Conference Reactions

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felixfabulous
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Conference Reactions

Post by felixfabulous » 08 Apr 2019, 07:29

The 189th Annual General Conference was kind of a mixed bag for me. I love the traditions, getting together with family and being with my family for the Priesthood Session. I love feeling like part of the group and was really happy the November 2015 policy changed. There were a few talks I enjoyed, Elder Stevenson in Priesthood Session (loved the sports stuff), Elder McKay and Sister Eubank.

I had a really hard time with what I heard from the First Presidency, Oaks and Nelson mainly. It seemed like two steps back to the fear-based push to obedience that I had hoped we were moving away from. Repent now before it's too late. It seems like we're moving back to a push for perfection, with the atonement as an insurance policy and that grace is being pushed to the back seat again. That message does not resonate with me. I believe that no one really knows what happens when we die and religion should help us here and now, with a hope that there is something after. But, to live your whole life based on a certitude of preparing for the world to come seems like such a waste. Anyone else react this way? Give me hope to hang on!

grobert93
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by grobert93 » 08 Apr 2019, 07:40

felixfabulous wrote:
08 Apr 2019, 07:29
The 189th Annual General Conference was kind of a mixed bag for me. I love the traditions, getting together with family and being with my family for the Priesthood Session. I love feeling like part of the group and was really happy the November 2015 policy changed. There were a few talks I enjoyed, Elder Stevenson in Priesthood Session (loved the sports stuff), Elder McKay and Sister Eubank.

I had a really hard time with what I heard from the First Presidency, Oaks and Nelson mainly. It seemed like two steps back to the fear-based push to obedience that I had hoped we were moving away from. Repent now before it's too late. It seems like we're moving back to a push for perfection, with the atonement as an insurance policy and that grace is being pushed to the back seat again. That message does not resonate with me. I believe that no one really knows what happens when we die and religion should help us here and now, with a hope that there is something after. But, to live your whole life based on a certitude of preparing for the world to come seems like such a waste. Anyone else react this way? Give me hope to hang on!
Having had personal struggles with not only the situation you described but also my doubts concerning the validity of the church as a "True" restored organization considering the history of it's evolution, I can see where the unhappy and uncomfortable reaction is coming from.

I personally found some of the apostle's talks to resonate well with me, however. The most obvious two for me were Holland and Bednar. Holland reminded us of the importance of the purpose of the Sacrament, and even chastised us for spending too much time on announcements and other ward culture distractions. Bednar was most surprising to me because he's trying to indicate a clear distinction between the church (as an organization led by imperfect men) and the gospel (given to us by the Lord). He want us to spend more time learning, receiving revelation and coming to our own understanding of the gospel at home, instead of at church.

While this may not solve some issues such as the policy change damage, for me it's showing the reality of the imperfections of the church, which despite what everyone seems to think, has not been fully restored to it's "perfect state" yet (Utchdorf gave a talk on this very concept, that the church isn't finished yet). If the church is "becoming perfect" through the gospel, then the gospel must be separate from the church and thus, my acceptance of the reality of what we see today.

I hope this makes sense. I'm still pondering what it all means, but I have hope now. For the first time in months, I feel hope that somehow everything will make more sense and the unfair will be resolved.

Roy
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by Roy » 08 Apr 2019, 12:52

I imagine that there are many that find inspiration in talks about repentance or obedience. If GC is a buffet, I can choose not to eat some of the dishes. ;)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Katzpur
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by Katzpur » 08 Apr 2019, 14:34

President Nelson's Sunday morning talk left me so depressed. After the reversal of the November, 2015 policy, I had felt so encouraged and uplifted by what I hoped to be a trend towards acceptance of people who don't fit the cookie cutter image TBM image. His talk was probably the closest thing I've ever heard from an LDS leader to what might be described as a hellfire and damnation sermon. On the other hand, I was absolutely thrilled by Sharon Eubank's talk. Maybe we have found an new Chieko Okasaki!
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

Arrakeen
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by Arrakeen » 08 Apr 2019, 19:40

I really didn't like Nelson's talk either. I remember as a missionary we had a recent convert who broke down crying when taught about eternal families because she would be separated from her nonreligious parents. She later disappeared and never came back to church. Until then I never really realized that the traditional way of teaching the plan of salvation is not a message of joy for everyone, and can even bring a lot of pain for some.

I think we need to remember that President Nelson still sees the doctrine of eternal families and saving ordinances as a message of joy. I don't think he fully understands that it is a painful message for others whose families don't fit the mold. He also said he was grateful that he was not that man's judge. I am grateful too, since I believe Christ will be a far more merciful judge than any of us imagine.

I do think that overall, this conference did a good job of focusing on the Savior. The general trend lately seems to be toward more love and acceptance, even though there are still many bumps in the road.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Apr 2019, 07:04

His talk had me wanting to start a thread called "Do you believe in a second coming?" But I remembered that I started one a few years ago, so it would have been redundant.

I have a lot of doubt about this "second coming is nigh" stance. JS and other GA's thought it would come during the lifetimes of generations who died decades and decades ago. It didn't...we have been told its 11:59 pm for decades now, and the needle never seems to move. Yes, there are some indicators -- apparently the gospel is preached in all countries now, which is supposed to be a sign. The advent of the printing press was supposed to be a sign, but that was a LONG time ago.

Therefore, I am more afraid of my heart or body giving out and taking me out of this earthly existence. That's my more immediate second coming -- when I die and get judged for what I did here. The thought of a second coming and all the apocalyptical events isn't something that motivates me at all to change.

