Relief Society Broadcast Open Thread

I’m watching from home on BYU-TV this year, with two other moms who for various reasons can’t attend the stake center broadcast. I’m sad to miss it, because the high council always serves a delicious dinner. C’est la vie.

This thread is for discussion of the broadcast for those of us enjoying it this evening.

Comments

  1. (I know, I know, bad form to comment on a woman in public life’s hair/clothes, but..) I have to say I just love it how Pres. Beck always rocks the asymmetrical hairstyles.

  2. With that I am now watching. I am interested in the push to create a history of the RS by the church. Of course, I want to see how they treat Emmaline Wells.

  3. Sis. Beck acknowledges the passing of former President Smith. I like this emphasis on knowing and honoring past women leaders.

  4. President Beck continues a theme from her comments and Eyring’s comments last time aboput the history of RS, and how this history of RS informs today’s operation of the RS.

  5. The idea that VT and RS meetings are rooted in the history of the RS…and then approved by the First Presidency is interesting. She seems to be emphasizing the independent nature of the RS. Very cool. I needed this about focusing on yucky debates today. I will back out now and make dinner for the kids. Enjoy.

  6. “after focusing”

  7. Would love to have the history of RS become part of the RS lesson curriculum!

  8. I have to say that I’m beyond disappointed that the broadcast in Spanish is being read by someone with a really thick American accent (my wife is listening to it online here at home). Really? Seriously? In the entire church we couldn’t get one doggone person who speaks Spanish (or even Castellano, as you prefer) to read a translation of these talks (obviously not translating live–IMO)? I mean OMFrickinGosh, Sister Allred could have prerecorded the audio track this afternoon, bing bam boom.

    It was so distracting that my wife got tired of it and switched to English. Sad on a number of levels.

  9. Interesting–she frames women’s time away from RS’ Sunday meeting, serving in Primary and YW as a RS function. We are the RS, “going forth from RS” to serve in those and bring the spirit of RS with us.

  10. Hey brass instruments in the meeting hall!

  11. Great idea, Deborah!

  12. (The ghost of a very smiling Uchtdorf hovers behind President Allred!)

  13. Sis. Thompson just read the mission of the priesthood office of Teacher in describing what VTs are charged with doing. Interesting.

  14. I’d like to see the RS history lessons taught in priesthood meetings. I’m still disappointed we never made it to the lesson on RS in the Joseph Smith manual–I was so interested to see how it would go in elders quorum.

  15. I am so encouraged by Sis. Thompson’s talk. I love visiting teaching, even though I am a lack-luster one. I vow to do better — I vow to get to know my sister’s better.

  16. President Monson is up.

  17. The talk about the history of RS and teaching as “teacher” is very old timey Mormonism. The Nauvoo RS minutes and founding narratives were common fair well into the twentieth century.

  18. Sis. Thompson is a rock star, love her.

  19. If C.S. Lewis is the 13th apostle, maybe Mother Teresa can become the 14th . . .

  20. The Spirit of God with a FLUTE??? That is just wrong.

  21. Better than a piccalo I suppose . . . :)

  22. Can someone confirm that Monson’s notes fell all over the stand? My wife said that happened and then the screen went black!

  23. My wife just returned and reported. Is it correct that starting I
    In Jan, rs lessons will be on rs history? Or is this for 2012?

  24. great talks! Loved Pres. Monson’s focus on not judging, especially with appearance/weight/clothes. Big problem in our family and ward. Sister Beck is awesome.

  25. I thought Sister Beck’s comments about “myths” regarding LDS women was interesting. So does read some blogs? :)

    Loved President Monson’s talk on not judging. The story about how his wife was treated at the General Conf when he was sustained as an apostle was fascinating.

  26. #8 Jared — Sister Beck prerecorded her own talk in Spanish. She’s the one with the thick American accent. Sister Allred also prerecorded her own talk. I watched with a couple of Spanish sisters from my ward and they were really touched that Sister Beck and Sister Allred would go to all the trouble to give their talks in Spanish and in English. So was I.

  27. #26–Aw, that is nice. Did Pres. Beck serve a Spanish-speaking mission?

  28. I figured that afterward. Glad it worked for you all.

  29. I thoroughly enjoyed Pres. Monson’s talk- he was full of beans tonight. I would love-LOVE to see the history of RS and a series on the RS presidents of the past be a part of our RS manuals. That would seriously rock.

  30. Karl Kategianes says:

    #8 & 26. Emilee is much too charitable. Jared, you clod.

