5 Things You Really Shouldn’t Do At Church

Going to church is mostly always great. I look forward to it each week. I get to see friends and family. I get to sing, teach, learn, and grow. But you’ll notice in my first sentence that I said it’s “mostly” always great. That’s because…once in a while…we sometimes do things that make it less enjoyable than it should be to go to church.

After years and years of attending various wards, I’ve noticed a few things that you really shouldn’t do in church. Here are my top 5.

I know I’ve violated some of these at some point in my life…so I too am at fault. Most of us are!

If You’re Sick…Stay Home

I understand that the church is not a “rest home for saints, but a hospital for sinners”…but if you’re sick…do everyone a favor and just stay home. It’s not that kind of hospital. We love you! We really do! If you need a blessing…give me a call! I’ll bring the oil. But don’t try and be a hero and come to church when you’re feeling “a little under the weather”. Aches, chills, sore throat, coughing, sneezing and whatever else is contagious should stay in your room until you’re good to go. If you’ve got some assignments…then make a call or send a text. It will get taken care of…I promise!

dont do this at church

A few weeks back when everyone and their brother seemed to be sick…I went up to at least two brothers who immediately and I might add, graciously shook my hand. After they had shaken my hand…they told me that they were sick. I was like “sweet” in my head…as I tried to hold my breath for the duration of the conversation. I continued to flash a few courteous smiles…whereupon I carved a direct path to the bathroom to wash my hands.

I do have to give a quick pat on the back to all of those people that at least make me aware that they are sick before shaking my hand. Thanks for the fist pumps!

I mean no offense…but there are old people and young children that might not handle what you’ve got to well if you know what I mean. For me personally…I’ve got a busy week coming up and I really don’t want to take the flu into the work week.

Force A Rowdy Kid To Sit Through Sacrament

I know what you’re thinking. You want to be a good parent by teaching your little one year old (who can’t really comprehend much of anything) that its not ok to get up in the middle of sacrament meeting. You figure…”if I take this kid out of sacrament meeting every time he or she cries…then they’ll just think they can cry anytime they want to get out of church.”

But here’s the deal! Your one year old doesn’t think that way. But guess what? Everyone around you is wondering what you are thinking…not in a judgmental way (of course)…but from a standpoint of being courteous toward the speaker and everyone else. Everyone that has had kids must experience these years. That’s part of the process. Those years are a challenge…and it’s up to you as the parent to determine how quick those kids learn reverence. For some parents…its no problem. They understand that it is the kind and courteous thing to do by taking their child out during a tantrum or repetitive outbursts. But I’ve watched various dads throughout the years bounce their kids on their lap while their kid is crying and making a fuss. Meanwhile the mom thinks its cute and is laughing at the fussing infant on daddy’s leg. The speaker can’t hear herself think and everyone is trying not to stare at them instead of the speaker. No one dares say anything for fear of “offending” someone or the always feared “self-righteous” accusation but you just can’t help but wonder what they’re trying to accomplish by keeping the child in the meeting.


baby crying in church

It’s really alright for you to take your kids out so that others can pay attention! There is no shame in this! In fact…it is the “charitable” thing to do. A couple years will go by in a blink and then you can threaten your kids with punishments they’ll understand.

“No treats” and “no Xbox” for the week. Stand still and behold perfectly behaved children!

Quick disclaimer and shoutout to single parents and parents of special needs kids: Parents…you are sooooo awesome! Keep doing what you’re doing. Stay in meetings all you want. No one should ever say anything to you for what you are patiently working through! Seriously. You are a hero among parents.

Quick Tip: If you see a single parent sitting in a row with multiple kids struggling to keep the kids under control…go over there and offer your help. 

Disclaimer #2: If you’re thinking this paragraph sounds really judgmental…it’s not meant to be. Please don’t take it to the extreme and think I’m saying there should be no noise in any meeting from any child. I just believe it is just as much part of the gospel to be courteous to others as it is to not be “judgmental”. Why some people find this concept so easy (taking their kids out of the meeting) and others fight against it is beyond me. I’ve had to walk plenty of halls at church during those early years of raising kids and always just felt like it came with the territory. I never dreamed of trying to teach my kids a lesson at the expense of the entire congregation. 

