Conference Kudos

By: Steve H - October 05, 2005

Watching conference there were several things that really impressed me. I wanted to just list a few of them. So without further delay, here is my list of grand things people did or said in conference:
1. Pres. Monson made a talk about Joseph Smith really interesting in new ways for me.
2. Several people re-affirmed the importance of the general membership of the Church knowing a few of the basics of broader christian history.
3. Elder Uchdorf’s talk to and about the Saints of Europe and their concerns was timely.
4. Whoever it was that opened the priesthood session of conference hadn’t planned the prayer, and it ended up being a very sincere and wonderful prayer.
5. Pres. Faust stood up for the brethren and re-affirmed their ability to lead the church in no uncertain terms.
There were many other things that I thought were significant about this conference, and perhaps I’ll post later on a few in more depth, but all of these things made me want to cheer for the brethren.

24 Comments

  1. I too thought the opening prayer for priesthood was very nice. It’s not often that someone studders and pauses like that over that pulpit in the conference center.

    Comment by Rusty — 10/5/2005 @ 8:52 am

  2. I thought Elder Oaks’ talk about presiding was quite interesting. Among other things, it put to rest some of the more obnoxious rumors of twelve year-olds presiding in the home. I also thought it was an interesting expansion of the doctrine of keys.

    Also, I find it quite interesting that it was seven years ago in 1998, that President Hinckley gave a talk in Priesthood entitled To the Boys and to the Men where he reads from Genisis the store of the seven years of feast and famine in regards to our temporal preparation…interesting indeed.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/5/2005 @ 11:15 am

  3. …In fact, I’ve been thinking about posting on that.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/5/2005 @ 11:16 am

  4. I didn’t like the opening prayer of the priesthood session. I had nothing against him praying for relief for the victims of Katrina and Rita–I think that any member of the Church, wherever they are, should be able to add their amen to that.

    But the prayer was too U.S.-centric because of how the individual prayed for the “armed forces,” referring pretty obviously to America’s involvement in Iraq (although the speaker didn’t say the latter directly). I thought this was inappropriate in the international church where the engagement of the armed forces is a political matter decided by the governments of respective countries. In theory, saints around the world should not have anything against adding their amen to a prayer for the welfare of people in the armed forces, but the implication of Iraq makes it a difficult pill to swallow for international saints who do not agree with the premises of the Iraq war or with the initiatives of the American armed forces.

    The person in priesthood meeting sitting next to me literally leaned over to me after the prayer and whispered, “could there possibly have been a more nationalistic and U.S. centered prayer?” So it wasn’t just me that got this impression.

    Comment by john fowles — 10/5/2005 @ 12:41 pm

  5. John,

    You’re kidding, aren’t you? I wish I could see your face right now – the hint of a smile?

    In fact (to pretend you’re not being sarcy), I can’t imagine anyone in the church having a problem with asking God to protect the American soldiers. God help them. But I would love more of us to consider in prayer the plight of the Iraqi populace who are being treated like dirt (I have a stronger word in mind here) by their so-called Muslim brothers.

    Comment by Ronan — 10/5/2005 @ 12:46 pm

  6. Actually I wasn’t kidding. I wish that he would not have prayed for American soldiers in an international meeting. That would have been appropriate in a stake priesthood meeting though.

    Comment by john fowles — 10/5/2005 @ 1:13 pm

  7. Ronan, if I remember correctly from an earlier discussion of this over at T&S, you supported someone who had a problem with a GA praying for an end to the drought in Utah in General Conference, but now you are okay with a GA praying for American soldiers in a war that many outside the U.S. see as an act of imperialism and nothing more? That is an interesting twist.

    Comment by john fowles — 10/5/2005 @ 1:15 pm

  8. Is it just our assumptions that made this a nationalistic prayer? There are more than just American soldiers in Iraq, and there are Iraquis serving in the military of their own nation. There was nothing about wiping out the insurgency, nothing about bringing freedom to the world through our noble actions, nothing about helping to defeat any enemy. I think the brethren have been very careful about simply praying for the safety of those involved in the conflict. Our opinions about the conflict are bound to affect the way we hear the prayer, but I don’t think that’s a reason not to pray for the poor folks that have to be involved in it.

    Comment by Steve H — 10/5/2005 @ 1:26 pm

  9. John,
    What can I say, it looks like we’re both flip-floppers.

    Comment by Ronan — 10/5/2005 @ 2:14 pm

  10. The gentleman I was sitting next to turned to me after the prayer and remarked how ethnocentric it was. I thought that it was inappropriate, but it looks like this was a wide spread sentiment.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/5/2005 @ 2:53 pm

  11. Maybe I’m thinking of a different prayer. In fact, I think I arrived to P. meeting late and didn’t hear the prayer. There was one prayer in one of the meetings which the person studdered and stammered and I thought it was nice and… not planned.

