I watched Conference so you don’t have to. Spotty coverage for some sessions — Conference had to compete with other wholesome family activities this time around. Phrases and sentences in quotation marks are based on my on-the-fly notes and are subject to correction by readers with flawless memories or later published transcripts. My comments in italics, sometimes within brackets [like this].
Session theme: Everybody must quote Pres. Nelson at least once.
Pres. Oaks, conducting — Notes that Elder Holland is absent with Covid.
Gary E. Stevenson of the Twelve — A recent letter from the FP — about Easter procedures, not about securities violations and SEC fines. Sacrament meeting only next week so you can go home and do Easter things with the family. [Slogan alert: “Great Plan of Happiness.“]
Bonnie H. Cordon, YW General President — Five years of Pres. Nelson. Testify of Christ.
Carl B. Cook, a Seventy — Don’t be discouraged. Unless you are like clinically depressed, then seek medical help. [Don’t let it get you down, it’s only castles burning, just find someone who’s turning, and you will come around.]
Gerrit W. Gong of the Twelve — Be nice to people. Do more ministering.
Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve — Let’s gather scattered Israel. [This is just a confusing way to talk about missionary work and sometimes throw temple work in with it. It has nothing to do with actual Israel and nothing to do with actual gathering. Why do leaders talk like this?]
Allen D. Haynie, a Seventy — Avoid selective rejection of prophetic counsel. [A message to MAGA Mormons?] Don’t use words of past prophets to dismiss words of current prophet. [This talk ignores the whole point of canonized scripture, which provides a standard against we are supposed to measure so-called divine pronouncements, as well as attempting to marginalize prior LDS FP statements and the like. And if you take this at face value, the message it conveys is that any statement by an LDS President is subject to being revoked or overridden by the next guy, so don’t take it too seriously. No Seventy ought to be making this sort of claim or statement.]
Pres. Eyring — Find personal peace. Satan stirs up hatred and contention. Be a peacemaker.
Session theme: Repent, repent, repent!
Pres. Eyring, conducting
Pres. Oaks does the sustaining of LDS leaders and officers.
Jared B. Larsen, Managing Director, Church Auditing Department, gives a short non-report of the internal financial statements you are not allowed to see and explanatory notes to the statements that you are also not allowed to see. [In light of recent Ensign Peak revelations and more recently securities violations committed by the Church and fines to the tune of $5 million paid by the Church, the whole “here is a report on our audit” claim is just a bigger joke than usual. The whole charade seems designed to give false assurance to the membership and keep those tithing checks rolling in. Their so-called audit did not pick up pervasive and blatant misstatements that resulted in SEC action and substantial fines. Hold leadership accountable and fire the auditors.]
Dale G. Renlund of the Twelve — … my attention was interrupted for 30 minutes by the arrival of Crown Burger pastrami burgers, which were delicious.
Randall K. Bennett, a Seventy — Lauding patriarchal blessings.
Craig C. Christensen, a Seventy — Seek out those wandering sheep. The joy of repentance.
Evan A. Schmutz, a Seventy — Comments on Nephi’s Doctrine of Christ (see 2 Nephi 31).
Benjamin de Hoyos, a Seventy — Sealed to his wife in the temple.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Twelve — Teach your children well, give them a code of faith, hope, and charity that they can live by. [I really miss the old Elder Uchtdorf.]
At some point I will update this post to add some notes for later sessions.
Elder Cook seemed to win the quote/refer to Prophet Nelson race. I was going to count his references, but soon found myself shouting at him each time he did it, and so lost count.
Haynie woke up and chose violence. And then that decision got vetted and approved for inclusion in General Conference a couple months ago. Can’t wait to read the fallout on this wonderful blog.
Oof, Haynie: “Our seemingly small deviations, quiet neglect or whispered criticisms in response to prophetic counsel may result in our only walking dangerously near the edge of the covenant path” and “We are never spiritually at risk in following prophetic counsel.” What a load.
I saw some people raving about Uchtdorf but it has me wondering, “is it just that the talk was *not bad* or was it actually good?” I feel like the bar is ever so low.
I am surprised they kept the audit but in. What a joke.
Sorry to see we still aren’t even at “a woman speaking at every session” let alone anything close to 50/50. And that the woman who did speak talked about nelson.
Thanks for taking one for the team Dave. I had more fun skiing with all the heathens.
Thanks for the summary! We’re road-tripping tomorrow and I have threatened the kiddos with at least one session of Conference on the radio. We’ll see if the rule about the driver choosing the radio station gets violently overthrown or not. I may face a coup.
