Submitted by Ned Flanders
I continued my unprecedented streak of church attendance Sunday, making
it three weeks in a row. If anyone had actually noticed me showing up,
I would count as a "re-activated male." I don’t know if they still do
that statistic, but during my mission we had to report every week how
many men were reactivated (sorry, ladies, I guess you don’t count). To
count, these men had to attend for three straight weeks, so I assume
three straight weeks of non-attendance would officially make one
inactive. I could keep coming three weeks on and three weeks off to
help the local missionaries bolster their stats.
I am happy to report that one of the sister missionaries gave the
opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting. I think the First Presidency
should send out a letter instructing bishops to have women do the
invocations for a couple of weeks, just so everyone can get over that
Anyway, as I was sitting all the way in the back during Sacrament
Meeting (feeling a little silly because the cultural hall was nearly
empty), I realized that each week I’ve been analyzing the meeting to
see how my wife would react. Maude and I occasionally attend the
Episcopalian Church together but she has never been to a Mormon
meeting. She thinks she’ll be stared at for not conforming to the dress
code, even though I assured her we could hide out in the back pew. I
don’t really care if she goes or not, but I’d like her to come at least
once so she can see that we’re not really that crazy.
Each meeting I’ve been trying to notice the things she’d notice and
analyze if she’d be offended or not. I was glad I didn’t take her to
April’s Fast Sunday, which featured a paean to the greatness of John
Paul II (she’s not a fan). The Father’s Day meeting was fine but had a
really terrible High Council talk. It sounded like he was winging it,
and it featured a long, rambling explanation about how elephant herds
fall apart without bull elephants. Yeah, great stuff.
This Sunday’s meeting was almost ideal: there was a confirmation of a
convert baptism, highly visible minority priesthood-holders, and a nice
(if overly long) musical number (classical music, not a cheesy Michael
McLean number). Other churches don’t have the same problem that we do
with widely varying Sunday meetings. They might change the reading from
the scriptures, but it’s still the same priests giving the sermons.
They have the entire Mass scripted; after the sacrament, ours is more
of a potluck.
I think my best bet is to take her on a Fast Sunday. It’s risky, I
know, but the testimonies in this ward have been pretty safe in the
past. I think the open format would be much more interesting than last
week’s three dull talks on the Fifth Article of Faith (it can barely
sustain one talk, let alone three).
Am I setting myself up here for the wackiest testimony meeting ever? Do
you ever envy the consistent, traditional masses of other churches? Am
I over-thinking this whole thing?
P.S. I’d like to thank Rusty for letting me visit. I
promise to keep my feet off the furniture and do all my own dishes.
Cross-posted at VivaNedFlanders.