The Seventh Svithe Svithtacular!


We left Lady Steed's parents yesterday around one and wended our way to Tehachapi, where we are spending General Conference weekend--or at least General Conference Saturday--I'm writing this during one of the seventeen opening songs of the first session and we haven't made that decision yet. After this song ends, Bishop Burton will be speaking. Bishop Burton is an engaging speaker (and he certainly has a treasure trove of sports metaphors) which means that two times out of three they stick him in Priesthood Session and he speaks to the young men. Not today.

My attention is already shown to be lagging. Elder Hales is speaking first.

I wonder what it is like to speak using a teleprompter. Elder Hales just substituted "God" for "man" in a scripture he was quoting. Did he notice but didn't have time to go back as the relentless progress of the teleprompter pulled him forward? Don't know. There's a metaphor here somewhere.

I think the way this svithe will turn out is as a series of small, barely connected thoughts. You should feel free to skim if that seems appropriate. This'll probably be longish.

On the ability to act: Elder Hales suggests that we can surrender our ability to act, that we can feel powerless and lost and controlled. And he suggests ways we can maintain our power. They all involve giving up our ability to act to God. This seems, to the natural man, to be no different than losing it to darkness. But not so. Righteousness is horribly suceptible to entropy. Choosing to do right is a constant choice. Choosing to do wrong is like climbing inside a tractor tire and rolling down a hill. Going uphill is always a choice. Going downhill can cease being a choice very quickly indeed.

Now, Bishop Burton.

The Presiding Bishop's responsibilities include stewardship over the welfare and other temporal-salvation issues. Bishop Burton has thanked the membership for sharing means and time following the natural disasters of the preceding year.

I love it when we're called things like "The Jesus Church."

"A period of civil unrest in Sudan" = understatement.

Looking at scenes of the hurricanes again makes me certain I don't want to take any jobs in Tallahasee....

You know, hurricane seasons like last year's must really flood the firewood market. People who make their living that way must really be hurting. I wonder if they're receiving federal assitance--subsidies or something?

Although, of course, disaster assistance is important, I think things like new wells and measles vacccines and the PEF are even more important. Because the present is vital, of course, but the future so much more so--for the present is but one; the future is infinite presents continuous.

Sister Julie B Beck

As I understand the Doctrine & Covenants, "member" is an office in the priesthood.

To each is given a spiritual gift; are we living to know and to recognize and to use our gifts?

We are all the same in that our personal progress is wholly beholden to our own desires and actions. Where we are is where we have brought ourselves. Sometimes some paths have more fallen trees and tiger pits, but that is where God stands by, waiting to help.

The issue of death's timing is an interesting one. Is everyone's death come at a time of mortal fulfillment, whether age twelve or age seventy-five? And if not, what is the mechanism of equalization? Don't know. Glad I don't run this show.

The Big O has just been granted peanut butter from on high. He is very exciting, marching and clapping and hoorah, hoorah. There's a metaphor here somewhere.

Elder Eyring looks like Mary Tyler Moore's boss, yes, but is one of the great wordsmiths and speakers in current Mormondom.

One of my favorite of the stories he has told in Conference since becoming an Apostle is of his father, the renowned scientist. His father was speaking in a scientific conference, after which young Henry said to his father, marvelling, "You just bore your testimony to all those people!"
-->"Did I? Really?"
-->That's what I want for myself--a testimony so engrained and so natural a part of me that I don't realize that I never walk four steps without bearing testimony of the goodness of God--and never realize that I have done so.

Elder Eyring is speaking of that magic moment where a mortal can genuinely set aside personal desires and is willing to accept God's will. I am sure some people live in that place daily, even hourly. Jealous.

"The still small voice is poetic, but it is not poetry" (molaq). Hmmm. I must think on what he means.

It is not so, he says, that the standards are too high or too difficult for anyone.

I thought that by taking notes this way with the intent to svithe them would focus me a bit more, but in fact, it seems to be distracting me in new ways. Superior ways I hope....

Presenting President Monson!

I wonder how the fishermen feel about representing the devil....

President Monson very often uses the same technique in his speeches and articles. Essentially he makes a list--often based on a metaphor--and then elaborates on each item in the list.

This time the metaphor is the makafeikei (sp?)--a lure used to catch octopi--and the first two entries on the makafeikei list are immorality and pornography.

Another favorite of President Monson's is Alexander Pope's clever statement on vice, that it is a monstor repulsive which, too oft viewed, becomes pities, then embraced. Shoot. I wich I could quote it. I would be able to if you'ld be quiet for a moment, Tommy! Hhhhh.

