It’s 10:08 in Utah and I’m not watching General Conference but am instead getting ready to take some kiddos skiing. Our conference posts tend to be popular and I know people need a place to decompress and discuss … so feel free to post thoughts in the comments.
I will, however, give you a prompt. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately since I first heard the idea (from someone else) who said this:
“Jesus in Mormonism is little more than a branding tool. It’s just there to validate the prophet more or less. I’ve never really heard a good lesson on Jesus in church. Never once.”
That stopped me in my tracks and I’ve thought about it ever since. So I would love to hear, from any of you watching conference (or who aren’t, but just generally have thoughts on this question):
To what extent are those speaking at Conference using Jesus as a tool to legitimate their own priesthood authority? Are there any talks that just teach Jesus on his own terms without tethering it to a reason why you should listen to them or follow the rules they’re asking you to follow?
Discuss, and take care of yourself this weekend. And, if anyone starts talking about serving two senior missions, LMK!
There are theologians who believe this is exactly what the commandment about taking the lord’s name in vain is actually aimed at. And, honestly, false prophets who lead people astray or take advantage of sincere folks’ vulnerability — think Jim Jones or Warren Jeffs or anyone who comes to mind — do a lot more profound damage than someone who lets loose after they’ve stubbed their toe or dropped a pile of dishes.
Also not watching conference, but curious to hear the lowlights and highlights, especially the former. I find that I have more peace when I’m not exposed to conference talks. The format alone, the voice, the pauses, the tone, the lip-smacking, tends to annoy me.
I find the hectoring tone of conference as a whole not good for my mental health, but am happy to have others cite talks in lessons that allow me to experience them in a more filtered conversational context. One of the advantages of them being used in the curriculum for folks such as myself. Too much being wailed on for me to take in one go.
Haven’t been watching, but apparently Elder Haynie was throwing high heat today? Something about the words of past prophets not becoming more valuable with age? Can’t wait to hear the fallout on that one.
Yeah, only the living prophet matters, and all the dead prophets are irrelevant to the degree they differ from the living prophet, and we should follow everything the living prophet says and does (everything, including how we dispose of plastic bottles). I think Elder Haynie over-stepped, as I see value in learning from both the living and the dead and I accept the responsibility of letting the holy ghost work with me to discern and apply in my daily life, but no one corrected him.
@not a cougar weird! Somebody tell that to Bednar, who keeps resurrecting Benson quotes and talks.
Maybe Nelson asked Haynie to give that talk.
Elisa, I’m just a sinner who didn’t watch Conference today so I’ll have to reserve real comment until I can watch/read it in its entirety. It’s a bold move, I’ll give him that.
This is fascinating almost like.. the Spirit prompted me to read W&T ;). This afternoon at 4:53 pm I texted my husband, who is very orthodox but has to work on Saturdays, that conferences are the hardest weekends of the year for me,but I did it because it’s important to him and my teen daughter who has been very sick and unable to attend early morning seminary, has the chance to make up weeks of absences by watching and taking notes on all 10 hours. She doesn’t want to waste all the time she’s already spent getting up between 4:30-5 am and not graduate. Which is another issue
for me but I don’t want to force my beliefs and problems onto her. Anyway, I texted him “ I finally realized I am only comfortable when they’re talking about the Savior. Not covenants, not obedience, not the Temple, not priesthood authority. Just directly about the Savior. And that’s rare even in the 18-ish hours a year they have to do it. I’m not saying those other things aren’t related, especially to you and your values and beliefs but everything else just makes me feel extremely uncomfortable and angry. I don’t support 10 hours of church, it’s sadistic.” I knew this text would really anger my husband and it did, but I was just happy to finally be able to somewhat articulate what truly makes me uncomfortable and it’s exactly what this post actually articulate it. I wish I could show my husband but he definitely considers W&T an “anti” website (sorry! )
Like Elisa said, I’m pretty sure Haynie was referencing Benson fanatics, who run rampant in some areas. The “no way in hell will I ever wear a mask or vaccinate” types who regularly quote Benson on Facebook. They seem to be more prevalent in places like Idaho and Arizona.
