Saturday General Conference Open Thread

September 30, 2006 | 168 comments
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Thoughts? Opinions? Impressions? Insights? Share them here, from either the morning or the afternoon sessions.

168 Responses to Saturday General Conference Open Thread

  1. Julie M. Smith on September 30, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    You know you are a parent when the first thing you think upon seeing the choir dresses is that they better be careful when they have lunch.

  2. Seth R. on September 30, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    We like to discuss here whether the Church is really “growing” or not, in terms of baptism numbers. Such discussions tend to focus solely on membership numbers.

    Pres. Hinckley’s remarks (abt. the increase in satellite access) make me wonder if those membership numbers are only one aspect of “real Church growth.”

  3. Graham on September 30, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    It seems like President Hinckley has aged a lot more than 6 months since April.

  4. Keryn on September 30, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    And what about the first two songs? First “God Bless Our Prophet Dear” in a minor key (or at least it sounded minor to my untrained ear), and then the “funeral” song “Each Life That Touches Ours For Good”. I’m depressed already! (Just kidding about the depressed part.)

  5. Seth R. on September 30, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Re: Dallin H. Oaks

    Does Paul’s impulse to “glory in mine infirmities” apply to those burdened with same-sex attraction?

    You’ll note Elder Oaks did mention SSM briefly at the start.

    Anyone catch those three items for dealing with pornography?

  6. Seth R. on September 30, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    Re SSM:

    From the annecdote of the recovering member:

    “Some profess that change is possible and that therapy is the only answer… but I worry that they forget to involve Heavenly Father in the process… There is no need to determine why I have this attraction… What I do with it from this time forward is what matters.�

    I also found it interesting to hear that the result of this attraction is “up to God.”

    What if God’s intention is that the attraction not cease?

  7. Bob W on September 30, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Re: Richard Winkel
    The Orson Pratt quote on the parents sealing saving the child is popular these days.

  8. Tom on September 30, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Seth R., then people have to continue to struggle, just like with every other thing that makes living the gospel or having peace more difficult.

  9. Nate Oman on September 30, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    Two talks now explicitly directed toward new members…

  10. WillF on September 30, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    “The wise man builds his house upon a rock…” got an inquisitive response from my two-year-old who is playing in the living room while we listen.

  11. Julie M. Smith on September 30, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    The Scot is an unusually good speaker–nice turns of phrase.

  12. Rosalynde Welch on September 30, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    “People and principles, not programs.”

    I love it!

  13. Rosalynde Welch on September 30, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Wow! This just gets better and better. Lay off the guilting; numbers are not the goal.

  14. Nate Oman on September 30, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    Elder Ballard’s talk is one of the more sensible things that I have heard about callings and church government in conference for a while. Great stuff.

  15. Seth R. on September 30, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    “There is no such thing as done.”

    I really appreciate the more experienced membership smacking the neurotic flight-of-the-bumblebee style members up the side of the head with a dose of reality.

    My wife heard his statement about giving new converts callings that they can do and said “Yeah, you never put a new convert in the nursery.”

  16. Julie M. Smith on September 30, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Elder Ballard channels Mrs. Frizzle: “Get messy! Make mistakes!”

  17. Dan on September 30, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    As I said on BCC, Elder Oaks has jumped to the coveted second place spot in my list of favorite apostles. This talk makes him the reigning heavyweight champion. I love his willingness to swim in some pretty deep and challenging waters, and address the vexing issues people are actually thinking about.

    Elder Ballard also went some great places today, especially dealing with using guilt to motivate, and keeping programs in perspective. This is already one of my favorite conferences in recent memory.

  18. dan on September 30, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    Hey this is great. I keep hitting reload and see more commentary on the talks I\’m listening to (the live video feed kept stalling, so I decided to go audio only). I agree with Elder Ballard\’s talk 100%. Leaders need to balance their family and work life with church service, use e-mail more and not worry so much about numbers. If only more members of our ward used e-mail. I also like his emphasis on simplifying things. Henry David Thoreau would be proud.

  19. Jacob on September 30, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    If only I could give Elder Ballard a big AMEN from the audience on some of these points. This must be his best talk ever.

  20. Steven B on September 30, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    The loveliest rendition of Love at Home I have ever heard (Saturday morning session).

  21. Brian Duffin on September 30, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    I, too, was pleased to hear Elder Ballard place the emphasis on using wisdom in fulfilling church callings.

  22. Seth R. on September 30, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that story about Pres. Morales’ execution at the hands of the Zapatistas.

  23. gst on September 30, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    What is the name of the Scotsman? I only have the audio and I missed his name.

  24. Nehringk on September 30, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Br. Ballard was quite refreshing. My wife and I enjoyed his remarks — the first talk both of us were truly awake for. (No reflection on the speakers — we had a challenging night last night and did not get much sleep).

    BTW, did anyone else notice the OSU Buckeye ties being worn by the men of the Tabernacle Choir? I thought that was a nice touch!

  25. Clair on September 30, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that story about Pres. Morales’ execution at the hands of the Zapatistas.”

    Way back when, it was the subject of a movie we watched in Seminary. In any forum a week ago, a member offered $100 for a copy of it.

  26. Clair on September 30, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Make that “in another forum”. The movie was titled, “And Should We Die.”

  27. Margaret Young on September 30, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Thus far, the theme seems to be “Cast you burden on the Lord.” I particularly enjoyed–and needed–the talk on patience.

  28. John on September 30, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Gordon B. Hinckley, “Our Message Does Not Change”
    Dallin H. Oaks, “He Healed Them All”
    Richard H. Winkel, “The Temple Is About Families”
    Paul B. Pieper, “A Chosen Generation”
    David S. Baxter, “Membership into Discipleship”
    Robert C. Oaks, “Patience”
    M. Russel Ballard, “O Be Wise, What Can I Say More?”
    James E. Faust, “Discipleship”

  29. Jenny Webb on September 30, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    gst, it was David S. Baxter. Favorite point at the end of his talk: we can turn our “membership into discipleship.” There’s hope then …

  30. John on September 30, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    Six points for wise and proper balance from M. Russel Ballard:

    1. Focuse on people and principles, not on programs.
    2. Be innovative; seek the guidance of the Spirit. Do not embellish or redefine; simplify.
    3. Divide the work and delegate responsibility.
    4. Eliminate guilt. Always motivate through love and sincere appreciation.
    5. Thoroughly allocate time, resources, income, and energy. There is no such thing as “done.”
    6. (Leaders) Assign responsibility so as not to overwhelm.

    Wonderful and sensible advice.

  31. judy brooks on September 30, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    How can we not be overwhelmed when “there is no such thing as ‘done?”

  32. Julie M. Smith on September 30, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    judy,

    I think the idea is that we turn over to the guidance of the Spirit the question of where to focus our energies. If we act accordingly, then any items not checked off the list aren’t a cause for guilt or grief. Easy to say, harder to do.

  33. random me on September 30, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    yes, i’m posting from church on my cell phone.

    anyone notice the set of (elder) twins in the mtc choir? it gave me the warm fuzzies when the camera pulled away and showed all of the elders from afar… something about those dark suits, all neatly lined up in rows.

    did monson mispronounce “auxiliary?” i’ll have to put the phone down and listen… :\

  34. Connor Boyack on September 30, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    @random, I too was awestruck by that shot of all the missionaries. It reminded me of being in the MTC, viewing the Testaments after the Sunday night fireside, and then looking up once the lights turned on to see a couple thousand 19 year olds sobbing. Very moving.

  35. Connor Boyack on September 30, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Elder Robert D. Hales, regarding the scriptures:

    “Feast on them… don’t nibble!”

  36. Seth R. on September 30, 2006 at 4:28 pm

    judy,

    The point was that: you are never going to be done, so what’s your rush?

  37. Dan on September 30, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    #33 (random me), are you female?

  38. random me on September 30, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    i used to always care less for the female speakers and elaine s. dalton has reminded me why… i feel like i’m in primary sharing time with that tone.

    elder wirthlin unfortunately made michael mclean run through my head: “it’s not hopeless, it’s just friday, but sunday’s comin’ soon…”

    liked elder hales’ mentioning that after looking over the remnant and desolation that could all have been avoided, it’s no wonder moroni spoke directly to us in 10:3-5.

  39. random me on September 30, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    yes, i am female… why do you ask? are men too righteous to type on a cell phone during conference at the stake center?

  40. Starfoxy on September 30, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Sanitary landfills were the *last* thing I expected to hear about this conference.

  41. Dan on September 30, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Oh, no. I think the cell phone thing is perfectly normal. Your comment referred to suits lined up in rows; that’s something that gets women all warm and fuzzy for some reason; women are somehow affected by the sight of men in uniform.

  42. Costanza on September 30, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    Who is speaking right now? Very “breathy” voice

  43. Costanza on September 30, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    The landfill guy

  44. Sheldon on September 30, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Landfill reclamation as a metaphor for the atonement, interesting but maybe not too appropriate as an analogy… isn’t it a better metaphor for that scripture about people trying to “cover up their sins” instead of repenting????

    But props for showing pictures of Freeman Park, it gave me saudades of Idaho Falls!

  45. Connor Boyack on September 30, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    @Costanza, that was Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy.

  46. Costanza on September 30, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks Connor.

  47. Sheldon on September 30, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    It kind of bugs me when speakers “define words” instead of developing a topic in a talk. It seems like a Mormon talk-crutch. “I looked up such and such in the dictionary and it says… ” We just had two talks in a row doing the same thing. I don’t know how useful it is as a teaching tool.

  48. Chris Brower on September 30, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    What about sister Dalton’s claim that “we” are here in the last days because of our “exceeding faithfulness” in the preexistence? Is this just one of those things we say and hear a lot, but has no solid doctrinal basis?

  49. mullingandmusing (m&m) on September 30, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    Chris,
    I have heard this more than once, from prophets as well as others. I’m not sure it’s folk doctrine.

  50. Loyd on September 30, 2006 at 5:15 pm

    It kind of bugs me when speakers “define words� instead of developing a topic in a talk. It seems like a Mormon talk-crutch. “I looked up such and such in the dictionary and it says… � We just had two talks in a row doing the same thing. I don’t know how useful it is as a teaching tool.

    Some of us didn’t know what a ‘landfill’ was.

