Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and revered as prophet, seer, and revelator by millions of followers, must be running out of new revelations. If you’re wondering why his recent address in the Priesthood Session entitled Guided Safely Home sounded vaguely familiar, it’s because he gave the same talk in General Conference in April 1982, albeit with a few variations to freshen it up for younger members of the Church. The conference address was then titled, Sailing Safely the Seas of Life.
It has long been rumored that President Monson suffers from dementia, a debilitating deterioration of cognitive abilities that usually manifests itself in old age. I do not delight in President Monson’s condition, and I extend my heartfelt sympathy to him, his family, and close friends. Having had loved ones with dementia who since passed away, I know firsthand how devastating the condition is. My issue is not with Mr. Monson, but with the organization, in which leadership strives to hide problems, obfuscate facts, and put on a front instead of being upfront with members and the public. It could aptly be called the “All is Well in Zion Illusion.”
Clearly some staffer—perhaps Mr. Monson’s personal secretary or one of his counselors in the First Presidency—put together the conference address in his behalf, not realizing that,
You are committing self-plagiarism if you reuse your work from previous classes or degrees without appropriate citation. If you have made a point or conducted research in one paper that you would like to build on in a later paper, you must cite yourself, just as you would cite the work of others. (Walden University, 2014)
The references at the end of Monson’s talk transcribed and published at LDS.org, omit any citation or link to the April 1982 conference address.
It could just be an oversight or it could be that the First Presidency thought no one would notice it was a rehash of old inspiration dressed up to look new and freshly delivered from the Celestial Courts above. Considering the lack of inspiration plaguing the LDS Church (prophets who don’t prophecy, seers with no vision, and revelators that don’t reveal new truths), it’s no wonder leaders resort to recycling old material.
If President Monson’s mental faculties are in decline and other board members, a.k.a. prophets, seers, and revelators, are scrambling to maintain the façade that all is well, it’s only fair to ask; who exactly is running the show? The Church’s public relations department? Mormons deserve to know, if no one else. You can only perpetuate a myth for so long before it crumbles, unless you have people talking themselves into believing it, “come hell or high water.” Oh, let me see…Elder Neil L. Andersen took care of that in his address entitled Joseph Smith, where members of the Church are advised to ask God to confirm what they already believe; a topic to be covered in the next post.
If the Church is run by a continuing stream of revelation (ninth Article of Faith), then perhaps it should behoove the Mormon Holy Spirit to do a Google search before guiding and directing the prophet’s next conference address, or at least brush up on how to cite sources.
Thomas S. Monson, “Guided Safely Home,” General Conference, October 2014, retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/guided-safely-home?lang=eng
Thomas S. Monson, “Sailing Safely the seas of life,” General Conference, April 1982, retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1982/04/sailing-safely-the-seas-of-life?lang=eng
Walden University, “Citing Yourself,” Online Writing Center, retrieved from http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/656.htm