Stake Conference

We had priesthood leadership session of stake conference tonight. It was the relatively new satellite-broadcast format. Marlin K. Jensen conducted, and Thomas S. Monson presided. Both of them spoke. David A. Bednar also spoke.

When the stake conference was announced, we were told it would be Southern Alberta and Calgary and that it would be 2-3 hours in length. According to President Monson, all six Calgary stakes were in attendance as well as twenty other stakes in BC (presumable Cranbrook since it is in the Canada Calgary Mission), Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as well as the Fort Frances Branch in Ontario. Presumably, the stakes are as follows:

BC

Cranbrook

ALBERTA

Calgary (6), Cardston (2), Edmonton (4), Fort MacLeod, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge (3), Magrath, Medicine Hat, Raymond, Red Deer, Taber

SASKATCHEWAN

Regina, Saskatoon

MANITOBA

Winnipeg

These stakes comprise roughly 80,000 Latter-day Saints (based on 2003 figures), or roughly half of all Church membership in Canada. The area is covered by three missions and three temples.

It was a very good session that went four hours. The last time I attended a four-hour leadership session was when James E. Faust presided over one in Vancouver in 1997. I really enjoyed tonight’s session. The leaders had a lot to say and what they said caused me to ponder my own life and what may lay ahead in the near future.

It’s been a long time since I have been this moved at a stake priesthood leadership meeting.

Some around me were impatient and just wished it would end. I enjoyed it. I could have stayed another hour.

My only regret is that I had to sit in the dark straining my neck while looking at the screen.

UPDATE (01 May 2005): According to Elder Jensen, the broadcast was sent to 96 meetinghouses, including the Yellowknife Branch.

Miracles

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines a miracle as “an event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.”

But natural laws according to whom? Does God have laws to which He adheres that we do not know? Would these be considered laws of nature?

If we infiltrated a primitive tribe and showed them a flashlight, would that be inexplicable using their understanding of nature? Would it be considered a miracle?

Did Jesus consider what He did miracles?

Despise the Poor

But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also. (2 Ne 9:30)

It seems that Jacob is saying that because one is rich, one will despise the poor. Is this really automatic?

First, what does ‘rich’ mean? Is there an absolute measurement to determine when someone is rich? I am sure that because my salary is above the provincial average, Tent City residents would think I am rich. Yet at the same time there are many people who make six, seven and eight figure amounts of an annual salary, which I do not.

Second, why would be rich automatically make one despise the poor? wouldn’t that depend on the person’s disposition? If one was disposed to being selfish and boast in his/her higher status compared to others, wouldn’t that person despise the poor? Would others without those dispositions automatically despise the poor if they were rich?

Lastly, was this just a Nephite phenomenon? Does it not happen in our day?

Wisdom is Foolishness

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. (2 Ne 9:28-29)

What causes a person to supplant his/her faith in God with secular knowledge? Why do some individuals not reconcile the two?

I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent person, yet I do not consider myself one to not hearken to the counsels of God. I am sure there are others like me. So why can we do it and many others not?