Wordle: LDS

For the past month or so I’ve been compiling a rather benign spreadsheet.  I’ve been gathering news articles on the Church, either through Mormon Times, LDS Church News, Deseret News, and the Church Website.  It started out thanks to this article and sort of snowballed from there into a list of 35 different articles.

What I did was a simple search of various “terms,” as a way of trying to pigeon hole the focus of the article – not the topic – but where the focus is (on a person, a place, an organization, Christ, etc).  I am quite sure there are better ways to do this, more refined, more accurate, but this is what I came up with.

First, for the visual learners, a simple click on this link will take you to a word cloud of this search/project.  This word cloud is made up of the first 15 articles I scanned/searched.  The more prominent the word in those articles, the larger the word will be in the word cloud.  Quite useful, methinks, and instructive.

Second, for the number oriented folk…here’s what I found.  I limited my search to a couple of categories, namely (a) Church/LDS/Mormon, (b) President/Presidency, (c) Prophet, (d) Monson / Hinckley, (e) Apostle / Elder, (f) Lord, (g) Savior, (h) Jesus, and (i) Christ.  I did a search in each of the articles for these terms and tallied them up just to see how the news, events and such were being reported and, as a result, how members were viewing the information.

Of all these categories, there were a total of 752 terms queried.  These 752 terms consisted of the following:

Church / LDS / Mormon:  248x (7.29x per article)
Apostle / Elder:  232x (6.82x per article)
President / Presidency:  87x (2.56x per article)
Monson / Hinckley:  54x (1.59x per article)
Christ:  39x (1.15x per article)
Jesus:  35x (1.03x per article)
Prophet:  25x (0.74x per article)
Lord:  21x (0.62x per article)
Savior:  11x (0.32x per article)

I also did a slightly altered tally for the terms Christ and Jesus.  If we remove those instances where “Jesus” and “Christ” were only stated in unison with the name of the Church, then the number of times these words were used dwindles to 7 (“Jesus”) and 3 (“Christ”), or approximately 0.21x and 0.09x per article, respectively.

Does this show where our focus lies?  I also noticed a tendency towards self-congratulating articles, either on how much good the Church’s humanitarian efforts are, or how great Mormons are at rendering service in natural disasters, though this is difficult to put into one of these types of analyses, no matter how imperfect this particular one is.

Anyway…thought you’d all like to see it.  Really, the word cloud shows it all.

  1. brett says:

    interesting way to analyze words.

    i thought it was interesting to see the words that were the greatest or the boldest, then something caught my attention, where are the words of Christ or Jesus or Saviour? i had to look for it.

    it is no longer amazing to me to see this focus shift. anyone, on any given sunday, can go to church and see this. whether they are aware of this shift, is a different story.
    the problem that i see is that the masses look to others for the truth. they look for the apostles, the ensign, local church leaders, parents, or peers for diseminating the truth, unaware of the medium that it creates.

    i have a couple of points that i have came across recently or have felt in regards to this subject:
    1. i was reading journal discourses last week and found the following from brigham young, “The early customs and teachings of parents and friends, to a greater or lesser degree, influence the minds of children, but when they are disposed to inquire at the hands of Him who has eternal intelligence to impart to them, when their understandings are enlarged, when their minds are enlightened by the Spirit of Truth, so that they can see things that are unseen by the natural eye, they may then be corrected in their doctrine and belief, and in their manner of life, but not until then.”
    i want to summarze a few points on this quote:
    A: many members are still children, despite being long in years. as soon as we are disposed to inquire of the Lord, then and only then are we able to gain understanding.
    this problem is prevelant not only in our masses, but in our leaders. many of my leaders, are more business minded than spiritually minded, pushing programs, statistics, missionary efforts rather than searching for Christ and earnestly seeking the enlightment of the Spirit. 2 nephi 28:14 comes to mind, many leaders teach good business concepts, mingled with scripture and precepts of men. they often teach a concept because it requires little to zero preparation and no searching for the Spirit of Truth.
    B: the other problem i see is found in d&c 9:7. when we fail to seek and ask of Christ, one who has all Truth, and one whom is our Savior, and who is the only Way, we put our focus and our knowledge and beliefs into a man or organization or an idol and are eventually led astray. the example that always comes to my mind is the sun. for a seed or a plant to grow it needs heat, light and water. if i place a filter between the plant and the source of all nourishment, such as a black fabric, then it will only get some of the light and very little water. that might be a poor example, but it is the one that is in my head. when we place a filter or a medium between us and the source, then we will recieve little from the source and instead view the filter as the source.

