I have often wondered why they don’t open up LDS conference talks to a wider range of speakers? There are many members who have excellent speaking abilities and have important things to say. Instead, we listen to the same group of GAs every 6 months; the topics are pretty much the same; and the delivery is frequently monotonal. I think many of us crave more variety.
I think it would be good to have Robert Kirby (LDS columnist for the SLTrib) give a talk at next Fall’s conference. Kirby is one of the Church’s greatest thinkers and theologians. His columns in the Saturday “Faith” section are usually right on the money. For example (8 Apr 2011):
Last week in General Conference, a church leader pointedly told the whisperers to shut up. OK, what he really said was that we shouldn’t judge working mothers.
Turns out there are all sorts of legitimate reasons for women working outside the home, none which were anybody’s business except the person making the decision.
Group judgment is always the problem with a group standard. No matter how well-intentioned the standard might seem in the beginning, it can backfire when a member of the group steps outside the lines. The judgment starts.
If every worthy young man is supposed to serve a mission, then what’s wrong with Bill if he doesn’t? Exactly how deep does Satan have his claws sunk into him?
Mormons are supposed to get married in the temple. If someone decides–again for reasons that are nobody else’s business–not to get married there, the judgment starts. Ooh, someone isn’t worthy.
We Mormons have a tendency to be a little self-righteousness; Kirby could knock us down a peg or two.
Another idea might be to have an occasional non-Mormon speak at conference, say, for example, a Catholic or Episcopal Bishop. I’m sure the Catholic Bishop would appreciate the opportunity to expound on the need for love and understanding as it relates to “illegal” aliens. And the Episcopal Bishop could mention the important role that women play in Christianity.