I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by Minyan Man » 15 Sep 2019, 19:53

It has been almost a year with the new Sunday schedule.
It doesn't seem to be getting any better. We have:
- opening hymn.
- invocation.
- announcements.
- sacrament hymn.
- sacrament is passed.
- first speaker
- musical number.
- second speaker.
- closing hymn.
- benediction.

All this crammed into 60 minutes.
(my prayer is: Please God help the 2nd speaker cut his or her talk.)
You can see in their eyes & the wheels are turning: What can I cut & still make this talk sound logical?
It is painful to watch sometime.
Imagine a General Conference where the 2nd to last speaker runs long & Pres Nelson has to cut his remarks to fit the tv schedule.
I don't mean to be negative. I can't help it sometimes.

Don't get me started with the 2nd hour.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Sep 2019, 20:34

That is interesting - and, I think, so incredibly different in various wards and branches.

I have liked the change, since my wards have eliminated nearly all announcements and cut back to two speakers each week. The horrible experience I described a couple of weeks ago, notwithstanding, I have liked the reduction from 70 minutes to an hour.
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: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Sep 2019, 05:02

Except for announcements my ward has been pretty similar. I heard the music leader complain about the intermediate hymn/special music recently. She's not opposed to them and says she likes them but she pointed out that every time there is one (which is most weeks) we go over. I'm not so sure that's as much a problem with the hymn, rather it seems to be the speakers and/or bishopric. For example yesterday we had two speakers (husband and wife) and the second speaker (husband) had a good 15 minutes after the musical number. His wife had not taken more than that herself. I think 15 minutes in SM is a pretty good amount of time considering most people probably aren't listening after the first few minutes. Yet he went over, although not as much as some recent speakers who have also had about 15 minutes have. My take on it is that the bishopric needs to be more clear in saying "You have X minutes." In the ward I frequently visit there is rarely a time when they go over. Their bishop has a 3x5 card that says "Great Talk! Please wrap it up" and he's not afraid to use it (and it's not necessarily reserved for only the concluding speaker). There are of course multiple issues at hand - poor preparation/timing, poor instruction, and just plain being inconsiderate to name a few, but since the death of LeGrand Richards (and I loved him) a speaker going long in GC is unheard of. The thing is impeccably timed. A member of our stake presidency uses it as an example for meetings going over (which he clearly despises) - "General Conference always ends on time and nothing you have to say is more important than what the prophets and apostles have to say."

I think The Next Mormons survey was in progress or completed when the change to two hours came. Turns out across the board (all age groups from Boomers to Millennials) would have actually gone for 45 minute sacrament meetings. I'd be good with that.
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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Minyan Man
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by Minyan Man » 16 Sep 2019, 10:23

This schedule doesn't include a youth speaker, Mission President or SP that shows up unannounced and wants to talk.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Sep 2019, 15:34

Honestly, I have never had a MP or SP show up unannounced and ask to speak. Is that common where you live?
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

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by Minyan Man » 16 Sep 2019, 20:23

I may have exaggerated. I really don't know the inner workings of the ward or the speaking assignments.
There have been a couple times, this year, when a MP or SP has shown up for a meeting & the final speaker
was "excused" from speaking & reassigned to another Sunday because there wasn't enough time.

There has to be a better was of organizing and planning this meeting. It is probably a local issue. I have very few
experiences visiting other wards. Since I don't visit other wards, the impression is: this is a church wide
problem. I'm sure it's not. It just feels like it.

It is real torture to see the final speaker's eyes looking at his (or her) notes then looking at the clock & desperately
trying to figure out what to cut.

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DarkJedi
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Sep 2019, 05:39

Minyan Man wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 20:23
It is real torture to see the final speaker's eyes looking at his (or her) notes then looking at the clock & desperately
trying to figure out what to cut.
That's much more of a planning issue on the part of the speaker, the person who asked him or her to speak, and sometimes the inconsiderate nature of someone else who took longer than he or she should have (which may also be because the person who asked him or her to speak wasn't specific about time).

Youth speakers definitely are not explicitly excluded from the new format. We have very few youth in my ward, so we don't regularly have youth speakers but we do at least once a month or so. Again, that's part of the planning process - if there's a youth speaker there's probably not time for a rest hymn. And you have to know your youth - it's pretty likely the 11-year-old deacon who is speaking for his first time is maybe only going to make it two minutes. Some youth give talks closer in length and depth to some adults. In my own experience the youth are much better at staying within the five minute allotted time than some adults who are given 10 minutes and take 20 and still act like they weren't done.

Just as an aside, when the new format started we asked in high council how long we should be given now. Formerly it was 20 minutes. The stake presidency said we should plan on 15 in the new format and that has generally worked out for me and that is about what I have been getting. In my own small ward we start at 9:30. We do no (or very limited) announcements. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is usually finished before 9:50. If you allow 5 minutes at the end for closing song and prayer, that leaves 35 minutes for speakers. We do frequently have a rest hymn or special music, but either way a rest hymn or youth speaker gives two adults 15 minutes each (or one 10 minutes and one 20 minutes). This really isn't rocket science.
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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Minyan Man
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by Minyan Man » 17 Sep 2019, 06:30

DJ, I agree with you completely. In my ward it does seem to be rocket science. It happens all the time.
Our ward has many professional people, college professors, medical students & former leaders in the ward & stake.
It still happens. Recently a former SP was the last speaker & after the meeting I asked him "how much did you have to cut?".
He said 50%. If it were up to me, (and I am told I'm not) I would have 1 speaker (15 min) if they go beyond the time limit, bring out the hook.
And the rest of the time it's music.

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DarkJedi
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Sep 2019, 09:42

I like your 15 minute speaker and the rest for music MM. I've long thought sacrament meeting should be more like Music and the Spoken Word.

A big part of the problem really is beyond the bishopric's control. They can tell someone "You have 10 minutes to talk about X" all they want, but what the person actually does is out of their control. There's more than one reason people go long, including just not knowing how to time a talk or thinking they'll just say whatever they have to say on the subject no matter how long it takes. Again, actually saying (or reading) the talk out loud in front of a clock helps with the timing - I do it every time. I think some bishops are too reticent to use the hook, but I've seen it work in the other ward I frequent.

Alas, despite all my soapboxing and spouting on this subject, my ward is not perfect. We go over most Sundays, although this past Sunday we did not. Don't even get me started on F&TM (which I think should be eliminated BTW).
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

nibbler
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Re: I hope Sacrament Meetings get better.

Post by nibbler » 17 Sep 2019, 16:16

I'll gladly trade wards with you. :P

We don't have a lot of announcements in our ward and will often cut out the rest hymn. That usually leaves us with plenty of time. We have youth speakers and frequently, frequently have talks go for 20+ minutes.

If the SP is visiting our ward the SP will always take 5 minutes or so at the end of SM, even if that means going over the allotted time, even if we are already over on time when he starts to speak. A visiting SP counselor usually only speaks for 5 minutes or so if it looks like we'll end a minute or two early.

"Better" is relative. I like a rest hymn to break things up and I'd prefer talks be no longer that 15 minutes, certainly no more than 25 minutes. I should have permission to shoot spitballs at the speaker if they go over 30 minutes (and several have in recent months).

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