Recently on BYU-Idaho campus we’ve had a few General Authorities come for devotional. In the BYU-Idaho Center, which is literally a mini-conference center that seats 15,000 people, lately people have been standing out of respect not only for members of the Q12, but apparently they stood for Bishop Caussé and even, last week, Sheri Dew. It made sense to me as in most people’s minds she’s the closest thing we have to a female authority: she has a history of expounding doctrine from being in the RS Presidency (in a more stereotypically male way in our minds – less primary voice, I guess, though I find that category problematic) and as the CEO of Deseret Book it puts her in somewhat of a position of power and close to the top that she doesn’t get released from. I think of her as the closest thing we have as a female GA and I was somewhat pleased to hear they’d stood for her.
And then yesterday happened at the weekly devotional, just seven days after Sis. Dew spoke, President of BYU-Idaho Clark Gilbert decided that he’d had enough of us breaking unwritten rules (?) and while welcoming everyone to devotional, he mentioned that we should only stand for attention/respect for members of Q12. I’m working on finding an audio/transcript of exactly what he said word-for-word. I was a little frustrated that he waited until people stood for a woman to make a point of restricting the practice.
A few of my friends were perplexed because they understood that standing for leaders was to be discouraged, and especially Pres. Hinckley (dating back to then) really didn’t like this tradition (heard he despised it) and kept motioning people to sit down when it was done for him (I just think people found it endearing when he did that, instead of it being specific instruction to stop doing it). My husband thought we were supposed to stand, but only for members of the First Presidency, and that Pres. Gilbert misspoke. So there’s a bit of confusion regarding the details of this tradition.
One of my friends said when she went to BYU she remembers being instructed several times from leadership to quit standing when a Q12 enters the room, but that people kept standing anyways – ignoring instruction. I’ve never heard specific instruction not to stand – and I think people would easily stop if instructed not to do so. We were able to put away the false traditions of deacons standing with their left hand behind their backs or having someone sit facing East while being confirmed….I thought this would be something that would be easy to stop, if they wanted it to stop. What do you think?
Personally after the changes in my faith in how I view prophets and leaders, I think that we do them a disservice when we elevate them to worshipful status. I’ve chosen a few ways in my own life to counter what I believe are false traditions of idolizing our leaders. I started quit singing Praise to the Man (even though I can see it’s value in historical context as a poem of lamentation, it’s not used that way anymore) and this last year I didn’t stand when Elder Cook walked into the BYUI convocation I was attending. It felt really awkward to be the only one sitting (I messed with something in my purse to not be disrespectful), but I didn’t want to perpetuate what I see as a false tradition.
I’m really curious about how this tradition has played out in your life and your opinions and experiences.
In the MTC, we were specifically instructed to stand when a member of the Q12 or FP entered the room.
When E. Oaks came to speak in Singapore he said we shouldn’t stand and waved people to sit down. I like to think it started with short people and children wanting to get a better view, but it is really weird to stand like that. We need to quit worshiping leaders and remember that we and they are there to worship and learn from Jesus.
Troy, that’s interesting. I would think if they didn’t want people to stand (wanted to change the culture), instructing missionaries at the MTC not to would be a pretty effective way to get it to filter the message out in a lasting way.
One of the Q12 was in my stake growing up. I don’t ever remember standing when he entered the room just for regular church things. The first time I remember witnessing the standing up was when my friend’s family invited me to go to the Christmas devotional with them. Everyone just at stood up and I didn’t really know why but I followed suit. I don’t remember being specifically instructed at the MTC to stand when GA’s entered, but everyone did it anyway.
We don’t get a member of the 12 coming often enough locally for me to know what we do or don’t do. I don’t recall what we did the last time. We did stand for Pres Hinckley when he came to Britain to rededicate the London temple. But I was in the choir – we may have been standing at that point anyway, I don’t recall.
We didn’t stand for our Area Authority at our recent stake conference.
We do stand for weddings and funerals, entrance and exit.
There’s a lot of standing goes on in the cathedral for the school services. I think we stand for the processions. And we certainly stand to sing *all* the hymns.
