Shakespeare Quotes Used in General Conference

Shakespeare Quotes Used in General Conference

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often quote notable poets, playwrights, and authors in General Conference. I thought it would be fun and interesting to do a blog post on some of Shakespeare quotes used.

For my non-member readers, General Conference is a semi-annual meeting for the whole LDS Church (sometimes called the Mormons). Yes, it’s for the whole Church, all 15+ million members. It’s interpreted live into 80+ languages and broadcast by satellite all over the world. It’s translated into additional languages for print. It’s a big deal.

So herein lieth the quotes, and the speaker which hath uttered them.

Gordon B. Hinckley
Oct 1975 and Apr 1996
“To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Apr 1994 and Apr 1999
…“the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns”
Apr 1990
“The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
… it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, …
But mercy is above the sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.”

James E. Faust and Gordon B. Hinckley
Apr 2000 (Faust) and Oct 1987 (Hinckley)
“Refrain to-night;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence, the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either master the devil or throw him out
With wondrous potency.”
Oct 1996 (Faust) and Oct 1982 (Hinckley)
“Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.”

James E. Faust
Apr 1992
“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”

Marvin J. Ashton
Apr 1983 and Oct 1986
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

Jeffrey R. Holland
Oct 1999
“What light through yonder window breaks?”

Boyd K. Packer
Oct 1994
“go to your bosom … and ask your heart what it doth know.”

Russell M. Nelson
Apr 1992 (and Pres. Faust used it in April 1982)
“Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
Oct 1985
“What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute’s mirth to wail a week?
Or sells eternity to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy?”

Thomas S. Monson
Apr 2005, Oct 2008, and Oct 1987
“They do not love that do not show their love.”
Apr 2006 and Oct 2007
“O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, He would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.”
President Monson also quoted a longer version of Cardinal Wolsey’s speech of regret to Cromwell in the Apr 1982 General Conference-
“When I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of—say, I taught thee,
Say, Wolsey—that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour—
Found thee a way. …
A sure and safe one, though thy master mist it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruin’d me.
… Fling away ambition:
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that hate thee; …
Take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; ‘tis the king’s: my robe,
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I dare now call my own.
O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but serv’d my God with half the zeal
I served my king, He would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.”
Thomas S. Monson
Apr 1995
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: …
It is an attribute to God himself.”
Apr 1993
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: /Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

Thanks for reading my blog!
PS. I don’t use a lot of references in order to keep my blog streamlined and mobile device friendly, but here’s a link to the search I used to create this post: You can find the conference talks and play references there.