We are moments away from the opening session of this falls General Conference. Refresh for updates.
The link to watch live is http://www.lds.org/general-conference/october-2012-landing-page?lang=eng
Right now the countdown is at 10 minutes, most of the General Authorities have filed into their seats, as organ music fills the conference center.
The conference center sits on a 10 acre site in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s seats up to 21,000 people. From the pictures being shown, it looks like it’s full. I forget how far it is from the last seat in the balcony to the podium, but it was pretty surprisingly far. Maybe someone reading this knows.
4 minutes to air time, President Monson and his counselors take their seats as everyone else stands to greet them.
With the timer at 30 seconds, the screen goes dark. When we return, the first meeting will begin!
One of the most exciting parts of this first session is the announcing of new Temples. I currently live about 4 hours away from four different Temples. New York City, Montreal, Palmyra and Boston, which is the Temple we attend. With a Temple being recently announced in Hartford CT, it is unlikely another Temple will be added to our area anytime soon, but we can always hope!
We are live! Henry B. Eyring, the First Counselor is conduction the meeting, that means he is at the podium, announcing what will come next. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is providing the music in this first session. They will now sing “How firm a foundation”
Following the opening prayer, Thomas Monson, the President of the Church makes the opening remarks. President Monson jokes that he sees a few open seats in the back. This is conference number 182. 3 new temples dedicated in the last 6 months. He talks about the Kansas City Temple, then the Brazil Temple, Buenos Aries, and then the Brigham City Temple. There are now 139 temples, 29 underway. 2 new temples are to be named now. Tucson Arizona, and someplace in Peru…
Announcement to be made about Missionary service. Some missionaries can serve as young as 18 years old in certain countries. All worthy young men who have graduated high school can now serve as young as 18. In the United States, you had to be 19 up until now. Young Women can now serve a mission at the age of 19, rather than 21 as was the case before. Something like 80% of the missionaries are male. President Monson encourages more senior couples to consider a mission. We recently had a couple from our Ward served a seniors mission. Since me and my wife have not done a mission, we are hoping to do a seniors mission.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing again “Lord I will follow thee”
, following this song, the Apostle Quentin Cook will speak.
Cook- Coments on his service as a 20 year old missionary in England when the age was dropped from 20 to 19. He says the first 19 year old to arrive in his mission was Jeffery R Holland, who would also go on to become an Apostle. The Church currently has over 55,000 active missionaries. Emerge yourself in the scriptures, repent for any wrong doings to continue to grow in Christ Mercy is extended to those who repent. There are two main challenges, Lack of kindness, unpure sexual thoughts. Lack of kindness applies to members in their own lives, and he talks specifically about treatment of a spouse. The family is the foundation for love. Sexual immorality is also a major challenge. Movies, tv and the internet can all be harmful to our spirituality. Pornography is a plague. It is easy to find, and you can come upon inappropriate materials without even trying. Parents need to teach their children to lead righteous lives, just taking them to church is not enough. Children younger and younger are being exposed to unwholesome material. Through repentance, anyone can be worthy again. Just because you do good things, does not excuse poor behavior. Sports on Sunday is not appropriate.
Dibb- Ann M. Dibb, a Counselor is the Young Womens Presidency, is the next speaker. She ran into a Young Woman wearing a “I am a Mormon, are you?” shirt, and likes that she was confident in her identity, and was proud of who she was. She would wear a shirt that says “I’m a Mormon, I know it, I live it, I love it” For the second talk in a row, committment seems to be a theme. She is talking about arranging priorities. We should follow our Saviors example, and do what is right. No one is perfect, we will make mistakes, but through our Saviors sacrifice, we can be forgiven. Another theme echoed by both talks so far. When we follow Christ, it is a joyous thing, we should love it, and love it enthusiastically. But we can become weary over time. Dibb encourages us to be humble, and submit to the word of God. She bears a strong testimony of the plan of Salvation and of the Church.
Craig C. Christensen a Seventy, is the next speaker. He is talking about how the Holy Ghost can help us learn and grow. It can comfort us. If we have the Spirit, we can share it with others. We can help cause miracles in other people’s lives. Everyone on earth can feel the Holy Ghost, but only baptised members are promised the gift of the Holy Ghost if we live worthily.
“We Thank thee oh God, for a Prophet” is the intermediate hymn.
Shayne M Bowen- Bowen is also a Seventy. He speaks of a missionary experience he had in Chile. The family they were teaching lost a young child. Their local priest had told them the child could not go to heaven. They read from the scriptures to see that this was not the case. The woman was at peace, and she and her family were baptised. Young children who were lost are amongst the most beautiful of souls, who are called right back to Heavenly Father. He shares his experience with losing a young child. He was unable to feel peace, blaming himself, and being very unhappy. He was mad at himself for feeling unhappy. Earth life is just one step of our spiritual journey. He still loves his son, and knows that he loves him, and they will be reunited some day.
*This would be a good talk for non members to listen to*
Russell M Nelson- Nelson, and Apostle, comments on how more youth will be able to serve missions now. All Young Men should see serving a mission as a duty. Young Women and mature couples are also encouraged to serve. Future Missionaries should prepare financially and spiritually. People who convert to our Church don’t lose anything they were before, they gain. Nelson has 8 family members currently serving. He then talks about the name “Mormon” and how the actual name is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” He talks of how the original Church was lost in the generations after Christs death. But has been brought back in the Restoration. Missionaries are resources to those who don’t have the full gospel. He shares an interesting missionary story. He talks about how Mormons have the longest life span accorning to studies. We aren’t just a church, we are a way of life. A recent study showed that Mormons have greater knowledge of the Bible than other religions. We help the needy.
Uchtdorf!- President Dieter F Uchtdorf is the concluding speaker of this session. Uchtdorf was raised in Germany, and his talks are often a highlight of Conference. Life is short. We do a lot of good in life, but we also have regrets. Tells a story of people who were on their death bed, being asked what they regret. They wish they had spent more time with the people they love. They regret spending too much time at work. We view being busy as a sign of a good life. Jesus spent time with people, they felt his love. Technology makes it easy to communicate with each other, but not to spend time with them. Spend meaningful time with those you love People regretted not reaching their full potential. We should be a living example of Christ. People also regret not taking joy in the journey. They are always in such a hurry to finish things, they don’t enjoy the present as much. We must begin to walk that eternal path today. We should not wait until we are about to die, to begin to live.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings their final hymn. A closing prayer is offered, and the session is closed. See you in two hours!