitt Romney problem.

  115. @EdwardJ: And that’s why J. Golden Kimball was so able to connect with people that other GAs of his time couldn’t reach. Probably true with Alma and the sons of Mosiah, too. And now kids can’t go on full-time missions if they have even non-visible tattoos…

  116. Edward, I think it’s utter rubbish that you have to sin to minister to sinners. I don’t have to “experience” shoving a tablespoon up my nose to know it’s going to hurt like the dickens.

  117. I like this sister who is speaking, but between the time the announcement of who was speaking was made and the time she got up to speak, I forgot who she is. YW President? Anyway, someone yesterday mentioned she liked listening to the men rather than the women. I agree, because so many of the women are just so “sweet.” They ooze so much sugar I can feel my A1C levels rising just by listening to them. This woman was not sweet, so I appreciated that. But I wish they would call more really powerful women like Sheri Dew to some of these positions.

    I love Brother Eyring and I appreciate that he gets emotional. I also enjoy Elder Oaks and thought his talk today was important. But so far today, no one has come anywhere near Pres. Uchtdorf’s talks from yesterday. I don’t care what ties he wears–he’d look good in rags. And as long as he keeps giving such awesome conference talks, the fact that he is so good-looking is irrelevant.

  118. I always kind of wished the lyric was, “We all have work, don’t be a jerk.”

  119. @Seth R: That’s not what EdwardJ said—and i suspect that you know it.

  120. This gentleman looks a bit like the neocon Bill Kristol to me.

  121. @Sharee: Bonnie L. Oscarson, YW general president.

  122. Edward — I don’t think that just because someone didn’t make the wrong choices, that that disqualifies them from being able to speak to people who have. QUite frankly, I think that people who HAVE made those mistakes just use that as an excuse to NOT listen to what’s being said. It goes back to Nephi’s statement to his brothers, that the wicked take the truth to be hard.

  123. Did he play at UCLA with Wooden?

  124. No loathing, I don’t know it. Tell me – what was the Mitt Romney reference for then?

  125. DOes anyone know what college in California Elder Maynes went to? According to his bio on Wikipedia, he went to BYU.

  126. @Brian: According to Wikipedia, he was a scholarship player at BYU.

  127. It was nice to hear a woman give a talk that wasnt on strengthening home and family (or the law of chastity, since shes YW)

  128. I really like this analogy by ELder Maynes. As a basketball player turned distance runner, the concept of endurnace and stamina are easy to relate to.

  129. Okay, fine, Seth R—he didn’t say anything about sinning, he said “colorful pasts”. Yes, that can include sinning (cf. Alma the Younger), but it can also include more general difficulties in one’s background. Now, we do have some GAs who came from difficult background, and so EdwardJ overstated things—but it’s pretty clear, if you look at their bios, that the vast majority of our current GAs come from backgrounds of some status, having checked off all the boxes at the culturally-appropriate times.

  130. This is a really sad story, but I like his point that the gospel means the tragedy won’t be forever.

  131. I felt that the power in Elder Holland’s talk yesterday was not that he admitted suffering from depression, but that his suffering informed his view and allowed him to be compassionate as he discussed the topic. If he did not have that perspective, it would be much more difficult to reach out to people that needed his help.

  132. Loathing, I would point out that several of the apostles, and even our current prophet, never checked off the “Full TIme Missionary” box when they were in their youth.

  133. Elders Holland and Uchtdorf seem to be able to minister to sinners quite well. They must have been hellions in their youth. [ eye roll ] or better yet [ Monson eye roll ]

  134. StillConfused says:

    Do you ever look at the men talking and think of what kind of animal they look most like?

  135. brainbreak says:

    @loathing – is it really true that you can’t serve a mission if you have a tattoo? That seems crazy – what about people who join the church in their late teens or early 20s, then want to go on a mission?

  136. DSB — I think the second one would better be called the Monson head/eye roll.

  137. They did, though, check off the ‘military service’ box, which was the equivalent (as announced in general conferences and other communications from the church leadership) at the time they were of that age.

