Sunday, April 02, 2006

176th Annual LDS General Conference Sunday Morning Session

9:00 a.m. Choir opens with Rejoice the Lord is King. More beautiful shots of the conference center outside as conference begins. It looks very spring out there.

9:01 a.m. President Monson conducting.

9:03 a.m. Choir performs He Sent His Son--The choir really sets the Spirit for these conferences, from their introductory music to the main musical numbers throughout the conference. They truly are an American Classic.

9:06 a.m. Invocation H. Brian Richards Quorum of the Seventy

9:10 a.m. Choir performs I Stand All Amazed--great color contrast again in the choir with the women all in red and the men in black (wait . . .wasn't that a movie once?) Singing this particular hymn makes me think of a huge sacrament meeting. Which brings up the question, why not do a huge sacrament meeting at conference? Perhaps the logistics are too difficult with 25,000 plus in attendance. Just a thought.

9:15 a.m. James E. Faust, Second Counselor First Presidency. We care about all of God's children, whether alive or dead, regardless of religious belief or nationality (more on the diversity theme here . .this is good). President Oaks quoted about the fact we have differences with other Christian Churches which is why we send missionaries and build temples.

Faust to speak of Fullness of Gospel. He begins with the apostasy. Quoting Paul, there must come a falling away first. With it came a loss of priesthood keys, baptism by immersion, Godhead three distinct personages, all mankind to be resurrected, temple work for living and dead, continuing revelation.

Peter spoke of a restitution. In the centuries following, many Christians recognized the apostasy. Reformers saw this, and played an important role. John Lathrop, from who Joseph Smith descended, recognized no apostolic keys on the earth. He was imprisoned for his belief. (sound familiar?) Roger Williams founded Rhode Island--no regularly constituted Church on the earth. There won't be until Church reconstituted or restored.

Apostle John saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven with the fullness of the Gospel. In restored Church we now have apostles and prophets. Priesthood, MP and AP restored. AP May 15, 1829 by John the Baptist. MP restored by Peter, James, and John a month later was restored.

April 3, 1836 Moses appeared gave keys to Joseph Smith, for gathering of Israel, Elias and Elijah followed appearing in the Kirtland Temple, all presenting their keys to the Prophet Joseph to restore all things in the last days. Tithing and offerings also restored.

Temple worship restored. Temple very much a part of Christ's life while on earth. Temples important now in LDS belief and theology. The most sacred work is performed in them. We received the solemn answers of life in the Temple. We came from God's presence and prepare to return to His presence. We make covenants in the Temple and are sealed with Priesthood authority.

Apostle John discussed those in White robes. God's work to bring to pass and immortality of mankind. All will hear Gospel in this or the next life. Paul saw baptism for the dead in Corinthians. No person's choice or agency is taken away. The dead may accept of reject these ordinances as they wish.

Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph, and directed him to the golden plates, resulting in the Book of Mormon's publication. It is another testament of Jesus Christ, and has restored doctrines of the fall, resurrection, and others. Heavens have been opened once again.

Doctrine and Covenants, contains further insights about principles and ordinances and structure of Priesthood. Pearl of Great Price, with Moses and Book of Abraham. We learn about these prophets as well as the creation. Gospel has been taught since Adam's time. This Church is the restoration of Christ's early church, founded on apostles and prophets. We are not a break off of any Church. But we are NOT to feel superior to any other person or church.

We believe the great religious leaders, and great philosophers all received a portion of God's light to enlighten whole nations and individuals. Thus we have respect for religious belief of others, and request the same from them.

Testifies of restoration, and its truth and importance today.

9:30 a.m. Jeffery R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve. Blessed are the poor in spirit--for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Those whose lives are broken, to those he speaks. Christ said, come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.

Come unto me is crucial part of this invitation. Christ told his early disciples to "come follow me" It is clear that our duty and our requirement is captured in this phrase. He says, trust me, do what I do. If we follow Christ, he will lead us out of darkness. He will give us peace. There is no other way for us to find peace and happiness.

How do we come unto Christ? Scriptures give examples. Most basic form of faith, just desire with our hearts, i.e., Alma Chapter 32 discourse shows what is enough to begin. Just hope, for things not scene in our lives, but which are truly there. That simple step, will always the first principle of His eternal gospel.

Second, we must repent. We must change that what needs to be changed. Repentance the most hopeful word in Christianity. Anything we can change we much change--then forgive the rest.

Third, in as many ways as possible, we take upon us His identity, including His name. Start with Baptism and conclude with Temple Covenants. Taking the sacrament we renew these covenants. Follow the Son, take upon you Christ's name. Following these teachings, prayer, fasting, scripture savoring, love with pure love of Christ, which never fails. All will take and lead us to Christ. He is anxiously trying to reach us.

