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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?

19 Responses to “Day Two – October 2010 Conference”

  • With respect to President Packer’s conference talk. It is astonishing to note that the ‘official transcript’ of the his address differs from the video. Here is a snippit from the Mormons for Marriage site:
    The original words from the pulpit are here:

    “It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it.”

    This is what is found in the transcript:

    “It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.”

    Quite a difference. It begs the question: Are we to treat the proclamation as revelation or a guide? Should we base our response to the original words of the conference session or accept them as edited? Was Packer inspired to speak the truth or was the ‘truth’ found in the revised words.

    It has been suggested on another list that talks are submitted ahead of time and must be approved by the First Presidency before they are presented. If that is the case, doesn’t that violate the dictate to follow the spirit in speaking? I see it as another piece of evidence that correlation has killed the church.

  • Uceda’s and Uchtdorf’s talks were the highlight of this Conference. I felt the Spirit in both of their talks. Sadly, many of the talks felt like the precepts of men.

    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
    (Matthew 23:27)

  • I had an interesting question come to me just now. Why didn’t Joseph Smith have the people in the United Kingdom build a temple over there during his time?

    Doesn’t building a temple in a foreign land indicate permanence, an intent to stay? How many temples will have to be abandoned when the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled and the Saints are called out of all the Gentile nations?

  • Lorrie:

    I guess I don’t understand why anyone would feel a need to provide a commentary on conference talks. Are people who don’t know you really interested in your take or perspective? I might discuss the speakers or text with friends/ family, but don’t really understand the public commentary thing. Just curious.

  • Lorrie,
    You are certainly welcome to browse and comment.

    I ‘virtually’ know many of the people who comment on my blogs. Given the number of visits to the blog, there are quite a few who are interested.

    I posted my perspective on the conferences this year because I feel I have something to share based on my experiences. This blog is probably not acceptable to those who consider themselves true blue mormons. My writings are specifically targeted at identifying the doctrinal shift currently underway within the corporate church that is indicative of apostasy.

    You may disagree with that premise but I take seriously any attempt to do as Elder Christofferson did last weekend in re-defining the law of consecration. You can take his talk as an indication that the Lord has changed the requirements to abide the law of consecration. Alternatively, you can question whether this shift represents yet another attempt to inject the precepts of men into the doctrine of the church.

    “All we like sheep have gone astray”
    Isaiah 53:6

  • John,
    If Joseph Smith hadn’t been trying to establish Zion, he could have easily told the people joining the church in other lands to build a temple. He was trying to follow the commandments of the Lord to establish a Zion people in the center stake of Zion.

    If you take it a step further, would you be able to point me to the scripture where the Lord commanded His people to build a temple in Salt Lake? Or St. George? Is this undertaking worthy of revelation as it was in Independence or Nauvoo?

    I would suggest that these temples could be considered the works of men.

  • I believe Brigham was inspired to build temples in the Rocky Mountain region. Apparently God didn’t expect the Saints to reclaim Jackson County any time soon. That seems sensible to me, but what I don’t understand is why God would have temples built in unholy places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I was shocked by the announcement to build a temple in Tijuanna. I’ve heard the bloodshed in that area is rampant. It just doesn’t make much sense, but I guess things aren’t always meant to.

  • Not to get picky, John, but was BY ‘inspired’ or did he receive revelation?

  • If God commands men to build a temple, then I would say it is a work of God. But it seems like the temples should literally be built by the hands of Saints (and not just by their monetary support). Something seems detached in the way temples are built these days.

  • I would expect he got revelation for such a thing as building a temple, but I can’t say for sure. I have never studied it

  • About the Tiajuana temple. I did a quick Google search on it and found this forum post:

    “I have talked to several people since this was announced (all TBMs) and no one I’ve talked to can figure it out. Like I already expressed in this thread, no one I know dares to go down to Tijuana anymore. It is an EXTREMELY dangerous place to be right now. My husband is in the Air Force and they are told monthly to stay away from that area and also to tell everyone else the same because of the drug wars, murders, etc., that are going on down there.”

    The thread has many more similar sentiments. Very interesting.

    http://forum.newordermormon.org/viewtopic.php?t=17593&sid=0ed09c3b191797ac7f501e2a456d597b

  • John,
    In 3 Nephi, chapter 27, verses 8-21 the Lord gives us a definition of His gospel and the conditions that His church must meet. This is from verse 10:

    “10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.”

    That begs the question, what are the works of the Father?

    In verse 21, we get what I believe is the answer:

    “…ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;”

    When Christ was among the Nephites, He healed the sick, brought sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf. Those miracles are the works of God.

    In verse 11, we find this speaking of His church:
    “But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.”

    Given the example of the works of God I noted, I would suggest that the works of men are the things they can do with their own hands, including building temples. As it indicates, they will have joy in their works for a season and then be hewn down.

    Where are the works of God in the church today? Where are the miracles as wrought by the disciples of Christ described in 4 Nephi, verse 5?

    “And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.”

    These are the works of God. Brick and mortar, buildings and farms are the works of men.

    If there were revelations given to build any temples after Nauvoo, where are they? Why were they not given to the members for their assenting vote?

  • I have no problem with the Church building temples. The official temple is supposed to be in Jackson County, Missouri, but the early Church also built the Kirtland Temple and the Nauvoo Temple. So there is precedence under Joseph Smith to build more than one temple. I don’t recall any voting process being used in Joseph’s time. The Lord just commanded Joseph through revelation to build a temple and so he called on the people to donate time and materials to the building of a temple. However, it feels as if the modern Church is using temple building as a mask for lack of development in other areas.

