Saturday, October 6, 2012

Elder D. Todd Christenson Decries The Societal Denigration Of Men In The Saturday Evening Priesthood Session Of The 182nd Semiannual General Conference

Special Note: All posts on the October 2012 Semiannual General Conference can be simultaneously displayed HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

Audio and video archives of conference talks now being made available HERE; written transcripts to follow later this week.

The Saturday Evening Priesthood Session of the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not feature what I would characterize as "red-letter addresses", but simply some solid counsel from dedicated leaders. Perhaps the most important counsel came from Elder D. Todd Christenson, who took issue with the denigration and marginalization of men increasingly prevalent in our society. Although Elder Christenson was too diplomatic to mention it, I believe that feminism has contributed somewhat to this problem, not only because it has been too anti-male at times, but also because feminists fail to fully grasp the divinely-engineered distinction between men and women, and tend to view men and women as interchangeable parts. Feminism has taken root amongst some more politically progressive Latter-day Saints.

-- Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, Presiding Bishop of the Church: "Valiant in Courage, Strength and Activity". Directed his remarks primarily towards the young Aaronic Priesthood holders. cited the Book of Mormon narrative describing Helaman and his 2,000 stripling warriors as examples of how to to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places. Related the story of a friend who had left a pot party just as police arrived; all who had held the marijuana, whether they had smoked it or not were presumed guilty and paid huge consequences including expulsion. Because his friend stood for his convictions and left the party, he avoided arrest and expulsion from the university.

-- Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve: "We Have Work to Do". Elder Christofferson decried the denigration of men and their contributions today and said it is having a damaging effect, noting that some men have taken the negative signals as an excuse to avoid responsibility and never really grow up. He said that in the Church and kingdom of God in these latter days we cannot afford to have boys and men who are drifting. We cannot afford young men who lack self-discipline and live only to be entertained. We cannot afford young adult men who are going nowhere in life, who are not serious about forming families and making a real contribution in this world. We cannot afford husbands and fathers who fail to provide spiritual leadership in the home. He counseled young adult men to be worthy models and help the rising generation of boys become men. Teach them social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, how to relate to women and girls, how to serve, how to be active and enjoy recreation, how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices.

-- Elder Anthony D. Perkins, First Quorum of the Seventy: "Beware Concerning Yourselves". Elder Perkins urged brethren in the priesthood session to avoid tragedy by heeding spiritual "Beware" signs placed along the way by God and prophets. He cited King David as an example of how someone who actively strived to walk and talk with the Lord could be dragged down is he didn't "beware". Six fundamental principles he cited to deepen conversion and strengthen family include studying, praying, performing ordinances, loving, obedience to principles like tithing, and living the law of chastity.

-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor First Presidency: "The Joy of the Priesthood". Being a pilot, President Uchtdorf used an aviation analogy to set this talk up. Some priesthood holders are flying in F-18 jets, while others are flying in Piper Cubs. Some live in wards and stakes where every position, from assistant to the high priests group leader to the deacons quorum secretary, is filled with an active priesthood holder. Others live in areas with only a handful of Church members and priesthood leaders. But there is a always a special joy that comes from dedicated priesthood service. Whether in a large ward or a small branch we are called upon to serve, bless and act in all things for the good of all and everything entrusted to our care, and we should be exhilarated, because the priesthood is the eternal power and glory of God. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. We exercise but a small portion of that power, but if we endure to the end, we will get the rest of it by and by.

-- President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor First Preidency: "Help Them Aim High". President Eyring's message was directed towards Melchizedek Priesthood holders, with an eye towards motivating them to better lead younger Aaronic Priesthod holder. He said that every person is different and has a unique contribution to make, and no one is predestined to fail. Citing several examples, President Eyring told the congregation how they need to build the faith of young boys so that the Lord can transform them into servants braver than the timid boys now seen. As we prayerfully seek to glimpse this future for ourselves, and then to communicate it to younger people, we will come to better know that God knows and loves each of His children as individuals and sees great and unique gifts in each of them.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: "See Others as They May Become" The theme of this talk was strengthening less-active members. President Monson declared that there are countless individuals who have little or no testimony right now who could and would receive such a testimony if we would be willing to make the effort to share ours and to help them change. One example cited was when President Monson served as president of the Canadian Mission. In one branch with limited priesthood holders, a missionary had always been president. He said he received a strong impression that a member of the branch should preside there. One adult member was a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood but didn't attend or participate enough to be advanced. President Monson interviewed him and told him the Lord had inspired him as mission president to call the man to be branch president. The man accepted, brought himself into full worthiness, was ordained as an elder, and he and his wife and family eventually were sealed in the temple. Their children served missions and were married in the temple. The bottom line: We should develop the capacity to see men not as they are, but as they can become when they are fully active members of the Church with a testimony of the gospel and their lives in harmony with its teachings.

LDS personal blogs discussing the Saturday Evening Priesthood Session:

-- Feast Upon The Word: Well-summarized with organized bullet points once again. However, Kirk Caudle observed that Elder Christofferson's talk was all over the place and hit on various subjects, leaving him confused about the theme. He also said he was sorry that the sisters did not have the opportunity to participate, but did not express any sorrow that the brothers were unable to participate in the General Relief Society Meeting just one week previously.
-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Summaries of the talks with only a few comments so far. The original poster believes accounts of male emasculation are greatly exaggerated, but tends to agree with much of Elder Christenson's talk.
-- Dave's Mormon Inquiry: Good short summaries of each talk. Dave also picked up on the societal emasculation of men.

1 comment:

Kirk Caudle said...

I ran into this site while looking for another site. I know that this is pretty late in the game to make a comment, but your statement that I said nothing about men watching RS really struck me.

Now that I think it over more, I wish that I would have mentioned that.

Great collection of conference notes though. I plan on doing them again for Feast in the spring.