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Spring 2019 General Conference Open Thread

The rumors are swirling again! What have you heard? What will actually happen? Only time will tell. Please comment with your thoughts and insights! I’ll be updating as I’m able.

Saturday Morning Session

RIGHT into the talks. No announcements…so far. 😭 Not a single one in the first session. 😤

I keep thinking the succulent-ish florals behind the speakers are a salad bar. Is this to nourish and strengthen speakers with between-session snacking?

Ulisses Soares

  • Our purpose as we teach is more to increase faith in Christ and the plan of salvation and less to convert. [I love this advice applied to missionaries as well as the rest of us.]
  • Bring the gospel of Christ to the center of our lives. The best teacher is a good role model.
  • Hope is an important part of the gospel plan.

Becky Craven

[Here’s hoping this isn’t the singular female voice in conference this time around. For the record, I have a theory about the “Primary voice.” Let’s not go there, OK?]

  • The effects of casualness can lead us away from the covenant path.
  • River of filthiness in Lehi’s dream lead near the tree, but not to it.
  • There is both a careful and a casual way to live the gospel. [Love this.] There is not a right way to do the wrong thing. Being careful means being appropriate not being formal.
  • It’s impossible to live a perfect life. We can still be worthy. [Good discussion topic.]
  • Deep and lasting happiness comes by following Christ.

Brook P. Hales

  • Missionary coat story. [I both love and hate such stories.]
  • Worthy desires are not always handled as we hope.

[I think God rarely intervenes in minutia that isn’t really essential to the main thrust of the plan of salvation. It makes no sense to me at all that God sends a coat to someone or makes sure (through all manner of manipulations) a particular lesson from a job opportunity, when he doesn’t save children from sexual slavery. I think it’s far more likely (Occam’s razor and all that) that God lets the world mostly work as it will, lets us experience life as it comes, gives us strength and insight to learn from our experiences and make the best of them…should we choose to.]

[Did he just quote the woman saying something like, “God doesn’t always grant everything we want?” God isn’t a genie, people.]

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

  • Put church growth in context of the world population. Tiny flock indeed.
  • Do we feel guilty or timid or afraid to go outside our comfort zones? The Lord needs your heart.
  • Keep missionaries in the loop.
  • Share what is in your heart and live consistent with your beliefs. Your job is not to convert. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. Invite others to come and see, come and help.
  • Have the courage to be recognized as a member of the church. You are a significant part of the gathering of Israel.
  1. Draw close to God. Love God.
  2. Fill your heart with love for others.
  3. Strive to walk the path of discipleship. Your commitment to follow Christ increases as you do #1 and #2. You will grow in confidence and courage. Keep trying to get it right.
  4. Share what is in your heart. Always look for opportunities to bring up your faith in natural and normal ways, both in person and online. Stand as a witness of the power of the gospel at all times and when necessary…use words. [Boom!] Do not hide gospel values and principles under a bushel. [Glorify God not yourself.]
  5. [Missed it…will fill in later…]

W. Christopher Waddell

  • Story about his brother, Mike, and his cancer accompanied by conversion.
  • Care for brothers and sisters in a higher and holier way. Savior’s service went beyond daily needs to lifting the spirit.
  • Minister by giving what we are capable of giving. Our offerings will be magnified by God. [Nice!]
  • It is never too late. No one is beyond the reach of the infinite atonement.

Henry B. Eyring

  • Story of organization of the church.
  • Examples of sustained felicity in families. There was no contention in the land because of the love of God.
  • Remove pride.
  • Increase faith.
  • Stop sinning.
  • Lead each child to accept the Lord’s invitation to come unto him.
  • Lead by example. Example. Example. Example.
  • Your example to grow in faith may not always be followed by family…for now.
  • Prayer can reach family members far away…around the world.
  • The family that prays together is together, even when they are far apart.
  • Turn all homes into MTCs.
  • The temple is a good place to learn the love of holy places.
  • Make your home a place of faith and love.

