General Conference April 2014 – Saturday Afternoon Session by Stephen Livings

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I have chosen in this review to focus on the final talk of the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference. This talk was given by Quentin L. Cook. I will simply be responding to what I consider to be key parts of his talk with brief thoughts and reflections.

1.

“Hastening family history and temple work in our day is essential for the salvation and exaltation of families.” Quentin Cook

Response from the Book of Mormon, referred to by Joseph Smith as the most correct book upon the face of the earth: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.” Alma 34:32-35

2.

“Our Father’s plan is about families.” Quentin Cook

Response from the Bible: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:34-38

3.

“Elijah’s return occurred in the Kirtland Temple on April 3rd 1836. He declared he was fulfilling Malachi’s promise.” Quentin Cook

Response from Jesus (Bible) “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:13-15)

4.

“The Saviour was emphatic about the necessity of baptism. He taught, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’” Quentin Cook

Response from the Bible. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:3-6. So, in context, we can see that Jesus wasn’t talking about baptism. He was talking about being born again. The first birth is the physical one that is referred to here as being born ‘of water’ and ‘of the flesh’. Think about the act of giving birth and those words make perfect sense! The second birth here is what Jesus calls being ‘born of the Spirit’. It is this being born again, re-birth or being born of the Spirit that enables one to see and enter the kingdom of God. So we can conclude that the birth we have all already experienced is a physical act, and being born again is a spiritual act. We are not talking about an ordinance here.

5.

“Paul speaks of it (baptism for the dead) in 1 Corinthians, 15th chapter, 29th verse. Joseph has received a more full explanation of it by revelation.” Quentin Cook

Response: This revelation would appear to contradict the Book of Mormon verses from Alma quoted above. It is also worth pointing out that 1 Cor. 15:29 is the only verse that speaks of baptism for the dead, and that in this verse, those who practise it are referred to by the pronoun “they”; in other words, not the ‘you, we, us’ that Paul uses to address the readers elsewhere in chapter 15. Another point worth making is that Joseph Smith’s own ‘translation’ of the Bible threw up nothing around this verse to expand upon what we have here in the Bible today.

6.

“Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors.” Quentin Cook

Response: Mr Cook appears to be referring to D & C 127:5-6 which refers to ‘baptism for your dead’. It would seem to this onlooker that LDS leaders still feel, despite some high-profile controversies in recent years, that the point must be made that LDS members should only be carrying out vicarious work for their own deceased relatives.

7.

Just my musings to end with. A talk lasting sixteen and a half minutes, the final one of the session, and in my opinion, when compared with the others of the session, the only weighty one from a doctrinal point of view. This talk was given two weeks before Easter weekend yet the only true church of Jesus Christ does not seem to focus on the Saviour much it would seem. Jesus got a couple of name checks in those sixteen and a half minutes, nothing more. This talk was all about worship of the family and worship of the temple.

We do get a brief mention of Jesus in the final minute which states: “He overcame death for all mankind, which we could not do for ourselves. We can, however, perform vicarious ordinances and truly become saviours on Mount Zion for our own families in order that we, with them, might be exalted as well as saved.” So that’s it. Jesus enables us to overcome death (as we know, what happens to us eternally depends on whether or not we are exemplary Mormons), but we can actually become saviours for our own families and we can thereby be exalted along with them! We can make ourselves into gods in other words. As I’ve pointed out before, that alluring promise of the serpent is there: ‘ye shall be as gods’!

8 thoughts on “General Conference April 2014 – Saturday Afternoon Session by Stephen Livings”

  1. Matthew 10:34-38 is perhaps the most accurate prophetic passage in the NT, especially where Mormonism is concerned.
    Here we see the Jesus of the gospels in his true colours, here we see the God/man who cursed the fig tree (Mark 11:12-25), told his men not to cast his pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6), violently drove the money changers out of the temple (Matthew 21:12 ), compared Greek gentiles to dogs (Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28) and if he was God incarnate, appears the Jealous God of the Old Testament.
    Mormonism especially and denominational Christianity as a whole, destroys families by imparting contention, divisiveness and an unjust sense of superior piety and self righteousness.
    The result is shunning, judging and the death of love, and this is what Jesus in Matthew 10:34-38 declares that is inevitable.

    Any church or preacher who tells me my son and my daughter, my wife and grandchildren should be less important to me than their God is welcome to keep him, her or it, for I want no part of such a egocentric, attention seeking, being.
    For if loving my family makes me unworthy of him, then I am unworthy, but I am worth more in my own eyes and the eyes of those I love for it.

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    1. jesus was explaining what happens when you discover the real truth of the oracles of god…they did not understand then…many still do not///strait is the gate and few there be that find it

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      1. If you are after a discussion I am going to need a little more than this to understand your argument against what I have said. If you are just here to merely tell the anti-mormons they are wrong without bringing any substance to your arguments then erm……you are doing just fine.