    As far as healings go, they require faith in both the Priesthood holders and the recipients of the blessings. If either party doesn’t have faith, the miracle will not happen. The lack of these blessings is an indication of the general lack of faith in God in the Church body. There are Christian churches that do profess to have faith healings and I don’t doubt that God is involved in many of them. This is an important work to identifying God’s true church, but not the only one.

  • John,
    In both the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples, we have revelations in the canon of scripture regarding the construction. I am asking why there is no similar revelation regarding the construction of the subsequent temples. Interesting that the Lord no longer considers such a significant event as warranting a revelation. Or perhaps, it was just inspiration – something that felt right…

    All scripture is placed before the body of the church for a vote. All new revelation is supposed to be handled the same way. But, we haven’t had any new revelation in many decades. Why is temple building no longer worthy of a revelation, accepted by vote of the church?

    These signs and miracles are supposed to follow the true church of God. You may be more comfortable assuming it is a lack of faith of the membership. I would suggest that the twelve are more concerned with building their corporate church than demonstrating the works of God.

  • Great comments to thois post. And a great post. I too have been pondering about revelation and temple building. But first about ehalings. In the Doctrine and Covenants it tells us that if we do not have faith to be healed then we should call upon the elders to give us a blessing. The gift to heal and be healed are Gifts of the Spirit not of the Priesthood. But I suppose you knew that already.

    Back to temples. I was considering this too. When has any divine manifestation been present at a dedication of a temple since the Kirtland? I’m not sure of Nauvoo. But I think it is interesting to note that the top of Navuoo Temple during Joseph Smith’s time was different than how it turned out. Brigham Young changed the design after Joseph Smith died. Now I’m not sure of divine manifestations, but it makes me wonder if BY’s changes were acceptable to the Lord. After all the temple BY tried to sell the temple. And then it burned. After that it was left in ruins until there was not one stone left upon another. While the Kirtland Temple survived.

    So have any modern temples since the Kirtland had any divine manifestations? I think that would be a big indicator to tell if a temple was accepted by God. So the list of revealed temples include, Independence, Kirtland, Nauvoo, and I’m going to include Voree in here too. Should we also include Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, and Seth?

    An interesting thing is that all these temples were (to be)built in sacred cities. They were never built among the gentiles cities or in other countries. This would give me pause to consider Salt Lake City as a true temple but I’m still up in the air about that.

    We could also consider design. The Reveled temples all had a similar design. Two assembly hall floors and an unpstairs which contained offices. The only difference is that Nauvoo had a baptismal font basement, and the upstairs was also used for Nauvoo Endowments(after is was incorrectly built by Brigham Young). As far as I know the public was allowed into the assembly hall areas of these temples. Temples like Salt Lake and after all were built focusing on the endowment. Nobody, without a recommend, can enter. These temples are not built after the revealed pattern. Unless you consider Gordon Hinkley’s idea, while flying in a jet, to build smaller cheaper temples, a revelation.

    I still feel that this modern abomination we call that Nauvoo Illinois temple will need to be torn down and the temple after Joseph Smith’s pattern will be built.

    Another thought about the revelations saying the cleansing of the Church will start upon His house. Can we really believe this means that Salt Lake City Temple? Or does it mean that it will start in Independence. At the first temple in this dispensation that was called His house. Will the cleansing occur when a group of us just go ahead and start building on the Temple Lot(which is owned by the Church of Christ(Temple Lot)). And then the General Authorities get all riled up and a huge schism in the church breaks out. I feel that this will not only happen in the L-DS church but in all the other sects that fragmented after Joseph Smith’s death. There will be righteous people called from all the different sects, Community of Christ, Strangites, FLDS, Temple Lote, etc. We will all unite and the church that was broken apart at Joseph Smith’s death will be reunited.

    But then again I could be completely wrong on all counts.

  • You don’t hear about multiple Pentacosts in the New Testament and I haven’t seen anything to indicate that every temple needs to have such an event to be accepted by God. It is my belief that event took place to show God’s approval of the Church at that time, in a similar way that Christ had the dove come down upon him after his baptism by John the Baptist. It was a special temple and that was a special event.

    I do believe the design of the temple needs to come from God. After all, it is His house. I feel the changing of the temple ordinances during Heber J. Grant’s administration played a larger role in the loss of spiritual power in the Church than the change in the design of the temple.

  • zo-ma-rah may be onto something with his statement:

    “We will all unite and the church that was broken apart at Joseph Smith’s death will be reunited.”

    It reads in 3rd Nephi:

    17 And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say:
    18 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”
    (3 Nephi 16:17-18)

    This might suggest that the watchmen (leaders) didn’t see eye to eye before “the Lord shall bring again Zion.”

  • For those of you who haven’t read this already, it has some very interesting insights into the corporatization of the Church and some of the spiritual consequences.

    http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-corporatism-has-undermined-and.html

  • Homer:

    I realize this blog doesn’t get updated like it used to, but I thought of this thread when I heard Eyring’s comment on the law of consecration. I don’t have the exact quote, but Eyring stated that in the modern church welfare system is synonymous with what the Law of Consecration and United Order were to those long since dead back in the 1800s. I was rather taken aback by the comment – I’ll have to find the exact quote when I can listen to the transcript again, but the conflation was obvious.

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