  138. Elder Oaks grew up raised by his single mother. At one point, she had a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized. Oaks had to live with his grandparents and calls it one of the darkest times of his young life.

  139. Empathy comes from experiencing something firsthand that gives a deeper understanding of someone else going through the same experience while sympathy is compassion for the experiences of others without going through the same things. Certainly many of the GAs have a great deal of compassion and sympathy for others. But there is a different quality when empathy exists – in them or in anyone. I think that’s what makes the Savior’s love and compassion for us so compelling – because He really knows what we’re going through, having felt it all.

  140. I’d argue that it would help us to have a *mix* of backgrounds for the GAs. Neither i nor EdwardJ ever said that one has to have sinned to minister to sinners, and neither of us ever said that all of the GAs should come from difficult backgrounds.

    I actually think it’s interesting that the reactions to EdwardJ’s comment immediately jumped to a sort of “there’s criticism of X, so the intent must have been to promote the precise opposite of X”.

  141. Elder Scott isn’t staring at the camera as it changes angles… it seems, different.

  142. (Also, all of Mandy’s last few comments.)

  143. President Monson connected with the YM in my ward last conference when he admitted his responsibility in setting a field on fire. None of them ran out to buy matches, but many of them said that they felt more connected to a prophet who used to be a normal young man that made mistakes and chose to become a better person.

  144. Empathy doesn’t always come from experience. Some of those most contemptuous of the poor are those who were poor themselves once, for instance.

  145. Mandy, I think what you said is important. Christ has perfect empathy, love and understanding. I don’t care if my church leaders have that. If it is important form them to understand, then He will help them understand.

  146. So if I covenant not to do something, it’s okay to send other people to do that same thing for me? The possibilities are endless!

    My sister and her BYU roommates had the Rent-a-Gentile program, in which they sent a non-Mormon roommate to buy things for them on Sundays.

  147. “The Lord sees weaknesses differently than he does rebellion… When the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always done with mercy.”

    What a nice distinction. Elder Scott is very soothing to me.

  148. we have a missionary with a tattoo on his hand.

  149. Brainbreak. Tattoos don’t disqualify YM or YW from Missions.

  150. You know, he’s not saying this directly, but i think there’s applications here to Mormons who build fences around the law. That is, it’s fine for people to go beyond the word of wisdom by avoiding all caffeine, or go beyond the laws of sabbath observance by never changing out of their church clothing, because that may be helpful for them, shoring them up against some sort of weakness that they perceive in themselves. However, such rules shouldn’t be preached to others, since those aren’t everyone’s weak points, and those others may need to focus on different weaknesses.


  151. Seth R – Do you feel able to befriend and minister to gay and lesbian members? What about a woman with the spiritual gift of prophecy, who has discovered, and developed that gift by surviving incest, abusive marriages, and a long trial for a felony, (whether she was found innocent or guilty) and requests your help in understanding how best to use her spiritual gifts, to serve other Saints?

    Do you feel ready to enter an Alcoholics Anonymous group, with a member of a family you home teach? Do you feel qualified to help a member, find the help they need, if you are the first person that a rape or incest survivor chooses, to be the one that they disclose their experiences to?

    Do you think that “sinners” have anything to offer the church that those who have “always made the right choices,” don’t have to offer? Are there things we might learn from those who have walked through the darkness or sin and/or abuse, or are they unworthy, even after repentance, of being leaders and shepherds of the flock?

  152. Tattoos don’t disqualify youth from serving as full-time missionaries? I’ve know two who didn’t receive calls, with that given as the reason. Is this the sort of thing where there are area differences, then?

  153. Elder Scott is often TOO soothing to me. I’m amazed I haven’t fallen asleep yet. His talks are good, but his delivery is dry.