  51. WillF on September 30, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    I think that watching conference via streaming video is like owning a Liahona. The stream stops when someone in our family thinks an evil thought (or when I post to this blog).

  52. Sheldon on September 30, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    Loyd: that’s why Google invented the define: function, so you can do it yourself… and let the speaker use his/her time doing something more substantive than acting as a glorified dictionary :)

  53. Chris Brower on September 30, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    m&m,

    I agree, but I wonder how far the “we” goes. Maybe some people, but certainly not all, and I think it would be a little too conceited to say that the “we” means members of the church.

  54. queuno on September 30, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    Actually, the dictionary definition thing is a popular rhetorical tool, designed to help strip away the layers of myth and emotion that might surround a term and allow for a fresh start. I hear it a lot from management types. “Let’s talk about the word ‘quality’”.

  55. random me on September 30, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    good call, dan… my husband is former military turned law enforcement and military reservist, ha.

    i’m glad i’m not the only one who found bowen’s talk bizarre. i have no notes under his name. :\ it was terribly weak, not only due to the webster’s references.

    i remember worrying about a talk when we were newlyweds. my husband jokingly told me, “do what the youth does. look up the topic in the bible dictionary, regular dictionary, and/or mormon doctrine.” i expect that of some of the youth, NOT from members of the seventy.

  56. Paula on September 30, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Chris, #48, I think it is folk doctrine. I’d be interested to see actual sources for it, other than Saturday’s Warrior. There was also a story that went around a few years ago, attributed to various church authorities saying that when people from other times heard that we had lived in the times of Gordon B. Hinckley, those people would bow down in our presence, because we had been so valiant to be saved till now. It was actually someone at BYU who said it, at EFY or something, and my friend, who is a CES employee, says that memos have been sent out telling them that they are NOT to quote that. However, I’ve been forwarded it, as a faith-promoting little nugget several times in the past few years, and my kids have heard it at church.

  57. Sheldon on September 30, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    that’s the last thing i want – more church talks patterned after “management types”!!! and strip away myth and emotion? NOOOO!!! We WANT myth and emotion! that’s what religion is all about! sigh…

  58. mullingandmusing (m&m) on September 30, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    53
    I would agree…the ‘we’ can include those outside the Church. I don’t know that it’s ever been used as an arrogant concept as much as a motivating one.

    I am really liking Elder Uchdorf’s talk. A testimony that requires great effort will mean a great deal (i.e., it may not always come easily). A testimony is not just an intellectual endeavor.

  59. Paula on September 30, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that story about Pres. Morales’ execution at the hands of the Zapatistas.�

    Way back when, it was the subject of a movie we watched in Seminary. In any forum a week ago, a member offered $100 for a copy of it. ‘

    Is this really hard to find? I remember that movie very clearly. Sometimes, when I was very little, we could stay after sacrament meeting and they would show church movies. In the chapel. I remember “And should we die very clearly” because I probably shouldn’t have seen it when I was so young, and it really frightened me. So doesn’t BYU or someplace like that have a copy of it?

  60. Connor Boyack on September 30, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    A testimony is not just an intellectual endeavor.

    Amen. Far too many people don’t understand this simple principle.

  61. queuno on September 30, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    I’m not saying the rhetorical device is necessary good or bad, but it’s not just a Mormon crutch. In fact, until today, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard it at Church (maybe 3 years).

  62. random me on September 30, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    you’re correct, paula. my memory is fuzzy, but i seem to recall perhaps even reading a general authority debunking the “a hush will fall over heaven and nations will fall at your feet” crap. that quote is a major pet peeve of mine.

    liked johnson’s tithing talk. i sometimes like being reminded why i have to shuffle funds, as i did this morning. i like lists from ga’s, so uchtdorf gets a gold star from me today.

  63. Connor Boyack on September 30, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    but i seem to recall perhaps even reading a general authority debunking the “a hush will fall over heaven and nations will fall at your feet� crap

    I believe there was an article published in the Church News a few years back that put this rumor to rest.

  64. dan on September 30, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Yup, it’s right here.

    President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, has released the following concerning a statement he is said to have made:
    “We continue to receive reports of the distribution of a quote attributed to me which begins, ‘The youth of the Church today were generals in the war in heaven,’ and ends with the statement that when they return to heaven ‘all in attendance will bow in your presence.’
    “I did not make that statement. I do not believe that statement.
    “The statement, on occasion, has been attributed to others of the First Presidency and the Twelve. None of the Brethren made that statement.”

  65. Costanza on September 30, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Connor, is this what you are thinking of?

    From The Church News, on April 28, 2001:
    President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, has released the following concerning a statement he is said to have made:
    “We continue to receive reports of the distribution of a quote attributed to me which begins, ‘The youth of the Church today were generals in the war in heaven,’ and ends with the statement that when they return to heaven ‘all in attendance will bow in your presence.’
    “I did not make that statement. I do not believe that statement.
    “The statement, on occasion, has been attributed to others of the First Presidency and the Twelve. None of the Brethren made that statement.”

  66. Paula on September 30, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    Yes that’s exactly the quote, except that there is a longer version that my son got in SS a few years back saying something about living in the time of Gordon B. Hinckley. He brought it home, and was kind of bothered about it. I had already heard about it from my friend the CES employee and he assured us again that it was false. My son didn’t dare go tell the SS teacher.

  67. mullingandmusing (m&m) on September 30, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    I don’t have time to look for more right now, but these were ones I could find right off the bat….

    I thank God continually for the young men and young women of this generation. I firmly believe that the finest young people that have ever lived in the history of the entire Church are with us today. [I believe I have heard Pres. Hinckley say something similar.]….

    I share with you a statement of President Benson made to a gathering of youth in Southern California after he became President of the Church:

    “For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. … God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. … Each day we personally make many decisions that show where our support will go. The final outcome is certain—the forces of righteousness will finally win. What remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this fight—and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last-days, foreordained mission?�
    Marvin J. Ashton, “Stalwart and Brave We Stand,� Ensign, Nov. 1989, 35

    “In all ages prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us� (Ezra Taft Benson, “In His Steps,� in Speeches of the Year, 1979 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1980], p. 59).

    Bishop H. Burke Peterson said:

    “Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to this earth by accident, without the possibility of a significant work to perform? …

    “My dear friends, you are a royal generation. You were preserved to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose. Not just a few of you, but all of you. There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you. … If you will let Him, I testify that our Father in Heaven will walk with you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your special purpose here� (“Your Life Has a Purpose,� New Era, May 1979, pp. 4–5; italics added).
    (both of the preceding quotes are found in YW 3, Fulfilling Women’s Divine Roles, 7: Our Purpose in Life)

  68. mullingandmusing (m&m) on September 30, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    you’re correct, paula. my memory is fuzzy, but i seem to recall perhaps even reading a general authority debunking the “a hush will fall over heaven and nations will fall at your feet� crap. that quote is a major pet peeve of mine.

    That particular email/story was debunked, but the quotes I found at least show some respect for the “last days” foreordination thing.

  69. Dan on September 30, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Yes, the “hush will fall over heaven” thing was a lame folk doctrine.
    But the idea that we were reserved for this time is one I’ve heard from numerous authorities whom I respect and to whom I normally defer. It’s also in my Patriarchal blessing, sort of. But it shouldn’t be interpreted or used to give us a feeling of superiority over others, just a sense of our potential and responsibilities.
    I think the prophets and authorities before us in the Church were great, but (here’s where I get controversial), for example, I think Spencer W. Kimball was the greatest prophet of the restoration so far, and I am really in awe of how amazing so many of our members are now. I don’t think we are better than those who came before us, but I do think we are of a different consitution spiritually in some ways. That’s my wild speculation for today.

  70. Eliza on September 30, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    I think one concern about the false quote was that it talked about people bowing down to other people. I don’t remember the specifics though.

  71. begeun on September 30, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    Maybe the hush comes because so much was expected of this generation, and so many of us screwed up. A hushed expectation of the punishment awaiting us….

  72. YL on September 30, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    Julie M. Smith 32.the idea is that we turn over to the guidance of the Spirit the question of where to focus our energies. If we act accordingly, then any items not checked off the list aren’t a cause for guilt or grief. Easy to say, harder to do.

    Great comment!

    We need only the light of Christ to tell us right from wrong. We need the guidance of the Holy Ghost to know which of many goods to do, what effort to give it, and how to do that good. Thus, as long as we have followed the Spirit and the Lord, therefore, is pleased with us, it matters not what else has gone undone. What a marvelous peace this reassurance from the Spirit can give us if we have sought and obeyed the promptings of the Spirit.

    Both Saturday sessions were great! I loved Sister Dalton’s talk. I know of no other place on earth where we can see the power of the Lord resting upon His servants for so many hours at a time.

  73. mullingandmusing (m&m) on September 30, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    71 etc.
    I once read an idea that seemed right to me — that if we put God first in our lives, then whatever is second on any particular day or at any particular time will be right. Each day that may be different, and for each person what is second may vary. If God is at the forefront of our minds and hearts, He will let us know what to do about our other responsibilities and priorities. Elder Ballard seemed to indicate, too, that there will be variance in what gets our focus at any given time. (I think of it like juggling…that one ball will always fall at some point.)

  74. dan on September 30, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    John (or anyone else who knows) do you know where to find a list of all the speakers and titles of the talks for the current sessions?

  75. Nehringk on September 30, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    I was particularly moved by Elder Wirthlin’s talk. His testimony was stirring. The landfill talk was a bit of a mangled metaphor, but I give him credit for doing something a little different, and the visuals were enjoyable. Sis. Dalton also did an excellent job — the arc of the story of her younger son (from watching his nephew through the widow at the hospital to kneeling at the altar with his own bride) was handled well. She did not beat us over the head with the imagery but employed it skillfully.

  76. DavidH on September 30, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    Rafael Monroy was the grandfather of my mission president.

    More details are given in a 10 year old article, Execution in Mexico: The Deaths of Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales, 1996 BYU Studies at 7.

    The popular retelling of the execution (recited again by President Faust) is a little different from what contemporaneous documents and accounts support. Grover argues that religion played very little part in the executions, and that they were primarily political.

