Sunday morning on Conference weekend, and we’ve had some remarkable and historic Conference sessions so far. Bloggernacle conference threads this morning still find Ronan, wishin’ and hopin’ over at BCC. DKL has a Sunday morning thread over at Mormon Mentality. Finally, Russell over at Times and Seasons has also opened up a thread. You’ll find very insightful commentary at all three, with a touch of humor and possibly irreverence thrown in every now and again.
Right now the Spoken Word is playing in warm up for the main event, the Sunday Morning Session of Conference. The talent in the Choir as always is extraordinary.
Choir Sings Rejoice The Lord Is King
9:01 Conducting President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet, Seer, Revelator
Welcomes all to the 4th Session of General Conference. Again, he looks good and sounds strong.
9:04 a.m. Choir Sings The Lord Thy Pasture Will Prepare
9:07 a.m. Invocation Robert K. Dellenbach Quorum of the Seventy
9:09 a.m. Choir Sings I am A Child of God
Healing power of forgiveness. Profiles the Amish in the mid-west. The 32 year old “quite” milkman lost his reason and control. He blamed the death of his first child on the Amish. he stormed an Amish school, killing five and wounding five. Then, he took his own life. Yet, despite this horrific action, there was hurt, but no hate. The Amish community reached out to the dead milkman’s family, including his wife. Half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were Amish.
We were all speaking the same language. The language of caring, community and service. Yes, the language of forgiveness. The sermon on the mount, do good to those who hate you.
Most of us need time to work through loss. One reason we wait on forgiveness is that we want the wrong doer to express remorse. Some of us hold grudges for a lifetime.
Forgiveness more readily come when we are like the Amish and have faith in God.
We may never know why some things happen in this life. Brigham Young expressed that our sufferings will have a purpose.
If we can forgive those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise. We will be less depressed, less stressed, less angry.
Forgiveness is a liberating gift people can give themselves. Christ has admonished that we forgive one another. We are required to forgive all.
Forgiveness is a heartfelt component of the Amish religion.
This thing will destroy my family if we do not forgive, said Mac Christianson’s father after his son’s killing by Mark Hoffman.
We need to recognize our angry feelings and then pray that God will help us forgive. Hatred retards spiritual growth.
Society must be protected of course. Mercy cannot rob justice. Forgiveness does not relieve us of the consequences of our choices. Let go once justice takes its course. This is not easy to do.
The Atonement will bring a measure of peace and comfort. We must forgive to be forgiven.
The milkman’s family released a statement about their gratitude for the Amish forgiveness. You compassion has reached beyond our community to change the entire world.
How could the whole Amish community forgive? Because of their faith in God. They see themselves as disciples of Christ, and want to follow him. The money sent to the Amish to assist in health care was in turn shared by the Amish with the milkman’s family. Forgiveness is not always as quick as reflected by the Amish.
Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once used for harboring grudges.
9:28 a.m. Elder Dallin H. Oaks Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Impressed to speak about divorce. It touches most families in the church. Speaks out of concern but with hope.
The world has imperiled marriage. Divorce is common. The world says marriage good only as long until you want a divorce. Some refer to first marriage as a starter marriage.
Weakening of marriage has far reaching consequences. Those young people who are influenced by divorce shun marriage.
Modern prophets have warned that marriage is not just a mere contract, and can be severed at the first sign of difficulty. Children will be made to suffer.
Unrighteous dominion of women via easy divorce is condemned by Christ.
Eternal marriage does not contemplate divorce. In temples couples marry for eternity. God permits divorce now because of the hardness of our own hearts. This is a lower law.
Many good church members have been divorced. Many of you are innocent victims. Members who have experienced such abuse have experienced that which is worse than divorce.
Some look back on divorces with regret. All who have been there know the pain.
To married members, if you are considering divorce, you should face up to the reality that the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Divorce is not an all purpose solution. Selfishness is the primary cause.
Spouses often find divorce aggravates and generate new conflicts. Divorce separates children from parents and are its first victims.
Parents in single parent home after divorce have greater likelihood of drug use, immorality and the like.
Bishops do not counsel members to divorce; but, can help living with consequences. If we are sick we seek healing. If our marriages are sick we should seek healing. We should do all within out power to preserve our marriage. April 2007 Ensign recommended.
There will be times when one spouse falls short and the other will feel pain. Don’t treasure up past wrongs. Festering is destructive. Forgiving is divine. Join hands and kneel together.
Most recognize divorce is not a good thing; but, think divorce is good in their circumstance. Many times people just “fall out of love” Communication breaks down. The power of the Atonement can work in marriage.
Don’t be hasty, even if your spouse is entirely to blame. Three members to a marriage, spouses and the Lord. If two can hang in there, it can work out.
Best way to avoid divorce, is to avoid marrying poorly. Inquire well, if you want to marry well. Exchanging information on the internet is not a sufficient basis for marriage. There should be dating. Learn about your in laws.
Marriage means sacrifice, children, and compromise; but also means greatest satisfaction. The Family Proclamation is the ideal.
Related a story by President Hinckley of a soldier who would return home a Mormon despite strong family opposition and career road blocks. The Gospel is true, so what else matters? The cause in which we are laboring is true. We respect others’ faith. Yet, we know Jesus is the Christ and resurrected. The priesthood has been restored. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon is what it claims to be. It’s true isn’t’ it? So, what else matters?
How do we find our way through the many things that matter. We purify our perspective. Some things are absolutely essential. Knowing Christ the only true God is one of those.
