GenConf–Saturday Morning

President Eyring conducted the Saturday morning session. Direct quotations are in quotation marks (from my notes). Other text is my summary of what was said.

Song: The Morning Breaks

Song: High on the Mountain Top

Prayer: Bonnie Oscarson

Speaker: President Thomas S. Monson

Speakers have “sought heaven’s help and felt inspiration”


  • 90 anniversary of radio. Oct 1954—KSL
  • 65-anniversary of tele. Oct 1949–KSL tv
  • last 6 months–ft lauderdale temple dedicted May, Ogden Temple rededicated in September
  • Phoenix Temple to be dedicated next month
  • next year dedicate at least 5 temples
  • 170 operating temples when all completed
  • no new temples announced today. focusing efforts on finishing.
  • 15 million strong, increasing
  • 88,000 missionaries serving. Reaffirm missionary service is “”priesthood duty.” Grateful for young women, though they are “not under same mandate”

Song: Beautiful Zion Built Above

Speaker: Elder Packer

Looking for records of seventh great-grandfather, John Packer in Oxford. Chaplain seemed to question if he was a Christian. Elder Packer turned to the topical guide and showed the chaplain various references to Jesus Christ, 18 pages (his birth, his life, his resurrection, his atonement).

The Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”– we teach of Christ. Many, many references proclaim divine roles of Jesus Christ in the standard works

“We may not live perfect lives and there are penalties for our mistakes” but we agreed in preexistence to accept his law. Savior wrought atonement, which provides a way. He did so with an “eternal understanding” of his role. Those who listen and heed his words and words of his servants receive grace. Mercy and grace are not limited to those who commit sin. His mercy is the “mighty healer.”

Woman—very hurt, difficult situation. Cried out, “someone must pay for this terrible wrong.” There was an immediate reply, “Someone has already paid.”

“If we seek to understand His atonement, we will come to a deep reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ.”

No matter how many new members, how many different languages, etc., the true measure of this Church is found in the “spiritual strength of individual members.” “Each member of the church . . . is a critical member”– body of the church metaphor. We need every single person if we are to “succeed in the work”


Speaker: Lynn G. Robbins

Elder Packer asked him, “Which way do you face?” A Seventy does not represent the people to the prophet, but the prophet to the people

Isaiah—fear ye not the reproach of men. Lehi’s dream – Peer pressure.

“We seek respectful coexistence with those who point fingers,” but be careful not to look wrong way, to fear. Remember order of first and second commandments

Joseph Smith – Martin Harris and 116 pages

if you “save face with men,” you may “lose face with God.”

Daniel– courage as a “gift of the Spirit”; Esther– same courage

CS Lewis – “courage is the form of every virtue or at the testing point.”

King Noah, King Saul, Aaron, many New Testament chief rulers—feared men

Mormon– speak with both having authority from God; Nephi – wherefore the things that are pleasing and the world I do not write; Capt. Moroni – I seek not for the honor of the world

Prophets often under attack because “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard.” Scornful reaction of others is guilt. Scornful say prophets are bigoted, pressure prophets to lower standards. “Lowering standards” to society’s inappropriate behavior is “apostasy.” Some people lobby for gospel to bow to local or ethnic customs, for bishops to lower temple recommend standards or ecclesiastical endorsements – they must be careful that they are not “falling into the same snare” (of apostasy).

Savior is the “most fearless” being who ever lived. He is the only person “who never forgot which way He faced.” How many times the Savior refers to the “Father.” “He flawlessly knew which way he faced.”

Go about doing good. Remember which is the first and great commandment. “When others demand approval . . . Remember which way we face.”


Speaker: Sister Cheryl A. Esplin

“I wish when I was your age I understood the significance of the sacrament better than I did.” I wish I understood what Jeffrey R Holland says about the sacrament, that it can be a “truly spiritual experience, holy communion, a renewal for the soul”

Listen to the sacrament prayers and recommit to our covenants. Be willing to take upon us the name of Christ. Elder Eyring says “you must see yourself as his . . .” You must want what He wants. Remember Christ always, “not just during the sacrament.” Sacrament gives us an opportunity for “introspection,” for turning heart and will to God, “time for truly spiritual experience as we reflect upon the Savior’s redeeming and enabling power.”

Story: young woman who realizes “enabling power” – Savior helps us be who we need to be and serve beyond our own capacity.

Melvin Ballard: who is there who does not want his spirit? You do things and are sorry and you want to repent and be forgiven… Repent and then “repair to the sacrament table” and find true forgiveness. You can “feel the wounds of the spirit being healed and the load being lifted” at the sacrament table.

Bread reminds us he will always be our bread of life and living water.

