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Thoughts on General Conference

Here's a few of my randomly assorted thoughts on conference. Most of this is paraphrase:

President Hinckley: It was a relief to see that, during the priesthood session, he spoke-out so strongly against gambling. It's been getting to the point where it almost seems socially acceptable among college-age LDS guys. I'm glad he talked about it.

A few notable points he made were: 1. Gambling is any game of chance that offers something for nothing. 2. Gambling is morally wrong. 3. The deterioration of the man occurs for both the winner and loser alike. 4. In general, do not "fritter away your time in aimless pursuits" of which gambling is only one.

Elder Lynn G. Robbins: Mercy can't rob justice, neither can it rob sacrifice. (Meaning that even though we're mostly poor college students we're not exempt from sacrificing either monetarily or otherwise.)

Elder Robert C. Oaks: We've got "AWOL" priesthood holders--Absent Without Leave. At one point these men humbly allowed someone in authority to lay his hands on their head and confer upon them the priesthood, yet now they're estranged from the Lord's church. ("AWOL" -- What a great way to phrase it.)

Never squander your priesthood power by wallowing in the filth of pornography.

President James E. Faust: Success is most often obtained by persevering than by anything else.

President Thomas S. Monson: He shared a great poem. It was something to the effect of ...
I slept and dreamed that life was joy
I awoke and saw that life was duty
I went to work—
Duty was Joy

Elder M. Russell Ballard: We must place greater emphasis on worthily ordaining our young men to the offices of deacon, teacher and priest.

Elder L. Tom Perry: Too many are too comfortable with their current lifestyle of secularism.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: The main focus of Jacob's sermon was on evil acts contemplated--not evil acts committed. Pornography strangles the life out of relationships. Do not use your purchasing power to support any sort of pornography. Young women: dressing immodestly is becoming pornography.

Elder Robert J. Whetton: Do you love others as much as yourself? To retain a remission of your sins you should administer to the downtrodden. Are you a blessing in other people's lives?

Many members believe that converts who fall away do so because they really didn't have a testimony, but studies show that this is not typically the case. Fellowship should be extended by all in the ward. Love is the first and great commandment.

Elder Adhemar Damiani: We must pass through trials in order to be prepared to receive the Lord's glory.

Elder David A. Bednar: "The tender mercies of the Lord are real, and do not occur randomly or by coincidence." You and I ultimately decide whether we are chosen. The Lord's work: Moses 1:39. Our work: D&C 11:20.

President Hinckley (again): Our children can associate with those who are not members of our faith and yet remain steadfast. (Does the attitude he's combating here deeply bother anyone else?)
--

(BTW: While writing this I found that I just now got a lot more out of conference. Funny how that works.)

In all, I thought it was a wonderful conference. I loved Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar's talks. I'm excited to have them as apostles. It's evident that they each really have received an apostolic mantel.

What did you guys think of conference?

Gambling and other thoughts

While I agree with the point he was trying to make about gambling, I don't think it is always wrong to do it. If the person is responsible enough to handle it, I don't see how it is different from any other form of entertainment. If I have the money available and, this is key, expect that I will leave with less money than I started with then I have no problem with the gambling.

As for the attitude President Hinckley was speaking of in his second address, I am also troubled by it. I wish he would have made a specific comment about homosexuals too. He should have included them specifically in his description of children of God and how we should love them as well.

The point "he was trying to m

The point "he was trying to make" is that it is always wrong to gamble. So it seems you don't agree, in fact.

President Hinckley (again): O

President Hinckley (again): Our children can associate with those who are not members of our faith and yet remain steadfast. (Does the attitude he's combating here deeply bother anyone else?)

As you might have guessed it bothers me. I believe he spoke to this quite effectively also in his opening remarks, when he honored the Pope and offered his condolences to the Catholic people. It was a powerful statement. Only one or two news articles seemed to pick up on the fact that it was actually the first thing he said. Most said he reported on the progress of the church first, which was untrue. I hope certain Saints "got it".

Another Utah thing to hate...

