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The Gospel and the Church

The Gospel and the Church

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Published by LDSLibrary
The most significant general conference address of the last 30 years that you never got the chance to read (until now!)
The most significant general conference address of the last 30 years that you never got the chance to read (until now!)

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categoriesTypes, Speeches
Published by: LDSLibrary on May 27, 2012
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05/27/2012

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 The Gospel & The Church
 
The Best Conference Talk You Never Hadthe Chance to Read!
(Until Now)
By Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the First Quorumof the Seventy
 
 
1
Introduction
One of the little ironies in modern church history was that In The Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four, someonein the church hierarchy pulled a stunt right out of George Orwell'stotalitarian novel, 1984.It was in October conference of that year that Elder RonaldE. Poelman of the First Quorum of the Seventy delivered an addressthat was hailed by many members as one of the best conference talksthey had ever heard.But the following month when those members picked up theconference issue of The Ensign magazine to read the text of thespeech, they were baffled to find that the words on paper bore littleor no resemblance to the televised talk they thought they remembered hearing the month before. What's more, anyone seeking the video record of Elder Poelman's talk would find that Poelman'ssegment had been pulled from the official Church archives andreplaced with a counterfeit. Thus one of the most interesting -and some would say mostimportant- conference talks of the latter half of the twentieth century simply disappeared down the memory hole. You'll remember that George Orwell first coined the term"the memory hole" in his novel 1984 to describe what became of information deemed unworthy by The Powers That Be. Whenever aparticular truth interfered with the reality put forth by Big Brother, a
new version of "truth” was created to replace it. The old evidence
 was dropped into a slot leading to a series of pneumatic tubes,
“whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the
enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of 
the building.”
What had once been common history gradually faded
 
2
from the collective memory. Eventually it was forgotten altogether.Something similar occurred with Elder Poelman's conferencetalk. Someone, or someone in the church correlation committee -westill don't really know who- consigned the original record to outerdarkness and replaced it with some type of evil twin. Video Cassette Recorders in the early 1980's could costanywhere from $600.00 to $1300.00 dollars, and by 1984 fewer thanten percent of American households owned one. The number of Mormon households with VCRs at that time would have beenminuscule. So unless you were one of those privileged few and youhappened to use your machine to record general conference, you were not likely to ever see that conference talk again.
So What Was The Big Deal?
 There was nothing radical about the talk itself, althoughPoelman did touch on some concepts that had not been openly discussed in the church for a while. The address contained pearls of pure Mormonism; treasures of truth that could just as well have comefrom the lips of the prophet Joseph Smith during a conference atNauvoo. Church members old enough to remember how things werein the 1950's said that listening to Poelman's talk took them wistfully back to the days of President David O. McKay.Now let's dive into the actual, original, talk itself. When youread it for yourself be sensitive to the witness of the spirit, and see if these truths are carried into your heart. We have been given the giftof the Holy Ghost, and a way by which we can judge. Let ustherefore test these words and find out for ourselves if they are true. As Alma taught "
 
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now,if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if itbe a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your

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