tabernacle_choir.jpgYep, it’s that time again–the first weekend in October, marks the semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today is the 176th Semiannual General Conference. Around the Bloggernacle there are a few open threads, here, and here, If I find more, I will list them as well. I also have it on good authority that the Bloggernacle Times will be featuring posts on some talks as well, so make sure to check them out.  For information on the second session see here.

Conducting Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor First Presidency 9:00 a.m.

Choir: Mormon Tabernacle Choir is providing the music–and they are very striking in their black and white color scheme. White for the sisters, black for the brethren. (Is there a message there?)

Welcome by President Monson. President Hinckley (in attendance) is presiding. Special welcome to government, educational and civil leaders.

The Choir opened with Arise O God and Shine.

The Choir followed up with We Ever Pray for Thee. (Their music is always comforting and uplifting. It very well sets the stage for the spirit of the conference each time).

9:09 a.m. Invocation By Merril J Bateman Presidency of Seventy

9:13 a.m. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, First Presidency

(He looks good–and sounds strong). The Church continues to grow. In a 1982 President Hinckley made a journal entry. He noted for the October Gen Conference there were 300 down links for satellite service. More than 300 stake centers around nation were going to receive conference. Today, this conference, there are 6066 satellites in 83 countries receiving conference. There is increased ability to communicate throughout world. We would like more baptisms in U.S. and Canada; but this is true everywhere.

The Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency can speak by satellite throughout the world. God and Christ have appeared and spoken. Our solemn witness is that the Priesthood has been restored. We have dedicated Sacramento Temple in California. It is the seventh in California and the 123rd in world.

The Tabernacle renovation is on schedule. Next spring the choir will be back there. The Church is renovating Temple Square, not involving tithing funds. But members continue faithfully paying tithing, with the Lord’s Blessings.

May our hearts and minds be filled to over flowing.

9:17 a.m. Choir Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

9:22 a.m. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Come unto me that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Many are so situated, because of physical challenges, same gender attraction, depression, pornography. Many are heavy laden. Matt:11:28-30.

Scriptures contain accounts of Christ’s healing of the heaven laden. Often the one healed was made whole. Christ also made others whole from ailments other than physical ailments. These included emotional and spiritual ailments.

Luke 4:18 Luke contains many example of Christ’s ministry. He healed many of their infirmities, healing those who had need of healing. In the new world He called for persons to come forward who needed to be healed, in any manner. The Book of Mormon relates how those who had any kind of physical, mental, or emotional affliction were all healed.

We will have affliction in the world; but Christ has overcome the world. Alma 7:11 quoted. Christ knows of our anguish and He is there for us. Like the Good Samaritan he binds our wounds and cares for us. The healing power of the Atonement is for all of us. Master the Tempest is raging Hymn 105 quoted.

We can be healed through authority of Melchizedek Priesthood. Christ gave his Apostles power to heal all manner of affliction. The Seventy was also given authority. Christ healed all those who came to him; however, this is not true of His mortal earthly servants. Some will not be healed by those mortal servants. Some will be appointed unto death.

Sometimes healing cures us. Sometimes we are healed by being given understanding or strength, rather than an outright healing. Sometimes the burdens are not removed; but, we are strengthened to be able to withstand the burdens.

This applies to widows; singles lonely, and all of us no matter our burdens. We may think our burdens too great; but tempest is raging. We need to remember, Why are we so fearful? Why do we not have faith? Whether we are healed or strengthened, Christ’s healing power is available to us no matter what our affliction.

He related stories of healing of pornography victims, through intense scripture study, prayer, temple attendance, and partaking of sacrament.

Same gender attraction example. The Atonement helped him be healed. He was excommunicated. He needed to decide whether to change and repent, or continue in his course of conduct. He prayed at times for hours at a time. The Savior helped him, through the Atonement to be healed from this affliction. Where once there was darkness, there is now hope.

If change is to happen, it will happen according to the will of God. Some focus on the cause of same gender attraction. The cause is not important; but, what you do with it once it is in your life.

Atonement gives us strength to withstand afflictions and temptations of every kind–because Christ undertook all sins afflictions of His people. Matt: 11:28-29 quoted again.

As we struggle with mortality, may Christ lift us up. Jesus Christ invites us all to come to Him and be perfected. He will bind our wounds and heal the heavy laden.

9:37 a.m. Richard H. Winkel Second Quorum of the Seventy.

The Sacramento Temple was recently dedicated and serves the Sacramento Saints. Many visited the open house. Through Christ we can find peace and hope in today’s troubled world. Temple attendance helps you to love family with deeper love. Temples are about families. It extends to the entire family and extend family. This is spirit of Elijah. It turns hearts of children to fathers and fathers to the children.

