Sunday, October 5, 2014

First Presidency And Quorum Of The Twelve Reaffirmed As Prophets At Sunday Morning General Session Of The 184th Semiannual LDS General Conference

The Sunday Morning General Session of the 184th Semiannual General Conference was characterized by a vigorous defense of the integrity of the LDS Church's leadership structure. Speaker after speaker testified of the prophetic callings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. It was as if they decided in advance to launch a counteroffensive against doubters and skeptics who've received disproportionate and undeserved publicity -- without mentioning them by name, of course. Long overdue! Also another good talk about the significance of the Sacrament.

Sources of Information:

-- Official LDS Conference Archive Page: Video and audio to be available in 24 hours; written transcripts by mid-week.

-- LDS General Conference YouTube Page: Videos to be posted within 24 hours; these have less buffering than the Church's version.

-- KSL Channel 5 General Conference Page.

-- Deseret News Conference Page.

-- Deseret News Photo Gallery.

Summaries of Other Conference Sessions:

-- General Women's Meeting, September 27, 2014
-- Saturday Morning General Session
-- Saturday Afternoon General Session
-- Saturday Evening Priesthood Session
-- Sunday Afternoon General Session

Summaries of talks based upon the Deseret News reports and Twitter feeds provided below; click speaker's name to go directly to the Deseret News report.

-- President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor, First Presidency: Spoke about the value of revelation. For maximum value, revelation needs to go beyond just one flash of light and comfort and become recurring. Revelation does not come easily or simply for the asking. President Eyring also took issue with the growing number of dissidents and their acolytes, without mentioning their names, who question whether or not the Church leadership has gone "astray". He cautioned people not to take lightly the feeling of love we get for a prophet of God, and reminded us that the enemy of our souls will try to lead us to take offense and to doubt the prophet’s calling from God. The love we feel for the Brethren is far more than trite "hero worship"; it is the love the Lord has for whomever is His spokesman.

-- Elder Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve: An outstanding talk on what it means to sustain the Brethren. We honor the Prophet Joseph Smith as the prophet of this last dispensation, AND we honor each man who has succeeded him. But while we do not vote on Church leaders at any level, we are given the opportunity to sustain them. Elder Nelson defined sustaining as an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us. In fact, we sustain 15 men as prophets of God; all 15 hold all the priesthood keys that have ever been conferred upon man in this dispensation. On the Quorum of the Twelve, the apostle with the longest seniority presides, which provides continuity and seasoned maturity. If the President of the Church becomes incapacitated, his two counselors immediately form a quorum. The built-in redundancy and backup minimizes the chance that one man can ever lead the Church astray.

-- Sister Carol F. McConkie, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency: Also put out a pitch for the Church leadership, testifying that President Monson reveals the word of the Lord to guide and direct our entire Church. To be in harmony with heaven’s divine purposes, we sustain the prophet and choose to live according to his words. The Lord’s house is a house of order, and we need never be deceived about where to look for answers to our questions. As we give heed to prophetic counsel, we witness that we have the faith to submit to the will, the wisdom, and the timing of the Lord.

-- Elder Robert D. Hales, Quorum of the Twelve: Bore his testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of the Gospel. When we build our house upon the Savior, the rains may descend, the floods may come, the winds may blow, but we will not fall. Elder Hales related how he obtained a testimony, saying "My own testimony grew as I learned about Heavenly Father and the Savior from the teaching and testimony of my parents, teachers, the scriptures which I read diligently and especially the Holy Ghost. As I exercised faith and obeyed the commandments, the Holy Ghost testified that what I was learning was true. This is how I came to know for myself." And he began to understand the nature of the Godhead -- God and Christ are literally a Father and a Son, separate, distinct, individual beings who are wholly unified in Their purpose

-- Elder James J. Hamula, First Quorum of the Seventy: Followed up effectively on Sister Esplin's talk about the Sacrament during the Saturday Morning Session by adding some inspiration of his own. Elder Hamula described the ordinance of the sacrament as one of the most holy and sacred ordinances in the Church, and called upon people to make it even more holy and sacred. With bread and water, we are reminded of Christ's redemption of us from death and sin. By the shedding of His innocent blood, Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of justice for every sin and transgression. In partaking of the Sacrament, we are making solemn commitments to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and in His redemption of us from death and sin. In the final analysis, the sacrament helps us faithfully endure to the end and receive the fullness of the Father in the same way Jesus did, grace for grace.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: President Monson put forth a reminder about the purpose of mortal life. We chose to come to a mortal earth to obtain a body of flesh and bones and gain experience, and to see if we would keep the commandments. God gave us agency so we can choose for ourselves and learn to differentiate between the bitter and the sweet. We learn from the hard taskmaster of experience, and our decisions determine our destiny. The path to success is to walk the same path as Jesus Christ; how He walked is far more important than where He walked. As we examine the path Jesus walked, we will see that it took Him through many of the same challenges we ourselves face in life. There is no higher end than this, that we should choose to accept His discipline and become His disciples.

From the Bloggernacle:

-- Millennial Star: Useful summaries of each talk.

-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Mixed reviews; some complaining that Elder Nelson wasn't sufficiently "gender-inclusive" in his rhetoric.

-- By Common Consent: A rather interesting comment; one person asked if if General Conference hasn’t lost some of its power because of the ease for watching. Interesting premise; I believe voting has lost some of its power in the greater society because it is too easy to vote. Sometimes people take it for granted when it is not sufficiently challenging. One BCC commenter speculates the outburst of speaker support for President Monson is to address the persistent health rumors rather than to rebut apostates.

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