Standing to honor someone is supposed to be a spontaneous thing. It becomes just plain awkward when it is done — or not done — as blanket policies from administration.
I suggest you focus your attention on topics that are worthwhile.
May I suggest Home Storage as one topic among many others?
Wow, Jared, you are so right! My little female brain gets distracted and sometimes needs redirected to its natural kitchen-y, housewifery focus. I’ll leave the serious study and anthropology of how Mormons practice and worship to the bigger brains.
Hey everyone, Jared figured out that posting in the bloggernacle is a waste of time if he doesn’t like the topic. We can close up shop, now! Phew. Thanks. 🙂
What are the best methods for storing my home?
Little Red Hen: “Standing to honor someone is supposed to be a spontaneous thing. It becomes just plain awkward when it is done — or not done — as blanket policies from administration.”
But not as awkward as the Hosannah shout.
Sit down. God is no respecter of persons.
The Hosannah shout is part of a temple dedication.
I find nothing awkward about it at all.
It seems to me that the church can be very passive aggressive even in change. They seem to be somewhat fine with “stop saying/teaching XYZ and after a while it will just stop”.
The 2010 Church Handbook of Instruction now indicates “raise of the hand” instead of the traditional (Masonic) “raise your RIGHT hand”. I still hear that older phrase with “Right hand” most of the time now 6 years later.
And look at Polygamy. It took more than once to say, “Just Stop It!”
The unwritten rule is to stand for a member of the First Presidency, not a member of the Twelve. It is unwritten, but it was spoken of in General Conference some years ago — Elder Nelson?
JI I’ll have to do a search on lds.org. I figured it wouldn’t be in the handbook.
It’s just so interesting to me that the four people I had talked to immediately after hearing Pres. Gilbert make his comments all had different understandings of the “unwritten rule.” It’s either morphed or just been very haphazard in practice. And the fact some people think our leaders want us to stop but haven’t been able to convince us to makes it more weird to me.
I think it should be for the prophet only. No sources to back me up!
During my time at BYU in Provo, ranging from 1984 through 1990, I don’t remember standing for apostles. I don’t remember standing for Gordon Hinckley, counselor in the First Presidency either. I do remember standing for Ezra Taft Benson, but it didn’t have an “all rise for the flag” feeling; it was more like standing for your grandmother than for the district court judge.
I don’t remember standing for Henry Eyring at a stake conference in Los Angeles around 1998. The first time I can remember an assembly standing for an apostle was with Dallin Oaks at a stake conference in Maryland around 2008.
Hey Jared (#7):
If you don’t like a topic on the bloggernacle, you don’t have to waste your time reading it. Do something else instead.
May I suggest Family History as one topic among many others?
Then there is no hope. Traditions of the fathers 😦
Could it have started out of rising for the prophet and then someone figured they would do one better and rise for one of the Q12, and then GA, …, rise when dad comes home.
Well it isn’t like Mormon’s try and one-up each other on outward expressions of righteousness. Oh wait – They are!
Maybe it is BYU’s fault with all those “Rise UP” t-shirts. That creates a “rise up culture”.
Now where is my Kevlar vest at?
Yeah, I’m not sure if it’s Rexburg that’s hyper into standing because the SLC big wigs don’t come very often or if they’re just trying to out-righteous everyone else.
Jared, can you submit a post on home storage? I’d be happy to have you guest post. Just send it to mormon heretic at gmail dot com.
I think some people find standing respectful. It reminds me of this post about Standing for Women.
I think standing as a sign of respect by an audience is a weird tradition.
Elder Ballard visited my stake for stake conference. At the leadership meeting, he made the big entrance flanked by the area authority and followed by mission, stake, and temple presidents, and no one stood. He looked around the room a bit awkwardly. So did we. He sat down. The stake president looked a little embarrassed.
Whenever everyone else stands, I tend to have to make a judgment on how much work/pain it’s going to take against whatever I imagine the social repercussions to be.
The smackdown of Pres Bartlett on the woman who didn’t stand in West Wing always comes to mind.
Makes me think – what’s the standard for secular leaders?
I think if general authorities would just be out with the congregation mingling and being people, there wouldn’t be that awkwardness and drive for people to stand up.
