Sunday Afternoon Session

President Uchtdorf conducted the closing session of General Conference. Direct quotations of a speaker’s words (based on my notes) are given in quotes; other text is my summary of the remarks given. Any text in italics represents my own editorial comment.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Twelve on the Book of Mormon teaching the doctrine of Christ:

  • The theme of deliverance appears frequently in the Book of Mormon, as in the account of the people of Limhi and the similar account of the more faithful people of Alma, both in the book of Mosiah.
  • The message extends to spiritual deliverance as well as temporal deliverance.
  • The forces of secularism are now attacking the scriptures as well as criticizing religious freedom as taught in the scriptures.
  • We can be delivered from the power of evil by reading the scriptures. Quoting Ezra Taft Benson: “When used together, the Bible and the Book of Mormon confound false doctrine.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve on threats to the family:

  • Likens Lehi’s reaction to the Liahona to his own reaction to GPS devices. For us, in a world where so many have lost their way, the Holy Ghost can keep us on the proper path and preserve our family life.
  • More than half of U.S. births to women under 30 now occur outside of marriage. Family breakdown is causing a host of social ills.
  • In the Church, we believe good values and strong families give rise to prosperity and economic well being, not the other way around. Stable families are the foundation for educational achievement by children. Marriage first, then family.
  • “Evil becomes ever more deceptive and subtle.” But Christian service by Latter-day Saints can reach out to others across these social and economic divides and stand as an example of good in the world.
  • Counsel: Prioritize activities inside your home over outside diversions. Make time for family scripture study, prayer, and activities. Avoid extended bachelorhood.

Elder O. Vincent Haleck of the Seventy on catching the vision of God’s plan for us:

  • Peter’s reply to Jesus: “To whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life.”
  • Abinidi and Paul caught the vision of God’s plan for us and what we can become, then went forth and preached the gospel with power and success.
  • We must focus our vision on the Savior, his teachings, and his example.

Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the Seventy on allowing others to exercise their moral agency:

  • Story: How not to tell you wife how to drive. No control, dominion, or compulsion should be exercised in any degree of unrighteousness. Unrighteous dominion undermines trust.
  • Don’t infringe on another’s moral agency. You can’t just force others to do the right thing. Even women can exercise unrighteous dominion.
  • Parents: don’t wait until kids leave the home to give them the power to make some of their own decisions. Example: his daughter’s championship soccer game, on Sunday. She decided to play, but regretted it after the game. You need to show some trust in them.

Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy, on building the Lord’s church where you live:

  • What can I do to build up the Lord’s church where I live? Strengthen your families, prepare your children for baptism, teach them to believe in Christ in line with 2 Nephi 25:26.
  • Share the gospel with those you know who are not members of the Church; bring back those who are members but are not active. You can bring about a miracle.
  • Story: Is it worth it, all this effort to bring someone into or back into the Church? Yes, it is!

Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy on giving priority to the sacred:

  • Moses, Alma, Joseph Smith: all changed by “encounters with divine,” then never wavered from their appointed sacred prophetic tasks.
  • Recognize, remember, and hold sacred that which you receive from above. Practice daily reflection in a journal.
  • Secular versus sacred: We are directed to study and learn from the best books, so there is a place for both. Keep in mind the overall priority of the sacred, especially given the rising influence of secularism in modern society.

Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Twelve on Christian discipleship:

  • We rejoice in being disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is an invitation to all. It becomes a lifelong migration toward eternal life.
  • Recounts touching stories of discipleship in action.
  • Miracles you want in this life will not always come to pass. In this life we often face tribulation, but in the world to come God will make all things right.

President Thomas S. Monson in closing:

  • We live in troubled times, but God is mindful of the challenges we face. May we call upon him in prayer, that His Spirit may be poured out upon us.
  • May your homes be filled with love, courtesy, and the Spirit of the Lord. Settle your family disputes quickly.
  • “I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you. May the things you have heard make you better than you were.”

16 comments for “Sunday Afternoon Session

  1. April 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Elder Ballard: “In the Church, we believe good values and strong families give rise to prosperity and economic well being, not the other way around.”

    I didn’t know we believed this.

    There are probably more than a few faithful families whose economic well-being is in jeopardy who also didn’t know this.

  2. Will
    April 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Re: Kirsten

    Its a correlation, not an ironclad truth. Poverty does not prove unrighteousness.

  3. April 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Elder Ballard used the terms “cause” and “effect” with repeatedly and with great emphasis. And causation is not correlation.