The makafeikei of drugs comes next. As a teenager I was never offered a single smoke, sip or snort of anything. Made it easy to resist peer pressure, I suppose....

The makafeikei of excessive debt. Hmmm. Sounds like it's time for a churchwide Month of Abject Poverty....

I recently read that last year Americans saved a negative percentage of their income last year. Terrific. How long can it be till our economy crashes down on our heads if we are so incredibly fiscally weak individually?

"One cannot spend more than he earns and remain solvent."

The D&C tells us to remove the debt and release ourselves from bondage.

Curse you, Nelnet!

There are, President Monson says, many more makafeikeis.

Here are a few that come to my mind:
-->Time-share prostitutes
-->Horse racing
-->Handling habaneras without rubber gloves
-->Pride in giving
-->Pride in not giving
-->Intellectual overconfidence
-->Infrequently visiting Thmusings

No one ever talks about the poor lions who were denied a meal of fresh Hebrew. Sure, they got a bigger meal the next day, but still--that was same old same old.

I didn't know Walker was a German name.

Now, if I was paid to do this, I would have to go through this mess of notes and sculpt them into something more readable. Since I'm not paid however, you get this mess essentially as it escapes from my fingers. You may now picture me either gloating or apologetic--whichever you prefer.

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We're coming into the seventeenth song now, after which we will be getting sustainings and Church stats.

The choir--I didn't catch where they're from, but everyone tells me it's a BYU choir--is well stocked with beautiful people. My sister asked if I know anyonel; I said no. I said I graduated a full bachelor's degree ago--in 2002. 2. 0. 0. 2. Sheesh. I could have, like, another degree by now. Well that's an uplifting thought....

I worry about what this laptop is doing to my reproductive capabilities....

What would they do if someone roused rabble during the sustainings portion of this meeting?

A new guy is reporting on the disposition of tithes this year. When will they get someone to report on the disposition of svithes? I'll do it: "They're cheerful." There. Done.

I think there was an alteration in the wording of this. I'll have to check that out when the Conference Report comes in the mail.

Stats: Good, healthy. Phew.

Elder Packer.

The harlot Isabel must've been something. It wasn't just "a harlot" Corianton went to, but it was the harlot Isabel--she must've been the Eccentrica Gallumbits (the triple breasted whore of Eroticon 6) of her day.

Interesting phrase here--Alma was not struck down by an angel because he deserved it. It seems to me that most people would see someone as wicked as Alma as deserving whatever sort of striking that was handy. But, in fact, that striking proved to be a huge blessing in his life--a blessing he had done nothing to deserve. But his righteous father prayed for a gift of God, and for his father, it was received.

(Sorry--the Big O has been eating family photographs and I missed much of this.)

(And now I made him cry.)

Um, amen.

Young Elder Bednar, who is between my parents in age, but who looks, oh, fifteen years younger than one might expect.

A diet of chocolate-covered raisins and oniony potato chips does not seem to be the best way to support lengthy religious instruction....

I've never thought to baptize a bag of sand before.... I thought that was taken care of in the deluge.

Point: Engaging in Spirit-unfriendly activities, in a purposeful and regular manner, does not lend itself to a Spirit-friendly life.

Aligning ourselves with righteousness (that phrase from Bednar, from hereout, however, I'm making this stuff up) puts us in line with the Spirit's frequency--like harmony--we travel together. Great scott, I'm a physicist....

I do love me my ellipses....

(Count the dots.)

Immodest, coarse, crude, sinful, evil. Oh dear.

Unlike our mortal loved ones, the Godhead behaves in completely predictable ways--or at least, the closeness of our relationship with them is completely predictable, even if their precise behaviour may not be. If we behave according to the dictates received, we can be assured of a certain amount of relationship health. We are good, the Holy Ghost hangs at our elbow. We are not, he is not. Simple.

Now to bring it into practice.

My laptop keeps blowing the breaker that it's plugged into. It's very annoying.

I had to go to a dictionary to see what a "joyous lay" might be. A short lyrical or narrative poem. Know your hymns!


It's good advice, to forget yourself and go to work. Self-centeredness never was happiness. Losing myself and "bending [my] efforts to help people" will do more for my happiness than any amount of moping for joy. Moping for joy. What a laugh!

I had a flying dream last night. But instead of simply flying, I had a wing that made it more like hanggliding. In my dream I thought, this is a plan that could be implemented in the waking world. What do you want to bet Lady Steed won't let me hangglide though? She and her insidious concern for my safety....

