Thursday, February 18, 2010

Truth and Rhetoric

I was reading some of the General Conference talks and I decided to apply the things I'm learning about English to them.
In some of my favorite talks, I noticed that there were some elements of rhetoric that were really strong and others that seemed almost nonexistent.
I think obviously the General Authorities rely heavily on appeals of ethos in their talks. Their audience trusts them because God trusts them. But it couldn't all be focused on that because why would any skeptic take their words on face value?
I looked at logical appeals, and there were some but nothing that was going to convince anyone who didn't already believe.
Elder Holland definitely invoked emotion in his audience but even he relied on his audiences acceptance of what he was going to say. And then, instead of aknowledging opposing views, he defied them, which once again made me ask why someone would believe them in the first place. Then it hit me: the truth.
There is something in each of us that knows what is true(right) and what is false(wrong). We have it at birth; some people call it a conscience.
I think that truth can probably be more powerful than any form of rhetoric to the people looking for it.
Maybe that is the true purpose of rhetoric in the first place: to find out the truth.

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