  4. Jennie
    April 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Were any new temples announced? Did I miss something?
    Kirsten: good values tend toward fewer divorces (divorce tends to be expensive) and toward less abuse of drugs (also expensive, as job loss can result) and toward better responsibility with money. Likewise, keeping the word of wisdom tends toward better health results for large groups. Individuals may not experience better health.

  5. April 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Jennie – I do understand that he was referring to groups, not necessarily individuals, although it seems that the whole emphasis on cause-effect could so easily lead individuals to wonder what they are doing wrong.

    Also, my understanding is that divorce rate statistics do not support the claim that LDS divorce less.

    I was uplifted by many other aspects of this session. I just found this talk frustrating.

  6. April 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I agree Kirsten

    Some of the comments of Elder Ballard were a bit disturbing. I agreed with 95% of his talk. However, I do not not think that we can blame the income gap squarely on failing families. Further, I can’t follow the reasoning that rich people have better families and moral as a general rule.

  7. Jennie
    April 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I certainly agree that the way he made some of his points was not the best way to do it. Clearly he didn’t mean that rich people have better families. This talk ought to be cross-referenced to Elder Christofferson’s talk of this morning.

  8. April 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Jennie (7)

    He might not have said that rich people have better families, but, at the very least, he highly alluded to such a thing:

    “Prosperity and education seem to be connected to a higher likelihood of having traditional families and values.”

    That sounds to me like the gospel of prosperity. Spirituality=temporal success.

    Many of those that have money and great families in the church put off having a family until after finishing their educations and getting a job. Families often, but of course not always, come after these things for most with money.

  9. whizzbang
    April 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    It seems like following Pres. Packer’s advice not to put off children and following Elder Ballard’s advice of making sure you have education and money then family you are in for a lot of confusion. All of which advice I don’t even listen anymore, I played that game before and lost bigtime and so now I just ignore it. I live my own way and still qualify for a recommend.

  10. Cameron Nielsen
    April 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Some may be too simplistic in their criticisms of Elder Ballard’s talk. The vibe I got from his remarks was more of a ‘live correct principles and blessings follow (which sometimes correlate to financial prosperity). Prosperity is a dual blessing (temporal and spiritual) with broad application to different families, and Elder Ballard was merely stating the morals, from the inside out, produce a healthy society, rather than the other way around (outside-in compulsion).

  11. RFB
    April 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    You have to see those remarks in broad terms. Too many of us know faithful people who are unable to find work and who are losing their homes. Overall, we believe righteous living brings blessings, but we never exempt ourselves from trials, some rather severe.

  12. Mark D.
    April 2, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Elder Ballard was quite clear that temporal blessings often follow from strong families, but not always.

  13. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    April 2, 2012 at 1:45 am

    When American society has a huge proportion of out of wedlock births, millions of families are starting in a financial hole from which it is tremendously hard to climb out. That financial cost is spread to the rest of society as grandparents assume the costs of raising a second generation of children and other resources are diverted to give those single parent families basic necessities, both because of voluntary charity, and government taxation. Instead of being self-supporting, such households become an economic burden on others. This phenomenon is the greatest drag on black Americans trying to get out of poverty, and it directly contributes to gang violence and the high rate of incarceration of black men.

    While acting morally does not guarantee prosperity, it avoids several of the major causes of poverty.

    The Book of Mormon describes moral behavior as directly contributing to prosperity, which then makes it paradoxically easier to commit immoral behavior, the cycle that occurs repeatedly in the condensed narrative edited by Mormon. It is not a feature of Biblical history. It seems to be one of the messages aimed at the modern world, one of the reasons the Book of Mormon was produced at the dawn of the modern technological world.

    As a individual, you may be righteous but poor, but the overall likelihood you will be poor is far less if you live in a society of righteous people.

  14. Bob
    April 2, 2012 at 5:38 am

    @Raymond Takashi Swenson,
    I disagree with you. Most of the poor people in this world are as moral, or more moral than the rich . Your’s is an old argument that has never proved out. Why not talk about all the Mormon Grad Students having their babies on Welfare? “Sex in the City” TV shows are not about Blacks. Having a $50,000 wedding,then a baby, does not make you more moral than having a baby out of wedlock. Going to college does not make you more moral than dropping out of high school.

  15. April 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

    “As a individual, you may be righteous but poor, but the overall likelihood you will be poor is far less if you live in a society of righteous people.”

    Raymond, that is not the impression that I got from Jesus yesterday on Palm Sunday in Idaho Falls.

  16. April 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Prosperity and education seem to be connected to a higher likelihood of having traditional families and values.”

    That sounds to me like the gospel of prosperity. Spirituality=temporal success.

    I don’t see that its a gospel at all. Its a statistic. An American statistic, to those who took it to be a reflection on the 3rd world.

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