Some time ago, Michael suggested that write a post looking at the details of C. S. Lewis being quoted in General Conference. So I searched the corpus for all times ‘Lewis’ was mentioned. It is possible that he was quoted without having his quote attributed to him, however, I would assume that most people wouldn’t realize it was his quote. We’re interested in Lewis being quoted because many members have called him an unofficial apostle because of the frequency of the quotes, so if he wasn’t named with the quote I don’t think it would have contributed to this Lewis phenomenon. I also discovered that the corpus includes several Relief Society/Women’s conference meetings.
Here are the highlights:
- Lewis was first quoted in General Conference by Paul H. Dunn in 1977.
- Lewis was quoted by 22 people giving talks at General/Relief Society-Women’s Conference.
- 5 of those 22 people were women.
- Since the first quote in 1977, Lewis has been quoted almost once per year.
- Neil A. Maxwell quoted Lewis the most (4 talks), followed by Marvin J. Ashton (3 talks) and Dallin H. Oaks (2 talks).
This search did lead me to discover something else interesting…
It turns out that while President Monson hasn’t mentioned C. S. Lewis in General Conference, he has mentioned Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, many times. Henry D. Moyle once mentioned Lewis Carroll during Music and the Spoken Word in 1953. Other than that, President Monson has been the only person to mention Lewis Carroll in conference, and he has done so in 7 Conference Talks, in 1986, (twice in) 1995, 1999, 2002, 2004, & 2010.
So C. S. Lewis has become a modern favorite to quote in General Conference, though no one is really a big repeat quoter. Also, President Monson has mentioned Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland in at least 7 talks, which I think is awesome.
I love Elder Lewis!! 😉
And Elder Carroll? That’s an interesting tidbit. Cheshire Cat FTW.
Very cool! Thanks Geoff!
“Elder C. S. Lewis or: Thomas in Wonderland – Rational Faiths”
was a excellent blog post. If perhaps it owned a lot more photos it would certainly be
even more effective. Thank u -Kelli
Thomas S. Monson does do a great deal of quoting without using the actual name of the person he is quoting “the poet” “the author” etc… so could this have possibly been a factor in his never having mentioned Lewis by name?
EOR, that is entirely possible. The impetus here was the general feeling among members that C. S. Lewis is quoted all the time. Perhaps I’m not giving us members enough credit, but I don’t think members would have gotten that impression with any C. S. Lewis quotes that weren’t attributed to him. Basically, if he’s not attributed, I doubt people would hear the quote and think “there’s another CS Lewis quote!”
This makes me love him even more. As a theater-person, I always loved his appreciation of and inspiration from musicals. Now we need someone to start quoting Amy Tan or Barbara Kingsolver…though maybe the person quoted has to be deceased to give it a more solemn feel. So maybe some more Emily Dickinson or even Jane Austen?
Very interesting. This makes me wonder how often general conference talks cite non-canonized material. How often do they quote from playwrights and poets and philosophers?
And now again in April 2016. He believes in recycling it would seem.