I think the grand entrance after everyone else is in the room and seated contributes to this cultural practice and leader worship.
Some time ago I told the members of a High Priests class that I was disappointed at, what I thought was, the memberships’ worship of the GAs. That was what I thought and think was their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. I suppose this could also be a part of that. I believe we will continue to worship Heavenly Father in exaltation but I also believe that we will be His colleagues.
We all have the Gift of the Holy Ghost who can lead us all to what he thinks on this subject. They are the Lord’s anointed but I don’t think we need them to know truth.
I think hawkgrrrl is referring to how it’s supposed to be a robust Hosanna “shout” but winds up being this weak, vaguely creepy chant. (Probably due to the age of the prophet and his inability to shout with gusto, but nobody is sure.) There was a whole bloggernacle post about it at some point.
#22 MH,thanks for invite. I spend so much time standing for the brethren, I won’t be able to take you up on your over.
When in the MTC, we were told that if a chorister was directing anyone in a musical number, then we should only stand if the chorister directed it, no matter who entered. It was the chorister that said this after i-can’t-remember-who walked in to the room and everyone had already stood. It may have been the following week that he said this, prior to a meeting… I’m not sure. Memory fades.
Richard Benson: “They are the Lord’s anointed” Last I checked, anyone who’s been through the temple is the Lord’s anointed.
The standing-up doesn’t bother me much these days. There are a number of other customs of standing out of respect. People stand for Judges and high ranking military officers when they enter a room in their official capacity, to name a few. On the other hand, there is not a good way to manage it. If they don’t make a formal guideline, eventually people could be standing for the bishop, but if they do make a guideline for people to stand for the 12 they are setting themselves higher than others. I guess I’d prefer a directive not to stand over either of those scenarios.
I probably wouldn’t bat an eye at the standing up, but the deliberate instruction NOT to stand for a woman is a bit infuriating. How about stand if you want to stand, and don’t if you don’t. If people want to spontaneously stand for Sheri Dew, what’s the harm?
I remember the classing BYU standing ovation. Everyone stands while clapping and getting ready to walk out of the venue. A cross between a standing ovation and early running for the doors. 😉
As of late 2010, missionaries in the Provo MTC were told to stand for Q12. I think four apostles came over the two months I was there, (though that was in part because I was there over Thanksgiving/Christmas, so those were special devotionals rather than the weekly devotionals). Standing wasn’t tradition, it was explicit– As I recall, they generally would not announce the devotional speaker in advance. So, each week, everyone would be eagerly speculating about whether it was a Q12. But the closer it got to the start time without anyone saying anything, the less likely it was, because on each occasion when an apostle *was* there, someone would approach the pulpit about five minutes before it started and ask us to stand.
I write posts about things that interest me. Home storage… not so much (I did my time as an emergency prep specialist. Still no interest.).
-Standing for a bride walking down the aisle feels right.
-Guys standing up just because I walk into a room feels weird, even though I recognize it as their way of showing respect.
-Standing when any sort of dignitary enters the room for a devotional in front of thousands seems like the thing to do (secular or religious).
-Standing when you’re at a remote church building with a satellite broadcast just feels weird (didn’t feel as weird when we were doing the satellite temple broadcast but everything about the temple has a different set of rules).
-Standing for arriving church officers when you’re sitting at home watching general conference feels weird.
Unwritten rules rely on social conditioning. One guy in one meeting has no chance of defeating years of social conditioning.
I am not a big fan of standing for apostles. In the gospel everyone should be esteemed equally. On a surface level it feels too much like leader worship which we already have a problem with in the church.
Standing for church leaders is a little over the top in my opinion. For me its not a big deal. I can go with it either way.
My point is simply that it is a non-topic for me. Kristine seemed to take my comment as insulting. Like I was relegating her to the kitchen. That in my opinion, is a chip on the shoulder kinda of thing.
MH-I don’t know for sure if you were having fun about the Home Storage post offer. If you are serious, thanks for the invite. My time nowadays won’t allow me to do it. However, if the offer is open when I am released then lets see what happens.
I stand to honor the office, not the official. Not sure why those who don’t believe in the office would even care.
