Saturday, April 3, 2010

LDS 180th Annual Conference, Saturday Morning General Session: Making Priesthood More Powerful And Relevant, The Value Of Women In The Church

NOTE: Audio and video archives, as well as written transcripts of the 180th Annual Conference in English, are now available HERE. For any other language, go HERE and select the language of your choice.

The 180th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began on Saturday April 3rd, 2010. The primary focus during this session was upon magnifying the power of the Priesthood, making it more relevant to the sisters who do not hold it, and motivating the sisters to firm up their special relationships with their daughters. For the first time in quite a while, no new temples were announced. It is also the first time since 1999 that an LDS Conference has taken place on Easter weekend; consequently, a renewed emphasis on Christ the Redeemer was apparent.

The summaries combine highlights from single reports on the session from the Salt Lake Tribune and KSL Channel 5 with individual Deseret News stories on each speaker to provide a broader perspective. Official written transcripts of each address will be posted on the LDS website in about a week from now.

Visit my static Conference page for information regarding times and broadcast options for all Conference sessions.

-- Summary of Saturday afternoon session available HERE.
-- Summary of Saturday evening priesthood session available HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday morning session available HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday afternoon session available HERE.

President Thomas S. Monson began the Saturday morning session of the conference by reiterating the call to Church members to reach out to new converts and to the inactive, to surround them with love and to help them feel at home. President Monson also marked the 25th anniversary of the unification of the Church's humanitarian program with its legendary welfare effort by citing the humanitarian assistance provided in French Polynesia, Mongolia, Bolivia, Peru, Arizona, Mexico, Portugal, Uganda, Haiti and Chile. For once, there was no announcement of new temples, but temples previously under construction in Vancouver, British Columbia, in The Gila Valley, Arizona; and in Cebu City in the Philippines will be dedicated this year. And finally, President Monson provided an update on the health of his wife, Frances, who suffered a fall leaving her with a broken hip and a broken shoulder. After two successful surgeries and several weeks of hospitalization, she was able to return home. She is doing well and continues to make progress toward a full recovery. Read the full text of President Monson's address HERE.
Audio archive below

More after the jump

Elder Boyd K. Packer, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, was up next, and the priesthood was very much on his mind. He noted that distribution of the authority of the priesthood has raced ahead of the distribution the power of the priesthood, saying that "The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be". Since the Church will never dominate by numbers, it must use the power of the priesthood to compensate. But even more importantly. Elder Packer charged priesthood holders with the task of making it more relevant to the sisters, saying "Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters, who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, we cannot progress. The priesthood will lose great power if the sisters are neglected." Deseret News story HERE.

In a logical and inspired follow-up to Elder Packer's address, Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, said that the Lord depends on His daughters to do their part to strengthen the homes of Zion and build His kingdom on the earth. She observed that during the past year, an overwhelming testimony of the value of daughters of God has grown in her. She explained that the ability to qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life, but it requires a desire for that Spirit and achieving a certain degree of worthiness. In the final analysis, Sister Beck noted that Latter-day Saint women are doing well when they are seeking to improve themselves and do their best. "We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive and know how to follow the Spirit." Deseret News story HERE.

Next up, Elder Wilford W. Andersen of the Seventy. In keeping with the special Easter weekend focus on the risen Savior, Elder Andersen cited several examples examples of the powerful peace that can be brought about by building on "the rock of our Redeemer". Talking about the early Nauvoo saints after their tribulations, Elder Andersen said, "Their hearts were broken, but their spirits were strong. They had learned a profound and important lesson. They had learned that hope, with its attendant blessings of peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance. They had discovered that the true source of hope is faith — faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His infinite atonement, the sure foundation upon which to build our lives". The bottom line: Faith and hope combine to foster blessings that are available only through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve then discussed how mothers and daughters play "a critical role in helping each other explore their infinite possibilities" despite the undermining influences of the world, citing the existence of a sacred symbiotic link connecting each mother with her daughter. Elder Ballard decried the deleterious influence of popular culture today, which often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction — easily the most pervasively dangerous message the adversary sends to women about themselves. He counseled daughters to look to faithful mothers as role models, and mothers to behave like proper role models. Deseret News story HERE.

Bishop Keith B. McMullin, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, discussed how doing their duty enables diligent Latter-day Saints to overcome the discord and disaster of a troubled world. He illustrated how placing duty to God first can nurture a stronger desire to perform duty to others. "As men and women and boys and girls do their duty to God, they feel impelled to do their duty to one another, to their family, to their church and nation, to all things entrusted to their care...They are duty bound to magnify their talents and to be a law-abiding, good people. They become humble, submissive and easily entreated. Temperance conquers indulgence; obedience guides their diligence. Peace distills upon them. Citizens become loyal, communities become benevolent and neighbors become friends." Deseret News story HERE.

And finally, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the importance of teaching children ways to develop the faith necessary to resist temptation. Although repentance does bring relief from sin's misery, President Eyring said it is so much harder than it would have been to exercise faith early in life and when an individual first began to wander. The family plays the most important role because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child's life to place feet firmly on the path back to the Lord. Parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, are made more powerful guides and rescuers by the bonds of love that are the very nature of a family. But President Eyring also cited the "Personal Progress" and "Duty to God" programs as ways for the youth of the Church to learn simple principles of the gospel and develop skills that strengthen individuals and help them resist temptation. The programs teach patterns such as prayer, scripture study and service, all habits that strengthen testimonies and help individuals learn and improve throughout their lives. Deseret News story HERE.

Several on the Bloggernacle are live-blogging or discussing the session, including Feminist Mormon Housewives, By Common Consent, BeginningsNew, The Fulness, and Mormon Mentality. Photos also published at By Common Consent.

No comments: