Saturday, March 31, 2012

Summary Of 182nd Annual LDS General Conference, Saturday Evening Priesthood Session

Special Note: If you're looking for summaries on the October 2012 Semiannual General Conference, click HERE to display all the posts, with the most recent post appearing first.

The Saturday evening priesthood session of the 182nd Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consisted of the usual advice proffered to Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood holders to magnify their Priesthood callings along with the customary sprinkling of personal anecdotes designed to drive the message home in the most understandable terms.

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 afternoon general session HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday morning general session HERE.
-- Summary of Sunday afternoon general session HERE.

Summary: Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke at length about the divine authority of the Priesthood; worthiness and willingness the two qualifiers of Priesthood membership. Elder Bednar stressed that the priesthood is to be inherently active rather than passive; those who receive priesthood authority but who willfully refuse to exercise priesthood power are under condemnation from heaven. At the same time, the priesthood is to be used to to serve, to bless and to strengthen other people; nothing about it is self-centered.

Bishop Richard C. Edgley, who was First Counselor in the just-released Presiding Bishopric, discussed the importance of reaching out to and re-activating less-active Church members. He suggested there are many callings available for less-active members so long as they meet other standards of worthiness. He noted that it is not all that easy or comfortable for less-active members to just walk back into the Church; they need help, support and fellowship. Along those lines, he urged people to treat less-active members as equals and viewed them as fully-vested sons and daughters of a loving God.

Brother Adrian Ochoa, Second Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, directed his remarks primarily towards the younger Aaronic Priesthood members. Like Elder Bednar, Brother Ochoa told the younger set that Priesthood power needs to be exercised in order to be magnified; he observed with frustration that many young men simply do not understand how much good they can do with the power they hold. He said the best way to battle evil is to promote righteousness and stand up boldly for what they know is true. Like John the Baptist, who was also an Aaronic Priesthood holder, current Aaronic Priesthood holders are also preparing the way of the Lord and making His paths straight.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke about the difference between the "what" and the "why" of priesthood service. He explained that it is important to learn and attend to what one must do in priesthood callings, but it is in the "why" of priesthood service that we discover the fire, passion and power of the priesthood. "The what of priesthood service teaches us what to do," he said. "The why inspires our soul. The what informs, but the why transforms."

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the importance of being sealed by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood in a holy temple of God. He spoke of the keys held by the apostle Peter and said that at the coming of the prophet Elijah in this dispensation, power was given to the priesthood and hearts were to be turned. President Eyring suggested four things priesthood fathers could do to lift and lead their families back to the Lord once again: Maintain a sure witness that the keys of the priesthood are with us, love our wives, enlist the entire family to love each other, and, when discipline is needed, correct in the Lord's way to lead them toward eternal life.

President Thomas S. Monson shared teachings from some of the most noble of God's leaders who have spoken in previous general priesthood meetings of the Church. All the individuals cited put out the same message, albeit in different forms; namely, that the priesthood is the government of God, the power to act in God's name. President Monson further characterized priesthood as not so much a gift as it is a commission to serve, a privilege to lift and an opportunity to bless the lives of others. President Monson also cautioned that at times the wisdom of God may appears to be either foolish or just too difficult, but one of the greatest and most valuable lessons we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.

Bloggernacle Reaction: Discussion threads and reaction posted on Times and Seasons, Feminist Mormon Housewives, Millennial Star, Latter-Day Snark, and Mormon Momma,

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