Elisa, I thought Elder Uchtdorf was great, certainly in comparison to everyone else before him today. He used the scriptures, he was positive, he did not quote any living or dead modern-day prophets, and so forth. He said nothing to shame anyone, and nothing to make anyone see a need to obey more or comply better. He smiled. No threats, just encouragement. All Christ-focused. At least, that’s what I heard.
I took Haynie’s talk as an effort to keep people from questioning decisions/policies/statements from Nelson’s five years as prophet–e.g. the use of “Mormon” by Hinckley and Monson vs. Nelson’s prohibition. If one takes his talk to the extreme, it would be easy to justify ignoring anything in scripture (not just from prophetic predecessors) that is inconvenient or contradictory in light of contemporary statements.
The audit report language–“in accordance with Church-approved…accounting practices, and policies”–did land differently this time around given the recent SEC mess.
I wonder if Holland’s COVID will have an effect on his SUU speech…
The abbreviated Saturday night session was a nice change of pace…perhaps a model for future shorter sessions (he says, hopefully)?
Nothing from Nelson in any of the three sessions, which was a little surprising–not even a quick five-minute welcome/urging us to pay attention on Saturday morning. Of course, at 98, maybe he is conserving his strength for Sunday’s sessions…but it was noticeable.
If only it were sixty seconds! Some laugh out loud moments. I no longer feel a new to check it out for myself and your notes confirm that decision. Thank you so much!
I really appreciate the summary. I was going to watch but I started late right when someone was going on and on about Nelson crushing water bottles, and Oaks and Eyring immediately following the prophet.
This made me really gag. While I am grateful Nelson is modeling good stewardship of the earth, and I am grateful others follow him on that, I just can’t help but feel concerned about so much focus on following external authority. It not only feels unsafe to me but it also feels like maybe it isn’t okay for me to have my own thoughts. This feeling I had didn’t increase my relationship with my Heavenly Parents or Jesus Christ or my confidence in our leaders so I turned it off.
Since I still wanted to what was going on, particularly about any accountability on Ensign Peak, I very much appreciate your efforts Dave.
I will watch or read it in my own due time.
Elder Schmutz has such a strange and shocking last name (fortunately not pronounced like it looks) that I found myself biased against him before he even started. But his talk was, for me, by far the best of the day. It was very sincere and genuine. I don’t remember much of what he said but I found myself thinking “this is a genuinely good and decent human being and the type of person I’d like to be when I’m his age.”
I’ve never understood the fascination folks here and on other similar blogs have with Elder Uchtdorf. Even in his so called prime he was always off-putting to me. It feels to me like he is just trying to act the part of the happy go lucky, say all the things people want to hear sort of guy. Too smooth. too polished. aptly referred to by some as “the silver fox”. I’ll concede he’s a good actor, but it turns me off.
— I thought that our ideal was to fill up our own personal water bottle each day rather than keep recycling more plastic?
— I turned my volume up during the audit report to try to detect any potential audience laughter, but was disappointed. People who know about the SEC report/fine must have been up skiing in the Wasatch mountains today instead of attending live.
— Also noticed a nice tweak to the annual statistics in the Church Newsroom: they are splitting up the church-service missionary count to show the seniors and they youth. This helps those of us who are trying to better track missionary numbers with these two age categories.
— 62,544 full-time teaching missionaries is an improvement from recent years, but we almost were hitting that kind of a number back in 2002.
— Our total membership finally eclipsed 17 million after sitting in the 16s for over five years. I won’t comment on how many are actually active. But I would assume it’s a good thing west Africa is helping us out with fresh members joining the ranks. The convert baptisms (212, 172) were higher than the previous two Covid years, but have been that low since 1985 data.
— Mostly, being a fan of getting more input from the female membership (which constitutes well over 50% of the church obviously), I’m sure hoping Sister Johnson gets to speak tomorrow. As our relief society general president, she should be speaking at least once every conference, but I’ve done the math and noticed that on average, a general RS president gets to speak only at half of the conference weekends. If I remember correctly, Sister Bingham was under 50% of her conferences. “That ain’t right” as Danny Glover famously said in Silverado.
— These are just a few of my observations I wanted to contribute to the discussion. (I’m still confused about what our goal is with the evening session.)
What’s the over/ under for the number of temples announced?? Kanab Utah is my prediction.
