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Elder Poelmans 1984 Talk


bobg

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Hi all as some of you might know in the October 1984 general conference Elder Poelman of the 70 gave a talk called the gospel and the church,

The original of this talk can be seen here

however if you read the transcript of this talk on lds.org

http://lds.org/general-conference/1984/10/the-gospel-and-the-church?lang=eng

You will see quite a different set of points made, from what I understand after the general conference Poelman went back to the conference centre and re,recorded the talk which we now see on the lds.org site,

I am not a member but I just wondered if for people here who already knew about this do you know why it was done, i personally appreciated many of the points made in the original talk.

For anyone who wants to see all of the changes are shown here http://www.lds-mormon.com/poelman.shtml

none of these are my site so I am not trying to build up hits :P

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Well, despite the author's claim, this IS an antiMormon site because, in part, the page one is encouraged to go to if one is comfortable with their faith but should read before they leave implies that perhaps the average believing LDS member is merely just a "sheep" and not a "thinker". I also think that perhaps driving traffic to this site is a priority (not necessarily yours) given the "you may have won" type popups I'm blocking when I hit the home page.

With that said, and noting that I did not watch the videos or other sources to check the accuracy of the claimed changes, yes I do know why this happens. Conference speakers are generally not given topics to speak on beforehand. They are to develop the talk themselves as the Spirit directs. Some are better at it than others and some might bring with it some ideas or ways of communicating that aren't quite what the Church wants to project. Ultimately of course, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve must agree with it before it's published; the point at which is becomes doctrine.

In this case, I don't see much to take issue with in the original talk or the changes. My initial thinking is that the problem might have been the notion that the laws of the gospel don't change. In fact, they do change and this is illustrated by the Biblical change from the law of Moses to the law of the Gospel. Also, the fact that modern revelation might require a change as well. Gospel principles themselves don't change and that remains reflected in the new version.

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I am not a member but I just wondered if for people here who already knew about this do you know why it was done, i personally appreciated many of the points made in the original talk.

You are not alone, Bob.

Many members found Elder Poelman's talk a breath of fresh air and were disconcerted to find that changes were made to it and it was re-recorded in the Tabernacle with a "cough" track to make it sound as if people were really present for Conference. The tabernacle was, of course, actually empty at the time of the re-recording.

It was an incident rich with irony.

Elder Poelman distinguishes the Church from the Gospel, saying the Church administers the Gospel and that the Gospel is what is really important.

So what does the Church do? It forces Elder Poelman to re-record the talk for public consumption, changing the language to make sure it is clear that the Church is really in control.

Talk about art imitating life.

Not the best moment for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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This is pretty old news.

http://sunstoneonline.com/magazine/issues/45/045-44-57.pdf

As Peggy explains in this article, the facts are not nearly so ominous as some have tried to make them out to be. After Elder Poelman gave his talk, apostles who regularly deal with fundamentalist groups were concerned that his remarks could be misconstrued to suggest that those fully versed in and committed to the Gospel do not need the Church. (Fundamentalists are of course not a part of the Church itself.) So Elder Poelman rewrote the talk with those concerns in mind, and then retaped it in the Tabernacle so that the revised version could be included in the tapes that were sent to leaders in foreign countries.

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Elder Poelman distinguishes the Church from the Gospel, saying the Church administers the Gospel and that the Gospel is what is really important.

He would be wrong in that case as that is not what the Gospel teaches. Ephesians 4:11-14 for example. A person cannot know the Gospel without hearing it from the Church or God actually restoring the Church through them.

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Many members found Elder Poelman's talk a breath of fresh air and were disconcerted to find that changes were made to it and it was re-recorded in the Tabernacle with a "cough" track to make it sound as if people were really present for Conference. The tabernacle was, of course, actually empty at the time of the re-recording.

I don't like the sound of that at all.

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With that said, and noting that I did not watch the videos or other sources to check the accuracy of the claimed changes, yes I do know why this happens. Conference speakers are generally not given topics to speak on beforehand. They are to develop the talk themselves as the Spirit directs. Some are better at it than others and some might bring with it some ideas or ways of communicating that aren't quite what the Church wants to project. Ultimately of course, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve must agree with it before it's published; the point at which is becomes doctrine.

Don't you just hate it when you give a talk as directed by the spirit and then the men of the church have the gall to tell you your ideas aren't what the chuch wants to project????

