As I transitioned from an orthodox to a heterodox member of the church, I developed several coping mechanisms that not only make the three hour block tolerable, but sometimes even fun!
While using the internet during Sacrament Meeting is an easy out that I’m sure most of you already do (and how many of you are reading this post in church?), I use the internet during Sacrament to prepare for the next two hours. To really make Sunday School and Priesthood/RS enjoyable, you need to be prepared. So I read up on the lessons, and look for ways to liven up the class. He are some examples from the last few months.
1. SS lesson 24 on the apostasy of Thomas Marsh and Simonds Ryder. I had a prepared statement (Ok I cheated, and actually worked on it during the week) The SS teacher gave me time, and I gave the real reasons Marsh and Ryder left the church. I ended with a quote from President Uchtdorf’s Oct 2013 GC address where he said that the reason people leave the church is “not that simple” I had several people come up after and thank me for telling “the whole story”
2. Priesthood/RS lesson 18: Virtue. So in the middle of HPG class while we are talking about Virtue, I ask if virtue can be taken forcible from a person. They all agree that it cannot. I then ask how they reconcile Moroni 9:9, which says that the Lamanaite daughters where deprived of their “chastity and virtue”. I then told them that the church recently removed this verse from the YW Personal Progress workbooks. (See SLTrib article here)
3. SS Lesson 35, Martin and Willy handcart fiasco. I told the class that one of my heroes from Mormon history, Levi Savage, told them not to go so late in the season, but was threatened with excommunication by an Apostle for not following his leaders.
4. I was visiting my daughters ward, and the teacher asked if we had a paid clergy. Somebody said no, and I said that all our full time GA’s received a salary, and that as of a few years ago, the Apostles made $120,000 a year. Then another visitor, who was a Stake Patriarch, said that what I said was true, as it had been leaked on the Mormon Leaks web site. The teacher just smiled. I think he knew the answer, and was just fishing for the $120,000 answer!
Some other smaller examples: Whenever somebody refers to BY as “the Prophet”, I remind them that BY was never called a “Prophet” during his life, he was the President of the Qof12, and later the President of the church, and that we didn’t start using the word Prophet until David O McKay. In fact, none of the Presidents of the church since Joseph Smith was even ordained as a “Prophet” until McKay (1) . When somebody equates D&C 89 with the Temple Recommend questions on the WofW, I gently reminded them that section 89 permits the drinking of Beer and Wine. I’ve also said out loud in Gospel Doctrine that I don’t believe in the literal story of the Flood, Job, or Jonah.
So, what do you do to stay sane at Church?
(1) “On 12 April 1951 David O. McKay became the first LDS church president to be “ordained” since the founding prophet. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith “ordained and set apart” President McKay. At seventy-four Apostle Smith may have forgotten his own father’s restriction against ordaining presidents of the LDS church.” (Quinn, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pg 252-253)