Saturday, April 2, 2011

LDS 181st Annual Conference, Saturday Afternoon General Session; LDS Church Membership Officially At 14,131,467

The Saturday afternoon general session of the 181st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The latest membership statistics effective December 31st, 2010 were disclosed; the total membership is now 14,131,467. To rebut negative rumor, only living members of the LDS Church are counted; deceased individuals vicariously baptized in our temples are not placed on the Church's membership roles.. In addition, ten new LDS general authorities and 41 Area Seventies were sustained.

-- All posts about the 181st Annual General Conference, to include session reports, can be simultaneously displayed HERE, with the most recent post displayed first.

Video and audio archives will be posted on the Conference Page as soon as they are available; official written transcripts of each address will be posted on the LDS website in about a week from now. In the interim, LDS Church News is providing news stories on the speakers and the counsel delivered; click on the speaker's name below to go directly to the Church News story.

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve: Every member can be guided by the Spirit of revelation and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Noted that the scriptures today consist of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants. Explained why we attach such significance to calling ourselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than the Mormon Church; it is not a matter of "brand identification and protection", but it's because the Lord Himself instructed the ancient Nephites to call the Church in His sacred name. Also reminded members of the definition and importance of the law of chastity, again defining it as ONLY between MAN and WOMAN, and ONLY within a lawfully-contracted marriage, and reiterated that the Word of Wisdom proscribed the consumption of tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco and varieties of drugs and addictive substances.

The Deseret News published a pre-Conference story entitled "LDS or Mormon? It depends" which may be of interest.

Elder Russell M. Nelsen, Quorum of the Twelve: Discussed how Church members who live in time of turmoil can combat their fears by strengthening their faith. Noted that Church leaders are concerned not only for their children and grandchildren, but also for each of God's children. Cited three types of faith to teach: First, faith in God's plan of salvation; second, faith that keeping all the commandments will ultimately bring blessings and joy; and third, faith to know that obedience to the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection. Faith is fortified through prayer.

Elder Richard J. Maynes, First Quorum of the Seventy: Proclaimed that happiness comes through establishing a Christ-centered home. Explained that individuals understand the eternal nature of the family, they are more able to understand Heavenly Father's plan for His children, and also grasp why Satan wages such a determined war against the family using selfishness, greed and pornography as his primary tools. Noted that family home evening, daily prayer and scripture study, that reflect the principles of the gospel and strengthen family bonds, can counter the influence of Satan and create an environment where the Holy Spirit can dwell.

Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, First Quorum of the Seventy: Talked about testimony and struggles of faith. Everyone who is willing to pay the price — meaning keeping the commandments — is entitled to a testimony. Explained that a testimony grows and needs protection. Neglect or deviance from the path can lead to loss of the Spirit and the denial of testimony. Used scripture to help affirm the fact that people need not know everything.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke of the importance of properly prioritizing one's desires by putting the things of eternal importance before the desires of the world, noting that desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions, and that the desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving and our becoming. Righteous desires must be heartfelt, unwavering and permanent. What individuals desire over time is what they will eventually become and receive in the eternity.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve: Stated that the most important divine attribute that Church members should desire and seek to possess is the gift of charity — the pure love of Christ. Noted that charity first begins at home, since no success abroad can ever really compensate for failure in the home. But from there it spreads out to service at the local wards and branches, and then to the greater community. Noted that while missionary service is another way to serve Heavenly Father's children, the future growth of the Church will not happen through just knocking on strangers' doors. Members, along with our missionaries, filled with the love of God and Christ, must also discern and respond to temporal needs in the spirit of charitable service.

Unofficial LDS Reaction: By Common Consent and Times and Seasons offer the best liveblog; other reaction being posted on Faith Promoting Rumor, and an open thread on Milennial Star,

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