This morning marks the begining of the 178th Semi Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You can watch a live Internet feed here.  As time permits I will live blog the sessions I am able to watch.  For those who may not have heard of the LDS General Conference before, I would urge you listen live if you can.  If not, I would encourage you to read the talks that are given.  You can read about the conference talks when they are posted here.

In the Nacle, By Common Consent has an open thread here.  Mormon Mentality has an open thread here.

This is a world in turmoil, much more so than when this conference last convened.  There is absolutely no question that the wisdom of the world’s wise men has perished, and the understanding of the world’s prudent men has been hidden. I look forward to hearing inspired men and women of God address us and give us guidance in this troubled and turbulent world.  Those we will hear are true messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Their words can enlighten our minds and souls.  I encourage all to come listen to a prophet’s voice.  Step out of the darkness, confusion and chaos that grips this world, and listen to the inspired voices of God’s messengers in our day and age.

If I had to guess, I would expect to hear a great deal about family, the proclamation, and marriage—but who knows, I could be wrong.  The Brethren don’t pre screen these things with me.

High on a Mountain Top 9:00 a.m. Choir–Mormon Tabernacle Choir

9:01 a.m. Conducting President Thomas S. Monson, Prophet, Seer and Revelator

9:02 a.m. Choir Redeemer of Israel

9:06 a.m. Invocation by Shane M. Bowen, Quorum of the Seventy

9:07 a.m. President Monson;

Time as flown by since the last conference.  Much has transpired.  The Lord’s work goes on.  Three new temple dedications.  Brazil, Panama, and Idaho.  Total of 128 operating temples worldwide.  Each dedication was accompanied by great ceremonies and meetings.  Even the weather cooperated after a prayer by President Monson.

Next month Mexico City Temple will be rededicated.  Others will come in the future.  Five new temples:

1. Calgary Alberta

2.  Cordova Argentina

3.  Greater Kansas City Area

4.  Philadelphia

5.  Rome, Italy

Has met with many world leaders who are supportive of the Church.  Others are not.  We should pray as President Hinckley has suggested that the countries of the world open their borders to the Gospel.  We have come to be inspired.  Those who will speak have prayed about their talks, and have been inspired.  God is mindful of each one of us and our needs.  May we be filled with His Spirit as we listen to conference.

9:16 a.m. Choir O May My Soul Commune With Thee

9:20 a.m. Elder L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Those who have been around awhile recognized cycles of life’s tests.  Times of plenty and scarcity.  Sometimes we experience stress and anxiety.  We should not allow them to get the best of us.  We should remain positive.  The best is yet to be.  We can’t predict all the storms and struggles of life.  But as persons of faith we know the Gospel of Christ is true and that the best is yet to come.

He has troubles with life.  Had trouble with employment at a time when his wife was diagnosed with health problems.  They found ways to relief stress.  They would drive to a pond surrounded by trees, where they would walk or sit and talk.  They called it Walden Pond, a place to heal and even connect with history.  Recounted Thoreau’s experience at Walden Pond.

He sustained a simple life.  He lived quiet and independent.  He had no clock or calendar.  He was not a hermit, and invited others to his cabin.  After his two years, he left, and felt he had accomplished his purposes.  He moved on and explored other opportunities.

Food, clothing, shelter, fuel, only four things we truly need.  We need to simplify our lives.

Food:  As members of the Church, we know the true relationship between the spirit and body.  D&C section 89 helps us understand this relations ship better.  We shall learn wisdom and hidden truths.  For the Strength of Youth counsels about the Word of Wisdom.  When we follow these guidelines we avoid harmful addictions.  Drugs and destroy our physical and spiritual well being.  We don’t want to harm our mortal bodies.  They are a gift from God.

Clothing:  A simplified life means to wear simple and modest clothing.  It affects the way we act.  Worldly trends always invite extremes.  Both men and women’s fashions are adopting extreme styles.  This attracts the wrong kind of attention.  Book of Mormon examples of those of exceedingly fine clothing ended up in the Great and Spacious Building mocking the followers of Christ.

We should discuss dress and grooming standards.

