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100 Thoughts from LDS Church General Conference (October 2012)



This weekend, I watched an online stream of the October 2012 general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I enjoyed the conference, and particularly the opportunity to engage in discussion of the ideas with others online. Below are 100 thoughts, from me and others, about the conference. The thoughts range from affirmations to criticisms, and from questions to assertions. Hopefully they'll provoke reflection, questions and comments.

  1. I love the last verse of the song, "How Firm a Foundation", when we sing: "That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never forsake!"
  2. With changes in permitted ages for Mormon missionaries, why aren't men and women both permitted to serve at age 18?
  3. The change in permitted age for female missionaries almost sets a new narrative for Mormon women, but we're still telling them to serve one year after Mormon men.
  4. Some Mormons, leaders and otherwise, appeal to generally increasing immorality in the world, but they are observing too narrowly.
  5. The greatest immoralities are those related to violence, and violent immorality has been declining for millennia and centuries.
  6. Those most noted by the Book of Mormon, immoralities promoting poverty have also been declining for a long time.
  7. I share Quentin Cook's concern with sexism and anti-humanism in media, but I disagree that our world is more evil than ever.
  8. Anne Dibb emphasizes Joseph Smith's claim that "knowledge is the power of God unto salvation". This should include both spiritual and secular knowledge.
  9. Anne Dibb also says we should be "doers of the word, and not hearers only". Trust is not enough. We must work to make it happen.
  10. Craig Christensen says the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. Extending that, the Holy Ghost is a third form of Godhood.
  11. Craig Christensen says the "Gift of the Holy Ghost" comes only after the ritual of baptism, but the New Testament explicitly attributes the "Gift of the Holy Ghost" to persons that have not yet participated in the ritual of baptism.
  12. I disagree with the popular Mormon interpretation of the "Gift of the Holy Ghost" coming only after the ritual of baptism.
  13. "I'm not a huge fan of people presuming Mormons are monolithic. Although it is important for us to communicate with kindness." (Theric Jepson)
  14. If we're talking about spiritual baptism, immersion in the identity of Christ, then I agree that the Gift of the Holy Ghost comes only after that, and the ritual works to strengthen trust in that identity.
  15. I value the ritual of baptism, to strengthen trust in sharing the identity of Christ, but I see no clear difference between the "gift" and the "power" of the Holy Ghost in scripture.
  16. Shayne Bowen quotes Joseph Smith on the importance of materiality and embodiment in Mormonism.
  17. Russell Nelson alludes to Joseph Smith: "gather all the good and true principles in the world ... or we shall not come out true Mormons."
  18. I enjoyed Russell Nelson's lighthearted observation that "you may have previously encountered, or ignored, our missionaries."
  19. Russell Nelson reminds us that "the glory of God is intelligence", both spiritual and secular.
  20. Russell Nelson mentions evidence that Mormons tend to know more about religion generally than do other religious persons.
  21. Dieter Uchtdorf says none will be on Earth long, but consider the possibilities for aging escape velocity.
  22. Although generally resigned to death, we'll not all die, but we'll all change.
  23. Do we still anticipate the day of transfiguration when there is no death?
  24. Dieter Uchtdorf calls our attention to the power of gratitude.
  25. "BECOME, do not just declare or wish." (Marcus Flinders)
  26. Dieter Uchtdorf prays that we will not wait until the day of our death to learn to live.
  27. "Good intentions are not good enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what our Heavenly Father intends us to be." (Maija)
  28. Dieter Uchtdorf encourages all to "resolve to spend more time with those we love."
  29. "I'm probably too cynical to get much out of [LDS Church general conference,] but I really like what E' Uchtdorf has to say about happiness and living deliberately." (Brady Emmett)
  30. "I just loved Pres Uchtdorf's talk. Lets enjoy the journey my friends! Find happiness everyday! Enjoy life now, not just retrospect." (Devereaux)
  31. "Was just reported to me that there was not a single airplane reference in Elder Uchtdorf's talk. Can this be true?!?!?" (By Common Consent)
  32. It's interesting how tweets slow down during prayers at the LDS Church general conference.
  33. I love the song, "I am a child of God". When my son asks for a bedtime song, this is what I sing.
  34. It's sad to see Marlin Jensen go, as LDS Church historian. What contributions he made to opening Church history!
  35. Tom Perry says, "I marvel at the rapidly changing world ... so many advances excite with their potential to better our lives."
  36. I share Tom Perry's concern for strengthening loving families, and my concern extends to strengthening all families.
  37. Russell Ballard appears to have quoted this webpage on the nutritional value of honey.
  38. Russell Ballard asserts that service is the basis of pure religion, echoing the Bible.
  39. The Book of James in the New Testament echoes Hebrew Bible encouragement to service as pure religion.
  40. Russell Ballard repeats the idea that God answers prayers through us.
  41. Russell Ballard mentions significance of the honey bee (Deseret) as a symbol in Mormon history.
  42. "Let us love and serve those around us in any small way we can. If we all do this, we can change the world. BE THE CHANGE!" (Nichelle Allen)
  43. Russell Ballard asks, "What would be the cumulative effect of millions of small acts of kindness performed by us?"
  44. Larry EchoHawk implies that Pawnee native Americans descend from Lamanites described in the Book of Mormon. This is risky -- not logically, but anthropologically, archeologically and historically risky.
  45. Larry EchoHawk may be right, but it would not be the first time we (including Mormon leaders) have misinterpreted spiritual experience.
  46. "Elder Echo Hawk served in President Obama's administration." (Mormon Liberals)
  47. Robert Gay says, "we must suffer his cross," suggesting we should share the identity of Christ.
  48. Scott Whiting suggests we each receive well crafted bodies, but observation clearly establishes otherwise. Consider birth defects.
