Monson is the most forgettable Prophet, statistically
Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:12 am
https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/08 ... onference/If reading scripture and LDS General Conference talks is boring, Quentin Spencer told his virtual audience recently, just write a computer program to do it for you.
That’s what he did to track the trends and texts of conference sermons from 1942 to 2020.
Doing so, the data analyst said Thursday at the 2020 virtual Sunstone Symposium, offered fascinating tidbits about leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including the ebb and flow of language and topics of concern.
Spencer, a senior data analyst for Neustar Inc. in Lubbock, Texas, noted in an interview that some Latter-day Saint leaders who lean further toward “grace” in their conference addresses, including Gerrit W. Gong (the only apostle who has not yet used the term “Satan”), Jeffrey R. Holland and Dieter F. Uchtdorf “seem to be quite popular with the membership.”
That suggests “there’s a real hunger in the church for that message on grace,” he said, “which hasn’t really been promoted much until this current generation of leaders.”
The analyst was “surprised” to see that “scripture study” was not mentioned before the 1970s,” Spencer said, “and that religious practices such as daily prayer also experienced a new emphasis around that time.”
The absence of those terms points to a time when Mormonism may have been “very different,” he said, “than the one I’m familiar with.”
Spencer was struck by how frequently — or infrequently — some presidents of the church were mentioned after their death.
It can be seen “as a measure of their enduring influence, with Kimball and Hinckley leading the way among those in the past half-century,” he said. “It’s particularly striking how quickly Thomas Monson is fading from memory by that measure.”