Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

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Curt Sunshine
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Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Aug 2019, 10:35

I have said how much I love my last ward and what I have experienced in my new ward thus far, so it is important for me to share an incredibly bad experience today - even if only to say publicly that I am not immune to disappointment and frustration at church.

The talks in Sacrament meeting were given by a husband and wife. The topics were "Love and Marriage" and "Sexual Purity". They each pushed just about every button I have with regard to those topics. I'm not kidding. Complaining about same-sex marriage; not realizing the messages they were sending about divorced members, single parents, and LGBTQ+ people; using old-fashioned stereotypes; saying all unauthorized sexual activity is next to murder in seriousness; calling homosexuality one of the gravest sins possible; quoting explicitly from "For the Strength of Youth" about what people shouldn't do (with young children and youth sitting next to parents and grandparents); etc. It was beyond awkward and into horrifying. I believe it was completely inappropriate for Sacrament Meeting - what is supposed to be a worship service.

I leaned forward, closed my eyes, forced a neutral expression, practiced dep breathing, and almost walked out of the chapel more than once. The only thing that kept me in my seat was the desire to keep a degree of social capital in my new ward and stake (the Stake President was visiting today), especially since I want to talk with the Bishop at some point about my concerns with both talks. He is a very good man, and I didn't want to embarrass him in any way.

Maybe the bright side for all of you: When you have a rough meeting, picture me and realize your experience probably isn't what I just experienced. :twisted: :P :shock: :silent:
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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DarkJedi
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by DarkJedi » 25 Aug 2019, 12:15

Most of us have those kinds of Sundays from time to time, even in the "best" of wards. Some have them regularly. My heart always goes out to those who tell these stories and the others who endured. I don't think any of us can assume our experiences are worse than someone else because it appears there is always a bigger fish, always a worse horror story. Thanks for your example Curt. I do think that sometimes our safety plans have to include walking out, but you indicated you used other safety techniques that worked as well. I admit I was surprised when I saw the author after seeing the title of the post.
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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Havefaith
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by Havefaith » 25 Aug 2019, 16:03

I missed church today. Felt like i had some stuff to deal with.
Im so glad for your example curt.

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mom3
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by mom3 » 25 Aug 2019, 18:16

I am so glad you shared this. Not because you deserved it, but even wards we love can get stuck. Ours was really lovely, but in January we went through a month of horrific. Ours were more geared to "people leaving the church" or "who had been offended". I can't even find words. I finally mentioned it to a RS councilor. I don't know if my mention made a difference but we haven't had those in a while.

On your note of "staying" - this past week a woman in my ward asked me to grab a milkshake with her. We've talked about it on and off, but never really did it. I don't Visiting Teach or Minister to her. I just chat with her on Sunday. This week she made sure we went. The reason she needed the one on one - her daughter is gay.

For months the mom has been struggling with the fear of if people find out. Her daughter even quit coming home for a few nights. Adding to the panic. The mom has come to terms with her daughter, but is painfully aware of the life impact and church connection impact her daughter will feel. The daughter has been wrestling with it for 5 years.

I needed that night as a personal boost to hang in there when there are Sunday's like you had. That mom needed someone she could talk to. Someone who could be her safety net.
"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

REBEL2
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by REBEL2 » 26 Aug 2019, 08:19

Hey Curt: I can relate , l have had Sunday meetings like that . Keep in mind that eventually the church will be changing , it must to survive !!! They will not be able to keep preaching the whitewashed version of has too change and will but in our favor we must just hang onto what we know is right until the church catches up. God Bless.

Minyan Man
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by Minyan Man » 26 Aug 2019, 12:59

Talks like this seem to go against the image & position the Church has tried to portray within recent memory.
Meaning more tolerance, more empathy & understanding. Does a Bishop or Counselor ever get up and say:
"this is not the position of the Church" (or something more diplomatic?) At the very least they should IMO talk
to members who are assigned to talk & give some kind of counsel. I try to put myself in the position of an
investigator or new member & ask How would I react to the talk I'm about to give?
The Church at large puts
a great deal of effort & resources into the Missionary program. Talks like this could cause a great deal of
damage on the local level.

There is an advantage in being old & hard of hearing. This is one of those times.
Curt I commend your patience.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by hawkgrrrl » 27 Aug 2019, 11:40

This is one side benefit when wards don't ask a "couple" to speak on the same day. At least you can dilute the crazy. They aren't supposed to do that because it's insensitive to people who aren't married (I thought), but my current ward also asks couples to speak on the same day. I think it's a bad practice.

Roy
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by Roy » 27 Aug 2019, 12:37

What?!?!? No licked cupcake analogy???

Seriously, one can get away with saying a lot of bad things as long as those bad things are directed at those perceived as outsiders and in defense of the in group. That is changing slightly and the edge is coming off but it is still acceptable to demonize and denigrate the "them" in pursuit of lifting up the "us".

In our ward we had a young man speak before his returned Missionary brother. He told us that he was assigned to to talk for 10 minutes but only wrote out his introduction so he would be going off script from there. His talk was long, I mean very long, like 25 minutes long. Every time he would finish a story and I thought for sure that he was about to wrap it up he would segway by saying "another part of my talk is about". I was incredulous! How many parts of his talk could there possibly be? DW and I watched the bishopric's expressions for signs that they might cut the young mans speech short. Finally, after over 20 minutes, he said "the last part of my talk is about". He STILL wasn't done but at least he had signaled that he was getting there. This young man's fresh off the airplane RM brother gave a 5 minute talk to close out the meeting.

I personally loved the whole thing. Sometimes our habit of assigning novice speakers to talk in out worship service yields ... unexpected results. :lol: :lol: :lol:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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DarkJedi
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Aug 2019, 13:03

hawkgrrrl wrote:
27 Aug 2019, 11:40
This is one side benefit when wards don't ask a "couple" to speak on the same day. At least you can dilute the crazy. They aren't supposed to do that because it's insensitive to people who aren't married (I thought), but my current ward also asks couples to speak on the same day. I think it's a bad practice.
This is a relatively new development in my ward, I think since a new counselor was called. I agree it's bad practice.

My Sunday was not great, either, but not as bad as Curt's so I wasn't going to bring it up. The talks were so-so at best, but the second speaker (female, not the spouse of the first speaker) kind of did what Roy's did - she kept going on with story after story. She said her assigned topic was forgiveness but it quickly devolved into offense, more particularly taking offense (and of course the one taking offense needs to forgive, hence the tie in). She had a good 20 minutes to speak, went over and clearly wasn't "done" with all of her stories. But again, it wasn't as bad as Curt's, I've been to worse, and I used my tablet to distract myself (which I also did in priesthood with our lecturer). Mine wasn't extremely rough, it was average rough.
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."

My Introduction

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nibbler
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Re: Extremely Rough Sacrament Meeting

Post by nibbler » 27 Aug 2019, 13:58

The roughest sacrament meeting I ever sat through was several years ago now. The talk covered three bases:
1) Complaining about critics and doubters.
2) The 14 fundamentals.
3) A story about a gay friend that felt like they received revelation that gay marriage was okay and the speaker telling that friend that their revelation was from Satan.

All in one talk. There may have been more but I didn't have the patience of Curt. I got up and left after the revelation from Satan comment.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
— Henry David Thoreau

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