President Thomas S. Monson: First Year in Review

February 3, 2009
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Today, February 3, 2009 is the 1-year anniversary of the calling of President Thomas S. Monson as the 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  What has happened in the Church during that period?  Has there been any major changes, events, revelations?

 LDS Church News has a specific page devoted to the first year of President Monson’s leadership as President of the Church. For that reason, I invite you to look through it as I will not repeat what was written. Also, the Salt Lake Tribune has an article by Peggy Fletcher Stack entitled, “LDS leader’s first year: Observers say Monson barely budged from the Hinckley plan

In summary, President Monson dedicated 5 temples, announced 10 new Temples, presided over two General Conferences, and spoke in an number of other meetings. But, no new policies were established, no major revelations were received and the growth of the Church is steady.

However, the one of the most controversial things the Church as ever gotten involved with occurred on his watch; the fight in California over Proposition 8.  To some, it was a stunning encroachment on civil liberties and a wrong-headed involvement of the Church in political affairs. To others, it was nothing more than the Church defending traditional marriage and engaging in a coalition with other like-minded organizations.  The fact the Church seemed better organized, its people more engaged with time and money is beside the point.

I personally will not forget the address President Monson gave on Sunday Morning during April Conference. His first official address (he spoke in the Priesthood session) as President. While on one hand it was vintage Monson, there was, for me, a detectable difference. He was now the Lord’s Prophet on the earth.  And he can wiggle his ears too!  :)

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74 Responses to President Thomas S. Monson: First Year in Review

  1. SteveS
    February 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Just one thought for context about prop 8: the institutional wheels were turning over the prop 8 battle long before (at least 1998 or earlier) it came to the forefront in 2008. Although Monson was at the helm and undoubtedly helped craft the efforts going on behind the scenes up until that point, he was carrying out plans that had been made years in advance. I suppose he could have pulled the plug… but its history now.

  2. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Jeff said, “But, no new policies were established, no major revelations were received and the growth of the Church is steady.”

    One of the big selling points of the LDS faith is the need for modern revelation. I can’t think of an important revelation anytime in recent history. Can you?

  3. Jeff Spector
    February 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Joe P.

    I realize this is fruitless but for the listening audience. here goes:

    1. The Conference Center
    2. Small temples
    3. The Perpertual Education Fund
    4. The re-organization of the General Authorities (AA70s, Area Pres. only outside NA)
    5. The calling of new Apostles

    Just a few off the top of my head

  4. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Joe, we’ve gone the rounds on this over and over and over. The horse died long ago. Drop it.

  5. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Those qualify as revelations?

  6. February 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    #5. Yes.

  7. SteveS
    February 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Joe P.: it might be helpful to distinguish different types of revelation: doctrinal and administrative. In the doctrinal camp would be revelations that give further light and knowledge about God, humans, or the Gospel. Revelation of this nature is scant, I agree. Administrative revelation includes deciding how to manage the Kingdom, including decisions about where and when to build temples, whom to call to fill major leadership positions, where to spend/invest time and money, introduce, expand, or cancel programs of the Church, etc. That stuff is on-going. Looking at Jeff’s list, all of it falls in the administrative revelation camp.

    We’re both right. Now back to the subject of the OP.

  8. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    SteveS,

    My comments were/are directly related to the OP, even to the point of directly quoting Jeff. Couldn’t almost any man do the things that Mr. Monson has done in the last year? Would these type of things really require a “prophet”?

  9. February 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    *exasperated sigh*

  10. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Ray said, “we’ve gone the rounds on this over and over and over. The horse died long ago. Drop it.”

    Who are we? I’ve never once mentioned the prophet on this blog.

  11. Hawkgrrrl
    February 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    “Couldn’t almost any man do the things that Mr. Monson has done in the last year?” Yes.

    “Would these type of things really require a “prophet”?” Not my call. A prophet isn’t a fortune teller or someone who knows everything or things we don’t know. We are all entitled to personal revelation and revelation within our stewardship. The role of a prophet is to be a warning voice. JS’s role was to restore the doctrines that were lost. The reason prophets since JS don’t do what JS did is that it is not their role as it was his, just as ancient prophets in the Bible pretty much all said the same stuff: quit worshipping idols, come back to the fold, repent or receive the wrath of God. None of that was new stuff.

  12. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Joe, one response only:

    Read the Book of Omni, especially verses 1-11. In fact, read the entire Book of Mormon and categorize how much of it really is “new revelation” and how much of it isn’t. In fact, read the entire NT with the same focus. There’s VERY little (if ANY) “new revelation” in Paul’s epistles – or even in the words of Jesus, Himself. They had multiple years to produce new revelation; guess neither of them was much of a prophet.

