So I've been going to my ward off and on. It meets at 9:00 AM, which for this blogger is too early. It's already hard enough to muster enough motivation to keep attending a church where I can't fully participate; having to get up when I am very tired makes it all that much harder.
Still, I felt compelled to go this past Sunday. I fought with myself. I truly was tired and would have rather slept in. Jonah and I had a garage to clean out later in the day. I wanted to stay home.
I managed to get myself up. I actually missed the first 5 or so minutes of Sacrament Meeting because I was late. So I missed the opening hymn, which is something I enjoy and can at least participate in.
It was kind of nice to be sitting to a gentleman who didn't take the sacrament, either. It made me feel a little less alone.
The first talk wasn't great. Some youth speaker told the stories of Joseph (of the coat-of-many-colors fame) and Daniel (of the lions' den fame). But that's all he did was tell the stories in great detail. I could read my Bible if I wanted that. It would have been nice to hear some modern-day applications or his opinions, but nope - just the stories.
The second speaker was pretty good. Truthfully, I don't remember much of her talk; not because it wasn't interesting, but simply because my mind was wandering. She gave a well-delivered talk; I just lost focus.
After her, these three sisters (probably about 14, 11, and 10 years old) played "Nearer, My God, To Thee" on the violin, viola, and cello. They were incredible! Not perfect, mind you, but pretty darn good! And I am a music snob.
It was gorgeous and heartfelt and a very interesting arrangement. A couple of hiccups here and there, but overall, it was quite well-done. And they did it without any sheet music. I was impressed. I really, really enjoyed it. I also was reminded of the scene in the movie Titanic where the band is playing a last song before the ship sinks. I thought that was pretty beautiful, too. Anyway, it was a good number. Other church musical numbers should aspire to be so good.
The next talk caught my interest. The guy started out with a "South Park" reference, of all things, and I thought, "This isn't going to be your average talk." And it wasn't, and I was pleased.
He said although he had never actually seen an episode of "South Park" (which I'm actually not so sure I believed), he was aware of a clip from the show where different religious people are burning in hell, and when they wonder why they're there when they lived their religions so well, the person in charge of hell said they had belonged to the wrong religion. When someone asks what the right religion was, he says "The Mormons."
The man giving this talk used the preceding story as a humorous example of how sometimes as Mormons, we grow up with this kind of self-righteous idea that since Mormonism is supposed to be the only true and complete church on earth; that because it's God's true Church led by Christ himself, somehow that means that Mormons have a market on truth and goodness, and the basic theme of his talk was that that idea is not true.
The talk also led into the idea that as Mormons, we could stand to be more tolerant to viewpoints and religions we don't necessarily agree with; that we should find ways to build common ground with our non-Mormon neighbors by focusing on things we have in common or by opening up our perspective by actually learning about and understanding other belief systems and religious beliefs. Even though we may not share some of them, that doesn't mean that there aren't good things to be learned from them.
He said that sometimes we get so locked into our belief system or sometimes are so heavy-handed about the truth that we have, that we end up excluding others who don't share those beliefs and miss out on chances to get to know a myriad of different kinds of people.
I found the talk immensely refreshing. It was such a nice point-of-view to hear in a sacrament meeting. I really do like this ward a lot. I suppose it's worth getting up early for.
I only attended Sacrament Meeting. That garage wasn't going to clean itself.
The garage looks pretty great now. I hope we can keep it that way. We did find a spider whose width was about the length of my thumb. It was huge; probably the biggest non-tarantula spider I have ever seen. I am quite an arachnophobic, too. We were both concerned it was a black widow, but after capturing it in a parmesan cheese bottle, we determined that it wasn't. I still don't know what it was, but it was scary. I was brave enough to take a picture of it once I determined it didn't have the power to crawl up the inside of the bottle. Perhaps I'll post it later. It was creepy, though.
Anyway, that's all I have for today.