Okay guys look at it this way. The prophet also said that we don't drink caffienated drinks (interview with Larry King) but how many of your friends or even family members follow this rule? Mormons aren't supposed to watch rated "R" movies either, but alot of us do. These small and seemingly insignificent "evils behind the smiling eyes" will always be something that each individual will have to determine is right or wrong for them. I hate Utah for one specific thing only; people expect you to listen to them when they tell you to be honest, to not watch rated "r" movies, drink caffeine, swear, gamble, and keep the Sabbath Day holy. These same people telling you to uphold these good traits are more than likely not upholding them themselves on a regular basis. As far as I'm concerned I'll listen to someone that I know is free of sin (God) and I'll listen to those that represent him directly in belief that they are closer to being sin-free than I will ever be. But, I will still determine for myself how what they said applies to me. As for others who pretend as though they are perfect and think that they can tell others that their interpretation of what God or the prophet said is the only correct way, I say to heck with you and keep your personal predictions to yourself. I've constantly got to remind myself that the people of the church are not perfect, but the Church is. And for that reason alone I go to church. Listen to God, and listen to the prophets but determine for yourself what you believe the message portrayed for you. God gave us free agency to choose our own path don't piggy-back on anyone else just because they tell you to.

tyler durden?

All this religious talk and no tyler? Where are you at, man?

Womens accountability

I have to say that I was really glad that Elder Oaks made the statement to the women that by dressing immodestly they are themselves becoming pornography. So often we sit through the annual (usually more often than that)chastity talks in church about pornography and immorality. So often it seems like we hear what a problem it is for the men and how the women need to help with these problems. It is often frustrating when a girl raises her hand and asks "what do you suggest the girls do to help the guys or address the issue" who herself is wearing a high-cut skirt or low-cut shirt, or an outfit that looks like it was painted on her. Now obviously this in not always the case, but I think that too often the girls walk away from the 'pornography' talk with the attitude that it is a problem only with the men. I think the women need to take accountability for the outfits that they are wearing (not just how they look when they are standing straight up in front of a mirror...but also when they bend over, sit down, etc.) As well...and I am very guilty of this, but the magaizines that women look at. I admit that I love to look through a magazine after a recent awards show to see the dresses worn and the hairstyles, etc. But most often, even those 'elegant' even gowns are too revealing and suggestive. This adds to my misperception of what is attractive, as well as to the mens who see the magazine at the time that I myself am looking at.

Anyway, I just think that the guys receive the majority of the flak for this...and that the women need to hear alittle more about it too. The guys can take away every 'temptation' out there within their control, but it doesn't help much when the girls they are friends with (especially those who are suppose to be upholding the same church standards) are dressed immodestly around them.

I'm curious...what did some of you think of that comment (especially the guys)?

All of my roomates loved what

All of my roomates loved what he said about women's dress! It is so true, and guys have enough problems controlling themselves as it is.

The Prophet speaks on those who fear those outside our church.

President Hinckly said;

Our children can associate with those who are not members of our faith and yet remain steadfast.

I know of so many members that beleive in pure good and pure evil. You are only one or the other. I have member friends who tell me not to be friends with those who are not of our faith, or who are waivering in our faith because it is inevitable that these people will bring us down. I was so greatful to hear that President Hinckly said this. He is saying what I have been trying to tell my mormon friends who believe that you cant be friends with anyone who is doing something bad because you will do bad also, for years. You are wrong if you believe that. You may wish not to associate with people not of your faith, or of your beliefs, but it is not a bad thing if others are friends with them. I think think what we need to do is take the good out of every situation. You know what I actually believe is that people who are so scared to hang out with others not of their faith or belief is that they are insecure with themselves. They do not believe in themselves enough to believe that they can withstand the temptation of those around them. I believe they have a larger problem than those who are steadfast and befriend those not of our faith or beleifs or actions. We have to reach out to all. We are a missionary church. That means we have to show our example to all outside. But if we are never outside then we can never help those that are out there. To much we get wrapped up in the individual side of our salvation and we forget that it is by befriending and helping those who are not like us that we gain salvation.

Glad you brought it up . . .