    Now I’m done. The entire premise of the accusation is absurd.

  13. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Ray, Feel free to avoid the issue (like you often choose to do). The entire premise of this man being a prophet is absurd. What has he said or done to show that he is the least bit inspired?

    The words of Jesus don’t contain new prophesies? Have you read the Book of Revelation?

  14. KingOfTexas
    February 3, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Am I missing something or did Jesus quit running his church?

  15. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    KingofTexas,

    In case you missed it… Ray said that Jesus himself had VERY little (if ANY) “new revelation”.

    Jesus never quit running his church. Jesus said, “The gates of hell would never prevail against his church”. Maybe this is one of the revelations that Ray will claim Jesus never had?

  16. Hawkgrrrl
    February 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    “The words of Jesus don’t contain new prophesies? Have you read the Book of Revelation?” Jesus didn’t write the Book of Revelation. That’d be John the Revelator. Actually, Jesus (and his contemporaries) didn’t write anything in the Bible either. People were just quoting him decades later based on hearsay and stories that were passed on. Frankly, I find the book of Revelations cryptic, like reading about someone’s bad acid trip. But to each his own.

    Joe, do you dismiss the Biblical prophets (other than Jesus) based on your premise? Those prior to Jesus were really not making change – just fighting oppressive regimes on behalf of the Hebrews or fighting oppressive sins committed by the Hebrews. Just asking in all sincerity.

    As for TSM, it makes no difference to me whether you think he’s a prophet, a nice old man, or some kook with funny ears. I’m sure he’ll sleep equally well either way.

  17. February 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Read Exodus 18. Moses making administrative decisions about how he should judge the people, even taking counsel from Jethro, and appointing people to lead the people of Israel, was very much a part of his role as a Prophet, just as bringing down the Ten Commandments. Our Church is a practical one, and decisions need to be made regarding the correct religious governance of millions of people. That’s what Prophets do. They receive revelation to run the Church, not just visions of the Afterlife or the Last Days.

    PS, Jesus didn’t write the Book of Revelations.

  18. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    HawkGrrrl,

    So the words of Jesus within the bible can’t be trusted because he didn’t write them himself? Do his quotes in the bible have any merit at all? Can we just discard the Book of Revelation because it sounds like someone on a “acid trip”?

    Jesus said the words of the Old Testament (including those of the prophets) were an accurate record, so I agree with him.

    I disagree that the early prophets “were really not making change”. How about Noah? His prophesy of the flood saved humanity. Was that an insignificant revelation?

  19. Russell Stevenson
    February 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Joe:

    I’m feeling some “I-like-a-good-doctrinal-sparring-match” mojo coming from you. Don’t worry–tisn’t me avoiding the issue. Just an observation that might help you in winning friends and influencing people (and yes, Jesus wants us to do both). But for the listening audience…

    As Arthur pointed out, we limit God’s power if we say he can’t give his prophets administrative revelations, which is how I read your argument. John wasn’t just a visionary, nor was Moses. A major “revelation” MOses had was to set up judges to handle disputes rather than running a one-man-show. Granted, it’s no sweeping account of the afterlife or piercing insight into the human existence. But it’s necessary for carrying out the Church at that time. Even the Savior spent time “organizing” his people.

    They weren’t just spiritual divas with flocking fans (though they had plenty of them). In fact, I appreciate Joseph and other prophets all the more for this organizational capacity. The wandering charismatics (which Jesus was, thankfully, not: “he had no beauty that we should desire him) kinda scare me.

  20. Lorin
    February 3, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    AAAAARRRRRGGGG!

    Joe P., seriously, you don’t appear to have read the syllabus for this blog or seem to have wandered into the wrong room. One can find the “175-year-old arguments that Mormons don’t find persuasive 101″ groups elsewhere on the web.

    I was kind of hoping to hear some insightful comments on Jeff’s post. Please read some other posts to get a flavor for the types of discussions typical on this blog — that’s standard netiquette before posting. Once you do so, I think you’ll recognize that, regardless of the relative merits of your arguments, you’ve been breaking some basic rules of net civility.

    Back to our regular programming?

  21. Cowboy
    February 3, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    “Jesus didn’t write the Book of Revelation. That’d be John the Revelator.”

