Saturday Afternoon General Conference Open Thread

April 5, 2008 | 127 comments
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As has become tradition around here, Times and Seasons is opening up a thread for comments and discussion, insights and observations, thoughts and questions, arising from Saturday afternoon’s General Conference session. Enjoy!

127 Responses to Saturday Afternoon General Conference Open Thread

  1. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Could Pres. Uchtdorf have imagined 4 years ago that he would be conducting the solemn assembly and general conference?

  2. Duke of Earl Grey on April 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I love “The Morning Breaks”, and am glad to hear an unfamiliar arrangement.

  3. It's Not Me on April 5, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Where is this choir from?

  4. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    BYU combined choir.

  5. It's Not Me on April 5, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Tnx

  6. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I’m sure I think this every time, but the choir sounds incredible.

  7. Brian Litster on April 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    My cousin is singing there today, don’t know exactly where she is sitting

  8. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    I’m sure you’re absolutely right every time, Jessie. :)

  9. It's Not Me on April 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Impressive choir

  10. Steve Asvitt on April 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    We all agree here — absolutely awesome choir!

  11. Steve Asvitt on April 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Sister-in-law just called — her daughter is in the choir.

  12. It's Not Me on April 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m always deeply moved by the audit report.

  13. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    We just needed one more!!

  14. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Glad that Sister Hunter can be reunited with her husband. Are all the former prophets and wives now reunited?

  15. Mephibosheth on April 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Much overdue instruction on testimony-bearing by Elder Oaks.

  16. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    heh, I do find some of the stats interesting. I wonder if I’ll ever stop tearing up when I hear Pres. Hinckley’s passing announced…

  17. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Elder Oaks talking on “how do we know…” – I must admit I’m excited to hear this

  18. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Can anyone imagine having Elder Oaks as the judge presiding over your case…it scares me, although I guess it shouldn’t.

  19. jose on April 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    2.5% increase in church membership, 1.6% increase in stakes, 1.3% increase in 3 wards/branches. A decrease in missionaries–the first decrease since 2004.

  20. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Elder Oaks once said hello to me – that scared me enough!

  21. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Random side note, but is that a black and yellow tie or a brown and yellow tie? Whatever the case, I think I want one…

    no…I KNOW I want one (no snarkiness intended)

  22. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Is that relatively slow growth or relatively fast growth?

  23. Brian Litster on April 5, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    My dad was under Elder Oaks when he was BYU President as ASBYU

  24. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    RBH – Depends on what you mean by relatively slow growth – with the amount of people in the Church, I think it’s pretty solid growth (though not huge percentage numbers)

  25. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    It is a nice tie, brandt. Bold but not overly flashy.

  26. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I wonder if this is talk is borne from a lot of missionaries getting the dna argument from prospective converts??

  27. jose on April 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    #22 The growth rate has consistently been below 3% since the late 90s. This is well below the 6% rate seen in the late 70s.

  28. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I mean relative compared to other years…

  29. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks Jessie – I know my fashion sense is lacking, which is why I wanted to get another’s opinion. Is it yellow/black?

  30. NoCoolName_Tom on April 5, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    There is a definite theme going today about how spiritual truths must be given by the Spirit. I wonder if this is still in response to the world’s recent attention to us and our Church?

  31. Tanya Spackman on April 5, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Isn’t that tie Hufflepuff’s colors? (Personally, I root for Ravenclaw.)

  32. TMD on April 5, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Eric–

    I’d be really surprised. Not many people are familiar with such argument. Particularly not most of the people who are prospective converts.

  33. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Props for you Tanya! Indeed it is!

  34. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I remember at my baptism there was a church video shown. Elder Oaks was the narrator. I didn’t know who he was yet or that he was an apostle. I thought to myself, “That is a remarkable man”. Now I say it again having read his books and heard his talks. What a remarkable man and scholar.

  35. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    TMD – Thanks. The last couple of people the missionaries taught while I was on splits with them brought that up, I was quite surprised.

