I’ve been a member of the church for over 17 years, and during that time I’ve lived in about 15 wards. Some wards were awesome. Some, not so much. But looking back over the years, there are a few Sacrament meetings that stand out for me more than others.
When I was still a new member of the church, I attended a fast meeting during which my husband’s young cousin, who was about 8 or 9 years old, went up to bear his testimony. I’d never seen a child do that. He said, very seriously, “Toys aren’t people. They don’t have feelings.” Everyone chuckled and thought he was cute. I thought what he said was rather profound: people are more important than things.
One meeting I don’t think I’ll ever forget is one where this sweet little old lady gave the closing prayer. After listening to her pray for roughly three full minutes, I opened my eyes and looked at my husband. He looked at me, and then set the timer on his watch. Any guesses on how long she went?
My husband was inactive for several years while our kids were toddlers, so I struggled with going to church on my own. My youngest was very rambunctious and hard to keep quiet in Sacrament, and I often ended up in the foyer with him. My older two would not stay in the chapel alone, and they always ended up out there with us. It seemed like every Sunday was spent chasing my two year old down the hall. One time I was exhausted, sitting on the floor with him, and I just decided to pack it in and head home. I couldn’t take it anymore. But just as I stood up, another young mother in the hall with her toddler said to me, “You’re such a good mom,” and that gave me the boost I needed to stick it out.
I don’t remember her name, but I’ve never forgotten that moment.
And I’ve never considered until just now what that moment might have meant to her. She was married to a non-member and coming to church on her own with her one child. I guess I could’ve been an inspiration to her for doing it alone with three. I’ve just always thought she was the inspired one, telling me that just when I needed to hear it most.
Have you ever witnessed a baby blessing during a Sacrament Meeting where the baby cried through the entire thing? My niece did that. Cried and cried. And cried.
Once I saw a woman give a talk on missionary service, and she asked everyone in the ward who had served as a missionary, whether it was as a fulltime missionary or as a ward/stake missionary, to come up to the mic and share where they served. As a convert who never served a mission, I couldn’t believe how many people got up. Almost the entire congregation. It was very moving, to hear one person after another just state where they served, and then sit back down.
When I visited my non-LDS brother in Rochester, NY, I decided I’d attend church at the Palmyra ward. I don’t remember anything about who spoke that day, but I remember what closing hymn was sung—The Spirit of God. The Palmyra ward was not big, but that song, and the spirit it brings, filled that chapel to overflowing. I could’ve sworn there were angels singing with us that day.
My husband went inactive when we were living in an inner-city gang neighborhood. It was a total ghetto. The building our ward met in was the oldest LDS building in Washington State (I’m pretty sure). At one point it had to be renovated, and our ward rented an empty chapel from another church nearby. It was a really old building, the kind where you walk up the steps in front, enter the front door, and you’re in the chapel. Because there wasn’t room for a lot of classes to meet, we only met for 2 hours. One Sunday we’d have Sunday School, then the next we’d have RS/PH/YM/YW/Primary.
This building had no insulation. Very thin walls. And no heat. I’m sure you can see this coming—it was winter. Someone brought in some space heaters, which you really only felt if you stood directly in front of them. So a lot of the children would stand in the back by the heaters. The rest of us bundled up good. We’d wear our thick winter coats and bring blankets to Sacrament Meeting.
The meeting that stands out the most to me was when I was sitting on a pew with my baby all bundled up, and I realized I could see my breath in the air. That day the Bishop sent us all home directly after Sacrament—no sticking around for Sunday School.
It was starting to snow.
What are some Sacrament Meetings that stand out in your memory?