Saturday, October 3, 2009

LDS 179th Semiannual Conference, Saturday Evening Priesthood Session: Fathers And Sons, Preparation, Work, Learning, And Avoiding Anger

Since the ladies had their own General Relief Society Meeting back on September 26th, it was only fair that the men have their own meeting on October 3rd. Thus the Saturday evening priesthood session of the LDS 179th Semiannual General Conference took place. On the menu: Father-son relationships, preparation, work, learning, and a stern admonition against displaying anger, with several stories relating the tragic consequences of temper.

-- Summary of Saturday morning general session available HERE.
-- Summary of Saturday afternoon general session available HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday morning general session available HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday afternoon general session available HERE.
-- Video and audio archives and written transcripts now available via the LDS 2009 Conference Page.

Leading off was Elder Russell M. Ballard of the Quorum of the Seventy, who spoke of the relationship between fathers and sons. For sons, he offered three suggestions on how to maximize the relationship with the father: First, trust your father; second, take an interest in your father’s life; and finally, ask your father for advice. And for fathers, Elder Ballard also offered three suggestions to better their relationships with their sons: First, listen to your sons; second, pray with and for your sons; and finally, and dare to have the ‘big’ talks with your sons. The latter is particularly important because, while a mother can teach a boy many important things, only a father can teach a boy how to become a man. Deseret News story HERE.

Next up, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, President of the Seventy. who spoke about using the Book of Mormon to become more powerful priesthood holders. He suggested three simple ways to turn the Book of Mormon into our best-read and best-applied book in our lives. Read it, implement its principles, and teach its doctrine and principles to others. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Seventy followed. Elder Choi discussed how he intervened with nine "loud", unruly boys who hung out at his LDS chapel in his South Korea neighborhood years ago. A missionary organized them into a singing group. They were welcome at the Choi home where they were taught the principles of the gospel, how to apply it in their lives, and were given a vision of their future lives. The end result: nine of the boys who were not members were baptized. From there, they served missions, met young sisters, married in the temple, albeit all with different timetables. Today, those nine have produced 45 active LDS members, including wives and children. Many are leaders in their wards and stakes, including a bishop, two counselors, and one stake high council member. Deseret News story HERE.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the economically challenging times and reminded the audience that two fundamental principles for economic success are to work and learn. "Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility," Uchtdorf said. "Whatever our circumstances in life, my dear brethren, let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents." But President Uchtdorf quickly cautioned that laboring for worldly wealth or public recognition should not happen at the expense of families and spiritual growth.

President Uchtdorf also declared that education is not merely a good idea — it's a commandment, citing how Joseph Smith taught that knowledge is a necessary part of one's mortal journey. During challenging times, it becomes even more important to learn. Uchtdorf challenged the brethren to learn as much as possible, and to encourage families, quorum members, and anyone else to learn and become better educated. Do not allow the lack of formal education to obstruct the learning process. And don't neglect revelation as a source of education. Deseret News story HERE.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, discussed the importance of preparation. He stressed that preparation begins in families, in Aaronic Priesthood quorums, and in our private lives. Directing his remarks more specifically towards the young Aaronic Priesthood holders, the deacons, teachers, and priests, he suggested that the destiny of the rising generation of priesthood holders is far more than blessing the sick — it is to do whatever the Lord needs done to prepare the world for His coming. To be ready, young priesthood holders need to have faith and the confidence to live up to the blessings and trust God offers them. Deseret News story HERE.

President Thomas S. Monson closed the session with a stern admonition against anger. To drive the lesson home, he cited the case of a young family who came to him for counseling years ago. When the son was about 18 months old, the family was traveling on vacation by car, and all three were in the front seat. The couple had an argument that escalated, and, in a moment of anger, the husband threw one of the boy's toys in the direction of the wife. Instead, it struck their son, resulting in brain damage to the boy that handicapped him for the rest of his life. But by the time the counseling session was over, they were smiling through their tears as they left his office.

President Monson flatly stated that it is impossible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when one is angry, explaining that to be angry is to yield to Satan's influence. "No one can make us angry," he said. "It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry." Considering the elevated sense of grievance so many Americans feel and express these days, this counsel couldn't be better timed. Deseret News story HERE.

Bloggernacle live-blogging and discussion for this session provided by Mormon Mentality, By Common Consent,

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