I'm glad you brought up that point. I too have been very bothered by some of my member friends who seemed terrorized by the idea of even having a conversation with a non-member that could possibly lead to a religious discussion. I grew up in California so I am used to spending lots of time around non-members. I think you are right in saying that it might have something to do with inner problems and confidence. All of my best friends are either non-members or have left the chruch. Non-members are people too and we shouldn't be afraid of them. Sometimes they are much better than your member friends anyways.

As for the pornography issue I don't think that he was trying to say that the way women dress is the pure or strongest factor in influencing men to look at it. He was just tryingn to provide the women of the church with some ways to help the men of the church stay stronger and have less temptation. As for the thing about it is a problem with women too, yes this is very true but the numbers for men are and have always been higher for men, this is why it has been the focus in priesthood sessions for years. I was delighted to see that the topic was brought into the General Conference this year. I think this is in part to do with the fact that women do have problems with it as well, but if nothing else to let the women know how serious this issue is in the Church. The priesthood is always told about pornography but the women do not have many firesides on it and the few there are usually talk about how to strengthen the men, not with dealing with female addiction.

My interpretation

My interpretation of the point he was trying to make is that gambling can lead to other worse things (for those who are unable to control themselves) and I do agree with that point.

Amen!

Amen!

Mick I agree partially. T

Mick

I agree partially. There is, no doubt, rampant hypocrisy in Utah (and pretty much everywhere else). There is also a fair amount of "personal interpretation" and predictions, as you termed it, within the Church.

BUT-
None of this changes principles. Leaders of the Church have been explicit about caffeine in drinks. President Hinckley spoke out directly against gambling, and as Mason noted, he indicated that it was always wrong. Rated R movies are wrong, as well as plenty of PG-13 movies. Swearing is wrong. Not keeping the Sabbath Day holy is wrong. Am I free of guilt from all of these? No. That hardly makes it less applicable to your life. Of course you have your agency. You can do all that stuff. It will be between you and God in the end. From your comments, it sounds like you're on the high road to apostasy. Don't give me any, "Don't judge me!" crap either, because obviously I don't know your situation, but comments like yours are exactly what I heard from people on my mission shortly before they went inactive, more openly when they were very inactive, and much more critically once they didn't want anything to do with the Church. We all know the members of the Church aren't perfect. If you're suffering through sacrament meetings only because you know the people around you aren't qualified to teach and share righteous principles, maybe you should take another look at yourself. You can learn things from hypocrites and liars, as well as your priesthood leaders. We're all kind of in this whole thing together.

Sounds ironic, coming from someone who speaks openly against the selfishness and idiocy here in Provo, but even I realize that how you see other people is more dependent on your attitude than on reality.

been busy with school, work,

been busy with school, work, dating, and being sick. i'm here though

amen

my husband says "amen" to what Elder Oaks said. He said, "Obviously men need to keep control of themselves, but you said it well Chelsy that they can only control things that are within their control. They can remove all the temptations from their life, but then all of a sudden one walks right in front of them."

Let's blame women for the pornography problem

Hopefully I'm not the only one that had a problem with this statement...to me it comes very close to blaming women for men's problems with pornography. A women dressing provocatively may get a man's thoughts going, but ultimately it is the man's decision where to take the thoughts and what to do with them. It certainly doesn't take away our free agency.

Gambling? Bad?

I got the impression that the core message he was trying to get across was, "getting something for nothing is dangerous."

If I were going to extrapolate that a lot from that single idea I would say something’s like, "the idea or feelings one has when getting something for nothing is a very temporal emotion that can be dangerous with it's addictive level." And worldly addictions are things that we are all supposed to avoid.

Another point I think he was trying to make is that it also fosters an attitude that people deserve something for nothing. That single thought goes against pretty much everything in the Gospel. In respect to Utah, there are a number of 'pyramid schemes' that enjoy a high level of participation there. (At least, that is what I saw when I lived there.) People get excited by the idea that they just need to pay a little money and in no time at all they will be getting armfuls of cash sent to them. And all of this without actually providing any sort or goods or services.