All of us can and should have straight forward experience with Christ. Are we battling addictions of tobacco, pornography, gender identity issues, disease, depression, death? Come first to Christ. Trust in His promises. Whoever trusts God will be supported in their troubles and afflictions.

Christ's Atonement can and will lift us. Christ will not turn his back on us know. He means that He knows the way out and up--because He has walked it, and He is the way. What ever our distress, don't give up--don't give into fear. Be not afraid, only believe. Only when Peter began to doubt did he sink.

Christ is the solution to every discouragement and disappointment. Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt--Christ to Peter. If we are broken we can be mended. (Very powerful spirit in Elder Holland's discourse). May all of us come unto Him and be made whole.

9:46 a.m. Earl C. Tingey Presidency of Seventy. Why not speak of the Atonement. The great plan of happiness is the Atonement. Each of us will die. Is there any happiness in death? Atonement rescues us from death.

1. Knowledge of plan of salvation means there is a God and Christ. This confirmed by Joseph's experience in the sacred grove.

2. Knowing Father and Son, helps us know we are on earth for a body, experience, and to eventually to return to God. We will sin and we will and do need to repent. The Savior can remove the rocks of sin from our lives.

3. Through Atonement we can overcome sin and become clean again. This is by eternal law of mercy. Without Atonement and repentance, then we are all subject to law of justice. Mercy cannot rob justice. Mercy can satisfy justice, but there must be repentance and acceptance of Christ. Adam and Eve transgressed the law and were cast out of the garden. My eyes are opened said Adam, as did Eve. But not for our transgression we would not have had increase and knowledge

4. Adam and Eve's fall brought two deaths--Spiritual and physical. Spiritual death is separation from God's presence. We are currently all in spiritual death, in that we are separated from God. Christ's Atonement overcame both deaths. Resurrection is universal, applying to entire human family. This is an unconditional gift from God. But it doesn't overcome the second death, which requires repentance. This life is the time to prepare to meet God. Our same spirit will

5. Christ was born of earthly mother Mary. He inherited her capacity for death. From God He inherited immorality. Christ condescended to come to earth, to be tempted, tried, mocked and crucified. He had power to prevent all these things, but chose not to. Christ descended below all things, to raise other above all things.

Atonement means to restore, or to come back. It reunites families, and families to God. If we understand the plan of happiness then we should follow it. What happens in the world will NOT determine our happiness.

9:58 a.m. Choir and congregation sing Reedemer of Israel (7th inning stretch folks . . get up and walk around!)

10:01Anne C. Pingree Second Counselor Relief Society. Accompanied Sister missionaries to home of a non member. Helaman sons, Nephi and Lehi after forebearers. We must all grow up unto the Lord. Maturing spiritually will only happen after we choose to put away childish things. We put away childish things as we become more Christ like. Those who are baptized are those who take upon themselves Christ's name. Service to others required for those who want to grow up unto the Lord.

Relation of stories of true service. Discussion of visiting teaching message, examples of service. Heats knit together in unity of love.

Besides service, our willingness to press forward in faith shows our willingness to grow up unto the Lord. Example was Nephi building a ship, even though he probably didn't know what to do. Nephi's response, though, was what do I do to make the tools--not, are you crazy--I can't build a ship? God will provide the means to accomplish His means. Nephi looked for a solution. He knew God would help him accomplish what He commanded.

When told her mission called had been changed to Africa, her response--I can do that. This willingness showed her wanting to grow up unto the Lord. Challenges may be formidable and the route unknown--but if we will press forward in faith, we can and will succeed.

10:13 a.m. Elder Dallin Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve. Book of Mormon challenge allowed many to grow, and learn. What was learned depends on the reader. It depends on how in tune we were. He learns how much God loves His children in all nations. (more on the diversity there here--good.)

Book of Mormon on Atonement

The Atonement prepared from foundation of the world for all mankind

All men are redeemed

Salvation given free to all men. None are forbidden.

His blood atones for all who have sinned, and for little children.

This contradicts view that Christ's grace is only for a few. It is, in fact for all. Christ invites children of all men to come unto Him--2 Nephi.

Christ also invites both Bond and Free. Bond includes those addicted to substance or practice, or held down by custom or tradition contrary to God's commandments. We preach to liberate the captives--Joseph Smith.

All are alike unto God. God will manifest himself to all who believe in Christ. These promises of manifestation to all nations, kindreds, and people. This includes those who are not Christian, or have not been Christian. Some in Russia are seeking out Gospel. Some in India also seeking out Christ and Gospel. Woman in Thailand met missionaries, and confirmed her feelings toward God.

Only 5% of Cambodian's Christian. Mongolia also has people yearning and seeking out Christ.

The great Creator died for all men. We must comply with Christ's conditions: Faith, repentance, baptism. All men must hearken unto Christ's voice. He desires all men to come unto him. Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. Deny yourselves of all ungodliness.

