Sunday Morning Session

President Eyring conducted the Sunday morning session, featuring talks by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder Russell M. Nelson, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Sister Julie B. Beck, Elder D. Todd Christofferson and President Thomas S. Monson.

Direct quotations (based on my notes) are given in quotes; all other text represents my summary of the remarks given. Parenthetical comments and discussion notes at the end of the post in italics are my own editorial comments.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Teach me to Walk in the Light of His Love

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, on broken relationships and obtaining mercy:

  • “We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous, and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt.”
  • Cites bumper sticker: “Don’t judge me because I sin differently from you.”
  • “Stop it.”
  • “We must let go of our grievances. Part of our mortality is to learn to let go of [them.]”

Elder Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, on the gifts of God:

  • “I thought of some people I know who are just as oblivious to their Creator and their true ‘bread of life’ [as the fish are unaware of where there food comes from]. They live from day to day without an awareness of God and His goodness unto them.”
  • “A perfect body is not required to achieve one’s divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail or imperfect bodies.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, of the Seventy, on the lessons learned through those with unusual difficulties:

  • Framed his remarks with the story of his grandson, Paxton, who was born with birth defects.
  • “I wept as pondered the limitless love our Heavenly Father and HIs Beloved Son, Jesus  Christ, have for each one of us, while learning in a powerful way, what the worth of a soul is both physically and spiritually to God.”
  • “‘Let me know if I can help,’ is really no help at all.”

Congregational Hymn: Rejoice the Lord is King

Sister Julie B. Beck, recently released president of the Relief Society, on the vision of the Relief Society:

  • “Since the days of Joseph Smith, who the Lord used to restore His Church, prophets have spoken of the essential need for sisters to be full participants in the Lord’s work. They have shared their vision of strong, faithful, purposeful women who understand their eternal value and purpose.”
  • “Relief Society is not a program. It is an official part of the Lord’s Church that is ‘divinely ordained of God’ to teach, strengthen, and inspire sisters in their purpose regarding faith, family, and relief.”
  • “The sociality, friendship, and unity we desire are not the purposes of our association; rather, they are the sweet results of serving together with the Lord in his work.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, on our doctrine and how it is established:

  • Provides an overview of how Church doctrine is arrived at and promulgated.
  • “In some faith traditions, theologians claim equal teaching authority with the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and doctrinal matters may become a contest of opinions between them. Some rely on the ecumenical councils of the Middle Ages and their creeds. Others place primary emphasis on the reasoning of post-apostolic theologians or on Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis. We value scholarship that enhances understanding, but in the Church today, just as anciently, establishing the doctrine of Christ or correcting doctrinal deviations is a matter of divine revelation to those the Lord endows with apostolic authority.”
  • “These same patterns are followed today in the restored Church of Jesus Christ. The president of the Church may announce or interpret doctrines based on revelation to him. Doctrinal exposition may also come through the combined council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Council deliberations will often include a weighing of canonized scriptures, the teachings of Church leaders, and past practice. But in the end, just as in the New Testament church, the objective is not simply consensus among council members, but revelation from God. It is a process involving both reason and faith for obtaining the mind and will of the Lord.”
  • Told an anecdote about Brigham Young preaching against the Federal troops coming to Utah in the morning, and then in the afternoon saying that those words were his opinion, not that of the Lord. Brigham Young then preached a different message in the afternoon.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Let us Oft Speak Kind Words

President Thomas S. Monson, on eternal truths and the everyday concerns of life:

  • This discourse uses the golden questions as a template for contrasting eternal truths with the everyday concerns of life.
  • Told the story of a grandmother faced with a life-threatening disease who now realizes that her concern over housecleaning and personal possessions were ephemeral.
  • “In our times of deepest reflection or greatest need, the soul of man reaches heavenward, seeking a divine response to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we leave this life? Answers to these questions are not discovered within the covers of academia’s textbooks or by checking the internet. These questions transcend mortality. They embrace eternity.”
  • “Unlike toy boats, we have been provided divine attributes to guide our journey. We enter mortality not to float with the moving currents of life, but with the power to think, to reason, and to achieve.”

Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Come Thou Font of Every Blessing


[Updated at 1 pm, MST]

11 comments for “Sunday Morning Session

  1. April 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Why can’t she be “President Beck”?

    President Monson’s toy boat story totally captured my 11-year-old. :)

  2. April 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Alison, at last night’s priesthood session, Richard C. Edgley, who was also released earlier that day, had his name displayed as just that: “Richard C. Edgley.” No title.

  3. April 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Oh thank you SOOOO much for the summary!!! I’m down with the flu and missed the whole thing, and the kids are crawling all over me so I can’t just sit and review it. Again, thank you for taking the time.

  4. Stephen Hardy
    April 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    We call Bishops “Bishop” long after their release. The same is true for Stake Presidents and Mission Presidents. She will always be President Beck to me, and we have plenty of church protocol to back us up in referring to her in that way.

  5. queuno
    April 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I know of at least 3 former bishops who reject being called “Bishop” and correct people who attempt to call them that…

  6. jax
    April 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Did anyone else hear Elder Christofferson and think that he was giving an informal rebuke to Bro. Bott (?, BYU prof who wrote the article about blacks and the priesthood) and was sending the message that 1) only the President of the church can properly declare church doctrine, and 2) was giving example to the change in doctrine as it comes from the Lord that could be related to blacks and the priesthood?

  7. Jennie
    April 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Jax #6: what came to my mind during Elder Christofferson’s talk was the comment section debating what Mormons believe (vs. what is spoken from the conference pulpit) following Richard Bushman’s piece on The Book of Mormon Musical:

  8. miskky
    April 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Jax #6: Along with the Bott controversy, I was also thinking about the blog post and 121 comments I had just read last night from this very site on the women and the priesthood, “No Women Allowed:”

  9. April 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Kent, the hymn is Come Thou FOUNT…

  10. Cameron Nielsen
    April 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Title Tangent: If I weren’t such a ‘Brother Joseph’ kind of guy, I would totally refer to her as President Beck. Luckily, two former bishops on the ward basketball team at least prefer their first name during the game, since “bishop lastname” would sound even more ridiculous in that context. I understand that maintaining absolutely clear identity is important to protect the church, but frankly I find all the initials to be a bit much. In jest, I often refer to the apostles by Joseph’s style of nickname. It’s quite fun to refer to President Monson as ‘Brother Tommy’! You may want to save that for non-public conversation, though.

    I understood Elder Christopherson[Brother Todd?]’s comments as intended for both sides of the doctrinal creation spectrum, both towards the antiquated falsehoods of yesterday and the rash anticipations of tomorrow’s misunderstandings.

    I will really miss President Beck. I was always deeply edified whenever I heard her speak, both in general and at my stake conference. Even as a passive observer, I have felt the power, authority, and focus she brought to the Relief Society in the last few years.

    Thanks for the notes.

  11. RFB
    April 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    #6 Jax I was HOPING he wasn’t going there because then he’d reopen the whole thing. Honestly, it was a little disingenuous to say if a prophet said something “one time” it didn’t have to be taken as official doctrine. Brigham Young on Adam was more than one occasion, I believe, and we had quite a tradition built up on the now repudiated practice of banning blacks from the priesthood or temple ordinances. He came close to implying that the failure to address the issue of the priesthood was the result of consultative revelation over a number of years, but that’s not supported by the church’s official statement after Bott-ulism I.

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