  49. Neil Andersen seems to acknowledge that the LDS Church is asking an inordinately great sacrifice from homosexual Mormons.
  50. "That's a very charitable interpretation of a very anti-gay position." (Timothy Killian)
  51. Neil Anderson asserts Mormon doctrine is taught by Church leaders generally rather than in any one talk. That includes his talk.
  52. Dallin Oaks acknowledges the natural problems too many of us face from birth.
  53. Dallin Oaks reprimands those who would bully homosexual children.
  54. Dallin Oaks extols greater awareness of the horrors of child abuse.
  55. Anciently, childhood was a nightmare from which we're just beginning to awake as child abuse decreases.
  56. I share Dallin Oaks' interest in dependable families for children, and I worry that excessive idealism is inhibiting commitment.
  57. I'm not sure why we don't broadcast the priesthood session of general conference, but it's good to have two sons with me.
  58. I enjoyed the choice to start priesthood session with the song, "Love One Another".
  59. Todd Christofferson applauds improving opportunities for women, while expressing concern with denigration of men.
  60. Todd Christopherson says, "we cannot save a man on Sunday if during the week we're complacent witnesses to the crucifixion of his soul."
  61. I share Todd Christofferson's esteem for traditional male roles, yet I recognize actual value in some non-traditional roles.
  62. Gary Stevenson recognizes that technology brings both opportunities and risks not presented to previous generations.
  63. Gary Stevenson quotes Joseph Smith's rousing encouragement to remember and redeem our dead.
  64. Anthony Perkins quotes some of the most inspiring words from Joseph Smith, on the origins of power.
  65. Dieter Uchtdorf makes up for not mentioning airplanes in his first talk by starting his second talk with talking about airplanes.
  66. Dieter Uchtdorf says, "As a pilot, I have touched the skies; as a Church member, I have felt heaven's embrace."
  67. I wish each LDS Church member felt the same joy Dieter Uchtdorf expresses, but some of our friends feel alienation instead.
  68. Dieter Uchtdorf observes that ancient kings would have given all to experience flight, yet we complain about the peanuts.
  69. I share Dieter Uchtdorf's trust in the power of acting with a positive attitude, so long as we acknowledge experience.
  70. Henry Eyring, to a tired son: "I'll never be disappointed, and you'll never be sorry. We'll remember that we hiked here together."
  71. Thomas Monson repeats, "a woman needs to be told she is beautiful." I agree, and let's observe their knowledge and power.
  72. Thomas Monson encourages all to see others not only as we are, but also as we may become. Consider theosis.
  73. Thomas Monson suggests imagining others as clean-shaven and in white shirts, but that's speaking to our prejudiced weakness.
  74. Henry Eyring recites Joseph Smith's bewildered observation of the problem of evil.
  75. “Thanks, Elder Jensen. We will miss you.” (Ask Mormon Girl)
  76. I share Henry Eyring's esteem for inspiration, and I value our ability to act well without divine mandate.
  77. Rejecting absolutes, Joseph Smith taught, "that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another."
  78. Jesus was without sin, not as measured by absolutes, but rather as measured by those who identify Christ in him.
  79. Jesus invited us to be sinless, not measured by absolutes, but measured by those who identify Christ in us.
  80. With Boyd Packer, I cherish the Atonement, and its power grows as we with Jesus immerse ourselves in Christ and practice Atonement.
  81. God in Mormonism is a community, which is the only context within which the concept of morality is meaningful.
  82. God in Mormonism weeps and suffers because the Atonement is eternal and dynamic.
  83. Jeffrey Holland points out that Jesus needs "disciples forever" because the work of God, to console and heal, is never finished.
  84. As empowering the few over the many is immoral, so empowering the many over the few is immoral. Morality is in persistent reconciliation.
  85. Whether God is authoritarian depends mostly on you. If you insist on an understanding of God that's advocated by the dogmatic, you are dogmatic, even if you're an atheist.
  86. Jeffrey Holland asserts that the Atonement is the beginning, not the end, of Christian discipleship. We're invited to participate.
  87. Some consider God to be incompatible with democracy. I consider God to be democracy.
  88. The outcomes of participation in Mormonism are mixed, as judged by my desires, but those are also not the only desires that count.
  89. With Robert Hales, I identify as a Christian. However, considering how some define "Christian", I prefer "Mormon".
  90. I identify as a Mormon. However, considering how some define "Mormon", I prefer "Mormon Transhumanist".
  91. Not only Mormons are Christian, but Mormonism exaggerates Christianity through Christosis.
  92. Robert Hales quotes Joseph Smith's thoughts on disqualifying claims of inspiration without edifying content.
  93. Richard Scott repeatedly points out that technology is enabling and essential to the Mormon work to redeem the dead. Consider Mormon Transhumanism.
  94. Russell Osguthorpe says we can understand Atonement by participating in it through forgiving and asking forgiveness. This is Christosis.
  95. "Atonement" is better understood as a democratic verb than a monocratic noun. Practice Atonement.
  96. "If we do not feel somewhat overwhelmed with responsibility, are we truly becoming Christ?" (Marcus Flinders)
  97. Marcus Nash quotes Joseph Smith, calling us not servants, but friends of God, encouraged to study wisdom.
  98. Daniel Johnson echoes the call to become like Jesus and be one in Christ, which is the "ultimate goal of discipleship". Again, this is Christosis.
  99. David Bednar appeals to "experiment" for gaining trust in Christ. How do we measure each other's results?
  100. David Bednar extols conversion, which may be consent to Jesus' Christhood, but should become our transfiguration to Christhood.
[Thanks for reading! You might also like "73 Thoughts from LDS Church General Conference (October 2013)".]
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