Saturday Afternoon Session

March 31, 2012 | 15 comments
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President Eyring conducted the Saturday afternoon session. Direct quotations of a speaker’s words (based on my notes) are given in quotes; other text represents my summary of the remarks given. Any text in italics represents my own editorial comment.

Conference CenterPresident Uchtdorf of the First Presidency opened the session by presenting LDS senior leadership for the annual sustaining vote (followed by short summaries of the Church audit and statistical reports). New Presiding Bishop: Gary E. Stevenson. New Relief Society President: Linda Burton.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Twelve, on compassion, kindness, and God’s mercy:

  • Relates the parable of the workers in the vineyard as a model of compassion and kindness, and a warning against envy when others seem more fortunate or more blessed or just happier. As the householder told his early workers: “Why should you be jealous because I choose to be kind?”
  • “So be kind, and be greatful that God is kind.” Wait for the grace of God that will be manifest at the end of the day: don’t dwell on grievances from early in the day, at 9 AM or noon (or twenty years ago!).
  • The parable speaks to God’s goodness, patience, and forgiveness. It is about generosity and compassion. To those who feel they do not merit God’s mercy, know that “there is nothing you have done that can’t be undone,” even if you are “the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour.”
  • Directs a special appeal to men, fathers, priesthood holders to repent and return to activity. “Brethren, step up.”

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Twelve, on repentance:

  • Relates the parable of the prodigal son, reminding us we are sons and daughters of a kind and loving Heavenly Father.
  • How do we help others to desire to repent? We first seek repentance ourselves, and use the sacrament to make righteous commitments and keep them, then enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
  • Who shall stand in holy places? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart. Seek the spiritual worthiness represented by holding a temple recommend.
  • Talk to the mirror: “Where do I stand in keeping the Lord’s commandments?”

David S. Baxter of the Seventy, to single mothers in the Church:

  • I am the product of such a home, with a mother who struggled to provide.
  • If this is your situation, it’s not what you planned for, but with resilience you can succeed and your children will call you blessed. You are not second-class citizens in the Church!
  • Members and leaders: Is there more you can do to support single mothers and their families? Single fathers and their families?

Elder Suarez of the Seventy, on being righteous in the Spirit:

  • Quoting President Monson: You can’t do wrong by doing right.
  • Sow in the Spirit, not the flesh. Stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you will enjoy his influence; cross the line, you’ll lose that influence.
  • D&C 20:37 provides guidance for staying on the Lord’s side of the line and maintaining proper conduct.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve, praising faith and counseling against being judgmental:

  • Discusses the challenges to faith in our modern secular society.
  • Praises the service and sacrifice of all members, especially local leaders, but encourages us to refrain from criticizing others who do not serve with such dedication. Lehi’s vision covers all people, and we love them all.
  • Within families, avoid being overly judgmental about foolish youthful behavior, which calls for instruction (as opposed to sinful behavior, which requires repentance).
  • Counsels regular daily scripture study to stay in tune with the Spirit.
  • Emphasize your faith, not your fears.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Twelve, on the guidance we can receive from the Holy Ghost:

  • For example, the direction given to President Kimball on the priesthood question.
  • We can strengthen our relationships with those who have already passed to the next life.
  • Guidance to get personal revelation: Fast; look for helpful scriptures; ponder them; get rid of emotions like anger and defensiveness.
  • Sanctify yourselves (that is, keep the commandments) and you shall be endowed with power from on high. Humility is fruitful soil in which spirituality will grow. Obedience qualifies us for divine power to achieve a righteous objective.
  • Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail! If you live righteously, you will be prompted to know what to do.

[I updated the summary of Elder Holland's talk on April 1 using additional notes.]

15 Responses to Saturday Afternoon Session

  1. Michael H. on March 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    The appointment of Larry EchoHawk to the Seventy.

    He’s a Democrat and ran for Idaho’s governorship. He would have been the first Native American governor in US History.

