The “Zero Population is the Answer” Sunday PM Session

It’s warmed up nicely outside. Thousands of people meander the grounds and around Temple Square. Hymns are humming everywhere. It’s beautiful.
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Quentin L. Cook

Elder Cook was a corporate attorney before becoming a General Authority. He was the San Francisco Stake President at one time. He was also the CEO of the California Healthcare System (CHS) for a number of years. Members of the Tea Party are now covering their ears and shouting “I can’t hear you; I can’t hear you.”

Verdi’s Nabucco

This is the second talk about worshiping false gods today. Here is the link to President Kimball’s 1976 masterpiece.

“The gathering is not a matter of physical location” == There are no people living under the North Pole.

Family friendly work place for “Women and Men”

“I am thrilled with the educational and other opportunities that are available to women.”

From a 2011 talk by Elder Cook: “I would hope that Latter-day Saints would be at the forefront in creating an environment in the workplace that is more receptive and accommodating to both women and men in their responsibilities as parents.”

Elder Neil Anderson

Both Elder Anderson and Elder Uchdorf were in the Europe Area Presidency, when I was on my mission. It was great. Elder Anderson was corporate guy back in the day with an MBA.

Q: “why are all the ordinances of the priesthood administered by men?” A: We don’t know fully, sorta, it’s complicated.

“We know gender is an essential characteristic of both our mortal and eternal identity and purpose.”

“No allowance for pornography among those officiating in the ordinances of the priesthood.” “Repent of your secret abominations.”

“Sincerely asking for and listening to the thoughts and concerns voiced by women is vital in life, in marriage, and in building the Kingdom of God.”

David McConkie

Elder McConkie of the General YM Presidency. Worked as an attorney at Kirton & McConkie back in the day.

Kevin Scott Hamilton

I sort of wish it was just Scott Hamilton, because GenCon needs more figure skating.

“Elder Hamilton received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Brigham Young University in 1979. In 1982 he received a master’s degree in finance from the University of Washington. In 1987 he was named CEO of Prime Matrix Wireless and later president and CEO of Encore Wireless, Amerivon, and Truconnect, all mobile telecommunications carriers.” – bio page

Adrián Ochoa

Wikipedia states: “Ochoa was born in San Francisco, California to Eduardo and Consuelo Ochoa. He was raised primarily in Los Angeles, California and Chihuahua, Mexico. As a young man, Ochoa served as a public affairs missionary for the LDS Church in Mexico.

Ochoa has worked in advertising and marketing in both the United States and Mexico. For much of his career, Ochoa ran a production company based in Monterrey, Mexico. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Universidad Regiomontana and a diploma in Business from Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.”

Terence M. Vinson

bio page: “In 1974, Elder Vinson received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Sydney University with an education and teaching diploma from Sydney Teachers College. In 1990, he received a financial planning diploma from Deakin University and a master’s degree in applied finance in 1996 from Macquarie University. His career has involved teaching math, as well as training and lecturing at universities. His main occupation for the last 23 years has been as a financial adviser. He recently retired as joint CEO and chairman of Northhaven Wealth Management.”


  1. I’m going to keep giggling about the title of this post all through conference, i fear.

  2. Also, i want for everyone who preaches over the pulpit who says that we need to have silence reign as we’re in the chapel waiting for sacrament meeting to start to look at the video of the church general officers and authorities chatting animatedly amongst themselves in the front seats right now.

  3. The word of the session is HOLY. There is an abundance of sweetness awating consumption due to what must have been a less than inspired poor choice of words for yesterday’s sessions.

  4. As a person who associates trees, groves, and vegetation with Heavenly Mother, I love seeing the plants behind the speakers: waiting, shining, a bit amused.

  5. My favorite Primary song of all.

  6. We have been joined by one more family with 2 adults and 3 children, bringing the total attendees at our house to 19. Sandwich fixings are being put out to enjoy during the session.

    I think Brother Beck will make a great apostle some day. “May we listen with real intent…” I agree. And not the intent to twist and disparage the inspired words of our chosen leaders.

  7. Helen Mirren is in the choir!

  8. Wow, short prayer.

  9. Sister Cook drives a hard bargain.

  10. OPERA!!!

  11. homemade stromboli for lunch

  12. @Rob: I fear that *all* of us twist the words of our leaders—we simply only recognize when others do it, not when we do it ourselves.

