Sister Manners

Someone needs to write an etiquette book for members of the Church. I’m not up to writing it, but I’m willing to make some of the first contributions.

You may suspect that this is really just a list of some of my pet peeves. You would be right, so feel free to add your own. But try to be sure that they don’t point at particular individuals, won’t hurt feelings, etc., etc. And, of course, you can disagree with mine. My peeves may be misplaced.

A. Moving

1. If the High Priests are the ones assigned to help you move, make sure there’s someone else to help as well. Someone has to do the heavy lifting.

2. RE: heaving lifting: If you have a piano to move (or something similar) figure out how to have it moved without having the members of the Church do it. Too many have hurt themselves, as well as pianos, doing so.

3. Pack before the movers are scheduled to arrive regardless of which quorum or group they come from

4. Don’t sit and watch; don’t even try to look busy. Help.

5. Go to church at least a few Sundays before you ask for help moving. Alternatively, let the home and visiting teachers in a couple of times beforehand.

B. Children

1. Recognize that after not very many seconds of loud noise, your child probably ought to go to the foyer. Children certainly belong in Sacrament meeting, but it isn’t a good place to try to teach them discipline. (Besides, their screaming or other noise gives you an excuse to sit in the more comfortable chairs of the foyer.)

2. If you are in the foyer, don’t forget that there is a meeting going on to which others in the foyer may be trying to pay attention. A long, normal-voiced chat about your favorite sport or team is going to make them unhappy with you.

3. Don’t play peekaboo with the child in front of you unless you are prepared to take responsibility when the child keeps playing after you’re ready to quit. If you are part of the problem, you need also to be part of the solution. (This is, of course, not license to get the child to be noisy so that you can volunteer to take it to the foyer.)

4. Be sure the food you provide your child is easily vacuumed. That means, perhaps above all else, non-sticky. (The most egregious case of this that I’ve seen occurred some years ago: a mother brought her child a peanut butter sandwich—and she brought herself a hot dog from 7-11, complete with catsup and relish. They sat on the front row of the chapel eating. She topped it off by reading a novel while she ate!)

5. If you’ve brought toys for your children, make sure they don’t dent the furniture or the skulls of others in the congregation.

6. If you’ve brought books for your children, please refrain from reading them out loud.

Fast and Testimony Meeting

1. That silence between testimonies isn’t wasted time; it is quite time for meditation. Of course, if you are moved to bear your testimony, do so. But please don’t feel that you have to bear your testimony so “the time won’t go to waste.�

2. If you’re going to sing your testimony or do something else unusual, at least warn people first.

3. If you feel inclined to preface any remark with “I shouldn’t say this, but� or similar warnings, don’t say it.

4. If you bear your testimony every or nearly every Fast and Testimony meeting, consider whether you should. Are you taking time from others who may be slower physically or more shy?

5. When you bear your testimony, remember that is what it is, your witness of divine, true things. That covers a lot of territory, but excludes even more. Stick to what it includes, please.

Sunday School

1. Don’t first volunteer to read a passage for the class and then ask, “What chapter and verse is that?�

2. Snore quietly, if at all.

3. Even if you know the political leanings of the Sunday School teacher, find another place than Sunday School to assault him or her for them.

62 comments for “Sister Manners

  1. Larry
    October 4, 2004 at 12:28 am

    How about what the prophet Joseph was reputed to have said: “Crying babies are like good intentions – they ought to be carried out”.

  2. CB
    October 4, 2004 at 12:47 am

    Jim F.,

    I see you, and raise you. We need a category for temple attendance. In the instance I witnessed, it was beef jerky which the men involved were pasing back and forth.

    1. It is considered inappropriate to bring snacks to the temple. It is also considered tres gauche to share those snacks with your neighbor.

    I participated in a HP quorum move this weekend. I was the sixth man to show up. The other five had, between them, three bad backs and two trick knees. 72 hours later, I’m still feeling it.

  3. October 4, 2004 at 12:58 am

    Don’t schedule your move for General Conference Saturday.

