Very insightful!!!!! The Lord has given his opinion on vain repetitions in
prayer, and that should apply to lessons and talks as well. I think we all can
agree that we are doing better. Nobody stands for a talk and reads the thirteen
articles of faith----we know those already, nor do we ever hear the same talk
given in conference------------- Alma 26:22 says anyone (who has faith and
repents) can reveal things that have never been revealed; D&C 1:20 says the
goal is for everyone to speak in the name of the Lord (not just a few). You
would think the above scriptures would lead to anarchy (not to mention an open
mic on the first Sunday in which people can and usually do say whatever they so
desire.) We are told to keep our testimonies on the basics and even with the
basics ------we miraculously hear a variety of wonderful things.
Interesting viewpoint, Brother Card. I don't disagree that variety is good, and
there are a plethora of subjects that could be addressed in just 21 Sundays.
BUT... Personally, I really like the common theme approach to sacrament meeting
talks. Maybe I'm just simple-minded? Or perhaps avoiding a
spattering of topics keeps my self-diagnosed adult ADHD in check. More likely,
though, I just need to hear same subject more than once or from more than one
person's perspective to gain a deeper understanding of the principle. For
example, this past Sunday we had a youth, a Relief Society sister, and a High
Priest all speak on the subject of Personal Revelation. It was AWESOME to hear
their individual perspectives on that subject and to be able to easily weave
them together into one powerful message.
In our Sacrament Meeting this past Sunday, the speaker (from the High Council)
qouted about 1/2 of a recent conference talk, right down to the
"Amen." Since he was the last speaker, everyone assumed that when he
read "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," that was the end of his
talk. Everyone grabbed their hymnbooks, the chorister stood up, and the
organist slid onto the organ. After a brief pause, the speaker said "I
have a few thoughts I'd like to add . . .. " and went on with his talk for
another 6 or 7 minutes. I suppose he should have selected a few
paragraphs from the conference talk, and left out the Amen, until he was
Hey, I thought those were my ideas.
Way to go, Orson; as usual, you hit the nail on the head. FINALLY a bright,
intellectual member of the LDS Church who agrees with me that God meant us to
use our brains and think about what we are told and not to just follow blindly.
Thanks for reminding people that good ideas like consolidating Sunday meetings
may come from good observation and we can all share those ideas, we don't have
to wait around for the prophet to gain revelation on the subject, we each are
entitled to personal revelation and inspiration. That comment is meant with no
disrespect whatsoever toward our awesome Prophet, President Monson.I
completely agree with assigning several topics at Sacrament meetings and not
getting up and reading an Ensign article, regardless of how good the article
might be. I LOVE it when members speak from the heart and make eye contact and
allow for the Spirit to inspire them as they go, in addition to the outline they
have prepared. I have a hard time focusing when speakers put on the
"general conference" voice , using no intonations or inflections;
sounding like a robot.
I completely agree with all your points, Bro. Card. I have commented to
bishopric members about both the common theme and the assigning of conference
talks. I'm still convinced the one topic is jsut for convenience of busy
bishopric members. As for the conference talk assignments...some feel it's just
another opportunity to reinforce a message that members would not otherwise
study. My worry is that members will lose, or never gain, the worthwhile skill
of wrestling with and organizing gospel ideas, with the help of the spirit, then
delivering with personal conviction.
How about asking members to talk without assigning a specific subject? That way,
the member can speak on subjects pondered while reading scriptures, preparing a
lesson for Family Home Evening, inspiration received during prayer, etc (linking
the discussion to the scriptures, of course). Perhaps the Bishopric can assign
topics only for those who would feel more comfortable with an assigned subject.
I read your comments with a big smile on my face, Brother Card. Your ideas are
excellent - in fact, I used to have the same "inspired ideas," and
waited for my chance to do things differently. So after being called as Bp. many
years ago, I learned that the Brethren actually WANT things to be the way they
are and go to great lengths to teach Priesthood Leaders to do things that way.