  77. Ardis on September 30, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    John (73) — See this page on the Deseret News website http://deseretnews.com/cn/confer/ for a constantly updated report of conference, with speakers and summaries of today’s talks. They probably don’t have the “official as will be printed in the Ensign” titles yet, though.

  78. Ardis on September 30, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    I meant “Dan (73)” — sorry. And will somebody please teach me how to make the links without displaying the URL?

  79. mullingandmusing (m&m) on September 30, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Ardis,
    An example:

    You’ll find a lot more in <a href=”chapter2.html” rel=”nofollow”>chapter two</a>.
    See also this <a href=”../images/forest.gif” rel=”nofollow”>map of the enchanted forest.</a>

    “chapter two” and map of the enchanted forest are the highlighted links in this HTML.

  80. Kaimi Wenger on September 30, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    I added html codes to your comment, m&m, so that it showed up as a tutorial rather than just as links. :)

  81. Joanne on September 30, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    Re: #67 \”Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to this earth by accident, without the possibility of a significant work to perform?\”

    I think EVERY person was reserved for the time in which he or she lives. No exceptions. Doesn\’t every generation think theirs is the golden one? Objectively speaking, is my peer group \”stronger\” than a comparable group 100 or 1000 years ago? I\’m familiar with the GA statements; they just don\’t do the trick for me anymore.

  82. kristine N on September 30, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    anyone else notice the subtle reinforcing of stereotypes in Elder Scott’s visuals (the climbing talk)? I wanted my husband (who has long-ish hair and a gotee) sitting next to me so I could tell him he’s a solo climber :) I thought it was a little over the top having the man leading the woman in the clean-cut couple doing things the “right” way. Interesting use of the metaphor–are they trying to reach out to a younger demographic or trendier, cooler people? I was wondering the whole time which of Elder Scott’s grandchildren is a climber. Does he not realize a lot of people who boulder use mats on the ground to break their fall and reduce the chance of death?

  83. grego on September 30, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Are only men addicted to things, especially alcohol, tobacco, and pornography?

    Are wives whose husbands become addicted to pornography always without fault and sin?

    Are only divorced women able to receive the help of the Lord?

    I’m curious why things such as Silva method, EFT/ ESM, etc. are rarely mentioned or used by the Church for all different types of healings. Anyone?

    Are temples (and the Church and the gospel) really about family, or individuals?

    #67 M&M, thanks for posting all those quotes. There are many more.

  84. Clair on September 30, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    We just returned from the Priesthood Session video broadcast. I’m glad we went. In telling a story of a young deacons quorum president and some quorum members of long ago, Henry Eyring twice stopped to wait for tears to pass and once smiled and chuckled as he remembered the people and situations. We could tell that the memories were vivid. Those were very genuine moments that will not translate into print. Likewise when Sister Dalton paused for composure when saying that many times in her 30-something married years God had helped them through. I didn’t know her before, but at that moment she and her life became very real, as I have felt the same. That moment was probably not noticeable on the audio and will be lost in print.

  85. Paula on September 30, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    mullingandmusing, thanks for the quotes. I guess that to say everything I’m thinking about them would be far too long here– but one question at least is if every word from talks such as those is doctrine. I’ve been told before by apologists that I was naive for believing statements about church leaders that said that modern American indians are literal descendants of the Lamanites. I really don’t want to get into that here, but that’s the best example of what I mean by my first question. The second question then would be– those talks are 25-30 years old. Are we to assume that the babies born today are even more special than the folks who were adults then?Or did we peak back when I was a teenager? :) And the one that really bugs me. So if we accept that it’s true that the more valiant spirits were saved for today, does that mean that all spirits born now are the most valiant ever? Or just those that are in the church? If it’s just those born into the church or that convert in their lifetimes that seems to be quite a bit like predestination, and I thought we didn’t believe in that. I am not trying to be argumentative here, just stating what I think about those. I also don’t think that Peterson quote is strong support that this is a special generation, sounds more as though he’s saying people are sent to earth at the time that is right for their particular spirit, at least from the first sentence.

  86. tracy m on September 30, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Am I the only one who sees Elder Uchdorf on the road to greater callings??

  87. Guy Murray on September 30, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    Priesthood Session notes posted here. They are still in their rough stage, but I will be cleaning them up as soon as WordPress’ technical difficulties subside.

  88. Mark Butler on October 1, 2006 at 12:34 am

    All things considered the probability that the contemporary Native Americans do not have a direct line going back to Lehi, Zoram, or Ishmael is almost non-existent. It is preponderance that is in question.

    That is not a new thing – someone posted an article demonstrating that most English are not predominantly Celtic at all, that the latter culture was an overlay by a relatively small minority, the majority being Germanic.

    The Abrahamic covenant is that through his seed all nations would be blessed with the blessings of the gospel. That would be pretty difficult if his seed did not actually mingle with other nations.

  89. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Kaimi,
    LOL. thanks…I was running out the door and didn’t even think (OBVIOUSLY). Sometimes I scare myself. :)

  90. John on October 1, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Truth in advertising: I came up with these titles of the talks based on statements made during the talk. I, like the rest of you, must wait until the full text is made available (online, by mid-week hopefully) until I can say for sure what they are really called. I use these working title to help me remember what the talks were about.

    Robert D. Hales, “Search the Holy Scriptures”
    Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Sunday Will Come (Resurrection)”
    Elaine S. Dalton, “Personal Worthiness”
    Shayne M. Bowen, “Why Dig Up Old Garbage? (Repentence)”
    Daniel L. Johnson, “A Full Payment (Tithing)”
    Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “A Calm and Unwavering Certainty (Testimony)”
    Richard G. Scott, “Anchors of Protection”

    The presentations in the afternoon session weren’t as spiritually invigorating as the morning session, IMHO. However, I have already used the landfill paradigm at least once to remind myself to let go of my past…

    Priesthood Session:

    Henry B. Eyring, “Quorum Unity”
    D. Todd Christofferson, “Behold the Man (Responsibilities of Manhood)”
    Marcus B. Nash, “Touch Not the Evil Gift”
    Stanley G. Ellis, “The Power to Act in His Name”
    James E. Faust, “Spiritual Nutrients”
    Thomas S. Monson, “Duty: A Noble Word”
    Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rise Up O Men of God”

    My absolute favorite talk of the evening session: Elder Nash. He used a great analogy of the fish hook to describe the sudden snares of temptation. He had addressed his comments to the young men, but he had a lesson for us all. His voice trembled with solemn emotion as he warned against the dangers of toying with temptation–even once.

    Yes, I too am glad I went. That kind of conviction and testimony is worth seeing first-hand.

  91. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 1:14 am

    Paula,
    I guess I would say that perhaps this isn’t something that matters in the end. We won’t be judged based on what other people or other generations do or are. It’s not a competition. I think given that things keep getting more and more intense in terms of opposition, that we keep hearing that it will get harder, and that each generation does seem to improve (whether that is innate or is nurture I suppose could be debated) tells me that there is probably some validity to the quotes. I said that I didn’t have a lot of time; I’m pretty sure there have been more recent ones as well. Those quotes were ones that I could just easily search for because I knew some of the key phrases. :)

    I also have a concept in my mind that I have heard somewhere that there is some connection between premortal choices and what happens here. But in the end, I think what matters most is that we exercise our agency in ways that will keep us strong and valiant. Being some of the most valiant spirits, whatever that might mean, won’t do any good if we don’t choose light. Al. 13 seems to me to be a really good resource for understanding what underlies this whole concept — we were all on the same standing at one point. How we exercised our agency even premortally had an impact on what we received there and probably what we receive here. But surely there will be some surprises in the next life.

    I guess I would go back, though to this thought: Does it really matter where our spirits fall on the valiant scale? Again, that won’t mean much without choices that are valiant, right?

  92. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 1:19 am

    Joanne,
    BTW, I agree that it’s not just those in our dispensation who were saved for some special purpose. God has had special purposes all along the way to be sure. I don’t think that takes away from the need for some pretty strong spirits during these winding-up days that are preparing the world for the Second Coming. But, like I said above, it’s not one of those critical doctrines. What is critical is what we choose to do with the life we have been given, in the time in which we are placed. Again, it’s not a competition. :)

  93. John on October 1, 2006 at 1:32 am

    When I think of valiant souls, I think of Ghandi. I think of Mother Teresa. These people really changed the world by breaking out of the mold. I could try to compare myself to those people who stood up and fought against all odds to create a better place for humanity, but I would quickly become discouraged.

    I always thought the “valiant souls saved to the latter day” idea was a bit presumptuous. There has always been and there always will be great souls. Sure, there are strong and wonderful people on the earth today, but they all must go through the same self discovery, course correction, and eventual transformation that makes them great.

    Else, why the phrase, “born again?”

    It doesn’t matter who you were when you were born, but that you make choices in your life that lead you back to God. Those that make the required sacrifice to obey the higher law become the valiant ones, not those that have not yet discovered who they are.

  94. Mark Butler on October 1, 2006 at 1:35 am

    The prophesy probably is true, with regard to some persons. The problem is that such ideas carry a serious moral hazard – pride, laziness, entitlement, and so on. There are several prophecies that equally describe a great test and falling away.

    So who is to say that any particular young person is one of the great and noble ones reserved for the last days, especially if he or she shows evidence of being less valiant than many of those in the past, something that is hardly an uncommon situation, for a variety of reasons? We had a stake patriarch get up and express exactly the opposite sentiment.

    As for myself, I realize that there are a lot of great people out there, but we seem to be in a period of cultural decline that is reflected in the Church as well – shall Zion be restored by a bunch of slouches? Is teenage and twentyish slouchiness a good sign for future faithfulness and discipleship? – not that there isn’t time to repent and measure up to the standards set by many before us.

  95. Alison Moore Smith on October 1, 2006 at 4:36 am

    There’s a talk on mp3 by Sheri Dew (Living on the Lord’s Side of the Line? or Famous Last Words?) where she tells of speaking to President Hinckley, paraphrased as follows:

    “Do you know how it make us feel when you say that the younger generation is the most valiant ever to have lived on earth?”

    President Hinckely responded, “How do you think it make MY generation feel?”

    Loved Ballard, Baxter, R. Oaks, Dalton. Wirthlin broke my heart.

