What's the purpose of going to church?

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Heber13
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What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by Heber13 » 24 Jun 2015, 09:49

I'm interested in what people here have to say in response to this question. I doubt there is a single answer even for a single individual, more like a ranking of the most important purpose to other purposes.

What's the purpose for you?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Jun 2015, 10:15

I am inspired and instructed and learn new things fairly regularly, but I go primarily to help others and to have a chance to share the Gospel as I understand it.

I also go to help move the culture in my sphere of influence away from some of the more negative aspects of where the culture would be without me and voices like mine.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Holy Cow
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by Holy Cow » 24 Jun 2015, 10:40

Heber13 wrote: What's the purpose for you?
Good question. I'm sure we'll have a wide range of answers on this. I go primarily to support my wife. I would prefer not to be there, but I know she appreciates that I go, so that's the main reason. The second reason is to teach my son's Primary class. I have fun teaching the kids, and since this year is focused on the New Testament I genuinely enjoy it. Next year, when the focus moves to the Book of Mormon, I'll be asking for a release.
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mom3
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by mom3 » 24 Jun 2015, 11:40

As you said there will be myriad answers, for orthodox believers a large purpose is ordinance and covenant driven. For unorthodox the options are mile high, for some the comfort of the routine is helpful, for another they have family that gives them purpose, then people like Ray exist who work to build a Kingdom he believes in using the bricks laying in the facility (I think the Givens' and Bushman's do the same).

For me presently, it's a combination of home and being available to assist people I don't normally associate with. I keep my eyes and ears open for struggle and pain. I try to listen, to assist, to befriend even if it's just for those few moments on Sunday. I don't see myself as a hero or anything, but the FC has opened my eyes to others pain. I believe before FC I would attend church to get my calling done, to race past people in an effort to build the kingdom, etc. Now I want to pour a little water or oil on the aching hearts that walk through the door. Since I know my own congregation best, I prefer there. And for me Sundays have been church attendance all my life and it's hard for me to fully let go. I have attended other churches and find many wonderful things in them, I just can't completely cut out my heritage just yet. Who knows - life is full of surprises.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Jun 2015, 12:39

I should add that, as an oddity from a very young age, I appreciate, deeply, the foundation and support I received from my church community growing up, and part of my attendance is to try to be that foundation and support for others who need the type of acceptance I was given.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 24 Jun 2015, 15:55

I think the answer to this question varies a little bit based on your age and circumstances. Right now, for me, church is a community, like a family. I can live anywhere I want and be surrounded by friends and my kids can have (mostly) good friends whose parents I know. I don't see things the same way, but I know the lingo, and I can be myself. And I like the touchstone that Sunday observance is. I like that my kids give talks and have to think about things. I love teaching, although my current callings are not teaching. I like the people for the most part, and that they are all so different, different ages, different backgrounds. This is not at all something that I found compelling 20 years ago or even 15 years ago, and it may not be in 5 or 10 years.

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SilentDawning
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by SilentDawning » 24 Jun 2015, 16:42

I go to support my wife and daughter, keep my marriage together, and that's it. It serves absolutely no other purpose for me. In my geographical Ward, it is also a nuisance because they will want to "activate" me and work me to death.

I feel hollow and unhappy when I am there...althought at times I have flashes of remembrance of my perspective as a TBM. Sometimes I feel instructed and uplifted when there is a teacher who goes practical in his lesson, rather than preaching generalities and the party line.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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NonTraditionalMom
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by NonTraditionalMom » 24 Jun 2015, 19:09

Why go? I have a lot of cute dresses. Just kidding.

Really, sometimes I wonder why I go. Sometimes I sit and count down the minutes until I can go home. Sometimes I go because I don't want to end up on the ward's watch list. Sometimes I just go out of habit.

I was talking to a good friend the other night, and she mentioned the weekly renewal and re-commitment she tries to have when she prepares to take the sacrament. Although I've always known that this is one of the purposes of the sacrament and of weekly church attendance, I haven't thought about it in that way for a long time. She spoke of more of an internal checking in, and I really like that idea-- thinking about my week and ways I can better align myself to being more Christlike. I'm going to try that this week and see if it helps.

One of my kids throws a huge fit every Sunday morning, and sometimes, most of the time, I think we'd both be better off just staying home.

Ann
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by Ann » 24 Jun 2015, 23:40

I don't know if it's the purpose, but what I like about going to church on a good day:

Taking the sacrament and the quiet of that time, singing, the memories that are brought to the fore - I feel like I'm there with everyone I've ever gone to church with. I'm there partly to thank the universe for all the people who were so good to me. I like the sitting still with my family. There is almost always some spiritual uplift and food for thought.

I actually don't mind the three hours. It takes that long to have a decent number of interactions with people. I like that we all take turns speaking and teaching. It's a time to get organized for events and projects, to commit yourself to something concrete.

It helps set the stage for the rest of the day. We come home and talk about lessons, talks, and people. I like church because it's part of my Sabbath, and that's my favorite thing of all. I can see me without a lot of things - a temple recommend, for instance - but not without a Sabbath. And up to this point I've never had one without the other.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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DarkJedi
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Re: What's the purpose of going to church?

Post by DarkJedi » 25 Jun 2015, 04:10

I hadn't answered yet because I don't know the answer and I have been thinking about it. It's a good question. There is a TBM answer, but that's not why I go. I think I partly go to support my family, although I was fine not going and supporting them. The sacrament is nice, but I don't get so much out of it that I feel the need to go. I don't go for the lessons because I skip a fair amount of them - either physically or mentally. I don't usually feel especially uplifted by things at church, although sometimes I do (like our recent ward conference). Generally I think I can get a similar uplift by watching Music and the Spoken Word (which I did each Sunday during my inactive period). I don't go to interact with friends or others there, I'm not an especially social person and could well live happily as a hermit. I don't really know why I go.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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