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September 2009

Understanding Elder Holland's "Safety for the Soul" General Conference Address

My good friend GDTeacher has kindly allowed me to post his in-depth analysis of Elder Holland's recent General Conference address titled "Safety for the Soul."  I commented on the address myself in a recent entry.  GDTeacher's analysis is more detailed and thorough than mine, and I think it complements well my thinking on the sermon.  Also included in GDTeacher's analysis are two appendices.  Appendix A contains the full text of Joseph Smith, Sr.'s dream of the tree of life, which I mentioned in my comments and which is eerily similar to the dream that Book of Mormon character Lehi had, as mentioned by Elder Holland in his talk (without, of course, mentioning Joseph Smith, Sr.'s dream, which predated the publication of the Book of Mormon).  Appendix B contains the full text of the Wikipedia entry on the possible Solomon Spaulding connections to the production of the Book of Mormon.  Elder Holland mentioned Solomon Spaulding (and Ethan Smith) in his talk.  Many Mormons likely are unfamiliar with the theories concerning the production of the Book of Mormon that Elder Holland dismisses as "frankly pathetic" in his talk.  This appendix will provide more background for those whose curiosity was piqued when Elder Holland mentioned their names.

Unfortunately, when I pasted GDTeacher's words into my post editor, all the footnote references were lost.  If anyone would like a copy of the essay with footnote references included, simply email me ( and I will send it to you. Now on to GDTeacher's cogent analysis:

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An LDS Gem: Elder Holland's Opus

This past Saturday and Sunday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held its 179th Semi-Annual General Conference, at which Latter-day Saints (Mormons) gathered to hear sermons from their ecclesiastical leaders. At the afternoon session held on Sunday October 4, 2009, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered a 16-minute address that quickly became the talk of the 10-hour-long conference.  The text of all General Conference addresses are available at the LDS church's web site.  The text of Elder Holland's address can be found here.  The church web site also makes the talks available in audio and video formats.  After the jump, I embed the talk as it appears on YouTube, in two parts, and then provide my commentary on it.  In sum, Elder Holland's talk is rife with lies and logical fallacies, and relies on emotional and psychological manipulation rather than rational argument to affect his audience.

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