Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Afternoon General Session Of The 184th Semiannual LDS General Conference: General Authorities Do Not "Live In A Bubble"

The Sunday Afternoon General session of the 184th Semiannual LDS General Conference featured two more talks delivered in a language other than English; Elder Carlos Godoy spoke in Portuguese, and Elder Hugo Martinez spoke in Spanish. In addition, the LDS Church reached deeper down into its bench and sent two members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy up to the lectern to give talks. This opportunity is normally reserved for members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who are unofficially considered to be apprentice apostles. Speakers focused on decision-making, family history, temple work, and the teaching value of opposition in the world. Elder M. Russell Ballard assured the audience that the general Authorities don't "live in a bubble".

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 Morning 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.

-- Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve: Also defended the spiritual integrity of the Brethren, saying “Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. We will not and cannot lead you astray.” Elder Ballard also reassured the audience that the Brethren, because of their varied experiences, are not out of touch with the membership. And he also gave props to stake and ward leaders, saying that local Church leaders, like seasoned river guides, have also been tutored by life’s experiences. Elder Ballard also reminded the audience that the Brethren merely point the way to a greater power, saying that in searching the scriptures and the words of apostles and prophets, we should focus on studying, living, and loving the doctrine of Christ. Elder Ballard also seemed to caution us against considering questions as dissension, noting that Joseph Smith himself had questions that began the Restoration. But ultimately, the important questions focus on what matters most -- Heavenly Father’s plan and the Savior’s Atonement.

-- Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve: Spoke out on the need for opposition and how we can learn from it. Opposition creates contrast and a standard of comparison. Since Adam and Eve had all their needs provided in the Garden of Eden, they did not know hardship. Since they did not experience hard times, they could not know happy times. Only through the transgression of the Fall could they experience opposition and develop a standard of comparison. The Fall makes possible happiness and sadness in our lives; we are able to understand peace because we feel turmoil. Our purpose in coming here is to be tested, tried and stretched. Elder Scott also identified four tools that out Heavenly Father has given us to draw us closer to Christ and exercise faith in the Atonement: prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple activity. This is the first reference to weekly family home evening I've heard in any recent conference, and Elder Ballard wants us to take it seriously and not just go through the motions.

-- Elder Carlos A. Godoy, First Quorum of the Seventy: This is the third talk delivered in a language other than English, as Elder Godoy, who was born in Brazil, spoke in his native Portuguese. Elder Godoy spoke about decision-making. Sometimes a minor change in the direction of our lives now can have a major impact down the road. To make wise decisions, we need to consider our options with the end in mind, be prepared for the challenges that will come, and be willing to step out of our comfort zones since the best decision won't always be the easiest choice. We also need to share this vision with those whom we love. Elder Godoy reminded us that we are not here in this life merely to waste our time, grow old, and die; God wants us to grow and achieve our potential.

-- Elder Allen F. Packer, First Quorum of the Seventy: Yes, he is the eldest son of President Boyd K. Packer. A good old-fashioned classical pitch for the Celestial Kingdom. Elder Packer plainly stated that qualifying for exaltation becomes a quest of a lifetime; he views qualifying for exaltation as like preparing to enter another country. But we must first obtain our own spiritual passport. Part of that passport is family history and temple work, as the names we find and take to the temple will end up in the Book of Life in the next world. If we love people, we should want to make family history and temple work a part of our personal worship, but Elder Packer believes not enough members of the Church are regularly involved in finding and doing temple ordinances for their families. Elder Packer noted that our response to this emphasis will increase our individual and family joy and happiness.

-- Elder Hugo E. Martinez, Second Quorum of the Seventy: It is unusual for a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy to address a General Conference, but Elder Martinez is the first General Authority from the Caribbean Basin and he is delivering his address in Spanish. Elder Martinez spoke about the worth of souls, explaining that every soul is of great worth to God, for we are His children and we have the potential to become as He is. But one must serve in some capacity in order to reach that potential. Being a good example of a disciple of Jesus Christ is our best letter of introduction to those with whom we can share His gospel. Elder Martinez testified that the Father and the Son know us individually, and will provide us what we need to reach our divine potential. Furthermore, as we become instruments in Their hands, we will be able to help those they show us by revelation. The Good Shepherd will gather His sheep; they will recognize His voice and follow Him.

-- Elder Larry S. Kacher, Second Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Kacher also talked about decision-making, saying that the decisions we make in this life greatly affect the course of our eternal life. Elder Kacher learned very clearly the principle that there is opposition in all things and the importance of acting for himself. He also noted that by asking sincere questions and seeking divine answers. we learn line upon line, precept upon precept, but his response to doubters and skeptics who make a career out of asking questions is that the real question is not, "Is there room for honest, sincere inquiry?" but rather, "Where do I turn for truth when questions do arise?"

-- Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve: Elder Bednar spoke about missionary work and reaffirmed that the LDS Church will ALWAYS be a missionary church. But Elder Bednar reiterated that when we invite people to attend church with us or to learn with the full-time missionaries, we are not trying to sell you a product. We simply invite people to bring all that one already knows is true, good, and praiseworthy -- and test our message to see if we can add any additional good. Our desire to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with people is simply a reflection of how important these truths are to us, and LDS members are hardly unique in sharing things that are most meaningful to us or have helped us.

-- President Thomas S. Monson: Closed the Conference with a much briefer message than normal, charging us to reach out in helpfulness, not only to our fellow members but also to those not of our faith, to remember the elderly and those who are homebound so that they will know that they are loved and valued, to be people of honesty and integrity, trying to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, and to be faithful followers of Christ, examples of righteousness, thus becoming lights to the world.

From the Bloggernacle:

-- Millennial Star.

-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: The number of talks focusing on following the Brethren was noted. Elder Ballard and Elder Packer took a bit of criticism on this blog for not being sufficiently inclusive. But as one commenter put it, do we want to be inclusive of piranhas?

-- By Common Consent: There is some disagreement over whether or not the GAs "live in a bubble". It was pointed out that those who live in a bubble are frequently unconscious of it. However, people whose sum total international experience consists of getting drunk over spring break in Tijuana might well accuse a missionary finishing an international mission of living in a bubble simply because he never got drunk.

-- Times & Seasons.

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