Elder Choi: I Love Loud Boys

The noisy sturm about Elder Holland notwithstanding, I believe Elder Yoon Hwan Choi gave the sleeper hit talk of this past General Conference. His address was a simple narrative of personal revelation and how Christ can enter the lives of our youth. More than this, it was an example of how we as lay clergy ought to approach our sermons. I’d like to look at his sermon, both in terms of its message and its form. I’m not doing any deep textual analysis, just taking an informal look at Choi’s story, his lessons and his structure.

The central narrative is indeed extremely simple: as a young bishop, Elder Choi took under his wing a group of loud youths. With the help of a missionary and some others, the troublemakers slowly emerge as powerful young men in the gospel. The rest of Elder Choi’s talk is spent exploring the principles and lessons that these young men internalized as part of their growth from boys to men. But while this story is very plain, it works well in Elder Choi’s talk for two reasons: first, it is a true story, and second, it is told in loving terms with an attention to detail that shows real care. For example, Choi relates that the boys are taught to sing in a triple quartet, and he gives us the name of their group: the Hanero Quartet, which means “be as one.” Choi consistently refers to the singing group with this Korean name, preserving for us a sense of realism and cultural exoticism.

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