Saturday Afternoon Session

Who’s ready for some earth-shaking news! NO news or updates at all. NONE!

BYU choir represent! Were all the women informed to create the same hairstyle? Um…

Dallin Oaks

Sustaining vote. So many men. So few women. 🙁

Kevin J. Jergensen

Annual Report

M. Russell Ballard

  • 43 years as a GA.
  • God wants all of his children to find peace, joy, and happiness. Those things may elude us but we can find them in this life, in spite of not being able to control all things, by doing the best we can to follow Christ.
  • Life with purpose and meaning. [Jordan Peterson, anyone?]
  • Satan wants all to be miserable, in contrast to God.
  • Our quest is to bask in the light of Christ. This brings peace, joy, and happiness.
  • Excitement of changes in church are less significant than spiritual purpose of those changes [Totally my own take on that quote.]
  • Sabbath day observance should bring a smile to our faces.
  • Welcome others to our meetings.
  • We minister by loving God and loving our neighbors.
  • Don’t complicate with additional meetings and requirements. KEEP IT SIMPLE! 🥰

Mathias Held

  • Grew up in Columbia and joined the church as a newlywed.
  • For unto him that receiveth, I will give more
  • In coming days it will not be possible to spiritually survive without the Holy Ghost [has it ever been?]

Neil L. Andersen

  • What is truth?
  • There are absolute, eternal truths. [What do you classify as eternal truths? I only have a handful of things.]
  • Spiritual perspective.
  • The Family: A Proclamation to the World [I don’t like some of this, for the record. It contradicts some of what is now taught. Outdated, in my opinion.]
  • Speak in defense of the unborn! [YES!]
  • Prophets see possibilities ahead [Is this a preface to SOME changes? 😂]
  • Focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t have—what service can you do?

Takashi Wada

  • Sushi [is not an experience of joy]
  • Feast upon the words of Christ should bring us real joy and build our relationship with the Savior
  1. Increase capacity for personal revelation
  2. Scriptures will help us know who we are when we struggle with identity

David P. Homer

Is he another pilot? Or was he a passenger? Can the church handle another pilot?

  • At critical moments we will hear multiple voices competing for our attention
  • It is vital that we listen to the right ones
  • The more diligently we seek the voice of God, the easier it will be to hear it (our power to do has increased—from one of my favorite quotes)

[I don’t find this to be necessarily true. Even Brigham Young said that he often didn’t know what to do, so just did his best. I suspect in reality that’s true for most of us most of the time—even though some claim God finds their keys and chooses their spouses and on and on.

I wish there were some women among those “15 men with a unique perspective” whose perspective was considered “authoritative” in the church, not just “auxiliary.” When will those voices be as valued?]

Jeffery R. Holland

Love Holland.

  • John the Baptist used the symbol of a sacrificial lamb for Christ.
  • Broken heart and a contrite spirit
  • We are commanded to go to church in addition to making time for more home-centered gospel instruction
  • Emphasize the sacrament as the focal point of our weekly worship
  • Come to service early and dressed appropriately for the sacred ordinance of the sacrament [My ox is mired almost every week…just saying…]
  • “Reduction of clamor” in church
  • Visitors may be shocked by irreverence [personally, I think joyful, boisterous praise is a billion times more spiritual than somber, plodding Victorian hymns…so there’s that…]
  •  “…in the hand of an 11- or 12-year old” boy 😞
  • You can always find someone who’s weight is too heavy to bear. Join Christ in lifting the load.

[There is a tendency, I have noticed, for people to take counsel such as Holland’s to lift the weight of those we encounter as an opportunity to chastise others for not lifting our own burdens enough. I suggest, as with most counsel, we look at our own beams before pointing fingers at the motes of those around us.]

Priesthood Session

I’ll be napping. Fill me in!

Sunday Morning Session

Directly into speakers without an announcement of any kind. Either the rumors were The Greatest Hoax or they are waiting for the big finish or will sprinkle them in the middle. Or something.

