Dissenting votes at Conference

This is a guest post by Huston.

At this weekend’s global General Conference, the annual sustaining vote for our church’s overall leaders had an unusual wrinkle. Tens of thousands of Mormons there in person–and many more watching online–said yes. But about seven people stood up to say nay.

This was a planned protest vote by a group called “Any Opposed?”. According to their web site, they seem to have wanted an audience with the Apostles so they could air their grievances. They might have been surprised when the conducting officer, President Uchtdorf, referred them to their stake presidents.

Perhaps they didn’t realize that the church has grown far too large for the old policies of the 70’s to be practical anymore. (Hopefully they then learned from Elder Cook’s talk on the subject.) Perhaps they didn’t know that this is the procedure outlined in the Church’s official Handbook of Instructions:

If a member in good standing gives a dissenting vote when someone is presented to be sustained, the presiding officer or another assigned priesthood officer confers with the dissenting member in private after the meeting.

If they’d really read the handbook, they’d know why dissenting votes are asked for in the first place. From the same paragraph cited above:

The officer determines whether the dissenting vote was based on knowledge that the person who was presented is guilty of conduct that should disqualify him or her from serving in the position.

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What were your favorite Gen Conf talks, and why?

There were some very poignant and pointed talks in General Conference. Some talked about overcoming doubts, while others spoke of being patient with those who struggle with doubts. Some spoke of the Sabbath and the Fast, while others spoke other commandments, prayer, and obedience.

Three new temples were announced, Ivory Coast, Haiti, and Thailand. How do you feel about temples being built in two of the poorest nations on earth?

For me, there were many very good talks.  But two stood out.

Elder Holland once told me years ago that we should be setting our pulpits ablaze. Sunday morning, he showed us how exactly to do that. Beginning with a powerful story of life and near death, he brought us in.  Then he related the story to our relationship with Christ. Since the Fall of Adam and Eve (and you’ll note he left the door open for an ancient earth), we have been in free fall. We cannot save ourselves, for there is nothing for us to grab onto along the ledge. Only a brave brother stepping forth and grabbing us could keep us from falling into the endless abyss.

Immediately afterward, Pres Uchtdorf spoke clearly and authoritatively on a topic that I’ve waited decades for an official talk on: Grace.  We cannot save ourselves. We are unprofitable servants, even if we could keep all the commandments. We are condemned to hell and death, as no unclean thing can enter God’s presence. Christ’s atonement and grace pays for everything.  And we are “saved after all we can do” does not mean we earn our salvation, but that the only thing we can do is “come unto Christ and be reconciled to Him.”  All we can do is believe and repent and love our Lord. Our obedience then becomes an outward symbol of our inner faith.  We do not believe in “cheap grace”, because Christ paid a heavy price for that grace. He opened the gates and windows of heaven. The gates are open to anyone who will believe in Christ and repent. Exaltation becomes a gift of grace to those who embrace the totality of Christ’s grace. God also sends blessings down upon all his children in this life, opening the windows of heaven and shedding forth His grace.

These two talks will change the discourse we have in our homes, families, friends, classes, and with our non-LDS friends.

Which talks moved you the most, and why?

The Spiritual Crisis

The Spiritual CrisisAn adaptation of an American History classic, for the Latter-day Saint audience.

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer disciple and the sunshine saint will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their God; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Unrighteousness and sin, like hell, are not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as SPIRITUAL FREEDOM and SALVATION should not be highly rated. Satan, with an army to enforce his tyranny, has declared that he has a right to mock the sacred things of God, and “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER – to seal us his, and to make us angels to a devil.” If being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

Adapted from, “The Crisis” by Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.

General Conference – Sunday Afternoon

Presiding: President Monson
Conducting: President Uchtdorf

Prelude – Choir: He is Risen

Choir: My Redeemer Lives
Invocation: Elder S. Gilford Nielson
Choir: He Sent His Son

Elder Hales:

Because of the choices we made in the premortal existence, we have many blessings in this life. We chose then to follow Jesus, and we can now choose to make the same choice.