  31. They already started VT messages with a historical note in August of this year.

  32. Clod, huh? You don’t know what you’re talking about, nimwit.

  33. I had to google the meaning of clod.

  34. I am really interested to see what is in the official RS history and what isn’t–and what primary sources will be used.

  35. Matt (23), Sister Beck said they were writing a history and that it would be available next year, but I didn’t hear anything that made me think that the history would be our lesson manual.

  36. Julie Beck didn’t serve a “standard” mission but she went to South America with her parents when her dad was MP so she learned the language there. Interesting that she has a thick accent; she was a teenager when she went.

    The history of RS will be used for Visiting Teaching messages and such but not as curriculum.

    Not sure why they needed to write a new history, plenty are already out there, including one for the 150 anniversary of the RS back in 1992.

  37. Sis Beck’s dad was a mission president in Brazil. So she apparently added Spanish to her language skills. I think #8 is a perfect witness for us all, and hopefully the author about how something seemingly minor can really be taken uncharitably. And I’m not really judging, because I stick my foot in my mouth all the time being a bit uncharitable. It’s a perfect reminder of the admonition to strive to speak well of each other. Not that we can’t ever provide constructive criticism, but if we all had the desire to improve and build up rather than to nitpick (like comes naturally for me) then we’d probably phrase things differently. Hope I said that right…

  38. Guys, President Monson said something different about moms working outside the home! I almost cheered out loud.

    “My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty-nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another?

    “Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” The Savior has admonished, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” I ask:Can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer—with Mother Teresa—’No; we cannot.'”

  39. Chris, I don’t regret my reaction in the least. There is an underlying issue of language translation here and it’s not a nitpicky issue, but filled with implications for the dynamic between an English-dominated culture in a rapidly growing international body. The imbalance became vividly clear in that moment. Uncharitable? Hardly. However, it’s true that I did not account for the range of reactions to this. For us it was distracting enough that the message suffered. And I imagine for many sisters in the Latin American World who didn’t have a clue who this was that was speaking to them (thus the “oh, how sweet of her for trying to connect with me” factor didn’t exist as it didn’t for us at that moment), that the case may have been similar. Luckily Sister Allred did speak her own and a Spanish-speaking sister spoke Sister Thompson’s.

    Like I said earlier, great if it worked for you, but I don’t think detractors who are facilely dismissing my reaction as unkind, understand the dynamics at play here that informed my reaction. Perhaps I’ll post more about it at JI as I don’t want to thread jack here any further–apologies to Cynthia for the threadjack.

  40. “Sis Beck’s dad was a mission president in Brazil. So she apparently added Spanish to her language skills.”

    They speak Portuguese in Brazil, and those of us who learn Portuguese first can understand much Spanish, but may struggle to speak Spanish well.

  41. Hey kids, no fighting in back! Don’t make me stop this car!

  42. Naismith, well said.
    Cynthia,

  43. I loved the part that Amy quoted in #38. The President of the Church said explicitly that we shouldn’t judge each other – and he used marital status, education, financial circumstances, job status, etc. to make his point. Then he said, “Such differences are almost endless.”

    How individual members react and act is up to them, but I am so happy it’s been said this clearly from the pulpit in such a setting.

  44. [sigh]

  45. It was a lovely broadcast and President Monson was quite entertaining. The hymn arrangements were complicated, and I didn’t care for them. I enjoyed the emphasis on the history of the Relief Society, and will be interested to read an official (correlated) history of the organization and see how the history is treated. I’m all for a return to a 19th century-style Relief Society, women’s rights and work projects and all.

  46. I’m not all hip with the electronic devices with internet so I took notes and then transcribed, hope I’m still welcome here:
    Here’s the link from my blog of the notes that I took: http://jenneology.blogspot.com/2010/09/notes-from-general-relief-society.html

    @Researcher, I agree with you. I’m interested, and at the same time, a bit scared to see how the correlated history will treat what you call 19th century R.S.

  47. I predict that bloggernaclers will pick to pieces the RS history because it will be more like the BY manual for PH/RS rather than like Rough Stone Rolling. It will have a devotional purpose, and serve that purpose well, but some will hack it to death for not serving academic or feminist or other preferred purposes. I’d like to be wrong, but I won’t be.

    Nevertheless, remember that it’s been a generation since we last talked about women or used women’s words or experiences in Relief Society. I’ll be so pleased to have any real attention paid to Latter-day Saint sisters that I almost won’t care what else it does or does not do.

  48. I predict that bloggernaclers will pick to pieces the RS history because it will be more like the BY manual for PH/RS rather than like Rough Stone Rolling. It will have a devotional purpose, and serve that purpose well, but some will hack it to death for not serving academic or feminist or other preferred purposes. I’d like to be wrong, but I won’t be.

