Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

High Councilmen Speak

September 28th, 2009 by G.

My wife can give a humdrum talk at church, and I’ll listen. She’s my wife.

Neither does someone who’s a member of my congregation need to have remarkable insights to keep my attention. What they say matters to me because its them saying it (the mezzo-intellectuals who populate the bloggernacle like to brag about reading books during the services. They are inadvertently revealing a lack of affection.)

An apostle or the prophet won’t be on personal terms with most of his audience, but we know them well and they have the frisson of authority to boot.

High councilmen, however, are proverbially the dullest speakers in the church. The congregation doesn’t know them personally and they do not have any authority that most members know anything about. They are not part of the family or the ward family and they don’t have their picture hung on the family wall.

Our high councilman and his companion speaker gave a clinic recently on his to overcome these disadvantages.

The companion used humor. He told a lot of jokes on himself and was wry about the foibles he shares with us.

The high councilman didn’t joke. He brought himself into our circle in another way. He complimented our reverence during the prelude and told us how in that relative quiet he had heard the Holy Ghost. He talked about his history of loving music and how our choir had moved him. He discussed specific reactions to the previous speakers he had noticed in the congregation and told us his own. He spent more than 5 minutes on this. He had fewer speaking minutes for his topic, but more listening minutes.

Cross-posted at the Millennial Star.

Comments (7)
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No Tag
September 28th, 2009 08:40:58

September 28, 2009


What a delightful bon mot. I will have to remember that one. Right on target, too.

It stands to reason that any speaker not familiar to his audience needs to exchange some trust cues before launching into the meat of his talk. Humor seems to work, though I’ve found I need to be careful to make it humor the audience understands, and not (for example) geek humor. Self-deprecating humor is good as long as it doesn’t undercut your authority to speak. Jokes about sacred things or politics (the two ends of a spectrum) are right out.

My rich baritone voice often gets an audience’s attention, but I have to be careful about the wheezing.

September 28, 2009

I have observed that self-deprecating humor from high councilmen rarely works because it is rarely genuinely self-deprecating.

East of Eden
September 28, 2009

I just wish they wouldn’t mumble, read their talks without looking up, and would stay within the time of SacMtg, even if that means cutting the remarks short.

Wm Morris
September 28, 2009

It not only shows a lack of affection, but also a lack of imagination and dialogue with doctrinal discourse (esp. the scriptures).

Ben Pratt
September 28, 2009

Thanks for posting this at the Old Old Country.

Though they lacked familiarity with the listeners, these speakers did much to invite the Spirit and little to discourage it (e.g. the items on East of Eden’s list). Wonderful.

Brian Duffin
September 28, 2009

Great post, Adam. I hope your hard drive is feeling better.

Adam G.
September 28, 2009

It is deceased.

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