Of course there is also the fact that lotteries and casinos tend to prey upon those people with weaknesses or without money to spare. A significant portion of the money that goes into the lottery jackpot comes from people at the poverty level. An institution that encourages this type of behavior can't be good.

I do have a question though on this. I enjoy making bets with people for and about things that don't matter. Like a cookie. Usually if I am debating with someone and we decide to check a source. So, it is a form of gambling. Would this be covered? On the same note, playing solitaire on the computer is also a definition of gambling. You can keep a score in it. But it doesn't actually translate into anything.

disclaimer: I was playing solitaire on my PDA when this talk was given. I have ADD so it helps me to be able to focus for that long.

Homosexuals are God's children too

President Hinckley had mentioned people with this temptation before as have many other general authorities. I don't think any sane person would reason that they are not children of God because they weren't mentioned this time. There are many people with different trials and naming them all is not possible. I think a quick list is enough to get the point across that we are all God's children.

Dallin H. Oaks article

This should make some for some interesting reading. After reading it, I felt slightly different on gambling. June 1987, Gambling, Morally Wrong and Politically unwise.

He said gambling is morally w

He said gambling is morally wrong
.

sorry marshall...

But I'm gonna have to agree with provo joe on this one. I myself love playing Texas Hold'em. I never play for money, but I still feel like I should stop.

I think that just because someone can control themselves is not an exuse to do it anyway. I could have a few social drinks and be able to control myself and not get drunk, but that doesn't make it allright.

I personally think this is going to be a big thing for people to really obey. I know a lot of people who like to gamble recreationally. This is just one of those tests to find out how much we are willing to sacrifice in order to follow the prophet.

Amen!

Amen!

Leaders of the Church have be

"Leaders of the Church have been explicit about caffeine in drinks."

Can you give some references? I don't doubt that perhaps some have made this claim, but I know there is no official position.

"Rated R movies are wrong..."

Thats a strong blanket statement. I know President Benson told the young men not to watch rated R movies (and some seventies have quoted him), but I know of no other prophets who have indicated such. I do know that their is no official position on the matter. I also know that at least 2 apostles attended Mel Gibson's 'The Passion'.

I know that many will disagree with me here, but I am very weary of the claims that something is morally wrong just because a general authority said so. I firmly believe that there is nothing morally wrong with a girl having two piercings in each of her ears. I feel the same way with a guy having his ears pierced. Some church leaders and presidents have explicitly said that birth control was flat out wrong and that sex should only be used for procreation, yet the church's official is quite different. The same goes with teachings and official positions of evolution, Adam-God, the eating of meat, the word of wisdom, consecration, marriage, homosexuality, rape, abortion, God the Mother, temple ordinances, baptisms, face-cards, medicine, mission work, salvation, Sunday activities, the death penalty, war, and much much more.

Not hypocrisy

I don't think it's hypocritical to TEACH things that you personally are not living. Otherwise, the only people that could ever use the passage "Be ye there fore perfect" without hypocrisy would be God himself and Jesus Christ. I think we all teach with the understanding that we're talking about ideals in behavior, character and so on -- not necessarily the realities. But I do thing it's hypocritical to CONDEMN others for making the same mistakes you make. It seems whenever Christ really chastized the Pharisees, it was because they were condemning, not just teaching.

What do you think?

If women who wear a bit of revealing clothing are walking pornography, why not have them all wear burkas? Then, there would never be any temptation at all. Ever. Isn't that a good thing?

Is there a line between nudity and sexuality?

While I think that perhaps it is the case that women wear revealing clothing for seduction, I would say that some wear it because they are proud of their body and do not want to hide it; it's beautiful. I personally feel that a woman's body is a thing of beauty created by God, and therefore, worthy of praise and not something to hide or be ashamed of.

I really am interested to hear opinions on this. I have taken classes at BYU in figuring drawing where they have had to cover up the model. Why? Is the body evil? Is nakedness evil? I don't think so, but I guess that is apparent already.

I would be afraid of someone

I would be afraid of someone who lived in a state removed from temptation. Remember that the Savior didn't avoid temptation, he overcame it.