Spiritual liberty requires having religious freedom. We believe that all people should have the right to believe as he/she will without being attacked for it. Some are offended when we bring our religious faith into the public square, however those same people insist on freedom to express their own beliefs freely.  Such is turning into political intolerance towards people of faith. We need to work with others who believe as we do on important religious and belief concept.

Elder Pearson

Sometimes when we go through difficult times, we are encouraged to “hang in there”. “Hang in there” is not a doctrine of the gospel. Instead, we are to endure to the end.  Many of our struggles occur because we are not enduring, but instead are struggling with making the decision to obey.

We all go through difficult and dark times. It is during those times we must pray. By coming unto Christ, we have the hope to receive eternal life and live with our families forever.

Listening to those who do not believe in Christ will not help you find Him. Nor can one return from his mission, focus on video games and not expect to fall asleep spiritually.  Prayerfully begin to study the Book of Mormon and it will help you regain your testimony.

Elder Pino

Heavenly Father taught Adam and Eve the plan of redemption and then gave them commandments to follow. This is the process God uses to teach us. As we understand the gospel plan, we are able to make proper decisions and manage the trials of life. We should not make eternal decisions based on mortal concepts, but base our decisions on the great plan of happiness God has given us.

Elder Anderson

We celebrate Easter this day. However, we also can look forward to the great promise of the Lord’s Coming. As the Lord establishes his kingdom and work on earth, we can see how He works miracles in our own lives.  His 2nd Coming will be breathtaking. We know he will not come again in swaddling clothes, but come down from the heavens in great power and glory.

Elder Zeballos

Our main responsibilities in life is to seek our own salvation and the salvation of others. And not just regular salvation, but exaltation in God’s highest kingdom. We must do His will. We must learn, understand, accept and live the commandments according to His will.  The path is narrow that we’ve chosen to follow. Often we will go through trials and difficulties, which we do not understand why we must go through. But we do so with patience and faith in doing God’s will.

Choir: Tell me the stories of Jesus

Elder Sitati

We are here on this earth for certain purposes. The first purpose is so that we may gain a body. As part of this, God has given us the commandment to be fruitful and replenish the earth.

Prophets have encouraged us to enter into the temple and be sealed for eternity. We should not put this important commandment off simply to fulfill worldly goals. Nor should we place our standards for a companion so high that all prospects do not qualify.

Subduing the earth means to properly use the things of earth for the righteous benefit of God’s children. This includes gaining master over our own bodies, desires and wants. Many have turned themselves over to the will of the devil, who causes mankind to misuse the earth and ourselves.

Elder Nelson

The Sabbath was made for man as a delight, so we may rest from the struggles of daily life, and to gain spiritual rest.

I use to make lists of things I can and cannot do on Sunday. What we do and our attitude on the Sabbath denotes a sign between God and us. Later in my life I no longer needed to make long lists, but would just ask myself, “what kind of sign would this activity show the Lord?”

There are some wonderful things we can do on the Sabbath.  It is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen family ties, and teach our children the gospel,  Nothing is better than intentional parenting. And as you teach the gospel, you will also learn more.

In paying tithes, we give 1/10th to the Lord. With Sabbath observance, we give one day in seven to the Lord as a sign of our faithfulness, and it increases our love for God.

Choir:  Lord, I would follow Thee

Benediction: Elder Aoyagi

April 2015 Conference: Sunday morning session

Pres. Eyring conducts
Pres. Monson presides

MoTab Choir sings: “He Is Risen.”

Invocation: Sister Linda S. Reeves

Choir: “Consider the Lilies.”

President Monson

Seven years since he was sustained as president of the Church. Dedicates and re-dedicates temples. The building of temples is a clear indication of the growth of the Church. 144 temples, five renovated, 13 under construction. This year re-dedicating two temples, and five new temples.

Three new temples:

Ivory Coast
Haiti
Bangkok Thailand

Told story of a troubled missionary. Went to the temple, went to the Celestial Room. Another RM approached him, told him about his own mission. Had enthusiasm for his mission. Landon had served in the same mission. The troubled missionary was helped because of prayer and faith.

“In the temple we can find peace.”

He and his wife will be together again.

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