  13. Parity in funding men’s and women’s activities!

  14. Did anyone else think they just heard a dog barking in the background? We heard a similar sound during Elder Christofferson’s talk yesterday. Anyone know of any seeing eye dogs in attendance at conference? THis dogs are usually better behaved.

  15. “is not a matter of physical location”

    So… we believe in a literal *spiritual* gathering of Israel?

  16. Excessive use of social media….is there such a thing?

  17. StillConfused says:

    Lawyer/Mother/Wife — did that and loved it. Had plenty of time for things I like to do to. Never felt like my balls were on the ground

  18. Ohey. Thanks for acknowledging that *men* shouldn’t prioritize anything over their marriage and family.

  19. Did he just say that businesses need to make it possible for all parents (both female and male) to appropriately balance their family and work responsibilities, with a lean toward family? ‘Cause that’s what it sounded like.

  20. We never just went to just grandma’s house until my grandfather died, and it really was just her house.

  21. StillConfused says:

    My husband just did a fist pump in the air when they said “Isn’t it grandfather’s house too.” He hates how men are ignored in many stories etc.

  22. My daughter just said that she feels like Elder Andersen gives a lot of addresses directed toward single mothers.

  23. Federal law prohibits hospitals from forcing anyone to perform or assist in abortion. Not sure why he said people risk losing their jobs for refusing…

  24. John Taber says:

    Pres. Packer once said it’s called “Grandma’s house” because “Grandpas don’t bake pies.”

  25. Yes he did, loathing. Husband and I were talking about this very thing while the session was starting.

  26. ariel, Federal law can be easily changed.

  27. More rhetorical dissociation of priesthood with ordination, a la some of yesterday’s addresses.

  28. That is an interesting rhetorical shift. I’ve noticed it too.

  29. Seth, perhaps I misheard, but I understood him to say that the current social climate is currently causing pro-life medical professionals to be risking their employment, right now.

  30. This is going to be a very divisive talk. I’m on the side of loving it.

  31. StillConfused says:

    My brother who is not-Mormon is here and he said, “Do you guys ever learn about Jesus or scriptures?” Ouch.

  32. Ariel – many times employers fail to comply with the law.

  33. StillConfused, I’m pretty sure Jesus has been mentioned quite a bit so far.

  34. Geographic responsibilities — we got a good discourse about this in stake conference several years ago when many within our stake had started deciding they could attend whatever ward they chose to.

  35. John Taber says:

    Or maybe Elder Cook considers Plan B to be a form of abortion. I don’t know, really.

  36. Chris, I’m a healthcare professional and I’ve never seen or heard of it happening in my circle of peers, which I deliberately keep quite large for networking purposes. I also did a google search when he said it just now, and it appears that there was one hospital attempting to violate the law in 2011 and they backed down when confronted with the law. That’s the only violation I could find. On the other hand, it’s legal for catholic hospitals to fire staff who perform, assist with, or do not report abortions.

  37. I think he just used abortion as an example. I suspect it was because he didn’t want to kick the hornet’s nest and mention the example of the Canadian wedding photographer who was unwillingly forced to do photos for a gay wedding.

  38. John Taber says:

    Aargh! My cable is pixellating!

  39. @Chris: That’s why we have a court system.

    (Also, i know multiple women, some of whom i’m quite close to, who would have died without an abortion or abortion-related procedure, and in some cases one done quite quickly. I’m rather torn on freedom-of-conscience laws for medical professionals.)

  40. Since when does a Stake Leader have the authority or responsibility to release a man from his ward calling while extending a stake call to that brother’s wife??

  41. John, excellent point. If Plan B or hormonal birth control is included, then yes there can be trouble. (But my experience is that LDS people don’t count that as abortion.) There is at least one pharmacist I know of who refuses to dispense birth control and as far as I know he hasn’t been fired yet, but he’s only allowed to work shifts that have another pharmacist on staff so that the pharmacy will run as usual.

  42. “We are their mothers.” Pause for effect.