    Of course you won’t be wrong, Ardis, but that’s not really a meaningful test of the bloggernacle, since it would only take 2 people (you pluralized bloggernacler) to prove you right. People will find things to complain about no matter what the issue at hand is.

    I hope that, despite the certain existence of I’m-gonna-whine-no-matter-what folks, that the denizens of the bloggernacle also find much good about it and recognize it for what it is–as you say–a devotional-oriented volume.

  49. “I’ll be so pleased to have any real attention paid to Latter-day Saint sisters that I almost won’t care what else it does or does not do.”

    Me too. I don’t expect academic historical rigor or RSR from my RS manual, but it sure would be nice to learn about the women who came before us.

  50. If Rick Turley and Brittany Chapman can keep up with their planned schedule of one-volume-per-year of their new LDS Women of Faith series, we’ll quickly have some new stories and new heroines to supplement the history, too, along with the several blogs (Keepa included) that sometimes post LDS women’s stories. Yay, us.

  51. I join the chorus of hallelujahs at the prospect of including women’s history (in any form) in RS materials.

    (NB: the chorus is to be accompanied by trumpets and timpani)

  52. I really enjoyed the broadcast. I feel that the approach of going back to our history of RS and learning about what the women did will empower us as women now. I felt empowered as I read “Women of Covenant” and other histories related to RS. This is a great move.

    I also appreciated President Monson’s talk. He was right on the money and didn’t mince words.

  53. I loved it that President Monson quoted Mother Teresa –“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately, and have been planning on giving a Sunday Relief Society lesson about it. I stumbled upon this excellent talk by Professor Renata Forste given at the BYU Women’s Conference this year, and had been planning to use it as the assigned reading for the lesson. I think given the similarity of themes between President Monson’s message and Professor Forste’s, I’ll be using both for my lesson.

  54. I’m sure every reader of BCC is intimately acquainted with the history of the Relief Society, but for the few that aren’t, the early Utah Relief Society was strongly connected to the National Suffrage and Women’s Rights movements.

    With the church spreading to many nations, including those in which women’s rights may be primitive and women may still lack basic property and family law protections (some female citizens of Switzerland, of all places, couldn’t vote in canton elections until 1990) I wonder if the Relief Society is interested in seeing some activism on the part of women of other nations similar to that which we saw in Utah from the 1880s to about 1920.

  55. Wow, Researcher, that is a really intriguing point. I hadn’t thought about it, but I bet you’re right. One impression I got while watching the Broadcast was just the diversity of women and their experiences who were listening.

  56. #42–well said, Jared T! (srsly though, what happened to your comment? Got munched in HTML tag or something?)

  57. Yeah, I put “sigh” in angled brackets. [sigh]

    I knew the Church was preparing a new Comprehensive History for the bicentennial, but not about a RS history. Sounds great. I’ll be interested to see how its put together as much as what’s in it.

  58. Marjorie Conder says:

    I have seen some of this new history and for the most part I was pleasantly surprised. It is much shorter than Women of Covenant, which I think will be the “gold standard” far into the future. But a shorter history has been needed and I think this one will fill the niche. More LDS women will know more about their own history than at any other time in at least the last 100 years.

  59. Thanks for that, Marjorie. Any sense of how the history handles the expansion or actions of the Relief Society internationally?

    On that note, I’ll put in a small plug for my JWHA paper last year that dealt with the establishment of the RS in Mexico and the interesting dynamics involved in setting it up. One of these days I’ll get to cleaning it up and doing something with it.

  60. It sounds like President Beck was making a sincere effort to reach out to Spanish speakers on a personal level by prerecording her own talk in Spanish. I myself am a big fan of that kind of gesture and to me it shows real leadership.

    I don’t mind in the slightest when people speak English to me with a thick foreign accent. I appreciate the effort they are putting in to communicate with me in my own language. As a dilettante in a number of European languages, I hope that people listening to me attempting to communicate with them in their own languages reciprocate that appreciation. More often than not, they answer back in English — never a good sign!

  61. John, I think mileage varies and there are trade-offs at every turn. I think most if not all who have responded to my “queja” have approached this from the position of knowing that Sis. Beck did her own reading. That’s the wrong place to start. It’s not at all clear this is what is occurring until she finishes and it is mentioned.

    My wife is the sweetest person there is, born and raised in Latin America, English is her second language. When I walked into the room I heard the reading and said something like, “Wow, that’s distracting.” She said [in Spanish] something like, “Yeah, I’m just going to listen to it in English.”

