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92 Thoughts on April 2012 General Conference

1 April 2012 (updated 12 May 2024)

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92 Thoughts on April 2012 General Conference

Over the last couple days, I watched an online stream of the April 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 92 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. I’d like to hear from you.

  1. Thomas Monson begins by quoting Joseph Smith’s letter to John Wentworth. I love the “Standard of Truth”.
  2. Boyd Packer says, “neither man nor woman can bear children alone”. That’s probably not true. For example, read about human parthenogenesis.
  3. Packer says, “life was never meant to be either easy or fair”. What does this imply for the problem of evil? (Chris Bradford)
  4. Packer says we learn more about meaning from our children than our parents. Does God also learn about meaning from us?
  5. Cheryl Esplin says: in the eyes of every infant, we are reminded of the words, “I am a Child of God”. (By Common Consent)
  6. Donald Hallstrom starts out like Poelman’s famous edited talk! (Chris Bradford)
  7. Hallstrom says, “it’s possible to be active in the church and less active in the gospel”.
  8. Deepen our understanding of deity. AMEN. See the New God Argument. (Chris Bradford)
  9. Dallin Oaks says we should each offer a “small imitation of [Jesus’] own sacrifice”. This is Christ in you.
  10. Oaks gives a shout-out to monks and missionaries of other faiths for their sacrifices. (Derek Hudson)
  11. Oaks says LDS Mormons are more generous in time and money than upper 20% of US donors.
  12. Oaks says, “we followers of christ must make our own sacrifices”. This is Christ in you.
  13. The study on Mormons that Elder Oaks mentioned. (@ExBishopDon)
  14. Oaks says religion that does not require sacrifice of all can’t produce faith for salvation. See the Lectures on Faith.
  15. Henry Eyring says God trembles because of pain. This is reminiscent of “The Weeping God of Mormonism”. (Chris Bradford)
  16. Eyring emphasizes that faith is essential to endurance and progress. Here are my thoughts on that: “Dynamic Faith in Pancritical Rationality”.
  17. Faith precedes miracles, particularly when we understand miracles in terms of naturalism and technology. Read about Clarke’s Three Laws.
  18. “A proud man can’t know God. He always looks down on things and people. As long as you look down, you can’t see anything above you.” CS Lewis (Chris Bradford)
  19. Carol Stephens (the wife of my friend and boss, Marty Stephens) is the new first counselor in the General Relief Society presidency.
  20. “Mingling with Gods he can plan for his brethren”. See “Praise to the Man”.
  21. David Bednar quotes the Articles of Faith, saying ritual administrators are called “by prophecy”. Does that make local leaders prophets?
  22. Bednar alludes to some of the most powerful words ever preached by Joseph Smith.
  23. “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that he would put his spirit upon them!” Moses (Chris Bradford)
  24. I enjoyed hearing the opening prayer in priesthood session refer to us as “thy [God’s] brethren”. (Chris Bradford)
  25. Richard Edgley says we should work for others’ salvation, both spiritual and temporal. Let’s engineer a resurrection!
  26. We are speaking the words of Christ when we provoke a strenuous mood for compassion and creation.
  27. Here’s why: we have got to learn how to be gods ourselves! See the King Follett sermon of Joseph Smith.
  28. Dieter Uchtdorf says sermons that don’t lead to action are like fires without heat or water that cannot quench. (Corbin Allred)
  29. Uchtdorf alludes to another powerful sermon from Joseph Smith.
  30. Joseph Smith emphasized the “here” in “hereafter”, making this Earth heaven - no escapism.
  31. Yup, it’s not called the “thereafter” :-) (Chris Bradford)
  32. Here and now are the place and time to engineer heaven.
  33. I respond so much better to Uchtdorf’s pick-you-up attitude than I do to some other motivation-by-guilt approaches. (Todd Weiler)
  34. Here is how we should understand “prophet”.
  35. Henry Eyring says, “Salvation is a family affair” – communal salvation. (Chris Bradford)
  36. Eyring quotes almost all of these inspiring words from Joseph Smith.
  37. We should expand our concept of family as broadly as possible to atone with all who are willing – communal salvation. (Chris Bradford)
  38. I love how frequently D&C 121 is quoted in general conference. (Chris Bradford)
  39. Don’t you know Joseph Smith prophesied the white iPhone?!?
  40. “Miracles are everywhere to be found, when the Priesthood is understood.” (@MormonStyleGuy)
  41. “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore
  42. I’m moved far more by appeals to a sublime esthetic than by appeals to duty.
  43. Duty is not off the table, but it’s insufficient on its own. Why care?
  44. Dieter Uchtdorf takes up the subject of prejudices … and racism? The LDS Church needs to address this subject.
  45. Uchtdorf quotes a bumper sticker: “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
  46. Is Russell Nelson implying an attack on biological evolution? Boo!
  47. Nelson says death is part of the plan, but Mormon scripture says death is an awful monster to be overcome.
