Stories of Sustaining


Elder Neil L. Andersen has recently stated that every member, at some time in their life, will experience some dissonance between what they believe or accept as their way of thinking and that which is suggested by either local or general leaders. One of the challenges that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints face is balancing their independent thinking with their covenant promise to sustain Church leaders. This project was inspired by the talk given in the April 2023 General Conference by Elder D. Todd Christofferson–he featured the story of B.H. Roberts, who wrestled between submitting to the First Presidency or pursuing his interest in running for political office.

This project will identify and compile the experiences and life stories of others who, like B.H. Roberts, have also wrestled. From this collection of experiences, members can learn strategies for reconciling their will with that of their leaders. The collection will include experiences of members reconciling with the teachings and recommendations of General Authorities and Officers, as well as local leaders and officers of the Church.

Scott L. Howell, assistant teaching professor for the Department of Church History and Doctrine, teaches Living Prophets courses (RELC 333) and has identified a real need amongst students for notable examples or stories of others who have also wrestled with aligning their beliefs or preferences with those of Church leaders. Findings from this project would be integrated into his course and likely that of others.

Using WordCruncher, we will search General Conference addresses and other Church publications for linguistic features of stories. Once we have identified stories, we will compile the texts into a corpus.

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