The sealing power seals the family for eternity. As a young parent, they challenged kids to memorize Articles of Faith. They were rewarded with special activities. On one the went with his son to an all night bowling alley because he was so busy. Is it time Dad? It was only 2:00 a.m. An hour later, his son returned. Finally at 4:00 a.m. they arose, ate, and went bowling for a great time.

We don’t want to lose any of our children. The Temple gives us hope of improving our family relationships even after this life. Joseph Smith taught the blessings of eternal sealings.

The Celestial Room is a special room in Temple for contemplation of family. The Temple is a place of personal revelation, that will bless us. President Hinckley taught that we can become saviors in a small measure to those on the other side through our Temple attendance and work. The Temple is a place to know the Father and the Son. We can experience Divine presence there. Let’s become a Temple attending and Temple loving people. The Temple is about families. Everything in the Temple testifies of Jesus Christ. The Temple is His Holy House. Christ Loves us and is our Advocate with the Father. He wants us to be active in the Temple.

9:46 a.m. Paul. B Pieper First Quorum of the Seventy.
First generation members of Church, topic of his talk. They are the first in their families to hear of the restored Gospel. You humbled yourselves and took upon yourselves Christ’s name, and received The Holy Ghost. You become the first and chosen generation which will bless subsequent generations.

This will not always be easy. You may have few or no friends or relatives to help you. Is it worth it? Yes it is. First generation members are more than 50% of Church. Not since the early Church has this been true. Your faith and testimony are a great benefit to us all. You help your wards and branches through your service. You reach out in kindness to those around you inspiring others.

You occupy an important place in your family. Those around you will feel Christ’s love through you. Pray each day to know how you can serve and influence your family. By being good you will establish patterns for your life.

You are also the key to open the blessings to former family members who have already died. They will help you in your search for their records. You can then attend the Temple to perform ordinances for them. Each choice you make is important. Choices you make will impact future generations.

Never underestimate who you are or the power you have to affect others. We all make mistakes; but we can repent through the power of the Atonement. Don’t be discouraged. Press forward. Be patient and obedient. The pioneers were first generation members like you. The lived ordinary lives and were faithful. When the stumbled the got up and continued on. Now we look back and reverence their lives. You are a first and chosen generation. We honor you, as will past and future generations. God will also honor you as well.

9:55 a.m. Choir and Congregation Reedeemer of Israel

9:58 a.m. David S. Baxter First Quorum of the Seventy

Missionary teachings were sincere to their family. The members of the Church immediately embraced them.

1. Faith in Jesus Christ

Spiritual oxygen. It breathes life into our very souls. Our minds enlightened. Our hearts are touched. Our perspective changes. Our vision becomes clear. We look for the best rather than the worst in others. Faith is a heavenly gift. Faith is nurtured as we believe. Faith is strengthened as we practice it. King Lamoni example, i.e., if there is a God, I will give away all my sins to know thee.

2. Service

As we serve we grow. It is not what we receive but what we give that enriches our lives. Self indulgence is a world wide epidemic. Our lives will be enriched as we serve others. We should live to lift burdens. Put our shoulders to the wheel. As we focus on lifting the burdens of others, our own diminish. We become happier.

3. Discipleship doesn’t guarantee freedom from life’s obstacles.

There may be years when life is just hard. We will experience heartache and grief. At times it seems more than we can bear. We need to stand steady and see it through. The real tragedy is if we allow these winds to blow us off course. Don’t ignore prayer when it needs to be embraced. Our only safety is to hold fast to that which is good. Hold on to the Iron Rod which is the word of God. Life’s challenges befell the wise man too–but he built upon the rock, not the sand.

10:06 a.m. Robert C. Oaks First Quorum of the Seventy

Book of Mormon on Charity or Pure Love of Christ. 13 elements. Patience is very important in Charity.

1. Charity suffereth long.

2. Not easily provoked

3. Beareth all things

4. Endureth all things.

Job is an excellent example of patience. But the greatest example is in Christ’s life. He truly suffered and bore all things. On the Cross–Father Forgive them.

What manner of men ought you to be? Even as I am, said Christ.

James 1:19 example of patience

Mosiah 23:21 another example of patience

Joseph Smith–Patience is Heavenly

Those without Charity, are nothing, so labeled by the scriptures. The impatient natural man is all about us. Road rage is prevalent. Elder Maxwell taught on patience, and lived it. We grow in faith only if we wait patiently on God’s timetable. How do we become patient like Christ?

1. Read scriptures in topical guide on patience.

2. Evaluate ourselves. How much more patience do we need to become more patient?

3. Emulate those we consider to be patient.

4. Recommit each day to become patient.

This is a great deal of work. But, overcoming the natural man will be worthwhile. Jesus is the Christ standing at the head of this Church.