    Couldn’t see my sister in the MoTab for the life of me. Total bummer. Love the missionaries. My six-year-old said, “Can girls be missionaries, too?” Apparently he doesn’t remember having the sister missionaries over because we have rarely had any in areas we’ve lived in the last 15 years.

    Anyone else ever try to find a picture of sister missionaries in the ward library? They don’t exist.

    Collected some fun conference ideas for families last week.

    I love conference.

  96. Dan on October 1, 2006 at 9:07 am

    Does anyone have a functioning podcast link for Conference?

  97. jjohnsen on October 1, 2006 at 10:00 am

    “I always thought the “valiant souls saved to the latter dayâ€? idea was a bit presumptuous. There has always been and there always will be great souls. Sure, there are strong and wonderful people on the earth today, but they all must go through the same self discovery, course correction, and eventual transformation that makes them great.”

    I question it not because of the valiant souls part, but because of the latter days part. Hasn’t one person or another been calling this time the latter days for over a hundred years now? And won’t they be saying the same thing for the next 100 year and beyond? I’m sure someone in primary will telling my gret-great-great-great-great grandchildren how they have been “saved for these latter days” because they were so righteous in the pre-existance.

  98. gst on October 1, 2006 at 10:39 am

    What I noticed about Elder Nash’s fishhook analogy is that, in the analogy, he is Satan.

  99. Joe on October 1, 2006 at 11:06 am

    Answer to Dan…When will Conference Podcast (MP3) be available?
    Answer – About two weeks for English
    See (about 1/3 down the page) -

    http://lds.org/broadcast/gc/schedule/0,17268,7057-1,00.html

    When Conference Materials Will Be Available…
    Video and Audio Archives on the Internet…
    • Within 2 weeks of the broadcast, English MP3 audio files will be available. MP3 files in additional languages will be available within 6 weeks of the broadcast.

  100. Chris Brower on October 1, 2006 at 11:21 am

    John, #93,

    Apparently you haven’t read Christopher Hithens book on Mother Teresa.

    On second thought, you might not want to.

  101. Paula on October 1, 2006 at 11:25 am

    “I guess I would go back, though to this thought: Does it really matter where our spirits fall on the valiant scale? Again, that won’t mean much without choices that are valiant, right?”

    No It doesn’t matter; but constantly telling people something like that isn’t good , particularly if untrue, so hearing it yet again struck a nerve.

  102. Silver on October 1, 2006 at 11:27 am

    M& M in 92: “What is critical is what we choose to do with the life we have been given, in the time in which we are placed.”

    This is ever so true. Robin Williams, as the teacher in Dead Poets Society said the same after he gathered his students around the glass trophy case to examine the photos of long dead students from the early days of the school.

    John Keating: They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe–hear it? Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

  103. Seth R. on October 1, 2006 at 11:36 am

    Re: #95 Alison,

    Those are some nice ideas. Thanks.

  104. Dan Y. on October 1, 2006 at 11:38 am

    Like many other commenters here I really did like the Ballard talk.

    Like some here, too, I had difficulty with the Dalton talk. I guess there are a number of reasons why I dislike the “we were among the most valiant in the pre-existence” idea. One that I don’t think was mentioned yet (my apologies if I missed it) is that it isn’t much of a leap to go from specifying how we behaved in the pre-existence to specifying how others behaved, which is one of the sad legacies of the preisthood/blacks ban.

    Another question I had on the Dalton talk was about her view of the benefits of worthiness. Maybe I am imagining things, but I thought she said something to the effect that during the course of her life, her worthiness had earned her blessings that she was able to call in during times of trouble. This seemed to me at the time to be taking a fairly polar stand on the faith vs. works issue. More than that though, it seemed that, by implication, someone who doesn’t see blessings come when requested during times of trouble could take her talk as suggesting that unworthiness on their part is the reason (not that this implication was necessarily her intention in giving the talk). Am I reading too much into her talk? Did anyone else hear the talk the same way I did?

  105. Seth R. on October 1, 2006 at 11:39 am

    I think the reason we don’t have many photos of sister missionaries is because they often have not dressed in such a way that would distinguish them as missionaries from… say any other girl in the local Young Women’s organization.

    In my mission they sometimes dressed much worse actually.

  106. Ardis on October 1, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    Dan Y. (103) — What she said is generally true, isn’t it? Someone who faces the need to run and not be weary has a better expectation of calling in that blessing if she has lived the Word of Wisdom than one who has not. Someone whose wife dies can look forward with more faith to an eternal reunion if he has worthily honored his temple vows than can someone who has never bothered to prepare for the temple.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that by implication she accuses a cancer victim of having violated the Word of Wisdom, or a sorely grieving widower of having secretly abused his wife.

    But I agree with you that sometimes we mistakenly treat each other as if this is true: When I once expressed fear for my safety because a neighbor had shot at my cat through a window and had hidden a nail-studded plank in the snow just outside my door, among other terroristic acts, my bishop actually asked me what secret sins I was guilty of, “because the righteous need not fear.” Ditto for the parent who loudly proclaims that his son survived an accident because of his worthiness, ignoring his son’s friend who died in the same crash.

  107. Equality on October 1, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    My favorite talk was President Hinckley’s about the men in the church rising up. I especially liked the part where he lamented that women were outpacing men in education and he condemned men who were unequally yoked in educational attainment to their wives. The message: wives should not have more education than their husbands. I wonder what some of the women here who have advanced college degrees think of President Hinckley’s remarks on this score? Here is the quote from the Deseret News: “Rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities,” President Hinckley said. “Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? We speak of being ‘equally yoked.’ That applies, I think, to the matter of education.”‘ Now, I know there are many who will say that President Hinckley did not say women should limit their education, only that men should not have less than their wives. But does anyone believe that, in practice, in Mormon culture, these remarks won’t have some chilling effect on education for women? That some LDS will use these remarks to discourage women from getting “too much” education? After all, how much harder will it be to land an RM if you have a Ph.D.? The pool of available men for a faithful LDS woman is already small: he’s got to be a faithful RM who can take her to the temple. Now, he also has to have equal or superior education. It seems there is an incentive to a young woman to stick with a simple High School education: that way, any RM with some college will be eligible.

    Elder Christopherson told the heartwarming story of how when his mother had surgery for cancer and was partially disabled, her husband saved up money for a year by going without lunch so he could buy her a special machine to help her do the ironing. Well, isn’t that nice. I guess it never occurred to daddy Christopherson that he might actually, oh, I don’t know, HELP with the ironing. I wonder why they save these gems for a men-only audience? Do the intellectually gifted and well educated women who post here think these men are inspired in these remarks? If they are inspired, does that mean God is a sexist? If they are not inspired, why should we listen to them?

  108. dan h on October 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    John: Thanks for explaining the origins of the titles. I searched all over the web for that list, and started to think you had special access to early information about the talks, like the translators do.

  109. Dan Y on October 1, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Ardis (105),

    As I said before, I don’t think the impication is one that she intended to give. It would just be nice if there was a greater awareness that many well-intentioned people might draw such an implication as demonstrated by your bishop’s reaction to your frightening experience.

    To expand further on what felt out of place about the talk was the idea that we, rather than the Lord, are the ones that decide when our “worthiness chips” are called in. (Again, I hope I am not reading something into the talk that wasn’t there.)

  110. Clair on October 1, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    “Another question I had on the Dalton talk was about her view of the benefits of worthiness.”

    I didn’t take her comment in a negative way, but as a believing application of the revelation in D&C 121, “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.”

    I have experienced both confidence in the presence of God and pleading for mercy. There is a difference. In both cases, I am a beggar and God is merciful, but there is still a difference.

  111. Clair on October 1, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    “…he might actually, oh, I don’t know, HELP with the ironing”

    I don’t see how the father taking over the mother’s role in that family would be either compassionate or edifying for her. He was the veterinarian. She wasn’t. If he also becomes the launderer, what is left for her? Times change and roles change. In that time and those roles, I think he did a noble thing.

    Before we judge that family, we might also ask ourselves who does the ironing in our home, or does it go undone.

  112. random me on October 1, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    i’m laughing over the ironing comment. my husband said he found it offensive. “what, men don’t know how to iron? can’t learn?” he said there was something like four boys in the family? my father-in-law would have had those boys ironing night and day, need be. my husband and the men he was sitting with all found it bizarre.

  113. John Taber on October 1, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    “After all, how much harder will it be to land an RM if you have a Ph.D.? The pool of available men for a faithful LDS woman is already small: he’s got to be a faithful RM who can take her to the temple. Now, he also has to have equal or superior education.”

    It was my experience when I was single, that women who had more education than I did, and/or were better settled in their career paths than I was, didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

  114. random me on October 1, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    in our home, sure, i do the ironing. but i do a heck of a lot more than that, too. if i don’t get to the ironing, my husband is more than capable… he ironed his shirt last night for priesthood and another shirt to wear today.

    but i do understand that perhaps mom REALLY liked ironing. from my standpoint, though… seemed like one of those “typical husband gifts,” though i admit to being the type to enjoy vacuums for anniversaries and birthdays.

  115. Clair on October 1, 2006 at 2:45 pm

    “i’m laughing over the ironing comment.”

    I suppose it could be funny, as in, “Oh, a new scrub brush. How nice, dear.” It didn’t have that effect, though, on that family. Let’s be careful to not mock people whose culture is/was different.

    I remember an Ironrite machine in our basement, that my mother used for a few years when I was young. It had been a gift to her from my father, who died when I was 4, she was 38. She was glad to have it. In our family, including the women, it was considered a token of love and respect. It was a luxury that most couldn’t afford. It was kind of an “8-cow wife” thing.

    So, it was fun for me to see an Ironrite photo on the screen at the Priesthood session last night.

  116. random me on October 1, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    like i said, i didn’t see the actual talk, just heard about it from my husband and read about it here. most of my ill-founded opinion is based on my husband’s poor reaction to that portion of the talk. he found it silly and mildly offensive that five men/boys couldn’t handle the ironing.

  117. Equality on October 1, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    Yes, I think next time my wife gets sick, instead of making dinner for her, I’ll buy her a frying pan. I’m sure that will go over real well.

  118. Beijing on October 1, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    #117, make sure it is nonstick. You don’t want her to have to work to hard at washing up after dinner.