  154. perfect hymn after Elder Scott

  155. Can I just say, I LOVE this song.

  156. I have never heard the no tattoos thing. I read an article not to long ago about a recent convert who had a lot of tattoos and she served a mission.

    Oh, I love this piece the choir is singing. It is a favorite!

  157. Elder Scott uses a pink hankie. How cool is that.

  158. I love minor keys. That is all.

  159. It certain seems that the Ammonite fathers story seems to be saying that the Atonement is only partial, not able to change hearts. (I had always understood that the father’s were keeping covenants, made freely to God, and that the Atonement not only made them stronger, but had their sins completely washed away.)

    Anyone else confused by what he means? It seems that the Army of Helaman are being credited as being part of the Not Even Once Club. If repentance is a path to a hope filled future, why would there be limits to what that hope filled future would be? I get that our weaknesses can become strength, but it seems that those strengths are not really supposed to be used as a part of ministry or church service. The longer the talk goes on, it seems like there is a missing element.

  160. Julie, I do not feel equal to those tasks. I would have to beg for help from the spirit in them.

  161. I agree that this is a great song to follow that address, but really, if he didn’t put you to sleep, this arrangement is soothing enough that it’s likely to.

    (Hoping it builds a bit.)

  162. From one of the children: “This has been a good session for candy.” THe kids have done well, both in paying attention and emptying the candy bowl. It’s amazing how some of them can seem to be a bit restless or distracted, and then suddenly when the Word of the Session is pronounced, they are one of the first to recognize it.

  163. drbrewhaha says:

    Read the info on tattoos and your mission on the church website. You will find the answer there. It’s on a case by case basis.

  164. My sister and I performed a duet of this song at a singles ward way back when. One of my favorites.

  165. @Julia, i wondered the same thing. I’m hoping that it’s just a time-limits thing. I do like that he said a time or two that it’s not the having participated in sin, it’s the memory of those sins that are the issue. (Maybe that means the memory of how fun it was? I mean, these were people who, it appears, had gotten enjoyment out of stuff like plunder and murder.)

  166. “It certain seems that the Ammonite fathers story seems to be saying that the Atonement is only partial, not able to change hearts.”

    Fwiw, I don’t get that message at all. I really like the way he framed the story. I don’t ask an alcoholic to meet me in a bar, no matter the power of the Atonement in his or her life.

  167. Tattoos are a truly stupid reason to deny someone a mission.

  168. StillConfused says:

    That song was torture

  169. Nice purple, striped tie.

  170. Clearly, i am evil: I liked yesterday’s sessions more than this one.

  171. Poor President Monson – my heart goes out to him. This is reminding me of President Hinckley’s talk after his wife passed away.

  172. Touching eulogy.

  173. Only “hundreds” of cards? I would have thought thousands.

  174. “Prism of Pessimism” — HAs he been monitoring this blog?

  175. @Rob: Maybe lots of them were sent back to the writers’ stake presidents as letters written to a general authority without authorization.

  176. @Loathing: LOL!! Good one.

  177. drbrewhaha says:

    Some tattoos disqualify the candidate and others don’t. Also factored in are the circumstances surrounding your tattoo and how you feel about it now. Seems like a reasonable approach to me.

  178. I know two young men who got identical tattoos for their 16th birthdays. One joined the church when he was 18. He was allowed to go on a mission, but his friend, who got the tattoo as a member, was not allowed to go. Both were in places that are covered by garments and the tattoos are of a rose, with the initials of a friend who died when they were 15 years-old.

    So different from my ex-husband’s cousin, who got the “Mission Tattoo,” when he reached his one year mark. About 10 years after his mission, the new mission president outlawed them, but many missionaries still get them right before they go home, from the LDS tattoo artist who has been doing them on missionaries since he was baptized in the late 60s.

  179. I don’t think I hear people outside our church say “close quote.”

  180. @Joni: I do.

  181. @Joni: In my research discipline (linguistics) it’s a pretty clear mark of someone who’s nervous when giving a presentation.

