Instant Post-Conference Thoughts: Sunday Afternoon Session (October ’23)

Well, I’m back…

I just woke up from a nice nap and figure I should give it a go. First reason: I missed blogging the first 4 sessions. Second: I realized that I wasn’t paying as good of attention this morning as I should have been. Third: I noticed that people from over 30 countries visited my blog this morning and didn’t find what they were looking for.

So I decided to give it a go. (Where’s my Diet Dr. Pepper?

Results may vary.


Elder Dale G. Renlund talked about the search for King Tut’s tomb. They couldn’t find it because it was right under there feet.

Talked about Jacob’s prophecy about blindness coming from “looking beyond the mark.”

We need to guard against the tendency to look beyond the mark and not recognize Jesus in our lives. “He is our mark.” If we need something beyond him, we are looking beyond the mark.

“No need we seek counsel from exotic sources, prizing the novelty of the source and thinking such counsel will be more enlightened than that which we can receive from a humble prophet of God.”

—> “It is not the water of baptism that washes away sins, it is the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and when we make and keep sacred covenants, we avail ourselves of the power of that Atonement.”

• (Can we finally get rid of that Primary song that says “I know when I am baptized my sins are washed away?” That’s false doctrine – especially for 8 year-olds.)

Letting little things get in the way of attending the temple. Proximity makes it easier to not attend. “Living close to a temple does bring greater flexibility in scheduling time in the temple, but that very flexibility can make it easier to take the temple for granted. When we do, we miss the mark.”

Talked about Naaman the leper was healed because he looked to the Lord’s prophet. “When we trust God’s prophet on the earth today, and trust his counsel, we will find happiness, and we can be healed.”

—–> “As you come to Him, you will be rewarded with strength to face life’s challenges, courage to do what is right, and the ability to fulfill your mission in mortality.”

• And now the Tabernacle Choir will perform “King Tut.”

Elder John C. Pingree: “Our need to recognize truth has never been more important.”

“Truth is absolute, fixed, and immutable.”

“God reveals eternal truth to us through a network of revelatory relationships involving Himself, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, prophets, and us.”

How to recognize truth:

  1. Is the concept regularly taught through his prophets “First, God is the source of eternal truth. He and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a perfect understanding of truth and always act in harmony with true principles and laws.”
  2. Is it confirmed by the Holy Ghost. “Second, the Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. He reveals truths to us directly and witnesses of truth taught by others. Impressions from the Spirit typically come as thoughts to our minds and feelings to our hearts.”
  3. Third, prophets receive truth from God and share that truth with us. We learn the truth from past prophets in the scriptures and from living prophets at general conference and through other official channels.
  4. We gotta do the work. “Finally, you and I play a crucial role in this process. God expects us to seek, recognize, and act on truth.”

Knowing the truth helps us with the difference between doctrine and policy. “While doctrine doesn’t change, policy changes from time to time.” This trips up a lot of people.

“Our aim is to teach truth in a way that invites the converting power of the Holy Ghost.” “Truth has the best chance of blessing another when conveyed with Christlike love.” “Love without truth rings hollow.”

“Truth is critical for us to establish and strengthen our relationship with God, find peace and joy, and reach our divine potential.”

  • (Lot of good stuff I couldn’t catch. A terrific discourse on how to find truth.)

Elder Valeri V. Cordón “on intentional parenting or “Divine Parenting Lessions.”

“As we choose to make the gospel culture the predominant culture in our family, then by the powerful influence of the Holy Ghost our current parenting styles, traditions, and practices will be sifted, aligned, refined, and enhanced.”

“Jesus Christ is the center of this gospel culture. Adopting the gospel culture in our families is critical to creating a fertile environment where the seed of faith may flourish.”

How to do it:

  1. Teach Freely = Teach the truths of God without restraint.
  2. Model discipleship. “Whatsoever things the father doeth, these things his son also doth in like manner.” Set an example.
  3. Invite to act. “We must do everything we can to create an environment where our children can feel His divine influence.”