  119. WillF on October 1, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    Maybe she insisted on doing the ironing. We don’t know the whole story. Why don’t you give the speaker a little benefit of the doubt?

  120. Alison Moore Smith on October 1, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks, Seth.

    #105 “I think the reason we don’t have many photos of sister missionaries is because they often have not dressed in such a way that would distinguish them as missionaries from… say any other girl in the local Young Women’s organization.”

    I think the nametag is the dead giveaway. :)

    #104 I think you are presenting the idea that giving appropriate credit for blessing from God somehow claims a non-blessing to others–and I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of the way God works or what Dalton said.

    Dalton said that keeping the commandments had allowed them, in certain circumstances, to have immediate help at times. That is certainly scriptural, God being slow to respond to those who are slow to respond to him. Certainly that doesn’t imply that this is the ONLY time he is slow to respond.

    The fact that keeping the commandments does provide certain covenantal guarantees, makes us better prepared to identify spiritual promptings, gives us more strength to follow through and endure, does not mean that God will we’ll always get al the answers we want, how we want, when we want. But you already knew that.

    Sometimes I feel as if our leaders cannot possibly speak without giving great offense. I suppose she should have spent 20 minutes explaining (again) how God answers (or doesn’t answer) prayers—and then everyone could have complained that the talk was boring and repetitive and, of course, it would have been a talk about receiving answers to prayers instead or worthiness. Can’t they at least expect us to draw upon a bit of general gospel knowledge in our interpretation?

    #107 “But does anyone believe that, in practice, in Mormon culture, these remarks won’t have some chilling effect on education for women?”

    Yea, the “chilling effect” will be that some men will get off their duffs and take their educations and responsibilities to support their families more seriously. Sounds awful.

    BTW, my mother (born in 1925, died in 2003) had a bachelor’s degree in economics (not home economics) and had worked toward her master’s. Unusual for her generation. She was very bright and a gospel scholar. Still, she chose to stay at home with us AND she actually did enjoy ironing to some extent. I don’t know how, but she did.

    Clair, spot on. Instead of mocking the idea that ironing could be a beneficial, productive thing to do–particularly in an era when clothes generally looked horrendous and unkempt without ironing– or mocking the idea that someone who is ill might actually long to continue to be productive and contribute to the family in whatever way she was able, why don’t we look to the actual people and circumstance involved? What if the wife had scrimped on some expenditure for a year to buy her husband a tool to help HIM in HIS designated work? Something to help him be more efficient and perhaps have a lighter burden? Something to allow him to function as long as he could? Would you all be saying, “Sheesh. Sexist pig! Why didn’t she just get up and go to work for him and do the job?”

  121. grego on October 1, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    #107,
    Interesting. IIRC, Pres. Kimball (and Pres. Hinckley?) gave keynote talks on the Church moving forward to its destiny BECAUSE of women and their high education in all things. Though yes, I could agree with Pres. Hinckley that most men could do better at getting educated. (Let’s see, he has a PhD, right? Wait, church employment for most of life, plus a short stint with the railroad.)

    #113,
    “It was my experience when I was single, that women who had more education than I did, and/or were better settled in their career paths than I was, didn’t want to have anything to do with me.” Yup!

  122. Left Field on October 1, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    I would hope that if we knew the whole story, we would indeed find that the elder Bro. Christofferson is not the insensitive ass portrayed by his son. But the question remains: why would he omit that crucial information and leave us to desperately speculate and grasp for some yet unknown fact that would explain Dad’s apparent boorish behavior? Perhaps all will be made clear in the published version of the speech.

  123. WillF on October 1, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Left Field,
    I came away with a much different impression. It seemed to me from the way he told the story that ironing was a way she felt she could contribute to the family. She went so far as to conceal the fact that it was causing her pain, and I don’t think this was out of fear, but rather out of self-determination: she didn’t want her family to think she was incapable.
    Why assume the worst?

  124. Alison Moore Smith on October 1, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    Left Field, it’s interesting that one would deem another to be an “insensitive ass” and guilty of “boorish behavior” due to the gift of something utilitariran. Or is it only those things that are traditionally used by females that you find so offensive? Such disrespect for the contributions of homemakers would almost make me want to call you a boorish, insensitive a@@, but I’d never do such a thing.

  125. Left Field on October 2, 2006 at 12:01 am

    Evidently, I have failed to not be unclear. Until I read comment #115, it never occured to me that some might view the gift itself as inappropriate. The gift was fine. What makes him boorish (in Elder Christofferson’s story, if not perhaps in real life) was that he listened to his wife sob in pain for a year without ever being bothered to pick up an item traditionally used by females and help with a task that gave his wife great pain.

    It may well be that Sis. Christofferson’s continued ironing was a result of her own determination to continue contributing exactly as she always did. I can respect that. But as much as I hope that to have been the case, it was not an element in Elder Christofferson’s story. The story that was told was one of a man who listened to his wife cry in pain for more than a year and yet did nothing. In the story, he never thought to iron his own shirts. He never sat down with his wife to consider making adjustments in household tasks that would relieve her of some pain while still making equally meaningful contributions in some other area. Maybe something like that happened in real life. But by leaving it out of the story, Elder Christofferson portrayed his father as a boorish ass.

  126. WillF on October 2, 2006 at 12:17 am

    …he listened to his wife sob in pain for a year without ever being bothered to pick up an item traditionally used by females and help with a task that gave his wife great pain.

    How do you know that?

  127. Alison Moore Smith on October 2, 2006 at 12:34 am

    The problem, I think LF, is that you’re willing to assume all sorts of insensitive, boorish behavior, to explain something that doesn’t make sense to you, but unwlling to assume the opposite.

  128. mullingandmusing (m&m) on October 2, 2006 at 12:55 am

    Didn’t he have to save up for quite a while to afford it?

  129. KKN on October 2, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Elder Bowen (landfill guy) was my stake pres. when we first moved to Idaho Falls…during a temple chapel meeting he spoke about how \”oral sex\” was against the teachings of the church…this was the first time in my life that I had ever had anyone tell me what I could and could not do behind my bedroom door. I was quite shocked to say the least…

  130. Costanza on October 2, 2006 at 7:50 am

    “Elder Christofferson portrayed his father as a boorish ass. ” Oh, come on. Isn’t that just a little over the top?

  131. Equality on October 2, 2006 at 10:26 am

    Going back to President Hickley’s remarks: he mentioned being unequally yoked in education as a negative–that’s the basis for his statement to young men to be at least equal in educational attainment to their wives. I wonder if any church leader ever spoke out against women being unequal in educational attainment to their husbands. It seems President Hinckley is alarmed by statistics that show more women than men getting college degrees. Did it ever bother him all those years when men were outpacing women in the same arena? It seems to me that “equally yoked” goes both ways.

  132. gst on October 2, 2006 at 11:01 am

    Equality, something about your posts gives the impression that you’re finely attuned to issues of equality.

  133. CS Eric on October 2, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    grego,

    Yes, President Hinkley spent most of his life working for the Chruch, and doesn’t have an advanced degree. So? He has perspective. He has seen what kind of living somebody who works for the Church makes, and he has seen what people with advanced degrees make. All he has to do is meet with his counselors (MBA, JD), or the Twelve (advanced degrees all over the place–MD, JD, EdD, PhDs) and he can see a difference. Why not give advice on what he has seen over the last 96 years, let alone every day at the office? My father was pround that I got more education than he did, too.

  134. mullingandmusing (m&m) on October 2, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    133
    Also, times are different than they were then. There is a greater need for more education these days. Even in the past couple of decades it has become more difficult to find a good job with just a bachelor’s degree. A prophet’s job is to give the counsel that we need to hear for our day, even if it’s a little different than what was applicable in his own.

  135. Nathan on October 2, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    I am awestruck at the ability some people have to construe something wonderful (a father who would sacrifice for his wife) and make assumptions based on absolutely nothing. Elder Christofferson has less than 10 minutes to get across his point, his testimony, to us knuckleheads via the spirit. There is no such time to discuss the ins and outs of his family’s woes and what each family member did to pick up slack where Mother, who seemed to not want family members to know her struggles, could not do her normal daily activities.

    What sucks is that after all his preperation for such a short (but important) talk that people wouldn’t be prepared to hear or learn from the same spirit.

  136. Nathan on October 2, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    I can’t wait to go back and read or listen to the Priesthood session as I could have sworn (but missed it, so somebody might be able to help me here) President Hinckley stated something about a revelation about education. He didn’t say much about it, but it sounded like that is why he has talked so much about education in his prophetic tenure.

    I think it is great that the Lord might use a semi-educated (as the world goes) person to do his great work and give him revelations concerning what people should do with their lives.

  137. Equality on October 2, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    Nathan, how’s that Kool-Aid tasting? The question about Elder C’s talk was a reasonable one. It struck a lot of people as distasteful and ill considered. As for a revelation from President Hinckely, now that would be news, as it would apparently be the first received and declared in his 11-year tenure as Prophet. If he has recieved such, I would hope it would be published and put to the church for a vote to be included in the canon, so that future generations would not feel justified in ignoring it as “mere opinion.” I would like to see a discussion about the merits of President Hinckley’s assertion that a man should feel uncomfortable if his wife is better educated. I have seen some suggest (elsewhere) that his statements on the relative educational attainments in the husband/wife relationship are merely reflective of a general attitude shared by those of his generation and not reflective of revelation received in his capacity as a prophet. Would you disagree with those who so assert?

  138. Dan on October 2, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    I think with the education remarks, Pres. Hinckley was addressing an actual problem. A lot of you got hung up on his comparison of men’s and women’s education, when that was really not the point. Where I grew up, a lot of our young men did not bother to graduate from high school, and among those who did, only a few of them went aggressively after a degree; many of them were content to return to their parents’ homes after their missions and mess around in local community colleges for a few years before (maybe) trying to transfer to a 4-year institution. And over the past few years, the problem has gotten sharply worse; it’s looking like our young men are resembling more and more the national trend.
    Those of you who think Pres. Hinckley was saying it’s somehow inherently wrong for your spouse to have more education than you- you misread the larger context and audience of his comments. He is observing a dangerous trend, and asking us to reverse it.

