First, I must start with a confession. I haven’t yet watched General Conference. Despite living in the future here in Asia, we are living in the past in terms of General Conference which will be aired at the local church next weekend (or alternatively, live on-line now). However, I have read some of the recaps, including a live thread by good friend Ray at StayLDS.com. Here are some highlights pointed out in that discussion as evidence of progress.
- E. Perry spoke of the New Testament as the centerpiece of our religion, not specifically mentioning the Book of Mormon.
- 2 female speakers (Sis. Allred and Sis. Stevens) were described as speaking in a “normal” voice (meaning not in a sickly sweet Mormon woman voice).
- E. Gonzales spoke warmly and in sincered praise about all Christians, not elevating Mormons above other sects.
- E. Cook’s otherwise controversial talk about women also stated that those who hadn’t served a mission sometimes feel like second class citizens, a possible first step in erasing prejudice in this area.
- Pres. Eyring said “someone who needed to work to support his or her family,” effectively recognizing both scenarios equally.
- Pres. Eyring also talked about providing assistance to those both inside and outside of the LDS community.
- E. Oaks referred to an R-rated movie (127 Hours) without warning people not to see R-rated movies (it’s not R-rated here, and he was probably referring to the story, not the movie). But still . . . any port in a storm. He also referred to men as an helpmeet to women.
- E. Uchtdorf endorsed the use of social media. (I assume he’s reading this right now – hello!)
- E. Johnson made a non-KJV reference.
- Several talks referring to both parents as presiding in the home, not just fathers.
- Less talks about porn.
- More talks about Christ.
On the downside:
- Pres. Packer’s talk was viewed as a not-very-subtle further attack on homosexuals. However, he did mention that some members spend their whole lives offended over the mistakes of leaders. Hmmm.
- E. Nelson’s remarks about cafeteria Mormonism seems to have been a mischaracterization of that term, which he then sets up as a straw man. He stated it’s wrong to pick and choose which commandments to follow; however, cafeteria Mormonism is usually used to describe leaving some of the unpalatable doctrines alone, not behavioral picking and choosing. It’s unfortunate if the term is stigmatized among the so-called faithful as a result, since all doctrine is subject to interpretation and individual understanding and all members sin. This seems like it will become an excuse for some members to judge others or to try to chase them out of the church.
- E. Bednar’s talk was viewed by some as a backhanded insult to people of other faiths and to NOMs.
Overall, what did you think? Was the conference effective at clarifying old misunderstandings? Were there other statements or talks that you considered progressive? Discuss.