Saturday Morning, the first weekend in October, and it’s again time for the Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Around the Bloggernacle, you can find these Conference threads: Times and Seasons has an open thread; By Common Consent didn’t have a thread up as Conference opened, but if you’re in to a rowdy Saturday morning, Ronan as an open Rugby thread over there; Feminist Mormon Housewives has a thread on Conference traditions; Mormon Mentality, has a bingo version of Conference, and an open conference thread as well; Zelophehad’s Daughters has a Conference poll; Our Thoughts also has an open thread.

9:00 a.m.

Choir: Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Conducting, President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet, Seer and Revelator, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

9:01 a.m. Welcome by President Hinckley. he looks good and sounds strong.

9:02 a.m. Choir Faith of Our Fathers

9:07 a.m. Invocation Gene R. Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy

9:09 a.m. President Gordon B. Hinckley

Presents the General Authorities for sustaining vote. Noted passing of President Faust. He was an extremely able man, of great faith and capacity. He contributed much, and we miss him.

Sustained Henry B. Eyring as new Second Counselor in the First Presidency. I thought they might put Elder Oaks in he First Presidency . . . but guess not.

Quentin L. Cook sustained as the newest Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve. Previously he was a member of the First Quorum of Seventy. See also here.

All sustained as Prophets, Seers and Revelators.

9:16 a.m. Choir Come unto Him

9:20 a.m. Elder Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

We honor and miss Elder Faust. Welcomed those who have been newly sustained. We pledge to do our very best to be worthy of the trust placed in us. Sustaining is a common procedure throughout the Church when one is called or released; but, it is unique to the Church. It is a process set out by Revelation. One must be ordained by authority, and set out to the Church so that it knows who has been ordained.

All positions in Church are filled by members of the Church, i.e. lay ministry and officers. It is not the custom of Christian Churches generally. The Lord uses the weak of the world for His purposes. One neither seeks nor declines positions in the Church. The Church has no formal professional clergy. Everything done in the Church from top leadership down is done by ordinary members: the weak things of the world. There is an abundant supply in the Church of committed members to serve.

He who is appointed to be the greatest is the servant and least as well. He has felt inadequate in fulfilling responsiblities that have come to him. One cannot feel superior in any position. Related how President McKay called him to be an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, a general authority. President McKay explained one of his responsibilities was to stand with the Twelve and bear witness of Christ. President McKay then asked him to bear that testimony to the First Presidency. He thought it odd that he was called because he didn’t consider himself any different than regular members with a regular testimony, which in fact was all that was needed.

A simple testimony is very powerful and important. Sometimes we feel the General Authorities are more important than everyday members. It doesn’t work that way at all. No one calling is more important than any other in the Church. The average members have the same power and right to revelation for their families and their callings. No member of the Church is esteemed greater than another by God. It just doesn’t work that way.

9:36 a.m. Richard C. Edgley First Counselor Presiding Bishopric

Related story of an accident, where the members of the Church knew about an accident of one of their members, and the instant service that was rendered to them by their fellow brothers and sister Saints in the ward. The Bishop is to provide counsel and leadership. But, the ward members also help administer comfort and fill everyday needs. Related stories of several in a neighborhood killed by accident. But the ward knew there would be needs and they helped bear one another’s burdens. They were ward members who endured together. Bishops, home teachers, visiting teachers and the entire ward mobilized.

1. The Lord’s organization is adequate.

2. Adversity and bring us together and help us learn about the Atontmenet.

3. Members who experiicne adversity experience greater love and compassion

4. Ward and a family draws closer together as the endjuure togehte

5. We can each be more compassionate. We can endure together.

What happens to one happens to all. Let us lighten other’s burdens.

9:45 a.m. Mary N. Cook Second Counselor Young Women’s Presidency.

Being part of a family is a great blessing. All families need strengthening, from the greatest to the weakest. We should establish patterns of righteousness in our own family, no matter what form it is. President Hinckley has counseled us:

1. Pray. This will help individuals and families.

2. Study. We should obtain all the education we can.

3. Pay tithing. Tithing is really paid with faith, not money.

4. Attend meetings. Regularly partaking of sacrament will help us remember our baptism covenants. Which will also keep His Spirit with us.

Doing these things helps us strengthen our families by example. Example is often the best teacher. Families are made of individuals. Establish patterns of righteousness in your lives. Christ knows and loves us.

9:53 a.m. Enrique R. Falabella Quorum of the Seventy

Why are we members of Christ’s Church? Relates a story of his youth. They came from a modest means family. Happiness does not depend on money. In his youth the missionaries taught their family of the riches of the Gospel. They went to the temple on a several day journey of thousand’s of miles. They had great hope of the Saving ordinances of the Temple. They arrived in Mesa Arizona to behold the Temple of God. Many sang songs and cried upon seeing the Temple.

They were sealed together. They who have Eternal Live are rich. Christ paid for our sins, He is our Saviour. Now that his own father has passed away, he appreciates even more the sealing blessings of the Temple. For these and other reasons, he is a member of Christ’s Church.

