Monday, January 5, 2009

The Orson Pratt Challenge: Missionary Technique with Promise

Charles and Renee West, a senior couple serving in the New York New York South Mission reported in Jul 2008 about a unique way that President Stephen Bennion, former president of Snow College, Ricks College and Southern Utah University, uses to develop public speaking in his missionaries:

All of the District Leaders were called up to participate in the Orson Pratt Challenge. They were given a specific topic and then had to give from memory a scripture that focused on that topic. They were all amazing, but of course we were rooting for our favorite DL, Elder McLean. He didn't win, but he represented us well. The winner traditionally wins a Costo size jar of peanuts! Pictured (L to R) Our Spanish speaking AP, Elder Heap, Elder McLean, and Elder Draney the English speaking AP.
I wonder if other missions are using this technique to develop their missionaries public speaking ability. I have used the same technique with my children when traveling. I will assign them a topic and ask them to give a two-minute impromptu talk. For me it is a throw back to years ago when I was a missionaries for five months I had to give a two and one half minute talk in the Ragusa District in the Italy Rome Mission. It may seem simple to give one or two talks but trying giving a talk every week for months and see just how easy it really is.

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