What motivates me? The promise of HAPPINESS. And sadly, my full-on Mormon experience tended to lead to relentless pain and misery. My new, adapted relationship with the church is far more joy inducing. Convince me I'll be happier now with a TBM lifestyle and I think that would motivate me more than fear the second coming is around the corner, and I'm not ready.

Now tainted in mind and spirit by the trials of my full LDS experience, I'm not sure what it would take. They have made a lot of changes but I am still unwilling to budge. I do go to church more readily given the changes. I feel more positive toward local leaders now that they have removed the ridiculous HT reporting requirements, and I have greater respect for the people at the top given their near apologies for the priesthood ban, MMM, and the POX.

I think the biggest stumbling block for me is tithing. Tithing in the face of being left high and dry on non-financial issues at the heart of our mission over my 3 decades of membership. Makes it hard to spend 2/3 of your expected retirement savings on tithing when you don't feel the organization feels any obligation to you in times of spiritual need...MIxed with repeated, destructive, bad intentioned behavior from local TR holders at different times, makes you wonder if the gospel is worth 10% of your net or gross?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Rumin8
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by Rumin8 » 09 Apr 2019, 10:21

As a bit of background context, I have never enjoyed GC. It has always seemed to me that the focus is on everything we are NOT doing, and very little on what we ARE doing. I have internalized that in the past as a feeling of no matter what I do, it will never be enough. I struggled mightily 6 months ago with GC. I listened intently and more than I had ever in the past. It did not go well. I chalked it up at the time to where I was in my journey. I expected some struggle this time. I was not prepared for how viscerally worse it was for me this time. It is ironic, because literally a week ago you could have found me in great spirits with a solid game plan to enhance my participation in the church physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I had recently had productive discussions with my bishop and others close to me. I had a plan. The pressure was off to conform. I was happy.

There were some talks I appreciated, even if I didn't exactly agree with them. I enjoyed the focus more on Jesus Christ. I was disappointed in Pharisaical elements in some of my favorite speakers (Holland) and was pleasantly surprised by the messages of Oaks (he seemed less "strident") and Bednar (although his talk made me want to play a drinking or gambling game everything he mentioned "home centered church supported study"). I completely shut down in reaction to Nelson's Sunday morning talk. I expect more love, discernment, and understanding from our prophet.

My wife made the comment that there wasn't much to chew on this conference. She found it bland. That was a good opening for me to take and share, but I didn't, and I haven't. The reason is because on balance this conference made me feel that I didn't belong. That there is no place for me. That I will never be good enough. That the decisions I make will imperil my family and those I care for forever. It made me feel that I don't want to be a part of that church. This is why I haven't shared with my loved ones yet. But I will. Once I settle down and realize once again that there is hopefully a path for me to walk to stay engaged at some level in the church, despite its repeated every six months "never good enough" culture. This HURTS. It hurts that my loved ones easily find peace and joy in those messages, and that I don't.

Maybe in the coming days and weeks I can re-read or re-listen to a few of the talks that resonated with me. Maybe those will be enough to keep me grounded in the desire to continue in the community of our shared faith.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

nibbler
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by nibbler » 09 Apr 2019, 11:06

Rumin8 wrote:
09 Apr 2019, 10:21
My wife made the comment that there wasn't much to chew on this conference. She found it bland.
I think we've been spoiled in the recent past. Last conference the stars aligned and everyone tuning in for a big announcement finally got their wish. :smile:

Now that the dust has settled, "...and now we return to our regularly scheduled programming."

Ebowalker
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Re: Conference Reactions

Post by Ebowalker » 09 Apr 2019, 11:18

I will chime in here...my reaction is as it always is...GC is a group of nice but insular people giving talks. It never really is more than that to me, kinda like Tedtalks, I listen to just learn other's opinions and thoughts. Something always remains in my memory that is helpful.

For me the standout talk was Sister Eubanks...everything she said resonated with me. I will have to reread the transcript as sometimes i don't hear what is exactly said, but I felt she had real understanding and compassion for those who struggle with too many burdens. That room of stone walls that she talked about is what i feel, but she added the grinding away of a window to stained glass concept that shot right through me. THAT is a person who understands and cares about others and is able to articulate it. I haven't painted in a while but I really want to paint something about this, only for me.

I kept hearing the idea of having unconditional love for others...of course we hear what we want but I made a conscious effort to hear this over and over.

My thoughts on the being late for sacrament... to me it sounds like a grumpy old man...I do not care if people come late or leave or stay 5 minutes...I am happy whenever anyone makes the effort to come to Church. As for announcements, that makes us a community, and I feel that sense of community slipping away. I used to spend lots of time at the chapel for all sorts of activities...I think I have attended maybe 2 in the last year. I don't like the Linger Longer...too many cliques and no common ground or effort to mingle.

I actually paused Pres Nelson's talk on Sunday...I do not need to hear that. I have nothing but chaos in my life and I want understanding and encouragement from my leadership. Guilt and shame used to work but it doesn't anymore...in fact it does the opposite. Kinda reminded me of the Spence W Kimball talks that cut real deep and cause others to say Why bother? IMO it only gives fuel and memes for judgemental people to look down on others (and I've already seen this on twitter). Would you really say this to a homeless person or someone feeling no hope? Not if you cared about them.

As for those of you who don't feel a part of this Church...well I don't feel a part either so if all of you guys leave then that leaves me with all the elite, privileged ppl that I don't want to hang with!!!! Please find your tribe within this church!!!

I should preface this by saying that since I got out of the army (and it did not go well), I have huge social anxiety and I have a deep mistrust for any organization run by men.

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