Sunday, April 7, 2013

Summary Of 183rd Annual LDS General Conference, Sunday Morning General Session: Rewards Through Obedience And More Calls For Missionary Outreach

In the end, the primary theme of the Sunday Morning General Session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turned out to be obedience. Obedience not only can bring greater liberty, but can also minimize painful experience and bring rich rewards in the end. Counsel was also given to not wait for the God's light to come to us, but to affirmatively seek God's light. Counsel was also given to communicate with children in a manner more reminiscent of that exhibited by the Savior, using that "still small voice" that at times can pierce one to the very center just as it did the Nephites after the post-Crucifixion cataclysm which affected their homeland. And, of course, there was another call issued for more vigorous missionary work, particularly a member-missionary outreach, but in a manner that shows we don't look upon non-members are merely being potential investigators.

Video and audio archives and written transcripts of the talks are now available HERE. Mormon Newsroom provides a gallery of photos.

Summaries of Other Conference Sessions:

-- Saturday Morning General Session
-- Saturday Afternoon General Session
-- Saturday Evening Priesthood Session
-- Sunday Afternoon General Session

Summaries of the talks are available through both the LDS Church News Portal Page and the Deseret News. Clicking on the speaker's name will take you directly to the Deseret News story about the speech (after the jump):

-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, First Presidency: President Uchtdorf spoke about the hope of God's light, and testified that with Christ, darkness cannot succeed. He reminded us that it is part of our condition as mortal beings to sometimes feel as though we are surrounded by darkness, but spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in the darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. President Uchtdorf suggested there are three ways to open their eyes to the hope of God's light; first, start where you are at right now; second, turn your heart towards the Lord; and third, walk in the light. He promises that as we increase our love for God and strive to love our neighbor, the light of the gospel will surround and uplift us. The darkness will fade, because it cannot exist in the presence of light. As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. But the key is for us to make the first move.

-- Elder Neil L. Andersen, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Andersen also put out the call for a boost in missionary efforts. He noted that missionary work is not the sole claim of the full-time missionaries, but that every righteous member of the Church can be involved in the work. He was quoted on Twitter as saying "If you don't have a missionary tag on your chest it's time to paint one on your heart." Elder Andersen also called for more intensified online missionary efforts. However, Elder Andersen cautioned us not to judge people by their interest in the Gospel -- a person's lack of interest in the Gospel need not diminish our bonds of friendship and love.

-- Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President: Sister Wixom discussed how we can communicate more effectively with children. She suggested the use of the quintessential "still small voice"; we can learn from that voice from heaven. It is not loud, scolding or demeaning; it was a still voice of perfect mildness, giving firm direction while giving hope. To effectively speak to a child's heart, we must also know a child's needs, and pray for guidance from the Holy Ghost to identify those needs. Sister Wixom also recommended finding a time each day to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.

-- Elder L. Whitney Clayton, First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Clayton spoke about marriage, and shared five principles he has learned from examples of faithful marriages; treasure, faith, repentance, respect, and love. I find it intriguing that he places "love" last; this indicates that most couples, when they first come together, are actually in heat rather than in love, and true marital love can only grow with the passage of time and from shared experiences. To those who are not married or cannot realistically expect to get married in this life, Elder Clayton assured them that if they seek after the ideal of forming an eternal marriage, to include striving or preparing to be a worthy spouse, every promised blessing concerning marriage will be theirs in the future.

-- Elder L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Perry suggested that obedience to law guarantees the greatest amount of liberty, noting that whether we choose to be obedient or disobedient to the commandments of God is actually a choice between liberty and eternal life vs. captivity and death. Elder Perry said that in a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers, nor should its stakes and wards, its families, or its individual members. He told the congregation that the world is at war, but not with armaments. Rather it is with thought, words and deeds, a war with sin. He decried the fact that secularism is becoming the norm, with many of its beliefs and practices in direct conflict with those that were instituted by the Lord Himself for the benefit of His children. Elder Perry concluded by saying that although men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and eternal happiness comes from obedience to His laws.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: President Monson continued the theme of obedience, saying that a knowledge of truth and the answers to great questions come through obedience to the commandments of God. President Monson told the congregation that they all learn obedience throughout their lives, but many of us learn through sometimes painful experience the wisdom of being obedient. But the Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety so that we might successfully navigate this often treacherous mortal existence less painfully and return eventually to our Heavenly Father. President Monson also cited Jesus Christ as the ultimate example of obedience, and closed by saying that rich rewards come to the obedient: "The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord's commandments."

Reaction: Unofficial LDS opinion is reflected in the Bloggernacle, with reaction published in By Common Consent and Times and Seasons and Millennial Star and Feminist Mormon Housewives.

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