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In response to a post on "By Common Consent"

How to Give a Sacrament Meeting Talk - An Open Letter to Converts

This is in response to comment #44 on this above mentioned post, whose comments have been closed for some time: Ronan asked: "'Can someone tell me whether “talk” is an American-ism or a Mormon-ism in this context? Do business people or academics “give talks”?'

I can give the answer to this: This is one of hundreds of little administrational/organizational things that Mormonism has inherited from the rich heritage of Freemasonry. When a person is assigned to speak in a Masonic meeting it is termed a "Talk." We also have "Short Talks" which are talked designed to be 5 minutes or less, which has in modern times ultimately resulted in the widely circulated "Short Talk Bulletin" which I presume was originally used to provide a filler talk that can be used when one has not been prepared, but currently is just interesting in its own right.

The reason the Freemasons use the word "talk" is because of this: As Masonry is not a religion or a church, the statements cannot really be termed a Sermon, although talks may often involve biblical symbolism, etc.