LDS conference weekend at my house

As most of you know, Saturday and Sunday were the LDS General Conference, marking the 188th time that viewers and participants were bored to tears by droning talks from their supposedly spiritual superiors. And to make it all the sweeter, yesterday was Jesus’ birthday.

When I was a believing member, I waited for conference every six months with great anticipation. What would the prophets have to say to us now? I wondered. On my mission, I wore out a set of tape recordings of the October 1984 conference, and I wept when I heard Bruce R. McConkie’s final testimony in April of 1985. But usually the conferences were disappointments; I struggled to stay awake through most of it, yet I always proclaimed how uplifting and wonderful it was, especially because they always seemed to be speaking directly to me, telling me the things I needed to hear.

Over the last 3 years, I’ve watched most of conference, probably out of curiosity more than anything else. Sure, there was always something slightly outrageous (such as Julie Becks’ deplorable denigration of women) and something ridiculous (David Bednar’s pickles discourse elicited giggles from my kids), but most of it was mind-numbingly boring. Gordon B. Hinckley sometimes got our attention with his homespun humor, but most of what we heard was either the same “counsel” we’d heard many times before, or it was a doctrinal recitation that only the truly righteous would appreciate.

Some people really enjoyed the trite, kindergarten-teacher homilies of Thomas Monson, whereas others lapped up the alliterative pseudopoetry of Neal Maxwell, but I didn’t enjoy either. But they were the exceptions. Mostly we got dry standard-issue talks from Howard W. Hunter or David B. Haight, neither of whom will ever be considered great speakers. And often the leaders recycled their talks. Monson in particular has routinely used the same talks verbatim or taken sections of them over and over. How else would I know the precise number of widows in Monson’s ward when he was bishop (87, you can look it up) or the color of the elderly widow’s canary Petey (yellow, with gray wings)?

This conference I didn’t pay much attention. I was busy running errands on Saturday, and all I caught was the end of the closing prayer of the morning session. I skipped the priesthood session because it was my son’s birthday (well, that and I didn’t want to go). Yesterday I slept in and read a book during the morning session and cooked during the afternoon session, though I did catch an extended guilt trip from David Bednar and the closing remarks from Monson.

But I finally feel like I know what the rest of the world feels like. Nobody cares what is said at the pulpit in Salt Lake. Heck, at least half the members of the church don’t really care, either. My dad told me about driving out to see the California poppies in bloom yesterday but somehow didn’t mention conference. And even those who watched conference don’t care all that much. Judging by past conferences, there wasn’t much said over the weekend that will stay in anyone’s mind for very long.

The reaction at my house was interesting. My 9 year old wiggled through the afternoon session and finally said, “Dad, when is this over? Do I have to watch it?” Owing to my wife’s rule that they sit through one session per day, I asked, “Did you watch the session this morning?” “Yep.” “Then you don’t have to watch this one.” With that he literally ran into his room to play.

After Monson’s closing remarks, my daughter turned to me and said, “Well, his talk was funny, but he didn’t really say anything, did he?”

No, sweetheart, he didn’t.

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16 Responses to LDS conference weekend at my house

  1. Ray A says:

    Runtu: “…and I wept when I heard Bruce R. McConkie’s final testimony in April of 1985.”

    Looks like we have something in common, Runtu.

  2. Mina says:

    “Also on April 6th 1830 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and others at Fayette, New York.”

    God, what irony that after leaving SLC, I ended up in upstate New York near to all these “sacred” places. I actually went to Palmyra once (under strange circumstances) and years later heard my husband tell me about going to the Hill Cumorah pagent as a teenager (his family had just relocated from England). And I’ll never forget a tense trip to Illinois with a bad boyfriend, where I suddenly screamed “Stop the car! I think I recognize that building!” in Kirtland, Ohio.

    I guess it was Meant To Be.

  3. sideon says:

    I spent a portion of Sunday buying vast quantities of alcohol for an upcoming party. I found out about GC because of the internets (blogs and a secret fetish regarding the SL Trib). A co-worker who spent a considerable amount of time left a voice mail at work, asking if I had spent the day in thoughtful contemplation… Indeed I had.