  48. Nelson says death is part of the plan, but Jesus says disciples that won’t die are more blessed.
  49. The desires of the Three Nephites are different from those of the Nine only in the desire not to die.
  50. I love what science has taught us about the wonders of this universe created through the Big Bang and evolution. I’m a Mormon. (Ryan Johnson)
  51. God can still use randomness in evolution by establishing environmental conditions for natural selection. (Chris Bradford)
  52. There’s some great doctrine being taught by Elder Nelson here. Too bad it’s all being overshadowed by one line about evolution. (Steve Pierce)
  53. All want to bring souls to Christ, but Jesus says to the Three: “More blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death.”
  54. Death and hell are not part of the plan. They are the problems addressed by the plan of resurrection and atonement.
  55. Does Jesus suggest anything (except not dying) in 3 Nephi 28: 7-10 does not apply to the Nine?
  56. “The sisters had been given power and authority to do a great many things.” Didn’t we hear yesterday that authority equals priesthood? (Chris Bradford)
  57. Julie Beck says the Relief Society should promote everything Godlike.
  58. Not dying enables more good (or evil) than does dying.
  59. I think we agree: those who don’t die are more blessed because they have more opportunity to do good.
  60. Todd Christofferson reminds us that “a prophet is a prophet only when acting as such”, and we must discern when prophets are acting us such.
  61. Nelson’s repudiation of the Big Bang is a modern equivalent of heliocentrism denial in the Middle Ages. Unnecessary. (Carl Youngblood)
  62. Must we be prophets to discern when other prophets are acting as prophets?
  63. Love that: Brigham Young spoke earlier this morning; the Lord will speak now. (@mormonneighbor)
  64. Christofferson quotes J Reuben Clark: “The Spirit works on the body of the Church to help determine solid doctrine over time.” (Chris Bradford)
  65. Two-word sermons through the ages – President Uchdorf: Stop it; President Kimball: Do it; J Golden: Damn it. (Marion Jensen)
  66. The simplicity and complexity of belief should correspond to the simplicity and complexity of experience.
  67. The simplicity of an idea often reflects the complexity of an intelligence.
  68. Tom Perry quotes Mormon scripture describing God’s work as immortality and eternal life in worlds without end.
  69. Perry says neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon is sufficient – and even both are insufficient.
  70. Russell Ballard compares the Liahona to modern technology – transhumanism. (Chris Bradford)
  71. Ballard mentions “traditional values”, but let’s not equivocate between traditional values (eg racism) and good values.
  72. Ballard mentions “strong values”, but let’s also not equivocate between strong values (eg racism) and good values.
  73. Ballard appeals to “natural order”, but remember death and hell are natural too - we need and want better than nature.
  74. Ballard reminds us we’re children of God.
  75. Vincent Haleck quotes, “where there’s no vision, the people perish.” That’s uncomfortably true. See the New God Argument.
  76. Haleck says we have a responsibility to be God’s hands. (Chris Bradford)
  77. Haleck says we should be even as Christ – Christ in you. He sees us as he is. (Chris Bradford)
  78. Larry Wilson returns to Joseph Smith’s inspiring words on compassionate use of authority and the power of compassion.
  79. Wilson says wise parents prepare children to get along without them. Does God do the same with us?
  80. Without compulsory means [influence] shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”
  81. Our work is God’s work: to bring about immortality and eternal life. (Chris Bradford)
  82. Paul Pieper notes that inspiration may be indistinguishable from reason, making the recognition of the sacred a matter of choice. (Chris Bradford)
  83. Pieper says the sacred should be combined with the secular.
  84. Keep in mind cognitive biases before deciding something is sacred.
  85. Pieper says the “dichotomy” of sacred and secular is a matter of priority, not exclusivity – science and religion. See Transfigurism. (Chris Bradford)
  86. Neil Andersen cites declining morality, but data suggests increasing morality.
  87. Secular DOES NOT equal atheist. (Chris Henrichsen)
  88. Many great secular thinkers, including John Rawls, valued faith and rejected atheism and hostility towards religion. (Chris Henrichsen)
  89. Anderson shared a heart warming story of children saved in Haiti, and it shouldn’t diminish concern for many children not saved.
  90. I have a hard time with rescue stories like that shared by Elder Andersen. What about those who aren’t delivered? (Chris Bradford)
  91. Anderson contrasts others’ opinion of our Christianity with Christ’s opinion, but others should be the body of Christ.
  92. God bless Mormonism. May we live up to the compassion and creation demanded by our religion.

More Thoughts on General Conference

If you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you might also enjoy reading my thoughts on other general conferences. Here's a list, in reverse chronological order, of the conferences for which I've published thoughts:

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