October 2013 General Conference, Sunday Morning

By | October 6, 2013

In this post I’ll try to do some real-time blogging about this session of Conference. I’ll update this post throughout the session. I may not have notes here from all speakers, and not all comments may be from inside the Conference Center.

Feel free to leave comments if you desire. I’ll try to answer them as (and if) I can.

President Uchtdorf is conducting. Opening prayer given by a sister, praying that God would be with those who came seeking comfort and peace.

 President Henry B. Eyring: To My Grandchildren

Many charge that the LDS have a simplistic view of families and what should be done in those families. I think that, perhaps, President Eyring expresses the more realistic view that puts such charges to rest:

Heavenly Father has made each of us unique. No two of us have exactly the same experiences. No two families are alike. So, it is not surprising that advice about how to choose happiness in family life is hard to give.

I also find the following comment directly on-target, as I have learned it over and over in my life:

It is only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we can hope to be equally yoked in a marriage free from discord. I have seen how that companionship is crucial for felicity in a marriage. The miracle of becoming one requires the help of Heaven and it takes time. Our goal is to live together forever in th epresence of Heavenly Father and our Savior

And, further:

Life in families will test us. That is one of God’s purposes in giving us the gift of mortality–to strengthen us by passing through tests. That will be especially true in family life where we will find great joy and great sorrow and challenges which may at times seem beyond our power to endure them.

This is particularly resonant with me, as my greatest joys and my greatest sorrows have been related to family, both immediate and extended. I have always echoed President Eyring’s words when talking to people about their families.

Tears came to my eyes as he recounted the story of the grandmother going to visit her grandson in prison. I have received the same answer she received concerning my childen, an answer consistent with the firm belief that God allows no trials in our life that are impossible for us to overcome.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: No Other Gods

An important topic, addressing the things that we put before God. “We offend God when we ‘bow down’ to or ‘serve’ other gods–when we have other first priorities.” Elder Oaks lists just a few of those things that “even religious persons” may put before God in our day:

  • Cultural and family traditions
  • Political correctness
  • Career aspirations
  • Material possessions
  • Recreational pursuits
  • Power, prominence and prestige

There are, no doubt, others that could be included in Elder Oaks’ list. We need to make God “our ultimate priority,” a sentiment I agree with entirely.

I have no doubt that Elder Oaks’ comments related to the non-traditional-family choices made by many today will raise hackles and criticism. Regardless, it is hard to deny the reporting of trends and to recognize that those trends run counter to the fundamental LDS beliefs concerning the place and purpose of family.

This will also surely bring criticism:

The importance we attach to the law of chastity explains our commitment to the pattern of marriage that originated with Adam and Eve and has continued thorugh the ages as God’s pattern for th eprocreative relationship between His sons and daughters and for the nurturing of His children.

Further, he stated:

Our twelfth Article of Faith states our belief in being subject to civil authority and “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Commitment to our highest priority–to love and serve God–requires that we look to His law for our standard of behavior. For example, we remain under divine command not to commit adultery or fornication even when those acts are no longer crimes under the laws of the states or countries where we reside. Similarly, laws legalizing so-called “same-gender marriage” do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it. We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from serving other gods and priorities–even those becoming popular in our particular time and place.

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson: Be Ye Converted

 I love the way that Sister Oscarson stated this truth about personal conversion:

True conversion is more than merely having a knowledge of gospel principles, and implies even more than just having a testimony of those principles. It is possible to have a testimony of the gospel without living it. Being truly converted means we are acting upon what we believe and allowing it to create “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts.”

 President Thomas S. Monson: I Will Not Fail Thee Nor Forsake Thee

A very poigniant recounting given by President Monson about the passing of his wife 5 months ago and the solace he has found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I found the following very instructive:

The difficulties which come to us present is with the real test of our ability to endure. A fundamental question remains to be answered by each of us: Shall I falter, or shall I finish? Some do falter as they find themselves unable to rise above their challenges. To finish involves enduring to the every end of life itself.

The story of Brother Brems was also instructive for me, and very emotional. I have known people like Brother Brems, and I hope that I endure in the covenant and diligently serve and praise God until my time finally comes.