Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Anatomy of an Easter Talk

I was standing in the church hallway with my father-in-law, when Bro. Rodriguez approached me and handed me a paper. It was an invitation to give a talk about the resurrection the following Sunday (Easter Sunday). Although my schedule is a little full right now, I gratefully accepted. I thoroughly enjoy giving talks. I love learning and feeling gospel principles, and then communicating those feelings to an audience.

I prepared the best I knew how in only one week. Sunday through Wednesday, I searched out resurrection topics and talks. My goal in the first stage is to examine all the different angles and approaches to the resurrection. Also, since I have never been resurrected, I needed to think of personal stories that could be analogous, if not directly applicable. Looking at many different talks and scriptures helps bring experiences and topics to my mind.

I put the pen to paper on the Metro on Wednesday and Thursday. Remarkably, the talk did not undergo any serious revisions between the original and the final version. I added and deleted thoughts and sentences, but all the major elements stayed the same.

The talk that landed on the paper was not just about the time around the resurrection of Christ and the Second Coming, rather it took a broad view of the reasons for the resurrection in light of the whole plan of salvation. At one point, I second-guessed the broad-view talk, and tried to think how I could focus it more on the resurrection itself. I failed. I couldn't change the talk. I needed pre-mortal life to show that resurrection was a culminating step in a long (eternal) process.

I do not know why the title "A Blood-Soaked Christ" stuck with me. I was concerned that it was too theatrical and "shocking" to keep this most sacred subject sacred. But I have not been able to think of an adequate alternative. However, I did add the sub-title, paraphrasing Elder Neal Maxwell, to clarify why the blood-soaked Christ is key to the resurrection: "Mankind's Grip on Immortality."

Finally, since I only had a week to prepare, I had no scriptural references in the talk, other than the scriptures that are actually embedded in the text. I've spent the last few days adding footnotes, which GoogleDocs transformed into endnotes. Endnotes help to keep the flow of the text smooth, but I prefer chopping it up with tangential thoughts in footnotes.

With no further ado, for anyone interested, here is the talk:

A Blood-Soaked Christ: Mankind's Grip On Immortality


  1. Hey Brother E. So great to see you guys have a blog. I hope you don't mind if I take a look around. Feel free to visit our blog anytime. BTW, John and I really were impressed with your talk on Sunday. I will have to let him know you have it posted online. Take care and i hope the baby is well.

  2. Hey Melissa,

    Yeah, this is just a personal blog with odd thoughts here and there. One of these days we'll put together a family blog...

    (Congratulations, you have been added to my GoogleReader!)

  3. The talk was awesome. I can always count on the Ellsworths talks to make my Sunday travels worth it.

    Okay, every Sunday is worth. There are just some Sunday's I like more than others.

    I like the extended notes.

  4. Thanks, Harley.

    The footnotes are a new thing I may add to future talks. They give me ideas for future research/talk topics and help me to make sure what I'm teaching is solid doctrine.

    I don't like to say, "Please turn with me to..." because it breaks up the flow of the talk; so I never cite the scripture out loud. I generally provide the name of the speaker, and context, if helpful.