  139. Dan on October 2, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    Equality (#137), the remarks assuming the worst about Elder D.’s father were the distasteful and ill-considered part of this discussion. Nathan is right to point out how little we know as far as additional context to this story, so is it honestly too much to ask for you to give them the benefit of the doubt? Do you really believe Elder C’s father was a loathsome *ss of as person?

    Sick.

  140. Left Field on October 2, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    It seems that I have somehow touched a nerve that I didn’t intend to touch. Perhaps my use of the the word “ass” was ill advised. If so, I’ll be happy to withdraw it. But it seems that pretty much everything I said came out differently than I intended. I tried to be very careful to say nothing negative about Elder Christofferson’s father; my negative remarks were aimed only at what I assumed was a flawed *portrayal* of his father. I was careful to attach a disclaimer to each negative comment to reiterate that I was speaking only of the negative portrayal, not the actual man. Yet I managed to convey the idea that I was speaking ill of the man himself. I rather explicitly stated my assumption that the senior Christofferson was NOT the sort of person who would ignore his wife’s pain. Yet I somehow projected the idea that I was assuming the exact opposite. I tried to speak out very strongly against any perceived disrespect of Sister Christoffeson and her contributions as a homemaker. Apparently I did so in such a way as to give the impression that I was expressing the very disrespect I intended to condemn.

    Believe it or not, English is my native tongue.

  141. MBD on October 2, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    When Pres. Hinckley mentioned the revelation on education, I assumed he was just referring to D&C 88:118, 90:15, or a similar passage in D&C that endorses education. That would at least explain why he wasn\’t more specific, because he meant a revelation we should already be familiar with. That\’s not to say that he couldn\’t have been referencing a more recent, non-D&C revelation, of course.

  142. Nathan on October 2, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks MBD, like I said, I was in the middle of taking some notes and missed part of it. You are more likely correct as it is not often that we hear a prophet talk about revelations, at least not that casually.

  143. mullingandmusing on October 2, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    I also think Pres. Hinckley is reinforcing what is in the Proclamation about the responsibility men have to provide. It’s becoming harder and harder to do that without education or training of some sort. Recall his stern rebuke of men in the last Conference when he talked about those who won’t work to provide. He also has been the one to bring forth the PEF, which is another example of revelation he has received.

    Equality, although I think your comments are inappropriate for a site such as this (speaking so bitterly of the prophet doesn’t seem consistent with the purpose of this site), I do want to point out that revelation is something that is received through the Spirit from God. Each of us is entitled to such. The prophet can receive such for the entire Church. Prophetic revelation is happening all of the time. When you get a chance, listen to Elder Holland’s talk again. It was one of the most stirring I have ever heard about the inspired, prophetic guidance of this Church. I am saddened that you seem to not see or hear what we have.

    Incidentally, I thought it was wonderful that Pres. Hinckley basically gave his support to all of the talks in his final few words. To me, that means none of us is in a position to counter that support. What we heard throughout the conference was inspired. I think it’s up to us to hearken to, accept and apply what we have heard. Wow. So awesome.

  144. Naismith on October 2, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Re 95
    “Anyone else ever try to find a picture of sister missionaries in the ward library? They don’t exist.”

    Perhaps not a picture per se, but the cutouts that they have for use with flannel boards have sister missionaries with name tags.

    The new PREACH MY GOSPEL manual also has pictures of sister missionaries–see pg. 159.

  145. Ardis on October 2, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    Sheesh. So much pick-pick-picking because Sister Dalton didn’t say this and Elder Christofferson didn’t say that.

    Did anybody else notice the remark in the opening prayer of one session about receiving the spirit of what was said AND what was NOT said?

    I should get a bushel of brownie points for what I’m not saying right now.

  146. Matt Evans on October 3, 2006 at 12:50 am

    Ardis, that line in the prayer caught my attention, too. I think it was Elder Jay E. Jensen’s prayer. I could see a lot of possible meanings, and spent the remainder of the prayer wondering which meaning *he* intended. My guess is that he was suggesting that things not said are less important, so if our personal hobby horses aren’t mentioned (or if the prophet doesn’t condemn the Mormon contingent at the US congress, to draw an example from another thread, or against stem-cell research, to look closer to home), then we’ll learn something about the priority of our hobby horse.

    The problem with this idea is that many things aren’t addressed not because they’re less important but because they’re taken for granted. I doubt anyone at conference spoke against polygamy, for example, but it’s obviously wrong to deduce from this that they think polygamy isn’t as bad as vulgarity, which was condemned by several speakers. (Or to conclude that vulgarity is worse than killing grandmothers, another act the speakers treated with silence.)

    So I’m left wondering what Elder Jensen thought we could learn from the fact that no one at conference said mothers should work at home, no one called Orrin Hatch to repentance, no one mentioned stem-cell research, no one said we shouldn’t practice polygamy or kill grandmothers.

  147. mullingandmusing on October 3, 2006 at 1:48 am

    Perhaps Elder Jensen was inviting us to also reflect on what isn’t said but has been said in the past — to remember the big picture of how things tie together. Not every subject can be touched upon in only a couple of days, and yet it seems to me that all teachings are tied together.

    I wondered about this statement, too. Maybe he was also inviting us to learn from the Spirit’s individualized teachings as we received the messages. ?????

  148. Alison Moore Smith on October 3, 2006 at 2:38 am

    Left Field, I appreciated your post (#140). The problem is that you took the portrayal to lead to all sorts of conclusions that weren’t necessary and required at least as many assumptions as those you accused of unfairly reaching a positive conclusion.

    I think m&m is quite right (#143). If the man has the responsibility to provide for the family, and the woman is the most educated–who would reasonably become the provider? Perhaps his point is that if men are to fill their designated role as providers, they ought to be at least keeping up with their wives to do it effectively.

    Naismith, thanks for the sister missionary references!

  149. Rob on October 3, 2006 at 6:33 am

    To Dan – Comment 138

    Why then bring up women’s education? Why not limit the discussion to only men and how their numbers concerning higher education are dwindling? He made it quite apparent that he was comparing the two. He could have just asked whether you want to struggle to support your family, but he asked do you want to be married to a girl who is mored educated than you. Big difference.

  150. Equality on October 3, 2006 at 9:56 am

    139: “Do you really believe Elder C’s father was a loathsome *ss of as person?” I never said he was.

    143: “Equality, although I think your comments are inappropriate for a site such as this (speaking so bitterly of the prophet doesn’t seem consistent with the purpose of this site), I do want to point out that revelation is something that is received through the Spirit from God. Each of us is entitled to such. The prophet can receive such for the entire Church. Prophetic revelation is happening all of the time.” What was bitter about what I said? No bitterness. Just the truth as I see it. Does the truth taste bitter to you? On “Prophetic revelation happening all the time,” it would seem President Hinckley disagrees with you. From his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:

    “Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy? As the prophet, tell us how that works. How do you receive divine revelation? What does it feel like?

    A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received.

    Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes. Quietly. Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind. I liken it to Elijah’s experience. When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. But in a still, small voice. Now that’s the way it works.”

    So, my statement that President Hinckley has not received any revelatiuons in his 11-year tenure, I think, is a fair one (unless you count all the revelations to increase the church’s real estate holdings, the revelation on proper numeracy in earring adornment, and such). As a statement, I think it is better described as matter-of-fact than as bitter. It has been my experience that some members of the church hear any statement made about the Prophet that is less than gushing and adulatory as “bitter” or “angry.” I am not sure why that is.

  151. Naismith on October 3, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    “If the man has the responsibility to provide for the family, and the woman is the most educated–who would reasonably become the provider?”

    That’s going to depend on a lot of factors such as who can carry a pregnancy, who can breastfeed, etc. It should not be assumed that more education = greater income. There is a lot of variability depending on the actual degree and field, etc.

    For example, a nurse anesthetist only has a master’s degree but in the U.S. they AVERAGE over $100,000 per year, whereas a lot of PhDs make far less than that.

    “Perhaps his point is that if men are to fill their designated role as providers, they ought to be at least keeping up with their wives to do it effectively.”

    Your reference to “keeping up with” makes it sound like a contest, when hopefully it is a partnership.

    If I had less education, it would be easier for my husband to “keep up” with me, but I don’t think our family would be better served.

    Anyone read OS Card’s FIRST MEETINGS lately? There is some lovely stuff about why a man would want a smarter woman, when John Paul meets Theresa.

  152. Alison Moore Smith on October 3, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    “That’s going to depend on a lot of factors such as who can carry a pregnancy, who can breastfeed, etc.”

    Last I checked labor only lasts a day or so and breastfeeding was optional. Pregnancy itself doesn’t prohibit work. And as we can see by looking across the street, giving birth hasn’t convinced most women (LDS or not) to stay home, so there’s likely something to the breadwinning besides testosterone vs. estrogen.

    “There is a lot of variability depending on the actual degree and field, etc.”

    Of course there is, but is there some correlation to education and income?

    “…hopefully it is a partnership.”

    A partnership in which God has ordained particular roles, roles that it seems President Hinckley thinks the men could do better at filling.

    “If I had less education, it would be easier for my husband to “keep upâ€? with me, but I don’t think our family would be better served.”

    Who’s promoting ease? I didn’t hear the prophet suggest that women should stop becoming educated so that the men would be on par with them. He tells the men to get to work. Funny, I take his statement as a compliment.

    “Anyone read OS Card’s FIRST MEETINGS lately? There is some lovely stuff about why a man would want a smarter woman”

    Yes, I’ve read it. But let’s note that the prophet did NOT say (to my understanding) that men should marrying women dumber than them. Nor did he say that they should be smarter than their wives. He said they should not be unequally yoked with their wives being more educated. Did I miss something? I’ll have to wait to read the whole thing.

  153. Naismith on October 4, 2006 at 11:04 am

    “Last I checked labor only lasts a day or so and breastfeeding was optional.”

    I think “preferred” would be a better adjective, since the other options are far inferior forms of infant nutrition, according to numerous studies.

    “Pregnancy itself doesn’t prohibit work.”

    Pregnancy per se may not, but for many women employment during pregnancy may be probibited by months-long bedrest or sever nausea and vomiting. (I was fired from a job during pregancy due to time missed for the latter.)

    “…is there some correlation to education and income?”