Dale G. Renlund

  • How to access blessings?
  • One purpose for prayer is to “activate” the blessings God is already offering, but God is waiting for our input. Action is often required to “activate” a blessing.
  • Sometimes we need to make a bow and arrow before the Lord tells us where to look for food.
  • When you receive any blessing, you can conclude you completed the requirements to receive it.
  • Blessings are time insensitive

Sharon Eubank

  • Satan tries to exploit our common life conditions
  • Sometimes we don’t feel accepted or acceptable
  • Christ is almost always reaching out to the unacceptable in society
  • Christ sees us in our tree (Zacchaeus reference)
  • How can you increase your faith so that your “stones” can receive light
  • What is the key to reconnect with Christ? Make Christ the center of your life.
  • Step along the covenant path, even if you can’t see very far. The lights will come back on.

Quentin L. Cook

  • Charity includes God’s love for all his children.
  • Love is the primary motive in ministering.
  • Missionary work is based on love.
  • Shout out to Samoa!! Talofa!
  • Double down on gender “roles” 🙄 while emphasis on equal value
  • Make internet a servant not a master

D. Todd Christofferson

  • Millenium promises
  • Devote ourselves to prepare for the days when Christ will reign
  • A day of redemption and judgment
  • Prepare as a people to receive him
  • Increase faith
  • Make covenants
  • Seal families

Tad R. Callister

  • Atonement (of course ☺️)
  • Justice
  • When we sin we jump from a plane, repentance is like the parachute
  • Atonement overcomes: death; sin;
  • When we acquire a gift of the spirit, we become more like God
  • We have a duty to pray for the gift that will help us overcome out weaknesses

Russell M. Nelson

  • Story of his daughter, Wendy, and her death. She was 67 years old and died of cancer three months ago.
  • Salvation is an individual matter; Exaltation is a family matter
  • Make covenants; keep covenants; obtain saving ordinances
  • Ask God how he feels about you…and listen
  • Do the work now; time is running out

Sunday Afternoon Session

We’re baaaaaaaack!

Dallin H. Oaks

  • Laws of God; laws of man
  • Always a possibility of “parole” with God’s laws
  • True repentance is not an event, it is a never ending process
  • Much to learn from Alma
  • Faith in Jesus Christ [not faith in finding my keys or faith in being cured or…]
  • We must repent of all our actions or inactions that are contrary to the will of God
  • Partake of sacrament each week
  • Prove us to see if we are accountable to God
  • Final judgment according to deeds in mortality (works and desires of our hearts)
  • Mighty change of heart?
  • After his judgments we will all declare that they are just
  • Process of final judgment
  • Atonement is the only way to achieve cleanliness through repentance
  • Now is the time to repent—repentance after death “is less certain”
  • Resurrection will restore physical deficiencies at birth or by trauma or disease, but not all our sinful desires
  • The Lord will have mercy and abundantly pardon even the wicked

Juan Pablo Villar

  • Spiritual gifts behave as muscles; must have exercise
  • Visited brothers mission before he joined the church [nice]
  • Opportunities to develop gives rather than just granting those gifts
  • Walk, seek, love as the Savior loves
  • Identify muscles that need more spiritual activity
  • Do things that require the gift we need

Garrit W. Gong

  • [Does anyone actually fall asleep from counting sheep? Anyone? Anyone?]
  • Christ is the good shepherd
  • Calls us in his voice and his name
  • Gathers us into his fold (reaches out to the 1 and the 99 simultaneously)
  • Exemplifies a shepherd with his love for his flock
  • Christ is the perfect good shepherd and perfect Lamb of God
  • Whatever our circumstances, he shall gather the lambs with his arm…