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With that said, and noting that I did not watch the videos or other sources to check the accuracy of the claimed changes, yes I do know why this happens. Conference speakers are generally not given topics to speak on beforehand. They are to develop the talk themselves as the Spirit directs. Some are better at it than others and some might bring with it some ideas or ways of communicating that aren't quite what the Church wants to project. Ultimately of course, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve must agree with it before it's published; the point at which is becomes doctrine.
Don't you just hate it when you give a talk as directed by the spirit and then the men of the church have the gall to tell you your ideas aren't what the chuch wants to project????

How can you tell if it's by the Spirit? The "men of the church" in this case are the earthly arbiters in a case like this when it comes to doctrine.

Many members found Elder Poelman's talk a breath of fresh air and were disconcerted to find that changes were made

Who are these members and what did Poelman say originally that was so earth shattering or important relative to the changes made? I can see how a liberal Protestant might identify with a certain interpretation which Poelman very likely didn't mean, but this isn't a liberal Protestant Church. The interesting thing is that his original talk still contains:

The Church has authority to teach correctly the principles and doctrines of the gospel and to administer its essential ordinances.

Did he state the authority resided elsewhere or with any others on the earth? I'd say it's more likely that he was guided by the Spirit and the "men of the Church", being wise and also led by the Spirit, understood how some people would take it the way it was worded. Far and away more likely than anything some of you are insinuating.

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That link does not seem to work Sargon.

It seems the church is very conscious of people misinterpreting its words rather than unashamedly stating what it believes as are you saying that the first talk was correct as per the lds church but changed because of what outsiders would say?

People have given that explanation to me for why the leadership of the lds church today never says anything particularly doctrinally interesting like the nature of God, why not declare what they see as true without shame and let the outside world misinterpret it all they like, as likes to be said the anti-s will find fault anyway :P

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Some questions I have never seen answered about this whole thing is who figured this out? Somebody would have had to have attended the talk in the tabernacle and remembered a difference between that one and the newly recorded version and the printed version from the new recording. I wonder if this someone made it a habit to scrutinize talks this way? I wonder what Elder Poelman had to say about all this? on Wikipedia there is a line that says, "Poelman was not invited to speak in general conference again for four and a half years" I wonder if whomever wrote that knows that that is routine for member sof the Seventy? Some only give one conference talk in their entire service.

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That link does not seem to work Sargon.

It seems the church is very conscious of people misinterpreting its words rather than unashamedly stating what it believes as are you saying that the first talk was correct as per the lds church but changed because of what outsiders would say?

People have given that explanation to me for why the leadership of the lds church today never says anything particularly doctrinally interesting like the nature of God, why not declare what they see as true without shame and let the outside world misinterpret it all they like, as likes to be said the anti-s will find fault anyway :P

Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. of the Seventy gave an address at a recent BYU devotional and Dr. Andrew C. Skinner of the Religion Dept. gave an address on God the Father at a BYU devotional some years back. BYU devotionals are longer then a conference talk.

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It seems the church is very conscious of people misinterpreting its words rather than unashamedly stating what it believes as are you saying that the first talk was correct as per the lds church but changed because of what outsiders would say?

I think the fact that they did make such a change embodies the very definition of unashamedly stating what they believe.

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I don't like the sound of that at all.

Do you mean the cough track? If so, I would think that is simply to make the recording sound more 'natural'. The point of having the conference talks online to listen to is not to provide references for people doing research or whatever, but to allow individuals to listen to spiritual guidance from church leaders. Having no background sound or only the echo an empty hall would provide would be unusual and might be distracting to the listener, imo. I was watching a TV show awhile back and the music provided was just slightly off from the action that was going on and I was surprised at how much that disturbed me...to the point if it hadn't improved over the next few episodes, I would have stopped watching the show even though I found the rest of it interesting. When I watch the edited out segments of films or tv shows that lack any background noise, but just has the voice of the actors, it is very grating to me. I assume I am not the only one sensitive to this kind of stuff as trivial as it may seem, but I for one would be grateful for adding that background noise to allow me to focus on the speaker (kind of a contradiction...having to add noise to be able to listen, you would think the opposite of less noise would be more helpful, lol).

If you just mean the rerecording, what problems to you have with that?

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You are not alone, Bob.

Many members found Elder Poelman's talk a breath of fresh air and were disconcerted to find that changes were made to it and it was re-recorded in the Tabernacle with a "cough" track to make it sound as if people were really present for Conference. The tabernacle was, of course, actually empty at the time of the re-recording.

It was an incident rich with irony.

Elder Poelman distinguishes the Church from the Gospel, saying the Church administers the Gospel and that the Gospel is what is really important.

So what does the Church do? It forces Elder Poelman to re-record the talk for public consumption, changing the language to make sure it is clear that the Church is really in control.

Talk about art imitating life.

