Sunday AM Good-Luck-Matching-Yesterday’s-Sessions Thread

DAY 2, people! Or maybe Day 3? By President Uchtdorf’s reckoning, we’re heading into the fifth session of this General Conference. Happy Sunday morning.

Steve left a comment on WVS’s lovely post a few days ago that rang true: “I wonder if Conference hasn’t lost some of its power because of the ease for watching.”

With that in mind, if you’re sitting on a comfy sectional, or reclined in an easy chair, or propped up with pillows behind you and waffles in front of you, join us in making this session a “lean-forward” one. Take some notes. Share your thoughts out loud with those around you. Tweet. Leave comments here (though take note: we’re modding with a heavy hand this weekend, as you might have noticed yesterday. More on that here.)

If you’re just tuning in, yesterday’s session notes are here, here and PH session is here. There were some remarkable talks—Holland, Oaks, Esplin, Uchtdorf, Wong, Packer, Cook, Eyring, and Monson seemed to be especially impactful on our readers and #ldsconf tweeters. Here’s hoping that spirit continues today.

On with the live coverage!


Uchtdorf conducting, and welcoming us all to the fourth (!) session of the 185th session. (so, disregard the numbering from yesterday, I guess?)

MoTab 2014


MoTab kicking this off with “Praise the Lord with Heart and Voice”…this should be good. And they’re in the classic blue-on-blue made famous by the BYU football team on Friday night. Sounds close to a hymnbook arrangement. But now it’s “Praise to the Man,” and judging by the arrangement, it’s gotta be Mack Wilberg.

Praise to the Man


Henry B. Eyring to start. Addressed to people who “struggle with the need for personal revelation.” Members in dire straits (including war zones), bishops, stake presidents, and our prophet.

We need the continuing blessing of communication from God. Revelation isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a stream from heaven.

President Boyd K Packer: “Revelation continues in the church. The prophet receiving it for the church, the president for his quorum, the bishop for his ward, the father for his family, the individual for himself.”

Nephi did not say “I will go and do what my father hath told me to do…” Nephi’s joy in his vision was that he’d received confirmation of Lehi’s vision for himself. He could go and do what the Lord had commanded him to do.

I love that HBE goes by “Hal” at home. He’s telling a story about his mother’s prayers for revelation and direction when he was a child, and comparing it to the prayers of bishops and stake presidents all over the world. He saw it during the breaking of the Teton Dam in Idaho in 1976. Thousands were evacuated as homes were destroyed. Relief efforts were led by a stake president, a farmer by day.

I was president of Ricks at the time. We gathered as local leaders, as a government official stood and told us what needed to be done. The stake president quietly responded “we’ve already done all that.” The official then said “I’ll just sit and watch for awhile.” The church leaders took over as the official and his deputies observed. It was late, so the stake president gave a few final assignments and scheduled a follow-up meeting for the following morning. The official showed up early that morning and said “President, what would you like me and my team to do?”

I’ve seen revelation given to leaders of our church, and then confirmed on their followers. [I mangled that story…sorry.]

Tweet 1Heavenly Father loves us beyond our ability to comprehend. As we listen to this conference, I pray that you will receive the confirming revelation you need.


On to Russell M. Nelson…

Do we understand what it means to sustain a prophet, as we did yesterday? How do we really sustain a prophet?

President Joseph F. Smith: “…in deed and in truth.”

Talking about performing open heart surgery on President Kimball in 1972. It was a complex procedure, I didn’t have experience with it, especially on a 77-year-old man in heart failure. I advised against it, but President Kimball moved ahead on the advice of the First Presidency. With the help of The Lord, the surgery was successful. When that heart started beating again, it beat with power! And you know the rest of the story. He was a powerful prophet. [Commenter Joe points out that this story might just be a HIPAA violation.]

Prophets testify of Jesus Christ; of his divinity, and of his earthly mission and ministry. When we sustain prophets, we do so by the law of “COMMON CONSENT.” (all-caps yelling mine. Brand recognition!)

All leaders in the Lord’s church are called by proper authority. No leader has ever called himself or herself; no prophet has ever been elected. “Ye have not chosen me, I have chosen you and ordained you.” We don’t vote on church leaders at any level; we do have the privilege of sustaining them.

Man’s ways are to remove leaders from office when they get old. But that is not the Lord’s way. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize the leader’s authority as legitimate and binding upon us.

