184th General Conference, Sunday morning session

Conference will begin in 15 minutes.

Pres. Uchtdorf conducts.

Choir sings: “Praise the Lord with Heart and Voice.”

Invocation: Don R. Clark of the Seventy

Choir: “Praise to the Man.”

Pres. Eyring

My hope is that we will all feel love and light from God. Many want the blessing of personal revelation from Heavenly Father.

Human judgement and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter in life. We need revelation from God. We need a constantly renewed stream. Not just one flash of light, but the continuing blessing of light from God.

Joseph Smith showed that revelation from God could be continuous. The prophet receives revelation, the stake president, the bishop, the father, the individual all receive revelation.

The revelation of a parent has a lasting effect in the personal revelation that continues in the child. Tells a touching story about his relationship with his mother.

Told a story about revelation on disaster relief given to local leaders.

Told a story about conferring the sealing power upon a man. The wife said she was no longer worthy to be a temple companion because she was illiterate. I told her that God had given her special power through the Spirit.

Revelation continues in the Church. Each receives it. I bear witness that is true.

Continue reading

Toward A True International Church

It has been more than five years since the LDS Church counted more members outside of the United States than inside. For a Church that believes it will cover the whole earth, this is good news. That does not mean that it has reached “World Religion” status by a long shot. Although making the statement with a dismissive tone, Prof. Douglas J. Davis was right when he said calling Mormonism a World Religion at this point is dubious. Nor is it likely that it will be until the Millenium (but that is a topic for later). With 7 Billion people in the world and growing, 12 million doesn’t cut it as anything beyond a deeply humbling statistic. Missionary work has a long way to go.

Despite a long road ahead, the LDS Church is taking strides toward a true international church. Too many members are getting confused between the designation of “World Religion” with numbers, political power, and social influence and “International Church” where a sizeable membership lives in different countries. It is the latter designation that Mormonism has made progress with more promise.

A few have noted a diverse crop of international located leaders have been called in the lower ranks of general officers. It is a good sign that the future might be less U.S. centric. Leaders in lower positions can be called to the highest responsibility. South America is where the largest number of new leaders are emerging. Interesting enough, Cantonese turned out to be the first non-English language spoken in General Conference by Elder Chi Hong “Sam” Wong of Hong Kong. Hardly the most represented language of the LDS Church, although the Spanish spoken by Elder Eduardo Gavarret of Uruguay is for a large portion of members.

A few years ago former general authority Elder John K. Carmack predicted someday General Conference could be held outside Utah and even the United States:

“The international church may yet become stronger than in the United States,” said Elder John K. Carmack, an emeritus general authority of the LDS Church. “I’m not a prophet, seer or revelator, but I believe this will happen.

“I can envision general conference being held in Sao Paulo or Mexico City or Manila. . .”

Now, six years later, Carmack said, “We can see the dim outlines of the benefits that surely will come to the international church. Already, a not insignificant number of our leaders in areas with the program are coming from the ranks of PEF recipients.”

Carmack said the church’s area president for northern South America recently reported that more than 10 percent of the region’s stake presidents and bishops are PEF graduates.

Brazil is the clear hot spot for the fund, followed by Mexico, Chile and Peru.

The prediction General Conference will be held outside of Utah is not particularly feasible. Salt Lake City still remains where the central resources are situated. Technology has made logistical requirements for a traveling conference unnecessary. The LDS Church, however, will continue to have speakers give talks in their own languages. English and Spanish will be the two main languages over the pulpit, with others included as the leadership desires. Of course, that means that English speakers will have to get used to reading or listening to interpreters as a large portion of LDS membership outside the U.S. already does.

This is an exciting development. It is a tremendous opportunity. As Elder Carmack said, we are close to, “where it is time to trim the parts that are peculiar to the United States and not relevant to the international church.” That means asking what are the basics of the Church in a world of multicultural and political geography.

184th General Conference, Priesthood session

Pres Eyring conducts.

Choir sings: “Rise Up Oh Men of God”

Invocation: Bruce A. Carlson of the Seventy

Choir sings a medley of primary missionary songs.

Elder Cook

Share some counsel about decisions and choices. Charlie Brown comic strip. High fly ball hit to Lucy. Lucy would be a hero if she caught the ball. Lucy dropped the ball. Charlie Brown threw his glove to the ground. Lucy: “how do you expect me to catch the ball when I am worried about our country’s foreign policy?”

Lucy’s reasons were rationalizations. Decisions determine destiny. Rise above rationalizations regarding our decisions. Refuse the evil and choose the good.

Follow commandments, keep covenants. Don’t allow rationalizations to interfere with temple marriage. Young people say they want to marry in the temple but don’t date a temple worthy person. Some people don’t date at all.

I talked to a young man who said he wanted to go on a mission, but his conduct was not preparing him for going on a mission. He had not learned to work hard. Was not serious about school or seminary. He had not read the BoM. He thought that just showing up for his mission would be enough.

We need to show moderation, balance and wisdom. Use of the internet. Can be used to do missionary outreach, family history. Potential for good is enormous, but can also pornography and can perpetuate foolishness. Endless loops of triviality.

Distractions are everywhere. Live in a world that is literally in commotion. Careful use of social media. We spend part of our time pretending to be happier than we are. Noise, contention on the internet.

One wise father says, “will this make you a better person?”

Concerned about foolishness and being obsessed about every new thing. Basic values have eroded. Apostle Paul pointed out that the Athenians were interested in “some new thing.”

Remember good, better, best. Can be distractions from the important things. His father worried about too much sports in Elder Cook’s life. Elder Cook told a story about a negative experience with the Stanford football coach. Decided not to play college sports.

The internet, sports are not bad. But people need to use better discipline. Should be consistent with our goals. This life is the time to prepare to meet God. There is a seriousness of purpose that must undergird our approach to life.
Continue reading

184th General Conference, Saturday morning session

It is 15 minutes until Conference. We will have live updates of all the talks this weekend.

Pres Eyring conducts.

Choir sings “High on the Mountain Top.”

Invocation: Sis. Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson, YW General President.

Pres. Monson

90-year anniversary of radio broadcasts of Conference. Sixty-five year anniversary of TV broadcasts.

Past six months, one new temple dedicated. Ft. Lauderdale. One rededicated. Ogden, UT.

Temple building continues in earnest. Phoenix dedicated soon. Five in 2015. When all are done, 170 temples around the world. No new temple announcements right now.

Church continues to grow. More than 15 million people. Missionary efforts, 88,000 missionaries. Reaffirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty.
Continue reading