30 September 2006

Conference Blog-cast: Part 1

Yes, that's right. I'm blogging about conference as it happens. :D Man, I am such a dork. But at least blogging conference will force me to pay attention and take some notes. It's sort of stream of consciousness, so I apologize for the lack of complete sentences and overabundance of punctuation.

President Gordon B. Hinckley: Good to see President Hinckley still feeling well, especially after the apocalytpic-feel of his closing talk at last conference. I admit, I was one of those who was worried that it was a farewell talk. Wow, 6,000 stake centers receiving church broadcasts? That's pretty amazing. I should really go check out the ground of the new temple up in SLC. I wonder if my house will end up in that temple district. Good point about needing more baptisms in North America. Have people here become too hardened to listen?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: I always love Elder Oaks' talks a lot. He seems to hit right on the most current and relevant issues in the church. I liked his discussion on same-gender attraction in the church, something I've been thinking about ever since the whole Soul Force things. But really, the things he says have relevance to whatever we are struggling with. It's true that we concentrate too much on the causes of our problems, and not enough on just trying to solve them. We must also include the Savior in our attempts to get rid of our burdens. Too often we try to do it without him. Simply not possible.

Richard H. Winkel (Quorum of the Seventy): "When you enter the temple, you will love your family more." That's great! And so true--as we grow closer to the Lord, it has the great side-benefit of pulling us closer to all the people who matter to us. I like the Joseph Smith quote about wayward children. It's very comforting to me because of those people I know whose hearts are broken by their children's actions. The temple as a way of focusing our minds--de-stressing, if you will. The temple as a means of service--serving others is a way we can become like Christ.

Paul B. Pieper (Quorum of the Seventy): Ah, the standard nervous speaker jokes. :D Interesting topic: being a first-generation member of the church. Always hard to know how I should relate to these kind of talks. Most of my family lines go back to Nauvoo. Wow! More than half of the membership of the church are first generation members?!?! I never would have guessed it was that high. Hurrah for missionary work! I guess the advice he gives can apply to any member: be a good example to your family, do your family history work, stand up for what you believe. All good general advice. Impact of one small decision in our lives on the lives of hundreds of our descendants.

"Redeemer of Israel": Do you ever feel silly singing along with the words on the TV? And is it just me, or does the large size of the conference center actually have an impact on the coordination of the man leading the music and when we actually hear the notes?

David S. Baxter (Quorum of the Seventy): Holy cow! Scottish accent! Awesomeness! I (heart) Scots! Interesting to hear his accent mixed with the General Conference lilt. Another talk to new members . . . I guess I have to remember the other 50% of the church. :D Three principles--faith, service, endure to the end. "Live and act as though our faith was already deep"--very true! How we act has a huge impact on how we believe. Man, his accent makes me happy. "Live to lift burdens even when we ourselves feel weighed down." We often abandon faith just when it needs to be held onto most tightly. When we are in times of trouble, stay steady, keep up good habits.

Robert C. Oaks (Presidency of the Seventy): Charity = patience. Interesting interpretation. When you are feeling patient, it is so much easier to love people. If we are hurried, we get annoyed at the same little quirks that we find endearing when we are patient. In fact, the same things that annoy us are often the reason we are friends with those people. :D I like the dicotomy of being "slow to anger" and yet demanding righteousness of all those around us. Patience gives us the balance between justice and mercy: it shows us how to both demand goodness and yet be willing to wait for it because people take forever to change. Mobile impatience is the new word for road rage, okay? :D Um, what's with the video presentation? Conference is becoming more multi-media . . . . Ah, here comes the good part: how do we actually develop patience? Start to notice the patience and impatience in others. When we are alert enough to notice the behavior of others, we have more control over our own.

Elder M. Russell Ballard: Wow, 45 minutes left and only one speaker? No wonder he was waiting for a choir number! I think I remember this happening a few times in April Conference as well. Interesting. Eight simple words: Oh, be wise, what can I say more? Best advice we can give--after all we hope to teach people, it is their choice. It all depends on the choices they choose to make; nothing else matters. Don't become unbalanced in your church service: the programs of the church are good, but not nearly as important as the people you serve! Wow, I never thought this topic would make it to General Conference, but it is an extremely relevant problem in the church. So many are so obsessed with magnifying their callings that they miss the point. Six ways to avoid this:

  1. Focus on people, not programs. A wise leader will be able to use the programs to serve the people, not the people to serve the programs. Amen to that! Down with coordination meetings!
  2. Be innovative. See what's not working and change it--within the guidelines, of course. Magnifying is not the same as embellishing and complicating!
  3. Divide and Delegate! Home/Visiting teaching is about loving people, not numbers! Don't do the work for others, even if it means that sometimes the ball is dropped.
  4. Eliminate guilt. Catch others doing something right. Somethings are more important than your church calling.
  5. Allocate your time, income, and energy. No matter what your needs are, there is no such thing as "done." Very true. You can never be done, just do what's most important.
  6. Make sure the member can handle the calling you give them. Be considerate.
I think it's a bad sign when the apostles need to give us a talk advising us to be less obsessive in church service. Mormon-dom has become too full of perfectionists, worried about keeping up appearances. So many people--especially women--are beating themselves up beause they aren't doing their calling as well as Brother and Sister Jones. Amen, Elder Ballard, amen.

President James E. Faust - Oh good, Elder Ballard's not the last speaker. President Faust speaking from a chair. Marisa says the other apostles are probably jealous. :D What does it mean to be a disciple? We were discussing this the other day in my religion class. Discipleship in the ancient world implied a contract between teacher and pupil. In our case, the contract is entered into by baptism. We then promise to keep the commandments and to come every day to hear him. In return, the teacher--Christ--promises to teach us wisdom we could not acquire on our own. Aaah! President Faust is such an adorable old man when he smiles. :D

1 comment:

Connor said...

Mormon-dom has become too full of perfectionists, worried about keeping up appearances.

Amen. However, I feel that many use this as an excuse to slacken their own diligence, or "duty" (President Monson's word of choice).

What should be driving us is love, not self-aggrandizement.