Sunday General Conference Open Thread

October 1, 2006 | 120 comments
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Continue discussions from yesterday, or start new ones. Share with us what you’ve gotten out of conference, or what you hope to get.

120 Responses to Sunday General Conference Open Thread

  1. roland on October 1, 2006 at 11:53 am

    KSL radio plastered at least two ads into the middle of the live audio feed for Music and the Spoken Work this AM. What\’s up with that?

  2. Nehringk on October 1, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    Interesting — and gratifying — to see that President Hinckley is conducting. What a great man!

  3. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    If we don’t have a solid foundation of faith and testimony of truth, we may have difficulty withstanding the harsh storms and icy winds of adversity which inevitably come to each of us.
    - President Monson

  4. rich on October 1, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    1. Prayer
    2. Scripture Study
    3. Service

    Odd that a talk on foundations would not directly mention Jesus or quote Helaman 5:12: \”it is upon the rock of Christ . . . that ye must build your foundation.

    An inspiring talk, and all of it true, but we ignore the Savior.

  5. Eric Nielson on October 1, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    We are literally spirit chiildren of God. L. Tom Perry

  6. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    How can we gain and maintain the foundation necessary to survive spiritually in the world in which we live?
    1. Fortify your foundation through prayer. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed.
    2. Study the sriptures and meditate therein, day and night, as counseled by the Lord in the book of Joshua.
    3. Involve service. It is the service that counts—the Lord’s service.
    - President Monson

  7. rich on October 1, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    actually . . . they were given the choice to obey or disobey God \”but remember that I forbid it\”

    also Alma \”fallen state . . . which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience . . .\” Alma 42:12

    and the resurrection didn\’t just restore body and spirit . . . it reunites man and God \”and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God\” Alma 42:23.

    we also ignore what the BofM clearly teaches

  8. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    @rich,

    We pray in the name of Christ. We study the words of Christ in the scriptures. And when we serve others, we are serving Him. So yes, all three of these precepts found us upon the rock of Christ.

  9. rich on October 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    i love edgley

    way to target the heart of lying:

    greed, arrogance, disrespect

    honesty is rooted in care for the other . . .

    love the way he’s making clear that honesty (or lying) is a flower on a much bigger plant. we don’t get to honesty by trying to be honest. we get to honesty by learning to love, respect, care for others.

    “there will never be honesty in the school, workplace, etc. . . . until there is honesty in the heart”

    “honesty is the basis of a true Christian life.”

  10. Seth R. on October 1, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Elder Edgely’s talk is really quite excellent.

    We really have lost that old pioneer integrity he describes. Not just “out there in the world,” but in the Church. I even hear flippant or dismissive talk about “such trifles” here on the bloggernacle.

  11. rich on October 1, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    Conner:

    then why not teach those three things that way? why not explicitly call it out? all i’m pointing out is that we tend to ignore Jesus–rather than emphasize him–in our talks. and this starts at the top.

  12. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    There will never be honesty anywhere until there is honesty in the heart.
    - Bishop Edgley

  13. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    then why not teach those three things that way?

    He who hath ears to hear shouldn’t have a problem discerning that Christ permeates all of it.

    all i’m pointing out is that we tend to ignore Jesus–rather than emphasize him–in our talks. and this starts at the top.

    Then we’ve been listening to different general conferences. I’ve heard a plethora of references to the Savior, his atonement and sacrifice, and his teachings. Are you sure you’re watching the same one as me? :)

  14. Doug on October 1, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Just a funny observation: the towell and newspaper visual aid had a headline which (at leaat the part showing on the fold): “Amedinijad undermines UN”.I got a good laugh out of that.

  15. Doug on October 1, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    A serious comment: I have tried to not say “hooray for so-and-so” or “I hope everyone is listening to this talk!” Instead I try to listen for things that are directed toward me where I need to make improvements. But I find myself occasionally slipping into the other mentality.

  16. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    bright lights from the primary: sister lifferth

    what a talk

    “and a child shall lead them”

    “as we seek him and his spirit to help us, we will see a miracle. we will recognize that our own hearts are changing and that we too are becoming . . . meek, submissive, patient, full of love”

    WOW. this is a great talk.

  17. Eric Nielson on October 1, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Was that one Christ centered enough Rich?

    Seemed that way to me. Glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Only one verse of the hymn.. guess they were running behind schedule. :)

  19. Eric Nielson on October 1, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    These snares are hugh. Many have been caught in them. I can’t see the images, who is speaking now?

  20. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Some of Satan’s snares:

    Snare of false inadequacy.
    Snare of exaggerated imperfection.
    Snare of needless guilt.

    Amen. These plague many of the Saints.

  21. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Eric, this is Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the Seventy.

  22. Silver on October 1, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    three towels go back
    integrity is restored
    honest hearts rejoice

  23. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    Did anybody catch item #1 of Elder Perkin’s remedy for these snares?

  24. Mark Butler on October 1, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    One should understand that the doctrine of the priesthood, and of Relief Society, and of marriage and family, is indeed the doctrine of (the body of) Christ – a body sustained and upheld by righteous, Christ-like relationships between each member, the very (and only) means by which we may become like Him, bearing the same glory that he does.

    For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the at-one-ment of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
    (Mosiah 3:19)

  25. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    Elder Perkins:

    “Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand the mercies that thou has bestowed upon them because of thy son.” My favorite scripture.

    “Jesus is mighty to save.”

    My comment that we “ignore Jesus” was overly broad. I stand corrected by Elder Perkins and Sister Lifferth.

  26. Mike A. on October 1, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    Connor, Item #1 on Elder Perkin’s list of remedy’s was “See yourself as a child of a loving Heavenly Father”

  27. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    Other citations of Alma 33:16 in past conferences:

    Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord
    Gene R. Cook, “Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord,� Ensign, May 1993, 79

    Couldn’t find another one.

    Really an extraordinary scripture that hasn’t received much attention. Glad to see Elder Perkins used it.

  28. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    i love it when prophets don’t just testify but “SO testify”

  29. Silver on October 1, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Alma’s snare escaped
    The Lord’s grace is offered still
    God’s loving hands heal

  30. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    curious about this “gathered to all their lands of promise” remark and the way he construed it to mean that the current country of origin of each member is somehow now their particular promised land.

    anyone know the origin of this idea?

