Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summary Of 184th Annual LDS General Conference, Saturday Afternoon General Session: LDS Membership Now Over 15 Million Worldwide

The Saturday Afternoon General Session of the 184th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints kicked off with the usual spate of housekeeping announcements. The most noteworthy hierarchical change involved Elder Tad R. Callister, who was released as one of the seven presidents of the First Quorum of the seventy and called to serve as the Sunday School General President. There was also counsel offered to improve interpersonal communications, to achieve a higher level of mature obedience, and to persevere in the faith even in the face of opposition and adversity.

In addition, updated membership statistics current as of December 31st, 2013 were provided; the LDS Church now has 15,082,028 members of record, an increase from 14,782,483 members at the end of 2012. The number of children of record, or born to church members, was 115,486. The number of converts baptized was 282,945. The number of Church units grew to 3,050 stakes, 405 missions, 571 districts and 29,253 wards and branches. And the Church had 83,035 full-time missionaries and 24,032 church-service missionaries.

Video, audio, and written archives are now available HERE. Mormon Newsroom provides photo galleries of speakers and surroundings.

Summaries of Other Conference Sessions:

-- Saturday Morning 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 Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, First Presidency: The usual complement of housekeeping announcements of callings and releases. Most notably, Elder Tad R. Callister was released from the First Quorum of the Seventy and from his calling as part of the Presidency of the Seventy and his accession as the new Sunday School General President. Callister has been replaced on the Seventy by Elder Lynn G. Robbins.

-- Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve: Discipleship continues to be top drawer, as Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke of both developing and declaring faith in Jesus Christ. He challenged people to let their faith show, even in the face of tests and challenges occurring during mortal life. There will be moments when every person will come face to face with the strength of his or her faith. Furthermore, spiritual truths cannot be ignored, especially divine commandments. While keeping divine commandments brings blessings, breaking divine commandments brings loss of blessings, each and every time. Elder Nelson explained that living the Lord's pure religion is a daily commitment that will provide divine guidance; as we practice our religion, we are exercising and displaying our faith.

According to Millennial Star, Elder Nelson went further, decrying political correctness. Elder Nelson reminded people that the Church doesn't run on polls. Polls cannot be used to justify disobedience to God’s commandments. Even if everyone is doing it, wrong is never right. Woe unto them who call evil good and good evil.

-- Elder Richard B. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Scott's primary message was that we best serve our Father in Heaven by righteously influencing others and and serving them. To succeed, we must must sincerely love those we want to righteously help. We must encourage those we love to seek to understand what the Lord would have them do, which means asking questions, teaching how to pray, helping them to learn to recognize answers to prayer and encouraging study of the scriptures. These are all ways to assist in helping others understand what the Lord would have them do. And finally, it all revolves around the fundamental core principle of the Gospel -- the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

-- Elder Robert D. Hales, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Hales spoke out on the value of obedience. But not just any obedience. Elder Hales documented three types of obedience: Natural Man's Obedience, in which we disobediently reject God's law in favor of our wisdom desires or popularity; Selective Obedience, which he defines as claiming to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings -- and the teachings and counsel of His prophets -- we will fully follow; and Mature Obedience, in which we strive to follow the Savior's example by submitting our will to the Father's will in perfect obedience. Mature obedience is NOT blind obedience; it means using our agency to choose to do what is right and letting the consequence follow. We obey not our of fear, but out of love -- love of the Father and of the Son. In closing, Elder Hales shared three points about obedience: Obedience brings blessings. Obedience is taught by example. And obedience makes people progressively stronger, capable of faithfully enduring tests and trials in the future.

-- Elder Claudio D. Zivic, First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Zivic cited the example of Martin Harris losing the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon in warning people against wandering off the Gospel path, explaining that if we abandon the Gospel path, we will feel bitter regret. Elder Zivic counseled people that the Lord teaches four actions individuals should never do: First, set at naught the counsels of God; second, break the most sacred promises made before God; third, depend upon our own judgment; and fourth, boast in our own wisdom.

-- Elder W. Craig Zwick, First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Zwick counseled against corrupt communication, which he defined as emotional diatribes fueled by unchecked anger. Elder Zwick reminded people to be kind and respectful in communication. We should be civil, even in speaking directly and firmly. This harks back to the Doctrine & Covenants passage (121:43) to reprove, betimes with sharpness, but showing an increase of love thereafter. In conclusion, Elder Zwick noted that the cultivated gift of the Holy Ghost pierces our hearts with empathy for the feelings and context of others, enabling us to transform hazardous situations into holy places.

-- Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Cook put out the call to hasten family history and temple work. This correlates well with the Church using younger missionaries to increase the size of the missionary force and evangelize a greater portion of the world; it seems like the Brethren know it's about to hit the fan in the near future. He reminded people that vicarious temple ordinances for the dead are to be directed towards one's own ancestral line because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families. He noted that 85 percent of Church members now live within 200 miles of a temple. Elder Cook also suggested that families should hold a family tree gathering, and to bring family history stories, including possessions of ancestors.

Other LDS sources discussing this session of Conference:

-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Live blog.
-- By Common Consent: Live blog.
-- Millennial Star:
-- Times And Seasons: Short summaries of the talks.

No comments: