The Iron Rod Podcast
The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 045 - October 2019 General Conference

In this episode we review several of the talks given in last week’s General Conference, calling out the good, the bad, and the ugly things that were said over the pulpit, and comparing them to what the scriptures say.

3 Nephi 27:10-11

Mormon 9:20

Moroni 7:37

Mosiah 27:25-26

Moses 6:59-66

Acts 26:15-16

2 Nephi 9:2

D&C 84:75-85

Alma 37:33

1 Nephi 15:24

D&C 45:57

Isaiah 56:10

Jeremiah 6:17

1 Timothy 3:12

Helaman 5:12

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19 comments on “Iron Rod 045 – October 2019 General Conference

  1. Anthony Oct 15, 2019

    Here is the requested statistical analysis of the phrase “covenant path”, along with its history.

    It was first used in General Conference by Sister Elaine Dalton in April 2007. She was quoting a 2006 Ensign article by Elder Jeffrey Roy Holland’s called “What I Wish Every Member Knew.”

    It then skipped a year and wasn’t used until 2009, where Elder David Todd Christofferson used the phrase twice. It then mysteriously skipped a few more years until 2013 where it was used in 8 times in 4 talks, then again 8 times in 4 talks in 2014, 3 times in 3 talks on 2015, 2 times in 2 talks in 2016, and 3 times in 3 talks in 2017……… But one of those times was by Russell Marion Nelson who would be crowned beloved prophet just a few short months later… The rest is history.

    In 2018 it was used 38 times in 22 talks, then in 2019 a whopping 47 times in 25 talks…..


    • Thank you for doing the research. Those numbers are amazing. So amazing, I had to put them into a graph so everyone can appreciate just how significant the shift in usage was once RMN became CEO.

      Unfortunately, I must call you to repentance. You referred to Elders Christofferson and Holland by their full names. Those two men are only Elders, not Presidents, so we must not use their full names. For this lower tier of prophets, seers, and revelators, one must convert one name into an initial. It is very disrespectful to treat these men as equal, when it’s clearly obvious that some are more important than others. It could also lead people astray, members could mistakenly give as much importance to the words of one of the lesser apostles as to the words of the greater apostles. The Lord is very displeased when we treat his apostles equally, and wants them to have a strict hierarchy to avoid confusion. The process of entering and exiting rooms according to seniority is a fundamental doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you see the love I have for you while I rebuke you for your apostate language.

      • Anthony Oct 15, 2019

        I stand rebuked and humiliated haha. Dare I use this graph when I teach EQ in a couple weeks using my assigned GC talk that invoked the term? I think I shall – merely for educational purposes…

    • Anthony,
      Thank you for the analysis. I can only shake my head at some of the terms used so incredibly often in the church that are either wrong or used in a way that masks the proper/scriptural meaning.

      Regarding the analysis: May I ask what method or software you used in your research?

      • Anthony Oct 15, 2019

        It was pretty high tech haha… I used the LDS scripture app. I downloaded every Conference since 1971 and searched for the exact phrase “covenant path”… Then I used pen and paper to note how many talks and times per year the phrase appeared… I had to dig into the first reference to find where Elder Holland had used it… I wonder if it was used anywhere before that fateful 2006 Ensign article??? Someone else can try to do the detective work on that haha… But I know it wasn’t used in General Conference at all between 1971 and 2007…

  2. Thirsty Oct 15, 2019

    What I found very interesting was there was no hiding that this is a corporation more than it is a church.

    This is from Elder Cook’s talk.

    “At all levels—ward, stake, and general—we will use the term “organization” rather than the term “auxiliary.” Those who lead the General Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, Primary, and Sunday School organizations will be known as “General Officers.” Those who lead organizations at the ward and stake levels will be known as “ward officers” and “stake officers.””

    Here’s the associated footnote with this quote:

    “ The presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, Sunday School, and Primary at the general and stake levels are General Officers or stake officers. At the ward level, the bishopric leads the young men, so Aaronic Priesthood quorum advisers are not ward officers.”

    • When the bishop is referred to as the “Chief Executive Officer” of the ward, then we’ll know we’ve fully embraced the corporate church.

  3. Thank you for this podcast. I am trying to understand Isaiah since Nephi said this is important. You stated that you would be willing to consider ideas for future podcasts. If you could help me understand Isaiah that would be helpful. Thank you.