  31. queuno on October 1, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    My wife just yelled, “THANK YOU!” to Elder Nelson’s quote about Zion being where you are. Partly because of crap she gets from the “why don’t you move back to Utah?” minions, but MOSTLY because of all of the illegal immigrants she met through her mission that migrated to Utah immediately after GC, so that they could “live in Zion”.

    [She served in a non-Utah American Spanish-speaking mission, but encountered lots of Mexican members who had migrated to the US en route to Utah to live in Zion. Some of them had used her mission's locale as a stopping point.]

    By the way – choir’s hymn sung at 11:30 MDT — that’s not from the hymnal, right?

  32. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    President Hinckley is the man.

  33. kristine N on October 1, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    I didn’t recognize the song–it’s at least not one I’m familiar with

    I love pioneer stories.

  34. Nate Oman on October 1, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    “persecution by the federal government” — hurray for the the wave of the old bloody shirt!

  35. Nate Oman on October 1, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    “i love it when prophets don’t just testify but “SO testifyâ€? ”

    Indeed…

  36. Mike A. on October 1, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    “Otherwise your faith will be in vain, the preachings you have heard will be in vain, and you will sink to hell…�

  37. Nate Oman on October 1, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    I love it when President Hinckley tells this story: it’s the basis of my all-time favorite President Hinckley sermon: “Our Mission of Saving”

  38. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    The Man:

    “The president of the church belongs to the entire church. His life is not his own. His mission is to serve.”

    Straight record:

    “If I last a few months longer, I will have served to an older age than any other president of the church. I do not say this to be boastful, but grateful.”

    President Hinckley has recently experienced miraculous results in surgical operations.

    “But for whatever the time, I shall continue to give my best to the task at hand.”

    “Nothing escapes the attention of the first presidency . . . the responsibility and stress are great.”

    “We are in his hands.”

    “I feel well, my health is reasonably good.”

    “When it is time for a successor, the transition will be smooth and according to the will of the Lord.”

    TOPIC: Faith

    Specifically, moving on in uncertain or difficult circumstances with faith.

    Examples: President Young bringing an enormous group west to a place he’d never seen before (except in vision). Saints who perservered when crickets ate their crops.

    I sit here wondering how this applies to me. And then I remember he’s speaking to a church that is growing fastest in areas where the church is new, where they are every bit as much pioneers as those who settled Salt Lake.

  39. Nate Oman on October 1, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    Lots of poignant references to his wife…

  40. queuno on October 1, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    38 – How about the pioneers that settled Nauvoo? Sheesh, you Utahns and your Salt Lake City is overbearing! (big grin)

  41. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    my dad is 71 and increasingly feeble. it’s staggering to me that president hinckley is a full 25 years older and still capable of everything he does. miraculous indeed.

  42. queuno on October 1, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    I meant to say “are overbearing”.

    At any rate, I love the closing hymn – and talk of corn is making me hungry.

  43. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    woah, queuno, i’m from detroit . . .

  44. rich on October 1, 2006 at 1:58 pm

    closing prayer: “may we always remember the atoning sacrifice of thy son, of thy desire to bless us”

  45. Silver on October 1, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    faith demonstrated
    a prophet pledges his best
    a candle lights night

  46. Ben H on October 1, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    I loved the talk by that sister on caring for children. What was her name? I loved her delivery style, too. And her thoughtful reading of the 3 Nephi events at the coming of Christ from the perspective of the children. Is she new to the GC scene?

  47. Bradley Ross on October 1, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    Who is it that said a closing prayer should not be more than 30 seconds?

  48. XiGauss on October 1, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    47 – Bruce R. McConkie wrote that. I think it was in A New Witness for the Articles of Faith.

    But I’m sure some would say that was only his opinion.

  49. Keith on October 1, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    “By the way – choir’s hymn sung at 11:30 MDT — that’s not from the hymnal, right?”

    Right. It’s from Brahms’ Requiem.

  50. WillF on October 1, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Queno (#31), were you refering to the “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” from Brahms’ German Requiem (sung in English)? Here is an mp3 snippet of it in German.

  51. WillF on October 1, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    Queno, Keith beat me to it, but it was “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” from Brahms’ German Requiem (sung in English). Here is an mp3 snippet of it in German.

  52. rich on October 1, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    wow. GAs breaking way with Bruce R.’s prayer prescriptions, Motab singing songs in conference that actually AREN’T in the hymnbook. its an outright revolution.

  53. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    I liked the opening prayer of the afternon session.. these things should be our “walk and talk for the coming months ahead”.

  54. queuno on October 1, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    Rich – I was born in Detroit and raised elsewhere on the North Coast. Somehow, your comments in #38 made me think you were raised in the Utah suburb of the Church. Apologies…

  55. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Wow, Elder Packer’s talk is excellent. I look forward to reading it.

  56. dp on October 1, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    The full quote from McConkie is from the Mormon Doctrine entry on prayer, and he is (in a rare instance) quoting someone else…
    “President Francis M. Lyman, speaking of the proprieties attending the offering of prayers by the saints, gave this wise counsel: “It is not necessary to offer very long and tedious prayers, either at opening or closing. It is not only not pleasing to the Lord for us to use excess of words, but also it is not pleasing to the Latter-day Saints. Two minutes will open any kind of meeting, and a half minute will close it.””

  57. Seth R. on October 1, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    I love that quote. I wish people would follow its advice.

  58. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    We need not apologize for the church or its history. Willingly defend the history of the church. We will face the challenges; we cannot avoid them.
    - President Packer

  59. Equality on October 1, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    “We need not apologize for the church or its history. Willingly defend the history of the church. We will face the challenges; we cannot avoid them.” Well, I think that wins for most ironic statement of the entire conference, narrowly beating out Elder Ballard’s advice against using guilt as a motivational tool. Of course, maybe President Packer has a different definition of “history.” Or maybe he really means it: no apologies for the murders at Mountain Meadows or the racist statements about people of color (“let them drive Cadillacs” was a particular lowlight) or polyandry or anything else. I really am confused about President Packer’s meaning here: is he saying there is nothing unsavory in church history for which an apology woulld be justifiably expected (i.e., the correlated version of history is accurate and truthful and all else is just lies dredged up by unfaithful scholars and so-called intellectuals)? Or is he acknowledging that unsavory things happened but so what, no apology necessary because hey, this is the one true church, and the one true church doesn’t apologize. What’s your take on it, Connor?

