Saturday, April 3, 2010

LDS 180th Annual Conference, Saturday Evening Priesthood Session: Missionary Selection Confirmed To Be By Revelation, The Virtue Of Patience

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.

This post summarizes the Saturday evening priesthood session of the 180th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The priesthood session is open only to men and boys 12 years and older. Possibly the most interesting revelation from this session is the confirmation, by one of the speakers who used to participate in the missionary selection process, that missionaries are indeed selected for their various assignments by revelation (some anti-Mormons like to claim it's a "crapshoot"). The selections are made by actual members of the Quorum of the Twelve, not by "staffers" or "aides".

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

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

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke about healing the sick. His primary purpose was to combat the erroneous notion that Latter-day Saints believe that the use of medical science is at odds with prayers of faith and reliance on priesthood blessings. "Latter-day Saints believe in applying the best available scientific knowledge and techniques," he said. "We use nutrition, exercise and other practices to preserve health, and we enlist the help of healing practitioners, such as physicians and surgeons, to restore health." Elder Oaks also explained that we don't wait until all other methods are exhausted before we pray in faith or give priesthood blessings for healing. In emergencies, prayers and blessings come first. Most often we pursue all efforts simultaneously.

Quoting President Spencer W. Kimball, Elder Oaks said the need of faith is often underestimated and that too frequent administrations may be an indication of a lack of faith or of the ill one trying to pass the responsibility for faith development to the elders rather than self. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy discussed missionary service. He described missionary work as the lifeblood of the Church and as a life-saving blessing to all who accept its message. But Elder Rasband also offered an up-close and personal perspective on how missionary calls are determined - after being called as a Seventy, part of his training as a new General Authority included the opportunity to sit with President Henry B. Eyring, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, as missionaries were assigned to their fields of labor. He reported that Elder Eyring, in a kneeling prayer, asked the Lord to bless him to know "perfectly" where the missionaries should be assigned. Viewing on a computer screen a picture of the missionary to be assigned, Elder Eyring would greet the missionary as though he or she were present in the room.

"He told me that in his own mind, he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission," Elder Rasband recalled. "This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from bishops and stake presidents, medical notes and other issues relating to each missionary. He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to the field of labor." Deseret News story HERE.

David L. Beck, Young Men general president, then delivered an address specifically targeted towards the young Aaronic Priesthood holders. He revealed that the Church is instituting a new Duty to God program, which will be the male counterpart to the Personal Progress program for teenage girls in the Church. Brother Beck said. "As a deacon, teacher, priest, you will participate in activities that will help you build spiritual strength and learn and fulfill your priesthood duties." He also explained that each activity follows a pattern: learning about a gospel principle or priesthood duty, making plans to act on what one has learned, and then sharing with other what one has learned and experienced. Brother Beck warned that Satan would have Aaronic Priesthood holders think they are too young or that there are too few to do significant things with the priesthood. Deseret News story HERE. More after the jump

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, talked about the value of patience. President Uchtdorf stated "Patience — the ability to put our desires on hold for a time — is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and bitter. Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action and offers hope for peace." But patience is neither passive resignation nor nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can — working, hoping and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our heart are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well. Deseret News story HERE.

President Henry B. Eyring delivered his second address of the day, stressing the need to act in all diligence. Speaking directly to the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, President Eyring spoke of developing diligence as individuals feel the magnitude of the trust God has placed in them. Quoting from the "Duty to God" booklet, he said: "Heavenly Father has great trust and confidence in you and has an important mission for you to fulfill. He will help you as you turn to Him in prayer. Listen for the promptings of the Spirit. Obey the commandments and keep the covenants that you have made."

President Eyring also counseled Melchizedek Priesthood holders to ponder deeply and diligently in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets, persist in prayer for the Holy Ghost to reveal the nature of God the Father and His Beloved Son, and plead that the Spirit will show what the Lord wants done. Then actively plan to do it, and promise to obey the Lord. Act with determination until you have done what He asked. And then pray to give thanks for the opportunity to serve and to know what can be done next. Deseret News story HERE.

And finally, President Thomas S. Monson directed valuable counsel to both Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood holders alike. President Monson admonished young men to prepare for missionary service. Among the many tools to help them learn lesson that will be beneficial, he said, is the booklet, "For the Strength of Youth." He also encouraged participation in family home evenings and seminary. He encouraged the young men to prepare for a temple marriage, as well as for a mission. He advised them, that when they begin dating they go in groups or on double dates, and make sure their parents become acquainted with those they date, and to date only those who have high standards. He also urged them to avoid a litany of bad habits, but reminded them that if they strayed, there was always repentance. Deseret News story HERE.

Several on the Bloggernacle continue to live-blog or discuss the sessions, including Feminist Mormon Housewives, By Common Consent, BeginningsNew, and Mormon Mentality.

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