Those zany Mormons

Because it seems like a day at church can't go by without some kind of blogging fodder appearing before me as manna from heaven, here's the latest installment. This time I was at Jen's ward which is made up of lots of richie families who live on the benches of the Provo mountains, overlooking the valley. (Some of them live in the little flat-roofed homes they built back in the 60s, and others live in these huge Tudor-style monstrosities that are being erected right now.)

Anyway. Church. I will report three things to you.

1) This is just a bit of advice for anyone who teaches, public speeches, anything. Please do not admit to the class that you started frantically searching for the lesson manual at 1:00am that morning, having not so much as glanced at it all week. I mean yeah, we all have those moments, but way to plummet your audience's expectations. Also, if you have an idea for an object lesson and you find that you don't have the necessary materials, please just drop it. Please do not hold up the advertisements section from your Sunday paper and say, "Now imagine that this is a blank sheet of paper." Because I would rather be imagining that I'm in a class with a teacher who is actually using the quite-good manual to teach me things that it would benefit me to hear.

2) Because the lesson was on faith and obedience, one good sister raised her hand to let us all know that we should go see Evan Almighty, because it's about faith and obedience and he's this Senator in Washington and everyone thinks he's crazy for building an ark but he's not, see, and she and her family just thought it was so very cute and enjoyable. I'm pretty sure I died inside for about 5 seconds while she was saying that. The heck?? First off, totally not the place for movie reviews, and second, Evan Almighty??? Did that movie turn out to be good or something without me noticing? Because from the previews it looked like a steaming pile.

3) I sat down next to this really, really sweet lady from Korea who is a single mom and has a really cute daughter. The lady (who is maybe in her 40s) remembered me from those few months last fall when I lived with Jenny & Ed, and she asked how things were going. I told her they were good. She leaned over and patted my hand, saying "You need to find a good husband."

Me: "Wow. Yeah, tell me about it."

RRWLfK: "Yes, you do. But you will, though. Don't worry."

Me: "I try not to. I'm sure he's out there somewhere."

RRWLfK: "Yes. And you will, because you are young and pretty . . . "

Me: "That's very kind of you to say."

RRWLfK: "No, it's true! It's all about time. When it's the right time it will happen."

Me: "Let's hope so."

Then I think she might have turned to the lady on her left and told her the same thing. It was kind of awesome.


Kristeee said... [reply]

I hate it when people shoot down their own lessons or talks before they even start. The "so I threw this together at the last minute" is a turn off for me, about as much as a new boy calling for a date an hour in advance because his first two picks canceled. I also despise the "I know that you're all better than I am and I suck and can't read well and am a horrible person, but I'm giving this lesson" disclaimer. Please just let me think you're competent until you prove otherwise!

kristen said... [reply]

1. Any announcement of 'I prepared this last night in 20 minutes' is a sign for me to tune out. I believe the brethren have talked about this very thing: Never announce that you threw a lesson or talk together; it will turn off the audience.

2. Church is NOT the place for movie reviews. I always put my head in my hands when some comment starts out "This is a lot like (name of movie)". Bad idea and not sticking to church doctrine.

3. I would have been tempted to say "Oh, is that what I'm supposed to do? Do you know where I can find one?" Gotta love the sweet ladies.

Jenny said... [reply]

All those reasons plus so many more are why I don't really mind I'm always in primary and never get to go to relief society anymore.

Scully said... [reply]

The reason to see Evan Almighty is to watch Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman work, although I think Morgan Freeman could do this part in his sleep. Otherwise, Wanda Sykes wise-cracks and John Goodman chews scenery. Still, I wouldn't volunteer all that information at CHURCH! Only on other people's blogs. Also, I love how the same people who would be horrified at Bruce Almighty are preaching Evan Almighty. Hee.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Oh goodness. It's enough to make me stay in Spain and go to church here forever. What helps is that I don't understand about 50% of what people say to me.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

I can't stand the five0minute self-deprecation sessions at the beginning of talks or lessons either. Does anyone know what lay ministery means? Don't we get all excited because we don't have paid clergy, and then everyone acts like they can't handle it.

Oh, and we not only had the Evan Almighty thing, we got Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade too. Usually are ward is much less fluffy than that. I wanted to raise my hand and say that "Indiana is great, but Elder Packer gave an even better sermon called 'The Candle of the Lord' that doesn't rely on special effects to make its point". But I had to go help S-Boogie give a talk. Which she prepared and practiced a week in advance.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

I can't believe I typed "are" instead of "our".

