Sunday, April 4, 2010

LDS 180th Annual Conference, Sunday Afternoon General Session: Genealogy, Parenting, And Judgment

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 afternoon concluding session of the 180th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought forth more counsel, this time on genealogy, parenting, and judgment. General media stories from the Salt Lake Tribune and KSL Channel 5.

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 morning session available HERE.

KSL has videos of all conference addresses on this page.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke out about genealogy. God loves all of His children and each one can receive the blessings of the Atonement if they obey the eternal laws and commandments. God provided a way for those who die without the gospel to be part of an eternal family and instituted the ordinance of baptism for the dead before the world began. A natural desire to learn about ancestors dwells in everyone's heart, regardless of age. "When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us," Elder Nelson said. "We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple."

Elder Nelson also described the New FamilySearch system, which helps members find their ancestors, decide what ordinances to do and prepare the names for the temple. It's accessible wherever the Internet is available and about 60,000 history consultants serve throughout the world who can assist those who need help. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy spoke about the great influence of mothers. He related an anecdote about a cattle drive, where calves kept running off into the shade. The calves kept resisting the efforts by the people to round them up. So they sent the cows after the calves, and the calves ended up following the cows. Elder Foster concluded, "My mother assured me that if I stayed on the road of truth, even when it seemed hot and dusty, even when there were distractions, the end would be better than the beginning." Deseret News story HERE.

Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy discussed how to deal with adversity, citing five examples from the Savior's life, paraphrased below:

-- Did the will of His Father rather than His own will.
-- Avoided unnecessary complaining or murmuring.
-- Sought greater help from God.
-- Served and thought of others even during His time of trial.
-- Forgave others and sought not to pass the blame of His situation to them.

Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the mission of parents and leaders to the rising generation. Elder Hales suggested that our duty to God as parents and leaders begins with leading by example — consistently and diligently living gospel principles at home. This takes daily determination and diligence. We must walk alongside our children on the gospel path; we must plan and take advantage of teaching moments that make a deep and lasting impression upon their minds and hearts. The greatest influence on a child does not come from an interview with the bishop or some other leader, but from the regular, warm, friendly, caring interaction with parents. Elder Hales also promoted the two youth programs, Personal Progress for Young Women and Duty to God for Young Men, as useful tools, but for maximum advantage, they require parental oversight and interaction. Deseret News story HERE.

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve brought the focus back directly upon Jesus Christ Himself, saying that young men, young women and children need to know the stories of Jesus Christ — of His love, His birth, His teachings, His miracles and His resurrection — as they develop faith in the gospel. He questioned whether children truly know the stories of Christ, and advised them to read the book of John in the New Testament and discuss it with parents, teachers and friends. He counseled parents, grandparents and those who work closely with children and youth to speak more often of Christ, since doing so can bring spiritual power. He told mothers that speaking often of the Savior will bring the power of heaven into their homes. Deseret News story HERE.

Francisco J. Vinas of the Seventy witnessed firsthand the pain and devastation exacted by the recent earthquake in Haiti as a member of the Carribean Area Presidency. "Immediate help was sent by the Church to members and non-members and was distributed under the direction of the local priesthood and Relief Society leaders," he said. "They not only received medical aid, food, water and other basic supplies, they also received counsel, guidance and comfort from their local leaders." But he pointed out that prophets from all ages have warned of another tragedy that is less perceptible but not less important: the "awful death [that] cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God" (Alma 40:26). Parents and Church leaders need to watch over their families and members to help them avoid those things that could lead them to spiritual death. "Teaching our members and families about the things pertaining to righteousness is essential in the process of achieving an enduring conversion since it can lead them to obtain a correct knowledge of the Lord's commandments, the principles and doctrines of the gospel and the requirements and ordinances with which we must comply in order to achieve salvation in the Lord's kingdom." LDS Church News story HERE.

Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy discussed the need to develop good judgment and not judging others. This is particularly useful, because no scriptural verse is more widely misinterpreted than the dictum "Judge not lest ye be judged". Elder Schwitzer said that although the Savior asked us not to judge others, He still expects us to use excellent judgment. He said that one must judge well when making critical decisions in each phase of life; such as choosing friends, finding an eternal companion, or choosing an occupation that will allow one to care for family and serve the Lord.

So what did the Savior really mean when He gave the commandment to "judge not" in terms of fellowmen? "We may often find ourselves making quick judgments about people, which can change or redefine our relationships with them," Elder Schwitzer said. "Often we make incorrect judgments because of limited information, or not seeing beyond that which is immediately in front of us...Good judgment is needed not only in understanding people, but also in facing decisions that lead us to or away from our Heavenly Father...Many missed blessings in life are missed because worldly judgment was applied to what was really a spiritual decision." Deseret News story HERE.

And finally, as is the custom and tradition of every Conference, President Thomas S. Monson closed it out with remarks of his own. You can read the full transcript of his remarks HERE; here's the part I found most pertinent:

My brothers and sisters, today as we look at the world around us, we are faced with problems which are serious and of great concern to us. The world seems to have slipped from the mooring of safety and drifted from the harbor of peace.

Permissiveness, immorality, pornography, dishonesty and a host of other ills cause many to be tossed about on a sea of sin and crushed on the jagged reefs of lost opportunities, forfeited blessings and shattered dreams.

My counsel for all of us is to look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. The lighthouse of the Lord sends forth signals readily recognized and never failing.

I love the words found in Psalms: "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; ... I will call upon the Lord... so [I shall] be saved from mine enemies" (Psalms 18: 2-3).

The Lord loves us, my brothers and sisters, and will bless us as we call upon Him.

Several on the Bloggernacle live-blogged or discussed the sessions, including Feminist Mormon Housewives, By Common Consent, and Mormon Mentality. Photos of Sunday afternoon session also published at By Common Consent

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