General Conference: Sunday Afternoon Session

Last session. Do any of you look for themes in Conference? Sometimes I think that the talks are part of an integrated whole, and other times I think that Conference is like a smorgasbord, with talks on various topics so that everyone can find something. If Conferences have a theme, what would it be this year? How about this: the role of families in the last days.

M. Russell Ballard: The Atonement. If we truly understood the Atonement, we would be different than we are. This must be true. Which raises the question: how does one increase understanding of the Atonement? Listening to this talk, I am reminded that talks about the Atonement (almost) always seem inadequate to the task of increasing our understanding. I am not trying to be mean, but I wonder if the Atonement is something that simply cannot be learned by the spoken word …

Robert D. Hales: Parenting. He told us that he was going to list five important elements of parenting, but I only heard one: hold family councils (“we should regularly counsel with our children” … counseling councils? … hmm). Maybe I got lost when he started crying. He was saying, “we can begin now to create a home that our children want to return to, not only now, but also in the eternities.” Great thoughts.

Elder Mask: “The Mudslides of Life.” We need to be pure to be saved in the kingdom of God.

Elder Shumway: “Honor our marriages, nuture our children, and fortify our families.” Nice talk.

Elder Hafen: He acknowledged right up front that the Church and its members have increasingly emphasized Jesus Christ, and expressed his concern that we not embrace false doctrines promulgated by some other Christian sects. (I have never noticed this before, but Elder Hafen has a very reassuring voice.) “Grace is not cheap. It is very expensive.” He said it is not enough to believe in Christ. God expects all that we have, just as Jesus gave all that he had. “The Adversary is engaged in one of the world’s greatest coverups,” trying to persuade people that we know least, when we know most. (Wow! That talk was awesome!)

Richard G. Scott: The Gospel changes lives. Great story and pictures from Bolivia. He concluded with the a personal plea for repentance, for which Elder Scott is best known.

Gordon B. Hinckley: “It’s about over.” Yes, these Conferences get to be long. He talked about the absence of Sister Hinckley because of health concerns. Understandable, given that she is 92 years old. Everyone should leave this Conference better than they came. Amen to that!

11 comments for “General Conference: Sunday Afternoon Session

  1. Ben Huff
    April 4, 2004 at 7:08 pm

    Yeah, I thought it was interesting that Elder Hafen specifically addressed the impression of some that we are becoming more mindful of grace due to Protestant influence in recent years. I wonder where he encounters that idea. I’ve certainly encountered it, but I wonder where he encounters it. Honestly I was very reassured to hear him say it, because I know we are trying to build peace and reduce misunderstanding with Protestants, but in the process sometimes it has looked like some of us are assimilating, or pushing for assimilation, in a way that forsakes our inheritance of modern revelation. I am very glad that he is aware this is on some people’s minds, because I think it is tempting for some, but it would be a dreadful mistake. This is not to say we can’t learn from other Christians; we can, and we should, but we must do so in a way that strengthens our understanding of and commitment to our inheritance as Latter-day Saints, rather than weakening it.

  2. cooper
    April 4, 2004 at 7:10 pm

    Probably each of us will walk away with a different theme. For me Elder oakes set the tone. Then it followed in a meandering sort of way. “The world is in the midst of deep troubling times, the outlook is gloomy. Yet, because of our knowledge of the trust we can choose the better way, find hope and be a small gleam of light for others”. As Richard G Scott said, “The Lord must weep” at times when he looks at his children.

  3. cooper
    April 4, 2004 at 7:13 pm

    Ugh! I meant to sya Because of our knowledge of the truth…

  4. Kristine
    April 4, 2004 at 7:54 pm

    Ben–Elder Hafen must have read my paper ;) I really liked his talk; I liked especially his acknowledgment that there *has* been a change in how much we talk about Jesus, and the (at least implied) idea that we progress in knowledge and understanding of our own doctrine.

  5. Ben Huff
    April 4, 2004 at 7:56 pm

    Theme: Parents bear the primary responsibility to teach their children the gospel.

    This came up in several talks as I recall, sometimes linked with a discussion of how the family is under attack nowadays. One talk said as we equip them with the armor of God, their shields may get polished at church on Sunday, but the manufacturing should occur at home, and the fitting done one-by-one, by their parents (more or less). I am very excited to hear this emphasized because my experiences bear it out so strongly.

  6. Mike
    April 5, 2004 at 2:53 am

    Conference was absolutely amazing this year.
    I really saw a theme through conference, and I think that the role of families in the last days could be a good tag- but I do think it may be more than that. I think that maybe something more along the lines of surviving these perilous times might be more apt- families simply played such a prominent role because they are so essential in that endeavor.

    Elder Oaks definitely set the tone for that theme and it seemed to carry through every topic and every talk.

    I also loved Elder Packer’s talk and the comment that the shield of faith can be polished or strengthened at church in classes, but it must be hand crafted and custom fit in the home.

    I loved President Hinkley’s statement that peril is not a new condition for the human family- that in the very beginning in the war in Heaven that was the case, and we overcame that peril by aligning ourselves with good- that decision having already been made, why do we have to make it again and again all throughout mortality? We can overcome peril by deciding to truly align ourselves with good. Also, the statement that amidst the peril there was always light, and that light now stands with added luster.

    I loved Elder Hafen’s talk as well. I was happy to hear it in general conference as he has discussed similar things before. Sometimes I like Elder Hafen as a writer and speaker more than others, but I love when he speaks or writes about the atonement. He wrote a december 95 ensign article that was very much like the talk he gave today- we were given copies of the article and a few other talks and articles just before Elder Hafen visited my mission in Australia when he was the area president there.
    http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1993.htm/ensign%20december%201993.htm/the%20restored%20doctrine%20of%20the%20atonement.htm

    I really liked Sister Claig’s talk. Did she speak at the last conference as well?
    I really have been impressed lately with the talks from sisters at conference and firesides. Did any one watch last months CES broadcast where Sister Parkin spoke? If you haven’t already, go watch it or read it at lds.org it was absolutely great.

    ok, I have a tendency to ramble way too much, and I have definitely shown that with my first couple posts here. I hope no one minds too terribly.

  7. Mike
    April 5, 2004 at 2:54 am

    oops,
    that article is from dec 93, not 95.

  8. April 5, 2004 at 2:57 am

    If I saw one thread through conference it was that Pres. Hinkley is expecting to die soon. There was a rather sad undertone everytime he spoke. Even the special on KSL between sessions about his trip to Africa had him making comments similar to his last talk

  9. Mike
    April 5, 2004 at 11:11 pm

    I thought that the President Hikley expecting to die soon thread was there a bit- but it seemed much more prevelant just after the dedication of Nauvoo.

  10. john fowles
    April 6, 2004 at 2:22 pm

    How about this for a theme of conference:

    The world is bad and getting worse, but take courage, the Lord is at the helm and things are unfolding as foreseen.

    I noticed a very positive tone in many of the talks along these lines.

  11. June 10, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    I’m an evil spammer.

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