Thursday, April 10, 2008

The General Conference Post-Game Analysis

Well, General Conference has come and gone, and I think that this is one of the most powerful ones I've ever experienced.

When I was younger, because of the distance to our stake center (before our ward building had the capabilities to receive it), we really didn't go. In all honesty, before my mission I had really no interest in the Church. I went because of family and social influences, but I could have cared less. I didn't take anything seriously.

Yet when I went on my mission, I had a spiritual awakening (and in the beginning was one of those sickeningly good missionaries who forget what a mission is and only care about the rules they're following). I really got into LDS books (especially lectures), and Conference time was a spiritual amusement park for me (don't act like you all aren't impressed at that metaphor).

So let's dive in.

The Dark Horse for best performance at General Conference - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Now I mean "Dark horse" with the utmost respect - I don't think anyone was prepared for what Presidnt Uchtdorf was able to do. President Uchtdorf wins this by a mile. Not only was he poised and articulate in conducting almost every session of General Conference, his sermons were spectacular.

I loved his talk at Priesthood (I actually whipped out my Dell Axim, pressed record, and recorded the last 10 minutes of it because it was so good), and Sunday's talk on the "Faith of our Fathers" was amazing.

I think I really liked the "Faith of our Fathers" talk because it was given to a very diverse audience, an audience that I think hasn't gotten a lot of heritage talks directed at them - the non-pioneer heritage. I will admit that because both of my parents are converts, the stories about the pioneers crossing the plains didn't ever register with me. In all honesty, I really didn't like them, because it was my cue to daydream whenever I heard pioneer stories (yes, even in Conference).

With the same joy, I claim the legacies of today’s modern-day Church pioneers who live in every nation and whose own stories of perseverance, faith, and sacrifice add glorious new verses to the great chorus of the latter-day anthem of the kingdom of God.

When my own family contemplates the phrase “faith of our fathers,” often it is the Lutheran faith that comes to mind. For generations our ancestors belonged to that denomination. In fact, my son recently discovered that one of our family lines connects back to Martin Luther himself.

We honor and respect sincere souls from all religions, no matter where or when they lived, who have loved God, even without having the fulness of the gospel. We lift our voices in gratitude for their selflessness and courage. We embrace them as brothers and sisters, children of our Heavenly Father.

(Pres. Uchtdorf, "Faith of our Father," emphasis mine)

How beautiful is this, that we are respecting the faiths of others! How beautiful that a large population of the Church, who are all pioneers in their own right, are able to finally feel like they have claim to the pioneer heritage!

The Gave one for the Team award - President Henry Eyring

I took an advertising class this last semester, and my professor was actually in charge of public relations for the Rexburg Temple. As the temple dedication was nearing, we all tried to swindle information out of him as to what was going on and what rumors we could be privy to being on the inside of. Sadly, he was a safe - information was not coming out of him.

But after the passing of President Hinckley, the subsequent delaying and rescheduling of the temple dedication, he gave us a nugget - after the dedication he would tell us some stories.

One of those stories was concerning President Eyring. Apparently, President Eyring was going to attend the dedication with President Monson, yet the day he was going to attend he had broken his leg.

So naturally our hearts went out to him. Yet scouring the internet during Conference, I found this little nugget that really put things in perspective - Kudos to Ongofu for this great inside scoop.

A few weeks ago when Elder Eyring was at home, he suddenly found himself waking up on the floor, with his leg twisted under him. He went to work, but soon realized he needed to have his leg checked. When he did, he found out it was broken (which is why he’s currently using a cane, in case you wondered).

But then as the days went by, he continued to have times where he’d suddenly lose consciousness and he felt very weak. He was frustrated because he felt helpless. Newly appointed as the First Counselor to President Monson, he just wanted to serve. He got in to see the doctor, and had some tests done, and went back to work. Soon the results came in, and the doctor told him he had to come back to the hospital immediately.

Come to find out, his heart would periodically just stop. So last Tuesday, he had a pacemaker put in. Last Tuesday. I don’t know if you’ve known anyone who’s had that happen, but it’s a serious surgery, with an extended recovery time.

He got a blessing from President Monson, wherein he was told that angels would support him. The next day - Wednesday, he attended the meeting with the General Authorities in the temple. Thursday, he participated in the General Authority training. Then today (Saturday), he stood up, looking as magnified and healthy as ever, and delivered a powerful address on trusting in God as you serve with all your heart.

Now in looking up my references (and giving all credit to Rusty from Ongofu), I did stumble across the infamous Ex-mo board, and they're already tearing this apart as an FPR (faith promoting rumor). Personally, I'm not a big fan of embellished FPR's, so I did a bit more research. Here's how Rusty got his information (same link, comment #6):
My Father in law is Elder Pace, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy (my favorite member at that ;-). Every Priesthood Session we’ve made a big tradition out of getting together for the session and Dinner afterwards. He mentioned it to us as we ate when one of us asked why Elder Eyring had a cane and gave us the additional context so we could better appreciate the point of Elder Eyring’s talk.

So that's an interesting little bit of info for you to re-read Pres. Eyring's talk and see what else it means to you.

MVP - President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

How could this award go to any others? The Dark Horse award could have gone to Elder Wirthlin or Holland, or even Elder Ballard, but the MVP definately goes to President Monson.

His first opportunity to act as President of the Church, and he hits a home-run. I absolutely was floored with his address. Honestly, beforehand, I didn't know if his happy storytelling way of speaking was what I felt would make an effective Church President (obviously the reason I'm not running the Church), but his final address to close Conference was jaw-dropping. Perhaps it was the power of the chosen prophet of the Church, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been so used to President Hinckley's quick recaps and motivating encouragements to "be a little better," and President Monson's speech was quite the opposite. I am very excited to go through the mp3's again at and re listen to our prophet speak.

School's out for a week, so expect a lot of updates!


Rusty said...

Great post, I loved hearing your awards, and agree with every one.

Regarding ex-mo, it's too bad there are some who spend so much time deteriorating. It's like Theodore Roosevelt said... "It's not the critic who counts".

Best wishes,

Matt "The Bull" said...

what did you think about the "press confrence" with the young womens presidency, I thought it was wierd. the first one bore her testimony, and they all seemed to have a hard time with impromptu questioning.

brandt said...

Matt -

I think it's tough trying to dissect a "Mormon" presser.

Mind you, I didn't get a chance to catch it.

While one bore her testimony, and the others (according to many) seemed to have a hard time with the questioning, what I do is put myself in their shoes. After everything that had happened, I know that I would be caught off-guard by questions, having to formulate responses and what not.