3 Nephi – the people are “filled”– spirit heals and renews our souls. Promise of sacrament is to always spirit with us. “My arm up mercy is extended toward you and whosoever will come”

Aaronic priesthood holders “represent the Savior” as they prepare, bless, and pass. It is as if the Savior himself is extending his atonement to you. “The more we ponder the gift of the sacrament,” the more sacred it will be to us. Prepare, so we can have a truly spiritual experience.


Song: Guide Us Oh Thou Great Jehovah

Speaker: Elder Chi Hong Wong

speaking in Cantonese– English subtitles, English voice over

Parable of Mark 2:1-5. – Comparison how members and missionaries can work together in ward councils to reach out and rescue

Man with palsy. The man had to wait for help. In our day, like this: four people– relief, EQ, Aaronic priesthood and a full-time missionary. Bishop gave out “rescuing assignment.” They needed to make a home visit – not wait for the sick person to come by himself to church. The man was being brought to Jesus. Things did not go smoothly (just like in the parable). How can we bring them to Jesus Christ to be healed? The work to save souls is “never too demanding.” In the parable, they took him to the roof. Perhaps the young man from ward climbed up; perhaps the EQ and full-time missionary help. RS sister “reminds them to be careful and gives words of encouragement.” RS continues to comfort sick man as he waits to be healed. This requires all to work together. Careful coordination. The four people “have to work in harmony.” If one person released his or her corner of the bed, the man would fall out of bed.

“To assist the Savior, we have to work in unity and harmony.” We must work together, united in the Lord, Jesus Christ. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” – healed spiritually and physically. We would all like this to happen to us. Do we know anyone in our lives who is “spiritually paralyzed”? It would be wise for bishops to make better use of their ward councils. Each could come with list of names of people who may need assistance. Counsel how to best help. Full-time missionaries are great resources. They are young and full of energy. They love lists of specific names.

One more hidden treasure in Scripture account – verse five – “when Jesus saw THEIR faith.” Combined faith makes a difference for others. Jesus Christ loves us all and has the power to do save and heal us physically and spiritually. When we assist him, we, too, “will be rescued in the process.”


Speaker: Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Says, “Beunos Dias” to laughter

Henry V– night before the battle. King talks to his soldiers. Because they do not realize who he is, they tell the truth. Who bears responsibility? The king or the soldiers? Is the king’s cause just? Our obedience to the king wipes the crime out of us. King Henry disagrees—“every subject’s duty is the king’s, but every subject’s soul is his own.”

Who bears responsibility in our lives? Some blame others, God. Some suppose God will save everyone because he loves us.

Brigham Young said, “I do not wish anyone to be satisfied with what I do…” unless the spirit of revelation confirms it to him or her.

God “will not act to make” us something that our actions do not choose for us to become. We must act and take the consequences. We can choose to become the kind of person that we will. With God’s help, that kind of person can be like Him. Through Jesus Christ, our failures can be “erased.” Salvation is not the result of “divine whim,” but neither can it be forced to happen by “divine will.”

As the consequence of being perfectly just, God cannot be arbitrary, look on sin with allowance, allow mercy to rob justice. Christ’s atonement satisfies the demands of justice. But even so, according to justice, the plan can only be brought about by repentance.

“Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance.”

Acting to repent is a “self-willed change”; it honors agency. Only those who have “faith unto repentance” will have the plan of salvation brought about in their lives.

“The God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist.” Relativism – each person is his or her own highest authority. Some people who believe in God think they decide who is right and wrong. Objective, fixed and universal truth feels like coercion to some. But denying the law of gravity does not keep you from falling if you step off a cliff.

Personal responsibility “is a God given gift.” Personal accountability is both “a right and a duty.” We must defend against those who might make us dependent.

Story: Man who expects church or government or both to care for him. Some going to take him to the cemetery and let him die. One friend says, “we cannot do this. I have corn to give him.” The man asks, “Have the husks been removed?” They had not. The man says, “Then, drive on.”

By “grace we are saved after all we can do.” To find help can be ours no matter where we are in path. But we must repent and choose God. Take responsibility and go to work so there is something God can help us with.


Song: If I Listen With My Heart

Speaker: President Uctdorf

some asked if he would speak in German, but he said no– though it may sound like it.

Airplane story: how it looks flying at night – seeing stars of Milky Way, “worlds without number.” Only a few years ago scientists thought nothing was outside the Milky Way. Telescopes advance – now we know that the universe is “mind-bogglingly bigger” than anyone had ever believed. Today we can see some of these distant galaxies. We know they are there. They have been there for a very long time, but before we had instruments, we did not believe such a thing was possible. “The immensity of the universe did not suddenly change, but our ability to see and understand this truth” did change.