Many sacrifices are quietly accomplished. Righteous women desiring children. Families restricting Internet and media access into the home are some. Some are known only to God; but are recorded in heaven.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto you. It is true and it does matter. 9:54 a.m. Vicki F. Matsumori Second Counselor Primary Presidency
Loves the Book of Mormon. It teaches great stories to children. The armies of Helaman taught in our youth. Or, being born of goodly parents. Ammon’s people were Lamanites. They converted to the gospel. They began as first generation members. Today reading and studying scriptures helps build our faith. Persistence is the key.
Prayer also builds faith. If we ask it shall be given us. Making and keeping covenants will help first generation members everywhere. We must teach our children of prayer, scriptures, and the power and importance of covenants.
10:04 a.m. Choir and Congretation sing High on a Mountain Top
10:06 a.m. Glen L. Pace Quorum of the Seventy
Discussion with 16 year old girl who was only member in her high school. Was difficult when everyone else didn’t believe. She believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but wasn’t sure. Recounted his own testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and how it came as a young man of 11. He felt a witness of the spirit upon finally reading the Joseph Smith story. This can happen to anyone and probably always has.
When feeling peace you are feeling the Holy Ghost. Here comes that feeling again. My heart still years for that which my mind can’t accept. We can improve on helping our youth obtaining a testimony through the spirit. What he felt at age 11 was more powerful than what he normally felt or had felt before. It was a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost. You know it when you feel it. Sometimes the feeling is like a memory. The Holy Ghost can part the veil and help us recall truths we once knew. Read and pray about the Joseph Smith story.10:16 a.m. Russell M. Ballard Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The Holy Bible is a miracle. It is a miracle it was recorded and preserved. It is a miracle we have its stories and doctrines. It’s also a miracle we have the story of Christ. It is a miracle it contains the Spirit of Christ which teaches us all to know God and know his dealings with men. It testifies of Jesus Christ.
Righteous persons inspired to write and record what they wrote in the Bible. The dark ages were dark because the Gospel was hidden from the people. The clergy kept the scriptures from the people. Tindale gave his life because he believed so deeply in the Bible. Honest, diligent study of the Bible does make us better and better.
The reformers though disagreed upon many doctrines, which gave rise to many modern Christian denominations and beliefs. Disagreement would remain until new Apostles came and taught correct principles. Because of the reformers the Bible became a household possession.
The prophet Joseph’s family benefitted from the reformation and having the Bible. Once again God called a prophet as in the days of old. The Bible taught us of the Church’s former organization. Without the Bible we would not know of Christ’s Church then or of its organization. He loves the perspective and peace that comes from reading the Bible.
The Book of Mormon does not mean we are not Christian. We believe in Christ as our Savior. We believe the Bible. The Book of Mormon supports the Bible and does not replace it. Church members believe that all scripture is given by God’s inspiration and is profitable. The Bible is one of the pillars of our faith. The more we read and study the Bible the more we see the underpinnings of the restoration.
Don’t discount of devalue the Bible. It is the bedrock of all Christianity. We don’t belittle anyone else’s beliefs. (this whole talk, I think, is a direct reference to the recent evangelical anti-Mormon crusade with their DVD’s)
The Old Testament is the first testament of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament records Christ’s birth, ministry and resurrection. It is the second testament
The Book of Mormon is the Third Testament of Christ and his mission. It is entitled Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Those who think do not believe in Christ or the Bible, should take time to understand the Church, the significance of its name. Quoted from Bible 200 times in the last General Conference.
Seated on the stand today is the Prophet and Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe the Bible and strive to follow its precepts. Our missionary message is Jesus Christ, and the Bible is the text of that message. Let us share all that God has revealed. We must help all understand the power and importance of the Bible.
10:31 a.m. Choir For He shall give his angels to watch over thee
When faith endures
Appreciates all prayers on his behalf. In 49 years greater than 200 talks in general conference. Is in his 97th year. He feels like the last leaf on a tree. His health is quite good despite rumors to the contrary. Some of you may go before he goes. Gives testimony of the basic truths of this work. He doesn’t know everything; but does know some.
Constantine tried to clarify deity at Nicea. The argument only grew more heated. A compromise of the Nicene Creed resulted. Personally he can’t understand it because it is confusing. He is grateful that we don’t rely on man made statements regarding deity. Our understanding comes directly from God who appeared to Joseph Smith. God and Christ are distinct personalities.
One of our doctrines is belief in God the Eternal Father, a real and individual being. He governs the universe but he his also our Father. We pray to Him. He hears and answers our prayers. He cannot deny this because of his own experiences.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, counseled Alma.
Christ lives. He is Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Savior of the New Testament. In the beginning was the Word, and Christ is that Word. All things were made by Him. Christ was the great creator. Christ’s finger wrote the commandments on the mount. Christ left his royal courts on high to come to earth.
Christ was the only perfect man to walk the earth. He suffered in the garden, as part of His great Atoning sacrifice. Christ carried the Cross, and eventually gave His life while asking forgiveness for those killing Him.
Christ appeared to many after his resurrection, including his apostles and some 500 others. He also went to his “other sheep.” He went to the Americas and appeared to the Nephites. The Book of Mormon stands as a second witness to Jesus Christ.
The Atonement of Christ is keystone in the arch of our existence. It affirms we lived before mortality. The sorrow of death is softened by the resurrection. There would be no Christmas without Easter.
The Priesthood was restored. This Priesthood is of two orders: Lesser Aaronic. Higher Melch, restored by Peter, James, & John. It makes no difference whether a man is a priest or an apostle if he magnifies his calling.
These temples, which have greatly multiplied offer blessings that occur no where else. Families are sealed here. Marriage is not until death, but forever if the parties live righteously.
God Bless you everyone. May there be peace and love in your homes.10:50 a.m. Choir
10:59 a.m. Benediction Won Yon Ko Quorum of the Seventy