Wolfgang H Paul

There is a dichotomy in Mormon doctrine in which it is impossible to act unless we are being acted upon by opposing forces, and when we choose and action, we are necessarily aligning ourselves with one force or the other. Making such an alignment makes us more greatly beholden to that force's opinions and designs and ways--and more likely to make further choices that will strengthen that allegiance.

Thus, when bumperstickerboy claims he is doing things his way, he is not mistaken, but it is not his way alone--it is his and someone else's. But whose? Ah, whose. There is the question. There is the question that matters. Whose way is also my way? And am I satisfied with that allegiance?

A good point here--what seems hard from the vantage of the journey's beginning, may well be hard--or not--who can say? But at journey's end, the important thing will not be the ease of difficulty of the journey, but where we are.

Elder Nelson, MD

Poor Elder Nelson, sitting in front of both PDA and a GameBoy. Wow. That's the worst.

On family, love, eternity.

On the battles against such.

"Marriages would be happier with greater nurturing" (molaq). So my dad goes in for a kiss and gets knocked in return. Sheesh. I know better than that!

Usually when I hear about they twain being one flesh, I, being randy, think of sex. But obviously, the truer meaning of that scriptural phrase references children which are

(Mom + Dad) / 2 = One Flesh.

Thus, if this "one flesh" is the sole purpose and meaning for and behind marriage, then, it would seem, without reproduction, marriage is incomplete (if not meaningless and purposeless). Naturally, such a statement raises many more questions than it answers, but I need to catch up with Elder Nelson, so I'll leave that to you. Besides, when we, like Marty, can think four-dimensionally, those questions tend to answer themselves anyway.

The priesthood's first duty is to nourish the priesthood's own marriage.

(This all may mean that my worrying about the laptop's effects upon my lap may be gravely warranted.)

Complimenting is, I agree, an important part of marraige. And this idea of the spouse trying to live up to the compliments gives me an idea....

Lady Steed, you are the most accomplished Speaker for the House this country has ever seen. Now, send me some graft, sweetheart.

Each day together is a treasured gift indeed. I hope I am sufficiently treasuring them now. How much better now than after they have all ended.

I fear the death of Lady Steed more than any other horror offered in this world or any other. And thus I must treasure the days now. The days, the nights, the mornings, all.

I love me my Lady Steed.

Elder L Tom Perry, Apostle

The sacrament is an ordinance so frequent as to become common in the minds of the partakers. But to view it as common is inappropriate. How can we cease to be distracted during an ordinance meant to cast from us our daily distractions, to bring us back to the alter of God weekly? Consider. (Note: Suggestions to change the ordinance's frequency will not be considered valid answers.)

The sacrament is a weekly, easily available opportunity to align ourselves with God. We set aside the world, says Elder Perry, and thus find ourselves alone in the presence of God. This is a good plan; this is a great opportunity. This is something to make us excited and to make us look forward and, ultimately, to make us better human beings. What an incredible opportunity, to visit the house of prayer.

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(Prologue: The nature of notes in this section will be different because I will be expected to read them back to the womenfolk later in exchange for cinnamon rolls--which is a much better deal than birthright for pottage.)

If I were speaking in General Conference today, I suppose it would have to begin something like this:

"Today, in many parts of the world, is a holiday of sorts. Here in America we call is April Fools' Day and it is difficult to explain to you the enormity of the temptation to begin my talk this evening with some preposterous lie, made valid by the solemnity of the forum in which it is being told. Folks, if I can withstand this temptation, then you had darn well better lay off the crack!"

Now, thanks to my sloth, Father and I are late. Elder Uchtdorf is speaking. I assume he was first. At any rate, I am in time to learn that lousy bicycles may lead to healthy adulthoods.

What pamphlet is he talking about?

For the Strength of Youth?

"The temple is the binding link between this and...and....." Shoot.

Temples of God: Temporal bodies

I can tell I took notes in school on paper and not with a laptop. I can't really type and listen at the same time. This is challenging.

I keep catching the promises, but not the qualifying factors.

And that matters, because, as Elder Uchtdorf just quoted, whenever we receive a blessing it is by obedience to the law on which that blessing is predicated.

Which is a vital doctrine.

I like the word vital.

Our application of standards says much of

Dang it!

Of what?!?!

I need a notebook....

No, not that kind of notebook. I have that kind of notebook. That's the source of my troubles!