  4. Ami
    October 4, 2004 at 2:22 am

    Here is one you simply _must_ add:

    The closing hymn is not the proverbial time or place for any of the following:
    1) making your mad dash to rearrange, air out or completely wash down the Primary room (no matter how stinky those pre-pubescent cuties from the ward right before may be),
    2) wildly shoving all the toys, books, crayons, b of m action figures (?), sippy cups, bags of food and anything else you may have brought to induce your child to adopt a semi-reverent state during the meeting back into its too-small-bag….all while flicking broken cereal pieces off the bench (or slyly shoving the bits into the bench crevice….)
    3) trying to get a head start on the drive home (no matter how many other hundreds of people are going to try to leave the Marriott Center….)

    Leaving before the closing prayer is said is just a mark of bad breeding! (I have been so guilty of all three of these faux pas…what is it the Mya Angelou said?…I did better when I knew better :)

  5. October 4, 2004 at 7:35 am

    “Go to church at least a few Sundays before you ask for help moving.”

    So true. Unfortunately, you’d have to attend church in order to absorb this kind of etiquette, so this one might be a lost cause.

    “Besides, their screaming or other noise gives you an excuse to sit in the more comfortable chairs of the foyer.”

    Tragically, in our current building those more comfortable chairs are usually occupied by folks napping. (Personally, I don’t see much point in coming to church, or sticking around after the sacrament, if all you really want to do is sleep. But I suppose for many of these folks just getting to the church building is a triumph.)

    ” If you’ve brought books for your children, please refrain from reading them out loud.”

    I plead guilty to this charge. But I do try to read in a low whisper, I promise.

    “Even if you know the political leanings of the Sunday School teacher, find another place than Sunday School to assault him or her for them.”

    Does this really happen to you a lot Jim?

    “Snore quietly, if at all.”

    This is such a valuable skill. My dad sleeps constantly in church, through all sorts of meetings. He slept when he a bishop, and when he was in a stake presidency. He’s perfectly quiet, and never slumps; just closes his eyes and perhaps drops his head just a tad. While he’ll occasionally start somewhat when woken up, it’s rare enough that he can usually cover for it. He’s really a marvellous napper. He insists he’s just “meditating,” but everyone knows he’s zonked. It was kind of a open gag in the ward while he was bishop, with all of us watching him quietly slip away Sunday after Sunday.

  6. October 4, 2004 at 8:09 am

    There could be some etiquette rules for preparation of the sacrament included … the sacrament coordinater or bread-bringer should make a point of arriving (with the bread) at least 20 minutes before the meeting starts. Anything less than that, in my experience, inspires feelings of panic (is he bringing it? will it be here? should I call him? should I ask someone else to bring bread just in case?).

    Usually getting the water into the little cups involves some tray-clattering as well as the sound of water running. Of course, choir practice usually takes place right before church starts as well — so out of courtesy to the choir, the sacrament preparers might shut the little sacrament preparation room door while the water trays are being arranged and the water is running.

  7. October 4, 2004 at 8:45 am

    LOL, Russell, the other thing your dad did was put his folder or scriptures in front of him so it looked like he was looking down reading while the talks were being given. It reminds me of my dad who when I’d catch him with his eyes closed he’d respond, “I’m thinking of Jesus.”

  8. Mark B
    October 4, 2004 at 8:50 am

    Don’t talk during the hymns. Ever. Not even if they’re piped in from Salt Lake City by satellite.

    If you want Muzak to talk to, go to the mall.

    (My real feelings about those who talk during hymns are to tell them to go another place ending with double “l”.)

  9. October 4, 2004 at 9:07 am

    That’s right Rusty–I’d forgotten about the scripture/folder trick. Good one! I wish I could pull that off, but whenever I fall asleep my head either falls all the way back or forward, meaning I either hit my head on the bench or wake up with a jerk and a case of whiplash. (I’ve always done this. In my AP American History class in high school, I apparently looked like a marionette, with my head bobbing back and forth during class videos.)

  10. Bryce I
    October 4, 2004 at 9:46 am

    Not that I live by this rule, but our bishop has been getting on us to arrive at least five minutes early and to sit quietly and listen to the prelude music. I think he’s right.

    And to add to Mark B.’s comment — sing the hymns even if you don’t think you can sing. You can probably read. But you don’t have to sing loudly (although personally I won’t mind if you do).

    On moving — if your new employer is paying for your move, don’t call on the ward members to help you so you can save a buck. If you want to recruit some friends personally, that’s your business, but don’t expect the quorum leadership to get things set up for you.

