President Monson opened the conference with the announcement of five new temples. From a scriptural perspective, building temples is considered the ‘works of men.’ (See 3 Nephi 27:10-11, 23). A church based on the works of men shall ‘have joy in their works for a season’ but then will be hewn down. The foundation of strength in the church should not be in bricks and mortar but in the efforts to bring people unto Christ.

He also cited that missionary work is an obligation for the young men of the church. When did this become an ‘obligation?’ Was it just recently or should it apply to all of us? Would President Monson care to explain why he was exempt from this obligation? Of course, back in his day, missionary work was not considered a requirement of the body of the church. I do suggest that this is somewhat hypocritical to place an obligation on others that we ourselves did not complete.

When I went back to the site this morning to make sure I heard his words correctly, I found that the morning session began, not with the words of President Monson but with Elder Holland. What happened there?

Elder Holland’s words on gratitude were timely and worth an emphasis. We live in day when the ‘love of men shall wax cold.’ I have encountered many who are not grateful but feel entitlement. The people of King Benjamin did not receive the baptism of fire until they expressed humility and gratitude for what God had given them.

Sister Wixom reminded us that we are to ‘hold tight to the Iron Rod.’ The Book of Mormon tells us in 1 Nephi 11:25 that the ‘rod of iron…was the word of God.’ If one searches the Book of Mormon for the phrase ‘word of God.’ The first reference in the index to the entry of ‘word of God/word of the Lord’ is 1 Nephi 2:3 where we read of Lehi being ‘obedient to the word of the Lord.’ The word of the Lord, in this case, was personal revelation received in a dream.

Later in the same chapter, verse 13, we read that Laman and Lemuel did not ‘believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets.’ It is interesting to note that in this chapter, both the word of God and the words of the prophets are cited. I would strongly suggest that the ‘word of God’ applies specifically to personal revelation and that this is differentiated in the First Nephi from the scriptures which represent the ‘words of the prophets.’ We are told to hold fast to the rod – that rod being personal revelation.

Sister Wixom also recited the story of a youngster’s soccer match where the spectators formed a ‘victory tunnel’ for both the winners and the losers. Is there value in teaching our children that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, you will get the same treatment? Wasn’t that the plan of Lucifer to make sure that we all got back to the Father, winners and losers?

Elder Costa told us of his prayers to receive confirmation that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He talked of how he had read of the history of Joseph Smith and prayed after each paragraph. He said that the Lord ‘gave me the assurance that Joseph Smith was his prophet’ and went on to say that because he received this answer, ‘I know that all of his successors are prophets, too.’ Does this mean that if I prayed to gain an assurance that Peter, James and John were prophets, that all of their successors are prophets, also? (Wouldn’t I be a Catholic, then?) Can one assume that because the church started out correctly that it will always remain so? The latter day scriptures are replete with warnings of the circle of apostasy and prophesy of the rejection of the gospel. Are we so proud as a people that we believe we are exempt from this path?

Much of Elder Costa’s address was taken from a 1980 talk by Ezra Taft Benson at BYU on obedience to the prophets (The talk is found at As I remember, this original talk was quite controversial and there was talk that President Kimball asked Benson to apologize to the twelve for his words. Of the points that Costa reiterated, here are some of them. Living prophets are more vital than the scriptures, living prophets are more important than dead prophets, the prophet will never lead the church astray. We must make our own decisions on this but for me, I cannot flush the scriptures because a ‘prophet’ has provided a new direction in a talk. If such is the case, why wouldn’t it be called revelation and added to the canon of scripture? I believe that the scriptures provide an anchor with whch to assess whether purported revelation is consistent with the current word of God. Giving man the ability to replace scripture is exactly what led to the apostasy in the meridian of time.

All living prophets became dead prophets, so the words we hear from prophets today will soon become the words of dead prophets. I have come to be very sensitive to this idea. Can we assume that the further away we get from the restoration the more ‘truth’ we have? Could it also be possible that the more likely scenario is that we stray from the ‘truth’ over time? As we see today, can’t we be tossed to and fro by the words of men?

The most deflating talk to me had to be that of Elder Christofferson where he talked of the law of consecration as a celestial law that can be applied to life here and now. He identified five elements of a consecrated life, including purity, work, respect for one’s physical body, service and integrity. What I heard was a redefinition of the law of consecration. We were presented with the idea that the law of consecration as it applies to us here and now is not a structure of a community of God, but a set of personal expectations.