    • Anthony Oct 15, 2019

      I recommend Avraham Gileadi’s commentary recordings at Hours and hours of the best commentary available…

      • Jim, we will be covering some Isaiah content in a few months. In the meantime, Gileadi’s work can be a great resource, especially for the linguistic and historical elements that aren’t obvious to us modern folk. The tools he provides are great. The conclusions he reaches, however, are influenced by his belief in the King Follett discourse’s nature of God, the temple ordinances, polygamy, and other nonscriptural doctrine. You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but keep in mind the water isn’t 100% pure.

        • Kathryn Oct 19, 2019

          Jim, Like Anthony, I suggest Gileadi’s commentary for reading Isaiah, if you stick with Isaiah alone. He has other books that combine Isaiah with other scriptures: Book of Mormon, Bible, and other information. Like MD mention, some of his books are influenced by his understanding or belief in the standard stance of the Church. However, if you stick with Isaiah alone, it’s pretty pure.

          I have been a student of Gileadi for about 10 years and find his work incredible. If you understood his journey from the Netherlands, as a child, during world war II to New Zealand to Jerusalem, where he studied with the Rabbis for 4 years, you would understand he is probably the best authority on Isaiah there is because he understands “The Manner of the Jews”, and the complexities for inturpreting the Jewish scripture. His journey to studying with the Rabbis and his conversion to the Church is nothing less than a miracle. Hugh Nibley, if you remember him, endorsed his work 100% and supported him when opposition came from Salt Lake.

          I like the website site “Isaiah” because you can study Isaiah 3 different ways, one option is his added commentary. While reading the material, you can also listen to additional verbal commentary as well. However, I prefer his book: “Apocalyptic Commentary of the Book of Isaiah” because the commentary is more in-depth and I enjoy marking my books for further reference. I found this book pretty pure without Mormonism influences. It can be purchased on Amazon.

          The headings in all of our scriptures were composed by Bruce R. McConkie, which I find to be distracting and many times not correct. They often direct you down a “Mormon” understanding path rather than what is actually meant. BYU scholar commentary supports the McConkie’s headings in Isaiah which also leads you down a different path than the understanding Gileadi offers, one being the powerful witness of the end-time “Servant”, which the Church does not speak of or openly acknowledge. In Isaiah, when you understand the “Code” names used to refer to the “End Time Servant”, you will find them used in our other scriptures. For instance, in D&C 1: knowing this one hidden reference to the “End Time Servant” changes the meaning of this chapter completely and is in line with what MD and Searcher have understood and shared with us.

          It behooves all of us to be prayerful about what we are studying, no matter the source. There are lot of conflicting voices out there. Good luck in your study.

          I look forward to the Isaiah podcasts.

          • Shimai Nov 10, 2019

            I’ve used Gileadi’s commentary on Isaiah for several years as well. I appreciate his efforts and many of his insights but, as others have said, I don’t agree with all of his perspectives. One of those is that he doesn’t feel we should be looking for Joseph Smith to return as the Davidic servant. Watcher blogged about that a while back. That is actually very amazing to me because so often he is describing Joseph and his yet to be completed mission and his intercessory offering to a tee in my view. Gileadi describes the intercessory offering as the servant fulfilling his role as “Proxy Savior.” Read his commentary on Isaiah 57:17-21; 49:1-8; 52:13-15; and all of 53 to name a few. The commentary is found by chapter under the “Apocalyptic Commentary” tab at It is such a reminder of how easy it is to “see” what we want to “see” or what we’ve been taught to “see” in the scriptures. Which is why I appreciate MD, Searcher and Watcher’s efforts to truly understand what the scriptures REALLY teach. Thank you so much for all your efforts to blog and do the podcasts! Very appreciated!

  4. I love the analysis of the changing doctrinal terminology below! It is fascinating to see new gospel concepts pop up in our own lifetimes, and how quickly they become incorporated (no pun intended) into the corporate church. I also find it amazingly annoying how they proclaim themselves prophets, yet never bring forth revelation, but then say that some policy is revelation, except if we change our minds later then this new policy is now revelation and that policy in the past was simply us speaking as a man. Has anyone else noticed that the “prophet” almost never claims to be a prophet himself, the other 14 and the 70 etc. proclaim him to be one, and he simply never says they are wrong. Pretty convenient.

    Also on the point of Bednar becoming prophet some day, I have actually thought a lot about that for awhile now, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he proclaims himself the reincarnation of God some day while sitting in the temple. And sadly most mormons would rejoice. I mean if you think about it that’s the next logical step in prophet worship. They already speak for God and are infallible. So why not simply proclaim yourself God once you get to that position?