Mosiah 15:5- And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation...

It wasn't that he couldn't sin, but that he refused to, in every moment of his life, even when in direct conflict with the great tempter himself.

Now, I'm not saying that we should actively seek out dangerous situations. But I am saying that temptation is a necessary ingredient to free will, without which there would be no existence.

D&C 29:39 - And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet.

Since it was only one sentenc

Since it was only one sentence in a twenty-some-odd-minute talk, I really don't think it was at all even implying that the blame rests on the women. I just think it was to remind them that they need to do their part in helping men on the issue. I think it was very clear that it was the men he was speaking to, and that the problem lies with them.

Whoa now...

Farker,

In looking back at my previous statement I realize that I may not have made my self clear. The reason for my comment in the first place was for those that were getting all worked up on whose version of what was said about gambling, caffeine, rated R movies ect. was correct. Yes we are "in this whole thing together" but just because I'm here with *you doesn't mean that because your ideals and opinions may be different than mine I have to take what you believe and apply it to me. I was writing to those who were taking this issue way to personally.

*("You" meaning anyone, not specific to Farker)

You reply as though I am defending those who go against what the prophet has said. I am simply stating that we must watch who we listen to, if I knew you were a drug addict and I saw you in church up on the stand telling me to be honest to your fellow man, or to keep the word of wisdom, I would have a VERY hard time believing in the validity of your words. Actions speak louder than words, and in Provo's case a lot of the times the actions never match-up to the words. This is why I am saying take the teachings from God and the Prophets and find out for yourself what they mean. I don't know how many times I heard growing up "If you didn't have a testimony of the church borrow mine." What’s the meaning of being here if we just copy all the answers off someone else’s test?

I don't think we disagree in this at all Farker, in a recent post you stated "Like you, Tyler, I am weary of the claims people make concerning Church policies, guidelines, etc." I AM TOO! I hear many times that a lot of people dislike Utah because we push our beliefs on others. Just remember before you chastise someone that you're not perfect either and if you're not practicing what you preach you have no right to do the preaching.

I do have the ability to read

I do have the ability to read, thank you. Call me crazy, but I don't think anyone is gonna go to hell for entering the office March Madness pool.

No worries. You do what you f

No worries. You do what you feel is right. Agency is a great thing, eh?

references

Sure.

Caffeine- Mike Wallace asked President Hinckley point blank.

GBH: It is demanding. And that's one of the things that attracts people to this church. It stands as an anchor in a world of shifting values.
MW: No alcohol, no tobacco, no coffee, no tea, not even caffeinated soft drinks...
GBH: Right.

I know of others, but nothing a quick googling would yield for me. You said, "I know there is no official position," but then again, there have been many remarks that lead to a clear conclusion without actually stating the fact. It's not in the same category as your list there, as I have never seen a church leader say anything in favor of it. I, for one, drink Dr. Pepper. It is the only "cola" I can stand. I won't have any problem discussing that with the Lord at my judgment. As for an official claim, I've seen you strike down a lot of arguments as invalid because you didn't consider the source authoritarian. Specify what is acceptable in terms of an official claim and I'll try and do some more research.

Rated R movies- first of all, of course it was a blanket statement. And of course there are exceptions, like there are to all rules. Thou shalt not kill, but Nephi killed Laban, David killed Goliath, Samson slew a ton of people, etc. But what are the leaders supposed to say, "Don't watch R-rated movies, except for "Schindler's List," and, "The Passion,"?

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. (BYU Fireside, October 1986).

I would look for more but I have to be at class in fifteen minutes. Like you, tyler, I am weary of the claims people make concerning Church policies, guidelines, etc. But I think there's a big difference between someone who says, "Well the Church has said to have a year's supply of food, and you don't, so you shouldn't be able to have a temple recommend," and someone saying, "it doesn't say in the scriptures that I can't smoke crack cocaine, so I'm not doing anything wrong." Some things, like ear piercings, those are probably (I don't know for sure) not morality issues, but more like obedience issues. Let me know what qualifies as a good source, and I'll see what I can find later on.