We sustain 15 men as prophets of God. That provides great protection for us as members of the church. Why? Because their decisions must be unanimous. These 15 mens have different educational backgrounds and experience. “Their opinions differ on many things. Trust me.” Can you imagine what it takes for the Lord to establish unanimity among 15 men?


Pres Monson: Despite any health challenges, or weaknesses in body or mind, we serve to the best of our ability. I assure you that the church is in good hands. The system set up means that it always will be, and there is no need to worry or fear. Our Savior is ever at the helm.

Lots of emotional support for President Monson so far, in several talks this conference. Thinking of Oaks yesterday, and Eyring and Nelson so far today. Perhaps to address the health rumors?


Carol F. McConkie (First Counselor, YW)

Sounds like this one will be about prophets as well. “We sustain the prophet, and choose to live according to his word.”

Carol F. McConkie

We are grateful for a church built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Lord himself being the chief cornerstone.

Wow, this talk is packed with quotes. Like, multiple scriptural references in every sentence.

We heed prophetic word even when it may seem uncomfortable, inconvenient, politically incorrect…following the prophet is always right. The words of the prophets are like manna to our souls, and will protect us.

The words of prophets, both ancient and modern, sustained me and lifted me up during the trying years as I bore and raised 7 children. (paraphrase)

Those who ignore the words of the prophet will be cut off from the Lord’s covenant people. May we open our ears to hear, our hearts to understand, and our minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view. May we choose to stand with the prophets until we become unified in faith…

Now let’s all stand and sing “Come Ye Children of the Lord.” This isn’t as much fun if you aren’t in a chapel or conference center.

And quick recap while you’re singing: Three talks so far; three strong, uncompromising calls to follow the prophet.

Next up: Robert D. Hales

Robert D. Hales

Do you remember the first time you knew there was a God, and felt his love? Hales is describing one of those experiences of staring at the stars, at the trees, and the insects, and feeling God’s love.

My testimony grew as a learned about the Savior from the teachings and testimony of my parents, teachers, the scriptures, and especially the Holy Ghost, which testified that what I was learning is true. That’s how I came to know for myself. “Seeking” is the key.

Hales is doing what Russell M. Nelson just described as the role of a prophet…teaching of Christ. He started before his birth, through his life, death, resurrection, and to his appearance to Joseph Smith. Following up with an invitation to seek a witness to these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Repeats the promise of Moroni.

Great talk on the life of Christ, and the need for a personal witness of it.

Hales Tweet


James J. Hamula of the 70


With the sacrament, Jesus instituted a new ordinance for God’s covenant people. “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for the remission of sins.” Emblems would be taken and eaten in remembrance of his sacrifice, and participation in the ordinance is a public show of willingness to follow Jesus.

The ordinance of the sacrament is one of the holiest and most sacred in the church. It needs to become more holy and sacred to each of us.

It’s a chance to remember. What does it really mean to remember the body of Christ? How it was tortured and tormented for us? And “the sequence of bread first and water second is not inconsequential.”

The bread is a symbol of resurrection, and the great question of mortality. Which is not “will we live again?,” but “with whom will we live?” We will all return to the presence of the Father. But we will not all stay there. No unclean thing can enter into God’s kingdom. Quotes from Alma, and talks about washing and becoming clean in the blood of Christ. This is the doctrine of Christ.

When we take the sacrament, we indicate our willingness to remember our Savior, and we commit that we DO remember. We further declare that we will keep His commandments, and recommit ourselves to align our lives with his. We take upon ourselves his name, a solemn commitment.

The most important event in time and eternity is the atonement of Jesus Christ. He’s given us the sacrament to remember and lay claim to the blessings of the atonement, and to complete the process of sanctification.

This will be our new “Sacrament Talk” for a while, I suspect. Good stuff.

Quick interlude with MoTab singing “Softly and Tenderly.” Not familiar with it, but here’s a bit more about it.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Calling, O sinner, come home!

Love these lyrics. Can this be our new “Brightly Beams”?

President Monson will wrap up the morning session.


The experience of life can only come through separation from our Heavenly parents. We learn to discern bitter from sweet. We learn that decisions determine destiny.

I’m sure when we left, we were eager to return back to His presence. The way back is by following the example of the savior.

Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as he walked. We choose to follow him as we journey through mortality. His example lights the way.

His path took him through many of the same challenges we face. He walked the path of disappointment. He walked the path of temptation, and resisted each temptation. He walked the path of pain.

