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Is it just me?


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Is it just me or have the talks from our leader become more and more bland over time? I’m only old enough to remember as far back as Gordon B Hinkley, but I remember his public addresses being full of personality. Monson too had his own personality implanted into his talks. But today, aside from Oaks, Eyring, Holland, Uchtdorf and Bednar (the eldest apostles), the personality has been taken out of the messages and they are all becoming one bland message. When I look at the apostles, I see no difference between Ulisses Soares up to Quinten L Cook and M Russell Ballard (though I feel the current bland approach may be his own individualistic approach).

I think back to the apostle who recently died and they too all had individualism on their talks. Packer as like the wise old guy who you knew had seen Christ. Perry had that old man fire and could speak powerfully. Hales and Scott were these gentle, soft spoken grandpas.

If you keep going back, you find more and more apostles who had fairly intense personalities (for better or worst).

The message itself is excellent, but I don’t feel the individualism in them. Am I making all this up in my head? Has it always been this way?

 

Edited by Fether
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5 minutes ago, Fether said:

Is it just me or have the talks from our leader become more and more bland over time? I’m only old enough to remember as far back as Gordon B Hinkley, but I remember his public addresses being full of personality. Monson too had his own personality implanted into his talks. But today, aside from Oaks, Eyring, Holland, Uchtdorf and Bednar (the eldest apostles), the personality has been taken out of the messages and they are all becoming one bland message. When I look at the apostles, I see no difference between Ulisses Soares up to Quinten L Cook and M Russell Ballard (though I feel the current bland approach may be his own individualistic approach).

I think back to the apostle who recently died and they too all had individualism on their talks. Packer as like the wise old guy who you knew had seen Christ. Perry had that old man fire and could speak powerfully. Hales and Scott were these gentle, soft spoken grandpas.

If you keep going back, you find more and more apostles who had fairly intense personalities (for better or worst).

The message itself is excellent, but I don’t feel the individualism in them. Am I making all this up in my head? Has it always been this way?

 

It’s not just you. One of the reasons I turned to the internet was because I’m very frustrated at how everything I loved about the church is being thrown overboard so the ship won’t sink. Our church is being stripped down to the bare minimum. My whole perspective changed once I was made to feel guilty for saying the word Mormon. That upsets me soooo much!  
 

As far as talks go, yes, they’re being stripped down to the bare minimum as well. Anything that could be used against the speaker negatively on the internet isn’t being used in the talk. Did you know every single General conference talk all the way back to the 1970s is read from a teleprompter? Why? What’s the HolyGhost good for if you’re reading a talk from a teleprompter? It’s as if the leaders are trying their hardest to strip everything that’s unique about Mormonism and throw it in the trash. 

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8 minutes ago, Mike Drop said:

It’s not just you. One of the reasons I turned to the internet was because I’m very frustrated at how everything I loved about the church is being thrown overboard so the ship won’t sink. Our church is being stripped down to the bare minimum. My whole perspective changed once I was made to feel guilty for saying the word Mormon. That upsets me soooo much!  
 

As far as talks go, yes, they’re being stripped down to the bare minimum as well. Anything that could be used against the speaker negatively on the internet isn’t being used in the talk. Did you know every single General conference talk all the way back to the 1970s is read from a teleprompter? Why? What’s the HolyGhost good for if you’re reading a talk from a teleprompter? It’s as if the leaders are trying their hardest to strip everything that’s unique about Mormonism and throw it in the trash. 

Well I think there is good reason for it. We are a world wide church so all our messages need to be translated into all languages. Additionally, the best way to avoid public ridicule after a world wide meeting is the be extremely careful about your words.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was being trained into them all, I get it… it’s just a shame.

Even more private gatherings are turning this way. I have had Elder Gong and Cook come speak to my stake. I went to both meetings and they were just like they were in general conference. The question and answer period had great questions,  but answers that felt like they were read straight from the most recent general conference. Very basic and broad stroke responses that didn’t seem to fit the specific situation the question called for. I asked an apostle a very specific question my wife was struggling with concerning LGBTQ and all I got back was “we just need to love them”. This apostle has a son who is gay that has written a few articles and been on a few podcasts. He had more to say that “just love them”, but the public is so vile these days with their recordings that I imagine he was taught not to open up.