    If I remember correctly it was the revelation of Jesus Christ which John had while exiled on Patmos. I’m not sure the claim that John was the “author” discounts this as a revelation of Jesus, he just delivered it to John. That being said there is absolutely no way to determine universally, and in such a way that all parties would agree, that these “administrative” revelations, as you call them (no scriptural basis for this categorization though), are or are not in fact revelations. The entire basis for accepting them as revelations/or not, hinges subjectively on what one already believes about the administrator, ie the Prophet. Even still I think Joe makes a good point that ultimately accepting “administrative” revelation as the norm is not necessarily problematic so long as Moses occasionally takes opportunity to part the red sea.

  22. Carlos
    February 3, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    No new revelations?

    I’d add to that list (#3) the most important and significant Revelation Monson had: what’s contained in that letter to support prop 8. I don’t think it was just an administrative measure or procedure. They deliberately set out to draw a line in the sand about the issue and members got the message loud and clear. Plus the subsequent attacks by gay’s aimed mostly at Temples more than normal Sunday chapels said a lot about what this fight is about: just the old Evil vs Good.

    When he started as president there was some pressure from several sources, mostly members, to change the doctrine concerning homosexuality in the church, to change from what Hinckley had done. But after his letter that pressure has largely subsided. In my opinion this is by far the most important revelation he has published so far, and I certainly wouldn’t call it “controversial” at all.

  23. CarlosJC
    February 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Joe P.

    You go boy!!!!

    I love reading the back and forth when you get involved.

    (Ray, participation by those who oppose our views will only stimulate debate here; you need to ease up a bit here, leave the claws at home, and let the conversation flow -censorship destroys the censurer first not the censored. Rude language is another issue, that can be fixed but just replacing the word with a “f…..”etc cheers :) )

  24. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Carlos… Millions of other christians also supported prop 8. That didn’t require a revelation. The bible abhors homosexuality so if any religion uses the bible as a (as the LDS church claims) they should obviously support prop 8.

    Lorin… Maybe those 175 year old arguments are valid? Is it possible that Thomas S. Monson is a fraud? We are supposed to test anyone that claims to be a prophet. Doest TSM pass the tests? 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

  25. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    #23 – Censorship? You’ve got to be kidding. Did one single word of Joe’s comments get censored in any way? We’ve gone the rounds over and over on that one, as well. Drop it. It’s just as absurd as Joe’s complaints.

    Back to the actual issue that we aren’t going to drop despite my dictatorial and obsessive censorship (*grin*):

    The Sermon on the Mount’s “You have heard it said of old . . . I say unto you . . .” statements are “administrative revelations” in every sense of the word, as they changed the way the people were to ACT but did not include any theological changes whatsoever. The Book of Revelations, really, is one revelation – not exactly an overwhelming output for someone who was exiled as long as John was.

    So, for the sake of this discussion, please point out all the “new revelation” generated in the NT. (Hint: ALL statements that essentially repeat or verify OT revelation don’t count, as they aren’t “new”. Anything, for example, that merely says Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies isn’t “new” revelation.)

    Paul received a revelation that led to the Gospel being preached to the Gentiles. Major change, but no change in actual theology. It could be seen as an administrative revelation – changing practice rather than fundamental Gospel doctrine. I don’t see it that way, since it changed the actual composition of the Kingdom of God, but it could be seen as administrative without any difficulty.

  26. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Btw, Carlos, I asked Joe to drop it simply because it is another example of how he’s not interested in constructive conversation. That is obvious from his subsequent comments, as well, but nothing has been censored – so drop it, please.

    This is a simple request for civility and social grace. Nothing more.

  27. Lorin
    February 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    CarlosJC, Joe P.

    The reason I read this blog is to discuss and/or be exposed to Mormon topics from a variety of perspectives that range from faithful viewpoints to heterodox interpretations to non-believing but polite former members to those who are (usually elsewhere on the net) antagonistic towards the church. Most people who post here understand the perspectives of each of those viewpoints, at least in outline and usually far deeper. Rehashing the fundamental PRO/CON talking points is BORING to those who have been there/done that.

    Letting the conversation flow is exactly what Ray is talking about — that’s hard to do with Joe P. shouting boiler-plate talking points at people who understand them already and who would like to talk about something else. Joe P., we get that you don’t think Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. This may not be a tedious discussion point for you, but it is for most of the people who frequent this blog, however much they agree or disagree with you. More receptive audiences may be found elsewhere.

  28. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Ray… Allow me to focus on one revelation from Jesus Christ (rather than searching the entire NT and providing a list). Please don’t call this off topic because I am simply answering your question. Again you are the one that claimed Jesus himself really didn’t have any new revelations.

    Jesus claimed to be God’s only begotten Son. Thats a pretty powerful revelation.

  29. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Try again, Joe.