10:01 a.m. Choir Now Let us Rejoice

10:04 a.m. Spencer J. Condie Quorum of the Seventy

Faith in Christ includes the knowledge that He arose from the tomb. It also includes a knowledge that He appeared to a young man named Joseph Smith. When we obtain any blessing from heaven it is by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated. The Lord is bound when we do what he says. Some promises include forgiveness, blessings from tithing, from keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The Holy Ghost will be our constant companion when we let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly.

In our earthly impatience we lose sight of the Lord’s promises and blessings. Faith requires, patience and enduring to the end. Abraham and Sarah didn’t even have Isaac until well into their advanced ages. All the families of the earth shall be blessed through his family, as was promised by the Lord.

10:12 a.m. Elder Dieter E. Uchtdorf Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The world tends to focus on bad news. As members of the Church do we leave in fear. Shouldn’t we and don’t we have reason to rejoice? In winter of 1944 related a story of difficult times of survival of his own family. They were separated as a family. He remembers those days of darkness and coldness. They lived in the bombed out ruins of post war Germany. In this setting they first learned of the message of the Restored Gospel. This message of the Gospel, hope, joy, and light made all the difference in the world. Isn’t our membership in Christ’s Church a reason to rejoice?

The Gospel can and does lift us in our own daily lives. Christ’s Grace is sufficient for each of us. The Gospel is good news, and the message of Salvation as announced by Christ and the Apostles. All Truth and Light is embraced in Christ’s Gospel. It is God’s work and glory to bring to pass the eternal life and immortality of mankind.

Through Atonement, all men and woman are unconditionally redeemed from death. Through obedience to the Gospel we are also able to progress.

The Gospel is clear and plain. It answers the most complex questions of life, but even the most simple of us can understand its message. God speaks according to our understanding. Joseph Smith was likewise clear, plain and simple in restoring the Gospel:

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to believe in unshaken faith;

2. Repentance. Change our minds. Offer up our broken heart and contrite spirit. Give up sin.

3. Baptism by Immersion. Take Christ’s name

4. Laying on of Hands. We receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We become new creatures. We can receive the words of Christ directly through this gift, at anytime and at any place. It helps us remain valiant.

Indeed we have reason to rejoice. Enduring to the end means many things to many people. Maybe as a child to stay awake through sacrament meeting. We must do more than simply believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ. If we keep Christ’s commandments and endure to the end we shall have Eternal Life. We have to do more than just hang in there. We must help others along the path. Whatsoever we sow, that also shall we reap. Striving to keep the commandments requires sacrifice and hard work. Pay tithing, obey and live Temple covenants. Make our homes strong places of defense and refuge. Love and honor our spouses and children.

We will learn to do good to those who hate us, and spitefully use us. Christ wants us to succeed. There will be times when we feel overwhelmed. We need to remember Christ heads the Church, and gave His life for us. Come unto Him and He will give us rest. Christ heals our broken hearts and heals our wounds.

10:27 a.m. Choir Where Can I Turn for Peace

10:32 a.m. President Hinckley Announces remainder of meeting.

10:33 a.m. President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, First Presidency

Misses President Faust, and is sure he is serving the Lord elsewhere. He welcomes the new general authorities. Relates the story of Arthur Patton. He meant everything to his widowed mother. Arthur was transferred to an Aircraft carrier, which was attacked. Arthur was lost at sea. The Blue star hanging in he window was replaced by a Gold star, reflecting Arthur had been killed in action. Mrs. Patton asked him, will Arthur live again? He replied as a young boy, that indeed he would. Years later in General Conference he again responded to Mrs. Patton. Christ is the Way, Light, Truth, and Life.

To understand the meaning of death, we must understand the purpose of life. Man was in the beginning with God. We existed before this mortal existence, in a majestic world of spirits. We came to mortality to prove ourselves and to keep the commandments of God. We experience joy and sorrow, sweet and bitter. This is mortality. To each life comes death. All of us must pass its portals. Some dread its coming.

The spirits of all men, as they depart, are taken home to God who have them life. God will never forsake us. He sent His only Son to show us how to live. Christ died to redeem all mankind. He is the Resurrection and the Life. If we believe in Him even though we are dead, yet shall we live. There are many houses in the Father’s mansion.

As in Adam, all die; but, as in Christ, all will be made alone. In mortality we see through a glass darkly. But, it will not always be so. This knowledge, as he explained to Mrs. Patton, will always sustain us. God too had a Son who died, as did Mrs. Patton. One day we will see face to face our lost loved ones.

April 6, 1969 was when he delivered this talk in General Conference. He had lost contact with Mrs. Patton. But, relatives in CA had invited her to listen to General Conference, and listened to that conference. Mrs. Patton subsequently wrote to President Monson, and though not a member of the Church, and thanked him. She was now at peace.

God loves each of us. He hears our humble prayers and cries for help. Will we hear Christ’s voice, hear the knock, open the door?

10:49 a.m. Choir: I Believe in Christ Written by Bro. Longhurst, organist, retiring.

10:55 a.m. Benediction David F. Evans, Quorum of the Seventy