Our priorities will (should) change to match the Saviour's. I can get behind that.

In fact, that seems to be the theme I am uncovering in this Conference.

King Benjamin taught that converted parents teach their children to love one another and to serve one another. How? By example, obviously. How else can such a lesson be taught?

Elder Ronald Rasband on temples.

I often wonder how President Hinckley feels about people thanking him for his "inspired leadership." If it is inspired, isn't it strange to thank him alone? Not that it isn't appropriate, but doesn't it make more sense to thank God for President Hinckley's inspired leadership.

Sorry. Semantics.

Anyway, we're back to King Benjamin again. He's certainly popular today!

Why didn't many of the children of those who were so moved by King Benji's words ever become converted to them themselves?

I smell like cheap chocolate and it's weird. I borrowed my sister's body wash and now I smell like chocolate. I keep catching whiffs. It's strange.

My hair must smell like berries. Unless the conditioner won out against the shampoo. Then it'll smell like bananas.

I'm an ice cream sundae.

Seamen know, ALL HANDS ON DECK.

Their response decides who wins, who loses.

And thus, for the children of today, we must respond.

"Latter-day Saint young person" v. "young Latter-day Saint"

"What a thrill" for teenagers to speak at the Preston MTC? Mmm, maybe. At least it wasn't the thousands at the Provo MTC.

This is good. He is pointing out that for all the good times spent at football games and movie shows, times spent at the temple would have been so much better. Not that the former should be eksed out, but that the latter must also be included. Mark that in my mind, that I may remember.

So...is this the longest Thmusing yet yet?

(That wasn't a typo.)

The rising generation, worst our best efforts? I would say yes.

Elder Richard G. Hinckley looks like his dad.

Starts off with a good joke, also like his dad.

Chocolate chocolate everywhere, and nary an ounce to eat....

"Surprisingly"? or "Impressively"?


He suggests a small notebook to that theme, which can be added to as thoughts occur.

He just made a comment which could very well end up in a book offer.

"The world is permeated with the smell of chocolate." (molaq, Oliver Wendell Holmes)

President Faust who, like, say, Elder Hales or Elder Haight, has a curious name for a man of God, speaks next.

I didn't know this, but Peter called the Aaronic Priesthood the Royal Priesthood. Interesting. But I don't dare expound since I'm having a hard time keeping up.

On angels: Given the doctrine, I expect angels are much more a part of our lives than I tend to think. What do they do? How do they do it? Do they know when to avert their eyes?

What is a "standing minister"?

Elder LeGrand Richards used to say, "I am just a grown-up deacon." I like that. There are not multiple priesthood. There is only one priesthood. The partioning is only significant inasmuch as partioning provides order.

I agree wholeheartedly that flirting with addictive behaviors is madly foolish. And all addictions are, in the end, behaviors. All of them. And you never know which one will require but Just One Time....

Giving into peer pressure is a selfish reason to do something.

Worthiness for the authority to act in the name of God.... It's a lot to ask for. It's a lot to work for....

President Monson sets off with a story that's always a crowd pleaser. President Monson and his son bump into the then prophet, Harold B. Lee. Son is nearly twelve. Lee asks what'll happen at twelve. Monson prays. The crowd laughs. Works everytime. It is a good story.

An amazing thing about President Monson's stories however, is how few are ever repeated. The man has lived more stories than I could make up. And I can make up lots of stories. To the point where my chocolatey sister doesn't believe a thing I say.

Query: Why is your church so wealthy?

Monson: We're not wealthy--we just do that tithing thing. Also: no paid ministry.

Do you smell that? It smells like chocolate.... Maybe it's just me?

Query: What specific belief sets you Mormons apart?

David O McKay: Divine authority by direct revelation.

Great example: The First Vision.

We don't have many of John the Baptist's words, but the few we have suggests a humble man, a direct man. Good attributes. A couple I lack, in fact....

Assumption of authority Joseph F Smith said, ala President Monson) is an interesting thing. To a Mormon (or any of the orthodox Christian religions, I suppose), the idea of just saying one is called and then deciding to be a minister is absurd. Priesthood is from God. And it's a big deal. It doesn't just float about randomly, lighting upon random people. Anyway, I'm getting behind again.

Query: Have you ever had an angel minister to you?

Young Monson: ...? I'm not sure....

I need to spend more time lost in the word of God.... And asking When? is such a ludicrous copout.

He is whipping out some great stories. Ones I've never heard before, of course.

The worth of a soul is its capacity to become as God.

A solemn reply....

