General Conference Saturday Morning

I probably will not have opportunity to watch the afternoon broadcast, but there were a couple of comments I wanted to say about the morning one.

First of all, again, I am grateful for living prophets. I reiterate again, how lost I was and “tossed to and fro” in the winds of human philosophies, so many of them sounding very good, but not feeling like what I could build a meaningful life upon. So many people had thought similarly to what I had thought, but then they’d go way overboard with something else. How was I to know what is worth my while or would bring lasting happiness? The answer came to me in 1979 in a very modest baptismal service in the words “having been commissioned of Christ” uttered by a young man, essentially a teenager still, like me (a little older, he had not yet passed his 20th birthday). My quick double-take caused me a bigger stir than even the Holy Books of several religions, and I just had to find out what exactly was going on (and I’ve been an avid student of Church history, too, ever since). I’ve written about this trip a little in this blog.

While I admire all of the General Authorities I know at all–actually because of the little human quirks I’ve witnessed rather than despite them–I pay heed to what they tell me as the representatives of the Lord, because I’ve learned that I actively doubt them at the peril of my own happiness. Some things I haven’t understood at first, but with persistence, and putting the words of the Lord to the test in the spirit of “prove me now herewith” the windows of Heaven have been opened in many, many different ways. One thing that’s not among the stuff falling through has been a pile of money (something I NEVER expected), but I never wanted to be rich, only relatively safe. We haven’t ever actually had to starve, but we’ve been on the decidedly lower end of the white-collar poverty.

Especially today in the first meeting addresses by Elder D. Todd Christofferson touched me by talking about Consecrated Life, which I have felt I need to get closer to. As a person in disability retirement, I serve many hours every week in different Church and community service volunteering projects, but I am feeling that I need to bring the Consecration to a more personal dimension of my own intellectual and spiritual pursuits.

The humor of the meeting was decidedly in Pres. Uchtdorf’s address. First his quip about what his talking of the trees’ growth rings were teaching us had to do with flying an airplane–in almost any other setting people would have been rolling in the aisles (you might have guessed there was a connection… 😉 )–was the intentional one. Then, when he was speaking of the fundamentals, he lost his voice for a spell. After several unsuccessful attempts to get a normal voice going, he soft of croaked, “I’ve lost my voice… its one of the foundational things I need”. After a few more clearings of the throat, he was able to continue. But that lesson of the fundamentals could probably not have been driven home more forcibly by any planned strategy.

One thing I’d like to say by way of a “gripe” of sorts is about the music of the MoTab. There seems to be a vehicle used with almost numbing constancy of changing the pitch of the song practically between every verse. Ever higher they go, and finally it starts feeling quite unsurprising, quite withtout any desired effect–and I have some musically gifted persons in my family and acquaintance, who are at best ho-hum about the effect. I mean, if that’s what the big-tent audience likes, that’s quite fine with me, but I think that using an effect sparingly would be more effective, not less. Say, you took tons of photographs and used the same colours-shifting filter in every single one of them, what would you use to bring up an especially important or impactful image in your mind?

But hey, please don’t take the above paragraph as a criticism of what they do as much as my statement of my own taste. It’s in the same line of thought I have about all the middle initials: As we no longer have six different Smithts in each of the top quorums plus one in the very top, could Dieter Uchtdorf be just that, without being confused by some other Dieter Uchtdorf, who was a previous member of the First Presidency? Again, if the big-tent crowd seems to like that, go ahead.

But if ‘n’ when I’ll ever stand before Joseph Smith, Jr. in the worlds to come, I would most likely say something like, “thank you, brother Joseph, for your great work! Please know that your simple story brought a proud and recalcitrant young man to his knees to find the visions of immortality.” (I know that the full story of his life is not so simple after all, but the essentials were: looking for the truth and not being able to tell from the confusion, turning to the source of all divine knowledge to ask which direction he should follow. That he was answered, gave me faith that I in my simple request to know if the Book of Mormon was truly of God could be answered, too, if I had sincere faith and determination.

Perhaps in that regards the First Vision account(s) is (are) the most important to us in that respect rather than the main premise of what the Church’s authenticity rests on. I grant its huge importance there, too, but since the Church is after all founded upon personal revelation, you can see what I mean.

The Living Christ is at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Apostles’ mission is to testify of him, and teach us every other needful thing. We have again witnessed a manifestation of this.

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