I’ve attended a couple of interesting Sacrament Meetings recently. In one, the bishop got up an asked a few rhetorical questions. “How would you react if the church suddenly asked for 20% tithing, rather than 10% tithing? What would be your reaction if the church suddenly said once/month home teaching isn’t good enough, now it needs to be once/week? Would you complain? Would you murmur? Or would you obey?” (*Note, this was before Pres Nelson’s announcement at General Conference.)
Gahhh…. I would complain. I hate “obey or else” talks, because I think these kind of talks are stupid, and completely miss the point of the gospel. I wanted to add a few more to the bishop’s list: Would you kill your son if God asked? Would you do polygamy like Joseph Smith if the prophet asked? Would you be a suicide bomber? Obedience can be taken too far, and bishop, you’re not helping with this kind of stupid talk.
The following week I attended another sacrament meeting that was quite unexpected. It was an older couple. The sister spoke and said they had been married just 2 years. She spoke about getting a divorce, coming home heartbroken when her husband of several decades said he didn’t love her anymore and wanted to divorce. She talked about how awful it was to attend family gatherings where he was there with his new wife. She talked about joining a group of divorced women who ranted about their exes. Then she talked about the importance of forgiveness, and moving on. She is now happily married.
Then her husband spoke. He talked of being inactive for years. His daughter invited him to come to church and said she knew something bad would happen if he didn’t. “Yeah, whatever,” was his basic reply. He sounded very rich, on the verge of a multi-million dollar deal that not only fell apart, but left him financially ruined. He discussed getting dis-fellow-shipped by the church. Then he got suckered into a business partner who did illegal, mafia type stuff. He was arrested for his partner’s business crimes. He served probably 10 years in notorious Sheriff Arpaio’s jail in Arizona. Mouse crawled across his body in jail. He discussed making ingenious mouse traps with Coke bottles and things like that. Then he spoke about reading the scriptures in jail, gaining a testimony, and being treated well by both gang-bangers and prison guards. And of course, he is now out of jail, and met his wonderful wife and married in the temple after.
Wow. I haven’t been that interested in a Sacrament meeting talk in a decade or more. Truly the contrast between the two weeks was profound. Do you wish more talks were like the second? Do you have any similar experiences in Sacrament meeting?