    “Only begotten” appears only four times in the NT – thrice in the writings of John and once in the epistles of Paul (and Paul’s reference was to Issac, not Jesus). It is not attributed to Jesus once in the NT (not once), and the three times it appears in the NT, it’s not coming from either Jesus or Paul.

  30. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Oh, and Joe, I actually said there was

    “VERY little (if ANY) ‘new revelation’ in Paul’s epistles – or even in the words of Jesus, Himself.”

    For that to be wrong, there would have to quite a bit of new revelation in the words of the Gospels that are attributed to Jesus and in the epistles of Paul. Show it to me, please. (and provide the citations. I don’t want to have to give you the evidence you are wrong, like with the “only begotten” claim, when you haven’t taken the time to check it out yourself.)

  31. February 3, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Joe P., why do you use the word “bible” rather than “Bible” — that seems strange to me.

    Otherwise One can find the “175-year-old arguments that Mormons don’t find persuasive 101″ groups elsewhere on the web. pretty much sums it up, though the ad hominium attack on Ray was uncalled for.

    Personally, I’d delete the empty off topic material. I’m not terribly fond of trolling.

  32. Jeff Spector
    February 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    WOW,

    Gees, does anyone have to say anything about the post itself after SteveS in #1.

    Joe P. I hope you are having fun because your actions are very unbecoming the christian you profess to be.

    The LDS Church, as you know, teaches that God is revealing Himself to man in the form of continuing revelation. This revelation, doctrinal and administrative, significant and insignificant, happens in the Church through the Prophet and us as individuals. You can chose to ridicule it if you wish, it is still happening.

    And you, my friend cannot come up with any reason why it does not happen today.

  33. Russell Stevenson
    February 3, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Incidentally, I am interested to see how Pres. Monson handles press coverage in the future. This is where he differs from Pres. Hinckley. Hinckley was a press man from day one and knew how to use it. President Monson is a businessman–he knows how to make things run (which we saw with Prop. 8), but he’s not particularly interested in giving out spoonfuls of sugar to help the medicine go down. Maybe it’s time the Church end its honeymoon of being lovably eccentric?

  34. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    “he’s not particularly interested in giving out spoonfuls of sugar to help the medicine go down.”

    That’s quite poetic, Russell. Have you considered trying to get it put to music? :)

  35. Jeff Spector
    February 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    What’s kind of interesting to me is that President Hinckley would take on all comers in the press but sometimes give evasive answers. I think that while President Monson really doesn’t speak to the press, he would be more straight ahead with some answers. Besides, he has Elder Ballard and some of the other Apostles to speak to the press. I think they do an excellent job. Though, I have to admit that Elder Jensen is my favorite in that area.

  36. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Jeff, I think the idea of evaluating a new leader in the first 100 days or first year or any other defined time is a product of our modern business model – where every quarter is potentially the final quarter and leaders have to make major changes to draw attention and support.

    Pers. Monson has been part of the First Presidency for 22 years. That’s almost as long as I’ve been married (and probably almost as long as some of you commenters have been alive), so I’m not too worried about what unique or earth-shattering thing he’s done as President for the last year.

    Since I don’t think the prophetic mantle carries with it a requirement to speak theatrically from Mt. Sinai with arms outstretched over a cowering people, I’m fine with a year focusing on “continuing Pres. Hinckley’s legacy” – since Pres. Monson was an integral part of that legacy as one of his counselors (and as a counselor to Pres. Benson and Pres. Hunter before that. This really is his 23rd year in the FP, not just his 1st year as President.

  37. Jeff Spector
    February 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Ray,

    I kind of agree with you but if you read President Monson’s interview in Church News, he says that being a counselor in the FP is a lot like being a Bishop’s Counselor. You do what you are asked, but the decision making is at the top. So, being THE President is very different than being a FP Counselor. I doubt that we detect a difference but the way I read it, he did.

    And you are also right about the first year business. I was interested in whether others had expectations of great change or not.

  38. CarlosJC
    February 3, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Joe #24,

    “Carlos… Millions of other christians also supported prop 8. That didn’t require a revelation. The bible abhors homosexuality so if any religion uses the bible”

    Sure, but as soon as it passed it was Mormon Temples the ones under siege. And remember that the bible also rejects divorce, women speaking in meetings and a lot more other practices that even you guys have changed today. Plus the letter mainly answered Mormon members questions, so it was a ‘revelation’ for Mormons on what to do with what is today a fairly widespread acceptable activity -even if other Christianish people, like yourself, agree with us Christians!

