Instant Post-Conference Thoughts: Sunday Morning Session (April ’23)

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.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson started us off. “Becoming “one” is a recurring theme in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Speaking about unity and contention. ( It feels like he’s about to go off…)

“In our extremely contentious world, how can unity be achieved, especially in the church…?”

“We are too diverse, and at times too discordant to be able to come together as one on any other basis or under any other name. Only in Jesus Christ can we truly become one.”

“Becoming One happens one by one”

“To put on Christ certainly includes making His first and great commandment, our first and greatest commitment, and if we love God, we will keep His commandments.” 

“Unity with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ grows as we heed the second commandment — inextricably connected to the first — to love others as ourselves.” (Yes, in that order.)

“By ‘putting on Christ,’ it becomes possible either to resolve or to lay aside differences, disagreements, and disputes.”

Told about BH Roberts and how contention and conflict with church leaders caused him to pull away from the church, and how he turned it around and resolved the contention and remained faithful.

“We can also see in this example that unity does not mean simply agreeing that everyone should “do his or her own thing” or go his or her own way. We cannot be one unless we all bend our efforts to the common cause.”

“Unity does not require sameness, but it does require harmony.”

“If you have a spirit of contention, you are not of Christ.” <—We underestimate what a big deal that is.

“My call today is to end conflicts that are raging in your heart, home and life.”

“None of us can control nations or the actions of others or even members of our own families. But we can control ourselves.”

“It is only in and through our individual loyalty to Jesus Christ that we can hope to be one—one within, one at home, one in the Church, eventually one in Zion, and above all, one with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.”

• Powerful start to today’s conference. Good thing, because it woke up.

President Camille N. Johnson told the story of the man with palsy that was lowered through the roof by his friends so Christ could bless him.

“Jesus Christ can lighten our load. Jesus Christ can lift our burdens. Jesus Christ provides a way for us to be relieved of the weight of sin. Jesus Christ is our relief.”

We each carry a metaphorical backpack, filled with rocks – with burdens. Three kinds:

  1. Our own doing. (Sins, bad choices, etc.)
  2. Poor decisions of others. (Unkindness)
  3. We are living in a fallen condition, (Disease, pain, natural disaster, etc.)

(The echoes teachings from Neal A. Maxwell, but I’m too lazy to find it.)

“Why are we stingy with our rocks?” Pride?

“Jesus Christ can lighten our load. Jesus Christ can lift our burdens. Jesus Christ provides a way for us to be relieved of the weight of sin. Jesus Christ is our relief.”

“Repentance is what relieves us form the weight of the rocks of sin.”

Forgiveness relieves us from the weight of the rocks of others.

We are supposed to help others lighten their loads: “Our covenantal blessing is to partner with Jesus Christ in providing relief, both temporal and spiritual, to all of God’s children. We are a conduit through which He provides relief.”

• Nice to have the #TabCats back, but they are making it hard to enjoy Secret Prayer with weird, discordant notes and collagen lip filler.

Elder Ulisses Soares started with recounting Christ’s triumphal entry on Palm Sunday.

“Peace is a gift promised to all who turn their hearts to the Savior and live righteously.”

“Contention violates everything the Savior stood for or taught.” President Nelson.

Moved into a discussion about charity. “Still, charity is not only related to something we donate to someone, but it’s an attribute of the Savior and can become part of our character.”

“One of the most evident signs that we are drawing closer to the Savior and becoming more like Him, is the loving patient and kind way with which we treat our fellow beings, whatever the circumstances.”

“If we are not careful with our thoughts, words, and actions, we may end up being entangled by the cunning tricks of the enemy, destroying our relationships with the people around us and our loved ones.”

Internet: “Without restraint, digital conversation often leads people to personal attacks and heated disputes – creating disappointments, wounding hearts, and spreading flaming hostility.”

“I invite you to consider ways we can transform ourselves into uplifting and supportive people, people who have an understanding and forgiving heart, people who look for the best in others.” (OK, maybe I shouldn’t have made the collagen lip filler joke.)

Elder Kazuhiro Yamashita on Patriarchal Blessings. (Oh, and it is Pay-tree-ark-al, not pay-tree-article)

(2nd talk on this topic this Conference.)

“My dear young men, young women, parents and bishops, patriarchal blessings are not only for preparation to serve a mission. Worthy baptized members may receive their patriarchal blessing when the time is right for them.”

“Dear adult members, some of you have not yet received your patriarchal blessings. Remember, there is no maximum age.”

Ages 11-93 (Always curious what a blessing to a 90+ person would contain.)

Two purposes of a patriarchal blessing: 1) It contains personal counsel from the Lord for you. 2) It includes your lineage in the house of Israel.

If you are looking to get one: “Preparation for your patriarchal blessing will help you increase your faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”

“A patriarchal blessing is eternal, and if you live worthy, promises that are not fulfilled in this life will be granted in the next.”

“Just as scriptures we have read many times have new meaning to us later, our patriarchal blessing will have a different meaning to us at different times. … It is not that the words change, but we see them in a different way.”

“The meaning and significance of a patriarchal blessing will be taught line upon line in the course of time by the power of the same spirit that inspired it.”

“I bear my witness that Heavenly Father and his Beloved and Only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, live. They love us. Patriarchal blessings are sacred gifts from them.”

• Getting my patriarchal blessing was one of the most impactful and early spiritual experiences of my life.

• Halftime – man, that flew by.

Elder Neil A. Anderson “My prayer at this Easter season is that we will more consciously shape, strengthen, and secure this preeminent thought of Jesus Christ in the chambers of our soul.”

