Complaining about General Conference


Inside the Conference Center at Conference Time
In the Conference Center in Salt Lake City    (LDS Media Library)


Here are two further items for the ever-growing file of materials demonstrating that, just as some critics have alleged, the world would be a better place without the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:


“Latter-day Saints Provide Famine Relief in Africa, Middle East: LDS Charities partners with global relief organizations”


“How the LDS Church is changing lives in India”


If you would like to join in these evils, you can easily do so, here:


LDS Humanitarian Aid Fund





I read a very disgusted complaint today about the corporate American character of the Church.


I couldn’t help but note in that regard that, of the seven current presidents of the Seventy, three were born outside of the United States — Elder Soares (Brazil), Elder Uceda (Peru), and Elder Kearon (England)


Three of the seven presidents are speakers of Spanish as a second language (Elders Clayton, Christensen, Robbins), with extensive residency in Latin America.  Another is a native speaker of Spanish (Elder Uceda), while a fifth (Elder Soares) is a native speaker of Portuguese.


Elder Gong is an American of Chinese heritage who is fluent in Chinese and who has lived in Asia for extended periods.


As a group, these men are not, perhaps, quite as purely “white bread” American as some might expect.


And, as far as the “corporate American” thing goes, it’s probably worth tossing in the fact that the Presiding Bishop of the Church, responsible for all of the Church’s temporal aspects, is Gérald Caussé, who was born and raised in Bordeaux, France, and was called as a General Authority while residing in Paris.




I had the distinct impression from his remarks today that Elder Dallin H. Oaks wasn’t apologizing for, or backing away from, the positions taken in the Proclamation on the Family.




I’ve seen some comments about General Conference from people who appear to watch it only in hopes of finding statements about which they can complain.  And they can always find something that will enrage or disgust them.  Some of those comments are very angry.  Others are merely deeply cynical, mocking, and contemptuous.


Candidly, I can’t imagine how they do it.


I simply don’t think that I would be able to sneer as much as some folks do.


And I’m especially puzzled when I read such remarks from at least nominal members of the Church.  Here’s a description of General Conference that I saw this evening, quoted from one of those members; I’m assuming that it’s accurate:  “How to read General Conference.  It’s basically an apostolic cage fight.  The Apostles use GC to declare their theology to each other. The GA’s are declaring their theology to the apostles to get noticed, and we are just watching the dust ups and the peacocking.”


Honestly, I have no idea where such a (mis)perception comes from.  I see absolutely nothing of the sort.


The counsel that we’re always given at Conference to pray more regularly and more deeply, to read the scriptures more faithfully and searchingly, and to serve, may sometimes seem naïve and simplistic.  And, surely, there are problems that can’t be simply solved, questions that can’t be answered without real work.  But I can’t imagine — honestly, I can’t — that a person who is immersed in the scriptures, who is deeply and humbly prayerful, and who is serving with love and energy could ever watch General Conference and see it as merely “an apostolic cage fight,” nothing but “dust ups” and “peacocking.”


Anything’s possible, I know.  But such a characterization of Conference seems, to me, to come from some alternate reality, a reality entirely disconnected from the one in which I live.


How about dropping the sneering cynicism?  There’s lots to be done, and contemptuous mockery just won’t do the job:



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