Haynie’s talk was completely incoherent. He related the bottle-smashing story as a positive example of following the prophet, then promptly undermined his message by assuring us that there was no new policy on bottle smashing. Well, you can’t have it both ways, bro. Are we supposed to follow the prophet or not? If bottle smashing is not a new policy, then I can conveniently place prophetic words/actions/whatever that I don’t like into the bottle-smashing category–not something I really have to take seriously. At least we will be spared Elder Bednar telling us about the guy who broke up with his fiancé because she was too slow to smash her bottles.
One woman. Three sessions of conference and ONE WOMAN spoke. An entire session with no apostles, but not. one. woman.
I thought I had lowered my expectations enough not to be hurt. It didn’t work. I am &%@!! furious.
Seemed like Haynie was trying to cover all the bases. No selective listening or trying to decide if the prophet is speaking as a man or for the Lord. (Historically that message was pointed to progressives, though Covid changed that up. Now it also applies to anti-vaxxers.) We can be confident that once we *know* someone is a prophet, we’ll be safe following them no matter what they say. Apparently spotting a white-haired guy on a chair while flipping channels is enough to *know* and obligate yourself forever. The idea of prioritizing newer prophets over older ones is very much aimed at Snuffer/Remnant/Doctrine of Christ folks. The structure of Haynie’s talk was bizarre to me. It’s like he had 3 or 4 pointed rebukes he wanted to make and just filled in the rest with innocuous anecdotes about cartoons and water bottles. Very much reminded me of points made in the 2015 Boise Rescue to deal with Snuffer problems.
“Randall K. Bennett, a Seventy — Lauding patriarchal blessings.”
Ah yes, fortune telling. All patriarchal blessings follow a similar format with similar points of emphasis. They are designed to make the blessee feel that bad things will happen to them if they don’t adhere to the church and that good things will happen to them if they do adhere to the church. They also stress some sort of role that the individual will play in the church. And of course they tell you what tribe you’re from. Silly DNA researchers trying to reconstruct human history by looking at the mitochondrial DNA of leftover human remains that they date using radiocarbon methods. Mormon patriarchs tell us where people are coming from. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had where people express wonderment at some “exotic” peoples such as Mongolians, Armenians, etc. wanting to know which tribe they came from. I have heard stories about patriarchs claiming Mongolians to be from all sorts of different tribes. It likely reflects bias on the part of patriarchs thinking that the Mongolians are “exotic” and therefore couldn’t possibly be from boring old Ephraim, and so they make up how they come from all the others.
It would seem that the best way to witness for Christ is to help the poor, refugees, downtrodden, etc. This message gets lost in all the effluvia of GC. Somehow Church leaders need to get back to the basics. Obedience is important, but it needs to be directed to Christ’s basic message, not Church leaders.
Additionally, where is Prez. Eyring? His father was a brilliant scientist. He was a university president. Yet he gives throwaway conference talks. Why doesn’t he give talks about the compatibility of science and religion? Encourage members to take science seriously. Particularly as it relates to global warming, medical advances, biblical literalism, etc. If he doesn’t want to do it, at least encourage Elder Gong to discuss real issues.
Now because of you I’m just going to listen to Neil Young for the rest of the weekend, instead of napping through conference.
Is anyone else suspicious of the timing of Jeffrey Holland’s Covid? Is he dodging possible SUU protesters at conference?
And actually the financial report is entirely accurate. Everything WAS done in accordance with church-approved accounting practices and policies. (We already told you the SEC matter is closed. The end.)
And Margot, it is impossible to lower your expectations for women in the church enough not to be hurt.
What was that one hour Saturday session with no apostles and no women? Why bother? I sure miss the olden days of Women’s Sessions and Priesthood groups.
So curious that the leadership persists with the charade of the audit report. They dropped the membership report from the broadcast, why not do the same with the audit report? Especially so given the audit report is the same language every year!
Observe that the world is in turmoil. From a Christian perspective the threats are increasingly ominous especially shocking being the open promotion of the sexualization of children. And yet good luck getting an LDS leader to talk about any current issue with precision and bravery.
No, we get stories on how to dispose of plastic bottles and why having less church on Easter Sunday is a good thing.
The banality of the LDS Church is absolutely stunning. You know, it wasn’t always this way with General Conference. But those are dead prophets so they no longer matter. I suppose the LDS church will save data storage by deleting everything prior to 2017.