“You have lived with your own individual identity long before coming to earth. Our Father created a perfect plan for us to come to earth, learn, and return to Him.”

“In this mortal life, our mind and spirit need exceptional attention.”

“Our love for Him does not shield us from the sadness and sorrow in this mortal life, but it allows us to walk through the challenges with a strength far beyond our own.”

(It’s been 4 years since 2 hour church! Crazy.)

Told a sweet story about a woman who suffered from cancer.

“In this Easter season, I witness the complete and absolute truth of the Savior’s incomparable atoning sacrifice and of His glorious resurrection.”

Elder Kevin R. Duncan Speaking on temples. (Makes sense because he’s Executive Director of the Temple Department.)

“Temples and the work performed in the temple are one of the most profound teachings of our time.”

“If we’ve been part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a while, we may be taking for granted those things that would bring great joy to those who are just learning about them.”

Even people who aren’t familiar with the church or temples feel the power. “What could become common or routine for us, is sometimes seen in its splendor and majesty by those who hear it or feel it for the very first time.”

Temples solve the problem of all God’s children needing baptisms, with no access on earth.

“The adversary is on the alert. His power is threatened by the ordinances and covenants performed in temples and he does anything he can to try to stop the work. Why? Because he knows of the power that comes from this sacred work.”

“As each temple is dedicated, the saving power of Jesus Christ expands throughout the world to counteract the efforts of the adversary and to redeem us as we come unto Him.”

“We cannot build a temple without hearing the bells of hell ringing. Brigham Young said: ‘I want to hear them ring again!'”

“I witness that you will feel joy more and more as you enter the holy temples of the Lord.”

“Brothers and sisters, today on this Palm Sunday let us as disciples of Jesus Christ, also praise our Holy God and rejoice in His goodness to us.”

• I enjoyed the joyful, upbeat message from Elder Duncan.

• President Nelson up next. Yea!

• “This is the Christ” so, so beautiful. It always brings the feels and the tears. Part of James E. Faust’s legacy.

President Russell M. Nelson. Anger/contention. Timely. (Note: Every.single.line in this sermon was important. My notes pale.)

“I am greatly concerned that so many people seem to believe that it is completely acceptable to condemn, malign and vilify anyone who does not agree with them.”

“Vulgarity, faultfinding, and evil speaking of others are all too common. Too many pundits, politicians, entertainers, and other influencers throw insults constantly.”

“I am greatly concerned that so many people seem to believe that it is completely acceptable to condemn, malign and vilify anyone who does not agree with them.”

(Geez. Now I feel really terrible abut the lip-filler joke.)

Jesus wants us to be peacemakers. “One of the best ways we can honor the Savior is to become a peacemaker.”

“One of the easiest ways to identify a true follower of Jesus Christ is how compassionately that person treats other people.”

“Those who foster contention are taking a page out of Satan’s playbook, whether they realize it or not.”

“The Savior’s Atonement made it possible for us to overcome all evil—including contention. Make no mistake about it: contention is evil!”

“How we speak to and about others at home, at church, at work, and online really matters. Today, I am asking us to interact with others in a higher, holier way.”

“Please listen carefully…” then quotes 13th Article of Faith “‘If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy’ that we can say about another person – whether to his face or behind her back – that should be our standard of communication.”

Contention is never the way to resolve differences. “Contention is a choice. Peacemaking is a choice. Let us show that there is a peaceful, respectful way to work out differences.”

Spoke about how he, President Oaks, and President Eyring don’t always agree. But then talking about how they approach their disagreements. Nice to see behind the curtain.

“Now is the time to burry your weapons of war. If your verbal arsenal is filled with insults and accusations, now is the time to put them away. You will arise as a spiritually strong man or woman of Christ.”

“Now is the time to cease insisting that it is your way or no way. Now is the time to stop doing things that make others walk on eggshells for fear of upsetting you. Now is the time to bury your weapons of war.”

“Charity is the antidote to contention. Charity is the spiritual gift that helps us to cast off the natural man, who is selfish, defensive, prideful, and jealous.”

“We rebuke Satan every time we refuse to take offense.” We need to trade contention for peace.

Funny: “At this point you may be thinking that this message would really help someone you know. … But I also hope that you will look deeply into your heart to see if there are shards of pride or jealousy that prevent you from becoming a peacemaker.”

“Now is the time to bury your weapons of war. If your verbal arsenal is filled with insults and accusations, now is the time to put them away.”

“The best is yet to come for those who spend their lives building up others. Today,I invite you to examine your discipleship within the context of the way you treat others. I bless you to make any adjustments that may be needed so that your behavior is ennobling, respectful, and representative of a true follower of Jesus Christ.”

• WOWZA. That was powerful and needed. (Needs by me, and society writ large.)

• Choir was ON FIRE today.

• Amazing session. I’ve got some repenting to do.

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  1. Bless you for making a little joke about the music and some of the “additions”. I was beginning to feel like a sinner for not appreciating it like I should. Sometimes the extra stuff is good and sometimes it irritates me when I just want to enjoy the original music.

  2. Your notes on the talks are so helpful! I’m not sure how you write so fast but I’m so glad you do! I love using your notes to augment my own. Thank you for this labor of love you share with us every six months!
    (And you’re not alone! I have some repenting to do too)!

  3. Having worked at learning two languages (Spanish and Korean) I’m totally forgiving and patient with anyone who tries to speak English, and does so much better than I ever will get in my chosen languages. I’m in awe of the general authorities who conquer both nerves and a difficult foreign language to speak in general conference.

  4. “Every.single.line in this sermon was important.”
    I second that. While listening I decided to hang the most important quotes on my fridge. It will be covered by the whole talk. 😀

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