    Actually, in general, arrange things on your own if you can. I’ve moved in town a couple of times and just called up a bunch of friends.

  11. Bryce I
    October 4, 2004 at 9:52 am

    One more — ward members are volunteers. Sometimes we make well-intentioned mistakes. Please act accordingly.

    For well-connected members with their own support networks, the Church should be your second or third line of defense for help. Your family and your friends should be the first people you turn to for assistance.

    And as always, thank people who help you. Don’t take assistance from Church members for granted.

  12. October 4, 2004 at 10:07 am

    As far as moving goes, if the family can afford it (some can’t) I always appreciate the doughnuts and o.j. that might follow. I posted that people ought not to schedule moves on general conference Saturday because I had the privilege of spending six hours helping a single mother move this past weekend. Her situation was a special case and it was a pleasure to help her out … but I definitely was pondering the entire “ward move” concept this weekend.

  13. Kingsley
    October 4, 2004 at 12:10 pm

    “If you’re going to sing your testimony or do something else unusual, at least warn people first.”

    Yes, so the rest of us can kill ourselves.

  14. October 4, 2004 at 12:16 pm

    With regards to moving, I have been an EQP and I reiterate all that has said before. I would like to add some things.

    1. Please unpack all dressers, cabinets and entertainment centres. Keeping them loaded and then sealed with packing tape does NOT save time.

    2. Pack belongings in sturdy cardboard boxed that close. Do not use open-top boxes or black garbage bags.

    3. Make sure all packed boxes are in a single room for easy transport to the truck.

    4. For unloading, please make sure all boxes are labelled with the room where they are going and each room in the house is labelled with a sign.

    5. It is your move, so organise the help yourself. Do not get the EQP of the outgoing ward to organise the move for you.

    6. On moves longer than an hour or held on hot days, please provide drinks. Your move won’t go any faster if all the movers are keeled over with heat exhaustion.

  15. cje
    October 4, 2004 at 12:18 pm

    It seems that this thread has a lot of advice about moving–is that because the EQ is really just a glorified moving organisation–although I’ll grant you that helping people move is a great way to get those service projects checked off.

    Here are my rules on moving:

    1. If you can easily afford to move youreslf then do so.

    2. If you have alot of connections at church then arrange your own crew of helpers.

    3. If you’re asking the EQ to help paint your house–just so you can sell it–I probably won’t show up–caveat–if you’re asking me personnally as a friend to help paint your house so you can sell it–then I’d be happy to help and eat pizza and drink non-alcholic beer.


  16. Bryce I
    October 4, 2004 at 12:30 pm

    cje —

    I would suspect that if we had more women at T&S we would see similar comments about compassionate service.

  17. October 4, 2004 at 12:39 pm

    If you’re moving and ward volunteers are helping out, have some tools handy. Moving heavy large stuff through a doorway sometimes requires temporarily taking a door off its hinges. Nothing fancy is required — a large flathead screwdriver and a hammer should suffice.

    Then again, if these tools aren’t available to you for some reason, it’s a great excuse to meet your new neighbors.

    If for some reason you’re moving into a basement apartment, measure the doorway and the stairwell before you make that choice — so that you know it is built to code. Or at least make sure that there is one extra large (and accessible) window. Otherwise you might be supremely disappointed when you find out your extra large comfortable couch and box spring mattress aren’t going to be moving in with you. I just saw this happen to someone and they were almost at the point of tears. I felt really sorry for them and after many attempts (with wall gauges and paint damage to upholstery) there was nothing we could do about it.

    Jim Richins mentioned moving pianos. To the heavy-lifting list I’d like to add solid-oak entertainment centers and those huge wide-screen televisions. Every time I have to move an entertainment center piece of furniture I’m wondering why they can’t be built in a manner that they can be (somewhat easily) taken apart.

    Bryce mentioned remembering and appreciating the fact that you are working with moving volunteers and not professionals. I want to say what that means. Furniture will be nicked. Walls will be gauged. Something will probably break. Something will probably be dropped. If none of this happens you have experienced a a great miracle beyond almost anything that the human mind could contemplate.

