Gen Conf: Sat Afternoon Notes


  • Conducting: Pres Eyring
  • Opening Song: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty[oddly, I have had this song running through my head continuously since yesterday. Maybe I’m inspired?]
  • Music by Young Single Adult Choir from Davis and Weber Counties, Utah [Wearing “Easter egg colored clothing,” according to the people sitting in my front room with me]
  • Prayer: Sister Stevens
  • President Uctdorf: Sustaining

[If I feel like commenting, I will put it in brackets. Assume words/sentences are not word-for-word quotations unless I put them in quote marks.]

  • [Someone yells “no” for first presidency. Someone yells “no” for Twelve. Pres Uctdorf calmly says, “vote has been noted” both times.]
  • [As usual, Pres Uctdorf is wearing a nice tie – yellow with blue and white stripes. My husband once wore a yellow tie in the MTC. The MTC president’s wife saw him, pulled out a pair of scissors and snipped it off. Yellow ties and pink ties were a big no-no in the late 1980s.]

Release: tons of seventies, YM General Presidency and Board; 1st and 2nd Counselors in Primary Gen Presidency

Sustain: [***got this from lds.newsroom*** ]

First Quorum of the Seventy:

  • Elder Kim B. Clark, Rexburg, ID;
  • Elder Allen D. Haynie, San Diego, CA;
  • Elder Von G. Keetch, Salt Lake City, UT;
  • Elder Hugo Montoya, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico;
  • Elder Vern P. Stanfill, Kalispell, MT.

Young Men general presidency:

  • Stephen W. Owen, president;
  • Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor;
  • M. Joseph Brough, second counselor.

Primary general presidency

  • replace Sister Jean A. Stevens, who will serve with her husband in the England London Mission.
  • Sister Rosemary M. Wixom will continue to serve as president,
  • Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, first counselor
  • Sister Mary R. Durham has been called as second counselor.


  • Audit report: Kevin Jergensen
  • Statistical report – Brooks

See LDS newsroom for more information: total members: 15,372,33; new children: 116,409; converts baptized: 296,803; three temples dedicated – Gilbert Arizona, Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix Arizona – Ogden rededicated. Total temples 144


  • Song: I Stand All Amazed
  • Speaker: David A. Bednar

He broke a window in the store. Thought he was going to jail. Fear he felt was “overwhelming and real.” “Distressing emotion of fear arises because of impending danger, uncertainty, or pain and through experiences that are unexpected, sometimes sudden, and likely to produce a negative outcome.”

We live in hard time – time when “men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 45:26).

One of first effects of the Fall is that Adam and Eve experience fear.

How to deal with fear? Learn from Alma. People were fearing. Alma “counseled.” Then “the people hush their own fears.” Correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord empower us to hush our fears because Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace.

Trust and confidence in Christ and a ready reliance on His merits, mercy, and grace lead to hope through His Atonement in the Resurrection and eternal life.

We need the peace of Christ – we can have “spiritual settledness” [cool word, I think. Is it a word?]

Can we hush the fears in our time? Unequivocal yes!

  1. Look to Christ – consider Alma’s counsel to son, Helaman. Also consider story of Peter walking on water. Peter gets out and walks while his focus is fixed on Savior. But he fears and starts to sink. Jesus catches him immediately.
  2. Build on the foundation of Christ – Helaman counsels his sons. Hel 5:12. “Ordinances and covenants are the building blocks we use to construct our lives upon the foundation of Christ and His Atonement.”
  3. Press forward with faith in Christ – 2 Ne 31:20. Disciplined endurance. Press forward comes as “result of spiritual understanding and vision, persistence, patience, and God’s grace.”

Godly fear v. Worldly fear.

Godly/Righteous fear is

  • “reverence, respect and awe for Jesus Christ.”
  • Need to have obedience, final judgment and justice, correct understanding of Christ’s nature and mission
  • willingness to submit our will to His will
  • knowledge that all our accountable for own sins

On judgment day, we will “not afraid of Him at all.” We will fear “facing things as they really are about ourselves”— we will fear “all our rationalizations, pretenses, and self-deceptions.”

Godly fear dispels mortal fears.

We cannot be good enough or measure up relying solely upon our own capacity and performance.