  4. ditchu says:

    Runtu, You have sparked a question in me…
    Is LDS Conference meant to entertain us or is it to be something else?

    One would think that the lack of entertainment value you have noted in your experience of conference would lead to a better understanding of the purpose. Twice a year we are given counsel to do that which is true right and noble, to abstain from evil and wickedness. We are shown ways to avoid common pitfalls and encouragement to continue in righteous living.
    Your apparent boredom is a natural reaction to this guidance.

    If it were for entertainment we would have comedians like Bill Cosby give talks, and video clips of sporting events, in vaudevillian style the profit would take a pie in the face… All for a few moments of fleeting laughs and giggles.

    No, the serious reverence and respect that the members of the LDS Church have towards these semi-annual occurrences do not allow for such folly to entertain your latent mind, thus leading to your boredom and I suppose your dislike of such times.

    So, it took you this long to ignore it, well whoopee-dee-doo… If all you attempted with this post is to show your disrespect and displeasure, you have achieved that goal. However, I must ask: What is it to me that you no longer care for the guidance and counsel of the leaders of a church you have abandoned. It should come as a given that you want to hear these things no more. The only logic I can ascertain from your post is that you are going through some sort of therapy, and if so I apologize if I have disrupted it. I hope you have at least had a cathartic experience in writing this one.

  5. runtu says:

    Spare me the self-righteousness, ditchu. What is it to you if I never enjoyed conference? My guess is that you don’t enjoy it, either, or you wouldn’t have made the lame excuse that we’re not supposed to enjoy it. Whoop-de-doo, indeed.

  6. runtu says:

    Oh, and Ray, I still find BRM’s expression of faith moving. The man was near death, and he still managed to drag himself out of the hospital and to the tabernacle. No matter what you think of Mormonism, that was a courageous and powerful moment.

  7. Mina says:

    Actually, that ear-wiggling, self-deprecating (I can’t find my way around the kitchen!) Monson performance is supposed to be entertainment on just the lowest-common-denominator level that ditchu describes.

  8. ditchu says:

    I doubt very much that lowest common denominator of entertainment is anything close to General Conference. There is such a thing as base humor and I find base humor juvenile at best. But as to my prior comment:
    I was expressing that it is not for entertainment that we have a conference twice a year.

    I have dispensed with my self-righteousness long before I posted anything on this blog. I just want you to know that your lack of entertainment is due to your own hang-ups on the church. If you want entertainment on these weekends, there are plenty of other channels to look toward. It is not me who must spare you self righteousness, that is up to you, for you are the one who holds to your own self righteousness. (Acting as though you are better than me because you have made a different choice.) I hold to the fact that neither of us are ultimately better than the other. I just do not think it is right, kind, or smart to make fun of others because you disagree with their beliefs.

    My enjoyment of conference is not in issue here but since you bring it up, I do enjoy it. See, it is all about how one employs the counsel to their life that we reap the benefits of enjoyment: Joy one might say is the point of correct application of beneficial guidance. Strife would be the opposite result.

  9. runtu says:

    I have never “made fun of others” because I disagree with their beliefs, nor do I see myself as “better than” ditchu or anyone else because of my choices.

    Condescension seems to be your stock in trade.

  10. ditchu says:

    I’m just stating things how I see them..

  11. runtu says:

    I thought that’s what I was doing. You see a self-righteous mocker in me, and I see the same in you. Weird.

  12. ditchu says:

    but what side of the merror are you on?

  13. runtu says:

    The side that can spell. 🙂

  14. ditchu says:

    I didn’t get that what is ll3qs… Oh Spell…

  15. Alex Degaston says:

    Your phrase “bored to tears by droning talks from their supposedly spiritual superiors” had me LMAO so much that it woke my 13yo daughter upstairs.

  16. ditchu says:

    Oh, HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa….
    Tears!!!!!
    HaHaHa.

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