The term “ponderize” was coined by a Mormon Church leader, Devin G. Durrant, during a General Conference talk in October 2015. It is a portmanteau of “ponder” and “memorize” intended to convey a specific approach to studying and applying the teachings of the Church.
I invite you to “ponderize” one verse of scripture each week. The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization. – I use meditizar in Spanish, which is a combination of meditar (to ponder) and memorizar (to memorize).
There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.My Heart Pondereth Them Continually By Devin G. Durrant, First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency
“Ponderize” refers to the practice of reflecting upon and internalizing a scripture verse. The term “ponderize” gained attention and popularity within the Mormon community after its introduction, with some individuals using it as a reminder to regularly contemplate and internalize meaningful religious messages.
The Ponderize Backlash
Many other members found the term annoying and even though the ideas were positive, the simplification or “term-ification” was off-putting. The problem, other than it being a silly term was that Durrant’s family immediately started trying to make a buck on the term. The day after his sermon it was discovered that Durrant’s son had launched a website at ponderize.us to sell “ponderize” merchandise. After a backlash on social media, the website was taken down and Durrant issued an apology where he acknowledged he was aware of the plan and did not think there were any issues with it!
But after Durrant’s talk, word began circulating about the existence of a website, ponderize.us, that was selling T-shirts ($17.99) and rubber wristbands ($2.99) emblazoned with the words “What’s Your Verse?” — a phrase Durrant also used during his address. KUTV reported that the site had been set up by Durrant’s son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Valerie Durrant, and that the domain name had been purchased just a week earlier.
A huge backlash ensued, with accusations that the Durrants were attempting to brand and monetize “ponderize.”
“Not a good idea to try to make money from a General Conference talk and from a member of your family,” posted Douglas Barr on the Ponderize Weekly Facebook page. “Shameful at best … conniving and priestcrafts at the worst. This will go down as the worst moment of General Conference history. I hate the term ‘ponderize’ now.”
“Even if the intentions were a million percent pure, there are people who have now found reason to doubt the structure of General Conference,” posted Becca Gunyan. “Believing that people are called of God to speak is one thing. Seeing someone immediately profiting on a talk which they had prior knowledge about puts a bad spin on it.”‘Ponderize’ site removed after complaints of profiteering from LDS General Conference message
“Hey fellow #ponderizers!” wrote Emmett O. Rabs. “This week make sure you take the time to #ponderize how a General Authority’s family felt it would be super neat to cash in on a captive audience at General Conference.”LDS church leader apologizes for Ponderize merchandise website
After the complaints, the website announced that all profits would be donated to the church Missionary fund, but as complaints continued to come in, they decided to shut it down. The site was up for less than 1 day.
But by 10:45 p.m. Sunday, the page ponderize.us was taken down.
Amid criticism, ‘Ponderize’ apparel website removed after LDS general conference
Apologizing for Ponderizing
Devin Durrant even admitted he knew his son’s plans and did nothing in the apology issued via facebook.
“A week before my address, my son obtained the ponderize.us domain name and subsequently created a website to offer T-shirts and wristbands to highlight and extend the ponderize message, which we have long talked about in our family,” Durrant posted. “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 LDS 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.”‘Ponderize’ site removed after complaints of profiteering from LDS General Conference message
In a Facebook post Monday afternoon, Durrant called speaking in conference a privilege and thanked people for accepting his invitation to “overcome evil by choosing to elevate your thoughts by ponderizing God’s word every day.”
But he also acknowledged the backlash his son faced for “associating a general conference talk with a commercial venture.”
“I was aware that my son was creating a website related to the topic of my talk,” he wrote. “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.”Sunday School leader apologizes for son’s website
At least now ponderize is in a dictionary, though the meaning has perhaps changed. The urban dictionary defines it as “The act of monetizing one’s position in a church office.”
The act of monetizing ones position in a church office.
This revelation from God is going to make me rich if I can find a way to ponderize it.Urban Dictionary: ponderize
This incident calls attention to a fact that often occurs. Many General Authorities and especially Apostles publish books. They are available at church-owned bookstores and sell for the same price as books in general. Many of these publications are rehashed talks and thoughts written by ghostwriters and officially presented as being authored by church leaders. Do the church leaders receive money from these books? If so what is the difference between that and the Ponderize website? Is it because the website wasn’t church-owned?
Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book in 2002 confirmed that General Authorities do receive royalties from book sales:
“The books that have the most commercial appeal are the ones that have relevance to people”s lives,” said Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book…
“There are times when the editorial staff will have an idea,” Dew said. “Sometimes we”ll go to a general authority and make a suggestion for a book.” Other times general authorities will approach Deseret Book with book ideas, she said…
Once a book is in print, general authorities, like other authors, receive a royalty on every copy sold. General authorities use their royalties in a variety of ways. Some donate the money to the church”s general missionary fund, some donate it to other foundations and some use the money personally, Dew said.General authorities and Deseret Book collaborate
If there was backlash regarding the ponderize.us website selling merchandise, why isn’t there a similar backlash towards Deseret Book royalties?