Sunday Morning Session of General Conference

We spent yesterday listening to General Conference while assembling IKEA furniture in the hopes that the spirit of the meeting would help reduce the desire to curse associated with strange pictorial instructions and screw heads that really want to strip. It went as well as could be expected.

This morning I read about theology, love and literature (Alan Jacobs), cleaned some, made tea for my sick husband, harvested from the garden to make omelets (squash and onions, parsley and sage, tomatoes, with mushrooms and provolone not from the garden) for a late breakfast. And now I’m ready for conference to start.


President Uchtdorf conducting.


Pres Henry B. Eyring, 1st Counselor, 1st Presidency


Many are seeking revelation.

We need a constantly renewed stream…a continuing blessing of communication with God.

Quote from Packer: Revelation continues in the church

Process of revelation begins, ends (?), and continues as we receive personal revelation.

Example: Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s confirming revelation.

A principle of revelation that the parents’ revelation continues in the child.

Chokes up during story about his mother.

“I have tried to go and do as she hoped I would.”

(The clear love and respect for his mother 40 years departed is touchingly evident.)

The value of revelation depends on those being led receiving confirming revelation.

Example of Grand Teton Dam breaking in Idaho. Leader of federal disaster response team deferred to the stake president who was organizing the local response. This is evidence of the ability to receive and act on revelation on the part of the stake president and those working under him.

Don’t take lightly the love you feel for the prophet of God. This is not just hero worship. It will help you in gaining confirmation of his counsel, even if it is hard to accept.

Only the prophet, the president of the church, can decide who may receive the sealing power. Eyring told story of a time that he was assigned to confer the sealing power on a new temple sealer. Eyring holds that power, but can only confer it under direction of the president of the church.

The wife of the new sealer felt inadequate to continue going to the temple with her husband because her husband was entrusted with this power, but she could neither read nor write. Eyring assured her her faith was sufficient.

(While both the man and his wife were characterized as humble, hardworking people, no mention was made of the husband’s literacy skills. I find it interesting that a story was recounted that showed how a faithful woman could feel inadequate to continue her church service at a time when her husband is given additional priesthood keys.)

(Overall theme of “confirming revelation.” It is not about seeking novel insight, but about confirming the truths presented by others, especially sources with authority over us, such as parents, church leaders, and scripture.)

Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


Yesterday we were invited to sustain President Monson, and we sing, “We thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”

What does it mean that we are able to sustain the prophet? How do we sustain him?

Joseph F. Smith explained that we sustain our prophet in deed and in truth.

Story about President Kimball and his operation, and how he decided to go ahead with it.

“And his decision made me tremble.” Only 20 months later, he became President of the Church.

Prophets testify of Jesus Christ, of his divinity and earthly mission.

When we sustain prophets and other leaders, we invoke the law of common consent.

No leader has ever called himself or herself, and no prophet has ever been elected.

We do not vote on church leaders at any level. We do, though, have the privilege of sustaining them.

Man’s ways remove people from office when they become old or disabled, but man’s ways are not God’s ways. (So much for the hopes for an emeritus status for the Q12).

President George Albert Smith: We will stand behind him [the prophet].

The Living Lord leads his living church.

We sustain 15 men as prophets, seers, and revelators. They hold all the priesthood keys that have ever been bestowed on man in this dispensation.

Can you imagine how the spirit must move on 15 men in order to bring about unanimity?

They are committed to see that the Lord’s will truly will be done.

(Love this frank reference to the different personalities and perspectives of the apostles, with an emphasis on their good will. It sounds like some of their meetings would be very interesting to sit in on.)

Description of the practice of seniority, how it adds predictablity and stability, and serves as a training ground for junior apostles.

Quotes from Hinkley on when president is ill or not able to function fully. His two counselors together comprise the quorum of the 1st presidency. Major issues considered by 1st presidency and Q12 together.

Remarkable system of governance with redundancy and back up, we have leadership even with illness and incapacity with advancing age.

No one man can ever lead the church astray.

(Touching thanks to President Monson, and an implicit acknowledgement of his diminishing faculties.)

Last year, President Monson 5 years as president, 50 years of apostolic service. Monson quoted King Benjamin about being subject to infirmities in body and mind. Mosiah 2:11

Despite any health challenges that may come to us…we serve to the best of our ability.

The system assures us that [the Church] will always be in good hands.”

Thank you, President Monson, for those truths, and for your lifetime of dedicated service.

“We honor your, we love you, we sustain you.”


Carol F. McConkie 1st Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency


Starts off with the plan of happiness and characterization of prophets as messengers of righteousness who hold keys and authorize saving ordinances.

Do all things in the name of Jesus Christ

We are grateful for a church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and Jesus is our cornerstone.

When we choose to live according to the words of the prophets, we are on the covenant path …that leads to perfection.

Story of Elijah and the widow.

We live in a world threatened by a famine of righteousness and spiritual starvation.

Following the prophet is always right.

The Lord honors and favors those who follow prophetic instruction.

The Lord will feed those who trust him. The words of the prophets are like manna to our souls.

