Saturday, March 31, 2012

Summary Of 182nd Annual LDS General Conference, Saturday Afternoon General Session: Larry EchoHawk Called To The First Quorum Of The Seventy

The Saturday afternoon general session of the 182nd Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints generated more buzz with the announcement that a new Presiding Bishopric and a new Relief Society Presidency had been called. In addition, an official of the Obama Administration was called to be a Seventy.

Visit the General Conference portal page to learn about the different viewing options available. Audio archives of each session available eight hours after the session, video archives available 24 hours later, and written transcripts in English available four days later, all on the Archive Page. Those who don't want to wait can read the LDS Church News summaries of each talk available through their own General Conference portal, subdivided by session.

-- Summary of Saturday morning general session HERE.
-- Summary of Saturday evening priesthood session HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday morning general session HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday afternoon general session HERE.

KSL news video embedded below:

Summary: Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, announced the new appointments. The headline appointment is the calling of Larry EchoHawk, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, to the First Quorum of Seventy. He becomes the first American Indian General Authority since George P. Lee. EchoHawk is resigning his Administration position to accept the LDS Church calling.

President Uchtdorf also announced a new Presiding Bishopric including Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, First Counselor Gérald Caussé and Second Counselor Dean M. Davies. The Presiding Bishopric governs the temporal affairs of the church, such as its facilities and welfare programs. In addition, a new Relief Society Presidency was presented, including Sister Linda K. Burton, President; Sister Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor; and Sister Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor. Short biographies on these new officials, as well as a list of other new callings, are available at LDS Newsroom.

President Uchtdorf also presented the Church's annual statistical report. Total world membership is now 14,441,346, a total of 281,312 converts were baptized in 2011, there are 55,410 full-time missionaries in the field, and 136 temples are currently in operation.

Elder Jeffrey Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve cited the parable of the laborers found in Matthew 20:1-15 to teach and demonstrate God's capacity for mercy and forgiveness. Elder Holland's point is that there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessings or receives some special recognition, and we should not feel offended, because we are not diminished when someone else is added upon. He maintains the real race is not against one another, but against sin.

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the need to become truly converted and spiritually self-reliant by prayerfully living our covenants through worthily partaking of the sacrament, being worthy of a temple recommend and sacrificing to serve others. The sacrament is more than just bread and water; it represents the renewal of the covenant made at baptism. For the sacrament to be a spiritually cleansing experience each week, we need to prepare ourselves before coming to sacrament meeting.

Elder David S. Baxter of the Seventy delivered a welcome and perhaps somewhat overdue message towards the single parents within the Church. Specifically, he said "Please never feel that you are in some kind of second-tier, sub-category of Church membership, somehow less entitled to the Lord's blessings than others. In the kingdom of God there are no second-class citizens." Elder Baxter then challenged members and leaders to ask what more they could do to support single-parent families.

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Seventy spoke of the importance of sowing in the spirit and not sowing in the flesh, as taught by the Apostle Paul. He explained that to sow in the spirit means that all our thoughts, words and actions must elevate us to the level of the divinity of our Heavenly Parents. Sowing in the spirit can better immunize us against being influenced by the passion, desires, appetites and drives of the flesh.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve wants us to tune in to the music of faith. He expressed concern about members who are less interested and less faithful to some of the Savior's teachings, saying that his desire is for these members to awaken fully to faith and increase their activity and commitment. God loves all His children, and wants everyone to be in tune with the sacred music of faith. Elder Cook suggested that a dividing line between those who hear the music of faith and those who are tone deaf or off key is the active study of the scriptures.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve discussed how to obtain revelation and inspiration for one's personal life. He screens out negative emotions such as anger, hurt or defensiveness, which will drive away the Holy Ghost, and he will fast and pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. Interestingly, he also told the congregation to be cautious with humor, saying that loud inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. Elder Scott also distinguished between revelation and inspiration, noting that when the Holy Ghost communicates information that is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation. In contrast, when it is a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective, for the purpose of this message, it is inspiration.

Media Reaction: The new callings have triggered media reports on KSL Channel 5 and Salt Lake Tribune stories about the Presiding Bishopric change and the Relief Society change.

Bloggernacle Reaction: Discussion threads and reaction posted on Times and Seasons, By Common Consent, Feminist Mormon Housewives, and The Millennial Star.


Sam Butler said...

What does it mean when Elder Hales said we need to be "worthy to partake of the Sacrament"? How can any of us possibly be worthy to partake of the ordinance symbolizing God's grace and forgiveness for our sins? If any of us were worthy of this ordinance, we wouldn't need it...that's kind of the point!

Jack Mormon said...

Sam - Elder Hales was undoubtedly thinking about 3 Nephi 18:28-29, which states “Ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; for whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul”

According to Chapter 23 of the Gospel Principles Manual, we do not need to be perfect before partaking of the sacrament, but we must have the spirit of repentance in our hearts. The attitude with which we partake of the sacrament influences our experience with it. If we partake of the sacrament with a pure heart, we receive the promised blessings of the Lord.