    He’s been serving in Barack Obama’s administration as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    He’s the second Native American LDS General Authority (full-time ecclesiastical leader).

    … I think that’s really cool :D

  2. david packard on March 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    very cool. Was the only other one Elder George P. Lee?

  3. Michael H. on March 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Yup, and unfortunately his story didn’t end too well…

  4. whizzbang on March 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    noticed Elders Jay E. Jensen and Marlin K. Jensen weren’t given emeritus status

  5. Michael H. on March 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    A qualification: Elder EchoHawk might not be the second Native American GA. George P. Lee was just the first, but looking around, I haven’t found anything calling him the only one before now.

  6. Michael on March 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    More trivia than anything, but the sharp eyed among you might have notice Elder David Archuleta at the end of the closing hymn.

  7. Ardis E. Parshall on March 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    How can you call that trivia, Michael? Judging by my Facebook feed, that is apparently the most significant fact of the entire day’s conference, reaffirming the testimonies of any number of young women … :)

  8. Raymond Takashi Swenson on March 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    It should probably be remembered that most of the American Indians in the Church live in Latin America and usually have Spanish names. I assume some of the GAs from Mexico and points south have Indian roots. The promises made to the descendants of Lehi in the last days are principally being fulfilled to people with names like Martinez.

    Brother Echohawk is part of a family that has produced several legal advocates for American Indians. He was elected Attorney General in Idaho but the strong support he received from Mormons during his run for governor was used to arouse anti-Mormon voters, although Senator Crapo and Representative Simpson are LDS; apparently Mormons are acceptable if they are Republicans. He then joined the faculty at the Clark Law School at BYU. He and his brother were honored in 2005 for being among the first minority attorneys admitted to the Utah State Bar.

  9. jax on March 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    He and his brother were honored in 2005 for being among the first minority attorneys admitted to the Utah State Bar.

    Seriously? In 2005 they had minorities who were ‘among the first’ to be admitted to the bar? Utah is a bit screwy, but that it just absurd.

  10. jax on March 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Oh, and since noone has posted about the priesthood session yet I’ll add it here… Did anyone else feel about 2 inches tall listening to Elder Bednar? I know I can’t be the only one, right?

  11. Jim Donaldson on March 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the Elder Echohawk and his brother were admitted quite a bit earlier, but honored in 2005. Just a guess.

  12. Cameron on March 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Brother EchoHawk was my stake president at BYU from 2005-2007. I loved him. He had great stories. One was about his office in Idaho that was protected from a fire. The other was about him going jogging with President Clinton and letting Clinton beat him because he knew he would be in trouble with Clinton’s ego if he didn’t.

  13. miskky on April 1, 2012 at 2:28 am

    #10 Jax.. Felt that “high” here too…

  14. Raymond Takashi Swenson on April 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I believe Larry Echohawk graduated from the University of Utah Law School around 1970. His brother Tom graduated in the third graduating class at the then brand new law school at BYU and was sworn into the Utah State Bar in September, 1978, in a ceremony held in the US District Court for those, like myself, who had taken jobs in Washington while we awaited the bar exam results.

    The 2005 program was a fundraiser for a minority law student scholarship fund sponsored by the Utah Minority Bar Association. It honored the “First 50″ minority members of the Utah State Bar in a retrospective that noted their legal careers, including the many who had become judges. Larry Echohawk was the one who had achieved the most in elective office. There was a front page story about the event and the attorneys being honored in the Salt Lake Tribune.

  15. Raymond Takashi Swenson on April 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    The little sidebar comment on the link to the AP story on Echo Hawk’s calling is correct. When Dallin Oaks was called he continued to serve several months on the Utah Supreme Court because his sudden departure would have disrupted deliberations on cases already argued before the court. Similarly, Elder Nelson fulfilled a number of outstanding obligations to teach heart surgery techniques internationally even after his ordination. In all the stories I have read about callings to be a GA, they have barely preceded the announcements. You will recall that George Albert Smith was called to be an apostle at a conference session he had not attended, without prior interviews with him.