10:16 a.m. M. Russell Ballard Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

He wanted a Choir number about now. ;-) The Book of Mormon Prophet Jacob was born in the wilderness, one of two sons so born. He knew and loved Laman and Lemuel as well as Nephi. Jacob knew it was about family, not ideology, or philosophy. Just before Jacob bids farewell he spoke:

O be wise, what can I say more?

He loved his people because they were his family. He taught with all the energy of his soul. He warned them what would happen if they did not follow the straight and narrow path. O, be wise, what can I say more?

As church members must be wise in all that we do. The Church operates with a lay ministry. We watch over, serve, and love one another. Our callings may change from time to time, providing us with opportunity to grow. Most are anxiously engaged in their responsibilities.

Some become so engaged in their Church callings their lives become unbalanced. We should avoid this. We need to delegate and allow others to grow. Family life can suffer if our lives our unbalanced because of our Church callings. Our professional life can also suffer. We should not let other priorities suffer by being unbalanced in Church callings.

Serving wisely:

1. Focus on people on principles–not programs. Use email!!! (yes! An Apostle after my own heart) Programs are tools. Their management can’t take priority.

2. Be innovative. Seek inspiration of Spirit to help those we serve. Follow handbook guidelines. But, also think and be creative and use individual talents. Innovate doesn’t necessarily expand. It means to simplify. We may make mistakes but can learn. We shouldn’t have to be told everything. It’s not meet we be commanded in all things. Use inspiration within framework of Church policy and guidelines.

3. Divide work and delegate: Difference between doing work yourself and delegating. The EQP shouldn’t have to do all the unfinished HT. This is not only unwise, but it’s not HT (This is why Ronan and Steve at BCC do the ‘naccle HT at the end of the month)

4. Eliminate Guilt. This is not proper motivator. Catch others doing something right. We can’t do everything at once. Sometimes family demands or professional demands will come first. Balance your lives and don’t procrastinate! Christ came to calm the troubled soul–not make us feel guilty. As the Atonement works in our lives, we understand Christ has already borne our guilt. Let it go.

5. Allocate resources of time income and energy. There is no such thing as done. There will always be something more we can do–another lesson to give, meeting to attend. Just do the very best that we can. Understand our own capabilities. Prioritize our time and resources.

6. Extend responsibility to members. All new members need responsibility–but don’t overwhelm them.

If ye love me, Keep my commandments, said Christ. We should repent and come with full purpose of heart. We should cleave unto God. Be wise to our families, our time, and balancing our responsibilities. Oh be wise, what can I say more? This is Christ’s Church. He lives.

10:33 a.m. Choir There is Beauty All Around (Indeed there’s One who smiles on high when there’s love at home)
10:37 a.m. President Monson: Thanks to all who have participated.

10:38 a.m. President James E. Faust Second Counselor First Presidency
Christ instructed Peter where to cast his nets to gather fish. All were amazed at the number of fish caught. Christ then instructed Peter he would then be a fisher of men–a disciple of Christ.

Disciple and Discipline come from same root. Self discipline and self control go along with discipleship of Christ. As disciples we follow Christ and obey his commandments. Everything in life comes at a price. Discipleship comes at a price, which is much less than the blessings. We need to carry the Cross daily, and build up Christ’s Church. Luke 9:23. Luke 14:27.

What to emulate about Christ:

Christ went about doing good. We can do this.

Christ had compassion. We too can have compassion. Christ bore witness of his Divine work.

Christ invited Children to come to him. Our own children need our time and effort.

D&C 103:27-28. Lay down our lives for Christ’s sake. Acts notes the disciple Stephen. He was accused of blaspheme. He was stoned. He looked up to heaven and saw its glory, and forgave those who stoned him.

Rafael Monroe, Vincente Morales taken captive in Mexico. They were told to give up their weapons. They showed their Books of Mormon and Bibles. They were tortured, then stood up in front of a firing squad. They were offered freedom if they would renounce their religion. They asked only to pray before execution. They prayed for their executioners. They were then shot for their beliefs. Many of Brother Monroe’s descendants were faithful in the Church.

Most of us won’t have to die for the Church. Rather, we must live for it, which may even be harder. It is never too late to change. Discipleship does not come from wealth or learning or other worldly means. It comes from following Christ. The cross is not as heavy as it appears to be. 3 Nephi 27:27.

Come unto Me. My yoke is easy, and burden is light (Christ). His ways have become our ways. Discipleship is available to all who will pay the price. Discipleship brings us comfort in times of sorrow. We come to appreciate the mission of Joseph Smith and the restoration. Through Discipleship we receive spiritual instruction we need in this life.

10:53 a.m. Choir Sings Israel, Israel God Is Calling

10:58 Benediction Richard J. Maynes First Quorum of the Seventy