We have seen the idea of the gathering to Zion replaced with the idea that we can build the kingdom of God wherever we are. Zion is now all the world, not a specific place. With this talk, we are now to accept consecration of all we have, something to which we covenant in the temple, relegated to a set of personal objectives. Congratulations, the law of consecration no longer requires you to give your wealth and riches to the kingdom, just purity and integrity.

In the same vein that Hinckley transfigured the gospel into six be’s, we now have the basis of a Zion community reduced to five elements of personal progress. I have a hard time accepting these ideas, so fundamental to the latter day scriptures, can be redefined and restrained to the individual rather than the community of God.

We have lost our way. The central theme of the restoration was to gather a people together who could lay the foundation for the city of God – Zion. This is now an artifact of one of those dead prophets, cast aside by the precepts of men.

What think ye?

6 Responses to “Day One – October 2010 Conference”

  • Calimom:

    My heart has been so heavy since watching conference yesterday. (I’m sure that to admit this means I am on a path of apostasy.) But I was so disturbed and upset by some of what you mentioned above. Particularly bothersome to me were the 2 talks that quoted Benson’s points of following the prophet. The 2nd talk about such was actually painful to listen to, partly because now that such things have been so highlighted in conference, they will become binding doctrine to so many. Breaks my heart. (And I may be overly sensitive now, but did EVERY talk during this conference expound on this theme???) I’m so grateful to have your blog as a place to go to today. I will likely be back to discuss it more, but now I better get back to watching conference – don’t want to miss anything 🙂

  • Calimom,
    Thanks for stopping by. I had to step away from the talks after Christofferson. I felt as though everything I thought we were striving for had been ripped away. (Who is emotional about this?) Perhaps later, I can go back and listen more carefully. I still have this hope that there are going to be messages of hope in the mix. Look forward to your comments also.

  • I agree about the talk on Law of Consecration. There goes any chance of getting the church as a whole to build zion. A command to build Zion will never come from the pulpit. I guess it’s just up us individual members now.

    Brigham Young warned us in 1867, “Brethren, this Church will be led onto the very brink of hell by the leaders of this people. Then God will raise the one mighty and strong spoken of in the 85th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to save and redeem this church.”

  • “A command to build Zion will never come from the pulpit”

    In the new testament, we read of the rejection of the gospel by the Jews; followed by the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter brought the first Gentile into the ‘church’ when he baptized Cornelius.

    The Book of Mormon could help in understanding what is to happen. In 1 Nephi 13:42, the following is found:

    “And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”

    This suggests, to me, that the focus of the ‘good news’ will shift from the Gentiles to the Jews in this latter day. Could it be that this will be similar to the circumstances in the New Testament where the gospel is rekindled among those who are outcasts of the established religious community and this, perhaps small, group takes the message of the gospel to the Jews?

    Jews -> Gentiles
    Gentiles -> Jews

    One possibility is that the ‘one mighty and strong’ sets the church in order outside of the established apostate church, just as in the time of Peter and the apostles.

  • Your use of the word “deflated” exactly described my feelings from listening to this speech. I wrote the following on Facebook after watching it:


    When I saw the title of this talk, I kinda got excited. I was pretty disappointed by the end, because while Christofferson talked much about a consecrated life, he never did come close to the definition found in D&C 42.

    I’d also recommend reading Matthew 19:16-26 and Acts 5:1-11

    Consecration involves a lot more than dedication to one’s church and working hard. Don’t even Christians do this? What is it about Mormon Consecration that is different? It’s pretty obvious to those who have read the D&C.

  • An interesting thing to read up is the two verses quoted at the end of D&C 85 (the “one mighty and strong…to set in order the house of God”).

    11 And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High;
    12 Therefore, it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest, as will be found recorded in the second chapter and sixty-first and second verses of Ezra.
    (D&C 85:12)

    61 ¶ And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:
    62 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
    (Ezra 2:61-62)

    If you read on, in chapters 9 and 10 it tells us that there was a lot of forbidden intermarriages with locals.

    “…The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.”
    (Ezra 9:1)

    They had to disown and cast out their wives and children of these unholy marriages before they could be pure with God again. Seems awfully severe, but when you are living at a Celestial level there is little room for sin.

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