    Comment by Rusty — 10/5/2005 @ 3:25 pm

  12. Molehills…

    Comment by Chris S. — 10/5/2005 @ 4:29 pm

  13. It’s ironic that some of you would complain about a prayer in the same meeting that we were told by President Faust: “I do not know how we can expect to be in full harmony with the Spirit of the Lord if we are not in harmony with the president of the church and the other prophets, seers and revelators.”

    Comment by Steve — 10/5/2005 @ 4:44 pm

  14. Steve (#13),

    Why is that ironic?

    Comment by Geoff J — 10/5/2005 @ 5:02 pm

  15. I try to be in harmony with church leaders as admonished there. It is just that praying for the armed forces in an international priesthood meeting struck me as unnecessary and possibly alienating.

    Praying for relief from a drought in Utah, however, does not invoke the same feeling for me because it is an apolitical issue, even if ethnocentric in a regional sense (i.e. focusing on Utah’s problems when just as bad or worse is happening all over the place where there are members).

    Comment by john fowles — 10/5/2005 @ 5:21 pm

  16. I pray for the US, Australian, Iraqi, Philippino, Brazilian, Canadian, Polynesian and African Soldiers, currently on alert in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Thailand, Fiji, and other places in the world. Why is it that some people are so ethnocentric and always think they are the ones being spoken about?

    Comment by matt witten — 10/5/2005 @ 9:01 pm

  17. I also really enjoyed Elder Oak’s Talk, as well as Elder Nelson’s. It made me long for the footnotes.

    Comment by matt witten — 10/5/2005 @ 9:02 pm

  18. J. Stapley, I’d like to read that thread. Go for it.

    I missed almost all of conference, but if I was asked to pray in conference and I didn’t plan my prayer, and I got up there and thought, “Oh crap, I’m on television before millions of people,” I might have not thought of political correctness.

    He was in Salt Lake, I’m assuming he was American. It’s a forgiveable lapse. We all want the best for our servicemen. Screw the rest of the world.

    Yes, I’m kidding in that last part. But hopefully, compassionate, sensitive people could see that if he were from Thailand, he would have prayed for the victims of the Tsunami. Were he not polished. Geez, nitpick, why don’t you. Whoever did it. I forgot already and I don’t want to scroll back up. :)

    Comment by annegb — 10/6/2005 @ 2:20 am

  19. Yes, sorry, it is overly critical and nit-picky. Of course, he can pray for whatever he wants. He would probably be horrified if someone pointed out to him how praying for American troops might appear to non-Americans, which category, if I am not mistaken, comprises the majority of the membership of our church (or at least equal parts).

    Comment by john fowles — 10/6/2005 @ 11:18 am

  20. As an interesting aside, the Temple workers here in Seattle are instructed to strip all language from temple prayers that involve the military or armed conflict as we have a regular international visitors. In a way, it is kind of sad.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/6/2005 @ 11:37 am

  21. Steve,
    It is so nice that we have the words of prophets and apostles to use to belittle and invalidate other members honest thoughts and feelings. Sorry for the sarcastic tone, but I find this a very manipulative practice. I think it better to ‘liken scripture (conference talks) to ourselves’.

    I personally think John brings up a good point. Shouldn’t we all strive to be more sensative to other world views and the fact that the gospel is about what brings us together? When we talk about these things we become aware of them, and John is right-anything to do with the Iraq war is a hot bed even within the U.S. and the church.

    Comment by river stone — 10/7/2005 @ 12:29 am

  22. I guess I don’t see praying for armed forces as bad–they are in serious danger. Whether or not we agree with the cause, we can agree that good people are in harm’s way; and we can be concerned about that. I think the only people that might not feel like praying for the safety of the troops in Iraq are those trying to kill them. Anyone else–even those who are adamantly opposed to the US being in Iraq, should be able to (and, I believe, many of them do) pray for the armed forces there. Remember–many of the troops don’t want to be there.

    Comment by Bill — 10/20/2005 @ 6:56 am

  23. John, I don’t like excluding anyone. It’s just that it’s got to be really scary to pray at general conference and perhaps he was just scared and brain dead. I would be. It’s hard to be PC when you know millions of people are watching you. Think how hard it is just to pray in church.

    I would rather give a talk.

    Comment by annegb — 10/20/2005 @ 11:50 am

  24. I enjoyed conference quite a bit. There was one thing that made me laugh a little. Boyd K. Packers talk on Sunday morning. He said that there were people who say they could have endured many trials if there was the continual flow of revelation/scripture as there was in the early days of the restoration. He then tried to say how much revelation there had been recently and launched into this long explanation regarding the cross referencing, etc. in the LDS scriptures. So, I wondered – everything since Joseph Smith has just been footnotes then? His explanation seemed to strengthen the claim of less revelation to the church now instead of weaken it.

    Comment by Eric — 12/5/2005 @ 8:55 am

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