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Is it just me?


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3 hours ago, Rain said:

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 

 

I understand your point, I really do. But shouldn’t a prophet of God be able to stand in front of God’s children and be promoted by the Holy Ghost? Should’nt the words roll off his tongue without reading from a teleprompter?
 

I’m behind serious when I ask you this. If Jesus returns in your lifetime and he addresses the world at the podium from General Conference, would you not be a little disappointed if he’s reading from a teleprompter? It would make me question a lot of things.

Edited by Mike Drop
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37 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

My opinion..sorry. It's not evil, but it does profit from businesses.

For which you publicy disparage it.  

Every nonprofit worth its salt manages its assets well, which will usually include prudent investments.  

37 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

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.

Not so.  The vast majority of what it takes it goes back out.  And the Brethren are not, as you imply, greedy robber corporate oligarchs living large on the Widow's Mite.

37 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

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

Yeah, well, when you publicly, and casually, and unfairly, and inaccurately, slander my faith, I'm going to defend it.

Thanks,

-Smac

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I listen to most of conference every year. The last two or three, I was expecting more on the pandemic. I think there are so many that are suffering with mental health during this crisis. I was expecting the leaders or the prophet to speak to this. But I don't recall much on it. It would have been nice to have some revelation on the whys, or the hows or the "ways" to help.

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5 hours ago, Mike Drop said:

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?

Yeah it's just like them there scriptures!  How the heck can anything be inspired if it's written down?

Nah it's gotta be off the top of your head, and not thought about tils ya get there and full of mistakes

Yessiree, if it's got mistakes you know it's from that Holy Ghost fella!

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5 hours 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?

 

Great observation Fether. I have to agree.  I stopped watching conference a few years ago because of this.  The tone and cadence is so dull I can’t stand it. It is like being at an 8 hour funeral.  Then, to make things worse, people in the ward are asked to give a talk on the GC talk during sacrament or priesthood/ RS.    Sometimes they even mimic the same tone and cadence during the sacrament meeting talk….

 

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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Every nonprofit worth its salt manages its assets well, which will usually include prudent investments.

Gosh, isn't this basically an overt instruction of the Lord? "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" and many others. I think the accusation is that the Church worships its gains more than the Lord like the man who said "And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused [from the Master's feast]". It's a ludicrous charge. We are trying to get as many to attend as possible.

As for the idea that General Conference talks and such are becoming watered down. Even if I disagree with the premise, I hope the claim becomes even more true as the membership becomes more self-reliant. "
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."

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2 hours 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, leaders like Pres. Eyring and Elder Ballard have always been staid and even-keeled.  Pres. Oaks has long been assertive, clear and emphatic.  And so on.  The Brethren have different styles and emphases, and they 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

Great post!

I don't know how you rein it in so well. 

I Gotta work on that

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32 minutes ago, Mike Drop said:

I understand your point, I really do. But shouldn’t a prophet of God be able to stand in front of God’s children and be promoted by the Holy Ghost? Should’nt the words roll off his tongue without reading from a teleprompter?

Couldn’t the spirit inspire them what to write prior to the meeting? Or does God not have that ability?

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38 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

 It would have been nice to have some revelation on the whys, or the hows or the "ways" to help.

I think they are trying to help you know how to receive this revelation yourself and not have to depend on them.

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1 hour 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.

Well said.  As a child I remember occasionally perusing my dad's "LDS Infobases," a CD-ROM-based compilation of digitized books about Church doctrine, history, and so on.  I was amazed at its scope: 1,800 books!  Wow!

Compared to what is available to me now via online, my personal library, and local libraries, LDS Infobases is weak tea. 

Now is a great time for personal study.  We have access to huge amounts of information.  All the more reason, then, to keep our eyes and ears on the Brethren.  They are keeping us focused on the important things.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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35 minutes ago, T-Shirt said:

I think they are trying to help you know how to receive this revelation yourself and not have to depend on them.

"Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, he knows the way".....

 

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6 hours ago, Fether said:

Is it just me ..............?

Tibetan Buddhist monks sitting in their gompa and reciting liturgy and Latter-day Saints in the midst of a temple endowment session are both faced with the same dilemma:  Bland repetition of a set liturgy.  The same sort of repetition may seem to face LDS Conference-goers, or monks, nuns, and the general population of Tibetans-in-exile while listening to a lecture by the Dalai Lama  or other high lama.  There may be several things taking place simultaneously.  (1) august speakers may not necessarily be directing their words at you in particular, but to others present who need something different from you; (2) you may not have learned the trait of mindfulness, and thus you may miss what is really going on -- just as many of those listening to Jesus may have missed the underlying message He brought (He who has ears, let him hear).  In both temple and conference, there may be a surface meaning, and there may be a deeper meaning.  Could be that the Holy Spirit carries that deeper meaning.

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1 hour ago, Fether said:

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.

Correct, but you can't get more books. Like other books that are being done away with, they are "available" online in archived format, but not as books.*

1 hour ago, Fether said:

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?

1) Yes, translation considerations are a small factor. I disagree, though, that the translation problem is big enough to have triggered this shift. I think a much bigger factor is a desire to reduce criticism and unrest towards the Church and within certain internal Church groups (progressives who want doctrinal and policy changes, the anxiety/depression/the-Church-causes-guilt-and-feelings-of-inadequacy group, etc.). We're such a global church now, we have resources to be able to do good translations of anything. And, I don't think the answer is to have boring pablum that's easy to translate in real time (with heavy emphasis on pre-submitted transcripts). I would prefer more interesting treatments, even if the translations and broadcasts have to wait a little longer (like it used to, anyway). But I really don't think the boring shift is mostly because of translation considerations --- I think it's due to other things entirely. 

