Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Before moving on to day two, I should touch on the evening priesthood session. I hadn’t planned to address this session because I thought I could not access the session on line to verify what I heard. Lo and behold, the priesthood session is now archived on line along with the other sessions.

I found the priesthood session to have some good moments and some questionable items. The first of which was Elder Maxwell’s reference to the gathering of Israel. He noted that the Book of Mormon will be the instrument to gather scattered Israel. While on the surface this comment seems to be recognition of the goal of the restoration. As I thought about it, I would suspect that Maxwell was using the redefined gathering which simply means bringing people into the church where ever they are.

Of all the conference talks, I felt that Elders Uceda’s and Uchtdorf’s treatment of humility and pride were well worth the price of admission. How powerful are the simple words, “I’m sorry?” So much effort is expended to defend at all costs our right to always be right. It would surely be a different world if humility were a prerequisite to leadership.

I was encouraged by Maxwell’s story of his trip with Elder Faust. Elder Faust told him that the members treat GAs very well; they extend great kindness and admiration. Faust told Maxwell to ‘be thankful for the kindness but don’t inhale it.’ It would be very easy for men in this position to use this adoration to inflate their egos and vacate the spirit.

Elder Maxwell clearly dealt with the idea that humility does not mean self deprecation. “We don’t discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves.

Elder Eyring sought to differentiate between the gift of the Holy Ghost and companionship of the Holy Ghost. I was heartened to hear his words of encouragement to the members to not just study, but ponder the scriptures, by which we invite the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

Does President Monson believe that theatrics make up for a lack of the spirit? His talks in both the priesthood and Sunday sessions seemed to affirm this idea.

On Sunday morning, Elder Eyring talked of examples of faith and the lack thereof. I have long held the example of Peter walking on the water as an example of our need to rely on the Savior. This painting by Edmond Oliveros captured the moment from a unique perspective.

“Lord, save me” by Edmond Oliveros (www.edmondoliveros.com)

However, I was also disappointed that he chose to link a spiritual confirmation of Joseph Smith to a confirmation that all prophets since that time are called as such. As I have indicated in past posts, this sort of automatic extension is not something I consider spiritually healthy. I have a testimony that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet; that doesn’t automagically equate to a testimony that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today.

Elder Packer enlightened us as to modern revelation. He announced that the proclamation on the family was indeed revelation. Is this purported revelation one that will stand the test of time or will it become another statement by a dead prophet? If it is indeed revelation, why is it not included in the canon of scripture?

I have to wonder if Mary Cook is long in the Primary General Presidency. She stated that we must be an example that our children will imitate. Does that include going on a mission before one make the statement that all young men are obligated to serve a mission?

Elder Oaks treated the subjects of a personal line and a priesthood line of revelation. Yes, Martin Luther did espouse the idea of a priesthood of all believers but he did that because the established religion to which he belonged denied that revelation could exist outside the pope. Elder Oaks stated that personal revelation cannot exist if it is at odds with priesthood revelation. I counter that when priesthood revelation does not exist or has morphed into the precepts of men, all an individual can depend on is personal revelation.

I also take issue with the idea that rejecting organized religion is rejecting Jesus Christ. As I have read, studied and pondered the narrative of Christ’s visit to the Nephites. I see a completely different approach to that of ‘organized’ religion. The emphasis in Third Nephi was that the organization that could be loosely defined as the church had a singular mission – to facilitate the individual’s efforts to come unto Christ.

We, today, have this bloated bureaucracy which employs full time ‘administrators.’ These administrators spend their time solving the problem for which they were created. It is in their best interests to maintain the problem; if it goes away, so does their position and livelihood. I am talking about the corporate church, not the U.S. government although it could apply to both.

So… President Monson’s widow count is now up to 102?

Elder Perry also was following a theme set earlier in the conference. Elder Christofferson redefined the law of consecration as items of personal progress and Elder Perry followed this up with a redefinition of the meaning of the ministering of angels. What I heard was the description of deacons collecting fast offerings, and a priest helping a disabled person partake of the sacrament as examples of the ministering of angels. That is not the case. Elder Perry has taken what is the potential for a personal sacred experience and turned it once again into the works of men.

How long, O Lord, must we be confronted with the holy and sacred being reduced to the precepts of man? Will the general membership blindly absorb these changes? What hope can we have when living prophets can and do wrest the words of the scriptures?

While I could go on about hollow trees, bloated cows and artificial flies, let me end with some limited positive insights. Several years ago, I was heartened by Elder Bednar’s words about the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. It was, I felt, a core component of the gospel that had rare mention from the pulpit of general conference. He continued with that topic in the afternoon session of conference.

I do believe, as Elder Bednar stated, that the words we hear in confirmation, “receive the Holy Ghost,” is a priesthood admonition. It is not an automatic dispensation. We must work to receive what he characterized as the companionship of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing of greater consequence in our mortality than the baptism of the Holy Spirit and it’s continued companionship. As Elder Bednar stated, all we do in the church is to bring us to companionship with the Holy Ghost. At least that is what the church is supposed to do…

What think ye?

Elder L. Tom Perry

As I consider ‘modern’ society, I am grieved with what we have given up for progress. How many of us reside in homes were we must have both husband and wife acquiring paychecks in order to sustain our life style? The traditional home containing an extended family working together for the common good, the father working along side his children, the wife nurturing and supporting, seems to have become an anachronism.

Elder Perry’s message of lessons from my mother brings sadness for what is lost in our homes of today. Where is the true spiritual center when all the members of the family have their own agenda?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

We were challenged to avoid ‘spiritual illiteracy,’ that has led us to forget things our grandparents knew. A dusting of scriptural frosting on our lives today is not adequate for the preservation of our faith and duty to God.

The scriptures are to be the standard for distinguishing truth an error and should be the touchstone for measuring correctness and truth. Yet, how many of us even know where the gospel is defined in the scriptures, or where the doctrines of Christ are found, or where we must go to read of the gate to the strait and narrow way to eternal life?

If we were to truly hold the scriptures as the standard by which we judge our teachings and doctrines today, how well would they stand up?

We are to feast upon the ‘word of God.’ But, careful analysis of the definition of the ‘word of God’ points more often to personal revelation than to the words of the prophets. We must read the scriptures for quality rather than quantity. We must seek to acquire precepts rather than to pound through chapters.

Elder Bruce Carlson

I was disappointed when Elder Carlson stopped his quote of D&C 76. Here is the extended version:

5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.

10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

We should seek, as instructed here, to fear God and honor Him. We will be blessed in doing so with the gift of the mysteries of his kingdom from beginning to end. That is what Enoch and Nephi received. They saw the world and all that was in it from beginning to end. This has been promised to each one of us if we but prepare ourselves.

Elder Bednar

We should pay attention to early warning signals. I heartily agree. But what of the warnings in the Book of Mormon concerning pride? What about the concern regarding ‘all is well in Zion?’ What about the condemnation from Moroni who saw us in this day and accused us of polluting the ‘holy church of God?’ There are many warning signs for us in the church, if we would but search for them in the scriptures.

Elder Holland

Pornography is an insidious, addictive disease that destroys families and devastates self esteem. It cripples people in terms of loving relationships and sets the stage for justifying agnosticism on the part of the believer. It is much easier to question the doctrines of the kingdom when the mind has the crater blown in it described by Elder Holland.

The purpose of this blog is to explore aspects of the message of Jesus Christ. The intent is to focus substantially on the scriptures rather than the commentary of man. Topics such as the gospel and doctrine of Christ, the role of Gentile and Jew, and the scriptures of the restoration are all seen as material for discussion.