  5. Ranae Oct 16, 2019

    You might not have noticed, but the change to the Young Women’s theme solidified the doctrinal creep regarding Heavenly Mother. Compare:

    I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny.
    As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I strive to become like Him. I seek and act upon personal revelation and minister to others in His holy name.
    I will stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
    As I strive to qualify for exaltation, I cherish the gift of repentance and seek to improve each day. With faith, I will strengthen my home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, and receive the ordinances and blessings of the holy temple.

    Here is the previous version:
    We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:
    Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
    We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

    By the way, the footnotes for the heavenly parents part refer to Romans 8:16–17; Doctrine and Covenants 76:24; and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,”

    • Thanks for pointing this out. I had seen something mentioning this, but hadn’t looked at the details. Those footnotes are noteworthy. Romans 8:16-17
      16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
      17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

      I wonder why they didn’t include the two verses before those:
      14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
      15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

      Wait a minute. We’re adopted children? And only those of us who are led by the Spirit of God are adopted? That’s not what I was taught in Primary! And why would we cry only “Father” and not “Mother and Father”?

      D&C 76:24
      24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

      Verses 23 and 25 complicates the General Conference narrative even more:
      23 For we saw him, even on the bright hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father

      25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,

      Why is Jesus begotten of the Father, whereas we are begotten unto the Father? Why doesn’t it say Jesus is the Only Begotten of the Mother and Father? Why doesn’t the Mother love Jesus? If Jesus were to be in anyone’s bosom, wouldn’t it be the Mother’s? It’s a good thing we have living prophets that are more valuable than dead prophets, because these dead prophets did not understand the doctrine of Heavenly Mother and the doctrinal truths in “I am a Child of God”. If the dead prophets were correct, we’d have to change the song to “I hope to become an adopted child unto God”, and that ain’t ever gonna happen.

  6. I found the talk by Dallin Oaks (titled ‘Trust in the Lord’) …interesting for several reasons (ignorance seemed to be a telling theme). There is a segment towards the end of the talk that I can only shake my head at regarding the logic and the hypocrisy.

    He quotes D. Todd Christofferson and Neil L. Anderson and then makes his own statement as follows:
    – “Elder Christofferson taught: “It should be remembered that not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. It is commonly understood in the Church that a statement made by one leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, not meant to be official or binding for the whole Church.” In the following conference, Elder Andersen taught this principle: “The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk.” The family proclamation, signed by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, is a wonderful illustration of that principle. Beyond something as formal as the family proclamation, the prophetic teachings of the Presidents of the Church, affirmed by other prophets and apostles, are also an example of this.”

    Point 1: It seems that true doctrine can only be established by consensus or over a long period of time (or both). Why not use the scriptures to establish doctrine? Consensus doctrine would not be necessary if what is taught so well in Jer 23 were to be believed regarding the burden of the Lord:
    37 Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the Lord answered thee? and, What hath the Lord spoken?

    Regarding their needing to quote each other and only establish doctrine by supporting each other:
    Jeremiah 23:30
    30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
    Or a different translation:
    30“Therefore behold,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from each other words they attribute to Me.”

    Point 2: Immediately following the quote above, Oaks then pulls out teachings ‘hidden in an obscure paragraph’ of the King Follett discourse (April 1844) and another funeral related conference address (Oct 1843) given by Joseph Smith. Apparently the ‘burden’ of consensus doctrine was either not applicable or these addresses have been quoted enough to ‘establish it for doctrine’ (3 Nephi 11:40).

    • Ranae Oct 18, 2019

      I just happened to find this verse while reading Mosiah today:
      And now, because of the covenant which ye have made, ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you, for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore ye are born of him and have become his sons and daughters. (Mosiah 5:7)

  7. Jessi H Oct 22, 2019

    I like to describe the GA’s manner of speach as their “soporific, lilting cadence.” It’s an integral part of the neuro-linguistic programming applied to keep members from thinking critically, as are the fake tears designed to convey high spirituality and emotional tenderness (and, as we all know, extreme emotionality is one of the fruits of the Spirit).
    I much appreciate Jonathan Streeter’s and Luna Lindsey’s Undue Influence series in which they analyze and explain the tactics of high-demand groups, using Conference talks. I highly recommend those videos on Thinker of Thoughts YouTube channel.
    As for liveliness, the music at Mormon gatherings is sooooo slooooooowww, I can’t stand it. I’m a musical person, so the snail’s pace of the hymns is enough to drive mad. It’s even like that at my ward. Sigh…

  8. Jessi H Oct 22, 2019

    It’s interesting that the total spent on humanitatian efforts over 33 years is about equal to what was spent on that City Creek Mall.