I tweeted 10 hours of LDS General Conference last weekend. I’m not claiming to be a pioneer in Twitter, but I have always tended to Facebook events such as this. But I see the appeal in Twitter. It’s a media bulletin board of thoughts and notes from #ldsconf that are being shared by thousands-plus and the posts move so quickly that you move onto the next, as opposed to Facebook, where an innocuous observation can transform itself into an ugly debate with opponents insulting each other. My Twitter tag is politicalsurf.
There are tweets for every talk. I learned something new about gratitude from the LDS apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf, tweeting:
– Uchtdorf. … gratitude should be a disposition
For the 10 hours covering five conference sessions — as a note-taking tool — it’s far more efficient tweeting than logging notes by hand on a sheet of paper. And the notes are there, easy to read and copy if needed. To make observations, you have to pay attention, and you can see almost see Twitter heat up when a hot-button subject is addressed.
And that occurred in the Saturday morning session, when Neil L. Anderson, a church apostle, not only reiterated the church’s opposition to gay marriage, but declared that “sin has never so accessible, insatiable and acceptable.” My tweets from Andersen’s talk include:
– Elder Andersen- changes in civil laws do not change the Lord’s law of chastity
– Andersen is reiterating church’s stance on gay marriage
– Andersen says don’t let political or social beliefs triumph over the word of God
– and a retweet from LDS General Conference … “Everyone, independent of his or her decisions and beliefs, deserves our kindness and consideration.” #Elder Anderson
What Andersen did was news, even if it was a reiteration of the church’s doctrine. The priesthood session, which thanks in part to the work of Ordain Women is now available to both sexes, had a news-making talk from LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks. Some of my tweets from Oaks’ talk include:
– Oaks notes he’s pleased priesthood conference is broadcasting to all.
– Oaks providing overview of LDS priesthood
– Oaks says all decisions on priesthood are made by Jesus Christ
– Oaks says women still have authority even without holding priesthood
– Oaks: Relief Society a divinely established appendage to priesthood. … advises to concentrate on responsibilities rather than rights
Now, after tweeting the last two, I think it’s reasonable to ask why, if the “Relief Society a divinely established appendage to priesthood,” why can’t women attend the priesthood meeting?
However, Oaks also added this:
– Retweet from Deseret Book … “They are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.” #ElderOaks
Finally, my last tweet from Oaks was:
– Oaks: Women and men equal in the eyes of God
Although many were angered by Oaks’ speech (Disrespectful memes popped up on FB later) he is — in my opinion — the intellectual leader of the LDS church leadership, and carefully reviewing his comments, I believe that his comments lay the groundwork for greater participation in leadership roles for women in the church, such as more representation at decision-making levels, and increased public visibility for women in the church.
It’s pretty clear from the talks of Anderson and Oaks that the LDS Church is not going to change its stances on gay marriage, homosexual relations, or giving the priesthood to women. In fact, a theme of many of the talks, and to be fair these themes are often common-place at conference, was to prepare for the scorn of the world and be sure to have the spiritual armor to withstand those who want to tear down your beliefs.
LDS Apostle Jeffrey Holland addressed this in an early talk that I thought was directed mainly to youth and millennials. A couple of my tweets:
– Holland says to youth, you will have to defend your faith
– Holland, we must show Christlike love and not follow a God of man’s creation, defend our beliefs with courtesy
On Sunday, tweeting a talk by the LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard, I thought I caught a contradiction of current policy, but what do I know? Here it is: Ballard said that members should not refer to our church as “Mormon.”
– What does Elder Ballard think of the” I’m a Mormon” campaign?
I think that’s a legitimate question, since the “I’m a Mormon” web campaign has been a big church effort, yet Ballard seemed to oppose using the term “Mormon.”
A couple more tweets before I sign off:
– Monson stresses courage over compromise in these times. Says God will be with us if we seek him and live righteously
– Uchtdorf. … endings are not our destiny. … we are eternal
– Is Elder Packet (sic) providing a final testimony? (typos can happen on Twitter, too)
– Perry, …. the prompting of the spirit will guide us if we allow it, if we are sensitive to it and be willing to change our life
As mentioned, I enjoyed using Twitter. It enhanced my experience with General Conference, and perhaps most importantly, keeping eyes on the smart phone prevents the head from laying back on the easy chair and the ensuing snores.