Abrahamic covenant opens door to God's children everywhere. If we be Christ's we are heirs to Abrahams promises. We are God's covenant people. No privileges of birth should make us think we are better than another (more on diversity).

Abraham's decedents scattered over the entire earth. Christ has said he will appear to lost tribes of Israel. Book of Mormon declares Christ will manifest himself unto all nations, and all men. He remembers those everywhere, all nations of the earth.

Christ commands that those to whom he appears, should write his words. All nations shall write His words. Eventually all nations will have the writings of all other nations. This includes Christ to lost tribes of Israel.

Don't reject God's writings because we already have a Bible. God's work not yet finished, and won't be until the end of man. The Gospel is meant for all men and nations (at this point there is a shot on the screen of the entire earth in space). Book of Mormon testifies of Christ to all nations.

10:30 a.m.
Choir sings

10:34 a.m. President Monson thanks Choir for music this session, and those who particpiated.

10:35 a.m. President Hinckely is the concluding speaker. He thanks all members for their prayers. When man reaches this age, he reflects upon what has brought him to this stage. His talk different from all previous. He faces the sunset of his life. He recently had major cancer surgery. It is the first time a patient in a hospital. He doesn’t recommend it. He still has residual problems. (more cancer?)

We all have challenges in this life. The road not taken quoted. I took the one less traveled by. Christ: Seek ye the kingdom of the Lord, and all these things shall be added unto you. 43 years ago sustained as a General Authority. Has given over 200 talks, and testified of Christ.

Things are changing. His companion has died, and he misses her more than he can describe. Everything good that has happened to him he owes to activity in the Church. Presidents of the U.S. have come to his office because of the Church. He gave Book of Mormon to President Regan. Bush awarded Medal of Freedom. He has been to the White house. From President Grant to Hunter he has worked with all presidents of Church.

He is dealing with books and artifacts he has accumulated over the years. He came across an old journal, which he re-read, and quoted from over pulpit from various entries.

He has seen many of the great men of the Church come and go. He had remarkable relationship with FP and Q of 12. He has walked with the impoverished, and also with those who have wealth and privilege.

Received patriarchal blessing as young man. A remarkable document, and shares:

"The nations of earth shall hear thy voice and be brought to knowledge of the Truth."

Has lifted his voice on every continent for Christ. It is all a miracle. He asked members last year to read the Book of Mormon. I told the brethren the Book of Mormon was most correct on earth, the keystone of our religion and man will get closer to God by reading it than any other book.

Hopes we have grown closer to God by reading Book of Mormon. He had privilege in participating in Joseph Smith tribute. Appreciates Church. Heart overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Please don't regard what I have said as an obituary. Looks forward to speaking to us again in October. This is God's holy work. The first vision was real, not imaginary. Both Father and Son spoke to boy Joseph. Resurrected Christ introduced by God the Father.

Book of Mormon is all that it purports to be. It is a work recorded by prophets to convince all that Jesus is the Christ, manifesting himself to all nations. Priesthood has been restored to the earth. Joseph Smith is and was a prophet. He leaves testimony witness and love in Christ's name.

10:52 a.m. My Redeemer Lives

10:56 a.m. Marlin K. Jenson Benediction

My observations: I haven't felt as moved in a conference address as much as I was in President Hinckley's this morning. I know he specfically said it was not meant as an obituary, and I hope in fact it was not--though both my wife and I felt as though it was a farewell address. His reference to further problems is not a good sign, in a man his age. But, we'll see.

It was a good conference session. One of the recurring themes seems to be the one of diversity. It has been voiced by more than one speaker and more than one time. Good counsel from all, for a world in desperate need of vision and direction.


Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks once again for your notes. I took notes myself, but will not post them on my blog as I missed some things, but it really helped my concentration!

I cried during President Hinckley's talk. I know he said it wasn't an obituary and that he looks forward to speaking to us in October, but I also know that at some point we will have to let him go. He spoke of feeling love and gratitude. I hope he feels the love and gratitude we have for him and all his hard work.

Sunday, April 02, 2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Hi Mary, I think you SHOULD publish your notes on your blog. Just as president Hinckley read from his journal of years ago . . . recorded words to have meaning. Please re-consider and post yours. I missed tons of material, and I tried (as best I could) to blog as much of each talk as possible. Unless one is a court reporter, with equipment at the ready, there are bound to be things, and even entire speakers missed.

I agree with you about Pres. Hinckley's talk. It was very powerful and sad too. I'm certain there were not many dry eyes around the world for those listening in.

Thanks for sharing your comments, and I hope you re-consider and publish your notes on conference--I'd be interested in reading them

Sunday, April 02, 2006 11:30:00 AM  

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