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Ronald E. Poelman
Full name Ronald Eugene Poelman
Born May 10, 1928 (1928-05-10) (age 81)
Place of birth Salt Lake City, Utah
LDS Church General Authority
First Quorum of the Seventy
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Start of term April 1, 1978 (aged 49)
End of term October 3, 1998 (aged 70)
End reason Granted general authority emeritus status
Emeritus General Authority
Called by Gordon B. Hinckley
Start of term October 3, 1998 (aged 70)

Ronald Eugene Poelman (born 10 May 1928) has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since 1978. In 1984, he delivered a controversial sermon in the LDS Church's general conference which the church redacted before publishing.



Poelman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to a Latter-day Saint family. As a young man, he served as a Mormon missionary in the LDS Church's Netherlands Mission. In 1955 he graduated from the law school at the University of Utah and in 1965 he graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA degree.[1]

Poelman lived in San Francisco, California and was a vice president of Consolidated Freightways. He was a bishop of the LDS Church in San Francisco. In April 1978, Poelman became a member of the church's First Quorum of Seventy.[1] During his time of service, Poelman has served as a counselor to Hugh W. Pinnock in the general presidency of the Sunday School from 1979 to 1981 and from 1985 to 1986. From 1992 to 1994 he again served in the Sunday School General Presidency.[2] In 1998, Poelman was released from active duties and granted general authority emeritus status.

Poelman was married to Claire, who was for a time a consultant with Stanford University.[3] After she died, he married Anne G. Osborn, a doctor connected with the University of Utah.[4]

Controversial sermon

In the October 1984 general conference of the LDS Church, Poelman delivered a sermon entitled "The Gospel and the Church". Controversy ensued when the version of his sermon that was published in the November 1984 Ensign magazine differed significantly from the sermon Poelman had delivered orally. Peggy Fletcher, "Poelman Revises Conference Speech", Sunstone, Jan. 1985, p. 44. Further, the videotape copies of general conference that were included in church archives and distributed throughout the church contained Poelman delivering the revised version of his sermon. A "cough track" was included in the retaping to make it appear that the revised sermon was delivered in front of an audience.[5]

One commentator has criticised the changes to the sermon as a dramatic shift in the meaning of Poelman's address:

"The rewriting and refilming of Elder Ronald Poelman's October 1984 Conference address, originally a rare and inspiring defense of free agency, so that it became yet another cry for obedience. His text was not edited — his ideas were turned inside out."[6]

Poelman was not invited to speak in general conference again for four and a half years.[5]


  1. ^ a b “Elder Ronald E. Poelman of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1978, 104–105.
  2. ^ 2005 Deseret Morning News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Morning News, 2004) p. 102
  3. ^ “Elder Ronald E. Poelman Of the First Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1978, pp. 104–105.
  4. ^ "AML-List Review: The Amulek Alternative: Exercising Agency in a World of Choice", Association for Mormon Letters, accessed 2008-03-19.
  5. ^ a b Lavina Fielding Anderson, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 7–64 at p. 23 (1993).
  6. ^ L. Jackson Newell, "An Echo from the Foothills: To Marshal the Forces of Reason", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 26–34 at p. 27 (1986).

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