You can find secret recordings on YouTube of private conversations and meetings. The comment section is full of people just ripping the apostles apart for what they say and do… so ya, I don’t blame our leaders. I blame everyone else for where we are at. I just miss the days when someone could ask “Have you seen Jesus?” And the Prophet (David O McKay) can say, without fear, “No.” I imagine, today ,  that question would be met with a more drawn out and round about response that doesn’t make it clear as to whether they have or not.

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1 hour ago, Mike Drop said:

It’s not just you. One of the reasons I turned to the internet was because I’m very frustrated at how everything I loved about the church is being thrown overboard so the ship won’t sink. Our church is being stripped down to the bare minimum. My whole perspective changed once I was made to feel guilty for saying the word Mormon. That upsets me soooo much!  
 

As far as talks go, yes, they’re being stripped down to the bare minimum as well. Anything that could be used against the speaker negatively on the internet isn’t being used in the talk. Did you know every single General conference talk all the way back to the 1970s is read from a teleprompter? Why? What’s the HolyGhost good for if you’re reading a talk from a teleprompter?

Helping you write it in the first place so that those translating as the talk is happening can do it better. Just like would happen if you were writing a Liahona article or records that will some day be scriptires.

And just because they have written it and then seen it on a teleprompter, doesn't mean they always follow it.  In a regional conference I was on the choir in the front row behind the screen that feeds the teleprompter.  I read right along with President Hinckley.  Then suddenly the person stopped scrolling the screen because President Hinckley was no longer following the words. He said a few things and then was back to reading. None of the people I knew watching had any idea he had gone off script.

President Monson was known to be different from his written talk.

I suspect this happens with people in conference as well today 

1 hour ago, Mike Drop said:

It’s as if the leaders are trying their hardest to strip everything that’s unique about Mormonism and throw it in the trash. 

 

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1 hour ago, Mike Drop said:

It’s not just you. One of the reasons I turned to the internet was because I’m very frustrated at how everything I loved about the church is being thrown overboard so the ship won’t sink. Our church is being stripped down to the bare minimum. My whole perspective changed once I was made to feel guilty for saying the word Mormon. That upsets me soooo much!  
 

As far as talks go, yes, they’re being stripped down to the bare minimum as well. Anything that could be used against the speaker negatively on the internet isn’t being used in the talk. Did you know every single General conference talk all the way back to the 1970s is read from a teleprompter? Why? What’s the HolyGhost good for if you’re reading a talk from a teleprompter? It’s as if the leaders are trying their hardest to strip everything that’s unique about Mormonism and throw it in the trash. 

It is not just you and your observation is astute.  I can hardly stay awake listening to some of the newer apostles and the rehashed topics are banal and elementary. Gone are the days of a Hinckley, McConkie, Benson, Kimbal, Richards, Peterson and so on.  There was a time when leaders were not afraid of talking  about unique LDS doctrine.  I recall Spencer Kimball talking to the priesthood once and exclaiming that in that session there were thousands of potential gods who would be creating thousands of worlds.  You never ever hear anything like that any more.

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1 minute ago, Teancum said:

It is not just you and your observation is astute.  I can hardly stay awake listening to some of the newer apostles and the rehashed topics are banal and elementary. Gone are the days of a Hinckley, McConkie, Benson, Kimbal, Richards, Peterson and so on.  There was a time when leaders were not afraid of talking  about unique LDS doctrine.  I recall Spencer Kimball talking to the priesthood once and exclaiming that in that session there were thousands of potential gods who would be creating thousands of worlds.  You never ever hear anything like that any more.

Yes! One of my favorite talks by him. Don’t have time to link to it now, but he says something like “ brethren, there are 225,000 of you here tonight, 225,000 of you may become Gods.”  What upsets me so much, what I can’t understand, is lately it seems Mormons are scared if someone mentions what Mormonism actually teaches. It almost like like we’re trying so hard to sqeeeeze our way into the tent of Christianity, we’re willing to sacrifice what makes us unique. 

