Note: These are the instant, mildly-filtered things that ran through my brain and heart as I watched this session of General Conference. If you are looking for deep, spiritual analysis, this is not the place. Drive on. Please check back later for that, after I have had some time to process.
• Wow! The only thing that goes faster than a session of Conference is the two-hour break between sessions of Conference.
• The older I get, the more I enjoy the process of sustaining authorities. A man I love, Leonard D. Greer was released as a member of the Seventy.
Elder D. Todd Cristofferson: Sustainable Societies. (This should be interesting)
2nd talk referring to the societies in scripture that managed to attain unity – post Savior people who lost the “ites,” and the people of the City of Enoch.
“Societies with every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of ‘God.'”
“Sustainability is not guaranteed, and a thriving society can fail in time if it abandons the cardinal virtues that uphold its peace and prosperity.”
“I think it safe to say that when people turn from a sense of accountability to God and begin to trust instead in the arm of flesh, disaster lurks.”
He also taught that family and religion, integrity, accountability, marriage and fidelity, respect for others and their property, service, and the dignity of work are essential to sustainable society.
(I have noticed that Elder Christofferson speaks in really long sentences, making it hard to catch snappy quotes.)
His speaking about the need for virtue in society is tough to hear, because the decay he is speaking of is happening all around us.
Lack of fathers and poverty are making it harder to sustain our society. He referred to them as “social pathologies.”
This: “When secularization separates virtue from its sense of accountability to God, it cuts the plant from its roots.”
“If enough of us and enough of our neighbors strive to make our decisions and guide our lives by the truth of God, the moral virtues needed in every society will abound.”
“The institutions of family and religion have been crucial for endowing both individuals and communities with the virtues that sustain an enduring society.”
“Our joyous message to our children and to all humanity is that the truth of God points a better way … a way to personal happiness and community well-being now, and to everlasting peace and joy hereafter.”
(I LOVE the idea that society would flourish if it would turn to God, but I can’t see that happening…I need more faith.)
Steve J. Lund – YM President
Spoke about Aaronic priesthood and his son who passed away from cancer and the example he set. Heart wrenching stuff. (Here is an article about Tanner: link)
Every time a deacon holds a sacrament tray we are reminded of the Last Supper when the Savior said, “This do in remembrance of me.”
“The Savior’s mission has always and forever been to serve his Father by saving his children. And the surest way to find joy in this life is to join Christ by helping others.”
“Our youth cannot wait for the world to right itself before they come to know the Savior. Some are making decisions even now that they would not make if they understood their true identities–and His.”
“If we want to be like Jesus, we should do as Jesus did.”
Elder Garrit W. Gong
“Consider how the prophecies God gives his servants are fulfilled. Some are fulfilled earlier, some later, but all are fulfilled.”
“As we hearken to the Lord’s spirit of prophecy, we can become in our own way part of the fulfillment of His prophecies and promises – part of the gospel blessing the world.”
“In 1823, who would have imagined that in the year 2020, there would be three countries each with more than a million members of this church: the United States, Mexico and Brazil.”
“As we increase our faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we participate in fulfilling prophecy. We’re changing ourselves and the world in a gospel pattern that blesses lives everywhere.”
(Weird to have the Ensign magazine gone, but I’m great with the Liahona, as that’s what I read on my mission.)
Cure for societal ills? “We need God’s help to create lasting justice, equality, fairness and peace in our homes and communities.”
“Religious goodness and wisdom are needed into today’s cluttered, noisy, polluted world.”
“As fellow citizens with the Saints, we are invited to change the world for the better, from the inside out, one person, one family, one neighborhood at a time.”
Halftime! (But too tired to get up and get snacks.)
I am glad so many of the brethren are focusing on the woes that society is currently experiencing. Reminds me how “in touch” they really are.
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
“From the beginning of time, the Lord has provided direction to help his people prepare spiritually and temporally against the calamities and trials that he knows will come as part of this mortal experience.”
Preparation: 7 years of feast/7 years of faminine.
“To all who have been affected (by COVID-19), we express understanding and concern for your situation, as well as a firm conviction that better days are ahead.”
(It makes so much sense that the Presiding Bishop is talking about this stuff.)
The Lord does not expect us to do more than we can do but he does expect us to do what we can do, when we can do it.”
