Sunday Morning in a Nutshell

President Uchtdorf conducted the Sunday morning session, featuring talks by President Eyring, Elder Packer, Elder Jensen, Sister Cook, Elder Oaks, and President Monson. Direct quotations (based on my notes) are given in quotes; phrases without quotes are my summary of the remarks given. Parenthetical comments in italics are my own comments.

President Eyring of the First Presidency, on messengers and trust:

  • It’s Elder Eyring’s job to build trust, so members of the Church trust in the messages shared by prophets ancient (in the scriptures) and modern.
  • After receiving counsel to payoff debt years ago, he quickly sold a piece of property in California and paid off the mortgage on the famly home. The Lord will open a way.

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Twelve, on the family:

  • The Proclamation on the Family is the fifth declaration in LDS history, and we should regard it as a revelation.
  • Porn is a plague on families, operating through husbands and fathers.
  • Don’t use the vote to change traditional marriage laws, which reflect eternal values. That would be like repealing the law of gravity by vote. We will not change our moral standards.
  • The toughest part of forgiveness is forgiving yourself. “Forgiveness means forgiveness.” [This is a nice corrective to the LDS folk doctrine that divine forgiveness is always contingent, never absolute.]

Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy, on the Holy Ghost and gaining a personal witness:

  • Relates how, using the standard, prayerful approach, he obtained his own testimony of God and His Son.
  • Four cornerstones of the Church: the Holy Ghost, the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, and the restored Priesthood.

Sister Mary N. Cook, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, on teaching and strengthening the faith of children:

  • Example of Lucy Smith: Keep both hands on the iron rod.
  • Expounds on purity and gives a modesty lecture. [The term “purity” is becoming a new Correlation key word, along with modesty and virtue.]
  • “Personal media choices …” [Great term.] Make your personal media choices carefully.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve, on personal and priesthood lines of communication with God:

  • Personal line of communication with God: Prayer, with no intermediaries between the individual and God.
  • Two cautions: The personal line of communication does not function independently of the priesthood line; disobedience and being out of harmony with the priesthood line prevents proper functioning of the personal line. The devil gives false revelation to those out of harmony. [Wow.]
  • Likens the personal line to Martin Luther’s view of the priesthood of all believers.
  • Priesthood line of communication with God: Jesus Christ estabished priesthood holders and a church; restored in our day.
  • It is through this priesthood line that God speaks to the people and preaches the gospel. It is through this line that ordinances and covenants are established.
  • Some dissenters and ex-LDS rely too much on personal line, fail to see importance of priesthood line. Mirrors modern rejection by many of organized religion in favor of personal religion.
  • Two cautions: The priesthood line does not obviate the necessity for each of us to have our own personal line of communication with God. We need to be obedient and righteous to get the benefit of the priesthood line; if we’re not, we won’t get the spiritual counsel we need.

President Thomas S. Monson, on gratitude:

  • He’s very proud of the Choir (“my Choir”). Reflects on examples of his grandparents; GAs he heard when he was young; his visits to those in the hospital.
  • Where are the nine? (The healed lepers who did not return to thank Jesus.) We should show gratitude.
  • Feeding the multitude, Jesus broke bread and gave thanks.
  • Quotes Epictetus.
  • “This is a wonderful time to be on Earth!” Don’t embrace or encourage negative thoughts; get the (positive) gratitude attitude. Tell those you love — now — that you love and appreciate them … or someday you’ll wish you had.

12 comments for “Sunday Morning in a Nutshell

  1. October 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Don’t use the vote to change traditional marriage laws, which reflect eternal values. That would be like repealing the law of gravity by vote.

    Wha…? So now, after the Prop. 8 fiasco, they’ve decided that the definition of marriage shouldn’t be decided by popular vote? 20-20 hindsight, guys…

  2. October 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Chanson, you’ve flipped it a 180 …

  3. Yusuf Ibrahim Ali
    October 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    What in current marriage laws reflect eternal values? As far as I have seen, love, commitment, children, respect, compassion, even cohabitation, is not expected, required, or even considered when someone marries, in accordance with the law. If we are looking for eternal values in state laws, marriage is one of the worst examples of the absence.

  4. Zealot
    October 3, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    i don’t think Pres. Packer was saying, “don’t vote on moral issues” as much as he was saying, “even if the vote turns out against us, we won’t change our values, because a vote can’t change eternal laws.” We still get involved in support of moral positions, but even if we lose and popular vote, it doesn’t mean we were wrong!

