Wednesday, October 8, 2008

General Conference Weekend

I'm pretty sure everyone knows, but in case you don't, the Church to which I belong (and which I believe to be led and run by Jesus Christ Himself, under the direction of God the Father) has a General Conference twice a year (once in April, and once in October), where we are instructed and taught by general authorities of the Church, including modern-day Prophets and Apostles.

Okay, now that I've said that, most of you know how I felt about Conference weekend (more of the same, a lot of good talks, some issues sidestepped when I personally felt they should be addressed at the very forefront, but overall very nice). I've been wondering why I have come to expect some huge, different result every Conference. Generally they discuss and address a lot of the same topics these days. Anyway, there were some highlights to the weekend for me, and here they are:

Elder Corbridge of the Quorum of the Seventy talked about Christ being the only way to return to Heavenly Father, and not only that, indicated that any other attempted way is "madness". He was direct and to the point, and didn't dance around the issue, but spoke outrightly, which is so important in this day and age when people are twisting the words of the Church leaders to mean what they want them to mean. "Latter-day Saints have two choices: Follow the Lord and be endowed with his power or go some other way alone without his support and be in despair." I heard of one member who changed the channel while Elder C. was speaking, because she thought he sounded too much like a "preacher." WOW, is all I can say. The funny thing is, if this exact talk were given by Elder Holland, Elder Oaks or President Eyring, I seriously doubt the channel would have been changed.
  • Jared translating the opening prayer and Elder Holland's Saturday afternoon session talk.
He did great! His tones were spot-on, and it was really exciting to hear him deliver the message along with Elder Holland. (More details on the translation process below.)
  • Elder Hamula's Priesthood session talk.
Elder Hamula spoke to the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, but his words are relevant to everyone. He spoke of how we can win the war with evil (and make no mistake, we are engaged in a constant state of battle for our very souls, and for the souls of those around us). He also was quite straightforward with his address and indicated that as we chose to follow Christ's plan and come forth in these days, we have a responsibility to stand strongly against the attacks of Satan. He encouraged us to be sober, in the Book of Mormon sense of the word, and not to fear because of the impending battle, but be diligent and prepared, and we CAN be victorious, just as were in the war with Satan before this life. It was inspiring. For those who were not at the Priesthood session, I recommend this one when it becomes available.
  • Translating.
For the last several weeks, I was privileged to have been able to serve as translator and interpreter for one talk (Elder Hamula's, cited above) and the closing prayer in the Priesthood session. I had always heard of former mission companions serving in this capacity, and looked forward to the opportunity to translate as well. After we received our assignments and attended a few training meetings about how to interpret for speaker (some of which seemed kind of already second-nature for we who spent every Sunday in the mission field doing simultaneous translation), the rough drafts of our talks were sent to us so we could prepare them before Conference, as translating on the spot for such an important event is kind of risky. (This process consists of translating, or taking the English text and actually translating it into your target language, and interpreting, or the actual delivery of the text for broadcast. For most languages, I understand, they give you the text already translated by official Church personnel, and you just do the interpreting, but for Hmong we were responsible for both the translation and the interpretation. Thanks for the help, Jared!) All of the translation booths are located in a large upper-floor hall of the conference center, dozens of booths, each labeled with the appropriate language, and each equipped with TV screens and microphones to broadcast the translations in dozens of languages online and in church buildings across the world. I was quite nervous, as I heard Elder Hamula's speech rate was one of the higher speeds, but I was able to keep up until he decided to change his talk almost completely halfway through! The ideas were the mostly same, but they were all jumbled and rearranged, some omitted completely and some completely new! I tried really hard to skip around with him, but eventually couldn't find the place, and the other interpreter in the booth tried to help find the spot too, but before long, I just threw it out the window and started listening and concentrating really carefully and translating on the spot. Just like old times! It was a little nerve-wracking, but I really enjoyed the experience!

So yeah, those were the highlights for me. I think I'll try and get involved with translating next Spring as well. It was also fun to see a lot of mission friends and relatives up at the beautiful Conference Center. OH, and also the protesters. They are always fairly amusing.


  1. Good points. You know I agree.

    Wow, translating is much more involved than you'd think. Great job. Sound like a great way to keep up on your language.

  2. Yeah, Elder Corbridge's talk blew me out of my chair. I LOVED IT. Who was the crazy that changed the channel? Ridiculous.

