Here we go with the last session of General Conference…
President Eyring conducted this session of conference.
Elder Quentin L. Cook: Lamentation of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage
Elder Cooks sermon dovetails very nicely with Elder Oaks’ comments in this morning’s session of conference. Here is one of many great quotes:
God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances, but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living.
Elder Cook sees four kinds of bondage that are “particularly pernicious in today’s culture.”
- Addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health. These include drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, and financial subjugation.
- Addictions or predilections that while not inherently evil can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous ogjectives. These include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, and recreation.
- Ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Cook indicated this is “the most universal subjugation in our day.”
- Forces that violate sincerely held religious principles. Example given is health providers forced to choose between assisting with abortions against their consciences or losing their jobs.
Elder Neil L. Andersen: Power in the Priesthood
I liked this:
We sometimes overly associate the power of the priesthood with men in the Church. … The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift.
Elder Andersen related a personal story that I have seen repeated over and over again during my various leadership callings in the Church:
As a young couple, my wife, Kathy, and I lived in Florida. One Sunday a counselor in the stake presidency explained to me that they felt impressed to call Kathy as an early morning seminary teacher. “How will we do it?” I asked. “We have small children, seminary begins at 5:00 a.m., and I am the ward Young Men President.” The counselor smiled and said, “It will be O.K. Brother Andersen. We will call her and we will release you.” And that is what happened.
Elder Adrian Q. Ochoa: Look Up
There are some apologetic gems Elder Ochoa’s sermon. He talks about the dual-edged sword of Internet communication:
My professional life put me on the forefront of technology, so I recognize the value it has, especially in communications. So much information of man is now at our fingertips. But the Internet is also full of much that is filthy and misleading. Technology has augmented our freedom of speech, but it also gives an unqualified blogger false credibility based on the number of viewers. This is why now, more than ever, we must remember this eternal principle: “by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).
I’m sure that there are some who will twist Elder Ochoa’s words so that he is characterized as saying that members should not search out information on the Internet. That is not what Elder Ochoa asserts, however. He does caution that we should not accept information from unqualified and uknown sources uncritically. We should, instead, remember that we can “look up” and seek help from God. However, we cannot expect help from God if we have not taken the steps necessary to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Russell M. Nelson: Decisions for Eternity
A broad-ranging talk concerning making decisions and the impact those decisions can have on us, for eternity. (This topic is a personal favorite of mine.) He focused on the miracle that is the human body and the pre-eminence of the human spirit. One point he made could just as easily have been a part of Elder Oaks’ sermon this morning:
Marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to the Lord’s doctrine and crucial to God’s eternal plan. Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s pattern for a fulness of life on earth and in heaven. God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood, or misconstrued. Not if you want true joy. God’s marriage pattern protects the sacred power of procreation and the joy of true marital intimacy. We know that Adam and Eve were married by God before they ever experienced the joy of uniting as husband and wife.
In our day, civil governments have a vested interest in protecting marriage because strong families constitute the best way of providing for the health, education, welfare, and prosperity of rising generations. But civil governments are heavily influenced by social trends and secular philosophies as they write, re-write, and enforce laws. Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed. Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God!