Hopefully you are all catching some sessions of General Conference this weekend. Here in Shanghai, our congregations (now 3 great branches for foreign passport holders) will watch it as a recording next week so we don't have to go without sleep to watch conference in our time zone. For some folks, the temptation to sleep through conference is bad enough during broad daylight.

If you watched it, you might have been pleased to see that a woman gave one of the prayers in the opening session. Sister Jean A. Stevens used to be in my parents' ward and my wife knows her, having been her host when Sister Stevens visited Wisconsin a few years ago. Fabulous woman, she says. Cool!

What a privilege we have to be able to watch conference at all. For those who get to watch it on TV, it's one of the few religious programs you may ever see on the tube. Take a moment and read Jim Bennett's article, "Where's the Respect for Religion on TV?" Mocking religion is the easiest thing in the world. Creating characters who are religious hypocrites is a trivial exercise that is repeated endlessly in TV programs, movies, and books. Tiring end tedious, yet we are supposed to think it's witty. I'm finishing The Poisonwood Bible right now, and while I like a lot about the book, the repetitive sarcasm directed toward the religion of the totally one-dimensional, predictable boor-of-a-preacher tyrant father makes the book much less than it could have been, IMHO. As usual, religion, especially Christian religion gets no respect. It deserves a little more than that. Read Bennett's article and let me know what you think. It's not just imagined hostility. 

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