“Calling-Dropping”

Look…no one really cares that you served as the branch president, young mens president, elders quorum president, and bishop twice. I know you’re just trying to gain some credibility with the congregation while you’re giving a talk or making an introduction. Try taking yourself out of the equation and leaving the pageantry behind. Let people see you for who you are on the inside…not for the various ecclesiastical positions you’ve held. The majority of people sitting in the congregation are never going to serve in the callings you just mentioned so they’re really not going to be able to identify with you anyway. If you’re going to drop titles…then stick to that of father, mother, home-teacher, visiting-teacher, and missionary. Let the doctrine you teach and the spirit you bring do the convincing, not your previously held callings.

Now…there is an exception to this. The day you get called to give a BYU devotional or CES address, it’s perfectly normal to have someone introduce you and give your background to the congregation. But let other people do the “introduction”…not you.

As a general rule…just act like you’re in the temple…because as you ascend the kingdoms of glory on your way back to God…you’ll be only in white and you’ll be like everyone else.

It’s also good to remember that just because your dad is a mission president in the Phillipines…doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone every time you give a talk. President Boyd K. Packer once said that “No member of the Church is esteemed by the Lord as more or less than any other. It just does not work that way! The Lord is “no respecter of persons.”

If you want people to listen to you, then gain the respect of others by your deep, abiding, and emphatic testimony of Jesus Christ. That kind of testimony is infectious.

Don’t Make Testimony Meeting Weird

I know this is a tough one because most people don’t think what they’re saying is weird or inappropriate. But…

For the sake our missionaries, our kids, our new members, and our recently returned inactive members…please do all of us a favor and carefully consider what you’re going to say when you walk up to that pulpit. Tell yourself that there are 10 investigators in the congregation and then begin to speak. I’ve been around long enough to handle it. It’s not going to bother me personally…but others that sit through some of our testimony meetings might not ever come back.

Ask a missionary how hard it is sometimes to get investigators out to church. Then ask them how they feel after they finally do get that investigator out to church only to have someone get up to the pulpit and give a travelogue, share false doctrines, or give TMI testimonies on personal details that should never be shared publicly.

One more really important thing. Please don’t bear your testimony about Joseph Smith without specifically bearing your testimony about Jesus Christ. Jesus is everything. Don’t give other people an opportunity to think otherwise.

From a remediation standpoint…if you do find yourself in one of these meetings, be the one to get up next and get the meeting back on track with a strong witness of the Savior and his ministry.


Correct People In Class, “One-Up” Them, or Criticize Lessons

We all know were not supposed to criticize our leaders…but what about the humble little guy that gets up and gives a lesson having very little gospel knowledge or experience?

I had an experience one time where I was in a class and the teacher that was giving the lesson had not been a member of the church for very long. You could tell that he had prepared the best he could and he humbly asked everyone for help in exploring the lesson topic for that day. His lesson was filled with thought provoking and sincere questions about the topic. He said things like “can anyone help me understand this principle better…because I don’t understand it all that well.”

Many people jumped to the rescue and the class participation became unprecedented. It was truly one of the best lessons I’ve ever had in church. The synergy was great.

I wish I could have recorded it. It was a model for how I believe all church classes should be.

But as I was walking out of the class…a brother walks up to me and complains about how awful that teacher was.

In my mind…I was shocked. I thought it was the lesson of the year, and yet this guy had nothing but bad things to say about it.

Don’t be “that guy”! You know…the one that is always correcting people in front of the class, criticizing others lessons, or trying to “one up” them by diminishing what they’ve said. Unless someone is saying something egregious and erroneous that is going to lead people astray…just give them the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone is going to get it right. Not everyone knows as much as you. Not everyone is able to give an oration. And maybe they don’t need to be gospel scholars to be wildly effective in teaching the gospel.

I’m sure you could add many other items to this list…but oh how much more amazing it would be if we stopped doing these five things at church!


