Monday Morning QB: GC Edition

My fav parts of GC:

(1) Elder Perry’s description of his mother’s gospel study. We talk frequently in the church of personal study and teaching, but his description was so evocative, specific, and loving that it carried a distinct power.

(I suspect this might have been something of a rebuttal of the infamous Church News editorial. Even if it was not deliberate, the contrast between the two is still most interesting.)

(2) President Uchtdorf’s Sunday morning talk. Words fail me.

(I will not comment on his tie or his hair or his accent. Get your minds out of the gutter, twimoms!)

(3) President Monson ad-libbing stories right off the bat.

(4) President Beck, for (a) not using the SweetSister Voice, (b) not being a party to the “You are doing so well! Don’t be so hard on yourself!” discourse directed at LDS women, and (c) for giving a talk that caused my feminist knee to jerk and calm in turns and will require more re-readings and thought before I comment further on it.

(5) Elder Nelson, for digitally enhancing pictures of his progeny. (I kid, I kid.)

(6) Elder Cook on civility.

(7) The general focus on Christ on Sunday.

I thought it was a better conference than usual; perhaps Easter has that effect. I think we might focus some upcoming FHEs on the talks; they deserve more careful study.

What were your impressions of general conference?

37 comments for “Monday Morning QB: GC Edition

  1. Best talk of conference: Elder Uchtdorf on Sunday morning.

    Second best talk of conference: Elder U. in priesthood meeting.

  2. The one-two punch of Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Eyring in the Priesthood Session — Patience then Diligence really got me.

    Elder Bednar’s talk on parenting seems at first blush to not be all that groundbreaking, but I think upon re-reading/listening and especially doing so within the context of some of his other recent talks related to parenting, it’ll prove to be quite powerful. He has been developing a simple yet thorough picture of how to actually implement all the mundane yet effective things parents are supposed to be doing to help their children learn the gospel and gain testimonies.

  3. Julie, I’m right with you, especially your thoughts on Elder Perry (take THAT, Church News!) and Sister Beck. I’ll be interested to hear your further comments on that one.
    Easter Sunday morning session was especially beautiful.

  4. I too loved Elder U’s talk. The Sunday morning session was everything I would want conference to be. It didn’t make me feel guilty, judged or marginal in the Church. It simply inspired me to be a better person.

  5. I am in complete agreement on all counts (though I admit to ignoring President Monson’s stories). I felt that the Conference was better than ones in recent memory for which I’m grateful. I was starting to lose my excitement for GC.

  6. Elder Uchtdorf’s sunday morning made me think of Elder Wirthlin’s Piccolo, so of course I loved it, because I loved Elder Wirthlin. Priesthood was particularly good this year. Patience and Diligence are great topics. Went home and talked to my wife late into the night about teaching our children how to be patient. Not sure what to do.

    I am a little nervous about the new new Duty to God program. It’s just fear of the unknown though…

  7. Your analysis of Sister Beck is spot on. We sometimes fear a strong woman and she is indeed strong. Many have grumbled over the years about “patronizing” talks, but when Sister Beck finally came along and deviated from the patronizing norm, it appeared that many were actually comfortable with the old patronizing rhetoric–even some of the grumblers. I think this talk put her last one into perspective and helps us see her worldview (inspired message, rather) which is that Mormon women are special and unique, ought not to be always coddled, and won’t progress with a constant message of “don’t sweat the small stuff and its all small stuff”. Motherhood and womanhood don’t strike me as small stuff.

  8. Not a fan of the feed delay from I mean, if someone is going to say something inappropriate, we’re going to find out one way or another.

  9. I also loved Elder Uchdorf’s talk. I plan to use his talk as the main text for my self-improvement focus the next 6 months. I also really enjoyed the music, especially on Sunday. ‘Twas lovely. There are a few talks I want to read (I prefer reading to listening) just to clarify in my own mind what I think they said.

  10. May I say a word about the sweet sister voice? What if you are one of those individual women for whom this is your natural voice? What do you do when half the church and most of the world finds that your natural voice sets their teeth on edge? It’s one thing if it’s an affectation, but maybe we shouldn’t react so badly toward someone for any of their natural attributes which are beyond their control.

    As I was listening to Sister Lant yesterday and I kind of enjoyed the dichotomy between the authoritative things she was saying and her soft, high-pitched voice which was clearly not in her power to change.

    We can’t all be altos.

  11. I think Elder Christoffersen’s little reference to “social justice” in the Saturday afternoon session was quite interesting. But overall Elder Uchtdorf’s and Elder Eyring’s talks in the Priesthood session influenced me the most.

  12. I remember being so wowed by Uchtdorf’s first talk, but also thinking to myself that it would probably end up being his best ever because it would be so hard to top. Years of pent-up thinking couldn’t be replicated every six months, or so I thought. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

    I can’t wait to read the Priesthood session, which by all accounts was excellent. Of the four I saw, Sunday morning was by far the best. I loved the Christ focus. It was inspiring and uplifting.

    It may just be my humorless feminism, but I did feel a bit of overload on the motherhood/women’s roles topic, which seemed especially ubiquitous (and especially obsequious—how’s that for a pair of SAT words) this time around.