They call it "correlation."So since then, I've adjusted to
the (I'll just call it) "intellectual boredom" by focusing more on the
frequency of my "spiritual receiver" as I try to hear the spirit of
the person "broadcasting." For me, that's like constantly fiddling
with the dial trying to tune in to the big game through poor AM reception so the
static doesn't overwhelm the play-by-play. Every so often (maybe a couple or few
times a meeting), the static of repetition or soulless commentary fades and you
get to hear the crystal clear excitement of a game-winning last second
touchdown. And you go home feeling that the whole game and all the dial-fiddling
was really worth it...
I love the "topic" Sacrament meetings we have. Generally 2 youth
speakers and 2 adult speakers given the same general topic. Last Sunday's was
"testimony" -- we heard 4 great and very different talks each one
supplimenting and complementing the others. Sometimes speakers do select the
same scriptures but they generally have different things to say around them. I
really enjoy the opportunity this gives me to look at these topics from
different angles and often it opens new meaning to me and sends me home with a
solid message I can review in my mind throughout the week. Scattered topics tend to leave me scattered and not remembering any specific
point.... but then, that's MY point of view...
Right now my only suggestion is that after a member of the bishopric goes over
what is and what is not appropriate to share in testimony meeting for the
thousandth time, and everyone proceeds to ignore the guidelines yet again,
someone should come out with a giant hook and drag the longwinded non-listeners
Good one, Independent....My first Sunday in the Mission Field was a
Testimoney meeting where one sister spoke about her moving out of the ward and
how much she hoped they would miss her, call her, still include her, yadda
yadda. The rest were no better.Our fairly interested investigators were
so completely turned off by the meeting of non Christian theme that they asked
us not to return to teach them anything further. Chased away by a
Order in all things... the standing up and talking on any subject is kinda
Quaker-like, isn't it?
Mr. Card;While my family and I are all fans (one kid considered
going to SVU just because you were teaching there...), I have to disagree on 2
counts, and agree on 1.BTW, you hace to cut down those 21 by 4 for
Mother's Day, Father's Day, 4th of July and Pioneer Day in most wards.RE: Hymns with disappearing men's parts: I know you have written many books
and columns. We have read (and love) many. But have you ever written a hymn?
I suggest the book, Our Latter-day Hymns, by Davidson, which investigates the
authors, settings, composers and their stories, which give insight into the
hymns. It bothers me enough that the 1985 hymn book "dumbed down" the
original arrangements of many hymns. To further homogenize would, I think,
detract further from the intent.RE: SacMtg topics: While I do not
believe that each speaker should be spoon-fed the same conference talk to speak
on, having a unified topic reinforces those aspects of the Gospel that the
Bishopric feel their congregation needs. And if done right, the Ward Music
Chair will coordinate the hymns and special music so that all leave edified on
Continued:I have been in many meetings where the three speakers all
spoke on the same general topic, and yet each taught me something different,
from their unique perspective. This, I believe should be the goal.
Perhaps they should get more specific about what not to share in testimony
meeting, for example:1. It is not appropriate to tell the
congregation they are not properly living the Word of Wisdom.2. It
is not appropriate to tell us all the details of your suicide attempts. Please
just go to the Bishop and ask for a referral to social services.3.
If your patriarchal blessing says you were chosen for some kind of important
mission, please keep that to yourself.4. You don't need to publicly
thank anybody in testimony meeting. You can actually just walk right up to them
in the hall and say thank you face to face.5. Please do not endorse
or criticize policians or political candidates in testimony meeting. 6. Please stop quoting Star Wars.7. If you haven't told your
family how much you love and appreciate them recently, testimony meeting is not
the time or place to do it.8. I'm very sorry you and your husband
are having a hard time conceiving. Could you spare us the details, please?9. Could you not put down your spouse? It's making us feel
"when, just because we sing the bass or tenor line, men are forbidden by
the music to speak a quarter of the hymn's message, I think much of the purpose
of a congregational hymn is defeated."I don't think the purpose
or meaning in the hymn is diminished whatsoever. I think this only enhances the
music. Musical effect is not missing either. Just because the Tabernacle choir
sounds better than the average congregation does not mean that the average
congregation should not be aspiring to such a musical goal. I have been in
congregations where there was an amazing 4-part SATB sound and the women sounded
just perfect when they sang their women-only part.I simply think it
enhances the music, and in some cases, the text practically demands such a
separation, when the words imply a female voice is speaking, etc.I
have a different suggestion, but in a second post.