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Something i've noticed and I can't think of anything off of the top of my head is that new GAs rehash old quotations from past GAs, so they kind of put their own spin on it. It isn't that they had that original idea but they bring an idea forward to today

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I was privileged to hear the late great Armand Mauss speak a few years ago. He was in his 90's and still very much there. He noted that he had been observing the church for 9 decades and during that time he had seen many changes in it. He spoke on many things but one that I remember was his comment about how the church is making things easier in an effort to appeal to more people. Paraphrasing his words here, but he said something to the effect that in an effort to make church easier by requiring less of members he felt we were loosing that which made us unique. I think this goes hand in hand with conference talks and talks in general. We used to discuss over the pulpit that which set us apart theologically from other denominations, not so much anymore beyond touting a prophet and his authority.

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1 hour ago, CA Steve said:

I was privileged to hear the late great Armand Mauss speak a few years ago. He was in his 90's and still very much there. He noted that he had been observing the church for 9 decades and during that time he had seen many changes in it. He spoke on many things but one that I remember was his comment about how the church is making things easier in an effort to appeal to more people. Paraphrasing his words here, but he said something to the effect that in an effort to make church easier by requiring less of members he felt we were loosing that which made us unique. I think this goes hand in hand with conference talks and talks in general. We used to discuss over the pulpit that which set us apart theologically from other denominations, not so much anymore beyond touting a prophet and his authority.

I dunno.  There is still huge emphasis on things that make us unique.  Living prophets and apostles.  Priesthood authority.  Continuing revelation.  The Book of Mormon and an open canon.  Missionary work.  Family History and temple work.  Service and humanitarian work.  

I think we are seeing less and less of the doctrinaire, my-way-or-the-highway sort of individual leaders.  Consider Elder McConkie's well-known "Seven Deadly Heresies" talk from June 1980:

Quote

Heresy one: There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge and is learning new truths.
...
Heresy two concerns itself with the relationship between organic evolution and revealed religion and asks the question whether they can be harmonized.
...
Heresy three: There are those who say that temple marriage assures us of an eventual exaltation. Some have supposed that couples married in the temple who commit all manner of sin, and who then pay the penalty, will gain their exaltation eventually.
...
Heresy four: There are those who believe that the doctrine of salvation for the dead offers men a second chance for salvation.
...
Heresy five: There are those who say that there is progression from one kingdom to another in the eternal worlds or that lower kingdoms eventually progress to where higher kingdoms once were.
...
Heresy six: There are those who believe or say they believe that Adam is our father and our god, that he is the father of our spirits and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.
...
Heresy seven: There are those who believe we must be perfect to gain salvation.

How often to the Brethren even use the word "heresy" now?  Moreover, ought they?  Or is a more moderate tone perhaps the better way to go now?

How has Elder McConkie's selection of "heresies" stood up?  It seems quite a mixed bag, which is not surprising given that Elder McConkie and other apostles of yore were, I think, a bit more inclined to conflate their personal opinions on particular cherry-picked topics with the doctrines of the Church.  

The interaction between Elder McConkie and Eugene England is fairly well known:

Quote

England considered McConkie’s “Seven Deadly Heresies” talk, along with other writings and sermons by Church leaders, and drafted a new paper, “The Perfection and Progression of God: Two Spheres of Existence and Two Modes of Discourse.” Then, on 1 September 1980, England typed a letter to McConkie on his home office Underwood manual typewriter. In taking this step to share his concerns privately with Elder McConkie, England hoped to avoid public controversy and find McConkie more open-minded in personal conversation than what was suggested by his public rhetoric. In his “Bruce R. McConkie” file, Eugene kept a copy of “All Are Alike unto God,” an address McConkie gave soon after the 1978 revelation on the priesthood, in which Elder McConkie admits to having misinterpreted the scriptures and statements of previous prophets: “Forget everything that I [and others] have said . . . contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding.”

During his life and career, England had personally known, sought counsel from, and received the support of a number of Church leaders whom he held in high regard. He and Charlotte had especially positive associations with Hugh B. Brown, Marion D. Hanks, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, and David B. Haight. Never having personally interacted with Elder McConkie, England begins his letter by expressing warmth and admiration for the apostle, especially his testimony of Jesus Christ: “I was especially moved by your witness and psalm of praise in last April conference.” After briefly recounting the disagreement with his son Joseph the previous year, he explains why he is writing now to the apostle:

After last fall’s lecture, I got a copy of your son’s response, studied it carefully, and decided that his strong feeling that I was out of harmony required that I rethink the whole matter. So I have, this past year, carefully and prayerfully gone back over all the pertinent sources I could find and have written the enclosed paper about my findings. . . . But I recognize that I could certainly be wrong, that I could be interpreting Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and others incorrectly, or that subsequent revelation has invalidated what they said. I accept the authority of the living prophets and not only want to be but assume I am fully in harmony with them, including, of course, with you. If not, I want to be put right.