I'm sitting next to a young deacon and alas, he is not getting the jokes. And they are many and fine. What a shame.

Of course, I'm not getting them to you either. Darn me.

Joseph Smith is said to have defined calling magnification is to.... Man. And that was important too.

The problem is not that I am a slower typer than writer, but that there is no shorthand in typing. Not for me. Not since giving up telephone work (and good riddance).

Do not doubt, but be believing.

Believe. Believe. Believe.

The priesthood is not so much a gift, but a commission to serve and to help, a chance to lift others. A commission, a calling, a demand, a responsibility.

But still a blessing. For all the above means an opportunity to focus feeble spirituality and turn it into something of greater power and worth and usefulness.

"The hungry sheep do look up, ready to be fed the bread of life."

My grace is sufficient that if men bring unto me their weaknesses, I will make them strong.

That's the way Christ works.

Counseled to listen closely to the prophet. Good advice, of course.

And President Hinckley gives compliments to the introducer.

As a man ages, he says, a man becomes gentler. Less understanding of ugliness.

No disciple of Christ, to state the obvious that unfortunately must apparently be stated, is a racist pig. Who needs to be told this? Incredible.... (And not in a good way.)

Families have claim on their fathers for their sustenance. Yes. Which is why I'm apt to stop switching careers with such frequency. Hooray for me, etc.

At the risk of insulting anyone, there is some truth in the ugly Utah Mormon stereotypes I once heralded. I have rejected them now, but this story he is telling warns us of the ugly and cruel complacency that can come with majority status.

Watch yourselves and your words and your deeds, my Utah friends. Especially when young and careless and, let's face it, idiotic.

President Hinckley seems very healthy and well. As has been the case for years now, the rumor is always that he'll be dead before six more months pass. We heard a stake president last money express that thought last week, with the opinion of an emeritus Seventy as collaboration. Of course, ninetysomethings are always at the edge of the beyond. But let's stop predicting a demise we do not desire. How crazy a hobby is that?

The last twenty-four hours I've been coughing up bile like I saw it on MTv. I wish I would stop.

These were pritty cruddy notes.

I need some chocolate....

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We're on the seventeenth song and Lady Steed just finished her game of Spider Solitaire so I've got my machine and oh! here comes the first speaker!

The return of President Faust:

The LDS religion is, yes, similar to other Christian churches BUT there are important differences. He is quoting DHOaks who says these differences explain our sending missionaries to other Christians, building temples as well as churches, and general cheerfulness.

Oops. He said "Dark Ages." I can think of some people who are now standing to go to the bathroom.

I don't think I've ever heard of this Ludlow (sp?) guy before....

Last night Lady Steed and I watched a blasphemous teen comedy and one point of satire was the frequent Christian opinion that those poor jungle heathens are damned to hell. Forever. The inconguity between this supposition and a loving God is obvious to anyone willing to think, but Christianity as a whole has had a difficult time finding a way to let the unsaved heathens into heaven without removing such barriers as faith from from the pathway.

Great. We just lost sound.

Anyway, I'll go on so long as I can't hear anything anyway.

One of the philisophical difficulties "Mormonism" has removed from the trappings of traditional Christianity is this unjust damnation of Socrates and Jimbo the Jungle King. By building temples to redeem the dead with ordinances, and by teaching that there is a time between death and judgement in which the unlearned may be taught, that unjust damnation goes up like morning fog. All have equal opportunity.

Now, to Elder Holland and a return to sound.

I can hear!

I am always amazed to hear of John and Phillip and Peter and all those original disciples, how, in a time closeminded enough to kill God, they were open and heard and felt and knew and could leave all to follow Him. I'm impressed by their listening hearts and their faith.

Alma taught that just a leetle beet of faith is enough to start with. Let that be a lesson to us.

"Gender identity" would seem to be the new phrasing for discussing homosexuality-related whatsits.

The Atonement lifts us not just from sin, but also from disappointment and grief and sadness and pain and loneliness.

Given all Christ has been through for us, Elder Holland is surely right--he will not turn his back on us now.

Be not afraid.

Only believe.

Ah, doubt. That simple, shy enemy. That friendly companion, that good listener, that destroyer of faith, that sinker of hopes, that small-smiling fiend who looks so much like a foul-weather friend....

Strangely, it has never occurred to me to use Jesus's carpentry skills as a metaphor. How obvious it is, however.

Repair me....

Next, Elder Tingey. Why not speak of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Curiosity: Conference Saturday usually feels like a Sunday. Conference Sunday usually feels like a Saturday.

