Don't forget! You can watch the real thing live here. And later, official recordings and transcripts. My personal notes certainly should not serve as a substitute for the real thing!
Check the end of yesterday morning's session for my live-blog of the news conference with Elders Nelson and Holland on the change to the age to serve a Mission.
I'll keep updating (there may be a brunch break as my son, daughter, and wife are cooking now - and I will have to help clean up)
"Oh Say What Is Truth?" sung by the Choir for the intro.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen to give opening prayer. See this good article about him. Prayer was emotional and powerful.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency
Depths of Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith cried out "oh God, where art thou? And where is Thy pavilion that hideth Thy face" Section 121.
God is never hidden but sometimes we are - drawn away from God making him seem distant.
Our own desires create the feeling of a pavilion hiding God.
God is close to us and aware from us and never leaves His faithful children
Granddaughter went to Brigham City Temple open house and ask "Mommy, where's Jesus?" Mother explained. Child responded that Jesus was gone helping someone. She recognized that he has a body and must be somewhere doing good. She wanted to see Him not as a test of faith but because she loves him.
In moments of pain or confusion, we do not need to see him to know that his mission is to bless us.
Pres. Eyring worked hard to get professorship at Stanford but church called him to Idaho (Ricks, now BYU Idaho)
He knelt in prayer to ask what he should do. Answer was "That's my school" [sorry, BYU Provo]
Had wonderful professional job opportunity. Prayed and discussed it with First Presidency whether he should leave Ricks. Pres. Kimball left it up to him - sounds great! we'll know where to find you!
Then Teton Dam burst and Pres. had confirmation to stay at Ricks to help people.
His desire to know and do his will created an opportunity.
We can't insist on our time table when the Lord has His own.
"behold mine eyes see and know all their works" - He has judgment reserved for them
His time should be enough for him as He knows best.
Daughter-in-law who wanted more children became anger and resentful of other's pregnancies.
She began to ask not for a child, but for a divine errand.
It calmed her heart and she found out she was expecting soon after.
Then they were called to serve as mission presidents. She had another child while in mission - on transfer day.
There need never be times of loneliness or impatience - the Lord keeps His promises.
The day will come that we will all see Him face to face
There will be nothing to obscure Him
We will all stand before Him in person
If we first do the things that make Him familiar to us and we are to Him
I was an hungered and ye gave me meat . . . Matthew 25
If you go for the Lord to bless others, you will feel a change in your very nature.
You will become more like Him. When you do see him it will be as Moroni (10) We
President Boyd K. Packer
Speaking to those weighed down by despair
[It's getting kind of noisy in here what with babies, little kids, children and children-in-law, prospective child-in-law - but that's all good!]
Story about church travel in the South Pacific. Storm and worry in boat. In hymn book, not well known. "Brightly Beams His Father's Mercy" (quotes hymn)
In mortality we are not expected to be perfect
Natural man enemy to God . . . Mosiah 3:19
Infinite atonement must be made or man perish.
Jesus Christ light and life of the world
All mankind may be saved by obedience to laws and ordinances of the gospel. Article of Faith 3
By the atonement of Jesus all can be saved from sin
Sins be as scarlet, white as snow Isaiah 1:6
Garden of Gethsamane. Not my will but Thine be done. Angel came to strengthen Him. Great drops of blood.
Suffering that they might not suffer D&C 19:1
If you turn away from sin you will one day know the peace that comes.
That guilt can all be wiped out
Behold, he who has repented - and I the Lord remember them no more. D&C 58:42
Wherever our missionary go - message in faith in Christ
"Does the Journey Seem Long?" (another hymn)
The Tabernacle Choir, no, soloist (my daughter's former director of BYU Women's Chorus) now sings "Does the Journey Seem Long?"
Sister Linda K. Burton (my wife just got out a pedigree sheet and found the family connection - her husband is1st cousin, once removed)
[Anyway, I had to eat and clean the egg frying pan.] But Sister Burton gave a really good and well-crafted talk. She talked about the second time she went through the Temple as a still young newly-wed. She required help from a sister by her. Then a good talk about service and ended with her feeling an obligation to go to the Temple but she was busy, yet went anyway. A sister sitting next to her said, "This is only my second time" Sister Burton helped her.
Elder Walter F. Gonzalez a President of the Seventy (from Uruguay, I believe)
[and I missed much of this getting settled and catching up.]
[quoted for the second time in conference]
King Benjamin - and now, oh man, remember and perish not.
If we repent, we will not suffer needlessly.
There is no burden that He cannot ease or remove.
When all doors seem to be closed all else fails - He will not fail you
Whether struggle is with addiction, depression or something else
We struggle in the modern world but we can feel a comfort from Heaven
He arose with "healing in his wings"
Strong testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve
Speaking of the original twelve apostles of Christ
3 years was a short time to work in their callings and then be left alone
Mark - the son of man is delivered into the hands of man and after killed shall rise the 3rd day. But they were afraid to ask him.
The unthinkable happened. Lord and Master crucified - the struggling little church seemed doom to scorn and destined for extinction.
They saw him in his resurrected state but that only added to his bewilderment.
They turned to Peter.
in effect (literary license) It's been a few short years, we knew the very son of God. on the night of that terrible ending no one wept more bitterly than I. What do we do now? I don't know any more than to return to you former life. I intend to go fishing. 6 went with him. they went forth and entered into a ship. But the fishing wasn't very good. They caught nothing - not a single fish - they saw a figure on the shore "Children, have you caught anything?" the answer no fisherman wants to give "nothing" (and they were being called children" "Cast thy net on the other side" and recognition began to come to them. The had a similar experience earlier. "Let down your nets" and nets broke. Now it was happening again. These children as they were rightly called cast the net and they were not able to pull it in. John said, "It is the Lord" and Peter leaped from the boat.