It would be gracious of you to read my paper and give me some response if you feel there is need. If you have any question about my ability or good faith before you take the time to read my work, you could check with Elder Boyd K. Packer or Elder David B. Haight, both of whom know well my mind and spirit.

In January 1981, England began the aforementioned six-month assignment as Associate Director for BYU London Study Abroad, so he was out of the country when Elder McConkie eventually wrote a response. Before England had even received McConkie’s letter or knew of its existence, however, copies that had originated from the apostle’s office were already circulating on the BYU Provo campus.

After stating, “This may well be the most important letter you have or will receive,” McConkie acknowledges the receipt of England’s letter and the enclosed paper. He briefly summarizes the contents, states he does not participate in discussions of controversial subjects, but had eventually decided, partly out of respect for Eugene’s parents, to answer England’s letter. “I shall write in kindness and in plainness and perhaps with sharpness. I want you to know that I am extending to you the hand of fellowship though I hold over you at the same time, the scepter of judgment.”

Long passages of the letter consist of quotes from McConkie’s own speeches and state his opposition to the idea of a god who progresses and his fear that such a concept could lead to questions that undermine faith: “Will [God] one day learn something that will destroy the plan of salvation and turn man and the universe into uncreated nothingness?”

In his response, McConkie also makes several statements about Brigham Young that would eventually catch the attention of anti-Mormon groups, who regularly quote the letter. McConkie says that while Brigham Young was a prophet, he did not always speak as a prophet and sometimes “expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel” [and] “erred in some of his statements on the nature and kind of being that God is. . . . What [Brigham Young] did is not a pattern for any of us. If we choose to believe and teach the false portions of his doctrines, we are making an election that will damn us.”

After directing England to cease speaking on the subject of the progression of God or sharing copies of his paper on the subject, McConkie emphatically states: “It is my province to teach to the Church what the doctrine is. It is your province to echo what I say or to remain silent.”

Elder McConkie was, I think, unequivocally devoted to the Savior and His Church, and in many ways he performed his duties admirably.  However, I don't think he would have been a good fit as an apostle in 2022.  The same goes for Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, and others.  The Lord seems to have a way who picking apostles appropriate to their time and sphere.  And yes, these men will have their individual flaws and shortcomings, just as their predecessors did. 

In the end, I think we need to differentiate style from substance.  Where Elder McConkie was, for some, too blunt and forceful, Elder Gong may now for some seem a bit tepid and milquetoast.  But then, we have the likes of Pres. Oaks Elders Holland and Bednar to fill out the Church's roster of forceful, emphatic speakers, right?

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  (Eccl. 3:1.)  So too, I think, are there apostles for each needed season and purpose.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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29 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "bland."  More polished?  Yes.  More moderate in tone and tenor?  Generally, yes.  But in other ways, the talks from the leaders of the Church have become, shall we say, more focused and emphatic.  Continued emphasis on what could be termed "spiritual self-reliance."

Some years ago the bishop in our ward went to a training with an apostle (Elder Bednar), whose message to the assembled leaders (all bishops and stake presidents) was, in essence, that bishops are "doing it wrong" when they specifically tell individual congregants what to do on a particular issue, and that they (the bishops) need to focus more on encouraging and helping individual members to use scripture, prayer, reasoning, counsel, etc. to ascertain what the Lord wants them to do, and then they (the bishops) should encourage the members to do that.  I think this is what the Brethren are trying to do.

When I was a kid there was specific counsel to not see R-rated movies.  Now, the Standards for Youth (f/k/a "For the Strength of Youth") literature says:

I don't think this is "more and more bland."  It's circumspect.  It's calculated to hew more to Joseph Smith's prophetic aphorism: “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.

I think it's not uncommon for "new" apostles to spend a fair amount of time settling into that role.  It's a heavy mantle to bear.

Elder Bednar has evolved to become more evocative, in my view.  Meanwhile, Elder Eyring has always been staid and even-keeled.  Pres. Oaks has long been assertive, clear and emphatic.  And so on.  The Brethren change over time, but in varying ways and degrees.  

