Welcome to the fourth or fifth or sixth session of General Conference, depending on how you count. Text in quotation marks are verbatim quotes but not 100% guaranteed; other text is my summary of their remarks. [My comments inside brackets.] Music by the Choir. President Eyring conducting (he thinks it’s the fifth session), President Monson presiding. Song, prayer.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve. Rules for whitewater rafting: Stay in the boat. Wear a life preserver [nowadays we say PFD]. Hold on with both hands. It’s a metaphor for life: Leaving the Church is jumping out of the boat. Apostles are river guides and will not lead you astray. Apostasy leads to consequences [implied: bad consequences] for those who go astray and often their families. Denies that senior LDS leaders live in a bubble. Affirms that senior leaders travel the world and have lots of real-world experience. “We’re not out of touch.” Counsel from scripture and modern prophets and apostles are your life preserver. Those who stray from the Church lost their focus on central truths of the gospel and got distracted by the appendages of the gospel. Stay in the boat! If you fall out, we will find you and haul you back in.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Twelve. Sickness and sadness entered the world at the Fall. Knowledge of good and evil as well as agency. We were taught in premortal world we would come here and “be tested, tried, and stretched.” Opposition in all things. [But look on the brighter side of life:] Exercise faith in the Atonement. Four tools for happiness: (1) Prayer. (2) Study the scriptures and words of living prophets. “Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures.” Reorder your priorities. (3) Weekly family home evening. Nothing else should be more important. Teach the gospel both formally and informally. (4) The temple. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.
Elder Godoy of the Seventy, in Portuguese. Good, better, best [citing Elder Oaks]. Good might not be enough. He pondered his patriarchal blessing after being released as a bishop and changed some things about his career, etc., in light of the promises therein. What does the Lord expect from us? Scriptures, leaders, patriarchal blessing, personal revelation can guide us. Even with correct decisions, we may encounter troubles. But we’re not here to waste our time, grow old, and die. Reach your divine potential. Don’t murmur on the journey.
Elder Packer of the Seventy. Work on the requirements for exaltation. It’s like getting a passport [and visa] to enter a foreign country. It’s the quest of a lifetime. Listen to our 15 leaders. Senior apostle designated as President of the Church. [“Senior apostle” as a description of President of the Church and references to the Big 15 as a group of leaders seem to be talking points for this Conference.] Great Plan of Happiness. Family history: get the names of your ancestors in the Book. Make the decision and put in some effort — it’s easier now than it used to be. Relatively few members of the Church actually submit names for temple ordinance work.
Elder Martinez of the Seventy, in Spanish. Every soul is of great worth to God. “First observe, then serve” [quoting President Linda K. Burton of the RS]. Hurricane hits Puerto Rico in 1998. Two weeks without power or water. Kind brethren brought water by for him and his neighbors. Be a good example of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Elder Kacher of the Seventy. Caught in a riptide offshore in Oman. Watch out for those dangerous unseen currents. He is a skier and a convert. He came to Provo to ski and ended up a Mormon. The Holy Spirit is like a gentle positive current. Honest inquiry produces positive results. Where do you turn for truth when questions arise? Relying on secular sources of knowledge only is one of those riptides. Remain everfaithful.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve. To non-LDS listeners: why are Latter-day Saints so eager to tell me about what they believe and invite me to attend their church? We are not trying to sell a product nor coerce you to believe as we do. It’s just an invitation. Our invitation is not an attempt to diminish your current church affiliation or beliefs. There are 88,000+ full-time LDS missionaries, working with LDS members to fulfill their Christian duty to share the gospel message. Lehi’s dream: share the sweet white fruit of the tree, symbolizing the blessing of the Atonement. Enos: after receiving grace, turns his prayerful thoughts to family and friends. “Absolute truth exists ….”
President Monson. Beautiful music and prayers. Resolve to be a little better, a little kinder, a little more helpful. As we care for each other, we will be blessed. Be people of honesty and integrity. “Do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.” Your prayers strengthen me. “I ask the Lord’s blessings to be upon you.”
Conference adjourned. See you in six months.
Elder Scott was more assertive than he has ever been at times. “Do it!” was said with lots of emphasis.
David Bednar “Our invitations to you are not an attempt to diminish your religious tradition or life experience.” But they in fact do diminish others religious traditions. How can he say this?
Elder Ballard’s use of the word appendage stuck me as odd, especially after Elder Oaks’ use of that word in his talk on the priesthood last spring. (Elder Ballard was warning about extraneous gospel questions and Elder Oaks was referring to women’s vital contributions to the priesthood.) Both uses are just strange. I vote for no more appendage talk in GC.
Thanks for the summary, Dave.