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Brother Durrant Apologizes Over Ponderize Controversy

Brother Devin Durrant Apologizes Over Ponderize Controversy

Brother Devin Durrant, the second counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, has responded to criticism from social media users about a website selling “ponderize” merchandise.

Durrant, who spoke in General Conference this past weekend, invited members around the world to “ponderize” the scriptures every week, a combination of memorize and ponder. Within hours, Facebook groups and posts were up accepting Durrant’s challenge. The problem? Durrant’s son had registered the domain name ponderize.us a week before the conference, selling t-shirts and wristbands with the phrase on it.

After severe criticism from users on social media, claiming the family was trying to make a profit on Durrant’s conference message, the site was taken down. On his official Facebook page, Durrant shared the following statement:

Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege to speak in General Conference about a topic that is near and dear to my heart – the pondering of God’s word in an extended and deeper manner on a weekly basis. I have been touched at the outpouring of support for my message. Please know of my heartfelt gratitude for the positive responses I have received from so many!

However, I have also received some negative feedback. A week before my address, my son obtained the ponderize.us domain name and subsequently created a website to offer t-shirts and wrist bands to highlight and extend the ponderize message, which we have long talked about in our family. Although we didn’t invent the term, as far as we know our use of it is unique. Because of the backlash he received in associating a commercial venture with a General Conference talk, he initially lowered his prices to cover his costs and then decided to keep prices as originally set and to donate the profits to the missionary fund of the Church. Ultimately, he decided to take down the website last night. The site will remain down. I was aware that my son was creating a website related to the topic of my talk. I should have stopped the process. I did not. That was poor judgment on my part. Of course, none of the Church leaders were aware of the site. I offer a sincere apology to any person who was offended in any way by the site.

My message remains the same – overcome evil by choosing to elevate your thoughts by ponderizing God’s word every day.

Thank you, again, to so many of you for your kind messages of support and your willingness to accept the invitations given yesterday.

 

 

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About Aleah Ingram

Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a social media manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and is addicted to organic milk, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

12 comments

  1. That is so silly! ALL the conference talks get turned into books and pamphlets and bookmarks and notecards and packets of seeds by companies like Deseret Book! If people want a physical reminder of the principle, great! I think the son was smart to think of, and I’m bummed that members chose to take offense!

  2. I loved your talk!! I have joined a group to ponderize on a daily basis. I am amazed how some take offense and how negative we have become. I’m sorry that you feel like you have to explain and apologize because some people are making assumptions and being judgemental.

  3. While I give Bro. Durrant himself the benefit of the doubt and am dismayed by the sarcasm and even viciousness of some of the criticisms leveled against him, I am surprised that so few commenters here can even begin to see how someone might find this situation somewhat reminiscent of the moneychangers in the temple. The end (disseminating the message) does not justify the means (planning in advance to market it for personal gain). The fact that the donation of profits to the missionary fund was a second afterthought (the first being the elimination of profits altogether) in response to the objections raised makes it harder to believe that profit was not one of the primary driving motives.

    As evidence of our claims to belong to “the” church of Jesus Christ, we are quick to point out that we are led by an unpaid clergy at all levels of governance. If General Conference comes to be perceived as a great semiannual marketing opportunity, that part of our message will be undermined and it will be harder for us to distinguish ourselves from the televangelist culture from which we so proudly distance ourselves. Unlike most LDS, the rest of the world is not conditioned to assume that our leaders, while theoretically human, would never do anything seriously wrong, so unfortunately appearances matter.

    True, this is not the first instance of such gospel marketing, but perhaps it should be the beginning of the end of this trend. I could cite many policy changes in recent decades that show an impulse among our leaders to move us toward a more consecrated lifestyle in all aspects, including the economic; unfortunately, we as a church culture seem to have difficulty remembering that, for all its apparent advantage over other systems, capitalism is still a product of Babylon. Time and again we prove ourselves unprepared for the restoration of a Zion economy, which is founded on the principle of consecration, not the profit motive.

    • I have to fully agree with Paul. I enjoyed the talk. The concept was great, but this should have never happened and he did the right thing by taking it down. I personally got an unsolicited ad to buy a ponderize app the day after conference. I puzzled over that and thought maybe someone developed a simple app that quickly. Now I know there were advance marketing plans before the talk was ever delivered. The original concept was wrong. It was to make a profit by marketing products to Saints and to launch the marketing with the free advertising gained through a world wide conference of the spoken word of living apostles and prophets. I give Bro. Durrant the benefit of the doubt and commend him for his decision but I can assure you that the First Presidency either did or would have assured that site was closed because it was wholly inappropriate by any standard.

    • Enrique Daniel Acereto

      Paul, you are right but I believe there are loving words that could have been used to “open the eyes and ears” of the Durrant Family. That is why we are not ONE yet in Christ. Positive words that correct any errors should have been used and not harsh criticism !!!

  4. Great Message, Elder Durrant. I have nothing else to say except I have a great gift of Agency and the plan of salvation like my dear brothers and sisters. Elder Durrant, the challenge you gave to the young and old were great challenges and I hope I will be remembered and reminded with you and your family’s heart felt messages.

  5. I have to agree, but it really doesn’t matter. You can’t blame the son either, honestly who’s to say that the original idea didn’t come from the son first and the father was inspired to use it. Creative minds just know when something going to launch, they know it within every fiber of their being. It what drive them and the essential for them to flourish. If the site went public before the confedance, how would anyone honestly know it would explored in this frenzy. Regardless the natural man is what it is, people are more up set because they didn’t think of it first. And to be perfectly honest it was to the benefit they did what they did. The catch phrase is now copy writer to the rightful owner and can not be exploited for other means. In the world of creative thinking this was a Babe Ruth home run. And I personally don’t care where or what the son did. I really enjoyed the concept and the ideation of it. Brovo on the inspiration. It uplifting and motivating.

  6. Thank you for your statement and apology, although you didn’t have to because you nor your son did anything wrong, I am very impressed by you rising up to be even more like Christ and apologize for any offense. I loved your talk and will try to ponderize weekly the scriptures. Thank you for this reminder.

  7. I loved the talk and as I asked my early morning Seminary class about the talks they remembered most from General Conference, they all responded with “the ponderize one”. They all loved the talk and the idea appealed to them and caught their imagination. I personally am grateful for the words spoken, and for the idea that was given. As far as the rest of the controversy, it is a tempest in a teapot, in other words, it does not change in any way the feelings I have for the talk. It was great.

  8. Devin Durrant registered ponderize.net on 9.4.15. ttps://who.godaddy.com/whoisstd.aspx?domain=ponderize.net&prog_id=GoDaddy&k=TwxDxJq%20Xwp5AvJinLJGdl64vR0gmWzcjCUlY2%2fYbjmMxViwKsEJEz6aGuao%20zA0

  9. The message was clear: we need to “ponderize” the scriptures. Do not look beyond the mark because you might get lost. I feel for you and your family Elder. It was the Spirit who spoke we felt- we listen.

  10. I love to ponder scriptures and when I heard the talk I straight away note it down to practice this in our next family home evening I have been doing this for a while but then no one paid attention so I stopped thank you so much for the reminder I needed it! We love and sustain you all that were messengers of this conference and especially our beloved prophet our heart’s were lifted and our minds were filled throughout this whole weekend we love and pray for you all.

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