  60. Mike A. on October 1, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    l have always really liked Pahoran the Chief Judge, and have always striven to be like him in my interactions with others who may be a bit more strong willed or enthusiastic even while mis-informed. I’m glad to hear about him in conference.

  61. Keryn on October 1, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    So during Elder Bednar’s talk, how many of us were thinking about people who had offended us? And how many of us were thinking about people who might have been offended BY us?

    I was mostly thinking of the former. But maybe I should have been concentrating on the latter. Hmmmm.

  62. rich on October 1, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    good question, equality

    on e. bednar’s talk, i’ve always figured moroni was right in ripping pahoran, and i’ve always considered pahoran’s response to be that of the simpering bureacrat with no backbone: “well, they chased me from the judgment seat and out of zarahemla, and i’ve kind of been wondering if we should go to war with them, didn’t know if it was just . . . BUT if YOU say we should go to war, then i think we should . . . so long as you lead the way . . . ”

    i think pahoran was a weak leader. i don’t know why we keep holding him up as a hero of forgiveness.

  63. Steve M. on October 1, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    I too was a bit baffled by Elder Packer\’s comments. But, whether he means that Church history does not include anything that would require our apology, or that the Church doesn\’t have to apologize for any dark or unfortunate episodes in its history, I can\’t help but think of this scripture: D&C 121:37. Didn\’t someone quote this scripture at priesthood session last night?

  64. Robert C. on October 1, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Who’s speaking now? (After the hymn “Come Ye Children of the Lord”?) Did they announce the speakers wrong, I thought they said Elder Holland was on the list of who would speak next (didn’t he speak before the “Come Ye Children…” hymn??).

  65. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    Pres. Monson announced 3 Seventies that would speak, and then Elder Holland. Before this person it was Elder Don R. Clarke, and now it is Elder Keith R. Edwards.

  66. Katie on October 1, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    I love the Christ-centric nature of this conference. It is filling my soul with joy.

  67. Robert C. on October 1, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Does this guy (Elder Edwards?) sound like Garrison Keilor (sp? Prairie Home Companion), or is it just me?

    I think I’m confused then about who spoke before “Come Ye Children…” (after Elders Bednar and Packer…), it sure sounded like Dler Holland….

  68. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    @Robert,

    After Elder Packer and Elder Bednar it was Elder A. Roger Merrill, then Elder Craig A. Cardon, then Elder Don R. Clarke, then Elder Keith R. Edwards, and now Elder Larry W. Gibbons.

  69. Steve M. on October 1, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    How many times has pornography been mentioned this conference? I’m not saying that it’s not a widespread problem, but I fear it’s becoming somewhat of a scapegoat. It’s getting to the point where we can pretty much blame any problem on pornography and everyone will nod their heads in agreement.

  70. Robert C. on October 1, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks Connor, it seems I mistook Elder Merrill for Elder Holland–this is obviously Elder Holland’s voice, I’m surprised I mistook it….

  71. Crazy Horse on October 1, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    80 -20 % Rule

    Regarding the GC reference to the 80 – 20 rule. I think this is the unspoken 14th Article of Faith in the Church, “We believe 20% of the members are doing 80% of the work.”

  72. Dan on October 1, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Equality (#59), you heard an amazing amount of things in his remarks that I didn’t hear. I think that’s pretty common with Pres. Packer, though; people find in his remarks exactly what they are looking for, regardless of what he says.

  73. Connor Boyack on October 1, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associate with any group who are so “in touch”.
    - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

    That quote (and the sentences which follow, that I couldn’t keep up with transcribing) are now to be one of my favorites. I can’t wait to get my copy of the Ensign to get the full quote and testimony. So awesome.

  74. Naismith on October 1, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    Re 70

    I agree that was an incredible talk, but I suspect it may be just a tad disappointing to read the words on paper. It was not merely the words but also the power and emotion that also had such a strong effect.

    And the closing hymn was another profound experience, that would be hard to explain to someone who wasn’t there. It went far beyond the notation that the meeting ended with Hymn No. whatever. At our chapel, though we are thousands of miles from SLC, everyone leaped to their feet when we were invited to join in.

  75. paul frandsen on October 1, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    When Elder Holland made the statement about ‘think tanks’, did anyone else get the sense that he was referring, in part, to elements of the bloggernacle?

  76. Seth R. on October 1, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    Well paul,

    I think we’d all like to think that someone outside our own little circle notices and cares.

  77. Equality on October 1, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    69.: Hmm. Ok. I was just quoting what trhe other dude quoted from Pres. Packer’s talk and asking questions about his meaning. I do find it hard to take Pres. Packer seriously with his story about people believing he had horns. It is a deft piece of magicianship he’s got going on there: characterize those who have doubts, questions, or criticisms of the church and/opr its history as being as ridiculous as someone who says Mormons have horns and then dismiss them all as one and the same with a wave of the wand. The message that comes across to his faithful listeners is that there is nothing unsavory in the church’s history that is any more worrisome than the strident ignorance exemplified by this person who allegedly believes Mormons have horns. I think Pres. Packer does a disservice to the church by these remarks. When honest people actually encounter the real, rational, substantive, information about the church that is widely available these days, and discover that, in fact, it is not of the “Mormons have horns” variety, what happens to President Packer’s credibility. In the same talk where he says we should confront church history head on, he obfuscates, deflects, and distracts with his “Mormons have horns” nonsense.

  78. random me on October 1, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    i loved elder bednar’s talk and actually thought HE had been reading here and over at fmh. his message was so well-executed. i enjoyed elder packer’s talk, too, though i admit to being distracted by the kids right around the “no apologies” part. i wondered what exactly he was getting at, but chalked it up to the distraction.

    the closing hymn was phenomenal. i couldn’t help but cry. one of my most profound church experiences was a year or two ago when the prophet visited hawai’i. he had visited twice already recently, but this particular meeting was just so great. we had combined sacraments and sacrament only so that everyone on island could either attend the actual meeting or at least the live broadcast. we went to a broadcast and our hanai family took off with our daughter, leaving my husband and i on a quasi-date. at the end, we sang “we thank thee, o god, for a prophet” and followed it with the traditional hawaiian farewell song “aloha ‘oe.” my husband turned to me at the beginning and said, “i’ll give you $100.00 if you don’t cry.” a minute later, tears were rolling down my cheeks. it was such a powerfully phenomenal moment and you could just feel it all around you. i wish we always sang “aloha ‘oe,” even on the mainland.

    my daughters LOVED that the prophet blew THEM kisses.

    jeffrey r. holland was great, as well. and i loved thomas s. monson conducting. his voice is always so comforting to me.

    my husband mentioned that president faust gave his talk from his seat last night? i missed the saturday morning session; did he speak or conduct there? i didn’t see even a snippet of him in the three sessions i attended.

    i love it when president hinckley speaks about his condition. every conference, people start chit-chatting wildly about him and his frailty. “he said he was getting older and his days were numbered!” i think ANYone at that age can assuredly say that! he looks so incredible for his age and level of busy-ness. i was raised catholic and it used to amaze me, the difference between the prophet and the younger, less travelled, less seen pope john paul ii. i used that in an argument with my mother once about which church was most correct, ha. didn’t go over so well…

  79. Equality on October 1, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    random me,

    Did you use the same argument viv-vis the Pope when President Kimball and President Benson were Prophet?