Words of prophets strengthened her during her years of bearing and nurturing 7 children.

We have a choice. We may choose to ignore, trample on [prophetic counsel]… but will be cut off from his chosen people.

May we open our ears to hear, our minds to understand…

Bear witness of Joseph Smith and President Monson.

May we choose to stand with the prophets, unified in faith.


Elder Robert D. Hales of the Twelve “To Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ”

Through studying the final testimonies of prophets in each dispensation, Hales has been touched at how deeply the Father loves His Son, and how He shows obedience to His Father’s will.

“When we do what is necessary to know Them and Their love for one another, we will obtain ‘the greatest of all gifts of God,’ even eternal life.”

“How can this gift be ours?”

It comes through the manner of personal revelation.

“Do you remember the first time you knew there was a God and could feel His love? As a boy, used to gaze into the starry sky and ponder and feel His presence…As I recognized the beauty of this earth, I knew that Heavenly Father loved me.”

Seeking is the key to the process of coming to know God.

God and Christ are literally a Father and a Son–separate, distinct, individual beings.

We love Them because They first loved us. They love one another and work together for our good.

Makes an argument for separate and distinctness of the God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ: “Jesus is a God, yet He continually distinguishes Himself as a separate, individual being by prayer to His Father and by saying that He is doing His Father’s will.”

“By the power of the holy ghost you may know with an assurity of the truth of all things.”

The Holy Spirit testifies that this is true to each who goes and seeks the knowledge.

(I love Hales’ emphasis on the loving relationship between the Father and Son throughout this talk, and the way that he makes their relationship with each other key for developing our relationship with them.)


Elder James J. Hamula of the Seventy “The Sacrament and the Atonement”

Starts with the scene of the Passover meal and the first sacrament.

“No longer would animal blood by spilled or animal flesh be consumed in anticipation of a redeeming sacrifice of a Christ who was yet to come…Participation in this new ordinance would signify to all a solemn acceptance of Jesus as the Promised Christ, and wholehearted willingness to follow Him and keep His commandments.”

Ordinance given to the disciples in the Americas and at the outset of the restoration.

“The ordinance of the sacrament has been called ‘one of the most holy and sacred ordinances in the Church.’ It needs to become more holy and sacred to each of us.”

The order of the sacrament, bread first, and then water, is not inconsequential. Bread reminds us of our future physical resurrection and what will be our fallen state before the presence of God. Sacramental water reminds us of how to be made clean for that resurrection through faith and repentance.

“‘[N]o unclean thing can enter into [God’s] kingdom…nothing enterest into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood… Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the HOly Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.’

This is the doctrine of Christ.”

in sacramental prayers, “we witness our ‘willingness’ to remember,” and then “we witness that we ‘do’ remember.”

“The ordinance of the sacrament helps us faithfully endure to the end and receive the fullness of the Father in the same way Jesus did, grace for grace.”


President Thomas S. Monson “Ponder the Path of Thy Feet”

“The primary purpose of our existence upon the earth are to obtain a body of flesh and bones, to gain experience that could only come through separation from our heavenly parents, and to see if we would keep the commandments.”

“Physically walking where Jesus walked is less important that walking as He walked…All of us can walk the path He walked when, with His words ringing in our ears, His spirit filling our hearts, and His teachings guiding our lives, we choose to follow HIm a swe journey through mortality.”

Jesus walked paths that we walk today: the path of disappointment, the path of temptation, the path of pain. “While we will find on our path bitter sorrow, however, we can also find great happiness.” Jesus also walked the paths of obedience, service, and prayer. Special mention of the Lord’s prayer and the prayer in Gethsemane.

“Let us remember that the end result of disobedience is captivity and death, while the reward for obedience is liberty and eternal life.”

“As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives by learning His words, by following His teachings and by walking His path, He has promised to share with us the eternal life that He died to gain…Nothing else, no other choice we can make, can make of us what He can.”

Story of German immigrants to eastern Canada who exemplified the spirit of the Lord in their humble home. “The faithful beat a path to their door in order to partake of the spirit that was there.”

Proverbs 4:26: “Ponder the path of thy feet.”


Benediction: Rosemary Wixon, Primary General President.

Done about 10 minutes early. If this were sacrament meeting, everyone with small children would be rejoicing. It’s now time to go and set up soup for dinner (I have chicken bones to boil) and dig into the bread that baked during the talks this morning.


5 comments for “Sunday Morning Session of General Conference

  1. Thanks for the summaries, Rachel.

    Yes, Elder Nelson’s remarks did seem to be an implicit acknowledgement. That’s a nice way to put it. But he smoothed over the tensions that situation can create within the group of remaining apostles, particularly when the next-most-senior apostle is not one of the FP counselors. And he was rather candid about disagreements within the Big 15, wasn’t he?

  2. We didn’t sense any ‘implicit acknowledgment of President Monsons’s diminishing faculties’ here.

    We did feel that there was a huge emphasis on the God ordained authority of the office of Prophet, Seer and Revelator though. Several Sunday morning talks emphasised the importance and value of continuing revelation through the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles.

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