Godly fear is loving and trusting in [God]. Perfect love casts out all fear.


  • Speaker: D. Todd Christofferson

Dietrich Bonhoeffer—German, opposed Nazi and killed in concentration camp. Quote from Bonhoeffer’s letter to niece about marriage and love.

Referring to quote, “In what way does marriage between a man and a woman transcend their love for one another and their own happiness?” We have to “go back to the beginning” to understand. Pre-mortal life. Plan of Salvation. Keep first estate, go to second. If we do what’s right here, then we “keep our second estate.” “Can we bridle the flesh?” Can we “be trusted both in time and eternity with godly powers, including power to create life?”

4 things needed:

  1. Creation of earth. Do not know everything, but we do know that creation is not “accidental.”
  2. Condition of mortality. Fall necessary. Good and evil. Physical death.
  3. Redemption from Fall. Thus, a Redeemer. Death and sin must be overcome. Then we “can be spiritually born again.”
  4. “Setting” for physical birth. Setting for spiritual birth. This setting is the home, marriage, family. Parents teach children the Plan. “A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive”

Marriage – “It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults.”

“Impressive social science” agrees family is good, but that’s not why we believe this doctrine. “It is in the matrimonial union of male and female as one that we attain perhaps the most complete meaning of our having been made in the image of God—male and female.”

Satan—attacking family. Seeks to convince us that “marriage and family priorities can be ignored or abandoned” or at least put off.

Some are denied blessing of marriage. No prospects, same-sex attraction, impairments, fear, etc. Some married, then divorced. “When you who bear the heaviest burdens of mortality stand up in defense of God’s plan to exalt His children, we are all ready to march.” We all need Atonement of Jesus Christ. It “will compensate all deprivation and loss for those who turn to Him.” “No one is predestined” to fail.


  • Song: We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet
  • Speaker: Wilford W. Andersen

story – young doctor asks old Navajo how he can help. Doesn’t answer. Asks again. Old man says, “Can you dance?” Doctor realizes it is a medicine man. Doctor asks if he could teach. Old Medicine Man says, “I can teach you to dance, but you have to hear the music.”

D&C 8– tell you in mind and heart by Holy Ghost

“We learn that dance steps in our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts.” [I am loving this.]

Those who dance look “peculiar” to those who do not hear the music.

“If our children learn the dance steps without learning to hear and feel the music,” they might become uncomfortable and might quit. Or, almost as bad, might keep dancing only because of the pressure from those around them.

The challenge—“expand the curriculum beyond just the dance steps”


  1. Keep own life attuned to correct frequency. Be filled with Holy Ghost. Unkindness, pride, or envy causes loss of Spirit. Ponder the path of our feet– walk the same path than we first heard strain of gospel music. Basics.
  2. When we hear the music ourselves, try best to perform. “’No influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood’ or by virtue of being the dad or the mom or the biggest or the loudest.” Perform music joyfully and without threats or intimidation. Sing children the “lullaby of love unfeigned.” When teenagers, tune out arguments and instead perform music of “persuasion.” Invite our children to sing along us– in kindness for neighbor in need. Dissonance in home is like darkness. “It does little good to scold the darkness.” Be patient.

“If you are not hearing the music of the gospel in your home, please remember these two words: keep practicing.”

[You know that idea that some leaders challenge us to do? The thing where you have a question in mind and pray about it before general conference? I did that – started praying a month ago. This talk is the answer to one of those questions. It is so clearly the answer that I am stunned– obviously the words tell me what I need to do about the problem in my life, but it is also the answer in a way that only I understand. Cool. Very cool. Let’s see of my second question is answered.]


  • Speaker: Dale G. Renlund

Nelson Mandela – great story of forgiveness. Mandela deflected accolades. “I’m no saint unless you think a saint is a sinner keeps on trying.”

“Saints” – an elevated state of perfection. You might flinch a little at this term. Our theology teaches us we can be perfected.

“God cares a lot more about who we are and what we are becoming than about who we once were.” He cares that we keep on trying.

Shakespeare’s “As you like it”– older brother receives undeserved compassion from younger brother that he tried to kill. [What can we say? It’s Shakespeare! Though the story sounds familiar . . .] Older brother has “conversion.” When questioned if he was the wicked one who tried to kill his younger brother, he says “Twas I, but ‘tis not I.”

