By J. Kenneth Doty
During my years of service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have been called to serve in a number of positions that have required that I give talks or speeches in various meetings.
I have served as counselor to three stake presidents comprising some eleven years. I was called, on three separate occasions, to serve on the stake high council, which has encompassed twenty years. I presided over a large branch of the Church in Billings, Montana, for three years prior to my call in the first stake presidency in Billings. I was a counselor to one branch president and two bishops. In addition to these callings I taught early morning seminary for fifteen years. I have served as a sealer in the Portland Oregon Temple since 1990 and continue to do so. From 1992 to 1997 I was supervisor of the sealing department of that temple. I served as co-director of the Portland Oregon Stake Family History Center. That assignment began in July of 1998. I later served in the Portland Oregon Temple Presidency, and now serve as Stake Patriarch. These last four assignments allowed me to serve with Corinne, my wife of 66 years.
My activity in community and professional circles has also led to the need to speak and teach and conduct meetings. Professionally, I was president of the Oregon Health Underwriters Association; board member of the Portland Chapter of Chartered Life Underwriters; instructor of LUTC classes for the Portland Life Underwriters Association; a member of my company’s agent’s advisory congress, rising to the office of vice president and president. I was elected board member and chairman of the Reynolds School District, and to two terms as chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Central Committee.
All of these responsibilities made it necessary for me to prepare and deliver talks or formal speeches of one variety or another. It became one of the more enjoyable challenges of my life.
One one occasion, when I was called to serve as a counselor to a new stake president, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, was the general authority responsible for the reorganization of the new stake leadership. Following the Sunday meetings, when each of the members of the new stake presidency had been called upon to speak, we took Elder Kimball to the airport for his return flight to Salt Lake City. We had sufficient time to treat him to a dinner and while eating Elder Kimball complimented me on my talk.
I confessed that I had overlooked some things that I could or should have said and felt that those things I had said were not delivered well.
He responded by saying, “President Doty, I have always been involved with three talks. The one I prepare, the one I give, and the one I wish I had given.” That, of course, evoked a round of laughter, as we all understood the implications.
This collection represents what I have considered some of my better talks. At least the best ones of which I have kept notes or texts.
It also represents an opportunity to give them additional embellishments or polish, without concern for time limitations, and makes it possible for each chapter to become “The Talk I Wish I Had Given.” Hence the title of this publication.
Since my greatest exposure to assigned talks come from my Church experience, that is the source from which most of these talks will come.
It is my sincere wish that you, the reader, will gain some enjoyment and benefit from this effort to compile and record a lifetime of trying to fulfill my assignments to teach, train, and motivate fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as professional associates and citizens of my community.