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?

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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery (joelsmonastery.blogspot.com). He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

14 thoughts on “What were your favorite Gen Conf talks, and why?

  1. Elder Nielson’s talk on how to best help family members return (“love them and watch and wait”) was the one that touched me the most.

  2. I too have waited a long time to hear a talk on Grace in ‘primetime’ General Conference. Good to hear it.

  3. For more than 10 years now (since 2004) I have walked around with a copy of Elder Bruce C. Hafen’s talk on grace (The Atonement: All for All). Looks like I need to add President Uchtdorf’s talk next to it.

  4. Both of President Uchtdorf’s talks were outstanding. We need as many talks per conference as we get on family,
    Elder Wilford Anderson’s talk was also outstanding. I consider it a Grace talk although he didn’t say that specifically,

  5. Elder Uchtdorf’s talk on Grace edged ahead of the host of excellent discourses by a tiny margin only because he drew attention to a topic that has needed clarification. I regard the proven positive effects of living the Gospel as evidence of the effects of receiving and rejoicing in Grace, not a frantic scramble after self justification. I suspect that those who labor on ‘dancing without music’ are missing the real meaning of the Restoration.

  6. “How do you feel about temples being built in two of the poorest nations on earth?”

    We were building temples in North America when we weren’t completely sure where our own next meals would be coming from. It is a sign of how serious we are about them.

  7. “How do you feel about temples being built in two of the poorest nations on earth?”

    I’m not sure why this would even be an issue… explain?

  8. Bringing temples closer to those for whom travel to current temples is a real burden is surely a good thing. The proposed temple in Bangkok will serve an immense area of southeast Asia.

  9. Elder Robert D. Hales really knocked it out of the park with his fervent defense of religious liberty. I was quite impressed with his defense of religious expression in the public square, since I believe the intent of the Founding Fathers was to keep government out of religion rather than to erect any artificial walls between church and state. But just as importantly, Elder Hales called upon us as Latter-day Saints to be more tolerant of those with different religious traditions. Instead of telling them what’s wrong with their faith, we tell them what’s RIGHT with ours.

    To HarveyP — one of the most significant aspects of the decision to build a temple in Haiti is it shows that the LDS Church does NOT pander to the rich. Many doubters, skeptics, and scoffers who walk after their own lusts criticized the Church’s decision to invest in the City Creek Mall, falsely claiming that the Church is only interested in the rich. Building a temple in Haiti shows that the Lord and His Church are also willing to invest in the least amongst us as well.

  10. (You probably meant from _this_ conference. But…) I’ve always remembered this beginning of a talk from the early 80’s, but had forgotten the exact date or the speaker’s name. The inter-webs have allowed me to look it up based on a few words.

    “Brethren, it is impossible to express the overwhelming sense of responsibility I feel tonight. Like the mule who entered the Kentucky Derby, I know I probably shouldn’t be here, but I surely like the company it lets me keep.”

    It was Jeffrey Holland, then president of BYU.

  11. There was no one favorite I could single out. Conference always comes across to me like a symphony, with many variations and multiple themes.

    Some of the talks had funny quips. RM does not mean “Retired Mormon”. Life is not confined to a four inch screen. Stay by the tree. “Hang in there” is not a principle of the Gospel. If everything is going perfectly, just wait.

    Some expressed provocative ideas, in a unique presentation. I could teach you to dance, but you have to hear the music.

    Some of them effectively communicated to me, in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. Many of these move me to do better. God is disappointed when we fail to recognize the struggles of others. High time to examine our hearts, and make a course correction. God has power to breathe life into you. It cannot happen if we hide behind a façade. Church is not a place to put on a perfect face. On this day, our lives changed. We grow from flawed and limited beings, by the Grace of God. Learn our duty. How could we be content with anything less?

    The total is much greater than the sum of all the parts.

  12. On a different note…

    My nephew recently returned from serving a mission in Thailand. He was understandably moved by the announcement that some of the people he shared the Gospel message with will now be able to go up to The House of the Lord to worship.

    The Thais are typically very poor. Very few of them could ever afford the expense of travel for temple a excursion. For those who had the means, they had to journey to far away places like Japan, China, or the Philippines.

    Sometimes I am challenged by the trips to a local temple. But when I think of the obstacles others face, I realize that mine are minuscule. I have no good excuse for neglecting regular temple attendance.

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