What do yall think of this?
I walked into church late to see that a high councilman and his wife were the speakers this week. She had her head down and was reading off a sheet of paper in a monotone voice quickly but not very fluidly. I noticed she was getting a bit tripped up on some of the long sentences she was using and that she was mispronouncing some of her words ("transdescended" instead of transcended). I thought that it would be odd for her to write a talk using words that she didn't really know, and it occurred to me that maybe she didn't write it. I jotted down some distinctive phrases so I could search for her source later. It turned out it was this article from Gerald Lund from a 1990 Ensign. As soon as she read the last word off her page, she closed in Jesus' name and said Amen.
Then her husband spoke. He told this story as true (which it isn't). He used it as a way to introduce the theme of his talk, which was the importance of choices. Then he began doing the same thing his wife had done, reading with his head down and using words like "portended" and "grappled". A search of his phrases showed it was from this 1998 ensign article by Elder Oaks. He then closed with a story from his own life about how his decision to go scuba diving on Sunday while on vacation resulted in his eardrum being ruptured, and that now he lives with constant ringing and a small of fraction of hearing capacity in that ear all because he didn't honor the Sabbath. He gave his testimony and then closed.
The first Ensign article was read in its entirety. The second one was not.
Since I didn't hear the beginning of the sister's talk, I can't be sure whether she cited Gerald Lund. The fact that she didn't say anything after makes me wonder whether she said anything before. From what I saw, it seemed like the whole talk was passed off (maybe not on purpose) as her own words.
I don't remember the husband cited his source either. It's possible that he did and that I missed it. But I don't think he did.
Now. So many questions.
1. Isn't this strange?
2. Should I do anything? (I'm not planning on it.)
3. Assuming I knew for a fact that they didn't cite anything (which I don't), should I do anything?
4. How often do you think this happens by mistake?
5. On purpose?
6. Why do old people think they can read email forwards over the pulpit, and why hasn't the First Presidency done something about it? (I'm serious!)
I'm quite embarrassed that I spent almost a whole sacrament meeting amassing criticism and evidence of plagiarism, but as it turns out, I listened more intently to these talks than I usually do, and from what I saw, than the Bishop did today. Maybe God commanded the speaker to plagiarize in order to get me to pay attention for once.