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  2. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? john10/11..Satan wasnt lying about that..he was lying about dying…I think the church correctly conducted itself as “jesus christ only true church”…Whatmore Christ is well pleased ….why do you set the template of the bible as the truth..the moretruth is theBOM..that if studied diligently believing led by the holy ghost you will understand the bible///but you do not understand the bible..Christ was not talking about families in the way of forever when he introduced the enemies within the household talk..when one is on the righteous path sometimes your biggest enemies are the ones closest to you!! AS far as being born again we are talking about an ordinance before it happens -This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

    7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

    8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one (john) If you want I will explain this !!!!GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL QUEST

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    1. Dear Guslamma
      Why do you feel it is necessary to express yourself in pigeon sixteenth century English? I understand that some may feel parody “bible” English may add a connotation of authority, but in truth you are doing yourself no favours and are simply making yourself hard to comprehend. Perhaps you might like to rephrase your explanations in contemporary language in order to facilitate productive discussion?

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  3. Hi Henry. Thanks for your response. I can see how, in the wrong hands, the verses in Matthew 10:34-38 could come across as harsh or unnatural. All I can do is give my view of those verses, which is that God is the supreme being in existence and therefore should be placed highest and indeed is highest in reality. Of course, as a human being, a father and a husband, the playing out of my understanding of those verses probably leaves a little to be desired, but since I believe in God, I accept that God is more worthy of adoration, love, worship, etc. even though the emotional understanding of that is difficult to grasp. I believe that God has blessed me with a wife and children, so I can see how that ‘hierarchy’, if that is the right word, plays out. I hope this makes some sense. Your comments came across to me as quite personal to you and I have tried to respond in kind.
    Thanks,
    Steve

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    1. Thank you for your response Steven but perhaps you can clarify a few things .
      It is my understanding from Bobby in my past conversations with him that the Bible is the ultimate authority on theological matters, is the word of God and is the Gospel for the whole world so what exactly are the “wrong hands”?
      Is the Bible to be taken literally by all or not.
      Matthew 10:34-38 is harsh and unnatural and I feel your basis for excusing it is smacks of simple ontology.
      If I may explain.
      On what do you base your identification of God as the supreme being the highest in existence worthy of adoration, love, worship?
      My love of another person is based on one thing alone Respect and that respect is earned through three things the person’s proven trustworthiness, our mutual tolerance and our innate honesty with one another.

      How can I respect someone, supreme being or not, who asks me to hate those I love in favour of him, her, it?
      Many would point to the fact that Jesus was referencing the trail of Abraham
      I’ll say outright that the God who blessed Abraham with a sons in his old age and then asked him to sacrifice both them to him to show his ‘loyalty’ was not worthy of adoration, love, worship doubly so when at the last moment, after days of mental torture he suddenly says “Hey no, I didn’t really mean it, I was just testing you.” (In the Tora and the Koran God pulls the same trick twice and Ishmael goes through the same trial, as Isaac)
      Wanton cruelty is NOT an act worthy of adoration, love and worship.
      Would you love God if he asked such a thing of you? Would you continue to feel he was the highest in reality, or would you step back and think, perhaps this being is not what he says he is? Perhaps my faith in his truth is based only on his claims to be telling the truth, while his actions belie those claims.
      I hope this is food for thought.
      Henry

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  4. Stephen,
    To your numbered points (I like the format – thanks):
    7) You may not be aware, but the speakers of General Conference are NOT assigned topics. They are directed to pray for divine guidance about the messages that church members worldwide need to hear. As President Monson has described, they “have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. They have been impressed concerning that which they will share with us.”
    Elder Cook’s comments are focused on one important topic within the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not designed to cover the totality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were other speakers who covered some of the topics you criticized Elder Cook for leaving out. Here’s the complete line-up of talks offered during conference. Also, if you have a chance, attend a Sacrament meeting in your area on Easter Sunday and they will most likely have speakers assigned topics most directly related to Easter.

    1) There is NO Conflict between Alma 43-32-35 and Elder Cook’s statement. They are complimentary statements

    2) I’m with Henry Lyons on this one. I believe you have deeply misunderstood the message of Matthew 10:34-38. Take a look at these scriptures with regards to the importance of families to God:
    Genesis 1: 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:

    Psalms 127: 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
    Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
    Matthew 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: “for of such is the kingdom of heaven””.
    All of these support Elder Cook’s statement, ““Our Father’s plan is about families.”

    3) Paul and the other apostles of Jesus Christ all prophesied after John the Baptist. Do you disregard them?

    4) The why did Jesus get baptized – he being perfect? Matthew 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us “to fulfil all righteousness”. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a ddove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Acts 2: 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the “promise” is unto you, and to your “children”, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying,”Save” yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly “received” his “word” were “baptized”.

    5) and 6) Malachi 3: 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

    a) “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” is referring to the 2nd Coming.

    b) “turn the heart of the fathers to the children” and vice versa through the sending of Elijah the prophet refers to the priesthood authority given in the latter days made available through Christ to seal families into eternal units as the primary organizational unit of the kingdom of God and seal one family generation to another, eventually all the way back to Adam and Eve … “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledgeof the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”
    Christ came to unite the entire human family, family to family, generation to generation into eternal life for those willing.

    c) In teaching of the faith demonstrated by those no longer living who did not live to know Christ or His baptism, but otherwise lived by faith, Paul teaches in Hebrews 11:39 “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the “promise”: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
    d) Also, when Paul teaches of the reality of the resurrection of the dead, he uses the example of the then existing practice of “baptism for the dead” to demonstrate the reality of the resurrection through this rhetorical question, “1 Corinthians 15: 29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

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