No one has mentioned that Ahmad Corbitt was promoted from being a counselor in the YM Presidency to a GA Seventy at this General Conference. That was very disappointing to me. I felt like his talk to Church chaplains in October, 2022 alone should have disqualified him from such a position: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/24159863/Brother_Corbitt_Chaplain_seminar.pdf. I just read through that talk again to refresh my memory, and boy, does he have a different view of the gospel than I do. It’s a pretty long talk, yet I take issue with what he said almost every sentence or two. Among other things, he goes all in on criticizing members who make a distinction between Christ and Church leaders. If you think Church leaders might be doing something wrong and say so, you must, by definition, also be undermining Christ. That’s just nonsensical.
@mountainclimber, oof. Between that & Wilcox being promoted we are getting some strong signals about what church leaders value.
It looks like Kevin Worthen didn’t get called as a GA. Isn’t this unusual for the former BYU Pres?
@Elisa went skiing with her kiddos yesterday. Bravo! I was at a sporting event. Thanks for the summary of conference @Dave B. It’s perfect–you saved me time.
I’m catching some conference now and listening to Elder Christopherson. He is talking about a figure in church history worthy of respect and admiration, B.H. Roberts. Interesting how Elder Christopherson is essentially maligning Roberts. Roberts was a gift to the church that it chose to ignore, and had they listened to him we might be in a much better position today. Christopherson is more or less castigating Roberts (probably using Hinkley’s revisionist biography of Roberts) and using him as an example of all of the bad things that happen when you are critical of church leaders and thus given to “contention.” (I guess the fact Roberts demonstrated how problematic a literal viewing of the BofM is and the problems that would cause the church looking to the future was not worthy of inclusion in Christopherson’s talk.) Message: Turn off your brain, follow unquestionably and if you disagree with church leaders you will be sorry for it unless, like Roberts, you confess with tears how wrong you were to speak against the brethren. And–get ready for the gaslighting–doing so prevents there from being one body of Christ. Besides the gross over simplification and misrepresentation of B.H. Roberts’ life, this is why I’m not inclined to listen to conference. This kind of sermonizing isn’t productive or effective, to cherry-pick historical details to use as a premise for an argument to help us grow closer to Christ when in fact Christopherson’s use of Roberts is a false premise used in a manipulative argument to tell us not to ever speak out against The Brethren.
Looking forward to your summary of Sunday’s sessions, Dave B. since I’ll be doing other things with my family.
Elisa, I would imagine they’re giving Kevin Worthen some much needed rest. The last couple of years he has looked to me to be completely and utterly exhausted. I’ve truly felt sorry for him. I can spot it in him because I’ve had seasons in my life when I’ve been similarly burned out. He needs to be left alone and allowed to rest and recover.
@Elisa, I wondered about Worthen, too. Given that Seventies are automatically moved to emeritus status at age 70, Worthen just might be too old. Worthen will turn 67 in a few weeks. Therefore, he would only be able to serve for about 3 years. On the other hand, it appears that each of the new Seventies called yesterday will be able to serve for at least 10 years (assuming I actually have their correct ages):
Corbitt – age 59 – lawyer
Daines: age 58 – lawyer
Esplin – age 60 – big business
Giraud-Carrier – age 57 – BYU computer science professor
Phillips – age 52 – studied economics/political science, recently academic director of BYU London Center, previous work in finance (Bomont Capital)
Yeah, 2 more lawyers, 2 more businessmen, and an engineer. It’s nice to see an engineer called, but don’t we have enough lawyers and businessmen serving already? Isn’t the Church already experiencing enough negative effects of having too many lawyers and businessmen leading the Church already? Hopefully, the engineer won’t be assigned to help the SCMC develop technology to better spy on Church members online.
Interestingly, if I’m not mistaken, Alan T. Phillips (age 52) is the son of Tom Phillips, a previous stake president and Area Executive Secretary, who famously provided a detailed account of his experience receiving the Second Anointing (on Mormon Stories: https://www.mormonstories.org/podcast/tom-phillips-and-the-second-anointing/ and other places, I believe) and who attempted and failed to bring a lawsuit for fraud against the Church for some of the Church’s truth claims (https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=57500721&itype=CMSID). My understanding is that the Tom’s disaffection from the Church cost him his marriage and at least harmed his relationships with his children. I wonder what Alan and Tom’s relationship is like today.
“So curious that the leadership persists with the charade of the audit report. They dropped the membership report from the broadcast, why not do the same with the audit report? Especially so given the audit report is the same language every year!”
Drop it?! More sweeping under the rug?!
They should be explaining the moral and legal lapse that occasioned the SEC investigation and ensuing fines, apologizing to the membership for the embarrassment — at the least! — assuring that genuine charity will be the primary focus from this point forward and outlining plans for authentic and scrupulous accounting practices from this point, ideally by an independent outside firm.