  80. Dan on October 1, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    Equality (#74), let me reiterate. You found what you were looking for in Pres. Packer’s talk, as did I. But what I found was a call to stand steady in spite of the perplexing and troubling elements of Church History as they come up. Those elements are there, along with a lot of miraculous and useful, and saving events and truths. In practice, that means that when you bring up the Mountain Meadows Massacre or what have you, I should be inclined to counter with “That is an appalling and horrific aspect of Church History that reflects the limits of the understanding of early Church members.” And then I might remind you of the miracles and other wonderful things that also took place in Church history, and articulate the spiritual reasons why I think those things actually happened and why they are the more useful things for you to focus on.
    I think that’s what Pres. Packer was asking for in defending Church history; to assume he was asking for us to lie or obfuscate or what have you implies that he is a liar and that he is intellectually dishonest himself. My study of his life and teachings (flaws and all) has changed my spirit dramatically for the better, so I am inclined to think that my positive and generous interpretation of his remarks is the more realistic one.

  81. Dan on October 1, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Oops, I meant #77

  82. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    #30
    don’t know if anyone answered about the gathering in your own country question:

    In an area conference held in Mexico City in 1972, Bruce R. McConkie said: “[The] revealed words speak of … there being congregations of … covenant people of the Lord in every nation, speaking every tongue, and among every people when the Lord comes again. …

    “The place of gathering for the Mexican Saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan Saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth. … Every nation is the gathering place for its own people.� (Mexico and Central America Area Conference, 26 Aug. 1972, p. 45.)

    The following April, President Harold B. Lee quoted those words in general conference, and, in effect, announced that the pioneering phase of gathering was now over. The gathering is now to be out of the world into the Church in every nation. (See Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 7.)

    Boyd K. Packer, “To Be Learned Is Good If … ,� Ensign, Nov. 1992, 71

  83. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    #30
    don’t know if anyone answered about the gathering in your own country question:

    In an area conference held in Mexico City in 1972, Bruce R. McConkie said: “[The] revealed words speak of … there being congregations of … covenant people of the Lord in every nation, speaking every tongue, and among every people when the Lord comes again. …

    “The place of gathering for the Mexican Saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan Saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth. … Every nation is the gathering place for its own people.� (Mexico and Central America Area Conference, 26 Aug. 1972, p. 45.)

    The following April, President Harold B. Lee quoted those words in general conference, and, in effect, announced that the pioneering phase of gathering was now over. The gathering is now to be out of the world into the Church in every nation. (See Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 7.)

    Boyd K. Packer, “To Be Learned Is Good If … ,� Ensign, Nov. 1992, 71

  84. Bruce on October 1, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    I think President Packer was referring to events that others have actually /heard/ of. Unless you read some amount of anti-Mormon stuff, you will likely never hear a thing about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. That particular event could be explained sufficiently in a few words really—something along the lines of \”Members of the church, particularly these, were far from perfect.\”

    More complicated and *well-publicized* points of misunderstanding like polygamy and the priesthood restriction are what I believe he was more specifically referring to, not minimizing other events such as the above.

    I actually found it refreshing that he would, it seems, give some of the more scholarly/apologetic types a condonation.

    That particular talk is on my top three for this conference.

  85. random me on October 1, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    i was still catholic then, equality, and was thus on the papal team.

    we came in about ten minutes before the second session started… what were they airing? it was like qvc for mormons with those survival kits. i love sticking around for the in-between stuff, but that’s all i caught this year. oh, and also my most favorite commercial with those cute girls having the tea party. what else aired? i heard gladys and her crew were to sing yesterday… did they?

  86. Alison Moore Smith on October 1, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    #56 “It is not necessary to offer very long and tedious prayers, either at opening or closing. It is not only not pleasing to the Lord for us to use excess of words, but also it is not pleasing to the Latter-day Saints.”

    Particularly to the saints with wiggly toddlers.

    #68 “How many times has pornography been mentioned this conference?”

    Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about it, too. But last night our stake president was talking to my husband after the session and said that it is the single, biggest problem he deals with in the stake. Followed closely, I presume, by excessive blogging among the bretheren.

    “…my husband mentioned that president faust gave his talk from his seat last night? i missed the saturday morning session; did he speak or conduct there? i didn’t see even a snippet of him in the three sessions i attended.”

    He spoke in the first Saturday session, from his chair.

  87. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Pres. Faust has been in a wheelchair the past few times I have seen him…groundbreakings and the RS meeting. It appears that sitting will be his lot for the remainder of his life.

  88. mullingandmusing on October 1, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    I’m just now getting a chance to listen to the last session, hence all my comments at once. :) I just wanted to say that I’ve been deeply moved by the fervor and power of so many of the talks and testimonies. Elder Bednar was bold; Elder Holland was powerful. I have been moved by many other talks. What a feast!

    I thank God for prophets! (Listening to the closing song….)

  89. Steve M. on October 1, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t deny that pornography is a problem, although I do think that its treatment in GC talks has become somewhat cliche’d. It’s seemingly become the archetype of evil in LDS rhetoric, which is why I worry that, at times, it may become a scapegoat for other issues. I also worry that, for as much as we talk about and condemn pornography, we don’t really give those people who struggle with it any substantial amount of practical counsel.

