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Monday, April 4, 2016

Conference Report

As a celebration of the most exciting time of the year for a
missionary, I decided to devote an absurd amount of time reviewing the
absolutely wonderful session of general conference at all members of
the church experienced this week. It was one of the most uplifting two
days that I have had in this earth, and I do not wish to forget it so
quickly. In fact, I will follow the counsel of Elder Gerrit G. Gong
and remember these special witnesses of Jesus Christ.
To make this as memorable as possible, and to highlight the best
moments of conference, I made a new awards ceremony: the Tommys! Music
has Grammys, Theatre has Tonys, movies have Oscars, so why can't
conference have the Tommys! The Tommys will cover a wide array of the
events and talks that make up general conference and make it so good.
Hopefully this does not take away the spirituality and dignity of the
conference (too much), but instead magnifies the precious memories
that we gained from General Conference.

Starting off!

Best costume design (the best tie worn throughout conference)
The Winner of the Tommy is- President Uchtdorf's Sunday tie, hands down
Other nominees: Donald B. Hallstrom's, Saturday, Jeffrey R. Holland's , Saturday
- It should also be noticed the that President Hallstrom was the only
one wearing a blue suit for the Saturday sessions. That's how much he
loved that suit. He just wouldn't go black

Best Picture (Best Visual Aide used in a conference talk)
The winner of the Tommy is... The Post Dresden bombing! You got to
love the statue of the Saint reaching out over the war-ravaged German
city, showing us the aftermath of a bomb raid. Touching
Other nominees: the photo of George Albert Smith in the Saturday
Afternoon session, as well as the infamous dinosaur chasing children
photo that further immortalizes Jeffrey R. Holland. Bonnie L.
Oscarson's photo of the pneumonia survivor was also touching

Best Adapted Screenplay (Talk with most amount of noticeable scripture
I can't be official about this until the CR comes out, but I'm pretty
sure it goes to Uchtdorf's Preisthood session talk. He started to pile
on the big ticket scripture references by halfway through the talk.
Though kudos to Elder Bednar for unraveling 20 minutes of numbing
doctrine from Mosiah 4:10-12

Best Original Screenplay (Talk with the most memorable one-liners)
The Tommy goes to... Jeffrey R. Holland! Surprised? You shouldn't be!
Once again he unraveled a masterpiece of poetry and sermon. Other
nominees include Robert D. Hales, Dieter F. Uchtdorf (both sessions),
and Stephen W. Owens.

Best Sleeper Pick (the one you probably slept through)
This Tommy goes to Dale G. Renlund. I loved his talk, his topic was
absolutely essential, but I could get better delivery from a UPS truck
with two wheels. Don't get me wrong, loved the talk, but The closer on
Saturday morning is a rough slot for a stale speaker. Other shout outs
go to Robert D. Hales, and Jairo Mazzagardi's lovely Portuguese accent

Best Song (Best song by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Duh. Other Tommy nominations go to
I feel my Savior's love, and Praise ye the Lord, the Almighty

Best Choreography (The Best camera shot)
This Tommy goes to the man who sings next to The African American in
the MoTab. It lasted for almost ten seconds. It was right during the
second verse of "Come Thou Fount". We saw a close up balcony shot of
this man, you could see the tears rolling down his face. It was like
he was all alone in a room of 24,000 people. Other nominees go to a
shot of Jeffrey R. Holland looking at his phone minutes before
conference started, and second place goes to a shot of President
Monson laughing and showing his counselors something in a folder. They
started laughing too. I have no idea what could be that funny in that
folder, but it got them going.