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  • John Fueston

    Amen to all five suggestions, but huge props for the first one. 400 people in a warm chapel is a petri dish. Right now in bed being pumped full of augmentin and prescription cough syrup for an infection i could only have gotten in church. I f you think you might be sick, stay home.

  • Alex

    Amen!

  • Phillip Roderick

    Excellent observations. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Holly

    I have pneumonia right now, thanks to sick people at church.Since I am also asthmatic..I am seriously ill,and have had to be rushed to the hospital,and on heavy duty meds trying to overcome it.So an important message.. If you’re sick,stay home!
    I also would add stay off your iphones, ipads or whatever during church,unless you are looking up scriptures during class,or following the lesson.I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people(adults included) reading/sending text messages, checking social media etc..even DURING the sacrament! How disrespectful on many counts.
    The testimony meeting “travelogs”, updates on family, life,etc, are a big one with me too. That is not what the bearing of testimonies are for,and can suck the spirituality right out of a meeting.
    Also, if you are the first speaker in sacrament meeting..please be conscious of not taking all your time and half the other speakers time too.Once the speakers time is up and they are infringing on the other speakers time,I start watching the clock and tuning them out, as I start feeling sorry for the other speaker who took time and effort to prepare a talk, and now is rudely having their talk time eroded, and having to try to shave down what they were going to say to fit into the few remaining minutes.So inconsiderate.What it tells me is either the first speaker was ill prepared and didn’t time their talk,or they think what they have to say is more important than the last speaker,and they are going to get every word in no matter what.At either count,it’s very insensitive.
    Sorry if I am sounding crabby.(I am really sick,thanks to the breaking of the “if you’re sick,stay home” rule!)
    Thanks for posting these suggestions.They are much needed!

    • Jtoro

      How do you know it was people at church that made you sick?

      • Holly

        Because my friend who was coughing and obviously still sick rushed up and kissed and hugged me,before I could react and said she had been so ill with bronchitis and couldn’t shake it.A few days later I got bronchitis that turned into pneumonia, and I have been deathly ill for 3 weeks,on double antibiotics,steroids,3 breathing treatments a day and trying to stay out of the hospital.While I can’t be 100%,it seems very likely from the time frame, and the fact that I had been home constantly other than going to church. It just is good sense and common courtesy to stay away from people when you know you are sick.

        • Jtoro

          Double Antiobiotics? You should be a writer.

          • lol

          • Jtoro: Come on, you know how cranky you can get when you’re sick. She just needs to get off her computer and have a nice warm cup of Herb Tea before she goes back to bed. God bless you Holly, and may you recover quickly.

  • Royalbird

    Make sure that before you pass judgment on the rowdy kids in Sacrament Meeting you understand what’s happening. While my husband was working out of town for almost two months I had to do church alone. It’s not easy bringing six kids ages 11 and under to church and there were Sundays where the youngest two were being terrible but if I left, then that meant leaving the older four unsupervised. Probably okay for the 11-year-old but not really so much for the 6-year-old. So it’s either tough it out and try to get the little ones to be quiet or take the entire family out of the meeting, which is quite disruptive, gathering up the whole row of kids and all our stuff and making them march out. Instead of passing judgment, be the person who steps in and quietly helps. On another note, you don’t always know which kids have special needs, so that family you are making fun of might just be that family.

    • You’re exactly right. There are definitely circumstances like this that will be the exception. In your case…someone should step in and help for sure. I was addressing parents (both) that think it’s funny or could otherwise take the rowdy child (I referenced and infant who doesn’t understand) out when it is easy for them to do so. No one knows what people are going through. Your advice is sound advice.

    • avonbingham

      That is when we as members need to help out. We could sit by the children that don’t need to be taken out. Especially if we are already sitting by the family.

    • Kimberly Champion

      When I had a 5 year old, 3 year old, and infant, my husband had a job where he was gone quite a few Sundays. I could have skipped Sacrament out of fear of having to manage them by myself, but I was blessed by a few friends in the ward who knew if my husband was out of town, I would sit by them. They would help if I needed to leave because of a fussy baby who needed a diaper change, to nurse, or both, or if my 3 year old needed to go potty. I am very grateful for their help which allowed me to not only come to Sacrament, but maintain a reverent spirit as well.