My dad has said that he things the Brethren are adjusting their talks, both in terms of content and form and means of delivery, so as to speak to the global audience of the Church, as opposed to the average-homogenous-members-from-the-western-United-States audience that may have previously been subconsciously front and center in their minds.

Thanks,

-Smac

I really appreciate your insight?

I think your description of being moderate in tone and tenor is a better way of explaining what I’m saying. I’m not so much worried about specific law of Moses like declaration from the pulpit, just more personality. I think particularity of Elder Perry. 
 

However, I do thrive on those talks that have a message of  “you aren’t doing enough”. I know most people feel shame from those talks, but they give me so much energy! I genuinely love it when someone says to me “your vision of yourself isn’t high enough, look higher”. Maybe I just miss those types of talks.

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2 hours ago, Rain said:

And just because they have written it and then seen it on a teleprompter, doesn't mean they always follow it.

I’ve actually noticed this a few times first hand. The given talk is different than the printed one. 
 

A specific example is a few years ago when one of them (Stevens I THINK) shared a story where he left home for a period of time and said that his oldest son was the head of the household because of the priesthood. But in the ensign printing it said that his son AND his wife were now the heads of the house.

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20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I think we are seeing less and less of the doctrinaire, my-way-or-the-highway sort of individual leaders

This is one thing I REALLY like about the new way things are happening.

 

20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Elder McConkie was, I think, unequivocally devoted to the Savior and His Church, and in many ways he performed his duties admirably.  However, I don't think he would have been a good fit as an apostle in 2022.  The same goes for Brigham Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, and others.  The Lord seems to have a way who picking apostles appropriate to their time and sphere.  And yes, these men will have their individual flaws and shortcomings, just as their predecessors did. 

In the end, I think we need to differentiate style from substance.  Where Elder McConkie was, for some, too blunt and forceful, Elder Gong may now for some seem a bit tepid and milquetoast.  But then, we have the likes of Pres. Oaks Elders Holland and Bednar to fill out the Church's roster of forceful, emphatic speakers, right?

I’m finally reading David O McKay and Rise of Modern Mormonism. It talks a bit about the doctrinal disagreements concerning evolution and “Mormon Doctrine” and how it was hard to reel in McConkie and Smith. Extremely interesting stuff.

The more outspoken and interesting leaders are the older generation of apostles. All the newer ones are far more well tempered on their tone… so hope we don’t lose any of those phenomenal speakers.

I remember hearing one of Renlund’s first talks and seemed to be a fairly fiery talk on entitlement. I was excited cause we were finally getting another apostle with some energy… well since then he kinda fell into the mold of the others

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9 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Currently editing a volume on David O. McKay's sermons. The contrast between his talks and those given today punches you in the face.

I see a few reasons for this:

1. As the Church has become more global, authorities are instructed to simplify their talks and avoid poetry, metaphors, puns, etc. that become difficult to translate.

2. The Church, especially under Nelson, has been stripping away much of its culture and "auxiliary" functions, as it is being viewed less as a communal organization and more as a mere purveyor of sacraments; this becomes reflected in sermons that become increasingly limited to the first four articles of faith + the temple.

3. As the Church has grown and globalized, the hierarchy over the last few decades has become (largely as a necessity) increasingly bureaucratic, and thus new general authorities (seventies) are largely selected for either their bureaucratic managerial skills or their ability to support such a bureaucracy. Thus, seventies are almost all either business professionals or lawyers, and usually lack much scriptural or literary literacy.

Seems more like a corporation, oh...it is..

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18 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Currently editing a volume on David O. McKay's sermons. The contrast between his talks and those given today punches you in the face

This. And examples to the contrary involve authority not doctrine as evidenced above.

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2 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I've never understood the intention of this disparagement.  Essentially every religious group and nonprofit is "a corporation."

The disparagement appears to be a tacit accusation that the Church is detached from or indifferent to the needs of its members and the rest of society, and/or that the muckety-mucks running things are only interested in making money for themselves, and/or that the Church is evil.

None of these things is remotely accurate.

Thanks,

-Smac

My opinion..sorry. It's not evil, but it does profit from businesses. And at hand, it does help those that need help, but the comparison of what it takes in and what it helps in the world is minuscule.

But I really cannot take the conversation on this, because no matter what I say, I'm wrong. 