Shelter:  Current news is of the housing crises.  We have been counseled to live within our means.  Most of our troubles today is the failure to heed this counsel.  Live within our income.  Stay out of debt.  Save for a rainy day.  Practice frugal living.

Fuel:  Fuel and energy have also been in the news lately.  But more important is Spiritual fuel.  We need this to complete our spiritual journey in life.  We must know of God’s eternal plan and our role in it.  In righteousness there is great simplicity.

May we seek to simplify our lives.  May we be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  May we prepare ourselves to return to live with God.

9:32 a.m. Sister Sylvia H.  Allred First Counselor Relief Society Presidency

We are called to cry repentance to the world.  This is the foundation of missionary work.  Repentence, baptism, gift of Holy Ghost, and enduring tot the end is part of missionary work.  The missionaries taught her own family of the Gospel, but only she and her then 17 year old sister remained interested in the discussions.  They would take turns reading the Book of Mormon.

Father gave his permission and eventually their mother gave permission to be baptized.  After hearing their testimonies, then Mother re took the missionary lessons again.

Eventually she and her sister were called as full time missionaries.  It had a great impact in her life.  She sought to live by the spirit.  Her knowledge of the Gospel increased.  Her missionary experiences became part of who she now is.

Missionaries have a great impact in teaching the gospel.   Missionary work is the life blood of the Church.  We can all be missionaries.  Live a good life.  Be a good neighbor.  Prepare your children to serve missions.  Invite people to do family history.  Members are the best source of referrals.  Seek for opportunities to reach out to others.  Send letters to missionaries and encourage them.

We can all participate in missionary work.  We can be instruments in his hands by sharing the Gospel.

9:43 a.m. Neil L. Andersen Presidency of the Seventy

We are all believers in Christ and take His name on us; however, there are days when we find it difficult to establish our spiritual footing.  Our spiritual journal is the process of a lifetime.  Conversion comes step by step, line by line.

You don’t know everything, but you know enough.  We don’t know the meaning of all things.  Related the story of an elder in the mission field wanting to leave early.  He had a troubled life.  But, he did know God loved him.  He didn’t know everything, but he knew enough.  This was enough to replace doubt with faith.  This was enough to keep him on his mission.

We need spiritual home storage for difficult times.  Faith is not just a feeling:  It is a decision.  We must choose faith.  Questions and doubts are part of our mortal experience.  Fear and faith cannot co-exist in the heart at the same time.

We begin to see that he who receives light, that more light comes.  We come to know what we already knew.  Jesus is the Christ, our Redeemer.  His prophet today is Thomas S. Monson

9:53 a.m. Choir and Congregation Come Ye Children of the Lord

9:57 a.m. Marcos A. Aidukaitis Quorum of the Seventy

June 2, 1940 important date for his family.  His family was baptized into the Church.  Recounted his first baptism on his mission.  It was a life changing experience.  His own father was converted by his ability to read English and read the Book of Mormon.  His mother followed several years later.  He will honor and bless both his parents names forever.

After reading the Book of Mormon, his father knew the Church was true and restored.  The Book of Mormon combined with the spirit is the most powerful source of conversion.  Those who read the Book of Mormon prayerfully, the Spirit of God will come into your life.  You will want to obey God’s commandments.  These promises were true for his father and his family.

They read the scriptures daily.  They have read the Book of Mormon several times.  When you know the Book of Mormon is true, then you know Joseph Smith was called to restore the Gospel.  You know there is only one Faith and Baptism.  You know Christ is the Son of God.  You know that God lives.  You know the plan of salvation is perfect, and you desire to live the commandments and endure to the end.

Those who have the Book of Mormon but refuse to investigate the book and refuse it’s spiritual banquet are missing out.

Read the Book of Mormon and ponder it’s message about Christ.  Pray to God in faith.  Act on its promises.    We can know the truth of the Book of Mormon.   Those who do, will know the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God.

10:08 a.m. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

We live in the perilous time prophesied by the Apostle Paul.  How can we have God’s spirit to keep us on the path?  D&C 59:9-10.  Go to the house of God and offer our prayers.  This is a commandment with a promise.

Weekly we should participate in the ordinance of the Sacrament.  It will imbue us with the Gift of the Holy Ghost, our moral compass.  The Sacrament makes Sacrament meeting the most sacred and important in the Church.  We should focus on the teachings and Atonement of Christ.