    For instance, in Priesthood Session, President Hinckley read a letter from a man who had been addicted to pornography since his teens. The man mentioned an incident in his youth in which he was molested by an extended relative, who used pornography to entice him. He could directly trace his involvement with pornography to this traumatic event. I was very impressed that President Hinckley implied the relevance of such an event to a porn habit, and even went so far as to call this man a “victim,” which I thought was very compassionate. However, he then went on to merely urge men to avoid pornography, in the exact same manner as has been done over the last few conferences. He didn’t give any counsel that would really be useful to a man like the one who had written the letter, who had been a slave to pornography for years, possibly as the result of childhood trauma. Perhaps this is a problem that local authorities are more fit to address, as no two porn cases are alike, but I would personally like to hear some counsel of this type, or at least some words of hope and encouragement, given in General Conference. It seems as if such tragic cases are typically presented as examples of how enslaving pornography can be, to the neglect of providing these victims with any real hope for change.

    Although, my wife told me that someone in the Saturday morning session (Elder Oaks?) gave a talk that communicated more hope to compulsive porn users (or “addicts,” as the Brethren call them). Maybe I should shut my mouth until I get a chance to read that talk.

  90. random me on October 1, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    ah, i thought maybe that was president faust in the wheelchair, but could only see from the far and away camera shot, so i wasn’t sure. does he appear well otherwise? i can’t recall having seen him at all recently.

    my husband loves giving talks on prayer. he always quotes the “thirty seconds to open and a minute to close” or whatever the quote is in addition to the one alison mentioned. i listen well, can’t you tell? heck, those could even be the same quote for al i know…

  91. Steve M. on October 1, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    BTW, I thought Elder Perkins’ talk was great, although many of the symptoms he mentioned could be attributed to depression/mental illness, in which case, reading our scriptures/praying/going to the temple more may not be a sufficient remedy. I must admit that I would love to hear mental illness addressed directly in conference.

  92. Bruce on October 1, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    The church (via LDS Family Services) fairly recently released a pamphlet on pornography. It\’s a good step in straightforwardness. http://www.lds.org/topics/pdf/LetVirtueGarnishThyThoughts.pdf

  93. Jazz Lawton on October 1, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    Conference was AWESOME!!! I will be selling my time-share in Babylon. My only concern is that based on the counsel given in conference today there may be a real estate bust in Babylon if everyone who has a summer home there sells at the same time. Seriously, conference was great — real estate bust or not!

  94. Anita on October 1, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    Reliable word has it that Pres. Faust’s health is fine, he just has a balance problem and that’s why he’s seated now.

  95. Gary on October 1, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    mullingandmusing (#83 & #84), re the gathering

    It is interesting that President Lee chose to use the words of Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoken eight months earlier to announce this major shift in policy.

    Bruce (#92), at the bottom of page 14 in the pamphlet you’ve linked is a link to another LDS.org resource page on pornography, and there is yet another helpful page at Provident Living.

  96. ann onny moose on October 1, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    #89
    They caution men (and young men, and anyone else…) to avoid pornography because it\’s like heroin; it only takes once to get hooked. And (in my experience) those men who have become hooked have a very difficult time admitting it to their presiding authorities. I know because my husband still hasn\’t admitted his problem, despite several opportunities to do so. It\’s mentioned so much because the addicts are not the only ones in their families to suffer. It changes the relationship with both wife and children. They frequently don\’t want to have FHE, family prayer, scripture study, etc, and isolate themselves from their families because of their anger at self, God and others. Scapegoat for everything? Maybe. A lot more than just a guy looking at nekkid wimmen? Absolutely.

    There is hope for change, as stated in several talks; it only comes from admitting sin and placing yourself under the atoning power of Christ. But only the \”addict\” can do that; it can\’t be done on his/her behalf. And that\’s where I heard the talks focusing, both at this and other conferenced. YMMV, of course.

  97. Alison Moore Smith on October 1, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    #89 “However, he then went on to merely urge men to avoid pornography, in the exact same manner as has been done over the last few conferences.”

    I think you are likely right. Honestly, isn’t this really the bottom line of avoiding any kind of sin? Avoiding it?

    Fairly recently I was involved in an online discussion with a number of women, some of whom have hubands who commit this sin and two who were dating men involved in it and wondering aloud if they should go ahead and marry them. Let’s avoid for a second the topic of why women are idiots and look at some of the responses to the porn issue. (OK, so the responses also confirm idiocy…)

    The general approach was to “try really hard,” “pray about it,” rejoice when the guy had been “sober” for five straight weeks, and then be really, super, duper understanding when he had a “slight setback every once in a while.” Gag.

    Now, let me tell you about a real-life friend who’s husband was extremely, heavily involved in porn. She did decided to stay with him, but the satellite is gone, the online access is gone, along with a bunch of other things that provided access. He learned to adjust to the difficulty and inconvenience and even career problems of being utterly off-line for the sake of his family and his covenants.

    But do we really need the GA’s to tell us to get rid of the access and temptation? When was the last time you heard a conference talk that said, “OK, everyone with drug problems, please stop hanging out on the corner with your dealer. And the crack house might not be the best place to socialize either.” or “Adulterers are well advised stop meeting members of the opposite sex in hotels and dark alleys.”

  98. random me on October 2, 2006 at 12:02 am

    i find it interesting that someone can generally control their inappropriate online behavior at work, church, and so on, yet the same person is a helpless addict when it comes to the home computer.

  99. Mike A. on October 2, 2006 at 12:09 am

    “i find it interesting that someone can generally control their inappropriate online behavior at work, church, and so on, yet the same person is a helpless addict when it comes to the home computer.”
    knowing a few IT administrators for both churches and businesses, apparently there is a big problem with people viewing pornography on those work computers.

  100. random me on October 2, 2006 at 12:48 am

    i used “generally” with great purpose. :)

  101. Mike A. on October 2, 2006 at 1:01 am

    (re #62)
    “i think pahoran was a weak leader. i don’t know why we keep holding him up as a hero of forgiveness.”
    Rich, are you freakin kidding me? First, are you claiming that the bretheren are interpreting this scripture incorectly? If so, what is the purpose of the inclusion of Alma 60-61?

    I don’t think at all he was just waiting around for Moroni to tell him what to do. He said that he and the freemen were chased to the land of Gideon and that he had already sent a proclamation and that people were flocking daily. They were making plans to go back and retake the government- but he felt some hesitation because of you know- fighting against your own countrymen. Moroni’s letter gave him confidence in doing what he was already going to do, but he asked Moroni to come lead them because he was humble enough to recognize his own strengths and weaknesses.