  43. Rob, several callings are mandated to come from the Stake level. It’s in the handbook of instructions.

  44. I like that he’s acknowledging they consult women leaders on issues that affect women. I think that kind of thing being made known helps.

  45. Interesting: He says that the decision on the age change for full-time missionaries included many discussions with relief society, young women, and primary leadership, and local leaders should follow that example.

  46. @Rob: If a stake calling is extended that requires that person or their spouse to be released from a ward calling, the stake calling takes precedence.

  47. I would not say that I love this talk, but I really like a few parts of it quite a bit. A few gems mixed in there.

  48. @Seth R. My notes tell me that both the scriptures and Christ have been mentioned quite frequently over conference.

  49. John Taber says:

    Now we have a picture but no sound, so we’ve pulled it up online.

  50. I’m with kirkcaudle on this (which seems to be a developing habit)—not my favorite address by a long shot, but certainly worth revisiting and pondering.

  51. When Elder Cook posted the picture of the faithful Brazilian sister in front of the some plants, did those plants look like marijuana?

  52. I don’t think @Seth or @Loathing understood the question. He said that the Stake LEader came to call the WIFE to be a Seminary teacher, and in the course of that calling, while meeting with both HUSBAND and WIFE, he RELEASED THE HUSBAND as the WARD YM President.

    I ask again. Since when does the STAKE LEADER have authority or responsibility to extend a release for a WARD calling.

  53. So does the call for teachers to not mingle their own philosophies with gospel truths mean that i get to stop hearing code-worded asides about the current state of the US’s executive branch of government?

  54. Rob, you’re missing the point. I think he was saying that the old practice of asking men to give permission for their wives’ calling was mistaken ;)

  55. John Taber says:

    Maybe the stake leader had already worked out a “what if” with the bishop.

  56. loathing: At least someone agrees with me! :)

  57. #Rob: No, i understood completely. Like i said, if extending a stake calling requires a release from a ward calling, that happens. The official release may have needed to have been extended by a member of the bishopric (probably the bishop himself, for that calling), but the release could still be mandated by the stake.

  58. We had a discussion some time ago at a Seminary Symposium about this concept Brother McConkie is testifying about with regards to not only preparing for your lesson, but ALSO having your own personal daily scripture study. I think D&C 84:85 applies here.

  59. John Taber says:

    “You must have the courage to set aside your outlines and your notes and go where the promptings of the Spirit take you.” Whenever I prepare a lesson (or a sacrament meeting talk) I plan the whole thing out but that doesn’t mean I’ll stick to it.

  60. If you pay attention, when you teach by the Spirit you will learn something from what you teach. I like the conditional at the beginning.

  61. John Taber says:

    BTW, cable has sound again.

  62. Did you hear the crowd susurussing when he announced “Called to Serve” as the choir+congregation song? I’m thinking people liked that choice.

  63. “After you have prepared yourself and your lesson to the best of your ability you must be willing to let yourself go . . do not just be an echo of the words of a manual or the thoughts of others.” -David McConkie

    LOVE LOVE this.

  64. Rob, I think you’re reading into the story more than happened. He didn’t release Elder Anderson but instead explained that they felt it would be appropriate to release him from his YM calling as a result of calling his wife as a Seminary teacher. The proper step would be to discuss this with his Bishop and ask the Bishop to perform the release. But Stake callings do not necessarily take precedence over Ward callings. The Stake Presidency wanted to extend a calling to a Sister in our Ward and when we explained as a Bishopric that we felt the change was inappropriate due to the importance of her role in the current calling they reconsidered and called a Sister from another Ward.

  65. I remember once while I was in the MTC, a bunch of us missionaries were getting ready to cross the street to go play frisbee in the field (for our exercise hour). An elementary school bus pulled up and stopped at the crosswalk, and as we started to cross, all the kids on the bus pushed open the windows and suddenly broke into “Called to Serve.” That song’s had a soft spot in my heart ever since.

  66. The family decided to take a ride in the country, and that one single decision led to leaving the church? Huh? I’m thinking there has to have been something going on beforehand, whether the young Elder Hamilton had been aware of it or not.

  67. The video I just made of most of my younger kids and their cousins singing Called to Serve is priceless!! I missed the beginning but got it basically from the first chorus through the end of the song.

