Frequently Asked Questions
Why does it take so long to publish the text of a speech?
Each speech undergoes a thorough editing process in which references are checked against original sources and any changes are reviewed and approved by the speaker. This process can take a week or longer for editors, who are responsible for BYU Speeches and many other publications. However, we strive to have the text of a speech up on our website within a week of its delivery. If you are looking for a speech that was given over a month ago and the text is still not available, feel free to email us to ask about its status.
We prepare text for all devotional addresses. However, because of the thorough editing process required for each speech, we sometimes choose to forgo producing the text of a forum address for publication, particularly if the speaker did not provide us with a manuscript, since transcribing lengthens the process considerably. If given approval, we will still provide the audio and/or video for the speech. If you think a specific speech is an important candidate for text availability, please let us know. Depending on the level of interest, we may edit the text.
Users are welcome to transcribe speeches for their personal use and to share with family and friends. Public distribution must be authorized by the speaker.
Why are some addresses not published?
Each speaker can release or retain publication rights (audio, video, and/or text). Some forum or other speakers do not always grant permission. We respect those requests.
Other times we choose not to edit and publish a forum for reasons mentioned in the question above—depending on interest or the potential audience. We make these decisions case-by-case.
Why does the text of a speech sometimes vary from the audio recording of that speech?
The differences between devotional recordings and published text vary for a variety of reasons. An editor works closely with each speaker to prepare the talk. References are checked against original sources. If a talk needs to be transcribed, the editor helps to transition it from the spoken word to the written word. All editorial suggestions are shown to the speaker, and during this process speakers sometimes reword portions of their text. Also, speakers who use a prepared manuscript often choose not to incorporate impromptu comments. The text published is what has been approved by the speaker.
Why do I sometimes find that a talk I previously accessed through the BYU Speeches website is not available anymore?
Speakers who grant permission for BYU Speeches to publish their remarks (in audio, video, and/or text) retain the rights to their speeches. They may, at any time, request their speech to be removed from the BYU Speeches website. Speeches that were previously on our website but are no longer available have been removed by the request of the speaker.
Can I find any of the BYU Speeches in other languages? Is there any effort being made to translate them into different languages?
Through a partnership with the BYU College of Humanities, BYU Speeches has started the process of translating key BYU speeches and creating video content in other languages. In February 2023, BYU Speeches launched pages for translated content in Spanish and Japanese. We plan to start translating in French and Portuguese in fall of 2023 and will add other languages based on demand and our translating capacity.
Visit our blog post announcing the launch of our translation program for more information.
Can I find talks from Education Week, Women’s Conference, and other BYU-hosted events here?
The BYU Speeches website mostly distributes university devotional and forum assemblies as well as commencement and university conference addresses. The departments hosting other speaking events, such as Women’s Conference and Education Week, have separate policies and arrangements with the speakers regarding distribution of their material. Still, speeches.byu.edu does on occasion publish BYU speeches from other venues as opportunity and resources allow, such as the 2004 BYU Women’s Conference. For more content from other BYU campus addresses, as well as addresses from other Church-affiliated schools and CES programs, you can visit the following websites:
If I am looking for an older devotional and cannot find it on this website, is there anywhere else I can look?
Most of the text for the BYU Speeches website comes from the Speeches of the Year books that were started in 1972. Many transcripts of devotionals and firesides given prior to 1972 are available from Special Collections in the BYU Harold B. Lee Library. They provide photocopies through regular mail or PDF scans via email, and the cost of the service depends on the length of the talk(s) and the distribution method.
To get information on ordering a photocopy or PDF scan, call Special Collections at 801-422-3175 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I buy a BYU Speeches book in print?
In 1972 BYU Speeches began printing volumes of speeches by academic year. Because of the free online availability of speeches, demand has declined, and we no longer print them. The last volume was 2013–2014 (May–April). Talks can be printed individually in typeset PDF format when text is available for a speech.
Where can I find a musical number that was given in a devotional assembly?
Because of copyright issues, BYU Speeches does not have published videos of musical numbers.
Do I need to request permission to quote a devotional address or forum in a talk, book, etc.?
The need for permission when quoting material in a publication depends on the length of the individual quotes. Typically, permission is not needed for short quotations from other publications as long as the quotes are matched accurately and completely cited. Permission is required for long excerpts or reproduction of whole works.
For a short quotation (up to a few paragraphs), a citation telling where it came from should be sufficient. Be sure that the portion being quoted is material directly from the speaker and not a quote within the talk. If quoting quoted material, you should reference the original source. In our publications we set up our BYU Speeches citations in this order: speaker, title, whether devotional or fireside or something else, and date (e.g., Kevin J Worthen, “Enduring Joy,” BYU devotional address, 7 January 2020). If a talk is not available on the BYU Speeches website and only appears in a hard-copy publication, we then include a page number along with title of publication, place of printing, publisher name, and date of publication.
Any quotations longer than a block quote of a few paragraphs would need permission from the individual speakers. On the speaker release forms, BYU is given permission to distribute the talk, but the individual speakers retain the copyright to their material. Permissions for use of material presented by Church auxiliary leaders or general authorities is managed centrally by the Church’s Intellectual Property Office.
Sometimes I find issues on the website that I didn’t experience before. Why the new site? And what should I do about technical issues?
In the spring of 2017, BYU Speeches released a new version of its website. Since then, we have released several new iterations and will continue to update the website as needed. This website is the result of thousands of hours of work by our graphic designers and our all-student team of web developers and programmers, as well as many others on the BYU Publications & Graphics team. The new site reflects requests and feedback from many of our users and also helps us to be mobile and SEO (search engine optimization) friendly—meaning that it helps us rank higher on search engines like Google so we can share these amazing speeches with a growing audience!
Some features of the new site include:
- The ability to search speeches by speaker, date, type, or topic
- Topic pages for common or important topics addressed in various speeches. These topic pages may include topic videos as well as brief explanations friendly to non-BYU and non-LDS audiences.
- An improved search bar
- A regular blog
- A dynamic home page featuring highlight videos, designed quotes, blog posts, and classic speeches in addition to the most recent devotionals and forums
- Short biographies for many of the speakers
- Links to related talks and topics at the bottom of each speech
- Links to our growing number of podcasts, available anywhere you subscribe to podcasts
- Content that is easy to share on social media
We hope you are able to enjoy and take advantage of many of these features. If you experience technical problems with the website, we advise you first to make sure you are using the most updated version of your browser. If problems persist, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com so we can help—and be advised of any bugs in our site. As always, we welcome any feedback from our users!