I'm going to go cry now...

Nemesis said... [reply]

Ohmygosh Foxyj, I had blocked it out of my memory but the teacher TOTALLY mentioned Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Only she couldn't remember which one it was. She was talking about the bit where he steps into the chasm and all that. My person and your person should get together.

JennaL said... [reply]

Comments about Point 1.

Some time ago, I went to a fireside talk given by a police officer. He addressed the very issue of "I threw this together last minute" by telling a story from his work experience. He apparently was running late one day to work and in putting on his uniform forgot his bullet proof vest. Once he was in the car, he of course realized the mistake, and decided that he would get the one he had at the station. But on the way he got a call to arrest someone. Well he arrested him, took him to the station, and the guy pulled a knife on him. The point the officer made was that this guy could have done some serious damage because he didn't have his vest on to protect him. But the arrested guy didn't know that, so the cop just pretended he had it on. The situation was diffused. The cop was fine. Moral of the story: when you are out on the job and you're not prepared, don't tell people you forgot to put on your bullet proof vest. Saying "I'm just going to wing this because I forgot my bullet proof vest" to someone who might end up holding a gun at you doesn't fly and can get you killed. So why would you announce to a potential audience that your lesson might be subpar. If you don't tell them, they might never know.

So I refuse to tell people my lessons might be not to good because I didn't prepare enough. Because if it turns out fabulous, then they will never need to know. And if it doesn't turn out fabulous, who cares it's over.

Kimberly Bluestocking: said... [reply]

I've generally had good luck with Relief Society over the years. I didn't understand why some people don't like it until I went to a relative's ward. They spent half the hour on announcements, then the teacher taught a prophet manual lesson without ever actually referring to the manual.

Such a shame--there's good material in there, but instead she just asked us for input which she wrote on the board. We left knowing nothing more than we did before.

Jenny said... [reply]

Foxy, when I saw your typo I kept thinking I was reading it wrong and kept re reading it because I was thinking to myself 'foxyj would never make a typo. Only I do those things'.

scienceteachermommy said... [reply]

My comment on the whole preparation thing actually originated with my mission president. His take was that people who expose their lack of preparation are actually hoping for the opposite response--not pity from the audience, but praise.

He felt that if a person said their lesson/talk was "thrown together" they often times are really good at winging it or public speaking or teaching. When the lesson is good then it is a pride thing: i.e. it isn't preparation and prayer that let me teach this lesson, just my gifts.

I'm also very anxious about the people who say, "I feel prompted by the Spirit to not give the talk I prepared . . . ." I heard Elder Eyring do this once and it was amazing. I don't think anyone but a GA should attempt this.

By the by, I really love that scene in Indiana Jones.

Jimmy said... [reply]

Ok for 1. Those kind of presentations always remind me of people who call or email and preface with: "I can't talk now, but..." Means they want to talk, and not listen, or they just didn't think you worthy of effort...never sure.

2. Movie reviews...not in Church, please. Especially steamy movies. As in steaming piles (I agree, by the way)

3. I think people who comment on your love life should automatically be obligated to send a large gift if and when the issue is resolved, no?

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

Our concluding speaker on Sunday talked about how the first time he was asked to talk he didn't go home and pray for inspiration, he prayed to get out of the talk. And it worked, since church was cancelled the next week because of snow. Then he told us about this one time that he went long-boarding until 3 AM, and still managed to BS (he actually used this term over the pulpit) his 50 page paper by 8 AM. THEN he talked about how much he doesn't know about family history (the topic was the scripture in Malachi), but reminded us that he's really good at BSing.

Sacrament went over by at least 10 minutes, and I don't think I learned ANYTHING.

Girassol said... [reply]

Ugh. The professor for my summer class totally shot himself in the foot on the first day. He said, "This is the first time I've taught this class, and I'll admit I'm no expert on the subject. Also, I haven't read the book before, so I'll be reading it right along with you and we'll all be new at this together."

Really? Is that why I paid a thousand dollars for the course? So you could learn the material at the same time as I am?

I've always been bugged when people admit they're unprepared in church too, but now I will comfort myself with the knowledge that at least the lessons there are FREE.

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