What if we travel back in time and try to explain technology to those 100 years ago? Misguided, foolish, even dangerous– but they would be mistaken, even if well-meaning and sincere, positive of their opinion. But they do not “see clearly.” Many of us “assume we are right even when we are wrong.” Are we destined to drift?

Joyful message is that God himself says we can know truth. Dreams, visions, thoughts, feelings. He will speak in a way that is “unmistakable and transcends human experience.” Of course there will be those who scoff and say this is impossible. God has better things to do than answer our prayer. “God cares about you. He will listen. He will answer your prayers.“ But answers come in his way and in his time.

God wants you to come back to him. The Savior is the way. It is a “fairly straightforward experiment.” First, search the word of God– with a sincere desire to discover truth, not with intent to criticize. Then ponder prepare your mind to receive the truth. Second, consider, ponder, fearlessly strive to believe, be grateful. Third, ask heavenly father in the name of Jesus Christ to manifest the truth of the church of the Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints unto you with a sincere heart and real intent, having faith in Christ. Fourth, if any man will do God’s will, he will know of the doctrine. You must first live the principles. Put them to the test in your own life– with real intent and enduring faith. God will manifest truth to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. You have his word.

Are the steps too hard? Not worth the effort? No. A personal testimony “is the most important thing you can earn in this life.”

“If you want to recognize spiritual truths, you have to use the right instruments.” You cannot come to an understanding of spiritual truths with instruments that are unable to detect it. When we earnestly seek light, we get more light. Gradually things that were difficult become light, bright, and familiar. If we remove ourselves from light of the gospel, our light dims– not in the day or week, but gradually. Sometimes some get to the place that they wonder how they ever thought the church was true. Message of the gospel is foolishness to those who do not understand.

Church is a place for all “regardless of height or depth of testimony.” No sign that says how tall your testimony has to be to enter. All may come unto Christ and be “perfected in Him.” Church is a place of “welcoming and nurturing, not separating.” In the end, “we are all children seeking God’s light.” We do “not condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have.” We just seek to help. Gaining a testimony is not the test of “a minute, an hour, at day …. [but] the quest of a lifetime.” It may not come as quickly as you desire, but “I promise that if you do your part, it will come and it will be glorious.” Savior promised, if you seek, you will find. What may appear dim, out of focus, and distant will gradually be revealed. This spiritual life is within the reach of every child of God. Your personal testimony of light and truth will not only bless you and children in this life, but will also accompany you into the next life and to worlds without end.

Closing prayer: Bradley D Foster

10 comments for “GenConf–Saturday Morning

  1. Incidentally, this session was presented as the first session of conference, at least in the voice over after the closing prayer. I didn’t see how it was announced when the session began.

  2. Hmm… I didn’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I was concerned that the Women’s Meeting would turn out to be part of conference in the same “kindasorta” way that it always has been.

  3. Thanks for the summaries, Kylie. Cosmic Uchtdorf continues to paint a picture of a welcoming Big Tent Mormonism — with Elder Robbins at the tent door sending people who don’t quite measure up over to Apostasy Alley.

  4. Indeed, Dave (4).

    Also, last Thursday Deseret News ran an article emphasizing how the Seventies fulfill a major role in informing the Twelve:

    “The Quorum of the Twelve meets several times a week as a quorum,” Elder Hallstrom said. “The presidency of the Seventy joins them on several of those occasions. They report on their trips and discuss matters, issues and concerns raised by what they’ve seen.” That’s not all. Church leaders have divided the world into 15 areas, each with a presidency drawn from members of the quorums of the Seventy. Meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve regularly include video conference reports from area presidencies about their circumstances, successes and challenges.

    It seems Elder Robbins is saying that this direction of information is not the duty of the Seventies.

  5. Dave (4) and Wilfried (5)

    I understood Elder Robbins to say a Seventy does not represent the people to the prophet in the same way a union steward represents his or her members to management in a collective bargaining environment which I see as wise counsel.

    In my view, the counsel from Pres. Packer does not preclude the Seventy from informing the Quorum of the twelve.

  6. I can agree, Dan (6). But Dave drew the attention to a different aspect – Elder Uchtdorf’s Big Tent Mormonism versus what seems a rather different attitude in Elder Robbins’ messsage.

  7. Re: the first few comments…I don’t believe they refer to priesthood session as the 3rd session either. The Saturday and Sunday general sessions are the only ones referred to by number, right?

  8. I wonder what would be so bad about a 70 representing the people to the prophet? We the people get to see the prophet speak at least twice a year. I think he’s in a fine position to represent himself to us. I feel like that there could be room for improvement for the prophet to see the members.

  9. The opening prayer for the priesthood session referred to it as the “fourth session” of conference, which, doing the math, must include the Women’s Meeting.

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