Loud laughter

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nibbler
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Loud laughter

Post by nibbler »

I didn't want to derail the other thread.

It's true that the "loud laughter" language was removed from the endowment, so maybe this is no longer relevant, but I'm bored so I created the thread.

The endowment has changed quite a bit over the years. After the 2019 changes, only two mentions of "loud laughter" remained in the endowment. The 2023 changes removed both of those mentions and replaced them with "unworthy thoughts and actions." That's not to say that the two are equivalent, I'm just reporting how the endowment changed. "Loud laughter" is now completely excised from the endowment.

What are the actual scriptural references to loud laughter? I found:
D&C 59:15 wrote:And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance-
The "these things" that the verse refers to are fasting and praying. So don't laugh too much during a prayer or when you're fasting. Laughter is an odd call-out in that context.
2 Kings 19:21 wrote:This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
Matthew 9:24 (and other Gospels) wrote:He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
I think this one is getting closer to the heart of the matter; laugh to scorn, or in other words to ridicule or deride. That's certainly very different than the volume of one's laughter but perhaps closer to the original intent.
D&C 88:69 wrote:Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.
This sounds closest to the interpretation of "loud laughter" that I've always heard. Laughing is cool, just not too much. I wonder how that would look. Brother Harrumph sitting in the corner of meetings with a stopwatch timing out the laughter. Breaking out a slide rule to determine at what point the laugher becomes excessively long for the current atmospheric conditions and adjusted to the current group dynamics.
If you erase the mistakes of your past, you would also erase all the wisdom of your present. Remember the lesson, not the disappointment.
— I dunno
AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Loud laughter

Post by AmyJ »

For my part, I think it that at some point in history "Loud Laughter" became more or less "Verbal Gluttony" and also "Excessive Focus on the Here and Now" in terms of essence and/or intent of definition. "Gluttony" and "Focus on the Present" were both sinful themes useful to preach against on Sundays as well as themes in the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation produced religions and cultures that immigrated to America, generated the "Burned Over District" of New York, is and is part of the Mormon origin story.

It doesn't help any that "Consumerism" (which is at the heart of consumption of anything to the point of gluttony) hasn't died off (and won't due to humans human-ing), and that "Focus on the Present" is "what the liberals do" - and it's variations on "Drugs" ("Weed" is what comes to mind), "Sex" (and birth control to improve having sex), and "Rock & Roll" (which is very secular and usually "loud").

I also think that the "Loud Laughter" injunction was actually a subtle dig against the bigger folk for them not to be themselves (more or less). This is entirely subjective, but I don't remember the belly laughs from children or average sized people. Santa always has the rounded belly and the expansive laugh, after all.
Carburettor
Posts: 159
Joined: 10 Jul 2023, 01:49

Re: Loud laughter

Post by Carburettor »

nibbler wrote: 18 Jun 2024, 14:14 The "these things" that the verse refers to are fasting and praying. So don't laugh too much during a prayer or when you're fasting. Laughter is an odd call-out in that context.
Do you have no children, nibbler? I have plenty, and as such there have been many occasions during which laughter has needed to be suppressed during prayers. It would have been disrespectful not to.

I recall an incident during my youth. Mid 1970s. I was on a ward youth camp a few hours from our stake. We attended the local unit for Sunday services. I'm gonna cut this super-short. I was so taken aback by the high-pitched voice of the huge, bear-like guy who knelt at the sacrament table and began the prayer on the bread that I began to shake with silent, suppressed laughter. Sadly, I had previously eaten my entire emergency ration of dried apricots without knowing they would give me chronic gas. So, I involuntarily passed wind quite loudly while still trying to suppress my laughter — at which point I almost lost control of all my bodily functions. I repeatedly passed wind with such force that the entire congregation joined in laughing in that shocked and appalled way one might do if a cadaver fell out of a coffin at a funeral.

The sacrament prayer was no time for loud laughter. I learnt that lesson.

At other times, however, I can't get enough of it. I just steer clear of the dried apricots.
Old-Timer
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Re: Loud laughter

Post by Old-Timer »

The oldest references I have seen in historical records (not Mormon records) focus on excessive laughter that is not appropriate for the situation OR drunken, uncontrolled laughter.

I am very glad the wording was removed from the endowment, since it was over-generalized and Pharisaical in its application.
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
Carburettor
Posts: 159
Joined: 10 Jul 2023, 01:49

Re: Loud laughter

Post by Carburettor »

Old-Timer wrote: 19 Jun 2024, 11:39 I am very glad the wording was removed from the endowment, since it was over-generalized and Pharisaical in its application.
Too right, buddy. It was like a foolish tradition that just wouldn't die (like men removing their baseball caps before prayer). Well, now it's dead at last. Praise be (even if people can't let go of the archaic nonsense hat thing, but that's a separate issue)!
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