Five truths:

1. A knowledge of the plan confirms the existence of God and Son.

So...do you think I'll catch them all?

2. Did I miss this one? Was it something about sin and repentence? In the future, I really shouldn't do this. I haven't been more connected to the talks, as I expected, but less connected. For shame.

3. Through the infinite Atonement, method has been provided to make us clean via the eternal law of mercy (without which we are fully beholden to the law of justice.

I gotta go help the O.

4. I heard as I was leaving. Had something to do with the Fall.

5. Now he's talking about...Resurrection? I'll guess that is number five.

NO! 5. Jesus christ was born of an earthly mother from whom he inherited mortality.

Speaking of, gotta go----Dumbo's head's falling off and he's bleeding everywhere.....

Well, we got his guts back in. We'll sew his head back on between sessions.

Dumbo is a little pink elephant the Big O attached himself to at the Home of the Brass Clan. It was Lady Steed's when she was young--was actually a baby shower gift before she was born.

"Dumbo" is the first movie that the Big O learned to identify by name, and not just because of the train. He gets so emotionally involved in that movie. I think he really identifies with Dumbo. Them being the same age and everything.

Anyway, he loves the little pink version and has him all the time now, as of less than a week ago.

Hiatin. Sister Pingree.

Putting away childish things.

Like Dumbo, who is now being wept over as he sits on a high shelf awaiting surgery....

I like this phrase, "to grow up unto the Lord."

Elder Dallin H Oaks.

The Book of Mormon teaches "over and over" that the gospel of Jesus Christ is universal, for everyOne who ever Lived everyWhere.

And now he rolls out the quotes. Which is good of course, but few things about the Book of Mormon are more obvious than its Christcentric message and its generosity in spreading the love to all humanity.

The Big O's pain has been headed. Lady Steed is now reattaching the head. O leaned over and kissed Dumbo as he was going under the needle.

"Bond and free"

I usually think of this as referring to slave and not, but Mr Oaks makes some good points--obviously "bond and free" has multitudinous metaphorical possibilities.

Which reminds me of a running gag I set up then forgot about....

The promises of the Lord are to every kindred tongue and people.

Examples from Russia, Nigeria, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia (I knew this one was coming--that's where I would like to be 19 right now).

Missionary work is so exciting, isn't it?

Y'know, Jesus was a missionary....

We are variously commanded to write the words given us by God. Now, I am not a prophet or any sort of official mouthpiece, but if I do not, somewhere, write the words I receive, am I committing sin?

Missed something on the Dead Sea Scrolls....

The Book of Mormon's purpose: to convince all that Jesus is the Christ.

President Hinckley takes the stand.

I love reminiscences. Go right ahead.

Ninety-five before being hospitalized? Wow....

He's given over 200 General Conference talks...? Is that a record?

The point I think he's driving at is that the respect he's received was as proxy for the Church itself.

I wish I was "extremely deliberate."

It's true that when death comes, life forgets nearly all. And how sad it is. Would that we all would remember all. So many, to so few....

But God remembers.

But I would like to as well.

And the ego wants to be remembered.


Only "hundreds of thousands"?

Probably one benefit of reading the Book of Mormon last year, was having BofMs on the person, in use; causing conversations and gift-givings.

I've always looked up to this man, since about the beginning of consciousness.

There. He said he's planning on being here in October. Silly emeritus Seventy....

Of course, ala Pollyanna, God comes unexpectedly.

That's actually my favorite part of that movie.

In fact, it may be the only part I like....


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One problem with taking notes by typing is the linearity of type. It proceeds forward, endlessly forward, and while yes you can insert text somewhere else, it is still within that endless continuum. On paper, you can keep various thoughts on various pages, you can make divisions that separate differingly purposed thoughts. For instance, I will often divide a page in columns, one side for what's happening, one side for my own thoughts.

Margins for doodles.

Back of the page for breaking news on a lately begun novel project....

Anyway, our first speaker this afternoon is....

Elder Ballard! Complete with new knees! And grateful to stand!

Joseph Smith, you may know, is Elder Ballard's uncle.

Do we recognize the size of the blessing the gospel may be in our lives. Or, for that matter, is regardless?

Was it Elder Ballard who once gave the parable of the orange juice?

I do believe that today's missionaries are, as a whole, a better group of ministers than missionaries were when I was one.


Okay, where is the real Elder Ballard and what have you done with him?!?!

