Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Words of General Conference

This week we joined with fellow members and friends around the world to listen to a living prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The talks are already online and available for download. I downloaded them, put them all in a Word file, and played with them a little bit.

This wordle shows you the relative frequency of the words said at General Conference. I'm going to very briefly talk about the top 99 words, grouping them in a way that makes sense to me. I cut off around 100 not only because that's normal, but because with 33 speakers, we have 33 Amens. Anything with more than 33 uses was mentioned at least once every talk on average - and there happen to be 99 words said that often.
Clearly, we were taught a great deal about God (330 mentions) and our Lord (257) Jesus Christ (276). The Holy Ghost (78) testifies that He is our Savior (155), the Son (71) of our Heavenly Father (113) in whose name (61) we pray, testify (33), and worship.


We were taught from the scriptures (45) and prophets, mostly from the Doctrine and Covenants (153 references), but also from Matthew (60), Alma (55), John (53), Nephi (49), Joseph Smith (43), Luke (40), and of course our current prophet, President Monson (33).

We were taught about our roles: as families (127), missionaries (109), children (92), people (80), youth (78), members (56), others (55), men (50) and fathers (41), women (40) and wives (34), and Latter-day Saints (33).

What are we supposed to do? Most of all, we are to see (277), to say (151), to know (118), to love (114), and to teach and be taught (109). We should focus on helping (85) and giving (82) more than receiving (39) or taking (38). We have been invited to come (81) and see, for there is work (79) to do as we serve (76) and live (68) to be made (68) whole. We need (53) to plan (55) what we want to become (45), for we are called (44) to feel (76), to learn (38), and to remember (36); then go (36) forth, seek (36), stand (35) firm, and bring (35) others to follow (35) the Savior in whom we believe (33).

What are the blessings (34) we receive from doing all this? We gain power (108) in the priesthood (98). We discover the truth (98) and grow in faith (91). We find peace (89) as we become spiritual (93) and good (63). The light (67) will chase away darkness and we will find happiness (35) as we experience the fulfillment of our hope (34).

They spoke about time (88) and the times (33) we live in, mostly to remind us that during this life (128) we need to think in terms of what is eternal (70) or takes years (67). Even so, we live in the present: now (51) comes first (51), which is long before (48) never (44) or always (41).

Less specifically, they spoke words (80) and talked about things (76). We were warned about the world (134) and encouraged to live the gospel (101) as the way (91) to have peace in our hearts (80). We will be gathered home (73) in that day (66) when our mission (53) on earth (57) is over. Having kept the commandments (51) and followed Christ's example (45), we will know to seek the sacred (44) and shun sin (39). We were taught of the Atonement (38) by the quorums (38) of seventy. We join God's kingdom (35) through the ordinances of the temple (34) where we will hear the voice (33) of His Spirit giving us revelation (33).

Amen (33).