President Nelson’s Sunday morning talk was fantastic. It was obviously both carefully phrased and completely heart felt. My husband voiced my thoughts exactly when he said to me, “Ouch! I feel called to repentance.” Yes, I feel deservedly called to repentance. And resolve to do better. Because he was absolutely correct in his teaching.
Margot – imagine if we belonged to a church that DIDN’T value women! We’d probably have a NEGATIVE number of women speakers in conference. (What would that look like? Maybe, all girl babies could have their vocal chords removed at birth. )
@Fred, thanks for the prompt re Kevin Worthen. I wanted to add a comment to @Elisa’s question about him.
When Merrill Bateman was called to be the president of BYU, he was actually chairing the search committee. He had already served as a member of the second quorum of seventy, and was the presiding bishop when the search was started to replace Rex E. Lee (Tom and Mike Lee’s father), whose health had been failing for a number of years. President Hinkley surprised Bateman with the invitation to become BYU’s next president. (Rumors we alive that the next president might be Kim Clark, then dean of HBS.) When it was announced, Hinkley said that many religious institutions (mostly Catholic) tap a member of their clergy to lead the institution. If my memory serves me correctly, Hinkley said it was appropriate from that time forward for BYU’s president to be general authority of the church. Bateman was moved into the first quorum of seventy while leading BYU, and then became a president of the Seventy upon his release or shortly after. My thesis advisor at the time, a woman, chafed at this and said, “I guess BYU will never be led by a woman.” This is a question that needs a spotlight thrown on it so it can be brought to the forefront of the church’s collective consciousness. There are deans at BYU who are women, but as far as I know, only one woman (public affairs specialist, Carri Jenkins) on the president’s council at BYU.
When Cecil O. Samuelson was called to be president of BYU, he was currently serving as a member of the first quorum of seventy. The Hinkley policy seemed to stay intact.
Kevin Worthen was an area authority seventy at the time he was called to be president of BYU, and was released as an area authority in 2021. This seems to have broken the Hinkley policy since from 2021 to his release as president, he was not called to be a general authority nor was his an area authority.
Shane Reese, BYU’s newly called president, is not a general authority or an area authority, and Elder Holland, when making the announcement, made no mention of Reese being moved into a calling as an authority. Time will tell if this changes. But it seems the church may be less concerned about the Hinkley policy today than it was looking back. This may be good news since asking the question, “Does the president of BYU need to be a priesthood bearing male?” is important. I see no reason why a woman couldn’t lead BYU.
You both may know these details, but I thought I would list these facts for the benefit of those who don’t and are curious.
I just wanted to say I loved President Nelson’s talk. I am praying that the entire church will hear and understand what he was saying and that we will improve in our love for each other and for all those we disagree with. How we talk to each other and about each other really matters. A very good effort.
Really enjoyed reading all the comments here.
I don’t see how y’all can stand to watch. I haven’t watched since I was a kid and they had them on wire at stake centers and my parents forced us to go. Even more boring than high council talks at sacrament meeting.
I’m also not watching. It’s spring break for my kids so we are spending a few nights on Catalina island. Next to our condo is a Catholic Church. Last night we watched as each congregant carried a palm frond with them to mass. This morning the music was beautiful. We didn’t attend but observed only.
It’s the beginning of Holy Week for the Christian faith. Yet no mention of any of this in GC. Easter is just an afterthought. Tell me you aren’t a Christian faith without telling me you aren’t a Christian faith.
^ The very first talk in the very first session was actually about Easter.
Just a couple of notes on the side thread on BYU presidents:
* Bateman was named president in 1995 the wake of the September 6 upheaval. Clearly, having a GA running BYU was a priority for the Board given the way that they viewed the fraught situation in Provo.
* Worthen has pushed back on Clark Gilbert (the de facto president; if you don’t think so, you are not paying attention) and the ECO the past year or so on several issues. Between that and his age, GA status was simply not realistic. But when he was appointed in 2014, there was a lot of optimism on campus about his prospects and approach.
Agree lws329, Pres Nelson’s talk was superb, maybe the best I’ve ever heard in GC. He was relaxed, engaged, and positive – difficult enough for anyone in this venue – but when you include his advanced age into the equation, wow! Hope I can remember the way it made me feel.
Elder Corbitt brings out all the benevolent racists.
Chadwick. Love the idea of the Catholic mass and going to Catalina. I’m partial to the Eastern Paschal.
