This past weekend, many came away from LDS general conference with long to-do lists and notes of counsel, along with motivation to keep trying. Yet, while topics such as tolerance, chastity and the Ten Commandments may have brought a serious tone, there were also several light-hearted moments.
One of the most memorable was during President Thomas S. Monson's Sunday morning address. The prophet smiled several times while telling a story about how as an 8-year-old boy he lit a fire in an attempt to get rid of dry grass in a field. President Monson drew several laughs simply by his facial expressions, such as his sheepish frown and several eye rolls, sparking commentary on Twitter.
Pres. Monson is the best conference storyteller-his expressions are priceless #ldsconf— Natalie Dance (@natcdance) April 7, 2013
Other speakers also had moments of humor and wit.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve took the stand Saturday morning just three speakers after his fellow apostle, President Boyd K. Packer. Earlier in that session President Packer had referenced a poem he composed over the years. The poem addressed the different stages President Packer went through in his life, and as soon as Elder Ballard began to speak, he referenced the poem.
"President Packer," Elder Ballard said, turning and pointing to the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, "We're all looking forward to the 98th version of that wonderful poem."
Elder Neil L. Andersen didn't hesitate to joke about the age of the senior apostles. During his address Sunday morning, Elder Andersen remembered when he and Elder Bednar served as missionaries.
"I can assure you that we are not the oldest of the returned missionaries sitting in the red chairs."
Another popular moment, which has generated discussion online, happened at the conclusion of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's address in the Priesthood session Saturday night. Once President Uchtdorf closed his remarks and the audience together responded, "Amen," the voice of what seemed to be a young man shouted out with vigor and above the rest, "Amen!"
Someone at the priesthood session agreed with president Uchtdorf's talk very emphatically. We heard his amen through the broadcast. #ldsconf— Derek Caswell (@DancingTechGeek) April 7, 2013
I think we can all take a lesson from the enthusiastic AMEN during Priesthood Session. #ldsconf— Dave Martin (@superdavemartin) April 7, 2013
Other speakers also shared light-hearted stories, such as Elder Enrique R. Falabella's description of traveling to be sealed in a temple more than 4,000 miles away.7 comments on this story
"A friend took us to Sunday School,” Elder Falabella said. "During the meeting he stood up and introduced us to the class. As the meeting came to a close, a brother approached me and shook my hand leaving a $20 bill in it. Soon after, another brother reached out to me as well, and to my surprise he also left a bill in my hand. I quickly looked for my wife, who was across the room, and shouted, 'Blanca, shake hands with everyone!'"
Other laughs were found during Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's address, although he may not have planned for such response. When counseling members not to dwell on the faith they don't have, Elder Holland said, "That's like trying to stuff a turkey through the beak!"
At the close of the two-day conference, President Monson reminded members to be good citizens and good neighbors, to reach out to those of different faiths with tolerance, kindness and love.
Sarah Sanders Petersen is an intern for Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She is a communications major and editing minor from Brigham Young University.