    • amen sister!

    • Betty

      Let your Relief Society President know that you need someone to help you. This is something our awesome president mentions often. Think of the blessings that an empty nest couple could have by assisting you and blessing you at the same time. There may be a older single sister who would love to help. Don’t limit yourself to your younger friends, there are plenty of us who have the opportunity to help your family and even the families of your young friends.

    • I know it’s hard to do, but ask for help. There are bound to be a few “Grannies” in the chapel who would be happy to watch the children while you’re gone. Just ask, please?

  • Ariel –

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’m always open. Appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts down.

  • Carrie

    I was hoping back rubs…and PDA in general would be on the list. It’s awesome that you love your spouse…but I don’t want to bear witness to your physical displays in the chapel. It is SOOOO distracting. Save it for your Sunday “nap” at home!

  • Gregp1962

    I occasionally hear people complain about self righteous people at church. Then, when I was in my 40’s I realized that I had never heard a single person sound self righteous at church. If you perceive someone as being self righteous, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re not self righteous. Same thing goes for assuming that someone is judgmental.

  • Janus Demopoulos

    “Please don’t bear your testimony about Joseph Smith without specifically bearing your testimony about Jesus Christ. Jesus is everything.” This sentence is why so many people have issues with going to church today. When I was growing up, God was everything. Trust me. I know how important Jesus is and I believe in him completely and the very sacred mission and responsibility he has been given from his Father. But, Jesus is the son. God is the originator of all. If anyone is everything, it is Him. When did we stray from that belief? Is it true that what we have now in churches everywhere is Christian atheists? I know from the scriptures that Jesus, himself, would find this abhorrent and would chastise anyone that placed him about his Father. But, this belief is rampant and I truly am so distressed by it. God is our Father, our Creator, and He decided to provide us with a plan for redemption. Not Jesus. God. God, who is everything.

    • Reg

      I honestly think people just assume and take for granted that everyone else knows Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God so they forget the importance of bearing these vital truths. For them it’s just a given that needs no comment or commentary. It’s a major peeve for me, but I do believe our brothers and sisters bear testimony of Joseph Smith, the current prophet, and the Book of Mormon alone because those are things they are keenly aware that many people don’t know/believe.

      • Rob

        These point the way to Christ, right?

    • Ryan_NZ

      I prefer to testify of both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I think it’s quite natural that some people may testify more often of Jesus Christ because in Sacrament Meeting we have just finished partaking of the sacrament and renewing our covenants to “take His [Jesus’] name upon us” and “always remember Him”. Also we pray, talk and testify “in the name of Jesus Christ”. Also Heavenly Father has testified of the divinity of His son several times when He said “this is my beloved son…”. Even the prophets have “testified of him [Jesus] in all things” (see D&C 20:26, also vs 17-29). Jesus even said that the Holy Ghost “which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26). I see nothing wrong with Jesus being spoken of more in our testimonies than Heavenly Father as we should “rejoice in Christ” (see 2 Nephi 25:26). This rejoicing will not make atheists out of us.

      • Rob

        I’m sure it pleases God the father that we hold such esteem for the one He sent to be our example and Savior. Of the two, Christ’s works are the only ones that we have to look at for examples of how to be more like them through the books written.

    • Rob

      True, but it depends on how you look at it. Jesus is the very eternal Father as well. Mosiah 15. He has bought us with a price. It is only through him that we can return to live with our Spirit Father who is the very eternal Father. We do not sin in giving glory to the Son but he cannot accept it and not be called a liar because of his promise in the pre-existence to give all glory to the Father. We all understand that Christ suffered the will of the father in all things and that they are one in purpose. When the disciples wanted to see the father he said that if you have seen me you have seen the father. Knowing Jesus is knowing God. You cannot testify of one without by default testifying of the other. It is by the atonement provided by Father and performed by Christ that we are saved. The Father was so comfortable with Jehovah that the old Testament Prophets knew Jehovah or I Am as their God.

  • John Fueston

    Cheerios. Please add something about cheerios.

