United Brethren has retired.

Why Aren't We More Reverent?

Is there something about our meetinghouses that make Sunday services so irreverant (or maybe it's just the wards I've lived in)? I think it's a good part to do with the fact that LDS chapels are exactly that - "meetinghouses", not "churches". The fact that we have a great big sports hall into which our ward's sacrament meeting overflows hardly promotes a reverent atmosphere!

Whenever I've visited old churches back in England it comes naturally to lower your voice and conduct yourself with a degree of respect, yet this is rarely the case when walking into our chapels (= multi-function, practical buildings). Down the road from where I live is the most beautiful little Lutheran church. I pass it frequently and wonder why our chapels can't look more attractive. The Lutheran church has more that one building - a chapel, solely for worship, a small building for offices and a community centre, which houses their equivilent of our cultural hall. This seems to me a much better idea - it allows the chapel building to be just a place of reverence and worship. It makes the worship more special, I think, to set aside a building for that sole use.

I understand the want and need to be practical, but I also think this takes away from why we really go to church - to partake of the sacrament and worship our Saviour. I'd love to see a major overhaul of chapel building design, which might in turn produce a major overhaul of reverence in our meetings.

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 10:10 AM) 

I'm not sure a change in architecture would solve the problem. I rather think the standard LDS layout is quite practical. Shuffling the young kids off to Primary during (as opposed to after) Sacrament Meeting would work wonders, however. But you can't leave them there for three hours, so somehow the three-hour meeting block needs to be pared down. 

Posted by Dave


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 10:28 AM) 

I totally agree - I have another blog in progress discussing Sunday School - a meeting I could live without. My kids could live without the three hour meetings too. My parents ward is an exception to the rule. The congregation is always in seats 10 mins before the start of the meetings, quietly listening to prelude music. It really helps their reverence to have Sacrament Meeting first. 

Posted by Rebecca


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 10:43 AM) 

When I was in a singles ward, I remember stake speakers commenting without irony on how much easier it was to feel the Spirit in our meetings. Well, yes. It does help if you don't have 30 kids screaming during the Sacrament. 

Posted by John C.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 11:28 AM) 

Retiring the three-hour meeting bloc could definitely do the trick. Eliminate Sunday School and just have sacrament meeting and priesthood/RS. 

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 11:38 AM) 

Yep: make things SHORTER! And introduce a good adult institute programme in each Ward so that there is gospel study if people want it.

But according to Eugene England (Sunstone), our meetings are *supposed* to be tedious and boring - it's good for the soul! 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 4:06 PM) 

Regarding Rebecca's comment about her parents' ward having sacrament meeting first, I wonder what is the norm across the world in terms of the order of the three meetings. I've attended wards that held Sunday school first and Sacrament last and vice versa. I've also had priesthood first. But the vast majority of wards I've attended held sacrament first, Sunday School second, and PH/RS last. Do children do well when they attend sacrament meeting--the longest meeting--last?

Three hours is tough on children (and adults). They get tired and hungry and it can be hard to keep them quiet and/or interested in class.  

Posted by Justin


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 5:43 PM) 

Justin, my ward has sacrament meeting last, so I can assure you that kids do not do well with that schedule. It is a very unfortunate thing when you find out that is the schedule that your ward has. . . .

It seems that in Europe (in all the wards I've been in), sacrament meeting is last. Some of this seems to have something to do with coordinating with public transportation so that more members can more easily make it to sacrament meeting. The alternative would be to hold church later in the day, but, at least in Germany, it seems, Church is not Church unless it begins at 9 or 10 in the morning. That is also how it seems in England, by the way. Many ward houses in which only one ward meets still meet promptly at 10:00am (perhaps this is because that is the time that other churches hold Sunday services?) even though it would be far more convenient, especially for members using public transportation, to push church towards the middle of the day, when, on Sunday, public transportation runs more frequently than in the morning (bus comes once or twice an hour in the morning as opposed to three times an hour at peak times during the day on a weekend). 

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 22, 2004 6:12 PM) 

Church is MUCH more difficult for kids when Sacrament is last. My parents ward (which is in England) is not the norm having sacrament first. My ward here in Baltimore meets at 9am with sacrament last. We recently changed from a 10am start, but it makes little difference when sacrament is last.
My ideal would be no sunday school and sacrament first. 

Posted by Rebecca


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 23, 2004 5:35 PM) 

Coming from a much different background, I always have to keep a few things in mind.

1. Most other churches hold Sunday School during the regular services, or at least have a nursery for the little noisemakers.

2. We are a "Family Church".

3. We have no paid ministry.

4. On the Average, we have more kids than most.

5. The LDS church has a very comfortable culture, unfortuantely it is too comfortable.

The 5th point, may be the biggest problem. We have been virtually shut out of the mainstream, and we have become very comfortable with that. For some reason, it makes some people think that they are in some sort of club. the underlying reason for going to church is not so much to listen or to feel the spirit, but is for a sense of belonging.

I see parents whos children run up to the stand and no effort is made to go get them. If this were my child, they never would have made it off the bench. I see parents who allow their kids to stand on the benches and put on a show bor everyone behind them. Still others who are thoughless enough to hope their screaming kid will stop at some point,as apposed to walking out in the hall. When my kid makes a peep, I am out as quick as possible.

This disrespect just continues if we don't teach that it is not alright.

Just two weeks ago, I was teaching a lesson on the atonement to combined YM/YW. a girl who regularly just walks out of sacrament just got up right in the middle of my testimony. I wanted to walk over and jerk her back into her seat. I won't leave the church over it, but I would sure like to whack her parents around a little.

Our Bishop gets up every once and a while and hollers at everyone about being reverent. We could use a little hell fire and rimstone every once and a while.That is something we are really missing out on.


Posted by Jake


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 23, 2004 6:21 PM) 

May I again point out England's Sunstone article on 'Why the Church is as true as the Gospel'. A must read. You see, I would prefer it if church was one hour with a professional choir and a preacher who had a PhD. That appeals to me. But then I have been called to mourn with those that mourn and suffer with those that suffer and be bored with those who are bored. Again, it's good for the soul. 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (May 27, 2005 3:24 AM) 

LOL I think reading these comments are great. I love reading things I have also felt several times over the yrs. You know what I like about Church? I like that other peoples Kids are worse than mine. lol Makes me feel like a better mother. I love that Other women get stressed out like me.... Makes me feel normal. I love that others get frusterated with things. Makes me feel like Im not alone. Maybe church isnt just about learning scriptures. Maybe We are being taught how to feel the spirit even in the midst of Chaos. One time I was at this concert Hall and they were showing us the accoustics of the room by having everyone be quiet so a pin could be heard even by those on the back row. Anyone can feel the spirit when you set the mood. But it takes Learning and Skill to feel the spirit amongst Chaos. LOL chaos. Kids are Great. SOMEDAYS....jk 

Posted by Janice


post a comment