I watched Conference so you don’t have to.  The following short summaries are mine and mine alone. Phrases or sentences within quotation marks are verbatim quotes based on my on-the-fly notes. My comments after summaries are in italics inside brackets [like this]. I offer a paragraph of commentary here and there, including the following introduction.

Introduction: This is a time of troubles. Hundreds of Americans are still dying from Covid every day. Hurricane Ian just drenched a large swath of Florida and is now barreling through the Carolinas. Drought and rolling blackouts in California. Inflation is back, interest rates are rising, the stock market is falling. In the Ukraine War — which is becoming the biggest event of the 21st century the will reverberate through the next three decades — Mr. Putin has just initiated a partial Russian mobilization, spurring protests inside Russia and flight from the country by thousands and thousands of potential conscripts. Just yesterday, Mr. Putin announced the “annexation” of large chunks of captured Ukrainian territory in the east, an action that Ukraine and most other countries reject out of hand, of course. He’s doubling down on a losing plan. Also just yesterday, Pres. Zelensky signed Ukraine’s “accelerated” application for NATO membership. Ukraine’s recent and continued success on the battlefield threatens to undermine Russian stability and prompt desperate measures from a desperate autocrat ruling over a failing regime. World War III could be just around the corner. Will any of these troubling topics be discussed or even mentioned in Conference? I’ll be paying special attention.

Saturday Morning

Pres. Oaks – Give to those in need. Relieve suffering among God’s children. Be more aware and more appreciative of the service of non-LDS people and organizations around the world. [Oaks includes “combatting racism and other prejudices” in the list of LDS humanitarian efforts and accomplishments. Really?]

Elder Uchtdorf – To the youth: Jesus loves you. Fear not, doubt not, let not your heart be troubled. And repent. Where do you find truth? In the Church and the gospel. He announces an updated version of For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices. [Here is the link to the new FSOY booklet at LDS.org.]

Tracy Y. Browning, 2C in Primary – Improve your spiritual vision. [She gives a muddled and unfair summary of “the law of Moses” and its purpose in Israelite and later Jewish religious practice, but so do most LDS commentators.]

Elder Renlund – Learn the Holy Ghost framework for receiving personal revelation: search the scriptures, stay in your lane, it has to be in line with LDS view of God’s commandments and what the Church teaches. [His attempt to defend Nephi’s decision to slay Laban and bring it within this framework was not convincing at all. Can we just stop using the Nephi incident as a model for anything?]

Rafael E. Pino, a Seventy – Avoid or abandon traditions and customs that are obstacles to following the Gospel. Develop good gospel customs: scriptures, prayer, sacrament meeting, temple.

Hugo Montoya, a Seventy – Love God and love your neighbor (including strangers). Happiness does not depend on circumstances, it depends on our attitude toward our circumstances.

Elder Rasband – Read the Book of Mormon. A lot. Give a copy or send a link. Flood the Earth.

Pres. Nelson – Many world events since the last Conference. Intensifying efforts of the Adversary. Pres. Nelson speaks strongly against abuse of women and children. Perps will face the wrath of God. States the Church makes great efforts to protect children. The Adversary also tries to blur the line between truth and falsehood. God is the source of all truth and the Church embraces all truth, including science.

Saturday Afternoon

Pres. Eyring – An abbreviated presentation of GAs and officers.

Elder Ballard – There is hope and peace in Christ. Talks about his pioneer ancestors. We’re all pioneers. We have trails to walk and hills to climb.

Kristin M. Yee, 2C in Relief Society – Forgiveness, peace, and healing. She tells the Old Testament story of Abigail, who came out to plead with David on behalf of her husband and household. [She didn’t mention that Abigail later became a wife of David, after the death of Nabal. I see a pattern here.] She quoted from Richard G. Scott’s problematic talk on forgiveness.

Paul V. Johnson, a Seventy – A sad grandchild story with a happy ending. He likens the Atonement to a bone marrow transplant (you can’t save yourself).

Elder Soares – Don’t buy your wife a piano. Be equally yoked. Marriage is a full and equal partnership. Parents work in unity. There is no hierarchy in marriage. Divorced or single parents, that’s a challenge not a problem. [This was an excellent talk!! He directly repudiates the LDS patriarchal marriage model, “I preside and you nurture,” that has dominated LDS thinking for so long.]

James W. McConkie III, a Seventy – Lots of Jesus.

Jorge F. Zeballos, a Seventy – How to design seismic-resistant structures. Be a Satan-resistant person.

Elder Christofferson – The doctrine of belonging. Diversity is coming, even for the Church, even in North America. “We cannot permit racism or tribal prejudice in the Church.” And: “Minister to others who feel like they don’t belong.” [Another outstanding talk. He just made up this “doctrine of belonging,” but I’ll let that slide because it was an outstanding talk. If LDS leaders had given this sort of talk thirty years ago and driven home this message, the Church of today would be a better place. Better late than never.]

Saturday Evening Mystery Session

“Mystery session” because no one can quite figure out what the Saturday evening session is anymore. It used to be the Priesthood session, then it alternated with a Womens session, then it was the Women and Girls session, and now it has just sort of morphed into an extra general session. Because four sessions in two days just isn’t enough. The only difference between the evening session and the others is that the later session only runs 90 minutes.

Gerald Causse, Presiding Bishop – Be a good steward. And procreate.