  18. cje
    October 4, 2004 at 12:56 pm

    Oh –here’s a good moving one–

    If the Bishop agrees to move someone who can’t afford the uhaul truck, under the assumption that “we have enough members in the ward with trucks”–as the EQP take it upon yourself to rent a truck and then get reinbursed for the cost.

    if only I’d known of this rule a few months ago


  19. October 4, 2004 at 12:58 pm

    I’m a woman! I’ll add to the discussion!

    If you’re having a candle/stamping/pampered chef party, don’t invite the women you Visit Teach and call it a visit. Especially if you never visit.

    If you’re a ward organist, there’s a little device called a metronome. Look into it.

  20. Sean Harrison
    October 4, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    If you are in the Bishopric please ensure that sacrament meeting ends on time. My sister rightly maintains that there are only fifteen speakers in the world who can command the attention of a congregation once time has elapsed.

  21. Bryce I
    October 4, 2004 at 1:17 pm

    Jerilyn —

    If you’re the ward organist, you should be looking at the chorister. The chorister needs to invest in the metronome. :)

  22. October 4, 2004 at 1:31 pm

    Bryce, I’ve been the ward organist quite a few times in the last twenty years and I’ve only had one chorister that actually led the music instead of relying on the organist to set the tempo. She was 90 and led the music very slowly. In fact, if I tried to speed things up, she would beat out the tempo on the music stand using her baton.

  23. James M
    October 4, 2004 at 1:32 pm

    Just because your fellow ward members are LDS, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to increase their income potential through Amway, Quixstar, Pre-Paid Legal, Melaluca, HerbaLife, or Tahiti Noni Juice. Additionally, it doesn’t ensure that they trust you with their financial planning. Just make sure that you take the time to meet and get to know somebody before you invite them to join your MLM club. Also, the fact that you’re business associate is or was a stake president doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody should do business with them.

  24. CB
    October 4, 2004 at 1:33 pm

    Once we were visiting at the home of our RS president when the phone rang – it was a member who had requested that the ward supply meals for a few days. She was calling to say that the compassionate service leader had just delivered their dinner, but that her family didn’t like anything that was prepared, and could the RS prez please do something about it?

    (expletives deleted)

    In light of this experience, I propose a rule governing RS meals, to wit:

    1. It is considered bad form to criticize those who serve you. If someone spends time, effort, and money on a meal and then delivers it to your home, you are required to cheerfully praise every course. The use of superlatives, such as *fantastic*, *terrific*, and *awesome* , is encouraged. You are also obligated to smile, say thank you, and MEAN it – no exceptions. If you think you may be unable to live by this rule, don’t call the Relief Society. Call Pizza Hut instead.

  25. October 4, 2004 at 1:57 pm

    “If you are in the Bishopric please ensure that sacrament meeting ends on time.”

    If you are in the Bishopric, please ensure that sacrament meeting starts on time.

  26. Bryce I
    October 4, 2004 at 2:06 pm

    If you are a speaker and have been assigned a talk for 8-10 minutes, speak no less than 8 and no more than 10 minutes.

    I’ve prepared 3 talks in my life that were undelivered because I was the last speaker, and the first two speakers went way over.

  27. Bill
    October 4, 2004 at 2:22 pm

    Bryce, there is no more superfluous position in the Church than Sacrament Meeting chorister. A choir needs a conductor; a congregation has no need of anything but a good organist, as evidenced by almost every other church in the world. A few times when the chorister has not appeared, I have just played the hymns without one. Invariably, despite the fact that the congregation is singing better than ever, someone well-intentioned will jump up halfway through the hymn to conduct the concluding verses.

  28. Bryce I
    October 4, 2004 at 2:33 pm

    Bill, having been both a sacrament meeting chorister and a counselor in the stake Sunday School presidency in a stake with well-functioning Sunday Schools, I beg to differ.

  29. Kathi
    October 4, 2004 at 2:42 pm

    LOVE these ideas! *grin* Personally, not much really aggravates me except those members who get up to share their testimonies, which inevitably aren’t about the Atonement or Savior — but is more properly called “travel-monies”. Do we REALLY need a play-by-play of your last vacation?