    (Ray,
    Trying again. Whenever you, the administrator, asks someone to ‘drop it’ it is actually a type of censorship threat since all you can do is censor them if they don’t ‘drop it’. You may, though, politely and constructively ask me to end this now, if you did I would!)

  39. Ray
    February 3, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    In total sincerity, let me rephrase my previous statements to Joe and Carlos in accordance with the civility I an requesting of others:

    Joe, please drop it.

    Carlos, please drop it.

    Pretty please. :)

    (Btw, I am not “the administrator”. A good-sized panel makes all of the permanent moderation decisions. I don’t do much of anything on my own unless it’s a blatant violation of the highest order [which multiple people on the panel can do], or if it violates a specific request on one of my own posts – and even then it almost never happens. We censor very, very little on this blog. Honestly, it almost never happens. Just so you know, and just so it’s on the record.)

  40. CarlosJC
    February 3, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Lorin #27,

    Agreed. My #23 was more tongue in cheek.

    Jeff, #32

    “Gees, does anyone have to say anything about the post itself after SteveS in #1.”

    Really? my #22 was written in part in response to what SteveS wrote plus your claim that it was only “controversial” and “no major revelations were received”.

    Now off course the SLT would call it Hinckley’s plan -but I’d say that its actually the Lord’s plan.

    Plus in #32 “Joe P. I hope you are having fun because your actions are very unbecoming the christian you profess to be” ….As are many of the responses to Joe P from some of us Christians (Mormon type)

  41. CarlosJC
    February 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Pretty please. :) ????

    Why the ‘pretty’, I’m suspicious now!!

    You’re not the administrator? that’s news to me and very surprising if its true. But since your another Christian here on mormonmatters, I suppose you are telling the truth.

    Ok then.

  42. Joe P.
    February 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Ray,

    I find it laughable that you honestly compare the revelations of Thomas S. Monson to the revelations of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus said he was the son of God. Refer to Matt 26:63-64.

    Also refer to the entire Book of Revelation… Refer to Revelation 1:1: “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show his servents – things which must shotrly take place. And he sent and signified it by his servant John…”

    Ray… Maybe you should drop it… :)

    I’m beginning to think your church should be renamed… The Church of Thomas S. Monson of Latter Day Saints. Especially if you think TSM’s revelatiions are on par with Jesus.

  43. February 3, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    You know, I’ve (suddenly) discovered that a good dose of censorship can be quite refreshing in today’s confusing, “free-thinking” society.

  44. CarlosJC
    February 4, 2009 at 12:01 am

    #43 Oouch!

    Joe P #42

    Remember that the Words of Solomon are also in the Bible as is Leviticus and the letters that Paul and others wrote. Maybe some of revelations of the christian prophet Thomas S Monson would only be a letter a la St Paul for someone as Christianish as you??

  45. Joe P.
    February 4, 2009 at 12:13 am

    CarlosJC,

    If he writes me a letter I’ll read it. If I write one to him will he promise the same? :)

  46. CarlosJC
    February 4, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Joe P,

    dude, mate, you aren’t important enough! :)

    But then again neither would Peter, James or John read your mail (if they were alive) since it almost always went the other way ie Bible way.

    Now if your letter was address to Jesus -well that’s another matter. But Monson does write to you frequently…in conference, ensign, stake conference….which you know of already, right?

    Nice that you want to trap my here!

  47. Ray
    February 4, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Joe, since your latest comment doesn’t address my actual critique at all, but rather avoids it entirely while falsely characterizing its content, I will wait for an actual, substantive response. If you want to continue to avoid it by saying I am avoiding the issues (as I often do), I understand. I just hope you will read what I actually wrote and respond to what I actually said.

    The last sentence of your comment, btw, is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read on this blog. If you don’t understand why, you don’t understand Mormonism at all.

    (Oh, and changing your assertion after the fact is a great debate tactic – as long as nobody notices what you are doing. [Matthew 26:63-64 doesn't address your assertion in comment #28 at all.] It doesn’t help your credibility one bit, but if it makes you feel better about your argument, I understand.)

    So, I’m still waiting.

  48. James
    February 4, 2009 at 3:09 am

    Each Prophet leaves their mark- I thought we would see President Monsons be service! Maybe even start or contemplate Ammon type missions more service oriented instead of proselyting. More empahisis on volunteering and working for the community and working with church approved charities.

    Its early days maybe this year. First year as president is for settling in unless your Obama than its truly disaster recovery!!!

  49. Lorin
    February 4, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I think President Monson knows his strengths and weaknesses pretty well, and therefore he’ll continue to send others to speak in front of the cameras. He’s very much about ministering to the individual, and I suspect we’re going to continue to hear a lot about that. But ministering to the individual has a lot less to do with programs and a lot more to do with developing Christ-like attributes and acting on spiritual promptings.