Christ invited into his home. That's twice this story has been quoted today--and it's a story that never seeped past my eyes before. And Elder Ballard's interpretation is obviously the one meant for me today.

"Gospel-sharing homes"

Selfless prayer

Another thing bad about typing is that it requires two hands for efficiency. Which makes hard choices in the hand-holding department....

"The gospel-sharing home is not a program; it is a way of life."

He's right in that if our religion is a recognized and indivorcable part of who we are, that it comes up frequently and inoffensively. What I'm not sure is why that recognition happens simply some places and never in others. Curious.

Willingness to act

The exercise of faith

"I simply share my joy"

Huh. It never occurs to me to mention church when someone asks about my weekend. Curious.

Also, sharing a well written comedic novel...were it in print....

"Come and see"

Elder Richard G Scott

I love Elder Scott. He has such sincerity and severity. His laser gaze is like disenfectant for the soul. The kind that stings. Real bad.

These days though, he is trying to be more personable. Which is a shame in my opinion. But I already told you that my favorite part of Pollyanna is the only part the filmmakers didn't want you to like. But a little fire and brimstone's good for you, in my opinion.


The difference between "if" and "when" in speaking to children is important in teaching principles and goals of all stripes. "If you become an axe murderer." "When you become an axe murderer." You see the difference this can make I'm sure.

Our choices between "if" and "when"--each choice--instructs our children. But it does not make their decisions for them. They will still make their own decisions. Use "when" not just for missions, but high school graduation, attending college, curing cancer, etc. If everything is "if", surely the kid will never feel werf* can do anything, should do anything--or least not that his parents give a hoot.

(*This is a joke. I consider this gender-neutral pronoun to be about the silliest thing since toast.)

Nothing like a girl to get a body in line....

Let's hear it for girls!

Speaking of girls, let me give a plug for sister missionaries. Sister missionaries are great. Even when they have a birthday everytime they transfer. Gotta love em. Did. Do.

Elder David R Stone

On...the scottish play....

Great scott! Is he promoting witchcraft! The Bible Belt'll have a field day with this!

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

You know, my wife is Scottish.

And the Big O can kill MacBeth.

Babble on. (That's a joke.)

Good point--we cannot realize how much we are a product of our place and times. I feel this frequently. Naturally, I feel my take on morality is superior to the pasts', yet what proof do I have that this is so?

I suppose I haven't been burned up by fire from heaven. Good point.

So I am superior. Glad that's settles.


10 < 50

I like hamburgers, for instance. And Frou Frou.


A chosen generation...a royal priesthood....

I like being peculiar. It's one of the best perks.

Hmmm. The inner walls of the Manhattan Temple are connected to the outer walls at very few points, thus minimizing the passageways available for noise. Interesting. And what a fantastic opportunity for metaphor!

We rarely recognize the idol strings controlling us and pulling us along. Too true. And yes, the world is too much with us.

He says "mores" funny.

Heh heh. People with accents.

Says the guy with a really really thick American accent. I mean, it is really thick. And within my ideolect it gets even worse....

This is a good talk for me. I'll definately need to go over this one again with care.

Hey. His mouth and his words aren't lined up. Well. That's what he gets for raising a witch, I suppose....

Zion v Bablyon.

The most epic battle since Shaolin Soccer v Team Evil.

Ooooooh, Team Evil....



and now, the choir

Elder Robert S Wood has a friend on a national political program who is encouraged to speak before thinking. THIS IS WHAT'S WRONG WITH MODERN DEBATE!!!! WHEN WILL IT ALL END?!?!

(Enter your snide comment here.)

"The first casualties of human wrath are truth and understanding."

I would love to hear some thoughtful and intelligent debate this coming political season. But the oddsmakers aren't even touching it. It would be like betting on the moon taking a vacation....


Do we seek understanding? common ground?

We can't say someone's wrong until we actually know their position, not really.

...because they know not where to find it.

On the other hand, there is no one whom we, I, cannot learn from.

Same principle.

We do not tear down, argue, or destroy, but we build and share and create. So there.

Sheesh, I'm a frivolous person.

"We have been molded as a people to be instruments of the Lord's peace"

Offense, whether given or taken, is a bad idea. /kapi..../ Shoot. Don't have the character.

Is this it? /ลก/ It's been too long....

Elder H Bruce Stucki

Brucie! You'll put yer eyes out!

What man, having three arrows, and he lose one....

(NZ surgery)

That was an exciting story!

Life is so fragile.... Which of us won't be here tomorrow?