This is the type of thing where if you don’t stand you look like the jerk, because everyone else is standing.
Ah, Jared, I saw that one coming from a mile away.
If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
Jared, it’s a bit hollow if you ask for a topic, but won’t actually write it. Yes I was serious about a guest post. Put your money where your mouth is. Don’t complain about topics you’re unwilling to write.
MH, will you prod Jared if necessary to get him to answer EBK’s question in his post?
A random memory on the topic of the post: When I was a priest, I recall the stake president came to visit our quorum meeting once. When he arrived, we had already started, and one of our teachers/leaders told us all to stand, seeming quite embarrassed that we hadn’t thought of doing it on our own.
I also think Utahhiker801 is spot on. The more GAs are removed from the general membership, the more stuff like this arises.
I wasn’t aware of the edict to stand when when the Prophet, Q12 or GA enters a room.
Perhaps because I live in the “mission field” and can count on one finger the number of times I’ve been present when a member of Q12 visited the area I was living in.
The example Jesus set–washing his disciple’s feet etc. just seems to be the opposite end of the spectrum of where we are today. I don’t think the prophet, or Q12 should tolerate people standing when they enter a room to speak. I think only those who are speaking should sit on the stand. During conference, let those who aren’t speaking sit among the “masses.” Leaders need to do everything possible to eliminate the “bubble” that too often surrounds them. They should be examples of humility and reject the “hero worship.”
When you compare it to Jesus, though, many times people *did* make a big deal about him. Like with the triumphal entry in Jerusalem, or even those times when individuals would fall down at his feet. Christ desires all to consider him accessible, but like with the girl who anointed his feet he was okay with people showing their own form of respect and reverence. A lot of people stand out of respect for the individual and the office. I don’t think it should be mandated, but I don’t agree with someone banning it.
We have a problem with hero worship, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Most primary classrooms I’ve been in have pics of the FP and Q12 on the wall. Looking back in my dad’s mission pics from the early 1960s, members had individual pics of the FP and Q12 in their homes even then. In the process of trying to instill reverence for their offices, we’ve essentially turned church leaders into celebrities.
Clarification – the pics are in the big primary rooms where they have sharing time. Not the individual classrooms.
Don’t get members of the 15 here often enough to notice.
On a related note, what level do you have to reach to be able to have an initial. I notice Sis Drew does not have one. I could think it was an American thing but have not heard of a President of the USA with an initial recently.
Where do initials in names come from, and is it just an affectation?
I’ve been thinking about this, and wondering if, given your:
“lately people have been standing out of respect not only for members of the Q12, but apparently they stood for Bishop Caussé and even, last week, Sheri Dew.”
wondering if perhaps the students have simply been standing for all the speakers at their devotionals regardless. In which case, I would feel rather kindly towards the students. This would then not be a case of respecting any particular person for their position, or otherwise, but simply as a act of respect for them as the speaker for the devotional. and I’m not sure what would be wrong with that.
Stand for all or none, I say.
Apparently, using a middle initial or middle name makes you look smarter.
When did you hear/learn about the tradition to stand for a Q12? Honestly, Id never encountered standing for an authority until watching GC on broadcast one year and they showed the coming and going of the FP. The only other encounter I had had was one ward where the HPGL insisted everyone stood for any women entering a Priesthood meeting, more like it was some great honour for them to be invited into the inner sanctum which meant they should be shown extra respect even though in the hallway he’d happily diss their “poor performance” in “managing their auxilliary”.
As far as Im concerned, you stand to greet someone entering a room when you’re seated and they are not and then you all sit together. That covers most situations anyway. But mass standing, that’s just dreepy.
“…Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
(sorry, someone had to say it)
Here, lately, we’ve been headed in the other direction. We’ve stood at stake conferences for Seventies, and at an Aaronic PH encampment I was at last summer (sort of an LDS-only Scout camp on steroids) the visiting Area Authority Seventy was billed in the registration info as a “visiting General Authority,” we stood when he showed up at a fireside (well, I didn’t), and he even referred to himself as “a special witness of Christ,” a title only reserved for the apostles. I was beside myself.
I hate, hate, hate this ring-kissing nonsense.