This link has shown up a bit on my facebook feed today: http://www.normons.com/why-you-shouldnt-be-scared-mormon-general-conference/ comparing General Conference to TED talks.
Very well, they compel me to go with them a mile, I will go with them twain. The top 5 reasons that General Conference is NOT like a TED talk.
1. Heartsell is a trademarked technology used by the LDS church during general conference to help members feel what the speakers are saying. Members mostly don’t know the technology exists, and it includes things like pipes on the organ so low that that you can’t hear when they are played, but the members can still feel it. Bonneville Communications (Owned by the same corporation as the church and who’s board of directors consists of members of the quorum of the twelve apostles of the LDS church) sells this to other churches. If TED talks were using subliminal techniques to make their talks a success, I’m sure it would be a scandal that would turn people off.
2. TED Talks are not allowed to push the person’s own product. The head of Pepsi cola is allowed to talk about how jetpacks could be very helpful in the future or even how an initiative in his company helped poor children in africa, but he isn’t allowed to make health claims about pepsi cola and turn the ted talk into a half-hour commercial. LDS general authorities speak exclusively about the product their organization pushes; the LDS faith. They make statements that it is the one, true faith. That no one can be a family without it. Imagine a VP of Microsoft making a claim like that at TED!
3. TED talks are not correlated. Imagine learning that there was a group who edited and changed the talks at TED before they were given, with the purpose of making sure no one left 72 talking points. Imagine that if someone did give a talk beyond those limited thoughts, they were forced to re-record their talk including a cough track so that those watching the video later wouldn’t know the talk was edited. TED would become a laughing stock and no one would want to speak at it. General Conference is correlated.
4. TED speakers are not paid. General Authorities of the church are paid a modest living allowance that they, themselves have compared to CEO wages (Mormon Doctrine p. 510 and Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 42:71-73). In addition they get exclusive book deals with companies like Bookcraft and Deseret Book, and sit on the board of directors of various companies simply by being male and having an apostolic calling. Don’t get me wrong, being paid as a minister isn’t the problem, it’s that members constantly claim they have “No paid clergy” in the church; whereas TED talks really are not paid.
5. The use of fallacy. If I hear more than 4 fallacies in a TED talk, I turn it off. I just don’t have time for speculation. General Conference is filled with fallacy
Please, let’s keep science and open-minded ideas separate from the same classification as a sales message for religion.