Elder Holland Doubles Down on Awesome

Most of us who watched General Conference were rocked by Elder Holland’s wonderful talk “The First Great Commandment.”  If you have not had a chance to read/watch it, please do. It was great. (Here is the link if you are playing catch-up: Holland talk.)

What a lot of my intelligent and highly attractive readers may not know, is that Elder Holland’s Conference talk followed one month on the heels of another – even better – CES Devotional talk.  (Yes, it is better in my opinion, and in my opinion, that counts for something.)

Brief change of subject: When I was a kid, we used to be assigned “2 1/2 minute talks” to be delivered in Sacrament Meeting. Back then, 150 seconds seemed like a long time to speak, but with time and experience, hopefully we have more to say to fill 8, 10, or even 20 minute talks.  The First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are usually allotted 20 minutes to speak in General Conference. Twenty minutes is fine, but there are some topics that just can’t be addressed in that small amount of time. Some subjects just need 40 minutes, or even an hour.

Why am I talking about the length of talks?  Because the Church leaders still do give talks that are beyond the 20 minute range – and some of them are earth-shaking. Usually they are CES YSA Firesides, or BYU Devotionals. Thankfully, the Church sees their importance and posts them online, in both written and video format.

The other night I spent 3 hours watching political debates and pundits on TV – and turned it off with nothing but frustration, and a feeling that I had wasted my time. In contrast, I can show you how to fill an hour with guaranteed good results.

If you have an hour, or are looking for something worthwhile to fill your Sabbath, I would encourage you to check out the CES Firesides and BYU Devotionals.  There are loads of them.  Links:  CES, BYU.

Back to Elder Holland.

All we get is a whole bunch of idiots acting like moral pygmies.  Yes, Elder Holland actually used the term “moral pygmies” in this talk.  That alone should be enough to make you want to watch it.  Need more convincing? Here are two more quotes:

“There is a wide variety of beliefs in this world, and there is moral agency for all, but no one is entitled to act as if God is mute on these subjects…”

“This Church can never ‘dumb down’ its doctrine in response to social goodwill or political expediency or any other reason.”

There is also a segment on the concept of passing judgement that everyone needs to hear – because it agrees with what I was trying to communicate in my post “Uchtdorf’s Hammer,” last Conference.  I love it when I get it right.

Ooooh,  This is rub-my-hands-together-with-glee kind of stuff. To make it easier for you, I have included the entire devotional right here on my little blog. THis would be a good thing for your kids (12+ to hear as well.)

If you don’t have a lot of time, and want to skip all the opening stuff, skip ahead to 13:05 to get to the talk. Yes, he talks for a full 45 minutes. Get to it!

Here is the link to the written talk, but I suggest you watch, because he get really worked up and one point, and you lose the emphasis without the visual. Israel, Israel God is Calling (text).

I hope you enjoyed it. You can thank me later, but first, thank God for men like Jeffrey R. Holland.

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  1. Okay, so I have left this unread in my google reader for what now, a gazillion days? I kept telling myself that it was 45 minutes of a talk that I “didn’t have time for right then” because you know, there are games to be played, friends to talk to and FB to catch up.

    Today, post election, along with a lot of people, I am wondering what next? What now? What is my next step with Splenda and my kids?

    I felt inclined (or prompted) to come back and spend the time watching Elder Holland. First off – perfect day for me to watch this. Second, thanks for posting. Bet you didn’t think at the time that it would be a blessing for someone else many days later. And lastly, I love Elder Holland. He spoke in conference last time we reorgazized our stake presidency a few years ago, and he is a powerful spokesman for the gospel. I will never forget the Saturday adult session when he was speaking and he looked directly at me with his finger pointing as he testified (referring to the Joseph Smith and the restoration of the Gospel) “I did NOT give my life for a lie” That will be with me forever.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. I actually got to do a critique for my speech class on his conference talk. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do as well, though, because I couldn’t find something to criticize.

  3. Yes, MMM, I too was rubbing my hands together in complete and udder satisfaction as I heard this talk… and more specifically, the exact quotes you mentioned. But my favorite was when with a complete boom in his voice, he said, “You NEVER leave your religion at the door!!” The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I fell more in love than I already was with that man (you know, in the way you fall in love with all apostles). I have forced, yes FORCED every person in my immediate and extended family to watch it… because we as members of the church can no longer sit on the fence on so many of these issues. Glad someone else found the same appreciation for it that I did!

  4. I have taken to listening to conference talks on the Mormon Channel, can access them anytime on my phone and they are my best companion when doing garden or housework. The voice and conviction through their voices, seems to channel the spirit more powerfully (at least for me). It makes me think about the writers of the Book of Mormon lamenting on the weakness of their words, (and particularly being carried away even reading the words of the Brother of Jared). Now with an even more corrupt language, it seems their voice carries things to the next level. Thank you for posting this talk

  5. Weren’t 2 1/2 minute talks part of Sunday School opening exercises (along with song practice)? Or am I mis-remembering?

  6. Wasn’t Holland the one who did that earth-shattering, literally pulpit pounding talk about the validity of the Book of Mormon in April 2010? That was epic. How much conviction he has.

  7. Elder Holland visited my son’s mission and he (my son) said that they got the conference talk, only a ton more. He said it was amazing. He is such a powerful speaker and one of my favorites.

  8. Yay! I wish I saw this earlier today . . . Elder Holland is great; I was just telling my husband last night how I should write him a letter and thank him for explaining things in the New Testament so well the last two conferences. He always makes me feel more confident talking to non-member friends about doctrine and the Bible- like that article from the August Ensign about working with other churches.

  9. I loved this talk by Elder Holland as well. If you want to spend a few hours in a great way, take a listen to his talks “The Bitter Cup and Bloody Baptism” or “The Inconvenient Messiah”. Life changing.

    1. I concur with both of those recommendations. I keep a copy of the Inconvenient Messiah handy for reference when teaching the New Testament. We also use his “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments” for FHE to teach morality in a powerful way to our teens. It was a book first but now it is on dvd. Elder Holland speaks with power and authority. You can feel the intensity of his testimony.

  10. Elder Holland’s CES devotional was definitely one for the “classics” book of talks. The bishop of our ward showed this for the fifth Sunday lesson in September with all of the youth and RS and Priesthood in the chapel. There were five minutes left at the end for the bishop to speak. I heard it was all very powerful! I serve in Nursery so wasn’t able to be there.

    Instead I had was in charge of downloading it and setting it up with the projector since our bishop is technology deficient in a major way. Apparently all the men there were {deficient that is} as they had to come and get me out of Nursery to fix the sound when one of them accidentally hit the wrong button. 🙂

  11. Dude. Thank you so much for the recommendation… perfect thing to listen to this Sabbath afternoon! I just finished it, and yes… awesome and powerful. I loved it!

  12. Elder and Sister Holland are in my ward, and he spoke in our ward last Sunday, which of course made everyone sit up and take notice. He and his wife are both such amazing examples of living what they preach. I loved the CES fireside that you linked here, it really made an impact on me.

  13. It is a fantastic talk. Thanks so much for linking it; I was trying to find it for my husband a while back and it took a long time to track it down! (I had forgotten pertinent details like…date and location, etc)

    His Apostolic reprimand is awe-inspiring and a little bit scary! Love it.

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