Best Talk (the best Talk, being chosen by doctrine, inspiration, love,
power, and my personal opinion)
Okay, from here I'll count down ten to one from my favorite talks of
the conference

Quentin L. Cook (Sunday Morning)
You know who needs the temple? Fijians. Apparently the work just can't
go forth without a temple in Fiji. But what a marvelous description of
the lower behind the Lord's house. Inspiring talk given by an apostle
that I wish I could get a better grasp of.
Dallin H. Oaks (Sunday Afternoon)
This was a wonderful explanation of a question so many people have.
Why is their opposition in the world? Explaining the role of agency
and the adversary with crystalline descriptions, Elder Oaks' talk was
a ray of light over a traditionally dark subject.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Sunday Morning)
Given the big ticket spot, closer for Sunday Morning, President
Uchtdorf did not disappoint. A perfect idea of the restoration of man,
as well as the restoration of all things. There is hope always shining
brightly before us.
Russell M. Nelson
In a follow up to his heartbreaking story of a failed surgery in his
last conference address, President Nelson offered a happy ending to
the unfinished tale, and then presses us forward to better use our
priesthood. In a challenge packed with doctrine and dualistic advice,
he empowers us to multiply our priesthood power.
Melvin B. Arnold (Saturday Afternoon)
This was simple, spiritual, and filled with hope. Loved it. In four
points he made every member's mission a rescue plan. His urgency is
impressive, and his loving faith touching. "Ho hath made man's
mouth?... Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore go!"
Donald L. Hallstrom (Saturday Morning)
What an outstanding talk. Taking one of the simplest and most commonly
known doctrine and magnifying the power of its truth to overcoming
temptations and trials. An excellent sermon including that somehow
included a heartwarming story about his child and Halloween. Now
that's a real miracle. and finishing with a Jeffrey R. Holland quote
for that ages. "You can have what you want, or you could have
something better.
Patrick Kearon (Sunday Afternoon)
As time goes by this talk will recede into the back of our minds.
Who's Patrick Kearon? The guy with the cool accent? He cried every
other minute in his talk? Perhaps that is what will happen, perhaps it
won't but as for now, Tis was one of the most touching and urgent
talks given to us. The only talk that made me tear up. Beautiful.
Brushing upon one of my favorite ideas, and an eternal truth. "Their
circumstance does not describe them, but our reaction to it describes
who we are"
Jeffrey R. Holland (Sunday Afternoon)
Elder Holland. The man. The myth. The legend. He only adds to his
reputation of beautiful, powerful talks. His question for tomorrow was
answered by the answer given to help with all things, but in such a
special manner. For feelings of hope, see this man's witness of
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Priesthood Session)
Unstoppably good. Like, I didn't want him to stop talking. Addressing
the importance of the eternal things pertaining to our daily life in
the family. He beautifully made something as spacious as the love of
God and Christlike attributes and turning it to a tangible tool to
uplift the family, as well as laying down a burn on his fellow
brethren. "If there was such a thing as a perfect woman, what makes
you think that she would be interested in you?"
David A. Bednar (Saturday Afternoon)
You can't beat this. Starting with his personal studies we got to see
the whirring gears and cogs of David A. Bednar wind up a Rolex of a
talk. The amount of impact of every single word was mind blowing. Each
sentence was stacked with a continuous flow of eternal significance. I
can't say enough about this talk.

So there you have it. The first and maybe the last semi-annual Tommy
awards ceremony. I hope you enjoyed. I sure enjoyed conference.

In other new, my trainee, Elder Whiteley, is doing amazing. He is from
Seattle Washington and has already fallen off his bike and popped a
tire! I probably should have warned m about the broken glass. Luckily,
he is okay. Elder Whitely has the fire of the restoration in him and
like me, loves baseball. But he's a batter and a Marlins fan, so I
can't connect too well with him. We would play catch sometime, but we
don't have gloves or baseballs.
However! We get to be part of a special missionary choir April 18th at
a Triple-A baseball game. We'll be singing the national anthem for a
special "Mormon night" and enjoying a Round Rock express game. I was
trying to figure out how I could get to throw the first pitch until
they told who was invited to do so- Jeff Kent! This is my chance to
meet Jeff Kent, for both me and my brother's sake. A wish me luck with
Alright, I've already spent way too much time on this weekly. Hope you
are all having an excellent post conference week

Elder Richard Hall

1. Elder W taking a picture of us in between seasons
2. Elder W and his first time at Rudy's! Poor kid wasn't ready
for barbecue of that magnitude
3. Suburban Texas at sunset

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