    Recognizing that not all Latin American hearers are from the Wasatch Front, not all listened via internet and were able to go check Sister Beck’s profile to find out she lived once in Brazil and so obviously knows Spanish (smacking forehead) so this is obviously her speaking, not all had their Utah friend whisper over their shoulder to tell them this is Sister Beck doing her own translation, not all are seasoned enough members to know that this is commonplace for speakers who know (?) a language to give their own readings, etc., recognizing all that and so that the large majority of the Latin American sisterhood listening to the Spanish broadcast likely didn’t know exactly what was going on until after it was over, who is really benefiting by this gesture? I submit that the gesture is more for the speaker than for the audience. And if so, at what point is the trade-off too great in terms of sacrificing comprehension so that the speaker can feel like they’re connecting? It has to be at least when a sweet native Spanish speaker feels like they will understand and feel the Spirit better by hearing the message in their second language.

    And even knowing that at the outset, again, I think mileage varies. Ideally, someone giving their own reading could put in greater feeling than a translator, even in pidgeoned Spanish. In this case, the struggle for enunciation clearly was at the forefront, leaving less room for personal expression. And my experience with the Spirit mitigating those divides is mixed.

    Again, great if it worked for you, but don’t presume that this isn’t an issue or just a case of some jerk being uncharitable (by now I’m speaking generally, not specifically to you, John).

  62. Honestly, folks. Jared T.’s response was entirely relevant and your response to him demonstrates little more a willingness to defend warm-fuzzies like a GA/GAux being bilingual over moving the Church with it’s best foot forward into international waters.

  63. What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual.
    What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
    What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

    The ugly American just can’t win. Widely disparaged on the one hand for their monolingualism, roundly scorned for their thick accents when they try.

    Just yesterday at stake conference the mission president addressed the natives in their own language (well enough that my wife, a native speaker, was impressed). But it was a tough crowd and afterwards there were plenty of laughs to be had about his accent.

    Anyway, I’m sympathetic to the argument that we should avoid distracting means of delivery, but responses like “Really? Seriously? [...] OMFrickinGosh” really are closer to just some jerk being uncharitable than an illuminating exegesis of an important issue.

  64. Jared T.’s response was entirely relevant

    Really? Seriously? OMFrickin’Gosh!

  65. More LDS women will know more about their own history than at any other time in at least the last 100 years.

    I don’t know. The RS published the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo Minutes in the Monthly RS publication and regularly had historical lessons and writings through the 1910s. So maybe last 90 years (grin). Seriously, though, I agree that this has a great opportunity to bring power and understanding to the Saints. If they don’t include Joseph Smith’s sermons to the RS, or if they excise fundamental elements of female service and practice, however, it will be a tragic loss. The vast majority of the Saints don’t have access to these teachings in their language and there is a disconnect between the present and the past.

    I’m desperately looking forward to Jill’s RS documents volume. I’m hoping that it will have as significant an impact on institutional perspectives as has the JSP.

  66. If you all think Jared is a jerk, you have not hung around me enough. It was a relevant critique from somebody with expert knowledge on the issue. I know darn well that many of you have made similar comments during other discussions.

    It is an open-thread and not a journal article. Sheesh, if I am defending Jared…it is a crazy world.

  67. Not only was it a relevant critique, but it was diplomatically made, without reference to the vast body of scholarly work on postcolonialism, which Jared knows well, and with which he might have made a devastating moral condemnation as well as a simple practical critique. What he has said is measured, calm, and appropriate, and frankly, the most charitable possible reading of the event.

  68. Thanks Scott.

    Peter LLC, first, I dispute that my reaction was fundamentally jerkish or uncharitable. Who was I being jerkish and uncharitable to? Some nameless, faceless reader of a translation? And further, you can cherry pick the instances you want people to give “illuminating exegesis of an important issue” as opposed to a gut reaction to something they deem outrageous all you like, it makes no difference to me.

    Chris, oh, come now, we’re not so far apart as it seems :)

  69. Oh, and thanks Kristine.

  70. Former UK resident says:

    Jared said in 61: “… who is really benefiting by this gesture? I submit that the gesture is more for the speaker than for the audience.”

    Interesting to see that you feel your insight is sufficient to identify the motives of the speaker. That’s a bold assertion. Do you have any evidence other than your own opinion to support it?

  71. If she lived in Brazil, I assume she learned Portuguese, not Spanish. Outside of school at any rate.

  72. Yes, Mark–hence Jared’s forehead-slapping:

    “not all listened via internet and were able to go check Sister Beck’s profile to find out she lived once in Brazil and so obviously knows Spanish (smacking forehead) “

  73. Should we be critical of sister Allred for her accent? I do know there is a balance in giving your own talk and choosing to be completely understood.

