About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

General Conference: Priesthood session

186th Annual General Conference:

Choir: Logan Utah Institute choir

President Uchtdorf conducts
Pres. Monson presides

Hymn: “In Hymns of Praise.”

Choir: “I stand All Amazed.”

Elder Nelson

Divine role as men of God. Talks about a family with three children with congenital heart disease. One son died. He also tried to save the other two, who were sisters. (Elder Nelson was a heart surgeon). Both girls died following operations. The parents were spiritually shattered. They had lingering resentment toward Elder Nelson and the Church. Has been haunted by the situation for almost six decades. He tried to contact them, no success. Last May he was awakened by the two little girls. Felt their presence. Their message was brief and clear: “Brother Nelson, we are not sealed to anyone, can you help us?” Their mother had passed away, father and a younger brother still alive.

Tried to contact the father, living with the son Shawn. Willing to meet. In June, I knelt in front of Jimmy, now 88 years old. I spoke of his daughters’ pleadings, and would help with the sealings. The father and son were not endowed, each accepted the offer to become ready to go to the temple. Elder Nelson was overjoyed. The Spirit of the Lord was palpable throughout that meeting. They worked diligently with local leaders. In Payson, Utah temple, had the profound privilege to seal the husband and wife and four children. Many hearts were healed that day. Father and son had become heroes to him. They had courage, strength and humility, let go of old hurts and habits, willing to submit to guidance from priesthood leaders.

Bear the priesthood. Very same power and authority through which God created the heavens and the Earth.

Some people have the priesthood but not the priesthood power. Need to access the powers of heaven. Sin and misdeeds can decrease the power of the priesthood. Too many have surrendered their agency to the adversary. Some people wanted power over others, power at work, rather than the power of God.

Why settle for Esau’s pottage when can have all of the blessings of Abraham? Live up to privileges as bearers of the priesthood. Only those who stake the priesthood seriously will be able to bring miracles to those he loves, and keep his marriage and family safe.

Qualities we should seek: faith, etc. Don’t forget humility. How would our family members, co-workers say you and I are doing in developing our gifts of the priesthood?

We need to pray for priesthood power. We need to commune with God. Pray to know how to get more priesthood power. If you want to see your wife’s heart melt, let her find you studying the doctrine of Christ. Are you willing to go to the temple regularly? Ask Him to teach you about priesthood keys and authority and power.

Pres. Monson has used the priesthood power to help others. If you truly want priesthood power, you will cherish your wife, embracing both her and her counsel.

Please consider how different our relationships would be if we had priesthood power top of mind. Lord will show us how to increase access to His power. Priesthood power can heal the fractures in the hearts of those we love. Are we willing to study and pray so we can have that priesthood power.

Think of the father and brother who were willing to get ready to go to the temple to be sealed to their family.

Stephen W. Owen, Young Men General President

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About that claim that the Church favored socialism in the 1930s….

Another week, another false claim about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You may have seen this post or a meme related to it. The title claims that the Church “endorsed” socialism based on a little-read priesthood manual from 1939. Farther down in the post, the author implies that President Heber J. Grant himself “advocated for” socialism.

Let us be very, very clear: as I point out in this post, nearly every LDS prophet, including President Grant, has spoken out against systems of government-based charity. What the Church favors is voluntary, personal charity.

But let me go further: the Church was vehemently opposed to government-based welfare programs during the 1930s and reformed its own welfare system to encourage 1)more voluntary charity by latter-day Saints and 2)a private system of giving and receiving that would emphasize self-reliance.

As many readers may know, in the 1930s, most Mormons lived in the inter-mountain West. That area suffered greatly during the Great Depression. In response, the federal government and state governments set up public assistance programs. The Church was unwaveringly opposed to these programs, which they felt encouraged idleness and dependence. The Church emphasizes thrift and self-reliance, instead of what it called “the evils of the dole.” (“Dole” is a word that was used in the 1930s to refer to public welfare programs).

In General Conference in 1933, President Grant said he was worried that latter-day Saints were succumbing to what the Brethren called the “dole mentality.”

Many people have said….’Well, others are getting some (government relief), why should not I get some of it?’ I believe there is a growing disposition among the people to try to get something from the government of the United States with little hope of every paying it back. I think this is all wrong.” (Source: Conference report, Oct. 1933, p. 5).

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Nearly every LDS prophet has spoken out against statism

Some readers may have had the frustrating experience of speaking about politics to our brothers and sisters who mistakenly believe in left-wing politics and/or economics. You may say something like, “well, you know that Church leaders have spoken out against socialism,” and they will say something like, “well, not democratic socialism.”