Peter had an exchange with the Savior crucial turning point in the apostolic ministry.
Looking at their battered little boats and stunning catch of fish, "Peter, do you love me more than all this?"
"Yea Lord Thou knowest that I love Thee." Lord asks again. Peter confused, "Yea Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee." But with relentless scrutiny he asks for the third time. "Peter, do you love me?" He answered another question earlier three times but answered in the negative. But maybe he misunderstood the Savior but seeking in his heart. Whatever his feelings - "Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee." To which Jesus responded (non-scriptural elaboration) Then Peter why are you here? Why are you fishing and we're having the same conversation. If I want fish, I can get fish. What I need are disciples and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep. I need someone who loves me - truly, truly loves me.
This is not a fleeting message.
It is the work of the Almighty God to change the world
I am asking you to leave all this and go and serve. You are to serve loyally until the day they do to you exactly what they did to me.
Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? Did you think this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you think the cross and the tomb were the end of it all? Did not my life and love touch your hearts more deeply than this.
Not certain just what our experience will be on judgment day but he will be very surprised if God does not ask what he asked Peter. Did you love me?
In our very mortal, sometimes very childish grasp of things. Did we at least understand one commandment. The first and greatest of all - Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind and strength
The crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty
We have neighbors to serve, children to protect, the poor to lift up
We have a lifetime to demonstrate our love for the Lord.
The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection mark the beginning of a Christian life.
Those apostolic keys have been restored and belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Those who have left, you face a lot of long nights and empty nets.
The call is to stay true and serve.
Every return missionary - having been commissioned of Jesus Christ. Changed converts but surely was to change you too.
Youth - love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation.
Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.
The voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time.
Asking each one of us "Do you love me?"
And for everyone of us I answer with my honor and my soul "Yea Lord, we do love thee."
And having set our hand to the plow we will never look back until this work is finished and love of God and neighbor rules the world. [whew! very powerful!]
President Thomas S. Monson
This conference marks 49 years since he was called as an apostle in 1963. That's a very long time.
Much has changed. We live in a unique time in the world's history - blessed with so much - but it's hard to view the bad and not get discouraged - but rather than dwell on the negative look at blessings and find greater happiness.
Countless experiences - not those considered extraordinary - yet in retrospect they blessed lives others and my own
Take inventory and look specifically for the blessings large and small.
Reinforced through the years is that our prayers are heard and answered.
Men are that they might have joy 2 Nephi 2
prayers not answered always how we expect them to be answered
Be thou humbler and the Lord will guide you by the hand.
Experiences where prayers were heard and answered in retrospect.
Daily journal helps provide specifics.
In 1965 assigned to hold conferences throughout the South Pacific.
Feb. in Brisbane, Australia - introduced to District President - distinct impression to speak with him. Talked of his many responsibilities. - felt impressed to offer him suggestions regarding missionary work.
Later learned that this man had been praying for assistance in this regard.
The Lord's purposes are often accomplished if we pay heed to the guidance of the Spirit
The more we act on those impressions, the more the Lord will trust us on those errands.
Never postpone acting on a prompting.
While swimming felt impression to go visit a friend in the hospital. When he arrived, the room was empty. Learned he could find him in the swimming pool for therapy. He visited and accompanied him back to his hospital room. He later learned that the friend had been utterly despondent and had contemplated ending his life by guiding his wheelchair into the deep end of the pool. He arrived at a critical moment. His friend was able to live many more happy years.
Another occasion, with Sister Monson impressed to go visit elderly widow, Zela Thomas, She had long been blind but recognized their voices and asked for a blessing as she wanted to die and return to her father. Sweet feeling that she would not be here long. She thanked him and he kissed her on the forehead. She passed away the following day. To provide comfort and peace was a blessing to her and to him.
To be a blessing to another often comes unexpectedly. Another time driving to Midway, Utah. Concerned about their home there. All was fine. But the battery went dead on the way back to Salt Lake. Very cold. Cars whizzing past. A young man offered to help. Diesel full affected by the cold. He was a Boy Scout and wanted to do a good turn. Assuming he was about missionary age, asked about his plans. He wasn't certain. The following Monday Pres. Monson wrote a letter and encouraged him to serve a mission. Sent him a book underlying the chapters on missionary service. His mother called and said how they had fasted and prayed that his heart would be changed to go on a mission. The mother wanted Pres. Monson to know that she looked upon the events of that cold evening as an answer to their prayers. After several months, he went to the missionary farewell. Went to Vancouver, Canada Mission. Chance that paths crossed? No, answer to mother's prayer.
Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs if we only call on Him for assistance.
Recent experience - impact on hundreds. Cultural celebration at Kansas City Temple - realized that performance was not ordinary - quite remarkable - the youth had rehearsed in separate groups in their own areas. They were to rehearse together that Saturday morning - many details they would have to grasp for that day. Just one major problem - dependent on pre-recorded segments on Jumbo-tron - the framework on which all depending. Technicians working while youth waited. The director Susan Cooper moved from Plan A-Z, but said they knew we had a great strength on the floor below - 3,000 youth. She said they needed to draw upon their faith. 3,000 youth knelt and prayed together that those repairing would know what to do. They asked their Heavenly Father to do what they could not - the "Spirit melted their bones" repairman attributed the solution to "luck" the youth knew better. What we witnessed was a beautiful polished performance, one of the best. They knew just to enter and react and coordinate. They had not rehearsed. The Lord had indeed made up the difference.
Amazed how the Lord can direct his kingdom yet can help one individual or one Jumbo-tron.
The Lord is in all of our lives. He wants to bless us. Seek His help.
We will find the happiness that he desires for us through prayer.