However, Palm Sunday has been mentioned quite a bit today and yesterday.
Elder Stevenson even encouraged the LDS to participate more in Easter traditions from outside our religious tradition.
Temples. Temples. Temples.
How are temples going to be staffed? At the rate they are being built they will either be empty most of the time or they will have to have an plan for staffing them. Maybe temple missionaries will become a paid retirement position? Or perhaps temple workers will be simply drawn from the patrons on any given day?
I don’t know but it seems senseless(to me) to keep announcing so many temples.
Now is the time for all good believers to come off the emotional high of nine hours of Church and get ready to return to vocations tomorrow in order to prop up the Lord’s rainy day fund.
Hooray for Jesus and Palm Sunday but also more temples with elaborate rugs and chandeliers.
mountainclimber – echoes from Corbitt today of his smackdown address to chaplains – he doesn’t like evil speaking !!
Thank you Dave B and commenters – some time after October 2022 I realized I don’t need the words of these dudes to build my own spiritual strength.
@Rockwell, yes, the number of temples announced and under construction is confusing and mindboggling. I guess there could be a reasonable explanation, but because the institutional church never engages its members in explanatory dialogue, we don’t really have any idea. There are never any real conversations. Only didactic sermons. I’m so tired of being talked at.
Over on ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, there is an informative analysis based on the church’s 2022 annual statistics report. While convert baptism were up 26% over 2021 (212,172), only 15 wards were added in 2022, globally, a 0.048% annual rate of growth. Twenty-three stakes were added, an annual rate of 0.66%. Total church growth was reported as being 197,061, or 1.16%. The annual growth rate for wards was 24x lower than the rate of growth of members.
This seems to suggest that despite the number of converts added, the church is still suffering from a massive retention problem. The year-over-year membership statistics suggest the church is still stagnating, badly.
…yet another round of temple site announcements.
My wife has conference going throughout the day today and wanted our 8 and 4-year-olds to watch. I caught some of it. Had a nagging anxiety throughout the day. I just feel uneasy inside. I’m trying to calm down and I know I eventually will. But I feel that conference was just partly to blame.
@A (and others who commented on Worthen) – that’s helpful context. My conspiracy theory is that he has indeed been pushing back during his tenure and hence won’t become a GA.
But seeing that hasn’t been the case for recent BYU presidents & knowing his age there may be other reasons for that as well.
@john w, I’m sorry. And I know exactly how you feel.
Quoting Uncle Neil and then CSNY in the same post, and two of my favorite songs from those catalogs? Bravo, take my upvote and applause!
I have thoughts about Elder Holland and his ‘COVID’… I am assuming in the near future Elder Oaks will get the ‘big promotion’, that being said, him and Holland are buddies. I am sure Holland going from ‘golden apostle’ to ‘hot mess’ isn’t making the PR department too happy. I wonder if they just told him to sit this one out to try and let everything pass so there isn’t as much pushback when he becomes a counselor (I won’t even mention the fun dynamics having both Oaks and Holland in the first presidency will bring…).
Also, is it just me, but I wish instead of all the temple announcements, they would just get up one time and state ‘no new temples. In lieu of new temples, we are going to work on installing solar panels on all of the current temples to make them more environmentally friendly (this would also ‘save’ the temples during the ‘last days’).’ Or something like this, something to show that the church is being a little more conscious.
Thank you for making me aware that several talks were Christ centered and Easter focused, and I apologize for my preemptive assumption that they would not be.
And thanks to all who post. I cannot engage live and this really helps me know which talks are worth listening to later.
For those looking for recommendations of what to watch, Elder Stanfill’s Sunday Afternoon talk denouncing perfectionism was also very good.
Even as an exmo I’m pretty okay hearing that Lethbridge will get a temple, if it means Cardston’s historic features will be preserved during the eventual next renovation.
The Cardston temple is nearing its 100th anniversary mark and remains one of the few temples with a room-to-room format for each setting of the Endowment. If Lethbridge is getting a temple, the capacity and efficiency of the Cardston temple can then likely be maintained or modestly increased without the need to sacrifice its murals and distinctive rooms.
I suspect an announcement of Cardston’s renovation will follow shorty before or after Lethbridge’s temple is dedicated, as this will allow Southern AB temple-goers a temple to attend in the meantime. The real struggle afterwards will be maintaining both temples, especially amidst demographic challenges for aging prairie towns. I suspect some Lethbridge stakes will continue to be called to work and worship at Cardston- which to be honest will remain the more popular spot for live sealings.