  30. Bill
    October 4, 2004 at 2:50 pm

    OK, I guess they’re equally superfluous

  31. Rosalynde Welch
    October 4, 2004 at 2:54 pm

    Ouch… Just don’t expect that a pleasant tone or a tactful approach will sweeten the pill if/when you deliver your section B. No matter how hard I try to be charitable and understanding, I always get defensive and offended (and probably offensive, too) when my children are criticized, or my parenting, as happens more often than you might expect in the wards I’ve attended. Lots of us here have young children, so I realize I’m not the only one in this boat–but most of us are aware of the primary complaints (noise, mess and behavior) and are really, truly, cross our hearts, doing the very best we can.

  32. Mark N.
    October 4, 2004 at 5:01 pm

    1. Recognize that after not very many seconds of loud noise, your child probably ought to go to the foyer.

    A friend of mine in the ward I grew up in many years ago told me of the time his father took his little brother out to the foyer one Sunday as he was being particularly noisy.

    There’s probably nothing quite like hearing the child who is being escorted out of Sacrament Meeting scream “Don’t hit me!” just before Dad and child make their exit… ;-)

  33. marta
    October 4, 2004 at 6:15 pm

    Except perhaps hearing the child scream, “Help me, Jesus.”

  34. Greg
    October 4, 2004 at 6:25 pm

    I have a Mormon etiquette question for the experts here: What to do when a two years old grabs half the tray of sacrament bread? Do we (a) grab the child’s wrist, forcing him to drop the break right back onto the tray so others may enjoy it; (b) allow the child to consume all he grabbed; or (c) force the child to release the lump, and dispose of it in some other way.
    Not that my angelic, reverent son has ever done this…

  35. Kaimi
    October 4, 2004 at 6:44 pm

    By the way, the folk over at some other blog are also discussing etiquette.

  36. Kristine
    October 4, 2004 at 6:57 pm

    Argh, Greg, this is a new sore spot for us. My kids want to “pass” the sacrament now, so we either have a great deal of fighting and shushing, or a very tense few minutes while our 4, 5 & 7-year-olds do it themselves. A couple of weeks ago, my 4-year-old said loudly to his sister “I have to practice for when I’m big; you can’t touch it because you’re a girl!” I was heartbroken.

  37. Greg
    October 4, 2004 at 7:35 pm

    Kristine, I can just imagine what happens when the four year old gets ahold of a water tray where the cups are filled to the brim. Let me know if you come up with any grand solutions. Right now, we are working on preventing our 3 year old from loudly saying “Where’s the water?” as soon as he’s had the bread.

    Confession: when I was a (sometimes irreverent) priest, I used to leave one fairly large piece of bread in a tray, and then watch as it was passed around and various little kids’ eyes grew large with the anticipation of scoring such a morsel. Parents would inevitably discourage them from taking the prize, and the lucky kid would be the one who had the tray while his parents were distracted.

  38. Kaimi
    October 4, 2004 at 7:40 pm


    You’re a bad, bad person.

    And by the way, when I was a teacher, I never, ever had a quorum water fight with the sacrament water. Or two. Frankly, I don’t know that any self-respecting fourteen-year-old boy would think to do such a thing. Fourteen-year-old boys are quite synonymous with solemn dignity.

  39. Jill
    October 4, 2004 at 8:26 pm

    On testimony meetings:

    I don’t think that anybody really wants to hear super personal ‘problems’ that have been ‘overcome’. Too many times in Fast and testimony meetings I have been witness to individuals that feel it necessary to divulge extremly personal information (i.e, what exactly their ‘sin’ was which they in turn are in the process of repenting for.) A nice, quick, VAGUE rendition of your appreication for the atonement, etc. is more than adequate.

  40. cje
    October 4, 2004 at 8:31 pm

    Oh yes the infamous irreverent sacrament prep story.

    One time we had one of those ecxept this one involved those lemon juice squirters (not sure if they still sell those) anyhow — the result was lemon juice laced water and many members of the congregation wincing as it went down.

    As I remember we thought it was the funniest thing we’d ever experienced.


  41. Jonathan Green
    October 4, 2004 at 8:37 pm

    A few more suggestions:

    Don’t make a habit of asking other organizations to play backstage service roles in a big event primarily or only for the benefit of your own auxiliary: young women to babysit, high priests to set up chairs, Relief Society to preprare good, the student branch to play waiter, etc.

    If you move into a new ward, don’t introduce yourself by telling everyone how much you miss the majestic topography of your former ward, and how ugly the current area is.