    There is overall, but it levels off significantly after a certain level I find it interesting that the focus of the PEF is on functionality of an education, and I think that is a key consideration. To apply for PEF, people have to have a clear idea of how the education plan they propose will lead to a marketable skill, and many of the PEF-funded training is technical. And yet I think Pres. Hinckley would not be disappointed in a young man who decided to become a plumber rather than an MBA.

    President Hinckley started out that section of the talk by saying, “discipline yourselves” to get the education you need to support your family. I think that was the key point, rather than the years or type of education per se.

    Fact is, for many people, getting advanced education is about vanity or enjoyment. I don’t think President Hinckley is endorsing those attitudes. My husband’s family is very educated, and at one point my FIL said that it was too bad my brother hadn’t gone to college. It was all I could do not to slap him. I was finally able to feel pity for his bigotry. That particular brother is a chef, and was earning more money than either of that man’s sons, for all their advanced degrees. My brother only has an associate’s degree, but he apprenticed at a respected restaurant, which involved lots of early and late hours for several years. In other words, he exhibited the “discipline” that President Hinckley talked about. He is also very well read and informed on a bunch of topics and current events that the supposedly more educated people don’t have time for, because of their single-minded focus on their specific area of expertise. Although his wife has an MSW (social work) I don’t think any of their friends would consider them “unequally yoked.”

    I am also looking forward to reading the talk in the Ensign because hopefully a source of the statistics will be provided. It was clearly only US, but ambiguous as to whether references to Young Men were capitalized or not–whether this was a trend in the US of which we should be aware (which has been around for some time), or if it was an actual trend in the church (which would be new). The stats on university students in particular sounded like it was all US students, not just LDS.

  154. Dan on October 4, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Equality (#150),

    To go from “We don’t need much revelation” (Pres. Hinckley) to “President Hinckley has not received any revelations in his 11-year tenure” (you) may be matter-of-fact statement as you said, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.
    Allow me to make a leap of my own. That statement sounds like the thinking of someone who really, really desires a reason to believe that our current prophets are not inspired, because logically, it would follow that the commandments and commitments they teach can be questioned and/or discarded.
    In reality, I don’t find that to be too much of a leap, because I think I’ve been there intellectually and spiritually during a difficult period of my life.

  155. manaen on October 4, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    FWIW, as a formerly would-be teacher, there’s a large difference between “training” and “education” — the name of the PEF notwithstanding. I’m all for training people to make a greater economic contribution to society for which we receive greater remuneration. I’m also all for educating people to be wiser: more generous, more loving, making better decisions, having a longer view, to be perfect (complete) people.

    “Gaining knowledge is one thing, and applying it is another. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character. A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and mathematics; he may be an authority in physiology, biology, or astronomy. He may know all about whatever has been discovered pertaining to general and natural science, but if he does not, with this knowledge, have that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellowmen and to practice virtue and honesty, he is not a truly educated man.”
    David O. McKay

  156. Rosalynde Welch on October 4, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    “He said [men] should not be unequally yoked with their wives being more educated.”

    Alison, I’m not intending to pick a fight with you, but I think it’s important to stress that this is NOT what President Hinckley said (to my knowledge; I wasn’t there). The instruction was to get all the education they can. Period. He then asked rhetorically whether the young men wanted to be married to women whose education far surpassed their own, the implication being that they wouldn’t want to and thus should get their butts in gear. I think this suggests that the rhetorical question was meant as a motivation to follow the counsel—-NOT as a normative part of the counsel itself. That is to say, I don’t think President Hinckley would see anything inherently wrong with a wife having a PhD and her husband, say, an MBA.

  157. Naismith on October 4, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    “this is NOT what President Hinckley said (to my knowledge; I wasn’t there). ”

    It’s available in the archives. The ASL version also has audio. The bit about education is the third point in a list of ways they could improve, after slouchy cothing and profanity. Maybe 2/5 of the way through the talk.

  158. Left Field on October 4, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    In President Hinckley’s second paragraph (quoted in comment 150), he directly states that he does receive revelation. (“We pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes.”) He even goes on to describe how it happens and what it feels like, as he was asked. So, no I don’t think it’s fair to quote that statement as evidence of no revelation. Perhaps we can try again and find one where he says, “we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it DOESN’T come.”

  159. mullingandmusing (m&m) on October 5, 2006 at 1:40 am

    158
    Yes. Also, I also believe revelation is involved in the preparing and giving of talks. There have been plenty of comments from those involved in the Church at the highest levels that also indicate that revelation occurs when they make decisions — even administrative ones. I sense there are some who define prophetic revelation as the big stuff — like the 1978 decision, for example. Just because we don’t have any earth-shattering changes doesn’t mean that the Church isn’t being led by revelation on a constant basis.

    That said, I think the Proclamation, the PEF, small temples and other changes that have furthered the work are also examples of revelation that is alive and well.

  160. Equality on October 5, 2006 at 10:45 am

    Left Field, Dan, and mullingandmusing:

    I don’t doubt that leaders of the church claim to receive revelation in administering the church. My statement about GBH not receiving a revelation in 11 years was really pointing to the lack of any declaration of received wisdom from God that is above and beyond what one could reasonably expect an intelligent and experienced person to produce on his own accord. In other words, I see no value in a “revelation” that, say, changes a temple recommend’s validity period from one year to two years. Or a “revelation” that adds another Quorum of the Seventy to the church bureaucracy. It seems that many members of the church, apparently including the leaders at the highest levels, do not really take seriously the idea that the Prophet is the spokesperson for God to the whole world. I think that if God is really speaking to the world through the leader of a tiny sect based in the Intermountain West, that He might have something to say about war, poverty, disease, starvation, social injustice, the dangers facing the world from global warming, and so forth. I think it not unreasonable to expect that someone sustained as a “seer” might actually “see” something the rest of us can’t and report on it.

    Dan, you said:
    “That statement sounds like the thinking of someone who really, really desires a reason to believe that our current prophets are not inspired, because logically, it would follow that the commandments and commitments they teach can be questioned and/or discarded.
    In reality, I don’t find that to be too much of a leap, because I think I’ve been there intellectually and spiritually during a difficult period of my life.”

    Hmm, interesting assumption. In other words: “Equality, you’re just looking for reasons not to believe the prophets so you can sin.” Second only in popularity to the insult levied by Elder Bednar at GC: that those who become disaffected do so because they are offended. It’s either a desire to sin or taking offense. How easy it is to dismiss any rational criticism if you can impugn the motives and integrity of those who question. In reality, there are many people in the world who claim to be “inspired,” who claim they speak for God. I think it reasonable to examine the evidence carefully when such claims are made. Examining President Hinckley’s record, I find nothing in his statements to indicate that he has any more wisdom than your average man of his age. I find not a single original thought. I see lots of platitudes, cliches, and generalized regurgitations of conventional wisdom. What has he ever said that you didn’t already know? What specifically has he done that is evidence of divine inspiration? The PEF? That’s a pretty simple program, really. Charities and universities have used endowments for many years. The Proclamation? Again, where is the original thought there? It looks like it was written by committee (which it probably was). Small temples? That took a revelation? Is that it? That’s all we’ve got? That’s my point exactly. We have people flying planes into skyscrapers, a war in the middle east, hurricanes flooding our cities, tsunamis killing hundreds of thousands, and what do we hear from President Hinckley? All about the many places and people he’s seen in his years as a General Authority. “Be good.” “Stand a little taller.” And sentimental stories told for the umpteenth time about the Willie and Martin handcart companies. Yes, I think there is something wrong with a church that claims to be led by the God of the Universe Himself but where the most exciting “revelation” one can envision coming from the Brethren has to do with cutting the Sunday meeting schedule from 3 hours to 2.

    Dan, you don’t know me so you should probably not assume that I am looking for reasons not to believe because there are commandments I am just dying to break without guilt. I assure you that’s not the case. If I don’t believe, it’s because President Hinckley hasn’t given me much to believe in. Again, stated matter-of-factly and not bitterly, just in case anyone might wonder.

  161. Rosalynde Welch on October 5, 2006 at 11:36 am

    Equality, I’d like to remind you of the second item of the T&S comment policy: “As a general matter, Times and Seasons is a forum for believing members or for others who are willing to respect members’ beliefs. ”

    You’re welcome to participate here regardless of your personal beliefs on prophetic revelation, but your most recent comments go some distance beyond the pale of respect for believing LDS members. Please find a more respectful way to formulate your criticisms of individuals whom most participants in this forum revere. If you’re unable to do so, there are plenty of other forums available for your venting.

  162. DV on October 5, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    Rosalynde,

    I understand your concern with Equality\’s comments not being strictly in line with the policies of T & S. His analysis makes a good point. We claim that our Prophet is the Prophet for the entire world, yet he has remained strangely silent regarding worldwide incidents that Equality mentions, such as the WTC, a war in the middle east, hurricanes flooding our cities, and tsunamis killing hundreds of thousands. Wouldn\’t it be nice if President Hinckley were to address these issues directly? Or better yet, wouldn\’t it be great if he were to predict some of them and issue warnings through the church hierarchy to individual stakes? The lack of this foresight is problematic to many of us.

    I spoke with another active friend of mine the other day, and he admitted to me that he struggled for six months with his testimony because in the Prophet\’s interview with Larry King, when King asked \”Do you speak with God?\” his answer was \”Well I would hope so.\” My friend\’s testimony was almost shattered instantly because President Hinckley didn\’t boldly declare \”YES, I DO.\”

    I think Equality makes many valid points in his comments that need to be addressed by the church leadership.

  163. Brad Kramer on October 5, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Equality,

    In general I sympathize with your concern about the dearth of “fully-fledged” revelations presented to the Church from those whom we believe to be prophets, seers, and revelators. I myself have, in my more honest moments, wondered whether “revelator” is not something of a stretch. However, for me the notion of a person–say, Gordon B Hinckley–being an oracle or mouthpiece of God is much more subtle than a mere quantative assessment of “officially” revelatory pronouncements directed to the church during his tenure.