2) I don't think critics freaking out and making us offenders for a word should be a consideration at all at conference. Let them rage --- that only draws interest and attention. We used to teach, knowing full well that unfriendly ears were hanging on every word to make us look bad. So what? The answer isn't to have everything tightly correlated and choreographed bland so as not to make any waves or ruffle any feathers. 

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54 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

"Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, he knows the way".....

 

Follow him, then.  He is trying hard to teach you how to get your own revelation.

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Nah it's gotta be off the top of your head, and not thought about tils ya get there and full of mistakes

Basically what you’re saying is, the Holy Ghost is so weak, insignificant, the mouth of God (prophet) can’t give a talk in General Conference without it being full of mistakes? Really? Is that where Mormonism has sunk to? What does it mean to be a prophet? What does it mean to be a seer? What does it mean to be a revelator? 
 

On average there’s 30 to 40 talks given in General Conference. Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one given that wasn’t pre-written? 

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2 hours ago, Fether said:

Couldn’t the spirit inspire them what to write prior to the meeting? Or does God not have that ability?

Of course the spirit could. But at some point a prophet needs to be a prophet.  A seer needs to be a seer and a revelator needs to start revelating. 
 

 The mouth piece of God, more than any other person on earth should be able to stand at a podium and speak without having to write down what he’s going to say beforehand. As if God is speaking  to us through the prophet at the very time the prophet is speaking. 

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7 minutes ago, Mike Drop said:

Basically what you’re saying is, the Holy Ghost is so weak, insignificant, the mouth of God (prophet) can’t give a talk in General Conference without it being full of mistakes? Really? Is that where Mormonism has sunk to? What does it mean to be a prophet? What does it mean to be a seer? What does it mean to be a revelator? 
 

On average there’s 30 to 40 talks given in General Conference. Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one given that wasn’t pre-written? 

I do agree that it would be fun to hear a message off the cuff. But I do t think it is something to concern over

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37 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Tibetan Buddhist monks sitting in their gompa and reciting liturgy and Latter-day Saints in the midst of a temple endowment session are both faced with the same dilemma:  Bland repetition of a set liturgy.  The same sort of repetition may seem to face LDS Conference-goers, or monks, nuns, and the general population of Tibetans-in-exile while listening to a lecture by the Dalai Lama  or other high lama.  There may be several things taking place simultaneously.  (1) august speakers may not necessarily be directing their words at you in particular, but to others present who need something different from you; (2) you may not have learned the trait of mindfulness, and thus you may miss what is really going on -- just as many of those listening to Jesus may have missed the underlying message He brought (He who has ears, let him hear).  In both temple and conference, there may be a surface meaning, and there may be a deeper meaning.  Could be that the Holy Spirit carries that deeper meaning.

Mindfulness meditation also uses-usually- some "boring" type of body connection strategy to keep the mind still connected to the body, perhaps thinking about breathing, etc  while also observing dispassionately the random thoughts floating through the mind.  

I find listening to the "mantra" of a liturgy very similar.

It makes what could be "boring" into an active device keeping one IN the world, while the thought observation exercise creates the opportunity to transcend the world.

Its ying and yang, transcendence and immanence in a perfectly balanced dialectical dance.

Can't have one without the other

 

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

Not so.  The vast majority of what it takes it goes back out.

CFR. My understanding based on the whistleblower documents and interviews with his brother, the Church's overall income statement looks something like this:

Tithing Income:              $8,000,000,000 per year
Investment income:       $9,000,000,000 per year
Other business income:    $500,000,000 per year
Total Income:                 $17,500,000,000 per year

Total expenses:                $7,000,000,000 per year

Percent of what it takes in that goes back out: ($7B/$17.5B) = 40%

Percent of what it takes in that stays in: 60%

Those numbers are a high-level, very rough estimate, but I think they are in the ballpark. My point is that when you include investment and business income, the church uses the majority of its annual income to increase its business and investment holdings. 

3 hours ago, smac97 said:

  And the Brethren are not, as you imply, greedy robber corporate oligarchs living large on the Widow's Mite.

I thought he was implying that they were scrooges who prefer to sit on unreasonably large hordes of assets rather than use them to do good in the world.

Edited by Analytics
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3 hours ago, rongo said:

They have really good stories

Are you using Saints and Revelations in Context that are offered online at least for the Church History year?

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8 hours 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.
The doctrinal discourses of the 19th century and the early/mid 20th century have been replaced mostly with talking points, motivational speeches, and repeat information.

I doubt we'll ever see another King Follett discourse in our lifetime.
I will say that doesn't mean some of the talks aren't brilliant.  I'll put Elder Holland's "None Were With Him" conference talk in the top 5 sermons I've ever seen.

So no, you're not making it up.  But there are still good talks.

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3 hours ago, rongo said:

eject 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

I would be interested to hear how converts and long time members in nonNorth America feel about the changes rather than being told how they should feel if they are “real”.

Edited by Calm
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For many years now, we get manuals and they sit on the shelf while my family uses digital tech to actually use them. Just because something is no longer printed doesn’t mean it is no longer accessible. 
 

https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/true-to-the-faith?lang=eng

The ‘old’ Primary manuals are available to everyone, not just teachers now.  A search on Primary manuals pulls them all up.  Stories are also available for many subjects in the current curriculum resources.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/primary-1?lang=eng

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/manual/primary-5-doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history?lang=eng

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, rongo said:

...Yes, translation considerations are a small factor...

Translation considerations are not all that's going on, but I think you're underestimating the challenges posed by translation into over 100 languages and how quickly things need to be turned around. My wife is currently getting started doing some German interpreting/translating for the church, and from what they're telling her, they're constantly short staffed and having trouble finding qualified people. I think translation is a major consideration for general conference addresses, as well as a lot (clearly not all) of the changes to the temple ceremony over the last few years.

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