    I’m looking forward to more history about women and loved president Monson’s stories and his specific list of things we should not be judging about…working mom-sahm included.

  74. Mark D., thanks, see comment 40. If it wasn’t clear from my comment, I was being a bit sarcastic with the whole forehead slapping thing. Earlier commenters (who 40 was responding to) were saying that because she lived in “Latin America” or Brazil that she learned Spanish. In reality, that kind of cultural ignorance that is part of what’s at issue here. Sorry if that part of my response wasn’t clear.

    Former UK resident, if I understand you (and correct me if I’m wrong), you seem to think I’m trying to say that Beck selfishly wanted to give the talk in Spanish so SHE could benefit and gave no thought for the congregation. And if you think that’s what I’m saying, you’d be dead wrong.

    What I’m saying is subtly but importantly different.

    I am assuming (and asserting) that a speaker (generically speaking) will want to give remarks in their learned language in an attempt to feel some sort of connection with those to whom they are speaking. And further, that they would assume that in doing so, the audience as well will feel a greater sense of connection with the speaker. I think that’s a pretty low-risk assumption and not bold at all. And it doesn’t even require mind reading, just experience with these situations and with basic well meaning human nature.

    Because even if it were bold, it’s a pretty charitable assertion. What are some alternative reasons for a speaker wanting to read their own translation in one language and not others? Why not read the Chinese translation or Swahili too? Are they wanting to perhaps relive a mission-like feeling? Are they wanting to make sure the audience understands? Are they aspiring to be able to let their heart (as well as they can) reach the audience by speaking to them in their own voice and believing that the communication will be reciprocal for the audience?

    I’m versed enough in being personally in these situations and being close to people in them that I have some insight into this, and it boils down to assuming the best possible and most likely motive, which is by no means a bold assertion.

    So, the issue is not whether I have read Sister Beck’s mind and certainly not if I have attributed to her sinister motives, but whether I assume that Sister Beck is a loving person wanting to reach out. Now that we know it was sister Beck (which again, was not at all clear at the time), and believing her to be a loving person, it now becomes a question of the potential costs of that love and its expression. As I’ve said before, those who could benefit from the “oh how cute, she’s trying to connect with me” factor can sit back with warm fuzzies. Those who weren’t in on it (and which I postulate would have been the large majority of Spanish-speaking sisters) were likely not particularly served by the whole “she wants to connect with me” factor. And if, then, Sister Beck felt like she was connecting, then that potentially leaves the connection only going one way over a potentially broad segment.

  75. “Should we be critical of sister Allred for her accent? I do know there is a balance in giving your own talk and choosing to be completely understood.”

    Britt K, that’s a fair question, but it fails to account for a hugely lopsided power dynamic and also presents a fundamental contradiction. First, when has anyone ever given a talk in a General Conference or Relief Society meeting in anything but English? I’d love to hear of some oddball case somewhere, but I’m guessing not even some oddball exception exists. Sister Allred has no choice but to speak her talk in English.

  76. Well, it ain’t General Conference ( ;)), but Dialogue is publishing a sermon in Spanish in the next issue (with an English translation).

  77. That’s fantastic, Kristine. Details??

  78. It’s a talk that was given in a Spanish language congregation in San Diego. I hope the next one will be from farther afield!

  79. Sometimes I wish Elder Scott would give his talk in Spanish right in GC and we English speakers could read the English translation in subtitle or in a dubbed English version spoken by a man with a Spanish accent.

    I wonder whether President Beck can actually speak Spanish in a conversational setting or whether she can only read Spanish words that are written down?

  80. Sounds great. I’m looking forward to it.

  81. Peter LLC, how is your mission president’s German? Was he a former missionary decades ago who then never kept up with his German so now he speaks every word with a thick American accent, even if through study he has gotten the grammar down right?

    Or does he actually speak great German and just has a slight accent the way many non-native speakers do, and the members still laughed/criticized?

  82. Former UK resident says:

    Jared, thanks for the clarifications. I think we still disagree, but it’s now clearer how we disagree.

    You said “it now becomes a question of the potential costs of that love and its expression. As I’ve said before, those who could benefit from the “oh how cute, she’s trying to connect with me” factor can sit back with warm fuzzies. Those who weren’t in on it (and which I postulate would have been the large majority of Spanish-speaking sisters) were likely not particularly served by the whole “she wants to connect with me” factor. And if, then, Sister Beck felt like she was connecting, then that potentially leaves the connection only going one way over a potentially broad segment.”