Michelle D. Craig, 1C in the Young Women – Disciples face challenges. Keep your covenants, even if it’s a tough situation. [I found this talk very disturbing. It’s like she was saying, with no hint of irony, “Be joyful as you suffer.” What some LDS leaders describe as the Great Plan of Happiness, she was depicting as a morass of emotional distress, as if no one deserves to be happy for doing the right thing. Sister Craig seems to be recasting the Covenant Path as the Path of Misery and Pain. Maybe this is just how some LDS women are intent on seeing themselves, always the righteous but suffering victim. The story she told about the little girl whose brothers played a nasty joke on her, but who then woke up in the morning blaming herself for not opening the bedroom door, just encapsulates this whole self-flagellating approach. Her brothers were jerks, but no this young girl didn’t blame her brothers, she blamed herself. I just cringe to think that this talk will probably be a popular one for LDS Relief Society lessons.]

Kevin W. Pearson, a Seventy – “The sacrament is a reminder of the power of the Savior’s Atonement.” [I got Trumper vibes from this guy right away. Turns out he is a member of the Strengthening Church Members Committee, the LDS Star Chamber.]

Denelson Silva, a Seventy – Hold on to the truth. He converted as a young adult.

Elder Anderson – Sort of a Second Coming talk. “We live in increasingly perilous times.” Wheat and tares! [Later, he used the term “tares of the world,” so it appears he was contrasting in-the-Church members with “the World,” rather than using the term “tares” as a reference to wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing members of the Church. He shared some social media responses he received to an earlier online invitation to comment. Hats off to Chris the recovering alcoholic and active LDS member. Best wishes to Anastasia the young Ukranian mother with a newborn in arms.]

Sunday Morning

Introduction to Sunday sessions: Time for some Monday morning quarterbacking, as I quickly add short summaries for the Sunday talks. Speaking of quarterbacks, I had to split my attention between the Bills-Raiders game at 11 am and the second hour of the morning session, then between the 2:25 pm Broncos-Raiders game and the afternoon session. Rather than “choose ye this day which stream to watch,” I have enough screens I was able to watch both the football games and the GA games. I think there were more winners in the football games than in the GA games, but your opinion may differ.

Elder Holland – Story: Young Holland browbeats a fellow religious studies student with the LDS doctrine of Christ. We are not anti-Christ. We are not anti-cross. We are anti-crucifixion. We don’t need no stinking crosses!

J. Anette Dennis, 1C in Relief Society – “A story is told …” It sure would be nice if the stories told in Conference were *actual* stories rather than the made-up stories like the ones that show up in LDS manuals. The story of Cassie the dog sure sounded like a made-up story. [Plus her delivery made me feel like a 5-year-old sitting on the floor listening to story time. Tell me the story of Cassie the dog!]

Elder Gong – “Happily ever after …” It can happen to you. It can happen to me. It can happen to everyone eventually.

Joseph W. Sitati, used to be a Seventy – Humbly rails against people who aren’t meek and humble. God was right to strike down Korihor the Unbeliever. King Benjamin was right to preach against hard-hearted enemies of God (i.e., people who believe differently than I do). [More dog whistles encouraging political and religious violence for LDS Trumpo-fascists.]

Steven J. Lund, a Seventy – A testimony of FSY and Girls Camp.

Elder Bednar – Darth Bednar on parables, in particular the parable of the royal marriage feast. Garments, garments, garments. You gotta wear the right garments or God’s thugs will throw you out of the marriage feast into Outer Darkness. Many are called but few are chosen. Dress for salvation success. [Alternate summary: By grace ye are not saved, after all the things you didn’t do.]

Pres. Nelson – We are accosted daily by an onslaught of sobering news. [Bonus points: First talk to acknowledge this time of troubles.] But — there are wonderful things ahead. Miracles for the faithful. Making and keeping covenants makes everything easier. Easier, but never easy — we will overwork you and you will be tired and you won’t get rest until the next life. But please don’t leave the Church just because you are overloaded, overworked, and exhausted.

Sunday Afternoon

[Speaking of overloaded and exhausted, here we go headed into the fifth general session in two days. Memo to leaders: Less is more!]

Pres. Eyring – Talked about something. [“Qualify for salvation”? Whatever happened to grace? Need more Uchtdorf.]

Ryan K. Olsen, a Seventy – Know Christ. [He may be the youngest Seventy, but he has already learned to tell family stories in Conference.]

Jonathan S. Schmitt, a Seventy – There are many names of Christ. Pick one and emulate it. [I thought of the Arthur C. Clarke story The Nine Billion Names of God.]

Mark D. Eddy, a Seventy – All about Zoramites. [You know the phrase “kiss the ring”? New GAs need to kiss the historical and authentically ancient Book of Mormon.]

Elder Stevenson – On testimony. A testimony is “sharing spiritual feelings.” [Honest, that’s what he said. Maybe the LDS testimony template is moving from “I know” to “I feel.” Get ready for “I feel the Church is true” and “I feel the Book of Mormon is true” from the pulpit in testimony meeting.]

Isaac K. Morrison, a Seventy – A truly sad story about him losing a young son. [Mourn with those who mourn.]

Elder Cook – Don’t be one of those “not valiant” people. Don’t be angry. Those who are abusers will one day face the wrath of God [but tend to get a free pass from their local leaders in this life, go figure]. Don’t lust. No unclean thoughts. Obligatory porn denunciation. [A downer talk to end a downer Conference.]

Pres. Nelson – A plug for the LDS Book of Mormon videos (I didn’t even know this was a thing). New temples for Korea, Philippines x 2, Nigeria, Peru, Argentina, Brazil x 2, Guatemala, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, Texas, Nevada, Tacoma, and four (!!) new temples near Mexico City.

Conclusion: How about we just get rid of the Saturday evening session? How about we also get rid of the Sunday afternoon session? Overall, it was Just. Too. Long. If there is a one-sentence summary of this Conference, I would go with: “This is what Retrenchment feels like.” I’ll probably do a Conference Recap post later this week, with highlights (Soares and Christofferson) and lowlights (everyone else).