A few of the attributes I appreciate most among public speakers in religious settings are honesty, openness, and vulnerability. One example, might be Elder Jensen’s remarks in
San Francisco Oakland a few years ago which were subsequently widely shared.
This unfortunate episode – the sharing and not what Elder Jensen said – demonstrates that it has (potentially) become increasingly costly for visiting authorities to demonstrate these qualities because of the availability of social media and also the tendency among the membership to hang on even throw-away comments. To some extent, the church have begun to embrace these changes and have attempted to harness them. Not only are General Conference addresses made publicly available but so are sermons and discussions from other settings and in various parts of the world. Embracing these changes in a church which is very concerned with PR has had some unfortunate side effects. For example, presentations can be so carefully worded that they become staid and uninspiring. [Read more…]