    It appears that we are at the same root issue, just in another form. Given that Sister Beck is the president of Relief Society worldwide, I’m curious as to why you feel you are better suited to judge “the potential costs of that love and its expression” than the person who holds the office, operates under the guidance of those who hold the appropriate priesthood keys, and is entitled to revelation in her role?

    Forgive me for not weighing your “personal experience” as heavily as the experience of one who has [estimating conservatively] interacted personally with perhaps a couple of orders of magnitude more women around the world, and who has also interacted and counseled personally on these issues with the men you and I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. [unless, of course, you have interacted in a significant and ongoing member with the Twelve and FP on these issues, and if so, then I retract that portion of the point]

    Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not asserting infallability at the top, or that the choice to speak her own translation was necessarily inspired. Rather, I’m asserting that as to different conclusions reached by you and her, there are various inferences in her favor. In contrast, I don’t see a single one in yours.

  83. John, point well taken. Still, perhaps a more fitting example would be to let Elder Kikuchi (longest serving seventy as of last October, first from “Asia,”–Japan to be precise–and whose father was killed in a US bomb raid in WWII–Wikipedia) give his remarks in his native tongue. Or Elder Gonzalez or Tenorio, etc. etc. and provide a subtitle at a strategic location (like some operas do–at least the ones I’ve been to). I think that would be rather grand.

    And while we’re at it, perhaps one day we’ll also see general conference broadcast from a different nation than Salt Lake City.

    “I wonder whether President Beck can actually speak Spanish in a conversational setting or whether she can only read Spanish words that are written down?”

    I wonder to. If I had a guess, it would be the latter, but of course I couldn’t say for sure.

  84. Former UK resident, the appeal to personal authority doesn’t work when you don’t use your name.

  85. Forgive me for not weighing your “personal experience” as heavily as the experience of one who has [estimating conservatively] interacted personally with perhaps a couple of orders of magnitude more women around the world, and who has also interacted and counseled personally on these issues with the men you and I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators.

    Just yesterday at stake conference the mission president addressed the natives in their own language (well enough that my wife, a native speaker, was impressed). But it was a tough crowd and afterwards there were plenty of laughs to be had about his accent.

    (Unlawful-use of the PS&R Card as a bludgeon aside…) Both of these statements seem to make the mistake of assuming that Jared’s criticism of the delivery method would be equally applicable to a scenario in which President Beck stood in front of the entire audience and gave the speech in Spanish directly, instead of having it pre-recorded and dubbed over.

    There can be an enormous amount of personality, charm, and “connection” that comes from personally speaking with, or listening to, a person in your native tongue despite their struggles.

    The problem is, (as Jared has repeatedly tried to make clear), it’s extremely unlikely that a vast majority of the audience knew the voice imposed on President Beck’s talk was her own. All of the personal ministering to different women in all the nations of the world does not amount to one iota of experience with an audience reacting to a dubbed voice they don’t recognize.

  86. FUKR, [that's unfortunate]

    In the end, I think there are as many (if not more) opportunities for you to assume (potentially wrongly) as there are for me. First, you have little to base your favoritism of Sister Beck’s experience on. You have no experience with her personal experience, just an imagined concept of that that experience is. You have no way of knowing what she took to those experiences or what she took away from them or of the dynamic that revelation plays in all of that, to what extent, etc. In the end, you’re about as clueless as I’m supposed to be. But at least I can say that I know something about how Spanish translation dynamics work and its effects in a number of specific cases–effects that reveal a remarkably coherent pattern.

    Fair enough, if you don’t see anything particularly solid in my argument. I’d have to say, ditto. And that’s ok, but I’m glad we could be civil about it.

  87. And not surprisingly, Kristine and Scott have outdone me in crafting some excellent responses. Thanks.

  88. Former UK resident says:

    Kristine – wasn’t aware I was attempting to appeal to personal authority; rather, I was attempting to dismiss one.

    Scott – you said ” All of the personal ministering to different women in all the nations of the world does not amount to one iota of experience with an audience reacting to a dubbed voice they don’t recognize.”

    That may be true. That being said, however, it seems what we see here is the exceptionally common “I think leader X [should have / should have not] done Y” as topic of discussion. Seems like a poor substitute for asking instead “What did the Lord intend me to learn from this instructional meeting where I heard from a prophet of God and from leaders he has called and counsels with?” and “Am I living in harmony with the inspiration and counsel I have received?”, particularly when Y tends to the trivial and/or tangential…

  89. Former UK resident says:

    [tangent / threadjack]

    Kristine – I notice you are a former resident of Pleasanton, as am I. When did you live there?

