What a conference! I hope you enjoyed the counsel, direction, and insightfulness of our leaders as much as I did.
Here are a few random observations I gleaned from the comforts of my bean bag chair of the 192nd semiannual conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Focus on Christ
Nephi records in the Book of Mormon, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
All speakers taught about Jesus Christ and His teachings, including doing good in today’s world, building our spiritual strength, and sharing our faith in Christ with others.
By my quick count, of the 35 talks, 17 focused directly on Jesus, including His suffering and atonement, His love for mankind, the importance of seeking Him, and drawing closer to the Savior.
With the roots of our early Church history embedded in people primarily from New England and the British Isles, diversification has not been our Church’s strength. However, addresses by Tracy Browning, Joseph Sitati of Kenya and Isaac Morrison of Ghana, and others show we are heading in the right direction.
Sister Browning, who was born in New York and lived in Jamaica as a youth, became the first Black woman to speak in a General Conference. She invited Latter-day Saints to see more of Jesus Christ in their lives.
Elder Sitati, who was sustained as a general authority in 2009, was released this conference and given emeritus status. He is the Church’s first Black African general authority.
Even though 98-year-old President Nelson surpassed Gordon B. Hinckley to become the oldest president in the history of the Church, there is some relatively young general Church leadership on the rise.
Ryan Olsen (47), Mark Eddy (49), Jonathan Scmitt (48), and Elder Morrison (44) all delivered poignant remarks Saturday afternoon. Now, that’s not exactly a Youth Conference, but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next decade with changes in the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency.
Strength of Youth
While introducing the new version of Strength of Youth, Elder Dieter Uchtdorf taught, “…the best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth.”
I have spent the bulk of my adulthood working directly with the youth of the Church. I am excited about the new Strength of Youth version and will devote my next column to this topic.
Ted’s Still Singing in the Choir
While listening to the Tabernacle Choir sing in the Sunday session, I quipped to Janna, “I guess Ted (Vanderwerken) is no longer in the Choir.” Within 13.7 seconds, the camera zoomed in on Ted of Tooele singing away with 359 fellow Choir members.
Tenure in the Choir is 20 years or until age 60, whichever comes first. You can ask Ted how long he plans on being a member of the world-famed choir and do the math for age calculation.
Parable of the Royal Wedding
I have always scratched my head when reading and studying the parable of the royal marriage feast.
In his unique teaching style, Elder David Bednar shed new light and understanding of Jesus’s parable found in Matthew 22. I am excited to re-read his message and better understand this parable.
Strength of President Nelson
I failed to notice, but President Nelson sat in a chair while delivering his speeches. I loved his Facebook comment: “I may not ski black diamond runs anymore, but whether standing or seated, I delight in speaking and hearing words of truth.”
Charlie Roberts is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Stansbury Park.