I went to church on Sunday for the first time in a month. I went by myself. I played the organ, and several people told me they had missed my playing. I’m glad people notice the organ, and how it affects the singing. I love it when people say that they could tell it was me even before they entered the chapel.
I was dreading the meeting, but I felt like I should go, since I had gotten a substitute for the three weeks previous, and I knew she didn’t love doing it. I know the men are trying to find a replacement for me, but I get the impression that their search could last months, because they are not actively searching, but drawing out my own attendance and/or don’t want to bother the other lady who was the organist for years before I moved in.
The last few meetings I attended, way back in July, were a mess of dogma that wasn’t even entirely doctrinal. I just couldn’t stomach some of it, and would get angry inside any time anyone professed any sort of “without a shadow of a doubt” kind of proclamation, especially when the someone was younger 12 years old. I really don’t think anyone “knows” anything, though they may feel strongly about it. It bothers me when religious belief is presented as a script of items that one should “know” and which people are encouraged to repeat out loud for the sake of a stronger feeling of “knowing”. It’s a little too 1984.
But back to last Sunday, I was really pleasantly surprised by the high council speaker. Many times in the past, I have tuned out the speakers who are either too dry to keep my attention, or are prone to preachy sermonizing on irrelevant matters, and hc speakers sometimes feel that, in their position of “authority”, their elaborations on doctrine should be taken as scripture. This is a huge generalization, but nevertheless, one that I have witnessed.
Last week, however, the speaker got up with some extra time on his hands. The only other speaker had been a child, so there was ample time to expound on his subject. Instead of making jokes, or deciding to abandon his written talk because he was moved by the spirit (shameless jab), he read what he had prepared, which was a rehashing of another talk presented at general conference. He began with bringing up the part of the “Proclamation to the World” that talks about marriage being between one man and one woman, and that is where I thought I may have to exit the room. I assumed he would enter into a barrage of anti-gay propaganda, and admonish all of us to call our California friends and family to encourage them to vote for Proposition 8, and send money to the church’s fund raising thing.
He also began speaking about the natural and inherent differences between males and females, and how we need to acknowledge those differences, accept them, and be happy with them. Whereupon I was sure he would expound on the priesthood, how women don’t get it, and why we should submit to them.
Instead, and to my delight, the hc started talking about how parents can make their relationships with their children and spouses better. He offered advice (which may have come straight from the gc talk) such as “develop a family hobby” and “make household activities family activities.” He spoke of a family as being important, of family love and peace as something to strive for, and of recognizing each other’s abilities and skills, and realizing that we had some too, but without assigning any gender-specific duties like who should be staying home with the kids.
I loved his talk because it was sound advice that would apply to anyone in a family situation, not just members of his church. It was non-dogmatic. It was full of advice that I would imagine a kind person like Jesus would give, without any demeaning side-notes. If I follow that advice, I can become a better person, and have a tighter-knit family. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken that away from a church meeting.
Plus, he ended 10 minutes early.