by Geoffrey Nelson
Those who google search things as they hear them (or have an excellent memory) may have noticed that President Monson’s priesthood session talk was primarily a retelling of a conference talk he gave in 1982, and his Sunday morning talk was a remix of one of his 1974 talks. This may be a surprise for some.
However surprising it might be, it is not new. Not even close. I first saw this explicitly when looking for a talk given by President McKay on meditation (it is an incredible talk by the way). Just go search corpus.BYU.edu/gc to find many other duplicated talks. It’s easiest to find them from a GA who served for a long time (President Hinckley also repeated talks) and if the talk had some unique words.
So go check it out for yourself and share what you find. Is there an age threshold at which we see talk duplication? Are there specific topics which are more likely to be repeated? Specific types of stories? Let’s explore.
Given that I long ago gave up the hope they’d say anything new in substance, the fact that he didn’t say anything new in form is a non-event.
I’ve certainly heard the story of Pres Packer presenting the new (then)set of footnoted, cross-referenced scriptures as a gift and showing all the references to Christ in the topical guide etc. before.
Maybe a better question would be, Did we listen the first time?
That is certainly a good question to ask. That can be asked of virtually all conference talks because even if it is a new talk the principles aren’t really new. If it was repeated because the thought was that the message wasn’t adequately received the first time then I would imagine that the fact that it had been given previously would have been explicitly mentioned.
My take is that when you’ve already given well over 100 conference talks then by all means reuse some old ones. I think the talks given by President Monson this conference were good ones and worth repeating.
As someone who is in the early stages of his “faith crisis”, this post really affected me. Almost a word-for-word reproduction of earlier talks. Had I not read this post, I honestly would have had no idea. I’ve heard the rumors about Pres. Monson suffering from dementia, and I’m sure there is merit to those rumors. What I don’t get is why not just come out and say it? Why can’t the church just tell us that the prophet is suffering from this? That way when we get recycled talks, we understand why we are being fed the exact same material. Instead, people like myself are expecting to hear the prophet do things like prophecy and reveal, but instead we get recycled material from 20 years ago. It’s frustrating. And more than a little disheartening.
First of all, sorry you’re in the midst of a crisis. It is a horrible experience and I wish you the best and mourn with you. As far as the mental health of our church leaders is concerned, I too wish that people knew and I wish that they had the ability to take emeritus status and be able to have a break from their labors. I was a bit surprised when I first found multiple years in which Pres. McKay gave that awesome talk on meditation. I’m fine with it. They give so many talks that I’d rather hear a great one twice than a new good one. However, currently there are many “sore spots” for you as you go through your crisis and I realize stuff like this can be much more difficult. I’m sorry for your pain.
Nice catch, Geoff.
My question is why we should expect to hear anything new from a prophet who receives continuing revelation from God.
What sense would that make?
Are we using the CES definition of those words? Then yes that would make sense. 🙂