  • Jomomma04

    I helped my children be reverent by not allowing snacks except for certain age appropriate time intervals. And never during the Sacrament. It was a reinforcer for them to be reverent during a talk, or song, or even just a few minutes. Eventually I phased out the treats. Just an idea that worked for me.

  • I have this brilliant idea. How about we just follow the example of Christ and just show love at church? Why can’t we “Christians” just assume that individuals, regardless of what we see, are doing the best we can.
    Our ward does not serve Sacrament in the foyer, if I followed these rules I would go months without receiving the sacrament, which is sorta kinda the main reason to go to church.

    • This definitely is a brilliant idea. There should be more love shown by everyone at Church.

      I don’t disagree in the least bit…

      But let me understand what you’re saying. I’m sure your time is valuable so I wanted to pose some really easy yes or no type questions:

      1. Do you think it’s the loving thing to do, to come to church when you are fully aware that you are contagious with the flu with infants and 80 year old grandmas around?

      2. Do you think we should just let babies cry incessantly inside our church meetings because the parent might miss something?

      3. Have you ever brought an investigator to church…and if so…would you like it if everyone got up to the pulpit and rambled on about things that had nothing to do with Christ or His gospel?

      4. Do you like to be criticized for a lesson you gave when you are trying your best with the limited knowledge that you might have of the gospel?

      Thanks for your comment and looking forward to the answers

      • I am fairly certain that loving as Christ loves covers all your exemptions and excuses

        • hmmmmm

          • we just got home from visiting our old neighbors. They are pushing 90, they sent my toddler home with his birthday card. It was signed Love, Grandma and Grandpa.
            On comment #1 I remove ‘fairly’ from my certain, in love, Christ takes care of all things.

          • God is not impressed with eloquent speech or use of an archaic language. Whether we like it or not, Mormons are a subculture, with many habits and customs that have developed into traditions. Traditions are nice, but they’re not commandments. They serve to bind members together into a family-like relationship and that’s wonderful, but don’t expect converts to adopt all these behaviors. Jesus used the Koine’ or common Greek when he spoke to people. There’s no need to use our ancestor’s archaic English, (thees and thous,) when praying.

        • Rob

          Charity-the pure love of Christ is our Goal. If we have it not at the last day we cannot be saved in the Kingdom of God. Until then, stay at home when you have the flue, bear testimony of Jesus along with BoM & JS remembering God the Father, take screaming babies out so others can get something from sacrament meeting unless you have other kids. What were the others? Can I add do not close your testimony by saying in the name of thy (your) son. … People have hard enough time getting old English down not to have someone addressing the congregation say (new English translation) in the name of your son….He is God’s Son and you aren’t praying, you are addressing the congregation. He isn’t anyone’s son from the congregation.

          • I stay at home and keep kids home with the flu, because I love my kids and I would never make them sit through church feeling awful when all they want to do is sleep. But if one of my toddlers has a nasty cold, we are ALL still going to church (but he doesn’t go to nursery), because most Sunday’s if I don’t go to church, who takes the rest of the kids? My older kids need the fellowship they receive with their friends on Sunday before being bombarded at public school.
            My point being is that we don’t know the reasons each of us make the decisions we make. Christ didn’t hide from the sick, he sought them out so he could heal them. We don’t know if a person’s spirit is so sick that maybe being a bit physically contagious is less important.

            Blanket statements coming from a random blogger are ridiculous and lead to a bunch of judgmental comments. We are all at different points in our path towards Christ. Does it really matter if someone uses ‘of’ or ‘thy’ or ‘you’? I use to think so, then I had several scary difficult experiences that allowed me to realize it is more important that they actually bear their testimony? Making comments like that is trivial and causes those with anxiety to be less likely to share their beliefs.

            Its stuff like this that gives Mormons a bad name.

  • thering

    Very good article! I’ll just add one more to the list… “Don’t clip your finger nails at church!”