How to prepare for the Sacrament

Bring a broken heart and contrite spirit to Sacrament Meeting.  We should respect the prelude music, not busy ourselves with visiting amongst ourselves.

How we dress is an indicator of how we prepare for any activity in which we engage.  This includes our footwear.  It is true of when we partake of the Sacrament.  Our dress reflects our understanding of the Sacrament ordinance.  We should concentrate on worship and avoid all other activities.

Sacrament is not a time for reading books or magazines. (I am guilty of this all the time). It is not a time to text people on cell phones.  The music of Sacrament meeting is a vital part of our worship.   All Sacrament meeting music requires special planning.  Remember it is for worship not entertainment.

We should assemble in the spirit of prayer.  Light mindedness and laughter are generally out of place in Sacrament meeting.

Christ instituted the Sacrament to the Nephites and set the standard for how it should be done.  That you do witness that you do always remember Me.  Then we will have his spirit to be with us.  The Sacrament replaced the blood sacrifices and ordinances of the Mosaic Law.

To the Priesthood holders, it is always a solemn ordinance.  Priests should say the prayers slowly and clearly.  The teachers and deacons also preform a sacred act.  Young men should be worthy to administer the Sacrament.

Appropriate dress is also important.  All well groomed and modestly dressed.  Nothing to call special attention to themselves when administering the sacrament.  Wherever possible a white shirt be worn.  A white shirt can be a reminder of ceremonial clothing, including the temple and on a mission.

Those who officiate should be designated by one who holds the keys to this ordinance.  This means a bishopric member or a quorum presidency member.

10:23 a.m. Choir Do What is Right

10:29 a.m. O Though Kind and Gracious Father

10:33 a.m. President, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, First Presidency

A glorious day to witness the announcement of five new temples.  His father was drafted into the German army in WWII.  He recalls this time of fear and hunger.  In 1944 his mother decided to flee to Germany with the family.  Travel was dangerous during this time.  There was ever present hunger and war.  The train stopped for supplies a several locations.  She left the train on one stop to searching for food.  She returned only to find the train and her children had gone.   But, her faith overcame her fear.  She put faith and hope into action.  She found the train eventually which had been moved.

He has often thought about how his mother must have felt.  How did she overcome despair?  The power of hope is infinite.  It is part of three legged stool, faith, hope, and charity.

Hope is a gift of the spirit.  We hope through Christ’s Atonement we will be raised unto life eternal.  With this hope it is a principle of promise as well as a commandment.

Moroni even believed in hope after seeing the destruction of his people.  Why is there despair?  There is an opposition in all things.  This can lead us into temptation.  The adversary uses despair to kill ambition and kill the soul.  It is a staircase forever downward.

Hope is like a beam of sunlight.  It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn.

What is hope?  A toddler may hope for a toy phone.  A teen may hope for a call from a special friend.  An adult may hope the phone may stop ringing.

Hope is not knowledge, but a trust and confidence if we live according to God’s law we will receive promised blessings in the future.

There are things we hope for, and things we have hope in.  Everyone has had difficulty with unbearable darkness.  During these times our hope can uphold and carry us until we again walk in the light.  We hope in Jesus Christ, the goodness of God, and that prayers are heard and answered.

We cultivate hope the same way we learn to walk:  one step at a time.  In the midst of winter we find within us an invincible summer.  As faith, hope, and charity increase, they all increase.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for.  Faith is critical for both hope and charity.  Hope upholds us.

Hope braces our resolve, and urges us to care for our fellow man.  The brighter our hope the greater our faith.  The things we hope for lead us to faith.  Confidence in hope leads to greater hope.  Our membership in the Church, strengthens our faith.

Hope sustains us through despair.  Hope teaches there is reason to rejoice even though there is darkness all around us.

Press forward with a stead fastness in Christ.  Mature hope comes in and through Christ.  Christ has given us the message of hope.  Fear not, He has counseled us.

Never give in.  Never surrender.  Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.  The Son of God pierces all darkness.

10:51 a.m. Choir: I Need Thee Every Hour

10:59 a.m. Benediction Craig A. Carden 70