Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, March 20

“LDS/ Mormon President Ezra Taft Benson’s ‘Prophet’s Talks’ Plan Laid out from the Beginning” by grego

LDS/ Mormon President Ezra Taft Benson’s ‘Prophet’s Talks’ Plan Laid out from the Beginning

grego
(c) 2011

Here is a quote from President Benson’s first general conference talk, “A Sacred Responsibility”:
“We have made some wonderful strides in the past. We will be lengthening our stride in the future. To do so, we must first 1)cleanse the inner vessel by awaking and arising, 2)being morally clean, 3)using the Book of Mormon in a manner so that God will lift the condemnation, and 4)finally conquering pride by humbling ourselves.
“We can do it. I know we can. That we will do so is my prayer for all of us.”

Let’s take a look at Pres. Benson’s talks, in order (from http://www.gapages.com/bensoet2.htm ):
**”A Sacred Responsibility” Note: This is President Benson’s first General Conference Address following the Solemn Assembly in which he was sustained as President of the Church. General Conference Address, April 1986
**”The Power of the Word” General Priesthood Meeting, April 1986
[“To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright'” General Conference Address, April 1986]
**”Cleansing the Inner Vessel” General Conference Address, April 1986
“He Lives” New Era, The Message, April 1986, P.4
[“To ‘the Rising Generation'” New Era, The Message, June 1986, P.4]
“The Constitution–A Heavenly Banner” BYU Devotional, 16 September 1986
[“To the Young Women of the Church” General Women’s Conference, 27 September 1986]
**”Godly Characteristics of the Master” General Priesthood Meeting, October 1986
**”The Gift of Modern Revelation” General Conference Address, October 1986
**”The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion” General Conference Address, October 1986
“Do Not Despair” First Presidency Message, October 1986
“Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus” First Presidency Message, February 1987
[“To the Home Teachers of the Church” General Priesthood Meeting, April 1987]
**”The Savior’s Visit to America” General Conference Address, April 1987
**”The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants” General Conference Address, April 1987
““Feed My Sheep” First Presidency Message, September 1987
[“To the Fathers in Israel” General Priesthood Meeting, October 1987]
**”Our Divine Constitution” General Conference Address, October 1987
**”Come unto Christ” General Conference Address, October 1987
“The Law of Chastity” BYU Devotional, 13 October 1987 MP3
“The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God” First Presidency Message, January 1988
[“To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church” General Priesthood Meeting, April 1988]
**”The Great Commandment—Love the Lord” General Conference Address, April 1988
**”Come unto Christ, and Be Perfected in Him” General Conference Address, April 1988
“Seek the Spirit of the Lord” First Presidency Message, April 1988
“In His Steps” First Presidency Message, September 1988
[“To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church” General Women’s Conference, October 1988]
**”I Testify” General Conference Address, October 1988
**”Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon” General Conference Address, October 1988
“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations” First Presidency Message, December 1988
“Think on Christ” First Presidency Message, March 1989
[“To the Children of the Church General Conference Address, April 1989, p.4]
**”Beware of Pride” Ensign, May 1989, p.4
“Of the Most Worth” New Era, June 1989, p.4
“Born of God” First Presidency Message, July 1989
“A Mighty Change of Heart” First Presidency Message, October 1989
[“To the Elderly in the Church” Note: This address was to be President Benson’s last General Conference address to the Saints. Though he lived on another four years,

never again would he visit with and personally address the Saints in General Conference. Even this talk had to read by President Thomas S. Monson. General Conference Address, October 1989]

I find it interesting that from the very start, his messages and the course his talks would take were basically laid out, and it was just a matter of time. Even the titles of his talks, to some extent. Most of his talks were about those four topics.

Two more personal notes that might help explain:
1. President Benson gave a talk in the MTC that I attended. He had one message that he kept repeating over and over: love (and encouragement, small counsel, etc.). Later, I asked his grandson (who worked at the MTC) about what seemed like a problem with his talk, and he said that President Benson had prepared a talk, but that every time he had started to get into it, he got redirected by the Spirit to just tell the missionaries how much he and the Lord loved them and was grateful for them. I guess this was needed much more than any other message he could have shared.
Note all the talks [“To the _ in the Church”] that follow this format.

2. A granddaughter said that near his death, he really was mostly out of it, all the time. BUT… at one of the family visits, when someone asked him if he had anything left to tell the Saints/ he hadn’t said, his suddenly “came to”, sat up, and clearly and strongly said something to the effect of, “I have told them everything the Lord wanted them to hear” then went back into his “near-comatose” state.

(Many like to say that after President Benson was called as President/ Prophet, he stopped talking about political things because he needed to “raise the bar” from his personal political opinions to what the Lord wanted him to talk about.

Well, this just isn’t quite true. Some of his general conference and other talks still touched on politics, though it is true they usually did so in a different way than in the past.)

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