  36. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Looks black on my TV, matching his jacket.

    I always really enjoy Elder Oaks. I like his delivery. Stern, but loving, if that makes sense.

  37. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Elder Oaks’ tie looks dark brown and gold to me. It would go well with a dark brown jacket but I don’t think it works too well with a black suit. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to avoid yellows in ties.

    Take a look at Elder Uchtdorf’s tie. It’s black and gray, very stylish.

  38. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    “We should be the ones to state our beliefs rather than letting others have the final word”

    “This should be done through testimony, whether privately or publicly in a large meeting”

  39. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    “Blind Obedience”

    Sounds like he thoroughly debunks the concept of blind obedience through striving to get a testimony

  40. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I think I’ve read in the Bloggernacle that Elder Oaks was on Ronald Reagan’s short list to be a Supreme Court justice in the 1980s. I think this was when Sandra Day O’Connor got the slot.

  41. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    My Dad knows one of Elder Oak’s Law professors at U Chicago and he said that “he always knew he would go far.”

  42. Eve on April 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    And I thought we subjected only women to this kind of fashion analysis.

    I don’t know whether to be dismayed or relieved to realize men too are up for scrutiny (although with uniform suits and conservative haircuts, there’s less to scrutinize, so I guess we resort to ties.)

  43. NoCoolName_Tom on April 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    This is a talk that I’m going to be reading one word at a time later on, it seems. Very compact wording, especially on discussing the “two channels” between individuals and God.

  44. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    I like the new way of “knowing” that Oaks described maybe it was just new to me – I used to make this distinction by saying believe instead of know. Now I guess I know…

  45. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    What haircuts?! Are we still talking about Elder Oaks?

  46. Eve on April 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Sasha, exactly! So we turn to ties, I guess.

  47. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Best Hair: Elder Uchtdorf

    Honorable Mention: Elder Bednar

  48. maren on April 5, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I prefer shiny heads shuch as Elder Oaks

  49. jose on April 5, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Sorry, I’ve got to support E. Oaks for best hair. He is very consistent in his style and doesn’t rely upon hair stylists or any artificial products.

  50. maren on April 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    such :-)

  51. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    When did the beard become obsolete? I wish someone would bring that back. I have a special affection for the neck beard exhibited in the mid-late 19th century. We should bring that back as a staple of Mormon fashion.

  52. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Yes, Elder Oaks certainly pulls off the bald look with panache. All men with receding hairlines should follow his example on how to sport the bald look. But you can’t say that he has the best hair.

  53. brandt on April 5, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Elder Bednar has the best hair, hands down.

  54. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I think Elder Holland should be included in any conversation about great hair.

  55. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Not to breakup the hair debate, but I really like the statement that Christ and Heavenly Father are united in love for us.

    There’s a lot of love in this talk. :)

  56. NoCoolName_Tom on April 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Re: 51
    It’s fun to watch the video the Church makes that has the recorded testimonies of all the Modern Prophets (except Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Lorenzo Snow). Everyone is bearded, nearly pounding the pulpit in their fervor until you get to David O. McKay who starts the abrupt change to a softly speaking, clearly-shaven man. Thus I’d imagine it started with David O. McKay and the generation of leaders that arose after polygamy.

  57. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    The Work and the Glory!

  58. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks… A beard would be tough to pull off in today’s context. Unless we wanted to make end-roads in the MIddle East.

  59. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    re: 56

    Where can I get this video?

  60. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Okay, we’re calling a moratorium on comments re beards, hairstyles and ties. No more, please.

  61. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    My cats seem to find my singing along with the television somewhat odd.

  62. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    “My cats seem to find my singing along with the television somewhat odd”

    So you’re liveblogging and singing at the same time?

  63. NoCoolName_Tom on April 5, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Re: 56
    I can’t find it at ldscatalog.com – It’s an old VHS, maybe it’s gone (Testimonies of the Modern Prophets?). However, the same recordings are on the “Presidents of the Church” DVD set: http://www.ldscatalog.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=43254

  64. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Yep, I’m quite a multitasker.

