Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Bradley, Martha Sonntag ; Roberts, Allen Dale
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Dialogue: Vol 30 No 3
Armstrong: Researching Mormonism 165 Thus the unifying, socializing, and instructional functions of general conference continue to be as important as ever in the Mormon culture. Following general conference, further reach is accomplished when addresses are published in the official monthly magazine, the Ensign, and the official Conference Reports which are sent to all stake presidents and bishops. Brief reports are also published in the weekly Church News which is sent to thousands of subscribers worldwide. Finally, video tapes of conference are sent to those areas of the world not yet equipped to receive satellite transmissions, thereby allowing virtually any Latter-day Saint to participate in the conference experience and to feel some degree of connection with the leadership of the church. After a halting, struggling, but determined start, general conference has now attained a worldwide reach with hundreds of thousands of listeners /viewers. With such impressive numbers available, general conference is more than ever the premier forum through which Mormon prophets and other general officers share their most profound thoughts with the flock and, theoretically, the world at large. Scholars who do not recognize the importance of this process to the maintenance and progress of Mormonism and fail to mine the proceedings for significant insights are missing a grand opportunity to comprehend more fully the essence of Mormonism. Significance of General Conference Addresses Scholars are united in their assessment of general conference as the most significant source of authoritative Mormon leader rhetoric since the organization of the LDS church. For example, Jan Shipps offers this perceptive view of conference: While conference addresses are not put forth as revelation, an informal "ex Cathedra" infallibility inheres in them, almost as if by being delivered in the presence of the church in conference assembled, these addresses are somehow distillations of the concentrated power of revelation and inspiration present at that time and in that place. Without being accorded status as Mormon doctrine, the words said in conference carry more weight and impact than words said elsewhere. When such words are uttered by the church president—who as presiding officer over the church has the right to divine inspiration in matters concerning its members, and who as its "prophet, seer and revelator" may receive revelation for the whole of the church—Latter-day Saints regard those words, quite simply and without question, as true.62 62. Ibid., 137,138.