GC and recent events seem an attempt by leadership to root out progressives from the membership. Trashing BH Robert is just plain wrong. Promoting Corbett is problematic given his recent talk equating Church to Christ. Continuing to give Wilcox a high profile is insulting. To have him as a commencement speaker is a joke. Gilbert has no clue about the real aims of education. I heard him give a talk to parents at BYU-I and it was anything but reassuring. Holland’s musket speech to BYU staff was problematic on multiple fronts. His proposed commencement speech at SUU is a PR disaster. BYU’s required loyalty oath is just plain wrong. Continuing to choose more lawyers and business men for high church positions sends the wrong message. How scientists and social scientists? And of course there’s the demotion of Uchtdorf.
Elder Bednar gave a wondrous talk. He spoke of heavenly things not only as one who is vested with the authority to do so–but also as one who has the authority of personal knowledge and experience in those things.
Your assumptions make me cringe. Spiritual experiences don’t necessarily follow ordination or being called to high office. If
we accept that God is fair, just and loving, we quickly find people with astounding spiritual depth and experience in all walks of life, including those outside the institutional church. If one can only perceive the remarkable spiritual individuals when propped up by our own cognitive biases, so much the worse for our vision.
Worthy questions: why are so many temples being built especially in places where there are already temples relatively near by? And who is going to staff them?
For example, putting a temple in the very modest sized city of Winchester VA — a population of only 28K people — when WashDC is 1.5 hours away or Richmond, just opening this year, is 2.5 hours away, is unexpected, to say the least.
In my opinion, and only my opinion, one of the reasons for so many recent temple announcements in perplexing places is to enable the spending down of some of the surplus billions of dollars.
The church can then reference those dollars to any US IRS tax investigators in order to make a case that the church is using their money for church related expenditures.
Hasn’t the acceleration of temple announcements largely come since the whistleblower revelations (speaking of “revelation”!) about the massive amounts of hidden church money in 2019?
I’m not saying money is the only reason — I think there are PR aspects to this and, frankly, I think Pres. Nelson just really enjoys making the announcements — but to me, I think money is part of the rationale also.
@East Coast Guy
Worthy question indeed, as I commented here: https://bycommonconsent.com/2023/03/31/waiting-for-the-temple/
Building stuff is a way to spend money. But why temples? Why not meeting houses? In terms of the church being able to offer people a tangible benefit, an attractive, conveniently located chapel is superior to a temple that is 60 minutes closer. But that is just my opinion.
Perhaps the perception of general authorities is so skewed by the Wasatch Front they fail to see that many places in the “mission field” could benefit from nicer chapels. Or maybe they see and it is just not a priority. We’re all spending less time at church anyway, why worry about chapels?
I’m sure membership could come up with a good list of investments the church could make that would directly improve the church member experience. But our opinion is not sought and more, smaller, temples is what we get.
@East Coast Guy
There is also the factoring in of a Harrisburg PA temple. 2 hours from both the Philadelphia Temple and the announced Winchester VA one.
Ironically (for me at least) I listened to the vast majority of GC; primarily because I was driving most of the weekend and – honestly – I was just a bit curious as to what leadership might do; particularly after the SEC fiasco. Honestly, after almost 10 hours of this I came to a realization that somewhat shook me – after being a member all of my life. My realization was this: “this organization has a remarkable ability to produce beautiful music, crisp and professional images AND oftentimes beautiful, scripted words which can simply drip of the lips of certain speakers. But, behind that most lovely façade is just a corporation, filled with human beings with all of the frailties, attributes, jealousies and selfishness AS ANYONE ELSE. The “Feast” is plastic, the Priesthood is impotent and the Leadership is just a bunch of old men who are frantically trying to remain relevant; and “in the game”. It’s kinda/sorta sad when one finally realizes that this is all it is….with so very much effort, money, energy and worry going into something so vacuous. I’ll not be repeating this exercise anytime soon.
@A Disciple & @East Coast Guy,
This is an interesting question, one that would be better speculated upon by a prestigious real estate investor than myself admittedly.
My hunch is that new real-estate is more profitable a better expression of public power and the church is hoping to use its wealth to help galvanize the membership and create demand. But if that were true, then why not build more chapels?
This is where I suppose the ‘build and they will come argument’ becomes relatively weaker because I suspect we are indeed seeing greater consolidation than growth- at least in most of the wealthier liberal or social democratic countries where temple announcements have caused the greatest expressions of puzzlement.
