I've thought that, once I'm through with my degree and don't have to pretend I believe in god and Joseph Smith and all, maybe I'd like to give a talk in church. I can't decide whether it'd be better to speak first or last: first, I can set the theme of the whole meeting, but last, I can leave the feeling everyone will take home with them.
This is my first draft I'm writing up.
Good [morning, evening, afternoon], brothers and sisters.
[insert obligatory insincere apology for not preparing better here]
My talk today is about [boring topic], and to begin I thought I'd study the scriptures.
But I kinda got sidetracked by a somewhat tangential thought that I thought I'd share.
Have you ever thought: "God is an alien?" No, really! Instead of inexplicable super-powers, maybe he has super-advanced technology! We'd never know the difference. He has even revealed the name of his homeworld to us: Kolob! I imagine Kolob, home to an advanced civilization, the entire planet lit up with the lights of one enormous global city. It sounds great, we should all hie there someday.
Sorry, that got completely off topic and a little weird.
Anyway, back to [boring topic]. The first place I looked for inspiration was the life of Christ. Chirst spoke to the people, not just the leaders and the wealthy, but to the common folk. Well, not the gentiles, he tried to ignore them as much as possible. He performed unbelievable miracles of healing and knowledge. He gave himself up willingly to die. And then, the Bible tells us, he rose in glory on the third day, victorious forever over death.
Now, if you study the origin of the gospels at all, you know Mark is the first one written, and likely provided a lot of material for Matthew and Luke. The weird thing is, the account of the ressurection in Mark has been shown to have been added in long after its writing. I guess the accounts in Matthew and Luke aren't much help to us there, because they drew on Mark so much. But we have John, which is by far the most unique of the gospels and largely independent of the text of Mark, despite likely being the last gospel to be written. Unfortunately, the ressurection in John has also been shown to be a forgery appended to the original document.
But this, brothers and sisters, is what faith is all about. Believing despite scholarly criticism. Believing in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary. Believing things that you know, if you were to consider rationally, would seem patently false. Because these events were not your average, daily events. They were unique in history. If they happened at all, that is.
I guess I've run out of time, and I've rambled a little bit, but I want to conclude quickly.
If anything I've said has made you uncomfortable, you have doubts. If not, you have true faith, because nothing could ever shake your beliefs, no matter what it was. I know that the truth is out there *X-Files whistle*.
I say these things in the name of whoever you think of first, Amen.
If you didn't think of Jesus, that's your own damn fault.
Now there is a very high likelyhood that I've be wrestled off the stand partway through this talk, so I'll have to come up with something hilarious and offense-giving (but only with a minute of thought) last sentence to yell into the mic before they body-slam me. If they punch me or anything, I'll have to yell out something about how Christlike the saints are.
It's a work in progress. Maybe I'll post another draft later after I come up with some more material.