    2. the other point that comes to my mind is a quote that came from the Oct 09 general conference, the authors name escapes me, but the one paragraph stuck. we offend the Spirit not only through our sins but when we are critical, skeptical or doubtful.
    -if we blindly seek after the counsel of only our parents, peers, teachers or leaders for our knowledge and truth and doctrine, then we become blinded by their teachings and traditons and tend to reject any other teaching that does not fit into that round peg. for example, my dad, who has served in many higher church callings, rejects many of the early prophets teachings, specifically brigham young, because these principles were odd or just don’t fit into that round peg. he then cites “to always follow the current prophet”.
    when we are skeptical or critical or doubtful, we offend the Spirit of Truth.

    3. the truth is often blinded by our physical presence. so much focus is given to our physical self, our passions, hunger, adictions, pains and aches. so much of our time is focused upon why our knee hurts that the spirit is masked and is underdeveloped or malnourished. many people are addicted to tv crime shows. i will pick on this one because it is one of my weaknesses too. but many come home from work and plop themselves onto the sofa and immerse themselves into their shows, and stay there until they break the seal and have to go the bathroom or they fall asleep. to top it off, their whole week follows the same pattern. our spirits are then desensitized by the graphic nature of the programs and are also numbed by lack of focus to improve its function in our life.

    Brigham Young teaches that “when the body for which the intelligence dwells in, dies, all of the feelings, senses, sensibilities, faculties and powers of the spirit are still alive, they never die, but in the abscence of the body, are more acute.”

    Parley P. Pratt goes onto say “…when we have laid off this outward tabernacle of flesh. We are in every way interested, in our relationships, kindred ties, sympathies, affections, and hopes, as if we had continued to live, but had stepped aside, and were experiencing the loneliness of abscence for a season.”
    this quote, is amazing in so many ways, and what follows is far deeper than one can imagine, that our ancestors, our posterity, both past and future, are all brought within the circle of our sphere of joys, sorrows, interests, or expectations, each forms a link in the great chain of life.
    there is much there.

    but in summary, our focus, or our agency, to improve, to recieve enlightenment and truth depends upon us, as individuals, to seek for the truth, and not depend upon other individuals to be our medium with the Father.

  2. Focus says:

    That’s a great quote by Brigham Young. I found the reference, btw, and liked what he added afterwards:

    “To say that the human family are not seeking salvation, is contrary to my experience, and to the experience of every other person with whom I have any acquaintance. They are all for salvation, some in one way, and some in another; but all is darkness and confusion. If the Lord does not speak from heaven, and touch the eyes of their understanding by His Spirit, who can instruct or guide them to good? Who can give them words of eternal life? It is not in the power of man to do it; but when the Lord gives His Spirit to a person, or to a people, they can then hear, believe, and be instructed. An Elder of Israel may preach the principles of the Gospel, from first to last, as they were taught to him, to a congregation ignorant of them; but if he does not do it under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, he cannot enlighten that congregation on those principles, it is impossible. Job said that, “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Unless we enjoy that understanding in this probation, we cannot grow or increase, we cannot be made acquainted with the principles of truth and righteousness so as to become exalted.

    “…Whenever we are disposed to give ourselves perfectly to righteousness, to yield all the powers and faculties of the soul (which is the spirit and the body, and it is there where righteousness dwells); when we are swallowed up in the will of Him who has called us; when we enjoy the peace and the smiles of our Father in Heaven, the things of His Spirit, and all the blessings we are capacitated to receive and improve upon, then are we in Zion, that is Zion. What will produce the opposite? Hearkening and giving way to evil, nothing else will. … What a delightful aspect would this community present if all men and women, old and young, were disposed to leave off their own sins and follies, and overlook those of their neighbors; if they would cease watching their neighbors for iniquity, and watch that they themselves might be free from it! If they were trying with all their powers to sanctify the Lord in their hearts, and would prove, by their actions, that they had received the truth and the love of it! If all individuals would watch themselves, that they do not speak against the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, nor in short against any being in heaven or on earth. Strange as this may appear, there have been men in this Church that have done it, and probably will be again! If this people would be careful not to do anything to displease the spirits of those who have lived on the earth, and have been justified, and have gone to rest, and would so conduct themselves, that no reasonable being upon the face of the earth could find fault with them, what kind of society should we have? Why every man’s mouth would be filled with blessings, every man’s hand would be put forth to do good, and every woman and child in all their intercourse would be praising God, and blessing each other. Would not Zion be here? It would. What hinders you from doing this? What is the Lord or the people doing to cause this one and that one to commit sin with a high hand, in secret and in the open streets? ” BY, JD 1:2-4

    Here’s the word cloud of his talk:

    Wordle: BY - Salvation

  3. Bro says:

    lol – man, I love the cloud. For the past six months or so I’ve been noticing how little church is about Jesus and how much church is about church. The results illustrated in that cloud are pretty dramatic. Thanks for posting.

  4. Rooch says:

    Yeah, I had a couple of strange experiences in relation to Monson a while back. About a year or more ago, I decided to tune in to a young adult CES fireside by Monson. At the end of the talk he said something like “Keep your eyes on us, the brethern. We will never lead you astray.” I got a really strange feeling about that.

