GenCon: Saturday Afternoon Session

Conference CenterWelcome to round two of T&S sort-of live coverage of General Conference. President Eyring conducted this afternoon session with President Monson (in attendance) presiding. Opening prayer by Ian S. Ardern, a Seventy, and music by an Institute Choir from Orem, Utah. Direct quotations of a speaker are given in quotation marks; other text represents my own summary.

President Uchtdorf presented names of General Authorities for a sustaining vote. Tad R. Callister was released as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, with Lynn G. Robbins called in his place. Sunday School Presidency (and the General Board) released, Tad R. Callister called as the new Sunday School President with two men currently serving as a mission presidents called as his counselors. Lots of Area Seventies released and called. Newly called GAs take the walk to the stand. Next came the annual audit report (the Church gets revenues, Church departments spend or invest them, there are policies and procedures, and the audit department of the Church Auditing Department checks up on everyone) and statistical report (3050 stakes, 29,253 wards and branches, 15,082,028 members of record, roughly 83,000 missionaries).

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve: Let your faith show. Are we tied (religion, re-tied) to God or something else? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” “All truth is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” “Keeping divine commandments brings blessings, every time!” “In dealing with controversial issues, we should first search for God’s guidance.” “Woe unto them that call evil good.” Quoting Thomas S. Monson in 1986: “Let us have the courage to defy the consensus; the courage to stand for principle.”

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Twelve, when young, had a nonmember father, an inactive mother, but a faithful grandmother who was an example to him. His future wife inspired him to serve a mission. So influence those around you by showing sincere interest, asking them questions that make them think, then encourage them to seek to understand what the Lord would have them do (point them to prayer and scripture). Strengthen families; have families sealed in the temple; serve others and influence them righteously. Study diligently the doctrine and teachings of the Lord, but do not become absorbed with trivial things.

Elder Robert B. Hales of the Twelve on obedience (“if ye love me, keep my commandments”). AOF: Salvation “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” Repent via the sacrament. Avoid “natural man obedience” (substituting our own wisdom and desires for God’s law) and “selective obedience” (picking and choosing the teachings, counsel, and commandments we will follow). Aim for “spiritually mature obedience,” motivated by love for God. A deep personal commitment to sustain priesthood leaders and follow their teachings and counsel is always part of this kind of obedience. We love others, but it is impossible for that love to modify God’s commandments (example: abortion). Rationalizing disobedience does not change the consequences. Lessons of obedience: Joseph lost the 116 pages after the Lord gave him permission to lend them to Martin Harris; Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses obediently when he took an Ethiopian wife. Obedience brings blessings. It is taught by example. It makes us progressively stronger. Be diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times.

Claudio D. Zivic of the Seventy: don’t take the wrong path; follow the signs. If we make mistakes, repent and accept correction. Do not set at naught the counsels of God or break sacred promises; do not depend on our own judgment or depend on our own wisdom. We shall again meet our Savior and Redeemer, each one of us.

W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy. A refreshingly entertaining story of him driving a semi truck down Donner Pass when younger with wife and son in the cab (engine failed, but no casualties). Think (about the other guy’s perpective) before we speak sharp or abusive words. References LDS letter asking for civil discourse. “[C]ultivate respect for each other across wide distances of belief and behavior, and across deep canyons of conflicting agendas.” Ask: “What are you thinking?” Listen and understand another’s perspective to achieve ministering grace.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve: Death comes to everyone, no exceptions. Elijah came in 1836 and restored keys, “priesthood keys for sealing families in this dispensation.” Vilate Kimball in October 1840 reported Joseph’s discourse on baptism for the dead in a letter: “Isn’t this a glorious doctrine?” “Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors.” Reference to using the sealing power to perform temple endowments for thousands of Saints in Nauvoo before the trek to Utah. Look at all the temples: the work of salvation is being hastened in our day. Technology: family history centers are now in our homes. Leaders have issued a special challenge to young Saints to use this new technology to perform family history work. Doctrine + temples + technology = families can now accomplish this glorious work of salvation.

President Linda K. Burton of the Relief Society … offered the closing prayer. We love and sustain our prophets, seers, and revelators with all our hearts. [I just heard her name in passing earlier and thought she was going to be the closing speaker. Too bad.]

4 comments for “GenCon: Saturday Afternoon Session

  1. Mike Maxwell
    April 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Things that were not explicitly said in the afternoon session:

    Elder Uchtdorf: On the sustaining and financial audit ritual… “Raise your hand when told and act like you believe the financial auditors would ever disclose anything amiss in church finances like spending $5 billion on a mall that was supposed to cost $3 billion.”

    Elder Nelson: Two comments. First, either he is telling the same story again or you should NEVER get on an airplane with this man. And… “I am proof that you can be renowned heart surgeon and believe in God. Really. You can.”

    Elder Scott: I got on the treadmill for his talk so it was the first time his mesmerizing voice did not launch me into a REM 4 state of spiritual consciousness. He gives good talks.

    Elder Hales: “I am not in good health”

    Elder Zivic: “I’m an Argentine with an Italian name and accent and a resume working for a company named Grimoldi. Look out Rome, the Mormons are coming!”

    Elder Zwick: Three comments…. “I married a crazy woman”; “ask gays ‘what are you thinking?’ when they say they want to get married”; “can you believe that two guys with a last name starting with the letter Z spoke back-to-back in conference? I guarantee that has never happened before.”

    Elder Cook: “The prophet Elijah is responsible for us wanting to baptize our dead kin-folk with the help of the Internet”

    Sister Burton: “Those men are finally letting us ladies pray in conference but do they really want me to pray for 8 minutes?”

  2. Ben
    April 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    The audit report should be discontinued. It does no good to have someone up there saying “trust us,” and “nothing to see here.”

  3. April 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Well, as a former auditor, I am pleased that the Church has an independent audit department and that there are policies and procedures employees are supposed to follow. Of course, an audit report generally accompanies a set of financial statements and notes (disclosing accounting policies, significant events, contingent liabilities, pending lawsuits if signficant, pension liabilities, etc.) but the Church is not a public corporation so they don’t have to release the financial statements and notes. Once upon a time (up to the mid-1950s) they voluntarily released them. The good ‘ole days.

  4. Cameron N
    April 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Disappointed you guys didn’t notice the added phrase at the end of the audit report. It is used as a teaching moment.

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