Sunday, June 22, 2008

I See... Pamphlet Talks

When I was a young and Primary photoesque boy, the foyer of our chapel had a large wooden display rack holding pamphlets on various gospel subjects- the Law of Chastity, Tithing, the Temple, etc. I became thoroughly acquainted with them “in my infirmities;” for a boy approaching baptismal age, my “infirmity” was being forced to spend time sitting motionless on the couch next to the display rack as a punishment for being unable to sit motionless inside the chapel while a high council speaker droned on about discovering the real path that Lehi traveled on the Arabian peninsula. It wasn’t until much later I learned that the content of most of pamphlets had been lifted from classic General Authority talks, including fireside and devotional messages.

Since then the Third Eye has heard several fireside, devotional, and General Conference messages worthy of remembrance via the pamphlet mode. I call them the “pamphlet talks.”

Here are the rules on pamphlet talks: 1) they have be “classics” (at least in your eyes), and 2) they must have a different title than the original address.

Now that you know what they are, you can probably quickly identify some that would be worthy of pamphlet status in your own home. Here are a few of mine:

A BYU devotional message given by the venerable Bruce R Conkie in March 1982 was the inspiration for my ideas about “pamphlet talks.” Titled “Our Relationship with the Lord,” I will remember eternally the spiritual electricity that charged the neural nets of my spiritual body when I heard him convincingly declare “But the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability begins to replace sense and reason.” He was warning members of the church, and particularly doctrinally zealous ones in particular, against the dangers of developing a “special relationship” with Jesus Christ, when Christ himself, the ultimate example of humility, taught that his sole purpose was to bring people “unto the Father.”

A CES Fireside Talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks- the pamphlet would target Young Single Adults and be titled “Enduring to the End.”

Elder Bednar gave a talk in October 2006 on not taking offense at others’ actions; in the very next conference, Elder Holland talked about ‘The Tongue of Angels.” How cool would it be to put both talks together in the same pamphlet and title it something like “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

Elder Packer delivered a classic talk at a BYU devotional in October 1996 on how the church works. He titles it “The Unwritten Order of Things.” After it is reprinted in pamphlet form, however, I would call it “Leadership and Order in the Church.”

Right after the terrible events of 9/11, President Hinckley provided us counsel on finding safety in troubled times via repentance and obedience. The church titled his talk “The Times in Which We Live.” Once it is in pamphlet form in my house, I would rename it “Peace in War.”

The last pamphlet talk in my personal collection is closely connected with the first; Elder McConkie’s final address in General Conference before he passed away. He declares: “And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person. I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”

What pamphlets could we find in your home?

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