Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Beautifying General Conference Addresses

Posted by BrianJ on May 25, 2011

So I’ve been thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice if the editors at The Ensign could rewrite General Conference addresses so that the prose was more beautiful?

I don’t mean to say anything negative about the original authors’ writing abilities, but certainly a team of talented—and faithful—English majors, poets, authors, and artists could beautify, and therefore, improve their messages.

And it’s not that I’m opposed to hearing what prophets have to say in their own words. It’s just that I think the medium should rise up to and honor the message, and rewording the prophets is the only way to do that.

I realize that this will result in unintended changes to the prophets’ messages, but clearly it is worth it. Maybe some straightforward and sincere talks—like Elder Scott typically gives—will need to be radically reworked and will therefore become aloof and difficult to understand without a good thesaurus. Also, it will be difficult to “hear” the difference between, for example, the way President Monson and President Packer write, but these are all small prices to pay for aesthetics.

14 Responses to “Beautifying General Conference Addresses”

  1. Seanette said

    I’m much more interested in the inspired messages in the speaker’s own words than in literary fluff, to be really blunt, and would YOU want to take on the responsibility of editing and changing the words of prophets if you had not received Divine commission to do so?

  2. michelle said

    I dunno. One of the things I like about General Conference is listening at and for the different ways the individuals use language, structure, word choice, etc. It helps me learn to look for the key messages in their talks to learn to listen to the ways they use words and structure their messages. So, no, I wouldn’t t go for this approach. Sorry. ;)

    • BrianJ said

      I hope that by now all readers have realized the satirical nature of the OP. See also: Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

      • Seanette said

        I’ve heard proposals of about equal levels of disrespect to our prophets advanced quite seriously, so really didn’t see any reason to assume this wasn’t serious as well.

  3. Mark Brown said

    This was great, BrianJ.

    Thanks for making the point so well, and thanks for the laugh.

  4. David T said


  5. Ben S said

    Dead on!

  6. anonymous malfoy said

    You forgot to add that this would bring all of the words of the current prophets much more in line with other restored scripture, like the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants.

    Great post.

  7. Mike B said

    I agree with your point, but I don’t think the sarcasm helps.

    • BrianJ said

      It’s the problem with satire: it risks offending some. Still, I think for others this was the best way to make the point.

  8. NathanG said

    Ha ha!
    We have not been made mighty in writing as we have been in speaking. There is something fun in reading a talk and hearing the familiar voice of the original speaker giving proper emphasis. How would Paul or Nephi or Isaiah be understood if we had heard them?

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