Saturday, October 1, 2011

LDS 181st Semiannual Conference, Saturday Afternoon General Session; Genealogy, Family, And Repentance Get Top Billing

Note: All posts on the October 2011 181st Semiannual General Conference available HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

The Saturday afternoon session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints focused upon genealogy, family, and repentance. The Saturday afternoon session is often used to showcase new Seventies who've never delivered a conference address before; they're considered apprentice Apostles from whose ranks future members of the Quorum of the Twelve are selected. Sources of the summaries published below include the LDS Church News and KTVX Channel 4. 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.

Preceding the addresses was the announcement of changes in the leadership structure. Among the more prominent people involved were J. Willard Marriott and Jon Huntsman Sr., released as Area Seventies. Since Huntsman was not a full-time employee of the LDS Church, the constraints against Huntsman getting involved in his son's Presidential campaign did not apply to him.

-- Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve: Genealogy was Elder Bednar's chosen topic. He discussed how the restoration of the sealing authority by Elijah in 1836 was necessary to prepare the world for the Savior's second coming and initiated a greatly increased and worldwide interest in family history work. As members of Christ's restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. For these reasons we do family history research, build temples and perform vicarious ordinances. Elder Bednar encouraged young people to get more involved in these task, noting that one does not need to wait until some arbitrary age to fulfill the responsibility to assist in the work of salvation for the human family. He also touted

-- Elder Neal L. Andersen, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Andersen spoke about how children are essential to God's plan. To those who are concerned about bringing kids into the world during a time of economic instability and financial uncertainty, he cited President Monson's previous counsel in assuring them that there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save, adding that it is generally during these challenging times that a couple grows closer together as they learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions together. Elder Andersen also noted that because the bearing of children is a sensitive subject that can be very painful, Church members should avoid being judgmental towards one another in this sacred and private responsibility.

-- Elder Ian S. Ardern, First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Ardern referenced chapter eight of the missionary manual "Preach My Gospel" to discuss how Latter-day Saints are counseled to set goals and learn how to master the techniques to achieve them. Time wisely used is immeasurable; with incessant and conflicting demands in life, it becomes even more important to prioritize choices to match goals or risk being exposed to procrastination and wasting time. Elder Ardern also suggested that poor use of time is a close cousin of idleness.

-- Elder Carl B. Cook, First Quorum of the Seventy: Relating a personal story about an elevator encounter with President Monson, Elder Cook urged people to look up to God where they can be healed and strengthened through Christ's Atonement. Elder Cook said that if members exercise their faith and look to God for help, they will not feel incapable of doing what they are called to do or need to do. He cited President Monson's encouragement to look up in the elevator as a metaphor for remembering Christ.

-- Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., First Quorum of the Seventy: Spoke of the various names by which reference is made to Jesus Christ, and explained how these names give us insight into different aspects of the Lord's atoning mission. As Savior, Jesus Christ saves us from going to hell. As Redeemer, Christ actually purchased our sins with His sacrifice. The effects of redemption include the overcoming of physical death and the victory over spiritual death, conditional upon individual repentance.

-- Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke about the divine gift of repentance, noting that it points us to freedom, confidence and peace. Elder Christofferson outlined fundamental aspects of repentance, to include an expression of love, an effort to change which not only means abandoning sin but also committing to obedience, and a seriousness of purpose and a willingness to persevere even through pain. In the final analysis, the cost of repentance can be swallowed up in the joy of forgiveness.

Several unofficial LDS bloggers are discussing this session, including By Common Consent, Feminist Mormon Housewives, and an open thread on Millennial Star.

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