The LDS Church’s most recent General Conference was held April 4-5, 2015. A couple of interesting graphics have been produced as a result.
Over at MormonChannel.org’s Facebook page visitors were asked to fill in the blank: “Because of #ldsconf I will __________________.” A few days later Mormon Channel posted this word cloud created with the answers they received.
This, then, focuses the Mormon’s take-away from General Conference, anchored with “be better,” “try harder,” and “do my best.” It’s interesting that the essence of President Uchtdorf’s widely acclaimed talk, “The Gift of Grace,” didn’t garner an honorable mention.
Another interesting General Conference graphic comes in the form of a chart. This graph displays the number of times the name of Joseph Smith was mentioned in General Conference. It includes data from 10 years: October 2005 – April 2015.
The exceptionally high number of references to Joseph Smith in the October 2005 conference was due to that year’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Prophet’s birth. Apart from that, Joseph Smith has been mentioned regularly during general conferences over the past decade at an average frequency of 29.6 times per conference. Until April 2015, that is, when Joseph Smith was mentioned only 4 times.
A year ago MRM’s Eric Johnson posted an April Fools Day blog titled, “New church essay distances LDS Church from Joseph Smith.” In his spoof Eric wrote,
“[A new Church essay] Titled ‘Distancing the Church from Joseph Smith,’ church authorities indicate that the LDS Church wants nothing more to do with the legacy of Joseph Smith… Among other issues, the [Salt Lake Tribune] article cited Smith’s polygamous ways with 34 women as ‘irresponsible, especially when it is considered that a third of his wives were teenagers and another third married to other men’s wives.’”
Was Eric’s joke prophetic? Is the LDS Church purposefully beginning to distance itself from Joseph Smith and his controversial history? While nobody seems to know what has caused this startling drop in the use of the Prophet’s name at General Conference, theories abound. What’s your theory?