Sunday, October 20, 2013

I See… The Mormon Third Eye General Conference Spiritual Sound Bite Study

What is the Mormon Third Eye General Conference Spiritual Sound Bite Study? Let’s start from the beginning.

General Conference is two weekends every year where the Lord instructs his children through his servants, the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A sound bite is a “short pithy sentence or striking remark.” So what is a spiritual sound bite? Mormon Third Eye research reveals that there are memorable phrases, sentences, or groups of sentences that are delivered over the pulpit with such spiritual impact that they end up on Instagram, Facebook, or in sacrament meeting talks and priesthood lessons. They are written on the walls of our homes, the pages of our journals, or the tablets of our hearts. These are spiritual sound bites, and General Conference talks are loaded with them.

The Mormon Third Eye General Conference Spiritual Sound Bite Study views the content of General Conference addresses from a new, unique, and refreshing angle.  Our volunteer intern staff consisting of me and no one else analyzed the content of each talk in excruciatingly deep detail to identify embedded spiritual sound bites that had the potential of inspiring readers and listeners over and over and over again to work harder, believe more deeply, or repent more sincerely.  The study determines, by word count, the percentage of a given General Authority’s talk delivered via insanely spiritual sound bites.  The results are as follows:
Speaker                                                                                    SSR (Spiritual Sound Bite Ratio)
First  Presidency and  Quorum of the Twelve
  • Uchtdorf2                                                                         50%
  • Christofferson                                                                   43%
  • Oaks                                                                                34%
  • Holland                                                                             33%
  • Uchtdorf                                                                           26%
  • Nelson                                                                              23%
  • Eyring                                                                               22%
  • Bednar                                                                              20%
  • Monson2                                                                          19%
  • Cook                                                                                16%
  • Hales                                                                                16%
  • Ballard                                                                              15%
  • Anderson                                                                          15%
  • Packer                                                                              14%
  • Monson3                                                                          12%
  • Scott                                                                                 12%
  • Monson                                                                             11%
  • Perry                                                                                 10%
  • Eyring2                                                                                9%

                General Authorities
  • McConkie                                                                           26%
  • Clausse                                                                                19%
  • Davies                                                                                  19%
  • Oscarson                                                                              15%
  • Funk                                                                                     12%
  • Vinson                                                                                   12%
  • Dyches                                                                                  11%
  • Stephens                                                                                 8%
  • Soares                                                                                    8%
  • Ochoa                                                                                     7%
  • Dube                                                                                       5%
  • Hamilton                                                                                  5%
  • Valenzuela                                                                               3%
  • Neilson                                                                                    3%

Scientific analysis of the results reveal some interesting trends. For example, apostles and prophets (21%) are almost twice as inspirational as members of the Quorum of the Seventies and other general officers (11%). This makes sense; certainly apostles and prophets, by virtue of their callings as special witnesses of Jesus Christ, are more likely to have more inspiration to share.

The most contradictory trend, however, concerns the SSR of native vs. acquired English speakers.  Linguistically, one could assume that acquired English speakers would produce a much lower SSR than native speakers; however, Elder Uchtdorf breaks the mold.  The composite SSR for all acquired English speakers, minus Uchtdorf, is a paltry 10%;  Elder Uchtdorf, however, possesses the highest composite SSR of any speaker, regardless of nationality,  coming in at a whopping 36%. Anecdotally, his SSR completely overwhelms President Monson’s composite SSR of only 14%.

Fortunately, man’s ways are not God’s ways, and we have an inspired prophet who successfully inspires members of the church to repent and renovate their lives simply by the example of his actions and the power of his promises, two qualities that will always escape scientific scrutiny. Statistical analysis and empirical observation will never be able to quantify the depth of a testimony and its ability to move us to closer to our Savior. Only our free agency can do that.

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