    I was thinking... One reason why they probably dance around the issue you speak of is because the Lord is probably seeing how we follow what he said we shouldn't be commanded in all things and just like J. Smith said, we are taught correct principles and then we govern ourselves. No doubt we are "proving [ourselves] herewith" to see if we will obey the Lord's commandments. I think the Lord is definitely taking note on how we are interpreting these "correct principles" that we were given, namely the Marriage talk by E. Nelson and the Change talk by Pres. Monson. You know, allowing the tares to grow amongst the wheat, if you catch my drift...

  3. That's a good point, CK... There are a lot of instances when we should be guided by inferences and govern ourselves by the principles we are taught. Unfortunately, I think in such serious issues as these, I personally think we're past the age when we can infer the truths. I don't know if we should have to DEDUCE what the Lord's servants think about such a serious topic. Politics and general gospel topics perhaps, but relevant, crucial topics? You know.

    The opposition is SO vocal and getting stronger (at least they think so, and it does sometimes appear so).

    Anyway, the meeting last night was really exciting, but I'll blog about that shortly.

  4. I thought that Elder Nelson's Marriage talk was refreshingly straightforward, much more blunt than other talks on the subject have been.

  5. Drew, I do appreciate the compliments on my translating. Ua tsaug. I have yet to hear yours. It's not on last I checked.

    As far as a direct answer from the Lord, yes I would prefer one as well, you know that. But do you think this will just remain the way it is, much like the scripture that says the Lord wasn't in the fire, nor the earthquake but a still small voice?

  6. Yes, conference was great.

    I do agree with Jared, but you already know that because I talked to you about it! :) Actually I was reading in the bible when Jesus asked Peter to come walk to him. This was after hours and hours of wind and waves and storm. (aprox 12 hours). He comes on the "fourth watch" and then goes to his diciples. I thought it was so interesting and applicable. Trust that the leaders will be inspired by the Lord to speak at the right time. He wont just let us drown. I can see your frustration though. Hang in there! Now, with the broadcast last night, more people will be inclined to speak up. Love you lots and appreciate what cause you work for.
    In the FAMOUS style of NAEC Lacie "To War! To War! Lets Go!I'll Drive! We will win it! Soon enough! To War! Lets Go! To. the War"

  7. Good thoughts, one and all. Chiv Keeb, to address your question, personally, I believe this particular issue is one that we can't afford not to be vocal and direct about (you know for sure the "other side" is being vocal and direct, and I'm pretty sure Samuel the Lamanite didn't just suggest or recommend the Nephites repent...). I also think that in the long run, it WON'T remain this way forever, and eventually the Church is going to have to risk being seen as "homophobic" and come right out with it, without reservation or qualification! And, after last night's broadcast, I'm starting to think the brethren are growing to feel the same way.

    Like Lacie said, this is a WAR! We are now, more than ever, in constant battle for our souls. We can't just fold our arms and trust it will win itself. It's time to take action! Shout it from the rooftops! Write it on your walls! Woot!

    Oh, and I wouldn't keep looking too closely for my translation to appear. For whatever reason, they don't publish the broadcasts (in English OR Hmong, I believe) from the Priesthood session. It's not like it's a secret or anything, in a matter of weeks, it'll be in the Ensign anyway! I'm kind of sad because no one in WI seems to have listened to the Priesthood session in Hmong either. Did anyone hear me?? Perhaps not!

  8. Ah, the protesters. Gotta love 'em. Because if you didn't you'd probably be swiping at their heads with the business end of a broom...

    But hey, that's just me.

    As far as Conference was concerned, I picked up a lot of unequivocal statements about what members of the Church should be doing. I'm glad to hear them, because I know I've got all sorts of personal issues to work out and ways in which I fall short of being called a Latter-day Saint (including threatening to hit protesters with brooms). Frankly, I don't have the time, inclination or right to look over someone else's shoulder and decide whether he or she is living up to covenants--that's between an individual and the Lord to work out. I guess when I become a perfect person I may have earned the right to make those judgment calls. In the meantime, the best I can do is try to live my religion.

    Loved Elder Holland's talk, but then I always love Elder Holland's talks. He's on an especially enlightening wavelength of thought for me, I guess. I can always count on him to give some insight into a Gospel principle that I had never considered.

  9. I don't know if you'd call him a protester, but once I saw a guy in a rabbit suit walking around the area on conference weekend. Wanted more carrots, perhaps?

  10. The ones I remember best from the past are ones that said "Make Cap'n Cruch an Admiral!" or a guy dressed as a cow, probably with a "Got Milk?" sign. Classic. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

  11. Jake would like to know if you are "Ha-mong" the best translators during GC. And now he says that was such a lame joke that you may think less of him. HA! Now he's mad that I wrote everything he says.

    Anywho, cool that you got to translate. I have STILL not watched that talk, I have it on tivo. I'll watch it tomorrow.