Sunday, April 3, 2011

LDS 181st Annual Conference, Sunday Afternoon General Session; Marriage, Divine Correction, And Tithing

The Sunday afternoon general session of the 181st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was characterized by another call for early marriage and an explanation about the purposes and benefits of divine correction. There was also a call for a renewed dedication to tithing, and a reassurance from an apostle that, despite the constant entreaties for improvement, most Latter-day Saints are genuinely worthy people and need not fear that they are constantly under a microscope. Mainstream media stories published by the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5.

-- 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 Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke about marriage and the family, identified them as two of the vital pillars that sustain our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. Cited Satan's war against both institutions as proof of their vitality. One primary reason the Church promotes early marriage is to avoid developing inappropriate character traits that are hard to change; the longer one waits, the more likely one becomes set in one's ways and the more difficult it can be to find a compatible spouse. Counseled married Church members to be both mentally and physically faithful to each other; avoid engaging in conversation with another person that you wouldn't want your spouse to overhear.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke out about divine chastening and correction; says we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct. Explained that divine chastening has three purposes: To persuade us to repent, to refine and sanctify us and, as necessary, redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path. Correction can come in many forms and from many sources, through negative or unexpectedly different answer to prayer, through study of the scriptures, or through others, especially those who are God-inspired to promote the happiness of God's children. The end goal is that much of our chastening should come from within; we should become self-correcting and perhaps even preemptive.

Elder Carl B. Pratt, First Quorum of the Seventy: Spoke out about tithing, noting that the richest of the Lord's blessings come to those who pay an honest and full tithe. Church members are expected to pay a full tithing regardless of the condition of family finances because it is the Lord's commandment; furthermore, tithing is more than a matter of money, but a matter of faith that the Lord will fulfill his promises to make sure one never lacks the necessities of life. In addition, tithe paying fosters in us a generous and forgiving heart, a charitable heart full of the pure love of Christ.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins, First Quorum of the Seventy: Spoke out about the need to become more like the Savior. Suggested that the most effective way to teach children how to be more like the Savior is through self-exemplification. One way parents teach Christlike attributes to their children is by the way they discipline them. But discipline comes from the same root word as disciple, and implies patience and teaching on our part; it's counterproductive to do it in anger. The bottom line: We should behave so that the image of Christ is image is engravened in our countenances, and His attributes manifest in our behavior. Then when others feel of our love and see our behavior, it will remind them of the Savior and draw them to Him.

Elder Benjamin D. Hoyos, First Quorum of the Seventy: The promise from the Lord to His saints does not imply exemption from trials but that people will be sustained through them. Noted that to the degree that members of the Church live the gospel and follow the counsel of the prophets, they will, little by little and even without noticing it, become sanctified. Concluded that it does not matter the circumstances, trials or challenges that might surround us; an understanding of the doctrine of Christ and His atonement will be the source of our strength and peace. [Ed. Note: Nothing in this speech that wasn't already covered by someone else in some other form; while intending to disrespect for the speaker, this talk was mostly redundant. Then again, maybe I missed something.]

Elder C. Scott Grow, First Quorum of the Seventy: Discussed the miracle of the Atonement, and used his brother's life as an example. After a mission and temple marriage, Elder Grow's brother embarked upon a life of hedonism ruined his family, health, and church membership. Eventually, he repented and returned to the church, and was married again in the temple, though he never recovered from the health problems his previous lifestyle had caused, and died prematurely at the age of 51. Yet he did return to full fellowship and worthiness, and is forgiven because of the Atonement. Elder Grow noted that the Plan of Salvation could not be brought about without an atonement. The atoning sacrifice had to be carried out by the sinless Son of God, for fallen man could not atone for his own sins. The Atonement had to be infinite and eternal — to cover all men, throughout all eternity.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve: Reminded the audience that the Church was designed to be an "ensign unto the nations". Took issue with the idea of "drive-by salvation" or "no-fault theology"; said anyone who thinks Jesus taught no-fault theology didn't read the fine print in the contract. The Church is not a fast-food outlet; we can't always have it our way. But to those who complain that the leaders are always telling them "they're never doing enough", Elder Holland had a reassuring message. He acknowledged that the majority of those in the Church are worthy, but the Church is under a solemn charge to issue warning calls to those who aren't worthy, wherever they may be in the world. Thus the majority who are worthy deserve high marks and should instead listen for another topic describing an area where one is lacking.

President Thomas S. Monson: Delivered a classical closing address. Assured the audience that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us, loves each of us and will bless us as we seek Him through prayer and strive to keep His commandments. Called upon us to be good citizens of the nations in which we live and good neighbors in our communities, reaching out to those of other faiths as well as to those of our own. May we be examples of honesty and integrity wherever we go and in whatever we do.

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

1 comment:

Duke said...

I just read all your posts from conference. I can't thank you enough for putting all these thoughts down. I listened to all the sessions but had my hands busy with farm work, kids and what not. I found myself wishing so many times when a speaker got done that I could jot a note down to remember what was said but couldn't stop what I was doing. I got online today to see if there was a summary for me to reflect and I found your blog. It was exactly what I needed. Thank you, thank you.