Joy of repentance. “one of God’s greatest gifts is the joy of trying again.” Pres Monson

“The moment we decide to try again, the atonement can help us.” God’s desire that we keep on trying extends beyond sin – Savior’s atonement can heal all. With his help, God expects Latter-day Saints to keep on trying. Must recognize that others are trying, too.

Story about African women. One offended, but other replies, “The church is like a big hospital. We are all sick.” All of us are in need of the same infinite atonement.

Curtis complaining about mission companion. God says, “To me, you aren’t that much different.” [Ouch!]

“If we don’t try, we are latter-day sinners.”

“If we don’t persevere, we are latter-day quitters.”

“If we don’t allow others to try, we are just latter-day hypocrites.”


  • Speaker: Michael T. Ringwood

Elder Ringwood says he used to be motivated by titles and position– before his mission. Reminded of this in last general conference by Pres Uctdorf– who said he also used to be impressed by other things, but now finds those people most impressive who are “good and without guile.”

Shiblon is one of those people. Only got 15 verses from Dad, Alma. But they are great verses.

Also, Alma spoke to Corianton about his brother, Shiblon. Surely Helaman trusted his brother – he gave him the plates. Not much recorded about Shiblon. But he is a great guy.

Today, some say position and power gives you relevance. No – relevance is for those who selflessly serve in callings. Even more impressive – those who serve without callings. Look in your Ward – there are always members who know who needs help.

Story – with Elder who never had callings, etc. Others talk about him. But very obedient. Elder Ringwood wants to correct false impression. Wise mission president says “Heavenly Father knows this young man is a successful missionary, and so do I.” He added, “And now you know too, so who else really matters?”

“Service that counts most is usually recognized by God alone.”

Too hard? The desires of our heart can be transformed, can be educated . . . Enter into and endure in covenants. Find grace.

[My TV just skipped. Hopefully y’all heard the rest of this.]


  • Speaker: Quentin L Cook

Impact of iniquity, inequality, injustice– leave many feeling that life is very unfair. But we still need to “rejoice” in Savior. So, “How then do we deal with the harsh realities that surround us?”

Sunflowers—follow the sun across sky. When we follow Son of God, . . . He can be our light and life.

“Our ability to stand firm and true and follow the Savior despite the vicissitudes of life is greatly strengthened by righteous families and Christ-centered unity in our wards and branches.”

Cute story written by his Uncle. Published. About a sailor who kept his watch set to Mountain standard Time and thought about his family. On May 11, 1945, the Uncle’s ship was bombed. He died. Pres Kimball comforted family. 28 years later, Kimball spoke about Uncle, using his example to challenge every family to be on their knees daily. “If we faithfully have family prayer, scripture study, Family Home Evening, priesthood blessings, and Sabbath day observance our children will know what time it is at home.”

“It is vitally important that our children know they are loved and safe at home.”

Home – husbands and wives are equal partners. Wife has children for family. Husband holds priesthood for family. [Uh, hmm… One of these things really hurts a lot more than the other–from the woman who has five children and only made it to the hospital with enough time for an epidural on the last one. Just saying . . .]

Role of church— organization, teachings, priesthood for the ordinances. We need “church culture” to be like the people in 4th Nephi. No contention. Happiest people. This is the culture to which we aspire.

Important part of culture is language. D&C 90:11– hear gospel in own tongue. “When God’s children pray to him in their native language, that is the language of their heart.” [Nice.]

Even with this diversity, must have heart knit together in love. United in culture and traditions of gospel of Jesus Christ.

“We should be careful not to be critical or judgmental of those with concerns – great or small. ”

Is there more doubt and unbelief than in the past? No. We have never been stronger. The number of people who are removing their names from church is “demonstrably less” than in the past. But worth of souls is great – reach out to everyone.

If struggling, remember Savior “accomplished the atonement.” [I have been hearing this a lot lately. Have we been saying something wrong? What is the philosophy behind the word, “accomplish”?]

Refuge from the storm – “Our protections in this life and for eternity will be in individual and family righteousness, Church ordinances and following the Savior.”


