Sunday, April 3, 2011

LDS 181st Annual Conference, Sunday Morning General Session; Revelation, Welfare, And Temple Worthiness

The Sunday morning general session of the 181st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dominated by two subjects; revelation and welfare. Dramatic revelation is by exception; the majority of revelation is actually the "still small voice" of quiet inspiration. The Church welfare system is designed to promote recovery as well as assistance; self-reliance is the ultimate objective. There was also a renewed call to increase temple worthiness.

-- 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 Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor to the First Presidency: Cautioned Church members against neglecting or ignoring smaller manifestations of the Spirit in hopes of a major dramatic event such as Paul's vision on the road to Damascus or Joseph Smith's first vision. Urged members to move forward in faith, hope and charity on the basis of inspiration already given. All people who consistently seek divine wisdom will eventually receive a divine portrait of the Master, but it most often comes in the form of a puzzle — one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself — it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. But each piece helps us to see the big picture a little better. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together we recognize the big picture. If we ignore or block out the quiet promptings of the Spirit, they become less noticeable until we cannot hear them at all.

Elder Paul V. Johnson, First Quorum of the Seventy: Adversity can be our greatest teacher; spoke of the importance of trials, and the blessings gained from them. Noted that trials are not just to test, but are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature. If handled properly, they will be consecrated for our gain. Trials may focus on weaknesses because personal growth is an intended outcome of these challenges.

H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church: Spoke about the Church welfare system and how it is positively influencing the hearts of Church members and leaders throughout the world through self-reliance. Noted that the distinguishing characteristics of the welfare system is its emphasis on personal responsibility and self-reliance. Families are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own temporal welfare; It is through living principles of self-reliance such as avoiding debt, implementing principles of thrift, preparing for times of distress, listening to and following the words of the living oracles, developing the discipline to distinguish between needs and wants and living accordingly, that individuals are able to live a provident life. Furthermore, as individuals practice the principles of sacrifice and giving of oneself to others they are learning celestial principles. This is why those with limited income are still encouraged to pay tithing, which tends to rile some of our more politically progressive members.

Sister Silvia H. Allred, First Counselor, General Relief Society Presidency: Also spoke out on behalf of the Church welfare program, noting that its purposes are to care for the poor and needy, help members become more self-reliant, and to give service. Defined self-reliance as the ability to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family, and explained that as members increase their level of self-reliance, they increase their ability to help and serve others as the Savior did.

Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke out about the spirit of revelation. Noted that the spirit of revelation is available to every person who receives by proper priesthood authority the saving ordinances of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and who is acting in faith to fulfill the priesthood injunction to receive the Holy Ghost. In keeping with President Uchtdorf's earlier counsel, explained that revelations are conveyed in a variety of ways, including dreams, visions, conversations with heavenly messengers and inspiration. A few revelations are received immediately and intensely, while the vast majority are recognized gradually and subtly in small increments over time and are granted according to our desire, worthiness and preparation.

President Thomas S. Monson: Began his talk with a brief reference to the Church welfare program. Noted that when he presided as a young bishop in Salt Lake City over a ward of 1,080 members, including 84 widows, he learned the value of the welfare system because many of his ward members needed assistance. Then he talked about temples and focused upon temple worthiness. Noted that while some degree of sacrifice has always been associated with temple building and attendance, at present, 85 percent of Church membership lives within 200 miles of a temple. Counseled members that if they have not gone to the temple, or do not currently have a recommend, the major priority should be to make themselves worthy to attend.

Unofficial LDS Reaction: By Common Consent and Feminist Mormon Housewives are live-blogging; Faith-Promoting Rumor and Milennial Star simply have open threads.

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