    Later, I happened to pick up an Ensign, which I hadn’t done for a while, and I noticed an article by Monson. I don’t remember what it was about. I just remember that the focal point of the article was how obedience was the solution to all of life’s problems. And it was really weird, because at the climax of the article, the place where he was giving the ultimate solution to life’s problems, right where he could have turned people to Jesus, he said obedience was the solution. I remember thinking it looked like someone could have just as easily put the words Jesus Christ where he had put the word obedience. The only time he mentioned Jesus was “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

    I don’t know the status of the leaders of the Mormon church, but I do believe there is a great lack of Christ everywhere within the church. When the supposed “prophet” of a people is preaching obedience to himself and his peers, I find that strange, and its no surprise that same kind of attitude permeates all levels of the organization.

    I had a cool experience once where I felt like I needed to commit myself to Christ and none else. And I told Christ that I wouldn’t listen to anyone but Him, because I was tired of trying to follow man. It was depressing me, and I just felt guilty all the time.

    I told Him I was done following church leaders, or any man for that matter. I felt that if I ever needed to find guidance from another man, that my heart would be opened up in love through the Spirit. I said “Christ, if you ever want me to follow someone, you tell me first, otherwise I won’t do it. I’ll do what you say, not what they say. I trust you, I do not trust them. I could follow you into battle and I could learn to obey your every command, because you seem like someone I could trust. I do not trust these men.”

    I had always hated the scripture about the sons of heleman and exact obedience, but after this experience, I felt like I could learn to follow someone like Jesus with exactness, because He seems like a cool guy, someone with my best interest at heart, and He could fill me with love instead of guilt and fear.

    I told Christ I was His warrior, and that I would fight for none else. I would listen to none else. I was done fighting for men, and I was done trying to defend leaders and institutions. I remember feeling so much better after that. It was like a huge burden was lifted off of me.

    Sorry for the long comment, kind of got carried away.

  5. Storm says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    The thing (as far as I currently understand things) which is so interesting about following Christ, is that when we follow Him it’s no longer about “obedience” per se, but our lives become about love and doing everything out of love. Love for Christ, love for our fellow man. Obedience becomes who we are, though our focus is on love and Christ…if that makes any sense.

    Has your feeling continued since that day of decision?

  6. Rooch says:

    “Obedience becomes who we are, though our focus is on love and Christ…if that makes any sense”

    That pretty much sums up the feeling that I had, so yeah that does make perfect sense. I couldn’t agree more. What I felt really was nothing like obedience. It was more like congruency.

    I mostly consider obedience to be a dirty word, just like responsibility, duty, obligation, should, accountability. These are words usually used when people are trying to force themselves or others to be righteous. There is nothing forced about following Christ, its supposed be the most natural thing in the world, and it feels like none of the above words.

    Yes, the feeling has continued. That feeling comes with varying intensity, but I feel like it is behind almost every part of my journey. It has really helped me to step back from my bondage to church, guilt, and fear. I still have a lot of that to work out, but the release I have experienced so far has been so freeing.

    In Zion, I doubt people will ever use the word obedience.

  7. Congruence says:

    Very well put. Congruence… had a friend, on this issue, state it a similar way:

    “Congruence is a good descriptive word that will bring us closer to what “Obedience” is.

    And just so we understand, the Lord does not force or compel or demand anything of us. And that is our definition of “Commandments”. There is incongruity with our definition of “Commandments”. It does not fit in with a true representation of our relationship with our Loving Father and Mother in Heaven.

    Obedience is something that I LOVE to do.

    I plead to Father that He will constantly pour out “Commandments” upon me – now that I have a better picture of what that word means.

    Here is a picture that might help:

    Consider that you are walking and talking with God – your Loving Father (as Joseph said is the first principle). Father puts His Hand on your back and says: “My son, walk this way with Me for a while”. Now you have two choices. You can push back on His Hand and say “NO – I’ll do it myself – my way”. OR you can welcome His gentle nudge and feel the Love that He is sharing with you and freely, willingly, voluntarily, go with Him in His Loving direction. He guides you and you willingly “Flow” with Him. You can “MOVE” with Him. You can choose to welcome His teaching moments and His Loving ways. You can take great pleasure in letting Him guide you, and direct you, and inspire you. You can completely surrender you “WILL” to His because you Love Him and will do anything for Him. Your eye is SINGLE to His Glory. Your “SELF” is completely out of the way. You give your ALL to Him – gladly, thankfully, trustingly. You love to Hear-ken to His every word. You are completely focused on Him. His words are like the Balm of Gilead – which you welcome – to heal your SIN-Sick (Self) Soul.

    And it is a glorious feeling as you flow with Him and seek ONLY His will, like our Saviour was/is with Father.

    Does that help to understand better what “Obedience” is – rather than the idea of: “knuckle under you peon slave”.

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