    If I were to pull out my crystal ball, I’d predict some major programs will be announced in coming years that respond to the conditions the world will find itself in while this economic crisis rolls out. I think he’ll continue to shift the emphasis toward ministering to individuals, especially the less active, and I think he’ll do that by influencing the other apostles and the 70 rather than through sweeping announcements. I suspect we’ll see a quiet re-emphasis on the basics of living the gospel, mostly in the direction of streamlining to ensure leaders spend more time on ministry and less time on administration.

    My guess is we’ll hear more than we ever have on strengthening testimony, reactivation, personal spirituality, keeping covenants and doing the works of Christ. And I believe he’ll see his influence more as leavening the loaves around him and letting the other leaders spread it out.

    President Hinckley had the public charisma thing going for him and knew how to use it. I believe President Monson will rely on his personal charisma to do things more quietly. I think we’ll still see a few big programs coming up, but I sense that President Monson’s bent will be toward fewer programs and letting much of his influence take place outside the spotlight.

  50. Jeff Spector
    February 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

    James and Lorin,

    I agree with you!

  51. Joe P.
    February 4, 2009 at 10:15 am

    In #42 I said, “I’m beginning to think your church should be renamed… The Church of Thomas S. Monson of Latter Day Saints. Especially if you think TSM’s revelations are on par with Jesus.”

    In #47 Ray said, “The last sentence of your comment, btw, is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read on this blog. If you don’t understand why, you don’t understand Mormonism at all.”

    In prior posts Ray said, “There’s VERY little (if ANY) ‘new revelation’ in Paul’s epistles – or even in the words of Jesus, Himself.

    The last comment by Ray is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read anywhere on a website claiming to follow Jesus. To say Jesus had very little if any ‘new revelation’? That is rediculous. To infer that Jesus himself had similar revelations to TSM. Blasphemy.

  52. hawkgrrrl
    February 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

    “Also refer to the entire Book of Revelation… Refer to Revelation 1:1: “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show his servents – things which must shotrly take place. And he sent and signified it by his servant John…”” It being a revelation OF Jesus Christ doesn’t make it the WORDS of Jesus Christ. It was John’s revelation (that he received) about Jesus Christ (and a bunch of other really weird stuff). The revelation is about events to take place in the world.

    “So the words of Jesus within the bible can’t be trusted because he didn’t write them himself? Do his quotes in the bible have any merit at all? Can we just discard the Book of Revelation because it sounds like someone on a “acid trip”?” No, you are the one implying you would discard it if it’s not written by Jesus (which most of it wasn’t). I am maintaining a more open-minded approach to all inspired words, regardless of author. I’m not a big fan of the revelation because it’s not important to my daily life. Come what may, I just have to do what’s right, whether the seas are boiling or not.

    “I disagree that the early prophets “were really not making change”. How about Noah? His prophesy of the flood saved humanity. Was that an insignificant revelation?” Noah was calling people to repentence and warning them. That’s what I said a prophet does. That’s the same thing TSM and other apostles do. Noah is a classic example of a prophet who didn’t provide any new revelation. I do disagree with Ray, though, that Jesus wasn’t providing new revelation. The Jews had wanted so far off track by that point that he really was a revolutionary. Similarly, JS was revealing things that had been lost, misunderstood, etc. We just haven’t wandered off track far enough since then to warrant another major correction/revelation.

  53. Jeff Spector
    February 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

    “The last comment by Ray is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read anywhere on a website claiming to follow Jesus. To say Jesus had very little if any ‘new revelation’? That is rediculous. To infer that Jesus himself had similar revelations to TSM. Blasphemy.”

    Joe, you are absolutely welcome to go somewhere else. And I suggest you read some of your own comments before casting stones at other’s. You have been nothing but rude and disrespectful to the beliefs of mine and the people who frequent this board.

  54. Joe P.
    February 4, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Ray,

    I said earlier that Jesus claimed to be the only begotten Son of God. I stand by this statement. He accepted worship as the Son of God, and died on the cross because he claimed to be the Son of God.

    By his acceptance of worship (as the Son of God) he obviously agreed with his disciples:

    Matthew 14:33 – After Jesus had calmed the storm, the disciples worshipped Him saying He is the Son of God.

    John 9:38 – After Jesus healed a blind man, the man said he believed and he worshipped Jesus.

    Matthew 28:9,17 – After His resurrection, His disciples worshiped Him.

    Luke 24:52 – After He had ascended back to heaven, they continued to worship Him.