Each of us will walk the path of disappointment, do to our choices and the choices of loved ones. We’ll walk the path of temptation, so that we can learn to be agents unto ourselves. Shall we walk the path of pain? While we will find in our path bitter sorrow, we will also find great joy as we walk the path of obedience.

The end result of disobedience is captivity and death. The reward for obedience is liberty and eternal life.

Let’s hear the story of Gustav and Margarit Walker. Emigrated from Germany to Canada. He was a barber, and though they didn’t have children, they invited all into their home. Their speech wasn’t always easy to understand. They didn’t have a TV. They looked ordinary. Yet the faithful beat a path to their door. Their home was a heaven on earth, and the spirit they radiated was of pure peace and goodness.

A chance to consider what path we’re walking, and where that path leads. Thanks for those words, President Monson.

Tweet 4


“How Firm a Foundation” will take us out, and it looks like we’re getting a few minutes back.

“I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

And of course, it’s still kind of a fresh treat to have the meeting closed by a sister’s prayer. Thanks President Wixom.

We’ll see you in a couple hours, everyone. Thanks for the comments!



  1. Kevin Barney says:

    The choir is singing Praise to the Man. Sometime they should do it to the original tune, which is much more somber and funereal than the dittyish one we use today.

  2. I’d actually love to see a piper up there next to the harpist if we’re going to play Praise to the Man.

  3. Please, Kevin, those of us with Scottish ancestry do not consider “Scotland the Brave” to be dittyish.

  4. What happens to all the plants and flowers from the podium after conference is over? Do they give them away? Words can’t express how much I’d love to own a conference fern or some such…

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Fair point, Sharee. That was the wrong word. I only meant that compared to the somberness of the original tune, Star of the East, the current one seems mismatched to the lyrics of the song.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Elder Nelson just invoked the law of By Common Consent! We must be doing something right…

  7. I wasn’t aware that Russel M. Nelson was the one who performed heart surgery on Spencer W. Kimball. I guess he’s mentioned it before, but first I’ve heard it.

  8. I wish BKP’s quote on revelation contained a female pronoun.

  9. Umm, was the story about president Kimball a HIPAA violation? :)

  10. There’s a lovely deep burgundy hibiscus-looking flower there that would look nice in my yard. But I assume they don’t give them away. They likely find a place for them somewhere.

  11. I was thinking the same thing Joni.

    And Joe, I think so!

  12. Sharee, I assume TSM goes on hospital visits this afternoon to deliver those flowers.

  13. It sounds like Elder Nelson is addressing the rumors about Pres. Monson’s health. Feels like he’s trying to reassure members that the church still has the same leadership even when the prophet is ill. I wonder if they can make any big decisions, though when the prophet isn’t well enough to participate.

  14. Nelson’s been telling the heart surgery story for a while. It’s also in detail in his autobiography, “From Heart to Heart.” (1979)

  15. I’m a little uncomfortable with Elder Nelson’s statement that what the prophet says is “utterly true” as it strongly implies infallibility. Or at least, I’d like a bit more nuancing there.

  16. So much for Dehlin’s #powervacuum nonsense.

  17. PNWReader says:

    Hey, Sis.McConkie doesn’t use “Primary voice”.

  18. Nelson continues to perpetuate what I call the “primary” view of prophets that so many church leaders still cling to – God tells the prophet, the prophet tells the church.

  19. I remember when similar talks about leadership and revelation were given as Ezra Taft Benson’s and Spencer Kimball’s health diminished. This isn’t new.

  20. I wonder if they can make any big decisions, though when the prophet isn’t well enough to participate.

    The quote from President Hinckley explained that “big” decisions are made by the Quorum of the First Presidency (thinking of the circumstances surrounding his service, that would mean any counselors who were able to participate) together with the Quorum of the Twelve.

  21. melodynew says:

    Is it just me or do the biblical stories about women (oft retold in GC talks) tend to focus on “sacrifice and suffering” while those about men tend to focus on “courage and strength”? Help me. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t mind being wrong. . .

  22. I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the idea that (as Sis McConkie said) the words of the prophet = scripture.

  23. Sis McConkie’s talk is making me uncomfortable. Gut feeling, couldn’t put my finger on it, until Joni’s comment.

  24. The first paragraph in my comment was MOQT’s question; the second was my understanding of Elder Nelson’s response to what must be a fairly regular question to the leadership. (HTML code seems to be challenging on this tablet.)

