Saturday, April 2, 2011

LDS 181st Annual Conference, Saturday Evening Priesthood Session; Honoring And Magnifying The Power Of Priesthood

The Saturday evening priesthood session of the 181st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, directed towards the men of the Church, focused extensively upon honoring and magnifying Priesthood. The roles of both Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood holders were equally addressed. President Thomas S. Monson capped the session with one of the most impressive, all-encompassing messages I've ever heard delivered at any conference.

-- 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.

Elder Neil L. Andersen, Quorum of the Twelve: Directed his remarks primarily at the younger Aaronic Priesthood holders. Told them that with their ordination to the priesthood, their talents and spiritual capacities have been increased, and that one of their important responsibilities is to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Savior. Reminded the young men that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission, and that missionary service requires sacrifice.

Elder Steven E. Snow, Presidency of the Seventy: Spoke about hope. All the hope we have is embodied in the Atonement and the gospel. Hope in the Atonement empowers us with eternal perspective; such perspective allows us to look beyond the here and now on into the promise of the eternities. But hope alone is not enough for success; hope must trigger action based upon sufficient faith.

Elder Larry M. Gibson, First Counselor, Young Men General Presidency: Discussed the importance of the Aaronic Priesthood and the power of presidency. He noted that the deacons quorum president is one of only four people in a typical ward who holds keys of presidency. With those keys, he, with his counselors, leads the quorum under the inspiration of the Lord.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency: Discussed the need to live up to our potential. Suggested that far too many members tend to be satisfied with a diminished experience as priesthood bearers and settle for experiences far below our privileges, when we could partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal priesthood blessings. By not seeking to use the channel of revelation, priesthood holders are living beneath their priesthood privileges. Noted that the priesthood has an "owners manual", the various scriptures and handbooks which govern its use, and urged people to use them with more purpose and focus. In particular, he cited sections 20, 84, 107 and 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and suggested that the more we study the purpose, potential and practical use of the priesthood, the more we will be amazed by its power, and the Spirit will teach us how to access and use that power to bless our families, communities and the Church.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency: Three things accelerated his growth in the Priesthood: a president who knew how to sit in council with his quorum members, great faith in Jesus Christ that led to love one for another in the quorum, and a shared conviction that the overarching priesthood purpose was to labor for the salvation of men. Noted that while a key to increased learning in the priesthood is to have mutual love that comes from great faith, the reverse is true as well, that discord or jealousy inhibits the ability of the Holy Ghost to teach and for priesthood holders to receive light and truth. Told priesthood holders they should not only learn priesthood lessons in this life but they should be optimistic about what is possible.

President Thomas S. Monson: This was probably the most moving and important talk of the session. Observed that the moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an almost-anything-goes position. Noted that where once the Church's and society's standards were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it's growing ever wider, citing the entertainment industry as a primary offender. Urged the priesthood congregation to stay completely away from pornography, alcohol and tobacco or any other drugs, or any other addictions one would be hard-pressed to conquer.

Also discussed was the importance of temple marriage. Suggested that those men who delay marriage are not fully honoring their Priesthood. Urges people to focus less on finding the right person and more upon being the right person. Says one of his saddest duties is cancelling sealings. Also strictly reminded the men that "Your wife is your equal. In marriage, neither partner is superior nor inferior to the other. You walk side by side as a son and a daughter of God. She is not to be demeaned or insulted but should be respected and loved."

Unofficial LDS Reaction: Times and Seasons provided short summaries; By Common Consent live-blogged the individual session, while Feminist Mormon Housewives continue their open thread.

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