    Alma 60-61 aren’t set up to be a “isn’t he great for forgiving” story, they are a “see, the whole idea is to have the attitude of ‘there’s nothing to forgive’ and to recognize people’s intentions and get over it.”
    They teach me how to respond to people who are over-excited about their stewardships, who are overbearing unintentionally, and wh go about getting things done differently than I might. It also shows me that even great spiritual people can handle things in less than perfect manners at times. I think if a lot of people would realize their leaders are just human and the church is full of inperfect, but exceptionally good or good intentioned people things would go a whole lot better.

  102. mullingandmusing (m&m) on October 2, 2006 at 1:08 am

    But do we really need the GA’s to tell us to get rid of the access and temptation?

    I think the fact that we hear so much about this only means that it is a serious, serious problem, affecting far more people in the Church than we want to think. That is my suspicion, anyway. I would also suspect that pornography is often at the root of adultery or other infidelity issues as well. I don’t think we are hearing about crack houses because that’s not as big of an issue. Not that we don’t hear about these things, but I think we need to think about why we hear about it so much. (The reason I dont’ want to hear about it any more is because I just don’t want it to be an issue like it is. I have a couple of good friends whose lives were shattered by this pernicious evil. It is SO addictive and SO hard for individuals to overcome. Incidentally, though, I thought Elder Oaks’ talk was awesome — the hope for those who do have this struggle comes from turning to Christ.)

    I wonder what advice women in such situations should get, Alison. If the problem is as widespread as it appears, should women not ever get involved with a man who has had such a temptation? I don’t have an answer…just posing a question. It’s a tough situation, because, again, I just suspect the problem is more widespread than we want to perhaps think it is.

    I appreciated the focus on agency on so many topics: pornography, being offended, 80/20 membership, leaving summer homes in Babylon…. Elder Hales gave his entire talk on that topic last Conference. Either that’s something I’m more aware of because I’ve been thinking about it more, or we are hearing more about that doctrine of acting and not being acted upon. It’s probably been there all along….

  103. Sasha on October 2, 2006 at 2:20 am

    I am glad that the brethren speak against pornography so much. It is a huge problem because of the number of people involved and because it is so damaging spiritually. There can never be too much said on the subject. However, since every victim is different, specific counsel is needed for each case. That is why I feel that the GA’s counsel is sufficient enough because its intent is to get a person to seek counsel from his/her local leader who has ecclesiastical authority and the gift of discernment for his flock.

  104. Steve M. on October 2, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Gosh, I recognize that pornography is a serious problem. I said that right up front. I just think that merely saying, “Don’t look at it any more” doesn’t really help those who are involved in it. They know not to look at it, and I would say that the majority of them don’t want to view porn. It destroys their self-confidence, it hurts their family relationships, it distances them from God. There may be some who seek to justify the habit, but among active LDS porn users, I believe that the majority recognize the serious consequences of the compulsion, but unfortunately, they’re trapped. It takes more than frequent injunctions to not view porn to help them change. In fact, I fear that the incessant condemnation may have an effect exactly opposite of what is intended.

    The porn habit is fueled by guilt, low self-esteem, and internalized shame. I see a lot of GC talks intensifying that shame and confirming compulsive porn users’ suspicions that they really are evil, and perhaps even a lost cause. This will likely lead to further binging, no matter no strong their resolve is to kick the habit.

    People don’t get over this problem unless they can again come to view themselves as inherently good people with good desires. They need to build self-confidence. They need to realize that they aren’t a lost cause. They need to feel comfortable opening up about their struggles, to a wife, priesthood leader, and/or therapist. I don’t get the feeling that many GC talks that deal with porn really help users move in this direction.

  105. JKC on October 2, 2006 at 11:14 am

    75—no, I’m pretty sure he was talking about AEI.

  106. Alison Moore Smith on October 3, 2006 at 2:56 am

    #102 “I don’t think we are hearing about crack houses because that’s not as big of an issue.”

    Sorry to be unclear. My point was to say that very often problems are addressed to the general population without specific remedies (as another poster requested) because the remedy is, to some extent, rather obvious. Get away from it, shun it, remove yourself from situations where you have been tempted, etc.

    “If the problem is as widespread as it appears, should women not ever get involved with a man who has had such a temptation?”

    This is a great question. I can only tell you that personally, I would only consider it if he’d LONG been removed from the habit. I mean five to ten years long. Pretty much as I would if a guy engaged in any other incredibly destrictive habit, like drug abuse. To me, it’s simply too risky. And I’m amazed that with all the difficulties of marriage and family life that so many women are ready to start our with such a HUGE problem. More than that, however, is that they will bring children into such risky situations.

    FWIW, the women I talked to were engaged to guys who’d been “sober” for six weeks to three months.

    “I see a lot of GC talks intensifying that shame and confirming compulsive porn users’ suspicions that they really are evil, and perhaps even a lost cause.”

    Steve, I understand the dilema here, but how should this be addressed? Viewing pornography IS shameful and it IS evil. How do you honestly portray a shameful, evil thing without recognizing that it’s shameful and evil? (Aren’t we all evil to the extent that we do evil things?) And how does it help to play that down?

    It seems that the best measure is to clearly state just how shameful, destructive, and evil it really is. AND (as Oaks, et. al., did) emphasize that in SPITE of that truth, God’s “hand is stretched out still” and that we can repent.

  107. Janet on October 3, 2006 at 3:57 am

    Conference was endearing, with our prophet still alive and declaring good health. I will never forget how he loves to wave at everyone with his cane. He looks so young and is so playful. Saturday’s talks were filled with beautiful sermons of God’s love and mercy. Sunday seemed to be more about obeying.

    I did have a lot of deeper thoughts and found meaning but I don’t think I’ll ever forget Elder Gibbon’s talk. First he started out with a story about a Rabbi who spoke at a BYU forum. I distinctly remember the occasion and the quote. However, I couldn’t get the image of those summer cottages in Babylon out of my mind!

    For a lighthearted review of his talk, please enjoy .

  108. Janet on October 3, 2006 at 3:58 am
  109. Steve M. on October 3, 2006 at 11:33 am

    Steve, I understand the dilema here, but how should this be addressed? Viewing pornography IS shameful and it IS evil. How do you honestly portray a shameful, evil thing without recognizing that it’s shameful and evil? (Aren’t we all evil to the extent that we do evil things?) And how does it help to play that down?