Elder Wirthlin

"Snowman"--sounds like the next horse movie, to me.

How will you find your hidden talent?

Sorry. I've been flopping from sleepy to close attention. Notes have suffered both ways.

I seem to be a silly whatmay. But how does the Lord see me?


In Conclusion...:

President Hinckley


Now we return to the world and what good will this all do us? It better do some. If not? Whose fault is that?

Thank you, President Hinckley.

Will that be titled "Benediction" do you think?

* * * * *


* * * * *

So here we are, at the end of this marathon svithe. If you actually read it, let me know. You deserve cookies.

I don't suppose I will do this again in October. But I did it this time and although the quality of my attention may have been slightly lesser, I didn't sleep through anything. That's good.

I always love Conference weekend. Ten hours of church--what could be better?

Anyway, at the end of the day, God has spoke; have we listened?

Have we listened.

Have I listened....


(Next week's svithe will be shorter. I swear.)

Last week's svithe


  1. Almost read all of it.

    I attended Sat aft. and Sun morn.

    Sat morn, as I snuggled under the blankets at the hotel we were staying at, I had dreams about an octopus attacking my nose (of all things). I think it's because of the makafekei.. .makafeikei.. maka... you know what I mean.

    Yes. I fell asleep during parts of conference. YOU try staying awake through a migraine.

    And um... yeah. Pretty much the longest blog post I have ever seen. One of these days I might compete for that position, but for now I will let you revel in your glory.

  2. PS. Ludlow. Can you attatch a first name to that?

    (or did I just imagine that you had it in here somewhere...)

  3. Thank you, good sir. Read every word. And I'd only listened to a third of Saturday morning and afternoon ('cause there was no room anywhere on Temple Square after we missed the standby cutoff by twenty people, grumble) and missed Priesthood entirely, so I appreciated the review enormously. This was the first year that I honestly admitted to myself that I wasn't going to watch the stuff I missed over again when they got the archives up, but it was a pleasure reading your accounting.

    Victor Ludlow was my Isaiah teacher. Daniel's his most famous son, I believe.

    Yeah, I totally agreed re "hundreds of thousands." Also "poetic but not poetry."

    Elder Eyring's dad is the coolest guy ever. I wrote one of my BYU application essays on him.

    I suspect that they told President Faust and Elder Holland that non-members would be watching them more than any other speakers and that they should adjust their talks accordingly.

    I loved Elder Wood's talk. Didn't feel like a Conference address to me, though.

  4. Read it. Loved it. Passed on phrases here and there to others who felt it was "too long."

    And Daniel is the dad and Victor is the son, I believe. Victor taught my Isaiah class. From the book he wrote. I always hated when professors did that.

    I hope Dumbo is feeling better. Poor Big O.

  5. Yeah. I had Victor Ludlow. Nice guy an' all that, but sort of... dull.

  6. I read it and enjoyed it very much. Had several of the same thoughts, i.e., "Where is Elder Ballard and what have you done with him?" and "I didn't know Walker was a German name." Had several other thoughts during the sessions pertaining to my own spiritual well-being and that of my children. Am sorry to say that I got more out of my husband and boys' Priesthood Session notes, but I suppose that's a good thing. Also, they got fruit pizza, not cinnamon rolls, because it was April Fool's day and I was instructed to make a wacky dessert. Almost convinced my neices that the strawberry sauce was ketchup . . .

    Learned the correct pronunciation of Tehachapi on one of the shameless "Make a Buck Off the Church" commercials they play during the five minutes before each session begins.

    Am vicariously hurt by your denouncement of "werf" as I was practically in the room when it was first coined. I would like to take credit for it, but I can't. I was only the boss. I recall the coiners were being very, very silly at the time. Of course I put a stop to that and told them to get back to work.

  7. P.S. I can't hardly wait for the Ensign to come out.

  8. .

    Thank you for all the comments. I'm frankly surprised by how many of you read this. Maybe I'll do it again in October after all....

    First, on Ludlow, I think I heard the name wrong. I was trying to reference Joseph Smith's Protestant Reformer ancestor. I tried to find such a Ludlow via Google, but only found the ones you all have mentioned. Did anyone catch the fellow's real name?

    Dumbo is feeling better, thank you, and I'm with the proWood camps as well.

    Daltongirl, I am very glad you found their notes more edifying as mine are, let's face it, borderline terrible. Also--pleasepleaseplease tell me about the Tehachapi commercial. I'll revisit you and repost this request.

    M-Fob---but one?

    Returning the love,

    I am,