Zelophehad’s Daughters

General Conference Talk Complexity by Speaker (and by Session)

Posted by Ziff

Last week I blogged about looking for differences in General Conference talk complexity by session type. I thought it would be fun to break down the same data in a couple of other ways.

General RS Presidencies Having Children and GAs Having Children

Posted by Ziff

On my post last week about how many kids GAs have, Petra asked about what the numbers would look like for women in general Church leadership positions. To answer this question, I’ve looked up the number of children that women in the General Relief Society Presidency (hereafter, GRSP) have had. To match the dataset I […]

GAs Having Children and Talking about Having Children

Posted by Ziff

In comments on Steve Evans’s recent post at BCC on how birth rates might be increased in accordance with GAs’ counsel to have more children, the question was briefly raised of how many children GAs themselves have. One commenter pointed to a post at By Study and Faith where Jared had found that younger members […]

Subtexts of General Conference Stories, October 2013 Edition

Posted by Ziff

I think it’s fascinating to look at the stories that General Conference speakers choose to tell. The subtexts, or the messages they convey without stating them explicitly, are particularly interesting. A couple of years ago, I blogged about a couple of stories Conference speakers told where the subtexts provoked particularly strong reactions in me. In […]

Elder Christofferson’s Edit Suggests Some GA Doesn’t Dislike All Feminists

Posted by Ziff

As you’ve probably heard, Elder Christofferson’s Conference talk a couple of weeks ago originally included a swipe at “some feminist thinkers,” who he claimed “view homemaking with outright contempt.” This statement was edited in the printed version to be aimed at a more nebulous “some” who view homemaking with outright contempt. This change seems like […]

Usage of “I know” and “I believe” in General Conference

Posted by Ziff

Geoff Nelson at Rational Faiths wrote an interesting post a few weeks ago where he looked at how often General Conference speakers say “I know” versus “I believe.” Hooray for more data analysis in the Bloggernacle! Anyway, he found that usage of “I know” has been increasing relative to “I believe” since the early 20th […]

Most “Liked” General Authorities

Posted by Ziff

Who is the most liked General Authority? That’s a difficult question to answer. Fortunately, there’s a related question that’s much easier to answer, so I’ll go with it instead: Who is the most “liked” General Authority? Now that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve all have official Facebook pages, it’s a simple matter […]

They always say the same thing in Conference (Part 1)

Posted by Ziff

A few months ago, I was working on a project that required me to look through a lot of search results at the Corpus of LDS General Conference Talks. I was surprised to find that some speakers not only told the same stories and made the same points in multiple talks, they frequently used exactly […]

The Virtues of Vagueness

Posted by Ziff

After President Dalton’s much-discussed “you . . . will see no need to lobby for rights” talk, Galdralag wrote a post in which she asked, “Why don’t our leaders clarify their remarks more often?” I think this is a great question. Church leaders frequently say things that sound vague to me, often intentionally vague. This […]

Who Wrote the Proclamation on the Family?

Posted by Ziff

While the Proclamation on the Family was nominally written by all 15 men serving in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve at the time it was issued, it seems likely that some of them were more central to the project than others. For some reason, I’ve always thought it was Elder Nelson’s baby, […]

On Mission Hierarchy, Gender, and Organizational Communication

Posted by Galdralag

In support of RAH’s Sister Missionary Leadership Project over at fMh, here’s a post about my mission originally published at Both Sides Now in July of last year. In our mission we had APs and “Traveling Elders” who assisted with a lot of the nuts and bolts of mission organization (for a primer on the […]

Distal Effects of Missionary Age Changes

Posted by Ziff

Kent Larsen at T&S has a great list of possible effects of the changes in minimum missionary ages that President Monson announced in Conference. Many of the effects discussed are straightforward and closely tied to missionary work (e.g. enrollment at BYU), but others are more weakly tied and more speculative (e.g., divorce rate). I want […]

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin

Posted by Ziff

. . . the more star systems will slip through your fingers. You probably remember Princess Leia saying this to Governor Tarkin right before he started trying to impress her with the size of his battle station. But I’m not here to talk about battle station size or who might be compensating for what. Instead, […]

“Gotcha” questions for GAs

Posted by Ziff

A recent guest poster at fMh asked for suggestions about what question she might pose to a visiting Seventy who had agreed to a Q&A session with members as part of stake conference. In a post at Nine Moons, Rusty pointed out that many of the questions seemed to be “gotcha questions,” intended to make […]

More Church President Probabilities

Posted by Ziff

As a follow-up to my last post discussing who in the Quorum of the Fifteen would likely be Church President at some point, I made some figures that show Quorum members’ changing probabilities over time for the last 60 years. (A description of where these probabilities come from is in the previous post.)

Predicting Who Will Be Church President

Posted by Ziff

Who among the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve is mostly likely to eventually become President of the Church?

Aging of the Quorum of the Twelve

Posted by Ziff

Mike Wallace: There are those who say, “This is a gerontocracy. This is a church run by old men.” Gordon B. Hinckley: Isn’t it wonderful to have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment who isn’t blown about by every wind of doctrine? [From a 1996 interview on 60 Minutes.]

Something Different in the First Presidency Letter?

Posted by Ziff

Yesterday a letter from the First Presidency was read in my ward’s sacrament meeting. It sounded like the standard letter that’s sent every so often asking members to please not write to Salt Lake about our concerns but instead to talk to our bishops or branch presidents. But at the end I thought I heard […]

Contemporary Mormonism and the Magic General Authority

Posted by Eve

Because I have polygamous pioneer ancestors and am therefore related to an immoderate number of other Mormons, and because I grew up in Utah, attended BYU, and spent two months in the MTC, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of General Authority sightings. None were spectacular or even particularly personal, so “encounters” would be […]