    I’d personally like to hear more comments that go something like this: “Okay, you’ve made some mistakes, and these have had some serious consequences. But you are still a child of God, and He still loves you. You are inherently a good person with good desires, and God and the Church want to help you fulfill those good desires. You can do this, and we’re going to help you.”

    And by all means, emphasize the Savior and his mercy and grace.

    We should build people up, and help them believe in themselves. Don’t condone the habit, but help them see past their mistakes to that which is divine within themselves. If they view themselves as being inherently evil and unworthy, THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO OVERCOME THE HABIT. A positive self-image and optimism are vital to overcoming any compulsive habit.

    Guilt, or “godly sorrow” for one’s sins, may be appropriate when we’ve hurt others or done something morally wrong, but I don’t think shame is ever an emotion that leads us to change for the better. I hear a lot of talks intensifying shame, without leaving much room for hope.

  110. Steve M. on October 3, 2006 at 11:36 am

    BTW, we can recognize the good in porn “addicts” without “playing down” the seriousness of the habit. Sympathizing with a struggling person doesn’t mean condoning anything they’re doing.

    I think the frequency of the porn problem among active, returned missionary, married-in-the-temple Latter-day Saints should make us realize that porn use isn’t something that only affects terrible, wicked perverts. It’s something that manages to attract good, regular people. Let’s help these people see the good in themselves.

  111. greenfrog on October 3, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    I’m interested in seeing a transcript of Elder Holland’s talk to see in print what I thought I heard him articulate about the “theme” of this GC, as well as one or more GCs yet to come. IIRC, it was something about reactivating or re-enlivening the core of the Church. I find it interesting to relate several of the otherwise unusual comments by several speakers to that theme (Elder Packer’s “we have nothing to apologize for…”; Elder Bednar’s “if you’re offended, it’s your own doing”; and the talk about the Idaho Falls landfill and not digging up old messes).

  112. DavidH on October 3, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    Steve M,

    I completely agree with you. The Church is moving in this directly, slowly and surely. As noted, it has created a new website, http://www.combatingpornography.lds.org. The new Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts pamphlet is helpful, particularly the second half. The first half is more oriented to people who are not addicted, who may be “social drinkers”, so to speak. Beginning at page 5, the pamphlet speaks to the many brothers who feel discouraged and shamed about having tried so many times to stop, and failed. (For example, it states, that to recover, “To do this, you need most of all to know that your Redeemer loves you. He has the power to help you. He died to pay for the sins of all who repent and follow Him.”) The pamplet does not mention the Church’s 12-step groups, but the website does (as does the Bishop’s Guide associated with the new pamphlet).

    I agree, of course, with Alison, that pornography is harmful and shameful (and not just in the LDS culture). And perhaps the fear of shame may be useful in keeping people away from it. But for someone who feels trapped, shame is a tool of the adversary.

    The new pamphlet, as well as the new Addiction Recovery Guide (available on the link to the Church’s ARP and PASG meetings), are not intended to be shaming, but solution focused. And by and large, I think they succeed in approaching the problem in a positive, nonshaming way.

    Importantly, the new Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts pamphlet also contains positive, solution-focused suggestions for wives and other loved ones of those who struggle.

  113. j.a.t. on October 3, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Hello T&S,
    May I cut in?
    I agree that conference WAS wonderful, but I am still processing Elder Bednar’s talk. I brought it up on BCC’s blog, General Conf TOTAL thread #30+ and a mixed bag of comments ensued. Would we want that talk hand-delivered by our home teachers if we were inactive? Isn’t the same accountability placed on the heads of the offended also placed to the offender? Is it that black and white? (Offendee=sinner, offender=not responsible, after all accidents will happen.) How will this affect the tone in the church towards inactives?

  114. Active Again on October 3, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    I’ve been thinking about Elder Bednar’s talk, trying to make it personal. I am active again for two years, after ten years of inactivity, and I wonder whether I fit in his “took offense� category, and how I would have reacted had someone brought his talk to me.

    I suppose taking offense may have been a small part of my going inactive, but not the primary part. When I am feeling well as I have now for many years, it is hard for me to remember how low I was when I stopped going to church. A combination of factors led to my being suicidal, and I never felt lonelier, more blue, more isolated, than when I was at church. For one thing, the chapel was way too small for our Wasatch Front ward. No matter where I sat in the chapel, someone would come along and tell me I had to move – “We need this whole bench for our family.� I tried joking with them, I tried refusing to move, I tried ignoring them, I tried explaining that I needed to sit in the chapel where I could see because my eyesight was failing. Never mattered. They insisted, and rather than cause a scene, I moved to an uncomfortable folding chair in the cultural hall where I couldn’t see the speaker and where I was surrounded by all the squally, crawly kids whose parents thought it didn’t matter how much noise and movement they made since they weren’t in the chapel. I didn’t have home or visiting teachers. I had no job in the church. When my mother died, I couldn’t think of a single person who would care, so I told nobody.

    Anyway, my loneliness got so bad that I knew I would give up and take my life if I didn’t do something. I couldn’t think of anything positive to do – I’m telling you, when you’re that far down, you don’t think straight – and all I could think to do was to stay away from people and places and things that made me feel worse. That included church. Nobody noticed – at least, nobody said anything. Nobody came to see me.

    Eventually I got better, somehow. I wanted to go back to church, but I dreaded going back and having some sanctimonious soul fawn all over me – “We’re SOOOOOO glad to have XYZ here today� – because I knew if my disappearance meant nothing, my reappearance would mean nothing.

    The greatest barrier to going back, believe it or not, was that I didn’t know what time the meetings were (the wards in the building rotated meeting times every year or two, and I had lost track). You’d think that I could figure out the time by watching when my neighbors left for church – this was Utah County, after all! – but because of the peculiar design of my lots and the neighbors’ fences, I couldn’t see them leave for church, even after watching for months. Now I know to call Member Services in Salt Lake for that information, but I didn’t know it then.

    I was finally able to move to another town, and I’ve been fully active ever since.

    So. Did I leave because I took offense? Maybe. I was hurt and felt ignored and pushed away, which might count as offense. On the other hand, I wasn’t in full control over my brain and emotions. I don’t think I was offended in the same class as the examples given by Elder Bednar.

    But if my ward members had actually noticed my disappearance, they probably would have chalked it up to some unknown offense, especially after hearing Elder Bednar’s talk.

