I’ve recently started to realize that not only do conference talks have good things in them, but so do many of their endnotes. I’m not sure why it is. Perhaps the general authorities prepare so much material that they find upon timing themselves that it is too much. Or perhaps they think better of the material and pull out that which begins to distract from the point they want to make, but they feel it is valuable enough to keep, even if only in an ancillary position.
Below are general authorities who included interesting things in the endnotes, along with some of those interesting things. They may not look very big in that little tiny type at the end of the talks, but when you add them together in bigger type, you realize how much there. is. (That being said, I’m not going to put them all in, just so you’ll have a reason go look at your Ensign conference edition and discover the rest on your own. ;-))
Elder Quentil L. Cook “Can Ye Feel So Now?”
“See Richard G. Scott, “Removing Barriers to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1998, 85–87. Some cultural imperatives are contrary to the Savior’s teachings and can lead us astray. When I was in the South Pacific, I met a man who had investigated the Church for years. He reported he was deeply touched when a Church leader taught at a priesthood conference, “Hands which you have previously used to hit your children are to be used to bless your children.” He received the missionary lessons, was baptized, and has been a great leader.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson “Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!"
“Where I have phrased the invitation to “ask the missionaries,” you could also ask a friend who is a member of the Church for assistance.”
Elder Robert C. Gay “What Shall a Man Give in Exchangefor His Soul?”
When the Prophet Joseph Smith issued a call to Simonds Ryder to serve as a missionary, Ryder discovered that his name was spelled “Rider” in the printed revelation. He became offended, and this led to his apostasy and eventual participation in tarring and feathering the Prophet. Ryder didn’t know that Joseph Smith usually dictated revelations to his scribes and had no part in the spelling. (See Milton V. Backman Jr., The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 , 93–94; Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., Far West Record: Minutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1844 , 286.)
Elder Neil L. Andersen “Trial of YourFaith” [http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/trial-of-your-faith?lang=eng]
Doctrine and Covenants 122:9; President George Q. Cannon said: “No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come. We have found that God. We have made Him our friend, by obeying His Gospel; and He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments” (“Remarks,” Deseret Evening News, Mar. 7, 1891, 4); see also Jeffrey R. Holland, “Come unto Me,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 16–23.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks “Protect the Children”
“Douthat, “Gay Parents and the Marriage Debate.” The latest and most thorough study finds significant disadvantages reported by young adults with a parent who had same-sex relationships prior to the child’s turning age 18 (see Mark Regnerus, “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research, vol. 41 , 752–70).”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson “Brethren, WeHave Work to Do”
When you ask young people today what will make them adults, almost no one mentions marriage. They are far more likely to see issues around work—completing education, financial independence, a full-time job—as the signs that they have arrived. Work, career, independence: these are the primary sources of identity today” (Hymowitz, Manning Up, 45). The pressure on women to adopt this antimarriage ethic is especially intense. A Times of London contributor wrote: “No one, not my family or my teachers, ever said, ‘Oh yes, and by the way you might want to be a wife and mother too.’ They were so determined we would follow a new, egalitarian, modern path that the historic ambitions of generations of women—to get married and raise a family—were intentionally airbrushed from their vision of our future” (Eleanor Mills, “Learning to Be Left on the Shelf,” Sunday Times, Apr. 18, 2010, www.thetimes.co.uk; in Hymowitz, Manning Up, 72). Another writer in her 40s quoted some responses to an article she wrote about her regrets over not marrying: “I am totally appalled by your need for a man,” “Get some self-esteem!” “You have taken codependency to a whole new low,” and “If my daughter grows up to want a man half as much as you do, I will know that I’ve done something wrong in raising her” (Lori Gottlieb, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough , 55).The good news is that most people, including educated young adults, aren’t buying the antimarriage, antifamily message. “According to a study by a University of Pennsylvania economist, in the United States in 2008, 86 percent of college-educated white women were married by age 40, compared with 88 percent of those with less than a four-year degree. The numbers for white, college-educated men are similar: 84 percent of them were married by 40 in 2008. The conventional wisdom, not borne out by research, by the way, may have it that marriage is a raw deal for women. But college-educated white women don’t seem to believe it. They are the most likely of any group to think that ‘married people are generally happier than unmarried people.’ … The large majority—70 percent—of first-year college students think raising a family is ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ to their futures” (Hymowitz, Manning Up, 173–74).
Elder Anthony D. Perkins “Beware Concerning Yourselves"
“You will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Spirit” (Boyd K. Packer, “Counsel to Youth,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2011, 18).
Elder Russell R. Osguthorpe “One Step Closer to the Savior”
See David A. Bednar, “Watching with All Perseverance,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2010, 43: “Are you and I helping our children become agents who act and seek learning by study and by faith, or have we trained our children to wait to be taught and acted upon? Are we as parents primarily giving our children the equivalent of spiritual fish to eat, or are we consistently helping them to act, to learn for themselves, and to stand steadfast and immovable? Are we helping our children become anxiously engaged in asking, seeking, and knocking?”
I realize there is a danger of looking at the endnotes while ignoring the main message, and I suppose some may ask me why I call attention to the endnotes instead of posting about the talks themselves. To me, looking at the end of a conference talk and discovering a hefty endnote with additional stuff to chew on is like following a scripture footnote and discovering a big helpful explanation that I didn’t realize existed! (You know, the feeling when you discover there was a Joseph Smith Translation that you never noticed before..?) There is more good stuff, and we’ll be in a sad state when we don’t get excited about more.