  • Song: Let Us All Press On
  • Closing prayer: Randy D. Funk

8 comments for “Gen Conf: Sat Afternoon Notes

  1. Yeah, that list of releases and callings is getting pretty lengthy.

    I really enjoyed Elder Christofferson’s quotations and tone and content. He is sort of the new Elder Maxwell.

  2. Never heard of Wilford Andersen before, but he wins what was a pretty good session.

    Lots of quotes from nonmembers this time: Pope Francis in the morning, then Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nelson Mandela, and an unnamed medicine man in the afternoon. Has anybody quoted Joseph Smith yet?

  3. Bedinar says we live in hard times. I can not think of many ways in which we are living in hard times. Are we really? How?

    It seems like at least 50% of talks so far are all or part about marriage (between a man and a woman). Is this conservative politics being taught as Gospel. And so much of it.

    I had hoped once gay marriage was legal un Utah we could move on and leave this alone.

    Do the leadership not realise that most of what they say applies to all marriages, not just the ones they approve of. If you look at the blog on church growth, we are having trouble with our message, and this is a large part of the problem, we are trying to sell conservative politics with the gospel. Judging from the talks so far about 50/50 mixture.

    In my country 80% are pro gay marriage, and will not respond well to this, so who do we expect to convert?

    When we have a speaker with the pure Gospel it is so refreshing, it could go to all the world.

  4. In response to Geoff, I agree that the persistent comments on marriage can become tiresome, but there is of course something very deliberate going on here. Church leaders are declaring that the Church will not trend with the rest of society in embracing and celebrating sexual behavior not approved by God. The message is that church members can maintain an opinion on sexual morality that is more and more associated with bigotry and hate. When general authorities give these sermons on traditional marriage and children, they are targeting the under-30 membership of the Church, who are immersed in the new sexual culture that devalues marriage and is almost completely homo-normalized.

    When I go to work each day at a prestigious university in New England (where I am a visiting scholar), I am greeted with a semi-permanent rainbow-patterned sticker on the glass surface of each interior door, which reads “You are welcome here.” I occasionally smile to myself as I consider publishing a handsome sticker with identical text, but with a beehive or a cross on it. I wonder how that would be received. Regardless, the message is literally in my face throughout my workday: Stop merely tolerating homosexual love, but proudly welcome it. Do not just serve us in your restaurants, but cater our weddings with pizza, or else you will find yourself in a heap of legal trouble.

    The Church is fighting aggressive with aggressive. The Church is actively conserving an alternative culture. I support these conservation efforts. I find conference talks about the blessings of traditional families with mothers, fathers and children to be both refreshing and encouraging. Our struggle is changing, from preventing the “devolution” of the dominant culture, to the conservation of a godly culture in Zion–even if this means losing out on potential converts. The role of the Church is the teaching and administration of the gospel in its fulness and truth, not winning as many converts as possible.

  5. ” I find conference talks about the blessings of traditional families with mothers, fathers and children to be both refreshing and encouraging.”
    Not all families are consistently made up of ” mothers, fathers and children” there are a lot of single parent families, families with adopted children, families with surrogate parent or parents. With the continual bombardment of the so called “traditional family rhetoric” we marginalize all the other types of families and hold them to a bar that they may not want to reach for. I have seen many so called traditional families that are not safe places for people be they children or spouses. Was it not Lucifers paln to make people belive in only one specific way?

  6. The post says, “[Wearing “Easter egg colored clothing,” according to the people sitting in my front room with me]” My immediate thought was how much those colors, in an LDS context, called to mind all pastel-colored dresses the women and girls were shown wearing in the TV coverage of the FLDS community in Texas.

    Not a positive image

  7. Clay Cook (5) – “Was it not Lucifers paln to make people belive in only one specific way?”

    Um, no, it was not. That’s God’s plan; go through mortality to see if you’ll listen to His commands. Lucifers’ plan was to have everyone return no matter what. (Moses 4)

  8. Clay Cook (5) – “With the continual bombardment of the so called “traditional family rhetoric” we marginalize all the other types of families…” I’m divorced and don’t feel marginalized in the least by the rhetoric you’re referring to. I say preach the Lord’s will early and often regardless of my own personal situation. Ultimately I do do not want to end up with the same marital status as Lucifer and want to be in a church that boldly and frequently reminds me of the Lord’s will. Please, no sugarcoating!!

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