Let us be clear, dear readers: most Socialists of the 19th century and the early 20th century would be absolutely ecstatic to see what left-wingers have achieved, even in the supposedly capitalist United States. The United States today is a country where the government absolutely dominates the economy. Social welfare spending (meaning spending on government health care, Social Security and entitlements) makes up nearly 60 percent of the federal budget. Remember that there was no such thing as federal social welfare spending as recently as the early 1930s. Meanwhile, total government spending has skyrocketed from 8 percent of GDP in 1900 to almost 40 percent today.

By any reasonable standard, we are have a socialist system in the United States with pockets of laissez faire in a few isolated industries. Yet, we constantly hear from politicians that more socialism is necessary.

Oh sorry, not socialism. Democratic socialism.

So, let’s be more precise. What we have today is, again by any reasonable standard, statism. This is a system where the government dominates political and economic life.

And this is the opposite of what modern-day prophets have repeatedly preached going back to Joseph Smith. LDS prophets have consistently and unwaveringly been in favor of personal, voluntary charity. They have been against government-based welfare systems. And the reason is that government-based welfare systems are about force.

Again and again, prophets exhort us to voluntarily give to others, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help the helpless. They do not tell us that the government should do this for us, and in fact again and again they say that government-based charity is not God’s way.

(Note: if you still believe the United Order was a socialist system, please read this. It was not.)

Let’s hear from the left-wing favorite, President Uchtdorf, who spoke on this subject at General Conference in October 2011. President Uchtdorf clearly points out that caring for the poor is not about government sending people a check. Caring for the poor is about personal charity that involves action by both the giver and the receiver:

There are many good people and organizations in the world that are trying to meet the pressing needs of the poor and needy everywhere. We are grateful for this, but the Lord’s way of caring for the needy is different from the world’s way. The Lord has said, “It must needs be done in mine own way.”9 He is not only interested in our immediate needs; He is also concerned about our eternal progression. For this reason, the Lord’s way has always included self-reliance and service to our neighbor in addition to caring for the poor.

Let’s hear from some other prophets on the issue of statism:

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Give Mormon apologists a break

Spending any time at all on social media can rapidly distort your sense of reality when it comes to what most Mormons believe. We often forget that more than half of Mormons live outside of the United States and that almost none of these people care about the petty concerns of the various factions out there. In my relatively conservative ward in rural northern Colorado, most people don’t follow any of the blog-based battles. Most people are simply too busy getting kids to and from school and various events, as well as doing their callings and trying to find time to go to the temple, to worry about the latest outrage fest.

But every once in a while I follow some on-line conversation down the rabbit hole and end up shaking my head at the angst among various factions. And apparently — unbeknownst to me — there are a LOT of liberal Mormons who hate Mormon apologists. And I am not talking about slight disagreements — I am talking about real hatred (at least in their on-line expressions).

I am not going to defend everything ever Mormon has ever done in the apologetics world. I am sure there are mistakes and exaggerations out there.

But I will defend my vision of the importance of apologetics, and it is really quite simple: Satan is happy to use deception to convince people not to be religious and not to believe in the Church. Good apologists simply point out the deception and provide another way of looking at things that supports a faithful point of view.

So imagine you were on the Sanhedrin when Christ was brought up for trial (see Matthew 26:57-67). The accusers were looking for false witnesses. I see apologists as the people willing to stand up and point out the deceptions going on. I see the apologists as those willing to point out all of the good things Jesus did. I see the apologists as those willing to protest a nighttime, unjust trial. I see the apologists adding their testimonies that Jesus is the Christ. What could possibly be wrong with opposing injustice, false reports and outright lies?

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Another high profile disciplinary council

Some readers may have heard that Jeremy Runnells has announced via a press release that he is facing a disciplinary council.

There are a few points I would like to make:

1)We would not know about this situation if he had not announced it in a press release. Church discipline is private.

2)When the council takes place, we will only hear one side of the story, i.e., Bro. Runnells’.

3)People who are truly interested in repentance usually do not make their disciplinary councils public through press releases. I have known people who faced a disciplinary council with an attitude of understanding and willingness to make changes. They have faced a loving, charitable process that has resulted in true positive progression in their lives. Bro. Runnells’ public statements show he is not interested in counsel from Church leaders.

4)Bro. Runnells’ claims in “Letter to a CES Director” have been thoroughly debunked point by point by FAIR Mormon.

5)Bro. Runnells’ claims had already been debunked by many sources when he wrote them, but he chose to ignore the existing scholarship.

If you have any friends who have been affected by Runnells’ letter, please ask them to read this:

http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Online_documents/Letter_to_a_CES_Director