  65. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Sorry, I missed who this is speaking
    .
    Re:63 Thanks Tom.

  66. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Elder Amado of the Seventy

  67. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Carlos H. Amado, a Guatelaman GA.

  68. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks!

  69. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    What percentage of the church is English speaking? Would it not be appropriate to allow non-native English speakers to speak in their native language (especially spanish) and since the talks are prepared before hand – subtitling them for those in the conference center and dubbing the talk back into English for the broadcast in the US. That’s probably too complicated – especially since the meeting is in the US. I just think it would be positive for the large portion of the church that speaks Spanish.

  70. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I was thinking that it would be nice to hear him in Spanish, although I would need to make use of the subtitles for most of it. Interesting thought, RBH…

  71. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    @ RBH (69)

    That’s a good idea. It would be a way to acknowledge the Spanish-speaking world of Mormonism.

  72. JamesBC on April 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Spanish speakers record their talks in Spanish, and that is broadcast on the Spanish language channel. I think that is true for other languages as well.

  73. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Not exactly practical, though.

  74. NoCoolName_Tom on April 5, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    I think it’s inevitable that we’d have a General Authority who did not speak English – the only real question would be if he would ever be asked to speak in Conference.

  75. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Right… It would not just be good for Spanish speaking Mormons but the broader English speaking membership as well. It would be a great reminder that this work is beginning to fill the “whole earth.” We are not the monolithic people we seem to be in the Western US.

  76. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    RBH’s idea, I mean. I didn’t know about speakers like Elder Amado pre-recording their talks in their own language.

  77. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    JamesBC,

    I still think it would be a powerful gesture to let GAs deliver their talks in their native tongues. It would drive home the fact that we are a polyglot church.

  78. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Actually, the current policy is that all General Authorities have at least some knowledge of English – and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

  79. JamesBC on April 5, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Several members of the 70 do not, in fact, speak English well. They write their talks in their native language, then have them translated. They practice reading the talks in English for delivery. This was true of Elder Amado 10 years ago, though he may have learned more English since.
    English speakers who also speak another language often record their talks in other languages rather than using interpreters. Pres Faust did this with Portuguese , and Elder Scott does it with Spanish.

  80. JamesBC on April 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Re: 77 – I agree, it just doesn’t work well for the Radio broadcast…

  81. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    JamesBC (80)

    OK, so have an English voice-over for the radio broadcast. Problem solved.

  82. Kim siever on April 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Yay! A Canadian speaks!

  83. JamesBC on April 5, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Calif Condor – We should work for church media. ;-)
    Yeah, I like the idea too. We forget how broad the spectrum of mormondom is. Reminders of that are good.

  84. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    But then the majority of listeners would be denied hearing that speaker’s own voice – something I would consider to be almost as important as hearing it in the listener’s language.

    If it ain’t broke . . .

  85. Russell Arben Fox on April 5, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Elder Scott on abuse. Man, how I would hate to have to speak on this topic. Good luck to him.

  86. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    I understand the difficulties involved with this type of undertaking but it would also do wonders for Missionaries in the field. I served in France and were Didier to have spoken in French – it would have had a tremendous impact on our investigators and members. Belonging to an “American” church caused an identity crisis for many French members… were we to embrace (especially in conference) the global nature of the church it would change how people relate to the church organization.

  87. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    John Taber,

    Last I heard, Spanish was the #1 language in Mormonism.

  88. Mephibosheth on April 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    What about the people actually sitting in the conference center? Earpieces for 21,000 people? Mute the microphone and pipe the voice-over into the conference center?

  89. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    A majority of members are already denied hearing the voices of the speakers…

  90. Brian Litster on April 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with # 85. This talk must be like President Hinckley’s talk on Pornography

  91. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    You’re demonstrating the same lack of awareness of the international church that you are trying to solve by having, say, a Spanish GA speak in Spanish, because you’re considering only that his talk would need to be translated into English for the “monolithic” element of the church. But remember that these talks are being simultaneously translated into a very great many languages. The translators are English-Spanish, English-German, English-Tagalog, English-Portuguese, English-Dutch, and on and on.

