Want the gospel knowledge of a general authority? Big surprise: they read classic LDS books, including works we’ve produced and stuff we’re currently working on. Flipping through the citations of April 2014 General Conference talks, I found several familiar books:
- President Monson, in his talk “Be Strong and of a Good Courage,” quoted the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (MTP edition here) at length for the story of Joseph Smith rebuking his guards while imprisoned in MIssouri.
- Elder Hales, in his talk “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments,” quoted Joseph Fielding Smith’s 1922 Essentials in Church History (MTP edition here) for the story of Martin Harris’ loss of the 116 pages.
- Elder Cook, in his talk “Roots and Branches,” cited the History of the Church in his discussion of Moroni’s message to Joseph Smith. MTP interns Jared and Emma are currently working on the first two volumes of History of the Church, and we plan to have the six volumes that are in the public domain done this year.
- Elder William R. Walker, in his talk “Live True to the Faith,” quoted from Matthias F. Cowley’s book Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors as Recorded in His Daily Journals for the story of how Wilford Woodruff found the United Brethren and baptized most of them. An MTP volunteer was already at work on this book before conference and it’s currently just over half done.
- Elder Christofferson, in his talk “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” quoted the paragraph from Jesus the Christ (available on PG thanks to Distributed Proofreaders, kindred spirits who beat us to it) where Talmage describes the resurrected Christ’s first interaction with Mary Magdalene.
This just from one scan through the proceedings of one conference, which I doubt was unusual in this regard. So go follow the prophet and read the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.