    Would I have appreciated receiving a copy of Elder Bednar’s talk? If somebody had just slid it under my door, I really WOULD have been offended. The only contact in however many years, and they assumed they understood why I wasn’t active and presumed to tell me what I should do about it? The nerve!

    But, if somebody – perhaps the home or visiting teachers that I had never had in that ward, ever, even once, despite several years of full activity before leaving – had come to actually talk to me, and asked me the questions Elder Bednar said he asked, and with the same sense of compassion and really wanting to know, I think I might have responded well. I’m certain I would have asked what time meetings began, even if I made no promises about attending.

    But either having the talk delivered anonymously, or delivered by somebody who assumed that I was fully at fault for my inactivity because I had unrighteously taken offense at somebody’s offhand remark, would have been truly offensive and counterproductive.

    Sorry for writing at such great length. I would prefer to sign my name, but since divulging this kind of personal information on the web sometimes can come back to bite, I’ll have to be anonymous.

  115. Alison Moore Smith on October 3, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks Steve and David. Maybe I don’t understand how you are using the terms “shame” and “shaming.” I don’t see how you can be motivated to change unless you ARE ashamed.

    I will admit that I don’t spend a great deal of time focusing on the porn talks. I realize it’s a big problem, but since my family is not having an issue with it, I’m just not interested. Kind of like reading pregnancy books when I’m not pregnant. Nevermind…

    But with the cursory review of them, it seems that they usually DO include things about the worth of souls and the ability to repent, etc. Are there actually a bunch of talks out there that are harsh and unrelenting in their condemnation? If so, I’d agree that–as with all sins–we need to have hope. I’ve always said that no one dealing with major issues should read Miracle of Forgiveness.

  116. j.a.t. on October 4, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Active Again,
    I can’t tell you how deeply your experiences effected me. I am soo terribly sorry to hear what you have shared and ache in knowing that the past is behind and there is nothing to do to intervene. Being annonymous, I can’t help but thinking that you might be the person sitting right next to me. Thank you for sharing your experience and teaching me about another’s unspoken and unperceived needs. I pray that each of us will have the sensativity, wisdom and inspiration to act in the best possible way for each other’s individual needs. I worry that the talk will be applied insensatively (despite the ‘warning’ not to) in the lives of members who would react with similarly negative results, whether used openly or passively to create non-representative stereotypes in wards. *Sigh*

  117. Ryan on April 1, 2007 at 5:36 am

    Steve’s insight is worth repeating:

    “The porn habit is fueled by guilt, low self-esteem, and internalized shame. I see a lot of GC talks intensifying that shame and confirming compulsive porn users’ suspicions that they really are evil, and perhaps even a lost cause. This will likely lead to further binging, no matter no strong their resolve is to kick the habit.

    People don’t get over this problem unless they can again come to view themselves as inherently good people with good desires. They need to build self-confidence. They need to realize that they aren’t a lost cause. They need to feel comfortable opening up about their struggles …”

    In other words, pornography (or excessive gambling, golfing, eating, watching sports, or playing computer games–or shopping, gossiping with friends, complaining about one’s spouse or retreating into depression) is a symptom of a problem. Not the problem. Trying to simply “forbid” the symptom is as easy as forbidding someone who has a cold from coughing.

    “Jesus saw sin as wrong but also was able to see sin as springing from deep and unmet needs on the part of the sinner” (President Kimball, Ensign, Aug. 1979, 5

    Let’s start with the source–the deep and unmet needs–and then the problem will take care of itself.

    Preaching so hard against this “easy target” (since alcohol, tabacco, and other outlets are closed to highly-pressured LDS men) is a great way to feel more righteous than everyone else, but not a good way to help the “offenders”.

    President Hinckley has read this letter, what, maybe 5 times in General Conference? Why don’t they tell stories of men overcoming pornography, if through their prophetic insight, they know just how to do so? Christian churches have plenty of systems and groups to deal with these things, and it is not based upon shame and just saying “don’t do it”.

  118. Ryan on April 1, 2007 at 5:47 am

    #102 Alison said:

    “Pretty much as I would if a guy engaged in any other incredibly destrictive habit, like drug abuse. To me, it’s simply too risky. And I’m amazed that with all the difficulties of marriage and family life that so many women are ready to start our with such a HUGE problem. More than that, however, is that they will bring children into such risky situations.

    FWIW, the women I talked to were engaged to guys who’d been “sober” for six weeks to three months.”

    But, isn’t it interesting that these guys are competent (or at least wily) enough, to get beautiful, worthy LDS women to get engaged to them? There are plenty of men without this habit who cannot seem to do so. So, let me get this straight: they have a habit which is as destructive as drug or alcohol abuse, but active LDS women are falling over themselves to marry them. What does that seem to indicate?

    Now, maybe Alison has her pick of 20 guys who simply have never come into contact with lewd pictures simply because that doesn’t exist in their world. If so, great. Especially if they are equal or superior in all other areas as well to these pornography-consuming men.

    More from Alison: “Steve, I understand the dilema here, but how should this be addressed? Viewing pornography IS shameful and it IS evil. How do you honestly portray a shameful, evil thing without recognizing that it’s shameful and evil? (Aren’t we all evil to the extent that we do evil things?) And how does it help to play that down?”

    And that middle sentence–”aren’t we all evil” is sort of the key to it, isn’t it? Maybe Alison isn’t much more righteous than the men who are doing this “evil, shameful” thing. What if the men said, “I will only marry you if you aren’t critical or unkind for at least 5 to 10 years.” Reminds me of a talk at conference where the sister was collecting leaves with children. The children had many, many leaves in their bags at the end of the day. She only had a few, because she was looking for the ones that appeared “perfect to her”.

  119. Ryan on April 1, 2007 at 5:52 am

    #114–Active Again

    This “getting slipped under the door” thing happened literally to at least one friend of mine. By the missionaries. Who had never met her before.

    It’s interesting to have people who don’t know you at all feel like they have the right to judge you when you are not doing something that they feel is important.

    Do you think the Catholics, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims say things like, “The reason they don’t come any more is because they are offended?” And is it true when they say it, or only for us?

    Due to this and a couple other events, she is writing her letter now, after trying to find a place in the Church where she can contribute with her unique and different views and ideas.

  120. Adam Greenwood on April 1, 2007 at 8:16 am

    I’m glad Elder Holland spoke on relentless negativity.

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