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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Plugging From the Pulpit

by Ben Johnson (bio)

ABC: Always Be Closing
Do you remember President Gordon B. Hinckley's October 1998 talk To the Boys and to the Men in the priesthood session of general conference? If you can remember back that far, do you recall him saying this: "Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future."

I don't know why but that line has always stuck out to me. I remember after the meeting remarking to my dad that "if Pres. Hinckley would have said that he was prophesying I bet store shelves across the country would be empty tonight."

Do you remember when Pres. Hinckley announced the Perpetual Education Fund? I happened to be in the conference center when that happened and it was electric. A thrill went through the congregation.

Do you remember President Thomas Monson's general conference talk where he lowered the missionary age for women and boys? Or when he announced a temple to be built in Rome, Italy? After both of those announcements there was a wave of chattering in the conference center. People were excited.

I bring all this up to make what is hopefully a legitimate point: we Latter-Day Saints love it when our prophets and apostles speak, especially when what they are saying is a bit outside of the norm. Every conference we hear about tithing or service or not looking at porn. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to tune that stuff out because it is repetitive. But if something comes out of their mouths that is different our ears prick up and we move to the edge of our seats.

I believe this makes them cautious when they speak. I believe they know that we can get carried away with their words. If you doubt me look at what happens when Pres. Packer gives a talk in a stake and mentions the second coming. Emails start flying across the internet and people start getting their food storage gathered. We sometimes have itching ears.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I've been doing research for what will be the best post to ever hit the internet and I came across something that made my jaw drop. In April of 1972, Elder Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk entitled Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints. Elder Benson was a pretty big anti-communist so the talk is mostly about being a good American and showing those dirty Reds a thing or two. Then comes the part that shocked me. He says,
Fortunately we have materials to help us face these threatening dangers in the writings of President David O. McKay and other church leaders. Some other fine sources by LDS authors attempting to awaken and inform us of our duty are: Prophets, Principles and National Survival* (Jerreld L. Newquist), Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen (H. Verlan Andersen), and The Elders of Israel and the Constitution (Jerome Horowitz).
Ha! Can you imagine if Elder Holland said something like, "I've been reading this excellent book by Richard Bushman called Rough Stone Rolling"? Or if President Uchtdorf said "On my nightstand right now is Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism"? Those books wouldn't be on the shelves 20 minutes later. They'd be sold out for months.

Anyway, I don't have any point to all of this other than to say I was quite entertained to find that little nugget of awesomeness. And if anyone knows how I can get an apostle to plug my book during general conference I'm all ears.

*I happen to own this book. I didn't buy it with my own money. I stole it from my grandmother's house before it ended up in some dirty estate sale. I haven't read it, though after Elder Benson's plug maybe I should?

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