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10 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Currently editing a volume on David O. McKay's sermons. The contrast between his talks and those given today punches you in the face.

I see a few reasons for this:

1. As the Church has become more global, authorities are instructed to simplify their talks and avoid poetry, metaphors, puns, etc. that become difficult to translate.

This is certainly part of it, but I don't think it's the biggest reason why General Authority talks and church in general have become more "boring," in my view. I think it's much more out of a desire to not offend, and not arouse the ire of critics (within and without).

The biggest thing that has struck me is how **everything** centers around Conference talks. Sacrament meeting talk assignments* , RS/EQ lesson topics, and much of the supplementary items in the family study curriculum. In many cases, the current conference talk excerpts are forced --- i.e., they are included because they are from a recent conference talk, and not because they are the best (or sometimes even rival the best) quote that could be given. All we hear, week in and week out, are conference talk summaries or conference talks ostensibly used as topic or discussion starters. It seems to me that the Church bureaucracy is purposely hyper-emphasizing Conference as our primary source for everything. It is touted as real, live, unfolding-as-we-speak modern-day revelation, but most people know through their own experience that it is much more boring than it used to be. People can say, "Then that's your fault," but this increasingly isn't convincing to people (active believers, but who are honest about their experience). As you say, it "punches you in the face." This usually leads to people chiming in and saying that they get a veritable flood of revelation from every conference, all the time, that people are getting out of it what they put into it, etc. Speaking only for myself --- I  receive personal revelation, and have my own ongoing experiences with that (I'm 46), but conference (and increasingly, church) is so boring! There has been a marked sea change in the experience, as discussion in this thread and elsewhere indicates. That might be an even bigger factor in challenges with activity coming out of the last two years than the shutdown and restrictions.

When they did away with the manuals, I got all of them out of the library (they're going to be thrown out anyway). Primary (each year), YM/YW, RS, MP. They have really good stories and really good points that generations of members will no longer be exposed to, unless people with access to them use them (our family does, extensively). Primary, in particular, is especially poverty-stricken. My wife and I sub in primary when needed, and man oh man, kids don't get anywhere near the stories, illustrations, etc. in the 15-20 minute lessons (an no experience giving talks any more). Yes, they are supposed to be getting that stuff at home, but they aren't (I think kids had more instruction at home when there was much more supplementation at church, anyway). The whole program seems like a thin gruel compared to what it was. I'm curious, after this Old Testament year, to see if we just do "second verse, same as the first" and go back to the Book of Mormon Come Follow Me next year (the one people freaked out about the dark skin curse still being in), or if there will be something else entirely (new round of manuals).

---

* Bishoprics can still assign their own talk topics, but I'm unaware of wards that do this much, any more (I'm sure there are still some. We always used to). Every ward I've seen assigns as topics "Elder Renlund's talk about XYZ in the last conference." Usually, people do the "He said it so much better than I can, so most of my talk will be me reading large excerpts from it." Those are "gouge your eyes out" boring.  Sometimes, people use it tangentially and give a prepared talk, but not usually.

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I think people still try to see the emperor with clothes with conference ("Oh, it is going to be marvelous! Oh, it was outstanding!"), but I think that increasingly, that doesn't square with people's actual experience with it. Especially when they remember conferences of years ago. 

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13 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

This. And examples to the contrary involve authority not doctrine as evidenced above.

Right, which is tied to the emphasis on sacraments and the growing reality that they lack charismatic and moral authority. (For the latter, I mean that they are less and less looked upon as exemplars of moral thinking and instead ground their claims of moral authority on priesthood authority.) (Also, I think the focus on sacraments is similarly tied to the growing lack of charismatic and moral authority.)

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2 minutes ago, rongo said:

This is certainly part of it, but I don't think it's the biggest reason why General Authority talks and church in general have become more "boring," in my view. I think it's much more out of a desire to not offend, and not arouse the ire of critics (within and without).

