I will attempt to repeat last year's award-winning performance by giving brief notes on the October 2004 Conference sessions, again using a "best of" and "worst of" format to give everyone something to work with.
Best Moment. Calling a non-US (or Canada) apostle into the Twelve is certainly the highlight of the morning. Personally, I thought it was fun to see Pres. Faust sporting a trendy headset mic as he delivered his AM session address seated before a desk-level podium. He repeated that performance in the Saturday evening priesthood session, although without the headset mic, again looking energetic and sounding good. Pres. Faust spoke on the tough question of why there is suffering, hardship, and injustice in the world. His responses: (1) I don't know; (2) Perhaps we're not so innocent; and (3) God loves us, and somehow suffering and injustice are linked to God's plan for our eternal happiness. He cited Spencer W. Kimball for the idea that if just rewards for sinful or righteous conduct were immediate, the whole "test of faith" function of life on Earth would be undermined.
Worst Moment. Probably the comments in the afternoon session proclaiming that LDS testimony makes the Church unique among denominations. Mormons seem to embrace the idea that Mormon religious convictions are authentic, sincere, and truly divine in origin, whereas the religious convictions of fellow Christians are some phony put-on or even due to Satanic influence. Coming to grips with authentic religious experience in other denominations and in the life of other Christians seems like a necessary precondition to developing a more tolerant, ecumenical LDS attitude toward other denominations. The afternoon remarks continued, suggesting fewer "I am thankfuls" and more "I knows" in LDS testimony meeting remarks, emphasizing short, direct statements affirming the simple truths of the restored gospel. Why don't they just tape a pro forma paragraph to the podium and have everyone it verbatim? It will be interesting to see whether these remarks have an actual effect on the form or content of LDS testimonies offered in the monthly F&T meetings.