Sunday, April 6, 2014

Summary Of 184th Annual LDS General Conference, Sunday Morning General Session: The Meaning Of Gratitude, Adversity, And Love

The Sunday Morning General Session of the 184th Annual LDS General Conference created no headlines, but instead resulted in some good old-fashioned honest counsel. On the menu was a call for more gratitude particularly during times of trouble, following up on good intentions, and a lesson on how Jesus Christ's two great commanders, Love the Lord and love your neighbor, are interactive and inseparable. One of the sisters issued a call for us to resist becoming merely a "checklist church".

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 Morning General Session
-- Saturday Afternoon General Session
-- Saturday Evening Priesthood 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: President Uchtdorf spoke of the attitude of gratitude. He said he's met with many people whose sorrows seem to reach the very depths of their souls, and has found that simple gratitude can take away bitterness and make life sweeter and perhaps even joyous. But President Uchtdorf cautions that gratitude should not be proportional to the number of blessings a person can count, because most scriptural references do not speak of gratitude for specific things, but rather suggest an overall spirit or attitude of gratitude is more appropriate. Being grateful during times of distress requires that we trust God and hope for things that we may not see but which are true; true gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony which comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will.

-- Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve: It was inevitable; at least one speaker had to discuss missionary work during this conference. And Elder Ballard filled the bill, talking about the value of following up. Citing the missionary guide Preach My Gospel, Elder Ballard noted that "extending an invitation without following up is like beginning a journey without finishing it or buying a ticket to a concert without going into the theater. Without the completed action, the commitment is hollow". Elder Ballard also recommended that Church members personally commit to inviting someone at least once a quarter to be taught by the full-time missionaries, and urged all members to obtain their own copies of Preach My Gospel.

-- Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency: Sister Stevens put out a renewed call for trust in the Lord. But Sister Stevens hinted that the Lord might throw us a curve from time to time, saying “We can trust that He will help us, not necessarily in the way we want but in the way that will best help us to grow. Submitting our will to His may be difficult but it is essential to becoming like Him and finding the peace He offers us.” Sister Stevens also rejected the checklist mentality which occasionally surfaces within our Church, reminding us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not supposed to be a checklist of things to do, but it should live in our hearts. The gospel is supposed to be wings, not weight. Preach it, sister!!!

-- Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, Presiding Bishop: Bishop Stevenson compared a Mormon's pathway to eternal life to an Olympic athlete’s four-minute mile performance, which is quite apropos, since mortality, in the larger view, is little more than a brief pit stop on the highway to eternity. Comparing mortality to markers on an Olympic course, he suggested that there are equivalent spiritual markers. These spiritual markers are the essential God-given ordinances of the gospel: baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinances and partaking of the sacrament each week. Bishop Stevenson attempted to convey a sense of urgency, admonishing people not to delay repentance.

-- Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Bednar explained how, through the Atonement, the Lord is able to help all bear life's heavy burdens. He related a story on how a person who got his truck stuck in snow was able to drive out successfully once he loaded the bed, using the account to make the case that bearing a load can be a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that matter most. But believing that the absence of a load can result in happiness may be a mistake.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: President Monson closed out this session by expounding on how love is the essence of the gospel. However, the Savior gave two great commandments; love God, and love thy neighbor, and President Monson touched on this by saying that we cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey. But we must love God as well because we cannot love our fellow men if we do not love God, the Father of us all. Since we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we are all brothers and sisters in spirit.

Other LDS sources discussing this session of Conference:

-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Live blog.
-- By Common Consent: Live blog.
-- Millennial Star: Live blog, although the blogger presented the poem quoted by President Monson separately.
-- Times And Seasons: Brief summaries of each talk.
-- LDS Freedom Forum: Discussion of the entire conference.

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