  90. Jared, I really like the idea of letting Elder Amado or Elder Kikuchi give their GC talks in their native language.

    And if they also wanted to do the English voiceover for that extra measure of authenticity and connection with the audience, that would be great — even though some of these GAs from abroad have such thick accents and difficulties with English that it is difficult to understand what they are saying, I still enjoy hearing their own words if at all possible. I think maybe President Beck was thinking more along these lines, i.e. comparable to Elder Amado giving his talk in Spanish but then also doing the voiceover himself in English.

    As to President Beck’s Spanish voiceover, she actually might have gotten the idea from Elder Scott — doesn’t he do that for his conference talks? (Not sure if he does but I think I’m remembering that.) If he does, what has been your wife’s impression of his Spanglish?

  91. Former UK and Pleasanton resident :),

    I was there from 1999-2002ish

  92. Former UK resident says:

    Looks like we didn’t overlap, then – I was there from 1993 – 1996, and then again sporadically from 1998-2001. 4th ward at the time, though I understand the boundaries in the stake have been redrawn again to essentially “stripe” across the city and give a piece of Dublin to each ward.

  93. John, Elder Scott does, I believe do his own voiceover in both Spanish and Portuguese. I can’t speak to the Portuguese, but I can still play back in my head some of his lines from the Spanish translation of An Ensign To The Nations, which we watched frequently on the mission. I think he does a pretty good job of speaking Spanish, thus maximizing his ability to effectively convey his message.

    Let’s not forget (not that you in particular are) that what spawned this whole conversation was not the voiceover in and of itself, but the degree to which a native spanish speaker could effectively receive the message without turning to a second language. [and with that ability to effectively receive the message in question, I don't take as very thoughtful or helpful the suggestion by FUKR that if someone has a problem understanding because of the speaker's accent, maybe they should stop being so trivial and just think concentrate on the message.]

    I’m to a point where for me it’s nicer to get a clearer message, especially if the words are going to be the same whether read by a voice or by the original speaker. But granted, there are always tradeoffs.

  94. Former UK resident says:

    Jared, I’d disagree with your restatement of what I said as ” the suggestion by FUKR that if someone has a problem understanding because of the speaker’s accent, maybe they should stop being so trivial and just think concentrate on the message”

    Please note that I said “it seems what we see here is..” By “here”, I meant in this thread – not people listening to the talk. I completely agree with you that if the accent leads to difficulties in actually understanding what is being said, improved clarity would be desirable.

  95. That’s fair enough, but what’s “in this thread” is about “people listening to the talk” (at least a few in particular and potentially many more), at least as I perceive it. So (unfortunately for me), the difference you’re positing is lost on me.

    But that’s ok. In the end, I think we can come to an agreement in your last line.

  96. Former… (92), I had three kids under 4 at the time, even if we’d overlapped, you would have blended into the sleep-deprived, prolactin-overdosed, out-of-diapers-AGAIN haze and I’d have no idea who you are :)

  97. Seems like a poor substitute for asking instead “What did the Lord intend me to learn from this instructional meeting where I heard from a prophet of God and from leaders he has called and counsels with?” and “Am I living in harmony with the inspiration and counsel I have received?”

    It seems to me that Jared’s chief point is that listeners could NOT learn much from leaders whom they could not understand nor judge their harmony with counsel they could not understand. I mean, there’s always the gift of interpretation of tongues and all that, but if we’re going to fall back on that in this case, then we ought to dispense with all church translation services and depend upon it in all cases. Reductio ad absurdum.

    Jared shouldn’t have to keep defending himself against the meritless charges of strangers. Although I have to say that it’s worth it from my point of view since it drew out the comments of Scott and Kristine. Bravo, you two. And bravo, Jared.

  98. That may be true. That being said, however, it seems what we see here is the exceptionally common “I think leader X [should have / should have not] done Y” as topic of discussion. Seems like a poor substitute for asking instead “What did the Lord intend me to learn from this instructional meeting where I heard from a prophet of God and from leaders he has called and counsels with?” and “Am I living in harmony with the inspiration and counsel I have received?”, particularly when Y tends to the trivial and/or tangential…

    Oh, I see.

  99. Former UK resident says:

    That’s fair enough, but what’s “in this thread” is about “people listening to the talk” (at least a few in particular and potentially many more), at least as I perceive it. So (unfortunately for me), the difference you’re positing is lost on me.

    Then the difference might be chalked up to the differing objects of discussion :)

    It seems to me that Jared’s chief point is that listeners could NOT learn much from leaders whom they could not understand nor judge their harmony with counsel they could not understand.