    I attended a fireside with my wife several years back at which President Hinckley spoke. He was sharply dressed (a light grey suit with a jet black tie and matching pocket-kerchif). I remember being somewhat surprised at his remarks, not because he said anything earth-shattering in itself, but because he seemed to deviate from his admitedly typical “platitudes, cliches, and generalized regurgitations of conventional wisdom,” at least topically, if not stylistically. He warned his audience against the dangers of pessimism, of fearfulness, of cynicism. He decried the negative, prone-to-criticize, venomous nature of both syndicated columnists and letter-to-editor writers. He plead with us to “stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight,” suggesting that we “turn from the negativism that so permeates our modern society and look for the remarkable good” and allow “optimism [to] replace pessimism, [and] our faith [to] exceed our fears.” He suggested that there would be trouble ahead, but that we should not despair, but “Look for the sunlight through the clouds.” ” I am not suggesting,” he reminded us, “that you simply put on rose-colored glasses to make the world about you look better. I ask, rather, that you look above and beyond the negative, the cynical, the critical, the doubtful, to the positive and the affirmative.” He relayed the story of the ruler of the synagogue who, while pleading for Jesus to heal his daughter, learned from his servant that she had already died. Jesus told him, “be not afraid, only believe.”

    “I commend,” echoed President Hinckley, ” those tremendous words to you. Be not afraid, only believe.”

    Now, I admit, there is nothing remarkable or obviously prophetic or revelatory in itself here. Indeed, at the time the words struck me as somewhat unexpected (I had never heard him speak with such emphasis on the subject of optimism and not letting fear drive us), but I didn’t really walk out a changed man. It wasn’t until a few days later that the significance of what he said really hit me.

    You can read his remarks online, probably at the Church’s website. It was a CES fireside. The title of the address is “Be Not Afraid, Only Believe,” delivered at the Conference Center on September 9, 2001.

  164. Equality on October 5, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    Rosalynde,

    I apologize if I have violated any of the T&S comment policies; if I did so, it was unintentional. I have great respect for most of the beliefs of members of the church (as an aside, I wonder whether the T&S comment policy you cite is not overly broad–some members of the church believe people with dark skin were less valiant in the pre-existence and have the “curse of Cain” on them; some members of the church believe that the Civil Rights movement was part of a Communist conspiracy. I assume it is OK for me to not respect these particular “members’ beliefs”). Incidentally, I am a member of the church, as is much of my family. Does this mean people who post here, in order to comply with the comments policy, should respect my beliefs? I am active in my ward, in which there are a number of people I consider friends. I have tried to express my doubts and critical questions respectfully and intelligently without hostility, vitriol, or venom. While I disagree with the opinions of some who post here and do not share the same enthusiasm for some of the teachings and practices of the church to which we belong, I do not consider disagreement to be equivalent to disrespect.

    Brad,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response to my post. I am familiar with the talk. The date it was given is significant and interesting. I see it as support for my position; you, I take it, see it as support for yours. Funny how two people can look at the same thing and come away with different conclusions. I guess if President Hinckley really is receiving revelation, my problem is not with him but with the God who is supposed to be talking to him.

    Respectfully,

    Equality.

  165. Brad Kramer on October 5, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Equality,

    I don’t expect that learning the content of GBH’s speech will asuage or even mitigate the very real concerns and questions you have–and i certainly don’t wish to belittle those concerns. For me, it wasn’t the words themselves that provided the witness. As I said, I was intrigued by them, but by no means overwhelmed. Presumably, if he used the fireside as an occasion to warn Church members not to go to work if the worked at the WTC, more eyebrows would’ve been raised. I personally very much doubt he knew what was coming. And I also doubt that such a direct and explicit warning would have convinced anyone that he is a prophet, seer, or revelator. But the totality of the experience–the subtle intrigue of the moment, the gravity of the subsequent events, the forcefulness with which my mind was driven to remembrance of his message, the meaning and significance they then assumed in hindsight, and the spiritual intensity of that moment–for me constituted a powerful confirmation, not that he could read and predict the future but that he was a chosen servant of God to lead his people. I really believe that. Sadly, judging by the enthusiams with which an appearantly overwhelming majority of Church members (at least here in Utah) quickly jumped on the Coulter/Hannity/Cheney bandwagon of fear-driven, fear-mongering, apocalyptic vengefulness of post 9/11 kill-all-evil-doers hysteria, my experience of the impact of President Hinckley’s words was less than typical.

    My sincerest regards as you navigate the murky waters where faith and doubt run into each other.

  166. Dan on October 5, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    Equality,

    I don’t mean to pile on, but I have to say I think I can see where you are coming from to some extent. Don’t think that I am acusing you of sexual misbehavior, but your words reminded me so much of the arguments I hear from people in that situation, and things I have thought as my testimony has wavered at times over the years. There have been times recently (especially during my recent time in Iraq) where I have really wished the Prophets would address the pressing issues of our day and give us some perspective on the insanity we are seeing around us all the time. I think their treatments of indebtedness, porn, racism, and abuse are all inspired (revealed), but as far as answers to the big perplexities of our time, I feel like I have had to seek those on my own. It has been difficult at times for me to hear priority given to people’s sexual behavior in Conference and other talks, while seeing images of children with limbs blown off by terrorist bombs across the world. It’s very hard for me to be bothered about my neighbors wanting a same-sex marriage when people are being tortured and killed in the name of religion and whole nations live in the worst kind of oppression and our environment is so polluted.
    I guess all I can say is that as I have sought answers on my own, I have found a lot of them, and my mind has been quieted time and time again regarding the lack of guidance coming from the Prophets on these things. I read the Book of Mormon in Iraq, and I found more answers and helpful ways of thinking about the problems of our time than I had ever seen in the book before. I know it sounds cliche to say “read your scriptures and pray,” but that is how I’ve found peace of mind about the issue you seem to be articulating. I wish I could say more on that, but that’s all I’ve got…

  167. mullingandmusing (m&m) on October 6, 2006 at 2:41 am

    I think if we think there is a lack of guidance about the pressing issues of the day, then perhaps we might not be hearing what is really being said.

    I have a completely different sense about what has been discussed in these last few comments. The prophets are giving us the guidance and direction that will enable us to hold to the rod as the mists continue to get more intense. They ARE warning us, they ARE teaching us, they ARE instructing us. The answer to ALL of the problems in the world is to move forth God’s work that they lead with more fervor, more dedication, and more trust in those who lead us. Elder Holland reminded us of that fact. We are living in the last days, about which prophets ancient and modern have spoken, warned and taught. As Dan said, the Book of Mormon has guidance for our day. In addition, our prophets are being led by God as to what to say to us so that His work can move forward.

    Assuredly, He cares a great deal about all the evil in the world. But He also told us a long time ago these days — perilous times — would come. And what are we to do about these perilous times? Continue to follow and live the gospel!

    This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [Paul then lists a bunch of evils of the last days and then counsels}
    But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
    And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    All scripture [including what comes from living prophets] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
    (2 Tim. 3:1, 14-17)

    While clearly our leaders ache for the evils and wrongs in the world (Pres. Hinckley said as much just this weekend), and do much administer relief and alleviate suffering, they also realize that temporal salvation for people — freedom from hunger, oppression, war, etc. — is only temporary, and not the ultimate purpose of the gospel nor of their role. Our leaders are also charged with keeping us on course spiritually so we don’t lose THAT war, and so the work can go forward as broadly as quickly as possible. They are charged with trying to keep Satan’s power at bay as much as possible, and that comes through living the gospel in righteousness. THAT is ultimately the answer to the world’s ills. Christ and His gospel are the answer to all the problems that perplex the world, and sometimes perplex us and weigh us down. This is what our prophets teach. Christ and His gospel.

    Think of what the Millenium will be and WHY it will be that way. It won’t be primarily about temporal well-being. It will be a time of peace because of righteousness of the people and the reign of the Savior. THAT is what will bind Satan (“And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power…for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.” 1 Ne. 22:26)) If we focus only on the symptoms of the devil’s reign over the earth right now, we will miss the boat. Our prophets can help us keep the Lord’s big picture in mind. Those children who suffer have their salvation. Not a hair is lost without God’s awareness. There is more to life than this life. We must remember the purpose of this life and Christ’s atonement. He will make all those things right!! The question is more about what each of us does to come to Him and help others to do the same.

    Incidentally, I’m a little confused about the comment about things like the Proclamation and other prophetic teachings as being ordinary or common sense. If that is so, why is there such opposition to these common sense teachings? The irony is that for all the common sense we may here, we see the world, and sometimes even some in the Church, following a different path, following the world’s “common sense.” The only way I know to sort through all the loud voices is to look to and listen intently to and follow our prophets’ counsel. Their counsel is what can keep us tied to God. As we follow that counsel, we can find the God who is giving it. That has been my experience.

    Equality, I pray you may be able to find God in spite of what you don’t see happening. I pray you can see what is happening in His work, and find Him therein.

  168. Juliann on October 8, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    The comments about the ironing story are much more interesting than the story because they demonstrate what an appalling grasp of history some have. The critics are obviously thinking “why can’t the guy just pick up my wrinkle resistant fabric shirt and iron it with my light and nimble iron that shuts itself off in 15 minutes because that is all the time it takes to use it.” This probably happened before my time…but in the 50s ironing was an all day activity for my mom. EVERYTHING was ironed. Even the bedsheets. She put the clothes in a bag the size of a volkswagon and spent the day watching our newly acquired little black and white TV. Later I remember a machine that ironed shirt sleeves and pant legs and such but by the 60s ironing wasn’t a mainstay of life anymore. However, it was considered to be a SKILL that it was one of the competitions on that lovely “Mrs. America” contest when it first started.

    So lets see…the husband could have taken a day off work each week to do it. Or they could have sold the house and hired someone. The boys could stay home from school (we all know kids back then only played video games and had all sorts of time) and burn all the clothes (and themselves) as they learned how to do it. And most of all…we all know that we are only in pain when we iron, right? She never had a lick of difficulty doing anything else. In that time period, a woman’s identity was caring for her family. I can’t imagine the speaker telling this story if his mother had been offended in any way…it obviously touched her to the core. But then…I remember the first TVs, the first TV dinners, the first microwaves…and the ooohhhsss and ahhhsss when anyone we knew purchased one. This would not have been just a means to an end to get the ironing done…it would have carried great meaning to anyone around them because it was such a luxury.

    I have seen this topic on more than one message board and the petty mean spirited attacks have been astonishing. Have we hit the age when an older person no longer can discuss his life and what was meaningful in it because some are so clueless that they can’t step out of their own confined feel good world for even an instant?