The LDSGrowth blog would probably have a clearer picture as to what’s happening both globally, and through a region by region analysis. Perhaps a mostly-empty temple property is both more lucrative and less suspect than a mostly empty chapel.
We also have to remember the limitations of the “Church-as-primarily-corporate” theory, as President Nelson has been known to champion causes (such as the rejection of the word “Mormon”) that seem to go against any practical corporate wisdom.
He and some of the brethren may honestly believe that these temples are going to be very busy in some ‘future millennium’, and so they’re betting church dollars on prophecy as a matter of faith. Perhaps actors become less rational and less risk averse once it becomes clearer that either Jesus is gonna come in the next 200 years- or there won’t be much of a believing membership to sustain the church anyways.
My wife is about as true blue, obedient and utterly trusting of church leadership as a person can be. She has an almost genetic inability to criticize any decision a church leader, from bishop to GA, makes. Even if the decision doesn’t make sense she never questions because obviously that decision came from God and God has his reasons. When Elder Holland gave a GC talk years ago and mentioned Aaronic Priesthood wearing white shirts at church if possible she went ballistic when I dared to question why such a trivial thing was necessary to mention in conference, in her mind the fact that a GA said it made it non trivial and how dare I suggest otherwise?
So imagine my astonishment when at the conclusion of the last Sunday session yesterday she said, “I’m really disappointed in how few women spoke, I thought we were getting better at that.” That she thought such a thing was a huge leap for her, that she actually voiced it out loud was stunning.
If the leaders of the church think all is right on the good ship Zion they should consider my wife and think a little harder.
Why not use some of that church wealth to build homeless shelters and/or low income housing?
C’mon Lois, you think when Jesus comes he’s gonna spend time with the POOR? When there are all these fancy, exclusive buildings for him to hang out in?
Church growth is stagnating, except in Africa. Why construct temples or chapels? Chapels are used only 5 percent of the time. The large asphalt parking lots are mostly empty. Their decorative landscape hogs water. Why not focus on buildings and activities that are used all or most of the time? Schools, homeless shelters, vegetable gardens, meditation or prayer centers, storehouses, animal shelters, parks, environmental centers, etc. Does Christ really love empty buildings? Work for the dead? Or would he like more emphasis on the living? And making the earth a better place?
I spent my teenage years with a father who was a building supervisor building chapels in Scotland. On the principle of build buildings and the people will come.
A senior couple from our ward in Australia has just gone on a mission to Scotland. He is a councilor in the branch presidency in one of the buildings built at that time they have a lovely building that seats 200, with 30 active members.
My father had a good business which he abandoned to go on a mission for 8 years. My inheritance?
Dear brother, I can’t always tell how may comments land on the ear of the listener. I certainly agree with you–that spirituality is a different category than high callings. And I tried to differentiate between the too when commenting on Elder Bednar’s talk–sorry if I wasn’t clear on that point. Even so, one of the reasons as to why the talk was so wondrous (IMO) is because Elder Bednar addressed the very issue that you identify in your comment. He told the saints that *all* were welcome to come unto the Savior and abide in him and he in us. And I think both you and I know that what he said is true–if for no other reason than how our personal experience with the things of the spirit resonate with the truth of his claims.
I have not read material from this blog for some years and thought I remembered it to be an enlightening place to come to. I am greatly disturbed by the tone of this blog… And could not decide whether it was a faithful LDS member, or someone that had become anti-Mormon. I read many of the comments, and was sad at the similar tone, which I feel is very unloving unfaithful unholy as can be. When I, across the world look for uplifting material from those I might consider to be more knowledgable than me., it’s pretty disheartening to come across something that is definitely not uplifting and sustaining of our leaders.
The chapter of Matthew 23, certainly comes to mind and applies to the views herein in my opinion. “… Behold, I sent onto you prophet and wisemen… Some of them you shall… Crucify… Some of them you shall scourge… And persecute… Thou that stoneth them, which are sent onto thee…” Matthew 23:34 to 38
Are you “straining at a gnat”? Vs 24
Are you only “ outwardly appearing to be righteous onto men”? Vs 28
I pray that you will review your words and your thoughts… And repent… That you may truly be aligned with our Saviour Jesus Christ and His will for His children.
Please. Please. Please! STOP using “unto”. it’s archaic and just sounds cultish.
For the record, the Washington Post does not follow the prophet. It ran a “recycling quiz” today (4/20) to test whether we know how to recycle correctly. If you smash your water bottles, you get one question wrong. According to the quiz “pre-smashing won’t help and may keep those items from getting recycled.” Glad we cleared that up.