Open Thread on General Conference

In October 2006, Richard G. Scott directly contradicted himself and promoted a theology of earning / “qualifying” for forgiveness and mercy:


In October 2007, we heard from apostle Robert D. Hales that “Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit eternal life”.

We also heard Jeffrey R. Holland give a negative anti-Christianity talk on the Trinity.

What shall we expect this weekend?

Consider this an open thread on all topics pertaining to General Conference.

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8 Responses to Open Thread on General Conference

  1. Berean says:

    What are we going to hear this weekend? Now that it’s over I think most would say that it was the same-old as usual just recycled in different words from the last conference talk with glaring contradictions from conference talks from the past just like the example video with this blog post. Added to it would be the monotone voice of the general authorities as they stumble their way through the teleprompter trying to make their lectures-now-scripture seem genuine. That’s how President Monson came across yesterday on TV in my opinion.

  2. Shederlaomach says:

    Please pardon my cynicism, but I was disappointed as well by this General Conference in April, 2008. I must confess that I no longer have high hopes for any of the talks. After all, once something has been passed around to various committees and edited for content and time, what can one realistically expect? I just wish that we would occasionally get something that was much more like the King Follett discourse and much less like “The Parable of the Pickle.”

    As a former high school teacher, I tried in my classes to reach the ‘A’ students, the ‘C’ students, and the underachievers. If I neglected any group, the others would be bored and fail to participate fully. The way the church seems to concentrate exclusively on the most basic doctrines–and excludes everything beyond the basics–seems like a mistake to me. The intellectuals of the church are leaving in droves, and who can blame them?

    I liked Elder Wirthlin’s talk. The idea of welcoming warmly and completely members who believe but don’t fit the norm really appeals to me. As someone who had a BYU activity card that stated I had a “beard waiver,” I know how little I liked having to show a card so that I could participate fully in things at BYU. Even then, I always felt like an outsider among the clean-shaven BYU students.

    Although I have always been an active member, I feel less and less accepted in church. In addition to my beard, I rarely wear a suit and tie. I do try to be neat and comely, but that isn’t enough. Now that the white shirt and tie with a business suit, originally a symbol of Babylon, has somehow become the official “uniform” of Zion, I feel about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. I hope Wirthlin’s ideas will be employed. I just wish he had offered some suggestions as to how those “square pegs” can be assimilated into the “round holes” of current LDS culture.

  3. Rick B says:

    shederlaomach said

    Although I have always been an active member, I feel less and less accepted in church. In addition to my beard, I rarely wear a suit and tie. I do try to be neat and comely, but that isn’t enough.

    I guess I could never be a mormon, I hate dressing up in suits and ties, as a matter of fact I only wore a suit ONCE in my life, I was about 16 years old. I hate suits so much I got married wearing a leather Biker Jacket, Black Jeans and black combat boots. It must be love as I have been married now for 15 years plus 3 kids later.

    Anyway, I meet some MM’s a while back and had a mohawk with long hair down my back, The MM’s flat out told me I could join the Church, but I could never Move up the ranks as it were, no sort of Minstry or nothing if I did not cut my hair off and wear a suit. So I cannot recall a verse in the Bible that tells me I must dress in a certain way to enter heaven, But Romans 2:11, My life verse, says God does not show favortism, but it seems the LDS god does.

    Then God’s Word tells us, God looks at Mans Heart, where as Man looks at the outward apperance. So since LDS leaders place way to much into mans looks and God does Not, I will stay with God and For-go the LDS god who cannot bear to look upon a bearded man with a mohawk and black leather jacket. Rick b

  4. Shederlaomach says:


    I agree and disagree with things you said. I absolutely agree that clothing and appearance are of no importance to God, nor should they be to other people. I like the portrayal of the character of Satan in the “Reaper” TV series. He is always the perfect businessman–tanned, well-groomed, and dressed in a tailored suit.

    The constant focus on external appearance is foolishness, as a person’s appearance is easily altered and means nothing. Like the Spanish say:

    “Aunque la mona se vista de seda mona se queda,” which means, although a monkey dresses in silk, a monkey it remains. The sad thing is that I have seen several times in outlying Mormon branches where they have needed leadership and selected it on the basis of appearance. One time that really bothers me was when a man who was devoid of any Gospel knowledge of spiritual insight was chosen over a man who was very spiritual. The one chosen to lead was a banker, and he “looked the part.” The one not chosen to lead had a ponytail. The banker was a disaster as a leader, but the church will never learn. Appearance over substance is paramount for the squeaky clean-image the Mormon church has embraced. I thought it interesting that when commentators looked at Mitt Romney and his Mormon cronies that the word that kept be used was “plastic.”

    Maybe Wirthlin’s talk will help, but I doubt it. Conformity to the culture of the Mormon church is stifling its growth and development in ways the leaders of the church either fail to realize or fail to care about. I have two sons who were of mission age, but neither opted to serve. I asked them why, and they both said that they found the mission rules so oppressive that they would have left the church if they had gone on missions.

    More in a minute.