    That was not my reading; hence my response. I happen to completely agree with the concept as rephrased here. Jared, to the degree I misread your commentary I owe you an apology.

  100. Thanks Ardis and Scott.

    UK, No apologies necessary.

    As a side note. My wife up until just a few minutes ago–when I told her–was still unaware that that was Sister Beck who had given the voice over. Again, my wife is one of the sweetest people I know (she really puts me to shame on a daily basis), and whatever you think of me, it would be wrong to ascribe some sort of ill to her. So when I asked her what she thought about that, she said [in English], Well, I’m glad she tried, but General meetings aren’t the place for that. [I didn't further interrogate what "that" meant, but you can ask me what I understood it to mean.] I asked her, as someone from South America and having dealt with translation issues, if she thought that others out there might have had a similar experience, she answered that it was likely.

    Again, in her case, she was able to turn to a second language that she’s picked up over the last 10 years, a luxury that the majority of Latin American sisters likely do not have. And I should reiterate, it wasn’t that it was unintelligible, but my wife reiterated that it was very hard to focus on the message. And the point, as I made before, is at what point is the trade off too great in terms of trading comprehension and effective communication for a (potentially dubious–and particularly in this case) “connection factor” that most likely was largely one-way?

    100th comment, yess!

  101. Brother Hale says:

    Jared, your responses on this language issue are getting longer and more strained. Sister Beck did a wonderful thing. She tried something new. She is advancing a world-wide religion. The word will get out for those who didn’t realize it was Sister Beck’s own translation and all will be well. At this point, it seems like you want to justify that the church has messed something up here, when really, nothing is wrong at all. Just let it go.

  102. Brother Hale,
    I disagree with your assessment. His arguments have gotten better and better, and the folks arguing with him have gotten more and more strained. This was a lop-sided victory for the JI.

  103. Thanks Scott.

    Brother Hale, if you look back, it’s clear that my responses have either gotten shorter or remained at a length that is analogous to those of other commenters. The deflection is telling for its lack of substance. Tried something new? What are you even talking about? [a nod to Scott's comment about what's really getting more strained]. I wasn’t thinking to go beyond comment 28, BTW, except for dismissive and otherwise thoughtless comments like your own, likely made while comfortably secure in your ability to listen to general church meetings in your native tongue.

  104. Brother Hale, there is, alas, a difference between having a laudable impulse and doing a wonderful thing. The gap is what we’re discussing here.

  105. Chalk me down as completely agreeing with Jared, and I’ll take it one further:

    I love Pres. Uchtdorf, but for a long time I’ve been wishing that he, Elder Amado, and so forth would give their talks in their native tongues, and that I might be able to hear a nice English speaking voice translating for me.
    I speak a foreign language all day every day for my job, I know just how unfortunate misunderstandings can be.
    With the Gospel, if we have better resources to convey a message, I think we should use them.

  106. Add me as another who would love the authorities to give their talks in whatever their native tongue is- allow the voiceover be for whatever population does not share that tongue. It’s would be a unifying gesture to the global church, from my point of view.

  107. Just an FYI, this was not the first time Sisters Beck and Allred have recorded their own talks, they have been doing it for years.
    If that causes untold legions of Spanish-speaking sisters around the world to lose the message, then someone needs to tell them to stop.
    Meanwhile, Sister Thompson’s and President Monson’s addresses were lovely. Perhaps we should all take a few minutes and clean our windows.

  108. Thanks for pulling things back to the rest of the conference, Francine. Also, I don’t think Sister Allred’s remarks are at issue here.

  109. I can definitely see another side…I was just thinking what would I like to see more of hte general poulation do? Would I like to see the general church population try to speak spanish and murder it? or continue to rely on translators…in the long run IMO I’d rather have the general population try to speak spanish-or whatever language would apply.

    I do like the idea of the speaker speaking in her native tongue and letting the english speakers have a chance to be “out” and have to wear headphones or read subtitles or voice over or whatever.

    I wish I could visit teach with sister Thompson.

  110. 81: Or does he actually speak great German and just has a slight accent the way many non-native speakers do, and the members still laughed/criticized?

    This. As I mentioned in my earlier post, my native German-speaking wife was impressed. Since the members here have regular contact with American missionaries whose language skills are usually sub-par I would think that it would be easy to exceed their low expectations, but at least for some hearing an American speak just seems to feed a confirmation bias regarding Americans’ poor language abilities.

    68:I dispute that my reaction was fundamentally jerkish or uncharitable.

    I never said it was. Only that your response in #8 leaned in that direction.

    104:The gap is what we’re discussing here.

    Oh. I thought we were stifling “the meritless charges of strangers.”

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