@Tim maybe? But given what else I’ve read about the talk I don’t give him any good deed credit. It was a total follow the prophet don’t go astray.
@bwc I’m really sorry. Once you start to see the way Church leaders pervert the teachings of Jesus & the nature of God and love, it’s impossible to unsee. And that makes conference pretty much the worst.
I no longer watch conference – so much better for my mental health but I do enjoy reading the blogs and comments about it here. My spouse watched and though he is a believer he said he gets tired of the uniquely Utah Mormon style delivery. Said Uchtdorf was refreshing – especially for the delivery.
The picture of corporate Jesus is sad and funny at the same time.
“Jesus in Mormonism is little more than a branding tool.”
Not to this Latter-day Saint. He is my Lord and my God.
@jack, I was referring to the way that LDS church leadership uses Jesus. Not the rank-and-file.
Only in LDS General Conference can an apostle give a talk on Easter and not expound on the eye witness accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and the meaning of those events.
Yes, I also like the Book of Mormon account of Jesus’appearance to the Nephites. But are we really to make the Book of Mormon account superior to what Mary and John and Peter lived and witnessed?
What Elder Stevenson demonstrated is how the LDS church views Jesus as a trademark. They care about the label and the brand. The meaning of Jesus – that we are fallen and need a Savior and by the grace of God we are saved – is secondary.
And since when did it become the norm to express Faith in Christ by having less church?
And I thought the Holiday trappings of Christmas were a distraction from the meaning of Christmas. But apparently we now need more distractions for Easter – more Easter eggs and more Easter bunnies – so that Easter becomes like Christmas, a holiday with a hint of religion.
I feel like I heard more about Jesus and what being a believer in Jesus means in terms of faithful action in the ten minutes of the Palm Sunday sermon from my local UMC church on this Sunday that focused on how the final weeks of Jesus’ life helped us consider how to respond to the horrific shootings that occurred in our city on Monday than I ever remember in hours and hours of conference back when I watched general conference faithfully.
Here was a sermon that took the meaning of those events and asked what would Jesus have us do? She spoke about thinking of her sermon last week about the raising of Lazarus and how Jesus wept with those who were mourning even though he intended to raise Lazarus. And then pondered how that example became so poignant on this Monday, especially knowing that there would be no reprieve from death for those innocent children and the three adults of Covenant church. And how Jesus’ example can guide us as we pray for them and for our city and pray to know how to respond. Then she ruminated on how those shouting Hosanna (Save us now) on the streets of Jerusalem had that in common with so many students praying for in our schools as they face gun violence. Also how those in the streets waving palms when Jesus entered were risking their lives and the anger of those who sought to maintain their power because they placed their hope in God for a better world. And how she felt the need to pray for courage like those who waved the palms , when on Thursday, she and many others from the congregation joined thousands of others at the state capitol to demand the state legislatures pass gun control laws to stop the carnage.
There was a sermon that centered on Jesus, on his teachings not in some abstract way or on petty rules and covenant paths invented in his name, but the real Jesus asking us to mourn with those that mourn and act to build the kingdom of God.
After reading everyone’s comments on GC, I thought to myself, how glad I am to have heard that sermon today, to feel that call to follow Jesus, rather than to be sitting like so many previous years, listening through four hours of tone-deaf lectures on obeying men who lives seems not at all patterned on that of Jesus of Nazareth.
I know that there are some GAs who really do seem to follow Jesus and radiate his love, but I admit that more and more I see most of the Q15 as those who take God’s name in vain and am glad not to force myself to listen to them.
I’ve loved conference so far. I think what our leaders are most concerned about is transformation through the atonement of Christ. And so their messages tend to be a blend of testifying of the reality of the Savior’s mission plus counsel having to do with the pragmatic steps that we, as his disciples, might take to better position ourselves to receive of his influence. Our leaders preach the gospel with the hope that those who embrace it will see improvement in their lives. They preach the living word of Christ–which, if we receive it, has the effect of infusing our souls with the Spirit Truth thus bringing about transformation.
The corporate photo version looks like Jack Shepherd from Lost