Some changes occurred in the recent General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even if it’s sometimes onerous, change can be good or at least interesting.
My personal favorite was seeing a genuine, no-doubt-about-it African American general authority speaking at conference.
Yup, Peter M. Johnson, a member of the Seventy, told a predominantly white congregation that we needed to shape up and stop being fooled by Satan. He didn’t specifically mention past racist policies as being fooled, but I confess it crossed my mind.
Mostly, what I thought about was time travel, how I would love to venture back to Salt Lake City sometime around 1870, crash a Quorum of the Twelve meeting, and give the apostles a shocking heads-ups.
Me • “Hey, guys. I’m from the future. You’re not going to believe this, but guess what?”
Apostle No. 1 • “Hark, ’tis an evil spirit! Flee!”
Apostle No. 2 • “A forbidden priesthood is among us, brethren.”
Me • “Funny you should mention that.”
While I was pleased that Elder Johnson is a general authority and spoke in conference, most of my meager attention was captured when church President Russell M. Nelson announced that the next conference — in spring 2020 — was going to be a doozy.
He didn’t say exactly what would happen in April confurnz, only that it wasn’t going to be business as usual.
A number of things came immediately to this mind, including the long-predicted trek back to Missouri, a preview of the Second Coming or some general leader yelling about gender identity at Adam-ondi-Ahman (also in Missouri).
That last one — a bit of church lore — is really confusing. If Adam was married to Eve, why was he on Diahman?
Oh, shut up. After polygamy and Mountain Meadows, anything is not only a fair question but also possible.
Still, the church president declaring that next spring’s gathering “will be different from any previous conference” is cause for concern, particularly since we’ve almost never been given a warning like that before. Except maybe for the Great Flood.
I know he said it’s to celebrate church founder Joseph Smith’s “First Vision,” but what if he has visions of much, much more? If I had to guess — and nearly all of us do — I’d go with:
• A female general authority. Like having an Elder Johnson, it’s a start toward balance.
• An increase in tithing from 10% to 20%. Have to pay for those new temples in out-of-the-way places like Orem and Taylorsville somehow.
• Pet sealings. Everyone knows that love is the most precious thing in the world. Why not have your cat Precious sealed to you for time and all that?
• Public denouncements and excommunications of dissidents as a way to cleanse the church before the Second Coming.
• Ratcheting up the Word of Wisdom with a ban on energy drinks. No more sneaking a Monster to get your head on straight for church.
• Children interviewing local church leaders instead of the other way around. “My dad thinks you’re a fathead. Are you?”
• Declaring outer space as a new mission field.
Again, anything is possible. We have six months to get ourselves ready by praying more, reading the scriptures, returning to the covenant path or buying life rafts.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.