    Implement your idea, and they suddenly have to have English-Spanish, German-Spanish, Tagalog-Spanish, Portuguese-Spanish, Dutch-Spanish, ad practically infinitum.

    Don’t forget all the non-English and non-Spanish speakers in your zeal to promote Spanish-original talks.

  92. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    RBH,

    Actually, it wouldn’t be that hard to display English subtitles across the bottom of the screen.

  93. Steve M on April 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Mephibosheth,

    There are huge TV screens in the conference center. Since the talks are pre-translated, they could simply display subtitles on the screens.

  94. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Point well taken…

  95. California Condor on April 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Right, there are gigantic screens at the Conference Center that could display English subtitles.

    Ardis, I have heard that translators read from a prepared copy of the talks; if that’s true it wouldn’t cause a problem to let GAs speak in their native tongues.

  96. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    In terms of first languages, that’s possible. But if you consider second languages English is still out front. It is certainly used in Europe as a common second language among members – granted, not the only one. It certainly is the working language of Church administration around the world.

    Sure, we could let everyone speak in his own language at Conference – and we’d have to _square_ the number of translators and the process would get all the more muddled. But I suppose you won’t be happy until the only Conference speakers using English are the ones that had the majority of their ancestors come from England.

  97. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Subtitles in English, German, Vietnamese, Burmese, Finnish, Swedish, Lao, Thai, Russian … Yeah, that wouldn’t be THAT hard.

    English is the lingua franca of the church, like it or not.

  98. JamesBC on April 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    There is actually a live feed of an ASL interpreter interpreting conference. Captions are available currently as well. Not particularly on topic, but interesting aside…

  99. manaen on April 5, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Elder Scott on sexual abuse — much needed and he’s been preaching this for at least 20 years. I hope his quiet voice is heard widely.

  100. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Paraphrasing…..If the thought of forgiveness causes you even more pain, set it aside, until you are more experienced with the power of the Atonement.

  101. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    RE: 91
    couldn’t the spanish, japanese, french, tagalog, etc talks just be translated into english and then from english – using the framework that already exists for translation – into the other global languages. I know there are problems with that as well but it makes it a bit more possible…

  102. John Taber on April 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I’m sure it will be. I just hope the usual crowd in Utah doesn’t try to pick his words apart (particularly when it comes to forgiveness) like they did about 17 or 18 years ago.

  103. Steve M on April 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Perhaps Scott’s purpose is to deal exclusively with the spiritual effects of abuse, but I’m surprised that he given much attention to professional counseling. By my count, he’s mentioned it once, saying that it might be beneficial for “serious” cases of abuse.

  104. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    The turn of the camera angle and Elder Scott speaking to those perpetrating abuse, very powerful.

  105. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    re:104
    I agree. Perhaps a sudden influx of confessions to priesthood leaders due to that.

  106. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Are ecclesiastical leaders required to turn the victims and perpetrators of abuse over to the appropriate authorities?

  107. Eric on April 5, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    In my jurisdiction, if there is a confession of an illegal nature, I do believe there is a requirement to pass it on to the appropriate authorities.

  108. andrew on April 5, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Man, just Elder Scott’s demeanor, and the love he exudes, are testimony to me of the love of the Savior.

    That was amazing.

  109. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Yes, Steve, and it is needed. We are not Christian Scientists, we believe that professional help is as crucial as ecclisiastical help. So many church leaders don’t know how to deal with abuse and its victims. Sometimes we ignorantly think that all the person needs is to have faith to be healed. Or that somehow their inability to put the effects of the abuse behind them is evidence for their lack of faith. You can’t just tell some one to “forget it” any more than telling a person with clinical depression to “cheer up”.

