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Posted by: persephene ( )
Date: October 02, 2010 01:26PM

Sorry. I wasn't paying a lot of attention before, but there were posts about one of the GA's giving a talk during conference that apparently the other GA's didn't like, so he recorded another talk that said the exact opposite. This second talk was the one that was played in rebroadcasts and published in the Ensign. Anyway, does anyone know who gave this talk and when? Also, do you have a link to, or any hard evidence of the first talk?

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Posted by: síóg ( )
Date: October 02, 2010 01:41PM

Here's video of the original, I believe. There are transcripts online you can find by Googling.

Ron Poelman's conference talk

Frankly, the whole episode makes me sad, because I knew him fairly well when I was growing up. I stayed in their house when my mother was hospitalized, which was often. And I was very fond of his first wife. He was (is, I'm sure, for he's still alive) a good man. He didn't deserve this kind of treatment, which must have been humiliating.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: October 02, 2010 01:45PM

The Conference talk on FREE AGENCY that got flushed down the toilet!

I've always found this episode of recent church history to be a bit bizarre and creepy.

It's amazing that this episode occurred in 1984. You couldn't pick a more appropriate year. Cosmic forces must have been having a laugh.

This was the episode where Ronald E. Poelman (a member of the First Quorum of Seventy) delivered a particularly refreshing conference talk that emphasized the importance of "free agency" and suggested that members should think for themselves.

Apparently, this bothered Poelman's superiors to the extent that they had his talk rewritten when it was published in the Ensign and ordered Poelman to videotape a phony version of his conference talk to be spliced into the videotape collection of conference talks. The geniuses at the Church's audio-visual office even had phony "cough" "cough" sound effects added to mimic the look and feel of a real conference talk.

Through the miracle of modern technology, a conference talk focused on the importance of free agency turned into a conference talk focused on the importance of obedience and the fabric of time itself was altered such that the original conference talk turned out to have not ever existed and anyone who thought they had heard something else must have been listening to the influence of evil spirits.

I wonder if the irony of these efforts of the Church to rewrite history in the year 1984 was completely lost on the humorless corporate drones who lead the church. Maybe they did get a chuckle out of it after all was said and done. I mean, other than glimpses such as this, what do we really know about what goes on behind the closed doors of the General Authorities offices?

Here's a great line-by-line comparison of the flushed original versus the Orwellian redo of Poelman's conference talk:

For your further reading....

------"In the October 1984 general conference of the LDS Church, Poelman delivered a sermon entitled "The Gospel and the Church". Controversy ensued when the version of his sermon that was published in the November 1984 Ensign magazine differed significantly from the sermon Poelman had delivered orally.[5] Further, the videotape copies of general conference that were included in church archives and distributed throughout the church contained Poelman delivering the revised version of his sermon. A "cough track" was included in the retaping to make it appear that the revised sermon was delivered in front of an audience.[6]

One commentator has criticised the changes to the sermon as a dramatic shift in the meaning of Poelman's address:

The rewriting and refilming of Elder Ronald Poelman's October 1984 Conference address, originally a rare and inspiring defense of free agency, so that it became yet another cry for obedience. His text was not edited — his ideas were turned inside out."[7]

Poelman was not invited to speak in general conference again for four and a half years.[6]

Watch the talk as it was originally given...
Date: Dec 09 13:19
Author: Iconoclast
Mail Address:

....and compare with the version printed in th Ensign:

Part 1

Part 2


....and to see how the apologists handle it:


I am lucky to have heard the original. It was the first major turning point out for me as an adult.
Date: Dec 09 15:50
Author: Mason
Mail Address:

When I heard it, I loved that talk. Some of the things he said about the improper influence leaders can have on doctrine and people were amazing to me. I connected with his message and actually wondered whether there might be a place for people like me within Mormonism.

It wasn't until two years later that I found out they had made him change it and redo a purged talk from the pulpit. That brought a huge sadness to me and was my first key mental turning point out of the Mormon Church. From that point on, intellectually, I became increasingly separated and alienated from mainstream Mormon thinking.

Combined with three other streams of events, the anti-intellectual position of the church became too much for me to ignore:

The second mental turning point was the 1991-1993 purge of scholars, including the September Six, which was a further embarrassment and solidification of direction.

The third turning point was the series of anti-intellectual talks by GAs through the 80s and early 90s. (It took me until the early 90s to really grasp their joint message.) That includes McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" and "Our Relationship With the Lord" (bashing BYU Professor George Pace) talks, Benson's "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophets", and Packer's "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect" and "All-Church Coordinating Council" talks.

The fourth turning point was reading Signature Book's "Faithful History" and "The New Mormon History" in 1993 and realizing how the church saw its history.

The combination of those four things made me know I could never be fully at home in the Mormon Church.

Date: Dec 09 11:01
Author: Just Browsing
Mail Address:

I was actually in the Tabernacle the day he gave that talk. When the talk was aired on video a couple weeks later at my Stake Center, they panned the TV cameras and lo and behold -- I had DISSAPEARED FROM MY SEAT....

They actually had two local Stakes provide a new congregation in the Tabernacle for the re-run


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2010 01:45PM by AmIDarkNow?.

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