Rather than dull the music down (No offense) to everyone doing the same thing,
I'd actually suggest the opposite.Imagine a hymnbook with an
organ/piano specific part, with people singing to a more musical organ
accompaniment. Accompaniment can be written to still be accompaniment, still
help those who have a hard time finding the melody on their own, and not have to
be the same exact thing as the choral part.I know far more people my
age who can sing 4-part and even more advanced than I do from my parents age.
Perhaps it's time we make the hymn book less 1800's. I write myself and I
appreciate the musical discipline our hymns are in. I'm not suggesting an
abandonment of this... but simply that congregations can handle less stagnant,
more dynamic music that still keeps to the same style, but with more variety
than chord chord chord chord chord music, with little of anything else going on.
I'm also not suggesting a lot going on, but I think I could easily arrange a
hymn for congregation and organ to do separate things that would be appropriate
for non-choir-exclusive use. Just a thought.
""For I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our
profit and learning" (1 Nephi 19:23). When people from our ward are invited
to speak in sacrament meeting, I look forward to hearing what the Lord has
taught them, through the experiences of their lives."I agree
with this post, however there are many people who don't speak well or form words
well and this poses problems for some of them. I think that some people need a
more helpful nudge in their talks, and some you could simply give a subject to
talk about and they'd come prepared with a great lesson.---Side note: I and a few people I know grow very tired of testimony
meetings. Ideally, I have no issue with them and love the practice. But, with
how many get up and cry the whole time about a personal experience completely
unrelated to bearing a testimony, I find them unproductive.I mean no
offense to anyone with this. I find no fault in people having emotional
experiences and wanting to share them or get stuff off of their chest. I simply
feel there is a place for everything.
To elaborate on my previous comment regarding testimony meetings. I really am
not finding fault with others. I don't have problems with people when they do
it... I simply think that the meeting warrants a different approach than what we
currently have taken it for.I have heard people get up and 'come
clean' with things that should have been strictly for their bishop. I have heard
people get up and talk about something sad that happened to them and how their
life is depressing, etc. From how I understand it, testimony meeting is supposed
to be where people bear their testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.
Although personal experiences may certainly contribute to this. I simply believe
that many people don't get up and speak with this in mind.With that
said, I believe that as long as Bishops follow the guidelines recently given in
the new handbook, then things should be fine. If things continue the way they
do, it's not like I have a real problem or anything. I find no fault in the
church whatsoever- I only wonder if we couldn't approach this meeting form in a
better way, that's all.
So enjoyed your thought processes, Brother Card, and your sense of humor! :)About your hymn observation: I actually enjoy it when the women's voices
are required to drop out momentarily. It gives me another perspective as I
soundlessly listen to the men sing, and try to think about the words from their
perspective. It adds a certain character to the hymn that I would otherwise miss
(living in my female mind as I do), and the words seem to enlarge or deepen at
times. A sister in our ward who loves the hymns and loves to sing,
has not been able to sing them for about 2 years. In fact, due to a medical
treatment, she can barely talk above a whisper and that is a vast improvement
from her voice a year ago. She expressed to me an interesting realization about
listening to and pondering the hymn texts, instead of singing them. She said
their gospel messages have become more meaningful than ever before.That said, I'm not proposing that we all become "hymn listeners"
rather than singers, but on occasion there's value in listening with pure
When are the brethren going to give us the Priesthood so they can check in with
the women on these things? Comments here are equally as humorous as your
article! Thanks for the fun read...
Brother Card, whenever I see an article by you, it's like Christmas! I love
your viewpoints and your writing style. Thanks for another great article.@ Independent: Wow, I bet your ward's meetings are definitely NOT dull!
You made me laugh, thank you.