  5. Drew
    October 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    #3, His whole point was that voting something into law doesn’t make it moral or right. It doesn’t change eternal laws. So all of your examples support his point- just because doing certain things might be legal in society it doesn’t make it okay.

  6. Randy
    October 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

    #4 and #5 No, he was saying a whole lot more than than that. He was saying homosexuality was evil in principle and the supporting civil rights for homosexual persons in regards to marriage rights was evil.

    He also said homosexuality was not something someone could be born with…God, a loving father, would not do that. Of course missing entirely that God allows all sorts of biological gender ‘errors’ to arise.

  7. Randy
    October 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Just finished Elder Oaks talk. Have to say I agree with the warnings except…..I think sometimes personal revelation does precede “Priesthood” revelation, because sometimes Priesthood holders are inhibiting the flow of information. I feel this was definitely true with regards to opening the priesthood to all worthy men.

    Now if I disagree with a leader, I really do need to get deep into prayer and study to work it out. I also would not feel it my role to preach my revelation. that said, for Oaks to say my revelation by his definition is false, well I don’t think that is always the case.

    Combined with Elder Packers talk, I found the afternoon session quite disturbing.

  8. October 6, 2010 at 11:18 am

    He also said homosexuality was not something someone could be born with…God, a loving father, would not do that. Of course missing entirely that God allows all sorts of biological gender ‘errors’ to arise.

    I haven’t relistened to Pres. Packer’s talk, but the way I understand it is that while homosexual attraction might be a natural product of birth in this fallen world, it is not an innate attribute of eternal identity. Sort of like being born with a weakened immune system or a cleft palate. In this sense, God did not ‘make’ them this way. Sure, you could assign the blame to Him, or your parents, or Adam and Eve, or yourself (for choosing to come to earth), but blame doesn’t really help in healing.

    Recall that the blind man was born blind not through his own fault or the fault of his parents, but “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

    If you don’t believe sexual orientation can be changed, I suppose you don’t believe Jesus really cured leprosy or raised Lazarus from death.

  9. Liberty
    October 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Could Jesus change one’s sexual orientation? Sure. But that is not the question. Can individuals change their sexual orientation with faith? Rarely, if ever.

    Do apostles give blessings and miraculously change those struggling with this issue? No. Do we go in and try to raise the dead at funerals? No. Do we tell people without limbs that they would grow back if they just had faith? No. We don’t grandstand with the priesthood. And we shouldn’t cause more pain and suffering by telling those suffering from various handicaps that their pain really doesn’t exist, because God did not make them that way.

    I love and respect President Packer, but his delivery created more pain than comfort and understanding. I hope the Brethren do a better job of clarifying…

  10. October 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Yeah, you’re probably right, Liberty. The day of miracles has ceased.

    We better stop grandstanding on the ability of Christ to forgive sins, too.

  11. Liberty
    October 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Hi Thaddeus,

    Why your sudden penchant for sarcastic hyperbole? It is a far cry from saying we should not grandstand to declaring an end to miracles, and you know it. We may quietly petition the Lord for a burden to be removed. Often the answer is no. God doesn’t always remove the burden. There is no answer in science at this time. God will give his answer in his own due time.

    President Packer’s talk lacked sensitivity to the victims in this situation. I knew a young man who committed suicide because he felt rejected by his LDS community. It was a tragedy for all concerned. I know others who have been close to leaving the church, and they have never acted on their romantic feeligs for the same sex. Sometimes they are able to hang on through the guilt (because of their feelings) and the ridicule (because they were different from traditional LDS youth). THAT is a miracle if you ask me.

    Why would we say or do anything to make it harder on these brothers and sisters?

  12. October 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I’m sorry for my biting comment. I was getting the impression you were saying something like, “we can rely on the Lord for bestowal of things like forgiveness, faith, and charity (the unmeasurable stuff), but his ability to heal is not a reliable power (because it’s a fairy tale).”

    I think your estimates of the number of changed sexual orientations is a little skewed by reporting bias (how many successes would you expect to be made public?)

    Pres. Packer’s talk was not condemnatory. It offered hope. He was not saying Father wouldn’t make anyone gay, he was saying that Father would not trap anyone into staying gay. There is always an escape:

    “Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are in-born tendencies toward the impure and the unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, he is our Father. Paul promised ‘God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.’ You can if you will break the habits and conquer the addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church.”

    And if we’re to base doctrine on how it makes people feel, asking the Church to take a different stance on this issue would be hurtful to the many SSA members who hope to find themselves someday in a heterosexual marriage. It would tell them it’s not possible. “Give up; go be gay.”

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