The biggest thing that has struck me is how **everything** centers around Conference talks. Sacrament meeting talk assignments* , RS/EQ lesson topics, and much of the supplementary items in the family study curriculum. In many cases, the current conference talk excerpts are forced --- i.e., they are included because they are from a recent conference talk, and not because they are the best (or sometimes even rival the best) quote that could be given. All we hear, week in and week out, are conference talk summaries or conference talks ostensibly used as topic or discussion starters. It seems to me that the Church bureaucracy is purposely hyper-emphasizing Conference as our primary source for everything. It is touted as real, live, unfolding-as-we-speak modern-day revelation, but most people know through their own experience that it is much more boring than it used to be. People can say, "Then that's your fault," but this increasingly isn't convincing to people (active believers, but who are honest about their experience). As you say, it "punches you in the face." This usually leads to people chiming in and saying that they get a veritable flood of revelation from every conference, all the time, that people are getting out of it what they put into it, etc. Speaking only for myself --- I  receive personal revelation, and have my own ongoing experiences with that (I'm 46), but conference (and increasingly, church) is so boring! There has been a marked sea change in the experience, as discussion in this thread and elsewhere indicates. That might be an even bigger factor in challenges with activity coming out of the last two years than the shutdown and restrictions.

When they did away with the manuals, I got all of them out of the library (they're going to be thrown out anyway). Primary (each year), YM/YW, RS, MP. They have really good stories and really good points that generations of members will no longer be exposed to, unless people with access to them use them (our family does, extensively). Primary, in particular, is especially poverty-stricken. My wife and I sub in primary when needed, and man oh man, kids don't get anywhere near the stories, illustrations, etc. in the 15-20 minute lessons (an no experience giving talks any more). Yes, they are supposed to be getting that stuff at home, but they aren't (I think kids had more instruction at home when there was much more supplementation at church, anyway). The whole program seems like a thin gruel compared to what it was. I'm curious, after this Old Testament year, to see if we just do "second verse, same as the first" and go back to the Book of Mormon Come Follow Me next year (the one people freaked out about the dark skin curse still being in), or if there will be something else entirely (new round of manuals).

---

* Bishoprics can still assign their own talk topics, but I'm unaware of wards that do this much, any more (I'm sure there are still some. We always used to). Every ward I've seen assigns as topics "Elder Renlund's talk about XYZ in the last conference." Usually, people do the "He said it so much better than I can, so most of my talk will be me reading large excerpts from it." Those are "gouge your eyes out" boring.  Sometimes, people use it tangentially and give a prepared talk, but not usually.

I wonder if this is why the church is pounding it into us that we need to study at home. The church is so big now that they have to make every conversation generic. It us to be that you could count on exciting talks in general conference. Today, the greatest lessons I learn are in my home and personal studies. And I think this is as it should be. We can no longer expect to be spoon fed exciting gospel information.

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20 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

My opinion..sorry. It's not evil, but it does profit from businesses. And at hand, it does help those that need help, but the comparison of what it takes in and what it helps in the world is minuscule.

The difference is a couple of letters . Profits vs prophets

Edited by CA Steve
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1 minute ago, Fether said:

I wonder if this is why the church is pounding it into us that we need to study at home. The church is so big now that they have to make every conversation generic. It us to be that you could count on exciting talks in general conference. Today, the greatest lessons I learn are in my home and personal studies. And I think this is as it should be. We can no longer expect to be spoon fed exciting gospel information.

Our family always has studied at home. And, people have marveled at our gospel and Church history knowledge, and come to us with questions or for discussion. That predated all of this.

I reject the assertion that we have to water things down to a thin gruel because the Church is growing in Africa and Asia. Real converts are drawn to the eternal, exciting truths and elements of the Restoration, and wouldn't be fazed by "old school" conference or how the Church program is presented. I think that's an excuse to shore up support for the over-simplified and anemic offerings we have now. 

Someone pointed out to me that the True to the Faith book was eliminated. I went to the Church library and got copies for us and our kids. It is a basic manual about a whole host of basic things. What has replaced it? Why would people in developing countries not need it?

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6 minutes ago, rongo said:

Someone pointed out to me that the True to the Faith book was eliminated. I went to the Church library and got copies for us and our kids. It is a basic manual about a whole host of basic things. What has replaced it? Why would people in developing countries not need it?

You can find all the old stuff on the “archived” section of gospel library. I don’t think it was eliminated just to get rid of info in there, it was likely just replaced with something else.

7 minutes ago, rongo said:

reject the assertion that we have to water things down to a thin gruel because the Church is growing in Africa and Asia.

What about the assertion of simplifying translation? Or just being careful with what is said because too many critics are already freaking out over the one or two somewhat pointed talks given in GC?

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