    Don’t treat families who move into the ward to attend school like transients, even if they’ll be in your ward for six or eight years.

    Any caucasian residing in the continental US who starts a sacrament meeting talk with a vigorous “Aloha!” and then demands the same response from the congregation will not be forgiven in this world, or the world to come.

  42. October 4, 2004 at 10:43 pm

    Once when my husband was called (last minute!) to bring sacrament bread, the only loaf we had enough of was rye bread. THOSE facial expressions were fun to watch.

  43. Elizabeth
    October 4, 2004 at 10:56 pm

    Sorry for inflicting my opinions on you, but my husband sent me a link to this and I just had to dump my two cents in.

    Regarding the whole moving/food thing. Personally I would not imagine asking someone to do something that strenuous on my behalf without feeding them. And I mean real food (or at the very least pizza) not a stack of anemic looking PB&J sandwiches.

    But my personnal biggest pet peeve:
    Fast and Testimony meetings – please try and keep the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth to a minimum (and yes I have witnessed all three). Now keep in mind, I live in the south. To be more precise I live in what my husband refers to as “The Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt” and there is a lot of Southern Baptist/Pentacostal/Church of Christ emotionalism floating around down here. I appreciate the spirit in which a testimony is given, but not the theatrics. Personally it just makes me vastly uncomfortable.

    As for Aloha or Talofa (samoan) – I love it in Hawaii, but all a howli is going to get doing it on the mainland is a bunch of blank looks. The islands is the only place you can do it, and get the desired result.

  44. GAF
    October 4, 2004 at 10:58 pm

    As far as hymn singing goes in my ward, it’s the congregation that needs to know that “God Speed the Right” is not a dirge. No matter how fast I played it last Sunday, the ward insisted on singing it very slowly.

  45. Mark B
    October 5, 2004 at 8:52 am

    It’s great to see “haole” spelled “howli”. It gives one all sorts of devilish ideas about etymology.

    About the sacrament, we once had a mission president who said a lot of crackpot things and generally made life difficult for the members in the mission for three dark years. He once said (apparently in complete ignorance of D&C 27) that “You’ll never hear this from Salt Lake, but in my opinion the sacrament should be pure white bread with the crusts removed in order for it to be the best representation of the Savior.” I repressed my urge to stand up and say something inappropriate and instead went and bought the blackest loaf of pumpernickel and put it in the freezer for use the next time he showed up. Alas, he never came back to our branch.

    By the way, rye bread is fine, so long as it doesn’t have any of those nasty carroway seeds.

  46. Silus Grok
    October 5, 2004 at 1:07 pm

    I have a bit of a peeve with EQ being treated like a moving service… but have never come up with a proper way to bring it up in class.

    As for my part, as I am not physically able to lift much, I offer to bring the refreshments.

    As ward chorister, I have to agree that no one really follows my lead… but I don’t have the wherewithal to actually stop what I’m doing and bring it to folks’ attention (as I’ve seen choristers do in other wards).

    As for Sacrament… I’d be happy just to have bread that wasn’t stale, and that was torn into pieces larger than a thumbnail — come on, priests! 2 slices of bread, 16 pieces each, on 8 trays… 256 pieces = more pieces than people (in an average ward).

  47. Bryce I
    October 5, 2004 at 1:32 pm

    Rye bread seems very Jewish to me. Not very New Testament.

    Mmm, corned beef, pastrami, swiss cheese, rye bread (with carraway seeds, thank you).

  48. Alex Z
    October 5, 2004 at 2:40 pm

    One other to add to the list. If your hosting a Pampered Chef/Tupperware/Mary Kay/ Vantel Perl ect. party do not bring flyers to church that announce the event and then pass them out to everyone in the congregation.

  49. Austin Frost
    October 6, 2004 at 2:54 pm

    Good list, but for one item: silence during testimony meeting. I don’t thinks its a time for contemplation, but the result of laziness and cowardice.

    I grew up in Maine, and we would sometimes have twenty minute intervals between testimonies–we were too fearful to speak in front of people about sacred things.

    However, I will add an item to your testimony list: if you’re so emotional that you cannot cry and speak coherently at the same time, save sharing your testimony for a time when you can be understood!