  110. B. A. on April 5, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    #106. I don’t think so- isn’t that why they aren’t calling police officers and such as bishops anymore? To avoid the potential conficts of interest.

  111. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    B.A. I disagree. A bishop who failed to report an instance of abuse of which he was aware is subject to criminal and civil consequences.

  112. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Christian Scientists avoid medical care in many instances… Scientologists don’t believe in psychiatric care… both would apply here.

  113. manaen on April 5, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    106 & 110 — in California, at least, ecclesiastical leaders are required to report to civil authorities adn our bishops/SPs do so. I know this.

  114. TMD on April 5, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    111: I know at least some police officers who are in bishoprics, I don’t know about as bishops.

    But regardless, to 106, if I recall correctly, there is a hotline listed in the CHI that Bishops are supposed to call as soon as possible after being informed of an incident of abuse. They then recieve instructions from the people who man that desk, who include lawyers, I believe.

  115. Christopher on April 5, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Sometimes we ignorantly think that all the person needs is to have faith to be healed.

    Parley P. Pratt, JS, and most other early Saints seemed to think so. Those ignorant prophets and apostles …

  116. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    The state of professional medical care — often more harmful than helpful — was considerably different in their days, Christopher.

  117. B. A. on April 5, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    #112. I’m happy to be wrong about this– the bishops owe it to the victims to let the authorities know.

  118. Christopher on April 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I know, Ardis. I agree with Sasha’s #109 in general sentiment, but thought in her zeal she overstated her case just a bit (something I’m admittedly guilty of regularly).

  119. Steve M on April 5, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    When it comes to recovering from abuse, I think that the professional counselor’s office–not the bishop’s office–should be the first place to go. I’m not saying that the bishop shouldn’t be involved, but I don’t think the rule of thumb should be “See your bishop, and then maybe think about seeing a counselor.”

  120. RBH on April 5, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I think it is a similar dilemma for BYU bishops and the honor code – should bishops report inappropriate activity to school officials that might lead to a student’s expulsion from school – should bishops report activity that could lead to a member’s imprisonment. It is a difficult issue – on the one hand you want people to feel comfortable confessing and forsaking their sins on the other there is that whole notion of being subject to kings. I don’t know how to feel about both reporting and not reporting illegal activity.

  121. Sasha on April 5, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Mack Wilberg has outdone himself.

  122. Jessie on April 5, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Of course, the bishop can help set up meetings with a counselor through LDS social services. I was thinking that may be part of why the bishop would be a good place to start.

  123. Michelle M on April 5, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    In Idaho there is a priest-penitent privilege and clergy are not required to report abuse they discover during confessions. This applies to Mormon bishops. However, the church asks bishops to encourage offenders to report themselves. I have seen this in action.

  124. Margaret Young on April 5, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    This is the second time Elder Scott has addressed this sensitive issue. The first time, there was a very negative response from some, who protested (with signs) and claimed he was oversimplifying the issue and encouraging the victim to blame himself/herself. That was many years ago. This time, he talked about forgiveness (as he did in his earlier talk), but note that he also spent a lot of time acknowledging the pain a victim of abuse experiences, and even said that forgiveness may take awhile. He also referred to the handbook as containing instructions about referring young people to counseling. I believe that is standard now. Church leaders are cautioned about approaching abuse or mental illnesses without professional help. In cases of depression and other mental illnesses, bishops are urged to refer the sufferer to counseling.

  125. Brian Litster on April 5, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I thought General Conference was good over all today.

  126. manaen on April 5, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    My experience is that having help both from professionals and bishops/SPs brings the widest, deepest, soonest healing. Fortunately, the first professional who helped me also was a high councilman in another stake.
    .
    BTW, I believe that it takes so long for the victims of abuse to heal not because the Lord want to leave them hanging but because the wounds are so profound that the changes to heal are fundamental and thus are painful — the Lord heals us them as they are able to receive those changes. That lengthiness is merciful, not cruel.

  127. Ardis Parshall on April 5, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for your participation, all. Please return for tomorrow’s open threads.