  25. melodynew says:

    Beautiful and strong testimony there at the end by Sister McConkie.

  26. Melodynew,
    Just off the top of my head, one of yesterday’s talks referenced Esther and courage.

  27. If we could stop judging every woman who speaks by whether or not they use the primary voice, that would be great.

  28. melodynew says:

    MB, thanks.

  29. Lots of Jesus yesterday; nothing but prophets today.

    I think much of this is a direct response to online criticism / commentary about President Monson’s health. Some is analytical; some is emotional defense of the man, I think.

  30. What are “joyous lays,” anyway? You never see them outside of the hymnal.

  31. I’m impressed by the repeated call to sustain the office of the president of the church, not just the man with the title.

    On a totally unrelated note, why don’t the female auxiliary leaders have their birthdates on the church site? All of the other (male) leaders do. (My wife is wondering how old Sis. McConkie is.)

  32. Didn’t someone mention the story of Esther yesterday? That is one of a woman showing courage and strength.

  33. HIPAA has only been around since 1996

  34. MOQT, well, since President Hinckley pretty well ran the Church as a third FP counselor during President Kimball’s tenure (Romney and Tanner both also pretty well incapacitated), I’d say yes, the Church can continue with “a very small helm” (D&C 123:16).

  35. Sister McConkie was born in 1952

  36. @Alex – Carol Mcconkie was born on April 23, 1952, making her 62 years young.

  37. “What are joyous lays.”

    I really want to see someone photoshop a bag of Lays potato chips so it reads “Joyous” instead of “Classic” or whatever the flavor says.

  38. “Lay”
    1.a short narrative or other poem, especially one to be sung.
    2.a song.
    1200-50; Middle English lai < Old French, perhaps < Celtic; compare Old Irish láed, laíd metrical composition, poem, lay

  39. Re Teresa’s comment (9:27) : “What happens to all the plants and flowers from the podium after conference is over? Do they give them away?”

    I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but all the plants and flowers at the Conference Center are silk/not real. I sang in a session of conference in 2008 (an area women’s choir) – we were told the plants weren’t real due to allergies. We all wore corsages – also not real – and had to give them back when we were done.

  40. Hales looks like he’s feeling his age, but this is a great talk.

  41. A “lay” is a song.

  42. Jen, I’m disappointed. I liked Kyle’s idea of Pres. Monson taking them around on hospital visits.

  43. Sharee, I know, it is disappointing, yet practical, I guess. When we were told they were fake, it was prefaced with, “Now don’t lose your testimonies over this but…”

  44. ZMT FTW.

  45. Jen K – disappointing. But understandable. Did anyone else chuckle and wonder if DFU’s pronouncement re the upcoming hymn was referring to its title or the manner in which is will be sung? No? Just us? Okay then…

  46. I’m sure they’ll defer to that choir, and in those numbers there are going to be several extra-sensitive allergy sufferers who would have their singing ability challenged by their proximity to real, pollen-bearing flowers.

  47. I really like that Elder Hamula extended the blood symbolized by the sacramental water to include all the blood – including the garden, the trial and the cross.

  48. “Man’s ways are to remove leaders from office when they get old. But that is not the Lord’s way.” I thought that was the Lord’s way, just with more finality. That’s the way it was always explained in previous conferences.

  49. Elder Hamula knocked it out of the park. Quit worrying whether today’s sessions will match yesterday’s.

    And a shout-out to Robert Duvall for introducing that lovely hymn to me! Well done, MoTabs.

  50. I am young enough to have only been around for the green hymnbook. Was “Softly and Tenderly” in one of the older ones? It’s one of my favorites.

  51. Oh, how I love when the choir belts it acapella.

  52. Anyone know why they’re ending sessions 10 minutes earlier than usual?

  53. Daveonline says:

    Elder Eyring hit two intriguing singles that could have been home runs. He quotes Packer which is all about men receiving revelation for others, but then says his mother had revelation as enduring as his own patriarchal blessing. He could have hit a home run on that one, but hit a single.The other fascinating single was to point that Nephi does not obey “the prophet”, his father, but instead obeys God as he has his own revelation on the matter

  54. One thing I like about a shorter session is watching all the general authorities exit. Did I see correctly that the wives of the FIrst Presidency and the Apostles are seated on the stand on the far left side??