Not the best moment for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

The 1st Presidency and 12 are in control of the Church under the direction of Christ

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After Elder Poelman gave his talk, apostles who regularly deal with fundamentalist groups were concerned that his remarks could be misconstrued to suggest that those fully versed in and committed to the Gospel do not need the Church.

The only problem I have with that idea is that if people are going to take that stance, they hardly need Elder Poelman's approval. They can claim we've become a church of Zoramites and justify themselves with Alma 32:

Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?

If someone is going to justify their behavior, they don't need a conference talk. :P

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Do you mean the cough track? If so, I would think that is simply to make the recording sound more 'natural'.

Has it been established that there was a "cough track" added, or is this another case (to which I've noted in the past that Consiglieri is prone) of assumption asserted as fact?

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zlmb had this conversation about it and included this quote: http://pacumenispages.yuku.com/forum/viewtopic/id/6644

October 1984. Elder Ronald E. Poelman, speaking in conference on The Gospel and the Church, observes: As individually and collectively we increase our knowledge, acceptance, and application of gospel principles, we become less dependent on Church programs. This statement, along with many others, is recast in the Ensign version...

Elder Poelman, though not the first general authority to have his talks edited, becomes the first to retape his talk...His retaping is complete with a cough track to make it sound as if an audience is present. (Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1, p.23)

...Elder Poelman returned to the tabernacle a few days after conference and re-taped the speech with the changes. This tape was then spliced into the original conference tape replacing the previous address.

According to L. Don LeFevre, a story in the Salt Lake Tribune on November 16, 1984, said, "The most obvious place to re-tape his talk was from the pulpit." When asked if that would give a false impression that Elder Poelman was actually speaking to an audience, LeFevre said, it could.

According to one source in the television industry, the cost of this video editing was between $10,000 and $15,000, including camera crew, producers, film, art directors, film editors, translators for dubbing, and many others at $250 per hour. Again, said [Jerry Cahill, of LDS Public Communications], "I don't think that $10,000 is too much to pay to correct a possible misinterpretation. Besides, if the Brethren require it, we comply." Sunstone 10:1/45 (Jan 85)

Elder Ronald Poelmans October 1984 Conference address, originally a rare and inspiring defense of free agency [was rewritten and refilmed] so that it became yet another cry for obedience. (Fletcher 1985).

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Unfortunately the SLTrib does not do online searches (at least for general public) all the way back to 84. Perhaps someone with access to newspaper archives could find the original article?

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Has it been established that there was a "cough track" added, or is this another case (to which I've noted in the past that Consiglieri is prone) of assumption asserted as fact?

Elder Poelman, though not the first general authority to have his talks edited, becomes the first to retape his talk...His retaping is complete with a cough track to make it sound as if an audience is present. (Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1, p.23)

Apologies freely accepted . . .

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No matter how you slant this story, it winds up as yet another example of the Church reworking history to say what it wants it to say.

This isn't history. This is a conference talk. Conference talks should say what the Church wants them to say. Conference talks are guidance to members of the Church. They aren't historical events.

If I were Poelman, I would have been highly offended at the entire concept. Carrying it out would have not received my cooperation....

I suppose Elder Poelman could have taken the attitude that his talk was so important and historical that revising it would be the equivalent of "reworking history". Apparently he had a different attitude.

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EbedLife.png

It seems there are some who think that Elder Poelman was "forced" to make a revision to his original talk. I wonder if in actuality it was he who requested that the revision be made. I do not know who originally said it but I have often repeated it:

There are three talks.

  • 1. The talk you prepare.
    2. The talk you give.
    3. The talk you wish you had given.

Oh man, I have wished many times, to be given the opportunity that Elder Poelman had to make a revision. At least my gaffs were not recorded for posterity and worldwide distribution.

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If you compare them the first talk was pretty good. The second was not as good and it completely changed the meaning. It could be said they were two different talks.

My issue however is not that the talk was changed it is the deception that went into it. If the church did not like the talk they needed to come out and say so. State that Elder Poleman was incorrect and the leaders needed to state what they felt was accurate. To re tape it and send it out like it was the original was just fraud any way you cut it. Also this shows lack of insight by the leaders. If they would have just left the talk as is it would have gone into the archives with a thousand other talks and been no big deal. As it is they put a spot light on it and greatly inflated the very problem they were trying to solve. Not very visionary I would say.

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Apologies freely accepted . . .

I don't apologize for asking questions.

And I stand by the observation that you are prone to asserting assumptions as fact.

Incidentally, I agree the decision to retape the talk doe not show good judgment, although I don't view it as the egregious offense that some do.

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