  68. StillConfused says:

    Sunday drives are of the devil! (along with foosball and Vickey Valencourt for the movie buffs)

  69. My faith would be strengthened if we went to a two-hour block. We could still have all three meetings – just for less time. Now, who’s with me! :)

  70. I have to admit, i didn’t see a big difference in his descriptions of the difference between Sunday school and priesthood/relief society meetings—so by his logic, maybe we *do* need a 2-hour block…

  71. Our bishop a couple of years ago instructed us in the need to attend ALL of our sunday meetings where possible, even when travelling out of town on vacation, business, or whatever the case may be.

  72. John Taber says:

    If every meeting were guaranteed to start and end on time, I’d feel better about the idea of shortening meeting times.

  73. I think those sorts of instructions (attend all of the meetings) are pretty widespread, actually.

  74. It sounds to me like he might be talking the growing number of people who attend the Sunday School foyer class. If people choose to skip just one meeting on Sunday, it is generally Sunday School.

  75. Mandy, I don’t know if I can sustain your proposal, due to the fact that you don’t hold the priesthood. But it is a good idea.

  76. temple recommend question asks whether you strive to attend all of your sacrament and priesthood meetings? It doesn’t ask about SS or RS.

  77. @John Taber: I’ve been in very few church meetings that didn’t start on time. Most have ended on time, or at most 5 minutes late, except for the very occasional testimony meeting that i’ve been happy to have the bishop let continue.

  78. Delicious bean burritos. Mmmm.

  79. Well, I’m just a lowly woman, Rob. What can I say?

  80. @Haggoth: I’ve had stake presidents explicitly teach that relief society is a priesthood meeting.

  81. My Stake Presidency adds RS to the question when interviewing the sisters.

  82. SatanLovesMeApparently says:

    So, the times I’ve traveled long distance to visit family on Sunday and didn’t stop for Church, it was Satan working in my life?

    [insert choice words here]

  83. How does Elder Achoa’s address square with Pres. Uchtdorf’s?

  84. Rob, If a Stake President tells a Bishop to release a YM President, barring extraordinary circumstances, the YM President is going to get released.

  85. loathing, interesting. But I think he was adding to the requirements which the instructions specifically teach him not to do.

  86. SatanLovesMeApparently says:

    Seriously, though, why not just teach the principle (we love “principles”) of meeting attendance, and that we should take missing meetings very seriously, but leave it between us and the Lord? Like we do with so many other things. Why the impulse to drive everyone to the “Not Once Club” all the time?

  87. DId he say mixing lice with half truths?

  88. @hagoth–RS and SS are priesthood auxilaries, so they are required the same way for a recommend (that’s the training we got as a bishopric a few years back)

  89. I’m not sure i’m following this address. I wonder if he’s basing the structure of his address in a rhetorical tradition i’m unfamiliar with.

  90. Elder Ochoa advises us to not take the bloggers seriously. Definitely alternate voices.

  91. in what way does E Ochoa’s talk conflict with E Uchtdorf’s? I can have a testimony of Joseph Smith and believe in his fallibility–in fact, several canonized scriptures tell me so. I think Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who screwed up colossally on many occasions.

  92. drbrewhaha says:


  93. How do a number of these talks square with E. Uchtdorf’s, is what I’ve found myself wondering this weekend.

  94. @Haggoth: It sounded to me like Elder Ochoa was saying that doubts are a signal of something going very, very wrong; Pres. Uchtdorf argued rather vigorously against that idea.

  95. Sunday school is too frustrating for me, so I skip it every week and have my own personal Sunday school in the foyer. My bishop still gives me a temple recommend.

  96. (Not to mention that Pres. Uchtdorf welcomed alternate voices.)

  97. John Taber says:

    My ward’s priesthood meeting (we have sacrament last) is supposed to start at 12:30 – it typically starts at 12:35, It’s only supposed to run ten minutes but typically runs until 12:50 or 12:55, and then the elders’ quorum president has more announcements. This leaves the instructor with as little as fifteen minutes sometimes.

    I was in another ward where the ward mission leader took at least ten to fifteen minutes in priesthood opening exercises, which dragged out anyway because one of the aging high priests would invariably ask for most items of business to be repeated. We typically had a total of twenty-five minutes for elders’ quorum.