David A. Bednar

  • Reference to taking vitamins per Nelson [taunting? yes!]
  • Learn for ourselves [yes!]
  • We cannot merely attend meetings and programs and gain the testimony and learning we must have
  • We all need help but we are responsible for our own salvation
  • “…for himself or herself…” [thank you]
  • Home-centered to learn to rely on ourselves
  • Ultimate MTC is in our home; secondary MTCs are in Provo…
  • Primary Sunday School is at home; secondary at church
  • Family history, temple prep, etc. are primarily at home, secondarily at church
  • Always speak about the temple with reverence; don’t reveal things we explicitly promise not to reveal [I think many have not really paid attention to what these things actually are. They are few. Most of what takes place has been published by the church (for example: The House of the Lord by Talmage).]
  • Bednar lists the covenants made in the ceremony [Thank you. Why this isn’t central to the temple prep class is a mystery. (At least last time I taught it…)]
  • Temple is the house of the Lord.

Kyle S. McKay

  • Timing is different for God [like “time is running out, per the last session? 😂]
  • Story of snowmobile accident 😭 [I struggle with stories like this. I am typing this before he has even told the story. I just know where it’s going. Faith-promoting stories like this don’t make sense to me given those who do not receive this comfort or relief. I don’t think it’s a purely faith-based event, if it is really from God. And, yes, the story was what I anticipated.]
  • “He will deliver you from everything…” [Eventually…sure…]

Ronald A. Rasband

  • Come unto Christ, stay on the covenant path
  • Satan promotes short-term “solutions”
  • How do we fortify ourselves in troubled times: obedience [Nephi asked lots of questions, actually]; stand for truth; make and renew covenants; have integrity in all that we do; develop discernment; be sober and vigilant
  • Your testimony is your personal fortress

Russel M. Nelson

Just a guess (hope?) that he’s going to speak at the end? Um…

Song; talk; song? What? Not much time left in the session. Was that first song a throw in?

  • God’s objectives should be our objectives
  • Pioneer temples: refreshed or restored (St. George; Salt Lake; Manti; Logan), then rededicated
  • New temples:
    1. Pago Pago, American Samoa
    2. Okinawa City, Okinawa
    3. Neiafu, Tonga
    4. Tooele Valley, Utah
    5. Moses Lake, Washington
    6. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
    7. Antofagasta, Chile
    8. Budapest, Hungary

Personal Takeaways

  • Love
  • Personal responsibility for spiritual growth
  • I am a bit let down. I know we’re supposed to claim rejoicing at all the incredible edification, but this conference was pretty ordinary to me without any atypical insights.

Aside: Last night Sam and I took two of our daughters and their husbands to Unplanned. As an unplanned pregnancy myself, the issue is very personal to me. I recommend this movie to those who are pro-life. To those who are pro-choice, I challenge you to go with an open mind.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Lydia April 7, 2019, 9:12 am

    I’ve been saying it for weeks: I’m convinced there will be no earth-shattering announcements this conference! But maybe Sunday sessions will prove me wrong…
    Lydia recently posted…General Conference Ideas for Families with Young KidsMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith April 7, 2019, 10:17 am

    It’s certainly looking like you are correct. 😤 Nelson loves the big splashes though. It’s hard to think he can contain himself now that he’s “unleashed.” We shall see.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…My Definition of God and a Possible Response to Homosexuality in Church PolicyMy Profile

  • jennycherie April 7, 2019, 1:03 pm

    Maybe I am just melodramatic, but I feel like his talk itself was a bit of an announcement (and maybe since other big announcements such as temple changes and changes in LGBT policies and ‘sister missionaries can wear pants when it is practical’ have happened between conferences we don’t even need any conference announcements). In my memory, the standard line has been “no one knows the hour” of the second coming but he specifically said, “TIME IS RUNNING OUT.” Okay, he didn’t yell. He said it softly but I felt like it was still yelling in importance. That was a very clear warning—get your act together people!

  • Alison Moore Smith April 7, 2019, 2:16 pm

    Could be, but this is the same call I’ve heard my entire life. Emphasized more and then less and then more and then… You know?
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Spring 2019 General Conference Open ThreadMy Profile

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