“Faith in Jesus Christ should be the core of our children’s testimonies, and these testimonies must come to each child through individual revelation.”

“Our love and inspired invitations can make a difference in how our children use their agency.” “To assist our children with the building of their testimonies, we encourage them to use their agency to choose what is right and prepare them for a lifetime of God’s covenant path.”

Elder J. Kimo Esplin: Talked about a Japanese woman during WWII managed to survive living in a cave with her family to escape death in Okinawa. You need to watch/read it.

Talked about the struggle for Japanese members to get to the temple in Hawaii. “When the endowed Japanese members living in Hawaii first heard the Japanese translation, they wept.”

On his way to Japan, “I looked out of the airplane and saw Pearl Harbor and remembered what our country had done to these people on December 7, 1941, I feared in my heart. Will they accept us? But to my surprise they showed greater love and kindness than I have ever seen in my life.”

“Through temple blessings, the Savior heals individuals, families and nations to each other — even those that once stood as bitter enemies.”

• Halfway there, so far so good.

• So weird to see so many empty seats in the Conference Center.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong: Love is Spoken Here. “Today, let us speak of three languages of gospel love: the language of warmth and reverence, the language of service and sacrifice, and the language of covenant belonging.”

  1. Language of warmth & reverence. We speak reverently of the Atonement. We use the full name of the Church. We use reverent words in our prayers. ” Non-members and converts can get tripped up by the language of the Church. “Let us be understanding and kind as we learn new languages of love together.” “Let us always speak with warm and reverent gratitude for God’s work and glory and the mercy, merits and grace of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.”
  2. Service and Sacrifice. “Calls to serve the Lord and each other in His Church give opportunity to increase in compassion, capacity, and humility. As we are set apart, we can receive the Lord’s inspiration to lift and strengthen others and ourselves.” “When we serve and sacrifice in the gospel together, we find fewer faults and greater peace. When we let Him, Jesus Christ helps us speak His love here.” “Sociality and service often go together. Young adults know if you really want to get to know someone then paint side by side on a ladder in a service project.”
  3. Covenant Belonging: “We live in a self-centered world. We think we know what is in our best interest and happiness but this isn’t always true.” “In truth, He knows us better and loves us more than we know or love our self.” “Covenant belonging with God and each other can heal and sanctify our most cherished relationships.”

“In God’s plan, we will each transition one day from this life into the next life. When we meet the Lord, I imagine Him saying, with words of instruction and promise, ‘My love is spoken here.’”

Elder Christophe Gerard-Carrier: (Hoping he says the word “Inconceivable!” in his talk.

Christ saw “individuals for who they were, and accordingly ministered to each one.”

“May we likewise not let our eyes, our ears, or our fears mislead us, but open our hearts and minds and minister freely to others as He did.”

“The adversary rejoices in labels because they divide us and restrict the way we think about ourselves and each other. How sad it is when we honor labels more than we honor each other. Labels can lead to judging and animosity.” (I would add that people self-apply labels to themselves which limit them as well.)

Classic C.S. Lewis quote: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…”

“I have come to realize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the great equalizer.” “The gospel raises our sights and allows us to see each other through the flawless, unchanging lens of our sacred covenants.”

“The way we treat each other is a direct reflection of our understanding of and appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice and atonement of…our Savior Jesus Christ.”

“I pray that like Him, we may love others, because that is the right thing to do, not because they do the right thing or fit in the right mold.”

• I would like to start a fund to hire someone to help the brethren tailor their suits so they fit correctly.

President Russell M. Nelson to close it out with a video message. (He hurt his back a few weeks ago and couldn’t attend.)

Things he has learned over 99 years: “What we do in this life really matters.”

“Mortality is a master class in learning to choose the things of greatest eternal import.”

“Today, to assist you to qualify for the rich blessings Heavenly Father has for you, I invite you to adopt the practice of “thinking celestial.” Thinking celestial means being spiritually minded.”