    I’ve never been in a ward where the ten-minute break didn’t invariably turn into fifteen for at least one organization, sometimes because another class (sometimes in another ward) doesn’t clear out in time. I’ve never heard of every class/quorum ending on time in a given ward. I worry if we shaved meeting times we’d get half as much done in two hours that we do now in three.

  98. I imagine that if we revisit these talks and ponder, the reconciliation will come.

  99. I love Australian accents.

  100. I was the Webelos Den Leader for our tri-ward Cub Scout pack for three years. About two years in, a call to serve in the stake YM presidency was extended. I asked if I would be released as WDL as a result. The brother extending the interview said he would ask the stake president. The next day I got a call that the stake presidency felt that my calling with the Cub Scouts was important and rescinded the stake calling. (Now I am the Cubmaster for our pack.) Stake callings don’t always trump ward callings.

  101. Awesome accent alert!! Been stalking for a while, decided to come out of the shadows.

  102. @John Taber: Maybe that’s a signal that there’s too much in the way of meeting times? People seem to be creating busywork (of a sort) to fill time—if there was less time to work with, perhaps people would be more efficient about it.

  103. Is this a record number of non-American GC speakers?

  104. then why doesn’t the question ask if you strive to attend all of your sacrament and priesthood auxiliary meetings? It is an equivocation. If the standards are going to change, it should come from the FP and Qo12, not from local stake leaders. Permitting those types of individual equivocations results in some stakes having individual requirements addressing caffeine, chocolate, forbidden marital sexual practices, etc.

  105. Butch Bowman says:

    I strongly disagree with the Mormon tendency to try to reconcile all points of disagreement by saying, “I know it seems we disagree, but if you think about it, you’ll see we actually agree.” It’s obnoxious, and it kills thoughtful discourse.

  106. WHo else saw the fly?

  107. This talk is brought to you by the letter D!

  108. The fly was from the video feed? I’d just assumed it must have been something fluttering in front of the computer screen.

  109. Loathing, what I got was this: if you come across anything that causes you to question your testimony, look up. Some mix lies with half truths. Be constantly worthy of the Spirit so that you can discern.

  110. @ haggoth, RS and SS are both presided over by the priesthood = “priesthood meetings”

  111. Haggoth — What are these “forbidden marital sexual practices” of which you speak?

  112. No, Loathing, it was a definite fly. I even got a text from my Bishop asking if we were seeing it too.

  113. CPack–in my stake, a priesthood holder must preside over stake dances, youth planning meetings, girls camp, singles mixers, Pioneer Day celebrations, etc. Am I to strive to attend all dances since they are presided over by priesthood meetings and therefore constitute priesthood meetings?

  114. I think that’s an interpretation, CPack, because I’ve never had a bishop ask me if I attended my priesthood meetings in a temple recommend interview. They’ve only ever asked me if I attended sacrament meeting. So obviously they’re interpreting priesthood meetings as something that doesn’t apply to me.

  115. JesusLovesMeApparently says:

    We got the part about how antibodies are built up by exposure to foreign or harmful substances, right? Or is my science just really out of date?

    Ergo, skipping Sunday school from time to time will actually help us build antibodies to Satan, which will make us stronger. Thanks for the clarification, Elder Nelson!


  116. “Freedom from self-slavery…”

    I’m reminded of Robert Alter’s description of Esau.

    “Esau, the episode makes clear, is not spiritually fit to be the vehicle of divine election, the bearer of the birthright of Abraham’s seed. He is altogether too much the slave of the moment and of the body’s tyranny to become the progenitor of the people promised by divine covenant that it will have a vast destiny to fulfill.” Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative, 41.

  117. I go to church when I travel if it is at all possible, but it’s usually just Sacrament Meeting. However, when I was in Great Britain a few years ago, we went to all three meetings in London and the following week, in the little town of Airdrie, Scotland. But there are times ‘ve been on a tour, and tours don’t usually allow time for church-going. I went on a cruise once with an LDS tour company. There were 200 of us, and we had a testimony meeting on Sunday on the ship, but for some reason, in such circumstances, the church does not allow the sacrament to be administered. Does anyone know why?