    So Jesus accepted worship as an act of religious honor. Jesus’ own teachings would absolutely forbid this, if He was just a man, even if He was a great prophet.

    My reference to Matthew 26:63-64 (that you were so quick to discared without any argument) absolutely confirms that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. “But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

  55. Joe P.
    February 4, 2009 at 10:53 am

    hawkgrrrl,

    I never said, or implied, that Jesus had to write the words himself (within the Bible) for them to be acceptable. I was trying to say that he made some astounding claims. To make these claims they did not need to come directly from his mouth to the page.

    I can see your side on most of your latest comments. However, I think Noah foreseeing the flood was more than as you said, “a classic example of a prophet who didn’t provide any new revelation.” I think it is an example of one of the most important revelations in the bible. It did save every (air breathing) living thing on the plant.

  56. Russell Stevenson
    February 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Joe:

    Unless it was a local flood…in which case it saved all but the neanderthals, the missing links, and the Piltdown-type men. Evolution is real. Intelligent design is faulty science. Fundamentalism/evangelical Christianity (“another gospel,” as the Good Book says) is a cult bent on destroying the Truth.

    The key to winning debates–call them a cult before they call you one.

  57. Joe P.
    February 4, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Russell. A painting has a painter. A building has an architect. Creation has a creator. Plus, you’ve got the second law of thermodynamics, dna, etc.

    It takes much more faith to believe in evolution than a creator.

    BTW, have you seen the movie Expelled? Its the one where Richard Dawkins (one of the biggest proponents of evolution) says humans might be the seed of aliens… Yeah… Aliens… That makes much more sense than a creator.

  58. Ray
    February 4, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Joe, there is no way to reply to your hyperbolic manipulation of comments. You have yet to provide ANYTHING that refutes what I actually said, and you’ve put words into my mouth that I never said. That simply is unacceptable, and it’s not worthy of a response. Call it avoiding the issue if you want to, but make sure you are looking in a mirror as you say it. I haven’t said what you claim I have said, and I’m not going to respond to accusations based on what I didn’t say. You are being incredibly sloppy, and I’m not going to join you in that mud pit.

    For the record, I believe Jesus was and is the only begotten son of God, the Eternal Father. I believe He claimed to be not only the son of God, but also the great I AM. I have said repeatedly on other threads TO YOU that the words of Jesus take precedence over the words of anyone else – including modern prophets. For you to insinuate and state blatantly otherwise, when I’ve said those things directly TO YOU is disingenuous, insulting, dishonest, disrespectful, condescending and flat-out wrong. So, all niceties aside, stop it. Quit using your comments to lie about me and what I say. Focus on what I’ve actually said or take a flying leap off of a tall waterfall. (Drop it, Carlos. He’s calling me a liar and distorting my words. I won’t allow that on one of my threads, and that is purely within the bounds of civility and common decency.)

    To respond to a very focused point, what I said is that Jesus never claimed to be “the only begotten son of the Father” – and I am correct in that statement. Those words are not attributed to him. He never made that claim, even though I believe he was such. Setting that aside, even if I grant that his claim to be the son of God and the great I AM is “new revelation” (and there is an excellent argument that his statements merely were a statement of fulfillment of old prophecy), that is one. That still makes my point valid – that there is “little (if any)” new, non-administrative revelation in the words of Paul and even those attributed to Jesus. Prove me wrong, without the hyperbolic accusations, or this conversation is over.

  59. MH
    February 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Can we please get back to the point of the post? “President Thomas S. Monson: First Year in Review.”

    Joe has successfully threadjacked this whole post, and most of you apparently enjoy the threadjack. Joe needs to be ignored, not indulged. He is merely picking a fight.

    My father in law’s mission president was TSM. Before Pres Hinckley’s death, he predicted that there would be no major changes between Hinckley and Monson. It seems to me that there has been little change. I suspect that Pres Hinckley would have handled the Prop 8 issue in much the same way as Monson. I don’t recall Hinckley doing any big changes his first year in office either, so they seem quite similar in that respect as well.

  60. Rigel Hawthorne
    February 4, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I had always enjoyed President Monson as a conference speaker, so I was expecting I would be at ease when he assumed the position of prophet. I haven’t, however, felt that confidence and fondness that I was accustomed to feeling with President Hinckley. I remember seeing the interview President Monson gave briefly to a local television news camera while he was getting his shoes shined and thought it came across as rather bland. I did enjoy the Sunday Morning April conference address that Jeff mentioned and thought it provided a glimpse into his personal emotions associated with the transition.