  5. Shederlaomach says:

    Part 2

    Recently, I had an experience that capped my view of this mindless conformity that characterizes Mormon culture today. The missionaries were teaching a young man who suddenly developed appendicitis. His mother rushed him to the hospital. The young man wanted a priesthood blessing, and he begged his mother to call the missionaries. His mother called the missionaries, but they told her that it was after 9:30 p.m. and they were forbidden by their rules to leave their apartments after that time. The young man was told of this, and he was very distraught and in great pain. He had his mother call the ward’s young men’s president, who in turn, called me. The two of us got to the hospital just seconds too late to give the young man the blessing he had requested. The missionaries lived closer to the hospital and could have been there in time–if they had not refused to help.

    I was angry with the missionaries and talked about the situation with them, and how if they had used their God-given brains, they could have made it before the operation was started and given this young man the blessing he had desired. They merely shrugged and said that it was against their rules. What could they do? I asked them what they thought Jesus would have done in a similar situation. They seemed perplexed. I gave several examples of how Jesus managed to piss off the Jews of His time by merely caring more about people that rules and cultural norms. I might as well have been talking to a couple of stones. The missionaries repeated that they had to obey their rules.
    Obey. Obey. Obey. That is the mantra of missions. Do what you are told, and you will be blessed. The rules are given by inspired leaders. If you love God, you will obey every rule and have success. If you fail to obey every rule, the Spirit will withdraw, and you will fail as a missionary. What crap! A missionary should never question anything that comes from above. This create a military-like mindset that is destructive.

  6. Shederlaomach says:

    Part 3

    So, this mindless conformity robs individuals of their God-given ability to chose or think for themselves.

    I’ve told that story of the missionaries and their failure to offer a blessing to several people. All have been shocked by the way the missionaries prioritized obeying a rule over helping a person in need, but, with very few exceptions, the Mormons I have told this to have responded that the missionaries should have called their mission president, zone leader, or district leader and gotten “special permission.” I am amazed that the Mormon mindset is so entrenched in looking to leadership instead of using common sense and individual inspiration.

    A major paradigm shift has occurred in Mormon society. When I was young, we were taught to “do what is right and let the consequence follow.” Now, the order of the day is to “do as you are told. Period,”

    The result of this lock-step approach turns away many, many people–people who find Mormon culture overly repressive and anti individual. The result, I think, is plain. There are few educated people joining the church. In fact, most of the new Mormon converts are very poor, uneducated, and often mentally ill. A large number of these converts are also single mothers. Most of the new converts are gone from the LDS church in a very short time as well.

    Frankly, I fear for the future of the church, as it now only wants to draw from the ranks of the wealthy conformists for leadership.The gene pool for the top level of leadership has always been very restricted. But now that only conservative, wealthy, corn-fed, white guys need be the pool leadership is drawn from, I fear for the future.

    Joseph Smith’s idea of teaching correct principals and letting people govern themselves has been utterly replaced by preaching restrictive rules and demanding conformity.

  7. Berean says:

    I know they can break that 9:30 PM curfew rule if they want to or depending on who you are or who you know. I had a couple of missionaries over at my house one night until 11:00 PM. The leader of the group was from Mesa, Arizona. They came to my house driving a car instead of riding bikes. In the visits that followed after that this young man became so troubled by what he was reading and hearing at my house that he was at the point of tears. He told me that they needed to leave and go back to their apartment and think about what they just heard and read. He also said that he wanted to call his father.

    Right then the bell rang in my head because I know they are only allowed to call home twice a year and ride bikes because of financial constraints. Only the sisters that have come over here have been in a car until this young man and his partner showed up.

    I started putting it all together and realized that in Mesa there is a temple. I called his apartment and talked to one of his roommates about the phone call supposedly to his father. I was told that one can call their father if they have special permission and I guess they can break the curfew too. I figured this kid’s father was a probably a stake president or worked in the temple down there in Mesa.

  8. eric017 says:


    I served an LDS mission 15 years ago, and do not know if or how the rules have changed as I left the church shortly afterword. From my experience, the car/bike issue more about the size of the elders’ area. Ignoring public transportation, if the area isn’t small enough to get anywhere within a half day’s bike-ride they will be in a car. The exception being if one of the Elders was in a leadership position. BTW, my mission regularly rewarded ‘good behavior’ and productivity (i.e. baptisms) with leadership positions (i.e. you got to be in a car). Sisters often had cars, being the ‘weaker sex’ in Mormonism. I guarantee that the elders were breaking curfew by being in your house at 11 p.m. if it wasn’t an emergency. And, I’ll bet that you were discussing some of the uncomfortable things about the church and the guy was distraught, and probably wanted some familiar confirmation (i.e. father) explaining away the ideas.

    I’ve often maintained that the LDS mission experience is perhaps more about entrenching the belief system in 19 year olds than gaining converts. They strip you of your name and identity, and level a whole additional set of rules. The guilt trips were enormous. If you couldn’t find anyone to teach, it was your fault. The MTC was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life. I thought I would go there and the gospel would finally all make sense. Instead I got a crash course on asking open ended questions and not taking no for an answer. It was all about prioritizing milk and meat and selling the gospel using a very business model. We learned to ‘lie for the lord’ and all about the system of rewards and punishments for such behavior. In the end what do we end up with? Shederlaomach’s example above. Obeying curfew becomes more important than obeying the most important commandment: ‘Loving one another’. I don’t think I’ve heard a better modern day example of Luke 13:15 in a while.

    Keep the Elders in your prayers, they need it.


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