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!