Visualizing Conference, October 2014

Full GC

What stood out for you at the most recent General Conference?

Methodology

(1) I copied the text for each talk from each of the six sessions of the October 2014 General Conference (including the sustainings) from LDS.org into a Word document.

(2) I (mostly) only included the language that was delivered orally; I didn’t copy the name of the speaker or the title of the talk. A few of the talks had headings, though, and I didn’t go back to take those out. I also didn’t take out the parenthetical scripture references.

(3) A few of the talks were delivered in non-English versions; I copied the English translations of those talks listed on LDS.org.

(4) I copied and pasted the text at Wordle.

(5) Wordle has a default list of words that it ignores for purposes of creating a word cloud. I didn’t alter those. The only changes I made to the default word cloud were (a) changing the orientation from mostly vertical to mostly horizontal, and (b) changing from the horrific default font.

If you care, you can see the Java version of the word cloud here.

 

Comments

  1. I heard the word “grace” a lot on Saturday

  2. The word cloud expresses well what I took away from the last General Conference: we need to refocus our religious lives squarely on the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so, we will improve our relationship with God and strengthen the Lord’s Church.

  3. I was truly gratified to see a such strong emphasis on Christ at conference, and I’m glad to see my impression confirmed by your graphic.

  4. kowsdontski says:

    Elder Holland used the word “brother” several times. I loved his statement: “I am my brother’s brother.”

  5. A Happy Hubby says:

    It would be interesting to see a daily word map of the blogernacle.

  6. Thank you for this. Along with Jason K., I am pleased to see a strong emphasis on Christ. This needs to the classes we teach and the talks we give on ward and stake levels.

  7. Happy Husband, I thought your idea was intriguing, so I made a word map for one day, the day Sam posted this one.

    A Picture of the Bloggernacle, November 14, 2014.

    (Link posted with Sam’s permission.)

  8. Here’s a visualization of Sunday Morning Session.

    http://www.totheremnant.com/2014/11/hastening-past-hastening.html

    I should have listened to the other session I suppose.

  9. Thanks, Ardis; that’s really interesting.

    Peter, a couple things with regard to your word cloud: first, I’m skeptical of that word cloud, for a couple reasons. First, look to the left of the tail of the p in the word “prophet”: you see the word “Presidentncy.” It’s bigger than a number of words, meaning that it must have shown up more than once. And, whatever you think of the church’s website, I can guarantee you that its copyeditors wouldn’t have let “Presidentncy” show up a single time, much less multiple times. The writer doesn’t explain his or her methodology, so I don’t have any idea how that might have happened.

    That said, even if somehow the word cloud is accurate (like, the person personally transcribed the whole session—accurately—and just can’t spell “presidency” to save his/her life), it seems to be implicitly (and, almost, explicitly) arguing that talk of Jesus was absent from the session. And that’s simply not the truth. If you look closely, you’ll see “Lord,” “Lord’s,” “Jesus,” and “Christ,” at least. Anybody familiar with Mormon rhetorical patterns knows that those words are all used synonymously; if you smooshed them all together, they’d make a pretty big word, comparatively.

    Which is to say, assuming that your linked word cloud is accurate (an assumption I find unwarranted), even apart from the other five session (as illustrated in the OP), it looks like Sunday morning was pretty Christ-centered.

  10. Anybody listening to Sunday Morning sessions knows it was Prophet centered not Christ centered. Only a fool would would see it otherwise. I was sickened by the “arm of flesh” worship that the morning session kept pounding through my ears.

    That being said, I thought Elder Christofferson’s talk was Christ centered.

    Jim C

  11. Peter, one other thing (and Jim, this is probably for you, too): it’s interesting to me (and something I just noticed) that the word cloud you linked to used only the first three talks of Sunday morning (that is, “Continuing Revelation,” “Sustaining the Prophets,” and “Live According to the Words of the Prophets”). It chose to leave out the last three talks: “Eternal Life—To Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ,” “The Sacrament and the Atonement,” and “Ponder the Path of Thy Feet.”

    That editorial decision strikes me as deciding what you want to show before you start, rather than trying to discover what was actually said. (It would be interesting to compare a word cloud for the first three talks and the last three talks of that session,[fn] but Java doesn’t seem to be working on my laptop.) That’s the exact kind of editorial influence that I didn’t want to have over the process; I think the OP makes it clear both that Conference was remarkably Christ-centered and devotional.

    I would expect some variation in topics; even the New Testament itself isn’t all Christ, all the time. (And, having looked through a lot of talks from the first half of the twentieth century, our current variation in topics doesn’t even compare to what it used to be.) But cherry-picking those talks with other focuses and using them to argue that we worship prophets rather than Jesus strikes me as made in bad faith (not to mention thoroughly inaccurate).

    [fn] Actually, no it wouldn’t.

  12. Ardis, that’s really cool. Thanks for doing that.

  13. One interesting thing that came to me as I looked at the word cloud is that I couldn’t find the word “Repentance”. I thought that is what prophets are suppose to declare.(D&C 6:9)

    It might be up there but I couldn’t find it.

  14. Jim C, before criticizing the leadership for a specific thing, a little research might be a good idea. There were three talks this past conference that talked about repentance to varying degrees. It’s easy to find, and apparently not even trying to do so showcases your intent in bright neon lights.

  15. FWIW, here’s all 6 talks from Sunday morning:

    http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/8318469/Sun_AM_Oct_14

    Even with the first half skewing “follow the prophet” (BTW, I’m not a fan of the rhetoric, either) and cutting out “in the name of Jesus Christ, amen,” God the Father and Jesus Christ are still front and center.

  16. Thanks, newby.

  17. Ray,

    I never said repentance was not mentioned in conference. I said I couldn’t find it on the word cloud. If you would like to tell me where it is located on the diagram maybe I can find it. If you can find where I criticized the the brethern let me know. I made an observation and quoted some scriptures. If you consider that criticizing then so be it.

  18. Okay, so be it.

  19. Jon Spencer says:

    Wow! There seem to be a lot of critics in the world, not just of Brother Brunson (thank you for your efforts, by the way), but also of the Brethren. Personally, I loved General Conference and the Spirit it brought into my home. I just use your Word Cloud to think about what is important for me and for my family. IMNSHO, we each are to receive from General Conference whatever the Lord through the Spirit intends for us to receive, and often many of us have different take aways from the same talk. The specific words are not so important, at least not to me. Would that I could give as good a talk as those brothers an sisters gave!

    Anyone who doesn’t like Brother Brunson’s Word Cloud can certainly make their own (some clearly have). But I’ll bet that the word “criticize” doesn’t make anyone’s list.