Sunday, April 4, 2010

LDS 180th Annual Conference, Sunday Morning General Session: General Authorities Proclaim The Joy Of Easter And The Risen Savior

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 Sunday morning session of the 180th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was characterized by an Easter theme. Most of the LDS general authorities speaking on Easter Sunday morning at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City reflected on the most glorious, comforting and reassuring of all events of human history — Jesus Christ's resurrection and victory over death. The First Presidency had already disseminated their Easter message worldwide. One Apostle, Quentin Cook, took specific issue with the growing incivility in our society.

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

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, suggested that we as Latter-day Saints can function as the "hands of Christ". As such, our hands can embrace, comfort, and serve. President Uchtdorf said, "When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched; reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. And He always talked with — never down to — people. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation. This is what He did during His mortal life; it is what He would be doing if He were living among us today; and it is what we should be doing as His disciples and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. … As we emulate His perfect example we can become His hands; our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart." President Uchtdorf also said that Jesus Christ expects believers to embrace and welcome all God's children, including those who might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve celebrated the value and meaning of Easter to Latter-day Saints, characterizing it as "that holy day designated throughout all Christendom to commemorate the victory of Jesus Christ over death." Elder Scott exclaimed, "How our Father in Heaven must have rejoiced that sacred day when His totally obedient, completely worthy Son shattered the chains of death." He asked, "What eternal purpose would our Father's plan of happiness have had except it be made alive through the infinite and eternal Atonement of His gloriously obedient Son? What eternal purpose would have come from the creation of the earth where intelligences tabernacled with spirits would receive a body if death were the end of existence and none would be resurrected? What a glorious moment that morning was for all who understood its significance." Elder Scott said the Easter season should bring peace and joy to all who love the Lord and show it by obeying His commandments. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy counselled people to turn to the Lord when confronted with life's problems. Even a seemingly small slight, if allowed to fester, can infect and destroy a person's testimony. Elder Hallstrom said: "No matter the size of the issue, how we respond can reset the course of our life. … If you feel you have been wronged; by anyone (a family member; a friend; another member of the Church; a Church leader; a business associate); or by anything (the death of a loved one; health problems; a financial reversal; abuse; addiction); deal with the matter directly and with all the strength you have. 'Hold on thy way' (Doctrine and Covenants 122:9); giving up is not an option. And, without delay, turn to the Lord. … Never let an earthly circumstance disable you spiritually." Deseret News story HERE.

Sister Cheryl C. Lant, the former Primary general president who was honorably released on April 3rd, spoke of the need to bring our children to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior. She said, "It is our sacred responsibility as parents and leaders of this rising generation of children to bring them to the Savior so that they might see His face and the face of our Father in Heaven as well. As we do, we also bring ourselves." To do this effectively, we must first learn how to love the Lord and our families; second, visibly strive to become worthy examples; and third, teach our children the truths of the gospel from the scriptures and the prophets, and help them to feel and recognize the spirit. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve continued the Easter theme by suggesting that we contemplate and in appropriate ways emulate what the Savior did the last two days of His mortal life; first, Jesus' introduction of the Sacrament; and second, His emphasis of love and unity and declaration that we would be known as His disciples if we love one another. But Elder Cook also decried the rising incivility in our society, taking place even within the LDS community. Elder Cook said, "Many in this world are afraid and angry with one another. … We need to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our interactions. This is especially true when we disagree. … It is appropriate to disagree, but it is not appropriate to be disagreeable. Violence and vandalism are not the answer to our disagreements. If we show love and respect even in adverse circumstances, we become more like Christ." Deseret News story HERE.

And finally, President Thomas S. Monson joyfully proclaimed "He is risen", in reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But to better understand the meaning of death, President Monson proclaimed that Latter-day Saints must first appreciate the purpose of life. "The dim light of belief must yield to the noonday sun of revelation, by which we know that we lived before our birth into mortality. In our pre-existent state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence", said President Monson.

He continued, "We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God. Our Father knew that because of the nature of mortality, we would be tempted, would sin and would fall short. So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior who should suffer and die for us. Not only would He atone for our sins, but as a part of that atonement He would also overcome the physical death to which we would be subject because of the Fall of Adam. Thus, more than 2,000 years ago, Christ, our Savior, was born to mortal life in a stable in Bethlehem. The long foretold Messiah had come. The Savior was baptized. He called the Twelve Apostles. He blessed the sick and even raised the dead. And then the mortal mission of the Savior of the world drew to its close. A last supper with His apostles took place in an upper room. Ahead lay Gethsemane and Calvary's cross".

At Gethsemane, Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world, At Calvary, Christ yielded up his life for those sins. But by doing these things, Christ alone earned the right to take up His body once again. And by doing so, He broke the bands of death. Deseret News story HERE.

Several on the Bloggernacle continue to live-blog or discuss the sessions, including Feminist Mormon Housewives, By Common Consent, and Mormon Mentality. Photos of Sunday morning session also published at By Common Consent.

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