Annotations to Saturday PM session, April 2016 General Conference


Ronald A. Rasband (12)

Is this going to be an indirect address to the “opposed” crowd? Interesting.

Good job pre-empting the seduction of young people into trendy doubt and denial. Yeah, this is totally an indirect response to the “opposed.”

“His servants: you and me.”

Is Edwin Markham the first poet quoted in this conference? I could teach a whole semester of American Lit based on the citations in any given general conference.

Elder Rasband phrases his counsel in terms of questions and answers, just as President Uchtdorf did in his response to the “opposed.”

I’ve been reading a great collection called Early Christian Fathers, an anthology of writings from the second generation of church leaders after the original Apostles died. Just like the New Testament itself, the biggest theme is using basic doctrines to combat apostasy. Just yesterday I read the epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, where 7:2 says this:

But I swear by Him for whose cause I am a prisoner, that from no human channels did I learn this. It was the Spirit that kept on preaching in these words: “Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your bodies as if they were God’s temple; value unity; flee schism; imitate Jesus Christ as he imitated his Father.” [emphasis added]

This message is always important, and isn’t going away anytime soon.


Neil L. Andersen (12)

The gospel preserves truth about family and stands against the world’s degradation of it. Awesome.

A message to the children of such families is a great idea, but how will they get it? They’re not watching General Conference. Should we all make a concerted effort to deliver this talk to them?

This talk is full of great role models, and not just for the young.

Elder Scott once gave a powerful talk to us all about striving to come as close to an ideal family as possible for each of us; that talk dovetails nicely with this one: “Do the best you can while on earth to have an ideal family. To help you do that, ponder and apply the principles in the proclamation on the family.”

Actually, this talk seems more like it’s for us than for the youth themselves. We have to make these kids a priority.

I was one of these youth 25 years ago, and my ward and seminary class heroically tried to fellowship me–I rarely responded well then, but I’m very grateful now. They planted a seed.

Another personal story about ministering and meetings in Africa! Nothing in conference is a coincidence, guys.

“The children not only came, but came running.”

Mervyn B. Arnold (70)

Really, all the times that general authorities quote other general authorities past and present should be a good example to us to pay attention and cherish these words. All of these anecdotes aren’t the fruits of a team of research interns; it comes from the speaker’s knowledge of and love for these words.

Also note how often general conference conversion stories are long term. This good man didn’t respond or listen for 25 years.

Diving into the ocean wearing a suit so you can reach out to someone!? Yes!

This talk and the one before it both focus on ministering to others, reaching out to the less active and/or those in danger of falling away.

Preaching to telemarketers? Hardcore. A fun talk.


Jairo Mazzagardi (70)

I think/hope a lot of people will relate to this personal narrative.

Notice that, as a story of finding answers, this talk illustrates the counsel given by Elder Rasband earlier in this session.


David A. Bednar (12)

The start of this talk reminds me of Neal A. Maxwell’s classic work about King Benjamin’s speech, “A Manual of Discipleship.”

The doctrinal understanding of our leaders, and their habit of focusing on basics in their work, is yet another example to us from conference.

This talk, maybe more than any other so far, fulfills the promises made in President Eyring’s introduction this morning.


M. Russell Ballard (12)

His first general conference talk about the most important council in the church, he says: the family council.

We’ve been trying to work on monthly family councils and individual interviews with each kid, so reviewing this talk will help.

Ballard has spoken on other councils before, as he indicated, maybe most importantly in this old conference talk. That talk was later expanded into a book; I’ve had more than one church leader tell me how useful it is.

Elder Gene R. Cook’s excellent Raising Up a Family to the Lord is also a highly recommended resource. It’s out of print, but worth finding a used copy. I have notes on it here; section IX is about family meetings. Check it out.

I think we keep hearing from our leaders that activities like these are not optional if we want our children to be faithful, and even just successful in general, these days. Like the frequent reiteration of the need to submit to and support church leadership, I don’t think this theme is going away, either.



A great session, and a great conference so far. Two hours until the priesthood meeting.



The closing prayer by Tad R. Callister leads me to use this opportunity to recommend his amazingly, awesomely excellent book, The Infinite Atonement. It is one of the most important scripture and gospel study books ever, period. If you read nothing else suggested in these notes, read that. If you’re in my area, the local library district has electronic and paper copies.





















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