  50. Jim F
    October 6, 2004 at 4:28 pm

    Austin, your argument isn’t a very good one: In my ward/branch the times of silence were the result of cowardice, therefore silent times are not a time for contemplation. Even if we grant the truth of your assumption–and I’m not sure we should–it doesn’t yield the conclusion you draw from it. It is certainly believable that there are times when no one is bearing testimony because everyone is afraid to do so. It doesn’t follow that every time there is silence it is because everyone is afraid to bear testimony.

  51. Randy
    October 6, 2004 at 5:14 pm


    Apologies on your comment 18–should have seen that disaster coming.

    As for comment 15, our house is now freshly painted (you should come check it out), but there are countless other projects looming (by the way, the shed is no longer one of them–as of yesterday, it no longer exists). Do you prefer O’Douls, Sharps, or some other?

  52. jonathan
    October 6, 2004 at 5:38 pm

    Rye bread? Try cinnamon raisin bagels or rainbow bread. Oh how I miss the Chicago 1st ward!

  53. Ethesis (my computer is broken)
    October 6, 2004 at 7:23 pm

    Any caucasian residing in the continental US who starts a sacrament meeting talk with a vigorous “Aloha!� and then demands the same response from the congregation will not be forgiven in this world, or the world to come.


    BTW, what about fresh loaves of unsliced bread? My mom did that to me once.

  54. October 7, 2004 at 2:41 pm

    On the comments of another post (paraphrased title: When is it appropriate or inappropriate to criticize the leadership) Kaimi brought up the fact that some people impose stricter rules (than the Church) upon themselves. Kaimi provided the example of the person who won’t allow themselves to watch PG-13 movies.

    Kaimi then pointed out that while this practice is perfectally fine and acceptable, the person shouldn’t then condescend or look down upon those who don’t follow the stricter rule.

    That felt like a comment that belonged on this post.

    In addition I would like to say that a person who decides that they will follow self-imposed stricter rules/guidelines (than the Church requires) should be courteous enough to forewarn other LDS people — before uncomfortable situations arise. For example, a girl who refuses to attend PG-13 movies ought to forewarn her date well before they arrive at the theater. [I heard of a case like this once]

  55. Austin Frost
    October 7, 2004 at 3:33 pm

    Jim F.,

    Then it is impossible to know when people are simply afraid or deep in spiritual thought, and I see no reason for a person to refrain from breaking the silence. After all, it is a testimony meeting, and it is impossible to bear a testimony silently (despite the bishopric’s gratitude for those who do so). There are other more appropriate times to silently contemplate the gospel then when one is sitting in a meeting whose primary purpose is for speaking and listening to testimonies.

  56. Austin Frost
    October 7, 2004 at 3:39 pm

    “That silence between testimonies isn’t wasted time; it is quite time for meditation”

    In a TESTIMONY meeting, it seems that it is wasted time.

  57. Mark B
    October 7, 2004 at 4:24 pm

    If it’s wasted time, Austin, then you’re the one wasting it. Don’t presume to know whether it’s wasted time for others.

    Particularly when some people’s “testimonies” may be the ultimate in wasted time.

  58. Adam Greenwood
    October 7, 2004 at 5:18 pm

    Deep breath time, fellas.

  59. October 7, 2004 at 6:16 pm

    Why do the nackers always get so heated?

  60. Mark B
    October 7, 2004 at 6:26 pm

    Oh, I wasn’t heated. I guess I should have softened the tone of what I wrote–but I’ll stand by the truth of the comments.

    As others have said in this thread, we can make valuable use of the time between testimonies, and it’s really our own fault if that time is simply wasted.

  61. Austin Frost
    October 8, 2004 at 1:34 am

    Like I said Mark, in a “testimony” meeting, it seems like the greatest waste of time is a lack of testimonies. Call me crazy, but if quiet contemplation is the cream of the testimony meeting crop, then we ought to just can the whole thing altogether. I actually think that a person who breaks the silence can actually help others to get up to testify.


    I’m glad to know that we have a member of the testimony police here. Perhaps if one sits in the congregation and thinks “What a waste of three and a half minutes! That was a horrible testimony” they could be using those moments of judgment for say…quiet contemplation.

  62. October 8, 2004 at 7:41 am

    I suppose during prolonged silences, if a person has no desire to bear a testimony, they could pull out their scriptures.

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