“Here is the great news of God’s plan: The very things that will make your mortal life the best it can be are exactly the same things that will make your life throughout all eternity the best it can be.”

“When you make choices, I invite you to take the long view — an eternal view. Put Jesus Christ first, because your eternal life is dependent upon your faith in Him and in His Atonement.”

“When you are confronted with a dilemma, think celestial. When tested by temptation, think celestial.” (And lots of other examples of when to Think Celestial..)

“Don’t let your prayers sound like a shopping list.” “Our prayers can be, and should be, living discussions with our Heavenly Father.”

As you Think Celestial, you will find yourself avoiding anything that robs you of your agency:

  • Any addiction
  • Gaming
  • Gambling
  • Debt
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Anger
  • Pornography
  • Sex
  • FOOD

Those obsessions “offend God because your obsession becomes your god. And you look to it instead of Him for solace.”

Breaking the law of chastity can mess up your life faster than anything. “Physical intimacy is only for a man and woman who are married to each other.”

“Public opinion is not the arbiter of truth.”

“As you think Celestial, you will view trials and oppositions in a new light.”

“Never take counsel from those who do not believe”

“Importance of temple attendance,”Paying tithing requires faith and it also builds faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ. Choosing to live a virtuous life in a sexualized, politicized world builds faith. Spending more time in the temple builds faith.” segway to announcement…

TWENTY new temples:

  • Savai’i, Samoa
  • Kahului Hawaii
  • Fairbanks Alaska
  • Vancouver, Washington
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Cancún, Mexico
  • Piura, Peru
  • Huancayo, Peru
  • Viña del Mar, Chile <— My mission!
  • Goiãnia, Brazil
  • João Pessoa, Brazil
  • Cape Coast, Ghana
  • Calabar, Nigeria
  • Luanda, Angola
  • Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Laoag, Philippines
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

• SO GLAD I TOOK NOTES. President Nelson’s talk was amazing!

• “Think Celestial” is the best prophetic catchphrase since President Kimball’s “Do it!” back in the ’70s.

• Have a great Sabbath!

• Thanks for all the love this weekends. I love you all!


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  1. Thank you, thank you. We are so blessed to have conference, and our prophet, and the gospel. I loved your notes, and thoughts.

  2. You are awesome! Thanks for the notes. I actually was away during 2nd session. I went back to listen to it, and when it got to the end Elder Renlund’s talk, all I could see was Steve Martin doing his King Tut dance …… You made me laugh!

  3. 2nd comment. Sorry. Temple announcements are interesting. Bangkok Thailand, had me jumping up and down like a hooligan. As a combat vet, when UAE was announced, I just sat and sobbed. Today “the springs” was announced. My daughter was born there 33 years ago and we left when she was 1 and have never been back. She couldn’t explain it, but it made her tear up… which inspired the conversation with our grandkids mentioned in my other post

  4. Temple proximity makes it easy to not go. I am sitting on my daughters front porch as I type this. I Can see BOTH St George temples from here. We had a discussion with my grandkids today. They were amazed that we used to have temple “trips” when we were kids, where as my 12 year old grand daughter has her own recommend and has only used it once this year. (Granted the closest open temple right now is cedar city and vegas). It seems when we used to have to plan a 2 hour drive, we went more than we do with the 8 minute drive.

  5. They must’ve changed the lyrics a long time ago. My Children’s Songbook, copyright 2002, has these lyrics:
    I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away, And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.
    “Wrongs,” not sins.

      1. Nita Milner, my mother-in-law, wrote the song in question. The lyrics in the Primary book are not the original lyrics to her song.  The line you dislike was written by Correlation and required of them, because they strongly wanted a song that helped children and others being baptized feel like their sins are forgiven and they are clean. They needed to feel that sense of being forgiven.

        Mom and correlation went the rounds on this change to her original words, but they insisted and in the end with time she gained a testimony of that line in particular. 