  13. Whether an unintended sermon or not, I was touched by President Monson’s expressions of gratitude before each of his talks. While no doubt others were grateful for the music or the previous talks, he was explicit during the general sessions and even more so in the Priesthood session where he called it one the best ever.

  14. I have to agree that Elder Uchtdorf’s talks were outstanding, and I have great appreciation for the tone of the Sunday morning session.

    A couple things I did notice that haven’t been mentioned here:

    1) There was an incredible amount of emphasis on families and on motherhood in particular. Now, I think motherhood is important and lot of good things were said, but I would have liked to have heard something about roles that women can have in addition to motherhood. And I think we really do need more than two female speakers spread across the four sessions.

    2) It seemed like there were many, many mentions of the fact that because of the Atonement we can return to the right patch when we’ve gone astray. This message of grace is one that is good to hear.

  15. I loved Elder Perry’s talk which, combined with parts of Elder Bednar’s talk, is the most likely to impact my everyday life in a practical sense. Apart from that plenty of food for thought as one has come to expect. However, it’s Elder Perrys that is inspiring me to do away with a kitchen table and replace it with a desk and whiteboard.

  16. John,

    I was at the session with Elder C’s social justice reference. My wife poked me in the shoulder right after hearing it. He was talking about those who want to focus on the Social Gospel, as it is often called, but not the doctrines of redemption. I believe that we can and should do both.

  17. I agree with Eric’s point #1. I was looking forward to the spiritual uplift I usually feel after conference–but this time, I am left feeling a bit deflated and wondering again how I, as a single & childless woman, have any place in this church. I’m glad we emphasize strengthening the family–but sometimes it seems we almost *worship* the family. And it just makes me sad.

    That said, I loved Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk. Sis. Beck’s was powerful as well. And the music was beautiful.

  18. GC seemed to be a theme to the sisters of the church that they should not follow the world.

  19. An off note: I think it was the final speaker (Elder Andersen) who claimed that talk topics weren’t coordinated ahead of time. Maybe he was only saying that the members of the Seventy didn’t coordinate with the Twelve, because my immediate reaction was, “Oh, bull!” You know that the Twelve have a planning meeting and say, “Who’s going to give the porn talk this time?”

  20. And this time the porn talk featured a glimmer or two of humor. Re: 13, I’d say that the sweet sister voice is less a matter of pitch, and more a matter of speaking cadences, intonation and over-pronouncing words. I thought it was just males who’d find it irritatingly reminiscent of those years they wanted to get away from Primary, but apparently some females don’t like it, either.

  21. Amen to Mommie Dearest. I have a sweet, high-pitched, childish-sounding voice myself, which I’ve always hated. I take those criticisms of sweet-sister-ese personally! :)

  22. During my lifetime there have been a small handful of female speakers at GC who have been pleasing to listen to. President Beck is at the top of the list, with nobody else even close. Her refreshing lack of a central-Utah accent, coupled with the other attributes listed above by Julie, are perfection.

  23. Wow, it is sure interesting what you guys pick up on. I must be a dullard or something, because I never noticed a “sweet sister” voice or central-Utah accent in the past. I’ve got to quit listening to the substance and start looking for ticks and affectations so I can feel justifiably offended like the rest ya.

    I guess it’s good Elder Uchtdorf gives such great talks or we would all just be endlessly commenting on his ties.

    It all just seems a bit shallow to me, but then again I’m not terribly bright, I suppose.

  24. It is not so much that one listens to or watches conference waiting to criticize speakers. Rather, one watches and asks, “Why is this affecting me the way it is, for good or for less good?” For example, Elder Richard Scott may be one of the stiffest speakers in the history of General Conference (he has a lot of competition for that honor), but his talks often carry a punch that I can only relate to the effect of the spirit. In the case referred to here, noticing the “sweet sister voice” meant that what was being said was not reaching me as effectively because of the way it was said. If I can figure out why and try to block out the irritants, I stand a better chance of focusing on the message.

  25. You’re certainly right, plutarch, about Elder Scott’s speeches. I fall asleep during his talks almost every time. Some talks are more effective for me when I read them instead. However, personal mannerisms and traits be what they may, I just don’t agree with the arrogant tone some of the commentors convey here. I’m not really offended by them (well maybe just a little), I just think they are a bit snippy. Want to remind people that sometimes your intelligence and insight come from what you can ignore as much as what you hear and see.

  26. “Want to remind people that sometimes your intelligence and insight come from what you can ignore as much as what you hear and see.”

    Fortunately, it’s very easy to ignore blog comments whose tone one finds problematic.

  27. “Stiffest”? I can’t see how that word relates to Elder Scott. He is instead the most softspoken man I’ve ever seen at that pulpit. For stiffness you really have to go to Elder Perry (or back to Elder Wirthlin).

  28. Thank you, plutarch, for expressing what my lack of eloquence left out of my comment. I admit, public speaking ability plays a big role in how well I focus during conference. Ofttimes an otherwise splendid talk becomes difficult to listen to, or a dull talk becomes almost magical. Some are blessed with the gift or work very hard at it, and others . . . not so much. If anything, my comment was meant to praise Sister Beck. She is definitely in my General Conference top 10.

    When I was younger, Elder Scott was difficult to watch at conference because I always thought he was staring into my soul. Now I love his talks for their sincerity and the reverent energy he puts into speaking.

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