Priesthood Session in a Nutshell

October 4, 2009 | 13 comments
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President Uchtdorf conducted the Priesthood session, featuring talks by Elder Ballard, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Choi, Elder Uchtdorf, Elder Eyring and President Monson. Direct quotations (based on my notes) are given in quotes; phrases without quotes are my summary of the remarks given.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve, on the father-son relationship:

  • The father-son relationship can have a profound impact on the lives of both the father and the son.
  • Fathers take pride and joy in their sons and see them as the future of both their family and the Church.
  • Sons look to their fathers as their primary role and see them as both their mentors and their heros.
  • Three suggestions for sons: “(1) Trust your father… (2) Take an interest in your father’s life… and (3) Ask your father for advice.”
  • Three suggestions for fathers: “(1) Listen to your sons… (2) Pray with and bless your sons…. (3) Dare to have the ‘big’ talks with your sons.”

Elder Walter F. González of the Seventy, on becoming more like the missionaries of the Book of Mormon:

  • By following the examples of the great Book of Mormon missionaries, we can become more powerful in all facets of our lives.
  • As we read the Book of Mormon and other scriptures and put them to the test, we will gain a testimony of their authenticity.  We can further our understanding of these scriptures by making covenants.
  • We can become more like the missionaries in the Book of Mormon by: (1) Feasting upon the words of Christ; (2) Applying in our lives all that we learn about Christ; and (3) Teaching others the doctrines and principles found in the Book of Mormon.

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the Seventy, on reaching out to the young men:

  • A a ward leader many years ago,  Elder Choi was inspired to reach out to a group of rowdy young men and help them serve missions. A number of non-members in the group eventually joined and nearly all went on to serve missions, marry in the temple, and stay active in the Church.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, on the hope, work and education:

  • Acknowledging the difficulties that many are struggling with today, Elder Uchtdorf said he had seen enough winters to know that spring will come again, urging members to remain steadfast in hope.
  • Recounting his own struggles as a refugee as a child, Elder Uchtdorf said he is now able to look back those trials “through the softening filter of experience” and can see that it was a period of great personal growth.
  • Two principles that helped Elder Uchtdorf overcome the adversity he faced and find hope were (1) work and (2) learning.
  • Of work, he said that God makes many promises to those who work hard to bless their own lives and the lives of others. He noted we are only expected to do what is in our power to do, that work is an “antitode” to many of our struggles, and that “retirement is not part of the Lord’s plan of happiness.”
  • Of learning, he said that for members of the Church, education is a commandment. He noted that the knowledge we acquire during this life will follow us into the next and urged members to strive to increase their knowledge. In doing this, he counseled members not to neglect the study of modern revelation.

Elder Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, on being prepared:

  • Noting the many vials of olive oil he keeps in various places, Elder Eyring pointed out that the phone call or knock seeking a priesthood blessing “always comes as a surprise.”  The preparation to put that oil to use, however, comes long before such a call or knock.
  • “Those who are prepared will be ready.”
  • To prepare our youth to be in a position to administer such blessings, we need to (1)  instill faith in the ability to act in the name of God (which doesn’t come at the moment of dramatic need,  but is acquired beforehand); and (2) build their confidence in all they are capable of.

President Thomas S. Monson, on anger:

  • Upon recounting the many tragic headlines he see stemming from anger, President Monson said, in the words of the psalm, we need to “cease from  anger and forsake wrath.”
  • Quoting a story from Heber J. Grant, he said “a man is a fool who takes an insult that wasn’t intended.”
  • President Monson spoke on how anger drives away the spirit and invites sin and noted that “to be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan… no one can make you angry, it is a choice.”
  • We should leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things that might be said when we are angry.
  • President Monson urged priesthood holders to keep the oath and covenant of the priesthood, forsake anger, and be peacemakers, because “by this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have loved one to another.”

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13 Responses to Priesthood Session in a Nutshell

  1. Michael on October 4, 2009 at 7:52 am

    You didn’t mention the highlight of the evening when President Uchtdorf banned retirement for Latter-day Saints by stating, rather bluntly, that we serve in the Kingdom we all our might until the day we leave this mortal probation and that anyone who takes a retirement from Church callings or Service is not obeying his or her covenants.

  2. Kim Siever on October 4, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Just to clarify, the rowdy boys who joined the church in Elder Choi’s talk were 9 out of 10. I didn’t think “a number” captured that.

  3. Marc Bohn on October 4, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Michael – It was a very interesting moment. Beyond the limits that can be imposed by age and physical deterioration, the idea of “retiring” from some part of the Church just strikes me as odd (growing up, my parents always spoke of their plan to serve missions in their old age… hardly “retiring” from Church responsibilities). I wonder how many people’s heart sunk last night upon hearing that though.

    Kim – Thanks. I didn’t catch the total number out of which 9 had converted, which I why I didn’t include either number.

  4. Dave on October 4, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Marc, I thought it was an excellent and uplifting set of talks. Pres. Uchtdorf spoke to the economic concerns and fears of many priesthood holders both young and old in this troubled time; Pres. Monson spoke against anger, repeating a theme that appeared in Elder Watson’s Saturday afternoon talk on being temperate.

  5. Peter on October 4, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Definitely one of the best Priesthood Sessions I remember attending. President Uchtdorf’s continues to be one of my favorite speakers. His comments on work and education were excellent. I remember his comment on retirement as, “Retirement is not part of the plan of happiness.” There was a similar quote about education, something to the effect of, “For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it is a commandment.”

  6. Zalmoxis on October 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Detailed notes from Priesthood meeting available at:

    http://www.patheos.com/Community/Events/LDS-General-Conference.html

  7. brigham on October 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I thought Elder Ballard’s talk was extremely helpful. It should be required reading for anyone who has or soon will have teenagers. I also loved Elder Uchtdorf talk.

  8. Natalie on October 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    My husband came home and said President Uchtdorf’s talk was amazing and that the Aaronic Priesthood choir was TERRIBLE. I’ve loved reading everyone’s impressions.

  9. Stephanie on October 4, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you for this. I can never get my husband to tell me enough about the Priesthood session to know which talks I should start with. It looks like I’ll go with Ballard, Uchtdorf and Monson. My husband did tell me an awful story about a father who accidentally gave his son brain damage by throwing a toy in anger. I think it was Monson’s talk. That is a powerful story.

  10. Dave on October 5, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Natalie (#8), I’m not sure most people really expect fine music from teenage boys. I thought just seeing a couple of hundred young men up there singing with, uh, gusto was an inspiring sight, knowing that in two or three or four years many of them will be scattered around the globe on LDS missions.

  11. Matt on October 5, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Natalie & Stephanie: For the first time I can remember, the Priesthood Session video is available on lds.org. Just click on the video archive link on the homepage and the sessions are listed once the video player begins, including Priesthood.

  12. Cameron on October 6, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I think they’ve had the Priesthood session up ever since they launched the new media player, no?

  13. Kirk C on October 6, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Loved the session as always. PH is always the best. However, I must agree with post #8. In fact, I think only about 3/4 of the boys were actually singing! LOL

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