        So if it’s not your favorite, take it up with correlation. They are not known for their flexibility, though.

        1. Thank you for that fantastic “insider” comment. I would love to know what was going through Correlation’s minds when they approved teaching kids – under baptism age – that they have sins? Mormon himself hated that very idea that kids have sin and need forgiven! Also, as was clarified in Conference, it isn’t the water that washes any sins or wrongs away.

          I appreciate you reaching out with that insight.

          1. It does specifically say wrongs, not sins. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for children to know that their wrongs are made clean through the Atonement. They need to learn to practice repenting before they are fully accountable.

            When my son was six we were reading in Moroni 8 when it says “little children cannot repent,” and when he came to that part and read it (he was a very good reader) he was absolutely delighted. He sang over and over “I can’t repe-ent, I can’t repe-ent.” I discussed that with his therapist (he was also a really challenging child, with a lot of issues), and she taught me that children need to practice repenting before they are fully accountable. It’s an important skill, and turning eight doesn’t magically cause it to develop. Before children are accountable to God, they need to be accountable to parents and they need to understand wrongs (not sins). They need to learn about repentance and how to repent. Otherwise they’ll be like my son and refuse to repent (yes, he did that. At age 6.), because he can’t actually sin.

            I’m not saying little children have sins, but they do things that are wrong. As I teach the children in our Primary and prepare for the Primary program I have asked the CTR 7s about their baptisms, and they often say that they are glad to feel forgiven. Everyone needs to experience the beauty of grace, including children. I think that’s what the song is about.

  6. I am SOOOOOO glad you posted on the afternoon session of LDS conference. It was, as usual, outstanding. I for one have genuinely missed your posts. I am exceedingly grateful that your health is allowing you to slowly return. I have missed you terribly. Karma Hedge

  7. Welcome back!! I am glad you’re feeling better and back up to par!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  8. I always love reading your notes from conference. Thank you! I hope you are both feeling absolutely amazing soon. 😊

  9. Glad you were feeling up to doing this for the afternoon session. You always post some things that I missed. It’s always good to be reminded of what was said at a little slower pace and be able to take it in.

    Thank you for doing this. Hope that means you’re recovering and will be back to normal soon.

  10. So happy you rethought your decision and blessed our lives with your insights and comments. Conference was amazing. Your comments are, as always, so helpful.

  11. So happy to read your notes (and fun impressions and requests). My notes are highly enhanced by adding your thoughts. 💕

  12. Thank you for your notes. I am always amazed at the detail you are able to capture. Yes, President Nelson’s talk was wonderful! Clear and concise. I also loved President Oak’s address, with clarity, love and compassion, sharing the doctrine of the three degrees of glory and the qualifications of each. I particularly love that he stresses that each is a greater glory than we imagine, and that it is our choices and what kind of life we choose to be comfortable with that determine which kingdom we can abide.

    So glad that you were feeling more yourself — and I laughed at your several humorous anecdotes along the way.

  13. Hooray that you felt well enough to bless the rest of our lives! I’m sorry you and your sweetheart have been sick and pray that you will both be feeling 100% soon! I am always grateful for your insight (and love the funny comments you include as well…)
    I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or what, but conference weekend seemed to fly by this time?? I can’t wait for the talks to be available to go back over them and relive it. It was amazing to see and hear from Pres. Nelson…what a blessing technology can be, which also includes you taking time and energy to share goodness via your social media posts. Seriously, thank you so much! 🙌🏼❤️

  14. I was definitely disappointed yesterday to read that you weren’t up to the regular post-conference thoughts. I decided that would mean I’d have to pay attention differently (not a bad thing). What a joy to read today’s post! Thank you for making the effort to share your thoughts. I feel like things are back in their proper order!

  15. Thrilled to hear about a temple to be built in Mongolia! My parents were the first missionaries called to serve there many years ago. They both passed in 2022 – but I am sure they are cheering in Heaven! Also ….. love the “inconceivable” notation!!

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)