The Lord loves effort.
“With a spiritual foundation in place, we can then successfully apply two important elements of temporal preparedness managing finances and home storage.”
Wisdom and order: Gradual buildup of home storage. “The best storehouse is the home, which becomes the most accessible in times of need.”
(This is super timely for me – we just threw away a whole lot of OLD food storage, and we need to stock up agian.)
Elder Matthew Holland spoke about “exquisite pain,” like Alma felt as he repented.
While we usually use it to describe beauty, exquisite can also be tormented or wracked to a huge degree.\
“We must never forget that the very purpose of repentance is to take certain misery and transform it into pure bliss.”
“Thanks to His immediate goodness, the instant we come unto Christ, demonstrating faith in Him and a true change of heart, the crushing weight of our sins starts to shift from our back to His.”
“Christ alone holds the full power and healing balm to correct every mistake, right every wrong, adjust every imperfection, mend every wound, and deliver every delayed blessing.”
(I learned early on as a bishop that you can’t fix people’s pain – a bishop’s role is to help them get to the Savior so HE can resolve it.)
THIS: “Guard yourself against the subtle temptings of the adversary saying “if you were a better person, you could avoid such trials.'”
“I testify that through the staggering goodness of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement, we can escape the deserved agonies of our moral failings and overcome the undeserved agonies of our mortal misfortunes.”
(Very merciful talk to all who are suffering – and that’s a lot of folks.)
Elder William K. Jackson
(He has the energy of an ACC Basketball coach)
Oooh..speaking about cultural identity. “An over-fixation on one’s cultural identity may lead to the rejection of worthwhile, even godly, ideas, attributes and behavior.” (This is a worldwide issue)
(2nd topic delving into the idea of letting go of cultural traditions that conflict with Christ’s culture.)
Big quote: “Virtually all conflict and chaos would quickly fade if the world would only accept its original culture, the one we all possessed not so very long ago. This culture dates back to our pre-mortal existence.”
“The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that there is purpose in life. Our being here is not just some big cosmic accident or mistake! We are here for a reason.”
“We are all us, we are all them.”
“In the culture of Christ, women are elevated to their proper and eternal status. They are not subservient to men, as in many cultures in today’s world, but full and equal partners here and in the world to come.”
“We can, indeed, all cherish the best of our individual earthly cultures and still be full participants in the oldest culture of them all — the original, the eternal culture that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf is batting cleanup.
Told about how the foundation of the Salt Lake temple was initially with sandstone, replaced by granite. To read it in more detail, with pictures, check out a blog post I wrote about it a few years back. (link)
In speaking about COVID-19: “I doubt there is a person who hears my voice or reads my words who has not been affected by the worldwide pandemic. To those who mourn the loss of family and friends, we mourn with you. We plead with Heavenly Father to comfort and console you.”
“There is one thing I do know. This virus did not catch Heavenly Father by surprise.”
Spoke about the City of Enoch and the unity they had – multiple speakers have addressed this today. Also another reference to Joseph and the 7 years of feast/famine.
“The righteous are not given a free pass that allows them to avoid the valleys of shadow.”
“My dear friends, brothers and sisters, God will watch over and shepherd you during these times of uncertainty and fear. He knows you, He hears your pleas, He is faithful and dependable and he will fulfill His promises.”
“God has something unimaginable in mind for you personally, and the Church collectively.”
(And there it is – an airplane reference about holding patterns and turbulence.) “Our best days are ahead of us, not behind us. This is why God gives us modern revelation. Without it, life might feel like flying in a holding pattern, waiting for the fog to lift so we can land safely.”
Yikes: “Things might get worse before they get better.”
“With Christ at the helm, things will not only be all right—they will be unimaginable.” (I have a pretty good imagination…)
Regarding missionary work: “We might have been so attached to traditional approaches that it took a pandemic to open our eyes.”
“God has revealed and will continue to reveal His almighty hand. The day will come when we will look back and know that during this time of adversity, God was helping us to find better ways–His ways–to build His kingdom on a firm foundation.”
• Man, we are only two sessions in and this has been an amazing conference. Every talk is powerful, timely and worth re-reading.
• Chore time! Have a great day, and I’ll be back in the morning.