  55. Where is Sister Holland?

  56. Loved President Monson’s talk – and my wife said it might be her favorite of his all-time.

    The only negative is going to be seeing “Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as he walked” all over my Facebook feed. I absolutely love the statement, but it will be a tsunami online.

  57. John Taber says:

    One nitpick: Pres.Kimball was 77, not 70, when Elder Nelson operated on him.

  58. I think “Decisions determine destiny” will be that way too, Ray.

  59. Thanks John, updated.

  60. Sr. Holland was noticeably absent after yesterday’s session as well.

  61. A shout-out to BCC admin for the way they’ve handled General Conference — Thank you for preserving the conversation AND the spirit of conference. Much appreciated.

  62. Just curious if the Church has changed it stance on the Law of Common Consent, which of course historically (and procedurally today) is really not about saying “I’ll support you,” rather, it is a church judicial procedure to pass upon (in a limited sense) the worthiness of a church member to serve at ANY level. And, contrary to what was taught, it is a vote! (See D&C 20:63-65; also the Institute D&C Student Manual under section 26).

  63. Chuck, it appears that the church has changed the interpretation of common consent by the way we treat sustaining votes. The current method of committing ourselves to sustain a person in their calling does not have a socially acceptable method for expressing reservations. Asking for a show of opposition is merely a formality. So while the process looks like a vote, and we are referred to scriptures as its basis, we no longer treat it as such. Instead we get talks about following our leaders, which can then be interpreted as infallibility.

  64. Thanks for the feedback AC. This has been a different approach for us this time around, and while it’s limited the discussion and number of comments somewhat, we’ve been pleased with the way it’s gone so far.

  65. “Softly and Tenderly” was not in the previous hymn book (1948).

  66. Mark, Agreed. Yet there are times when I have seen people cast negative votes (by church policy they are given “audience” with the presiding officer) and have seen people not receive certain callings because their unworthiness is appropriately ascertained. So it is still a church judicial procedure today…but here is the catch: we are not teaching this aspect of it. My question is: why not??

  67. Could part of the reason be that we are uncomfortable entertaining the idea that the leader we sustained in a previous meeting has made a mistake in extending a calling? For all our talk of leaders being mortal, we still really want to believe that in matters of the gospel, they don’t make mistakes.
    In practice very few members exercise the right to oppose, even if they are uncomfortable with the calling presented. With this discomfort, it’s in our nature to come up with an explanation that make us feel good. The bishop knows the situation better than I do. The vote isn’t really a vote, but a test of my obedience. That’s a lot easier to swallow than “something wrong happened, and I sat by and let it happen.”
    If members don’t want to practice or talk about common consent, then a discourse on the topic isn’t going to get much traction.

  68. I can check when I get to work tomorrow, but I don’t think patient confidentiality exists for the deceased. There might be a period of time where it is maintained after death, but by now, Kimball’s privacy rights are likely non-existent.

  69. One of the best renditions/arrangements of Softly and Tenderly is on the soundtrack of the movie, The Trip to Bountiful. Sung by Cynthia Clawson. So beautiful and sweet and full of emotion. Maybe it’s time for another discussion thread here, of songs we would love to have in our hymn book.

  70. More for anyone looking for “Softly and Tenderly.” This is one of my favorite old hymns, so I have listened to many versions. Here are two Youtube links with the opening and closing sequences of A Trip to Bountiful, with “Softly and Tenderly” playing. The singer, Cynthia Clawson, has recorded this song in slightly different settings…I think this version from the film is the best…her voice is younger and higher in this. The film is beautiful, too, and really worth watching!

    Opening sequence:

    Closing credits:

  71. Law of common consent as taught in seminary. See teachers manual for D and C Lesson 31 Sections 24 and 26, CC being the focus of 26.

  72. A “lay” was originally a secular song, as opposed to a hymn. I think Medley just needed a good rhyme for “praise.” :)

    President Monson started out a little shaky – slurred some words, a little hesitant, as he’s been the last few years. But he picked up steam, and finished full force, the old full-steam-ahead Monson. Did you notice how he became more clear and forceful as his talk progressed?

  73. I did notice that. He seemed way much better on Sunday than on Saturday during the priesthood session.

  74. Geoff - Aus says:

    Is it a problem that we have a leader who is so far gone that we are impressed when he’s not too bad?
    Imagine what the Lord could do with someone vital and capable,

    Would we all benefit?

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