  118. Haggoth — I would only encourage you to attend all of those additional meetings if you are a member of the ORdain Women group.

  119. I do Sharee.

  120. So if God’s doctrines don’t change even when civil laws do, why do we worry about what civil laws might be?

    No, really—that’s a dead serious question.

  121. Here is the text of the relevant temple recommend question: Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

    It can cover SS, RS, and PH meetings.

  122. Sin, even when legalized by men, is still in in the eyes of God. Strong statement, Elder Nelson!!

  123. “Strive” – that word allows for plenty of failure. :)

  124. “Personal interview with Jesus” As far as I know, the basis for this (at least, as phrased) is a passing remark President McKay made to a parking lot attendant.

  125. I’m repeating what our Stake second councillor told us in church last week, he also stated he asked that question to both men and women. I’m in Oklahoma however, not known for Mormon policy.

  126. Butch Bowman says:

    When I travel, I like to attend different churches, worship with them and check out what they’re about.

  127. Rob @ 1:18pm:

    Yes, I was in the conference center yesterday afternoon and there was a dog that barked during the session (upper balcony). Later I heard the dog’s collar/leash rattling as it walked the length of the upper balcony walkway. So I don’t know if it was a dog assisting someone, or a law enforcement “sniffer dog”.

  128. KN, thanks for the correction. When did that change? It used to be sacrament and priesthood meetings.

  129. KN — I haven’t had access to the TR Questions in a few years, other than at my own bi-annual interview, however, last I remembered, the wording was, “…to attend your sacrament and priesthood meetings…”. I always just omitted the PH Meeting part.

  130. Also, what’s the deal with mediating the direct object “spirit” with the preposition, “of”? Is it a partitive? Why don’t we just feel the spirit, instead of feel OF the spirit?

  131. Dang Mormons who believe that the GC talks are inspired!

  132. Butch Bowman says:

    This song has brought me great comfort when I felt alone.

  133. So, Rob, if you know why, tell me.

  134. Thanks Bonjo

  135. I think there’s actually a semantic difference between ‘feel the Spirit’ and ‘feel of the Spirit’—the latter is, i think, a less direct experience. Now, whether that’s the actual intent of those who use it or whether it’s simply an affectation, i don’t know.

  136. Butch Bowman says:

    The fact that they are inspired does not mean they are perfectly reconcilable or correlatable. Thoughtful discussion of different points of view brings new insights and understanding.

  137. drbrewhaha says:

    The recommend book I use says “sacrament and priesthood meetings”. Hmmmm.

  138. Pres Monson did not stretch his talk just to fill the time.

  139. And reviewing and ponder does not exclude thoughtful discussion.

  140. Sharee–Sacrament is something that is overseen by a Bishop for his ward. Same reason why you don’t go and administer the sacrament to someone in their home, such as a senior “shut-in”, or someone bedridden, unless it is directed to be done by the bishop.

  141. Thanks, Rob.

  142. What, no mentions of Denver Snuffer?????

  143. Is this new? The apostles wives sitting on the stand?

  144. Butch Bowman says:

    That’s true, but the assumption that all points of view expressed must be reconciled to each other is what I’m objecting to. There has got to be room for different points of view, even among the leaders of the Church. This is what Pres. Uchtdorf was saying yesterday, or how I interpret it anyway.

  145. President Monson left the room with his daughter, President Eyring left alone, and the rest of the 12 (and President Uchtdorf) seem to be leaving with what look to be their wives. Do their wives get to sit on the stand, or how do they get there so quickly if not?

  146. One of the interesting messages from Pres Monson’s time as President of the Church: meetings don’t have to go to the bitter end, don’t have to fill every second of the mandated time. You can say what needs to be said, feel the inspiration, then wrap things up.

  147. In my interview (as a woman) I am asked if I “attend Sacrament Meeting and other meetings”…

  148. @loathing: Jet packs.

  149. Rob@1:18: I was in the Conference Center for this session and we definitely heard a dog barking.

  150. Reblogged this on My So Called Yuppy Life.

  151. Re: Health professionals’ freedom to choose whether to perform abortions, Elder Oaks likely was not referring to the U.S. During my mission in Hungary, I was acquainted with a Catholic physician who was very concerned about retaining her right to a religious exemption.