Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summary Of 184th Annual LDS General Conference, Saturday Morning General Session: No New Temples, But Plenty Of Discipleship And A Defense Of Traditional Marriage

On April 5th, 2014, the Saturday Morning General Session of the 184th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints kicked off with the announcement that no new temples are being planned. Instead, President Thomas S. Monson said the Church would focus on completing 28 temples around the world already under construction or announced at earlier conferences. President Monson did add that the Church will continue the process of determining needs and of finding locations for temples yet to come, saying that we are a "temple-building and a temple-attending people". Throughout the remainder of the session, the common theme was discipleship. There were warnings issued against pornography and self-righteousness, and a strong defense of traditional marriage. One new development; for the first time, the general women leaders of the church’s auxiliary organizations -- Relief Society, Young Women and Primary -- were seated among members of the Quorum of the Seventy. Normally, the women sit off to the right.

Video, audio, and written archives are now available HERE. Mormon Newsroom provides photo galleries of speakers and surroundings. Good secular-oriented coverage and a photo gallery provided by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Summaries of Other Conference Sessions:

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

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

-- President Thomas S. Monson: In addition to providing an update on temple construction activity, he discussed his impressions of the dedication of the Gilbert Arizona Temple, seeing particularly enthralled with a pre-dedication cultural event held at the nearby Discovery Park, where 12,000 young people performed a 90-minute program.

-- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke about the costs and blessings of discipleship. Reminded us that we can expect to be called upon to defend our faith or endure some personal abuse simply because of LDS membership. But also noted the pleasant part of discipleship -- teaching, encouraging and cheering people on. Elder Holland also reminded us of the crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin, which Christ had an infinite capacity to do, and the warning against condoning it, which He never ever did even once. In the final analysis, we should defend our faith with conviction, but also with courtesy and with compassion.

-- Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Presidency of the First Quorum of Seventy: Continuing with the theme of discipleship, Elder Rasband discussed the meaning of the sustaining vote to which we subject people who are called to leadership positions under the doctrine of common consent. He explained that sustaining the Church leaders is not just a formality; it is a privilege, which comes coupled with a personal responsibility to share their burden, and to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. He added that focusing on service will guide people to make divine decisions in their daily lives and prepare them to love what the Lord loves. In the final analysis, when we are engaged in the Lord's work, we feel His spirit with us and grow in testimony, faith, trust and love.

-- Elder Carlos H. Amado, First Quorum of the Seventy: Spoke of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His unique mission. Describing the life and mission of the Savior, Elder Amado gave several examples from the scriptures illustrating His divinity. Interestingly, although Jesus delegated the authority and power to do miracles and greater works, He did not delegate to them the privilege of forgiving sins because that right belonged to Him only, because He is the Son of God. Elder Rasband reminded us of the agony of both Gethsemane and Calvary, lauding his exceptional self-control.

-- Sister Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency: Sister Reeves spoke out on the dangers of pornography. She specifically counseled leaders and parents to talk with vulnerable youth about the dangers of pornography and how it overtakes lives, causing loss of the Spirit, distorted feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total consumption of time, thought and energy. She identified mobile devices with Internet capacity as the biggest facilitator of the spread of pornography. But in addition to various technological filters available to protect against Internet porn, Sister Reeves said the greatest filter is the personal internal filter that comes from an abiding testimony of Heavenly Father’s love and the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.

-- Elder Neil L. Andersen, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Andersen spoke about spiritual whirlwinds. He described spiritual whirlwinds as being able to uproot and displace people from their spiritual foundations, sometimes without your hardly noticing it. The worst whirlwinds are the temptations of the adversary, particularly in these latter days when sin has become so accessible, insatiable and acceptable. But Elder Andersen also noted that not all of life's whirlwinds are of our own making; some come because of the choices of others or simply because this is mortality. He identified the most powerful force to subdue the whirlwinds of sin as repentance, and the best insurance against future whirlwinds as a life built around Christ. Elder Andersen also cautioned against self-righteousness, saying the gospel of Christ does not make a place for ridicule, bullying or bigotry.

The Salt Lake Tribune noted Elder Andersen's strong defense of traditional marriage:

"Changes in civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep his commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: Sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. As the world slips away from the Lord’s law of chastity, we do not. ...While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not."

-- President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor, First Presidency: President Eyring encouraged listeners to leave an inheritance of hope for others by making and keeping sacred covenants with God, and cited the example of his great-grandfather, Heinrich Eyring, as playing a key role in creating such an inheritance in his life. After losing both of his parents and a great financial inheritance, Heinrich left his native land of Germany and settled in the United States. While living in Missouri he obtained a copy of a pamphlet written by Elder Parley P. Pratt. He read and studied every word he could about the Latter-day Saints. He prayed to know if there was a living prophet and if there was a true and revealed religion. After two months of careful study and prayer, Heinrich had a dream in which he was told to be baptized. On March 11th, 1855, he was baptized in a pool of rainwater. Heinrich Eyring's personal history reveals his commitment to making small yet essential choices, such as attending weekly Church meetings and renewing his baptismal covenant by partaking the sacrament.

In the final analysis, President Eyring suggested taking both the long and short view in efforts to give family members an inheritance of hope, cautioning that the process may not be painless in the short run. He counseled those who have young families to remember daily family prayer, family scripture study and the sharing of testimonies to pass on an inheritance of hope.

Other LDS sources discussing this session of Conference:

-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Live blog.
-- By Common Consent: Live blog.
-- Times And Seasons: Brief summaries of each talk.
-- LDS Freedom Forum: In this separate thread, forum members give strong props to Elder Holland for his powerful sermon about sacrificing our comfort and enduring the crosses of the world for the gospel of Christ. One person was outraged by Elder Andersen's report that a girl who stood up for traditional marriage was ridiculed by active members of the church, saying that the wheat is being separated from the tares within the church. The latter is absolutely correct, and one of the biggest tares will be on display at the Priesthood Session this evening when Ordain Women lines up for admission tickets.

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