LDS General Conference weekend is upon us. I will likely write a review of this, the 181st session of conference, as I have the past several sessions. But I’m frankly less interested in what will be said this weekend, and more interested in what has been said over the entire span of general conference’s history.
BYU has engineered a phenomenal tool with which to study trends in general conference. It’s called the Corpus, and it gives you access to a database of all the conference talks from 1851 to 2010—that’s 10,000 talks, 24 million words!
I searched dozens of keywords to measure their relative frequency in conference talks over time. Below are some of my results.
“Abortion” – Pew Research Center finds that Mormons are the second most pro-life demographic in America, so it’s curious that abortion has received so little attention in recent decades.
“Atheism” – Atheism has been off Mormonism’s radar for several decades, but it is again becoming a concern/target for church leaders.