    I wonder about the reason for three temples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area while Tucson has none. The communities further south from Tucson could certainly use a shortened trip. I assume there is a wise reason for this and that the saints in Tucson will be rewarded by bearing with this situation without murmuring.

    I would say that perhaps the greatest accomplishment of President Monson’s presidency thus far was the selection of Dieter Uchtdorf (did I get that spelling right?) as a counselor. His conferences addresses and leadership have stood out, in my opinion. I would also agree with MH, that Hinckley’s first year was without big changes. He followed the motto he proclaimed to “carry on”.

  61. Ray
    February 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Ditto the endorsement of the selection of Pres. Uchtdorf (yes, you got the spelling right, Rigel). That was “administrative revelation” (if not more) if ever there was such.

  62. Hawkgrrrl
    February 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Rigel – I totally agree. I’m a bit of an Uchtdorf fangirl, even moreso after his talk “Faith of Our Fathers.”

  63. Ray
    February 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    “Faith of Our Fathers” is a classic! Literally, that is one of my favorite GC talks of all time. I sat there listening and thought, “WOW!” – through the entire talk.

    OK, now we’re threadjacking. *grin*

  64. Jeff Spector
    February 4, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Yes, The President Uchtdorf calling was an excellent one. And Pres. Monson has known him a long time.

  65. Jeff Spector
    February 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Just to confirm what MH and Rigel stated President Hinckley really got going in 1999 and 2000. Here is the highlights of his first two years from the Church website:
    1995
    * 12 March – Set apart as 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    * 1 April – Sustained by Church members as 15th president of the Church
    * 8 April – Dedicated the Tuacahn arts center and amphitheater in Ivins, Utah
    * 13 May – Broke ground for Vernal Utah Temple, the 10th temple in Utah
    * 17–23 June – Held meetings with members in Alaska, the first time a president of the Church has done so
    * 23 September – Read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” at general Relief Society meeting
    * 13 November – Met with president of the United States at White House to discuss importance of families
    * 20 December – Announced new logo design for the name of the Church

    1996
    * 6 April – Announced construction of a new meeting hall in Salt Lake City that would hold three to four times more people than Salt Lake Tabernacle
    * 7 April – Interviewed by Mike Wallace of CBS’s 60 Minutes
    * 22 April – Dedicated David O. McKay Events Center at Utah Valley State College in Provo, Utah ”
    * 26 May – Dedicated Hong Kong China Temple
    * 11 June – Broke ground for Madrid Spain Temple
    * 29 June – Rededicated refurbished This Is the Place Monument and State Park in Salt Lake City
    * 13 October – Dedicated Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple
    * 10 November – Broke ground for Cochabamba Bolivia Temple

    check out the rest of his tenure here: http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/time-line-of-significant-events-as-president

  66. KingOfTexas
    February 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Not to change the subject; but anybody have any idea roughly how many years we have been around this dispensation?

  67. Joe P.
    February 5, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Ray:

    For the record. I never said you personally didn’t believe Jesus to be the only begotten Son of God. I was trying to show you that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and this is a powerful, new revelation. It sounds like you agree that Jesus claimed this, but you don’t think the claim was actually a “new” non-administrative revelation.

    What if Thomas S. Monson claimed to be Christ (in the second coming)? Would that be a “new” non-administrative revelation also? You are simply missing my point.

    Why are you so quick to call me a liar, and personally attack me? A pointed debate is one thing, but telling me to jump off a high waterfall. Just how is that appropriate?

  68. CarlosJC
    February 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Jeff Specktor #53 “Joe, you are absolutely welcome to go somewhere else.”

    I, for one, will miss my fellow Christian Joe P if he does follow your advice!

  69. Hawkgrrrl
    February 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    KoT – I’ve been around 41 yrs of this dispensation.

  70. February 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Joe, I believe Ray said “Focus on what I’ve actually said or take a flying leap off of a tall waterfall,” i.e. responding to what he said is an alternative to taking the flying leap. ;)

  71. KingOfTexas
    February 5, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Hawkgrrrl you’re funny. You look younger in your pix.

  72. Jeff Spector
    February 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    She didn’t say how much of that was pre-existance! :0)

  73. CarlosJC
    February 6, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    67# Oh dear!!!

  74. carmen
    September 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

    all good things are done through christ and contention is of the devil. arguing is not going to help or solve anything, people choose to believe what they believe and we should exept and respect that. We are all children of God and we are all saved through Christ. God bless you All and I hope that you will seek guidence from the Holy Spirit and not worry so much about what others do or dont’ think. Faith, brotherly kindness, and love will surely bring all good things to come to pass.