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.

Guest post: Apostasy For Dummies

This is a guest post by Michael Davidson.

Have you ever been tempted to hang out with a group of edgy Mormons, like those who are bitter that the Church places greater value on a woman being a mother and wife rather than a doctor or lawyer? Do you sympathize with folks who have some weird ideas about the Gospel, like those who are calling for female ordination? Do you have a sibling or parent who thinks that the Church perpetrates “an antiquated and unequal model in both the domestic and ecclesiastical realms?” Be careful, you might just be flirting with apostasy.

“But Brother Davidson,” you say, “how can we know whether or not these friends or family members are apostates?” That is an excellent question, and while I don’t know your friends and family personally, hopefully this post will give you a clue as to how to judge a righteous judgment on this regard. Elder Faust, in his October 1993 General Conference address, gives some clear guidelines that you can apply to any situation. He quoted the Handbook of Instructions as saying, “among the activities considered apostate to the Church include when members (1) repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders; (2) persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority; or (3) continue to follow the teachings of apostate cults (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority.” This definition remains in the Handbook today with no alteration.

Elder Faust then expanded on the topic by warning against apostasy. He said “those men and women who persist in publicly challenging basic doctrines, practices, and establishment of the Church sever themselves from the Spirit of the Lord and forfeit their right to place and influence in the Church.” It’s ironic that most of the apostates in the history of the Church tend to want to influence or change the Church, but the act of apostasy strips them of any right to have influence in the Church that they might otherwise have enjoyed. Elder Faust also warned in this talk that “There is a certain arrogance in thinking that any of us may be more spiritually intelligent, more learned, or more righteous than the Councils called to preside over us. Those Councils are more in tune with the Lord than any individual persons they preside over, and the individual members of the Councils are generally guided by those Councils.”

Additionally, did you know that the Handbook says that “a disciplinary counsel must be held when evidence suggests that a member may have committed … apostasy?” According to the Handbook, your bishop and your stake president have no discretion in deciding whether to convene a disciplinary counsel if there is evidence of possible apostasy. They simply must do it. As a result, it is therefore pretty important to be careful to stay on this side of the apostasy line if you don’t want to end up in a disciplinary counsel.

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April 2014 184th General Conference Sunday morning session notes

President Eyring conducts

Choir sings “On This Day of Joy and Gladness”

Opening prayer L. Whitney Clayton

Choir sings “Let Us All Press On”

(Very powerful rendition of “Let Us All Press On”)

President Uchtdorf

How to comfort people in their trials?

They seeming to be concentrating on an ending. The end of hope, the end of hope of a relationship. We sometimes feel alone, frustrated or adrift. It can happen to everyone.

There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, joyful and glorious. We can be grateful.

Some might say, “what do I have to be grateful for when my world is falling apart?”

Instead of being thankful for things, we need to be thankful in our circumstances no matter what they may be.

The choice is ours: we can limit our gratitude based on blessings we feel we lack, or we can be like Nephi on the ship to the Americas. Nephi looked to God and praised Him all day long. He did not murmur. We can be like Job, who had gratitude. The Mormon pioneers had a spirit of gratitude. Joseph Smith in Liberty jail: “stand still to see the salvation of God.”

Be grateful no matter what!

When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. We can glory in Christ’s atonement.

Endings are not our destiny. We are eternal beings. Endings are not endings but interruptions that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. There are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.

We have reason to be filled with gratitude regardless of the circumstances.

May we live in thanksgiving daily.
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April 2014 184th General Conference, notes from Priesthood Session

President Uchtdorf conducts.

Choir sings, “Saints, Behold How Great Jehovah”

Choir sings, “Secret Prayer.”

Elder Oaks

THIS IS A MUST-READ TALK IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE RECENT CONTROVERSY REGARDING WOMEN AND THE PRIESTHOOD. THESE NOTES ARE NOT COMPLETE. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE TALK CAREFULLY ON-LINE.

We do not step down when we are released from a calling, we do not step up when we are called. Our attitude toward the calling is the issue. Nursery is equally honorable.

Keys and authority of the priesthood. Broadcast so all members can see this talk. Priesthood power blesses all of us. Priesthood keys direct women and men. Priesthood authority pertain to women as well as men.

Priesthood is the power of God delegated to man so man can act on the Earth for the salvation of the human family. It is the power by which the Earth was created. The priesthood is the power by which we will be resurrected and proceed to eternal life.

Priesthood keys are the authority to direct, control and govern the use of the priesthood on the Earth. Every act is done under the authorization of the person holding the keys.

Keys both enlarge and limit. Certain people are given the authority of the priesthood. A person who holds the priesthood cannot give authority to another unless authorized by the person who holds the keys. A priesthood holder cannot administer the Sacrament in his own home without authorization from the one who holds the keys.

Keys held by the temple president allow sisters in the temple to perform priesthood acts. Jesus Christ determines what keys are given to mortals. We think that all were given to Joseph Smith. The keys of this dispensation were given to Joseph Smith. There are other priesthood keys not given to man on the Earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection.

The first presidency has the power to make many decisions. These authorities exercise all of the keys given to men in this dispensation, but they are not free to change the divine pattern that only men will hold the priesthood.

How does this apply to women? Joseph Fielding Smith said, “while the sisters have not been given the priesthood…this does not mean the Lord has not given them authority…they have authority (in the temple) to do great and wonderful things.”

Women have been given authority. The RS has been given power and authority to do a great many things. Church work done in the temple and wards and branches is done under those who hold priesthood keys. RS is not just a class, but something they belong to, a divinely established appendage.

When a woman is set apart to preach the Gospel, she is given priesthood authority to preach the Gospel. Same with women who receive a calling.

A person who has authority or calling should forget about their “rights” and concentrate on their “responsibilities.”

The Lord has directed that only men will only be ordained to the priesthood. The power cannot be exercised without the companionship of one of God’s daughters. Marriage is a partnership. A full partnership. Women and men are equal with different responsibilities.

Blessings of the priesthood. These are available to men and women on the same terms. The gift of the Holy Ghost and the blessings of the temples are examples. Women are equal to and different than men. Men and women are both endowed with the same power, which is priesthood power.

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