  182. I’ve always felt like Pre. Monson is more acquainted with death than I will ever be. I’ve felt that throughout his ministry.

  183. I hear end quote often

  184. Seth — Are you predicting that you will live to see the second coming, and be taken up in the twinkling of an eye?

  185. “This should be out purpose: To persevere and endure—yes, but also to become more spiritually refined…”

  186. I seem to hear “end quote” more from older people than from younger ones in presentations outside of the church.

  187. Ahh, “the poet!”

  188. Julia, Christ never sinned and yet he can perfectly understand all no matter their circumstances because he possesses perfect love for each of us. He took our sins and pains and sicknesses upon himself as part of the atonement. In parallel it is not required that we sample sin in order to be equally as effective as one who has in order to provide compassionate care and love to those who live differently from us. Else why does the Savior call upon us to pray for charity that we might be filled with that same pure love of Christ? I have seen experiences in my life where that blessing has enabled me to connect with and unite with those whom I would otherwise not have been able to truly serve and support.

  189. Well stated, OD, well stated.

  190. “Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity.”

  191. drbrewhaha says:

    Why not just have two organs?

  192. The tuning for two separate organs would be…interesting.

  193. Dr. Brew:

    Organs are huge and very expensive and one organ has enough pipes for 3 players. Two organs is an incredible excess.

  194. drbrewhaha says:

    How about 2 separate keyboards then? Seems easier than having to find a 3 armed organist.

  195. Brooke from UW says:

    Beautiful words from our dear prophet. Love him.

  196. Jesus Christ understands our suffering not because He sinned in similar ways (or in any way), but because He suffered. What we experience as natural consequences of sin, he voluntarily chose to take upon Himself. This is what gives him the empathy to comfort us.
    Likewise, a leader who has experienced similar types of adversity and pain as member they are counseling can be better equipped to understand what they need.
    We weren’t asked to “sin with those who sin”, but to “mourn with those who mourn”. It’s difficult to cry with a friend if you have no idea how much it hurts.

  197. OD- I have no doubt that Christ understands, and that leaders who lean on the Savior can receive inspiration.

    With that said, a leader who has never experienced particular pains or struggles, don’t have the ability to be a role model, of how to live after addiction, rape, abuse and a variety of sins (both committed by the person, and against the person) in the same way that someone who has dealt with them, and can mentor them on a regular basis. I think we lose a lot of potential blessings when we don’t talk about our struggles, and we create a lot more loneliness for those who are struggling. We often give members “Talent inventories.” I wish that there was a similar inventory process, so that bishops and stake presidents have the chance to know which members have struggled with/through a variety of trials, sins, and repentance.

  198. drbrewhaha says:

    Based on my experiences I am hesitant to ever say that any given individual hasn’t experienced trials, disappointments, and hardships. And I think its important to remember that ministering from a pulpit to millions is vastly different different from ministering one-to-one.

  199. I agree that empathy forged through similar trials is powerful, but I try never to minimize the power of a loving heart, no matter the differences in experience.

  200. KerBearRN says:

    I just got on here, and maybe this has been said… But the tie! Purple AND striped. Go Prez Monson!

  201. I definitely appreciate the unique support a person can give who has really been there. I cringe to think of the misuse potential of a weaknesses/sins survey.

    I guess because I have felt so much empathy and support from Jesus even when he didn’t have those circumstances-miscarriage for example- has opened my heart to receiving care and service and love from people who have felt similar feelings to mine, despite having far different circumstance.

  202. KerBearRN says:

    Just hearing him ACKNOWLEDGE despair is healing to me.

  203. KerBearRN says:

    Does that organist have 3 arms?

  204. “I cringe to think of the misuse potential of a weaknesses/sins survey.”

    Amen. It would work beautifully in a few cases, but, overall, I think it would be an unmitigated, destructive practice. We have a hard enough time valuing and honoring what ought to be confidential already.

  205. Did the plant behind the Brazilian woman look like it was marijuana?