    • Haha! A lot of people have been writing that. 🙂

    • CBA0202

      Just recently a newly converts were being confirmed during Sacrament at our ward and someone was clipping their kid’s nails! During a confirmation! What made it worse is that the kid wasn’t staying still so the mom kept saying “hold still. one more one more”…again..during a confirmation -_-

  • Ton

    There is one and only one solution to these frustrations. It’s called charity. It can make each and every Sunday a wonderful and beautiful experience filled with love, acceptance, compassion, and tolerance for those around us.

    • Exactly right! When I have the flu or a crying baby…I show charity toward my fellow man by being mindful of how I’m effecting others.

    • Aaron T. Lawley

      Greg was showing a lot of charity by kindly showing certain behaviors and actions that can distract from the Spirit at church. He also expressed not judging others and that he wasn’t attempting to judge others either. Charity doesn’t teach us to not ever correct someone when they’re doing something wrong… just to do it in the right way and not be rude when doing it. D&C 121: 43 is where I learned that from. I invite you to read it also 🙂

  • bdh3

    I make a point not to look at others’ electronic devices. I found myself passing judgement in my mind on the Facebook and gamers. Its really not my business and they are where they should be physically and all of us are working to be somewhere spiritually. We do it a step at a time. I realized I do not need to be distracted from the sacrament. The distraction was not so much what they were doing but my own thoughts in regards to it. Satan only needs me distracted the least bit to delight in me not progressing. So much the better if I have done it for him. I also am aware of a few situations that folks were actually dealing with some personal situations and other matters and the compromise to keeping wheels from flying off was the blessing of today’s technology that allows them to be someplace that they could assemble with us and get support in a real time of need for them and still deal with those circumstances.

  • Court Clark

    So as a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have to agree with this 100%. I grew up in Utah as an Evangelical Christian… when we went to church, the babies & small children went to nursery and Sunday school while the adults and young adults would go to the worship meeting and hear our Pastor preach. When I first started to attend an LDS ward, I cannot began to tell you how disrespectful I thought it was that these people who took time to prepare a talk and then had the guts to get up and deliver it, were being ignored or interrupted. Now, after a few years I understand that its customary for the entire family to sit together and of course there is no nursery during this time. I did not once feel that Greg’s post is talking down or passing judgement to those who have small children. If you care to read any past posts about his views on church, family and life you would not get the sense that he is about that. Simply put, I think this is just a good reminder on just a few key notes. Don’t get all up in arms or offend by this, simply take it for what it is, apply what you feel is needed and keep moving on and progressing in life.

    • What a great comment! Thanks for writing this…because I wanted to write something like this myself.

      Thanks!

  • Becca

    This article leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Keep some hand sanitizer in your pocket. Bring a fly swatter and just go ahead and swat the annoying kids around you. Or force ignorant parents to take a class on how to not be annoying. P.s. I am not convinced that you have seen many mothers giggling at their tantrum throwing child…

  • Brian Clark

    This article is such a great example of acting more like a Pharisee than Jesus. Is it that the Mormons are imperfect or is it that Mormonism teaches Mormons to act judgmental as exemplified in this blog post? I submit it is the latter. Note: If you’ll quit spamming my email every time you post another pompous article I’ll quit commenting.

    • How can I spam your email? Just hit the unsubscribe button bro…

      You must have signed up to get emails if you’re getting emails from me…

      Thanks

  • Jojo

    This was disappointing to read. Nothing like being divisive. And my testimony is rooted in Joseph Smith as a prophet.

  • Mary H

    No, people should NOT come to church when they are sick, but the rest of this column is just full of judgment. This is why many people have anxiety about coming to church. They worry, for three hours, whether they are acting, looking, and speaking in a way that will be pleasing to their fellow, ward members.
    If my one year old decides to throw a fit in sacrament, I will take him out, not because I think it bothers you, but because it bothers me.
    Who cares if someone talks about their previous callings? Does it make you feel inadequate because you’ve only been an assistant scout leader and building scheduler?
    As for testimonies…will you please just write mine for me each month so that I can be sure not to say the wrong thing?
    I know you meant well with this, but seriously, think about what you are saying. You are basically telling us that you sit in church every week and critique everything that everyone does and says.

    • Rob

      I hope Greg doesn’t discontinue to write his articles because someone might judge him to be judgemental. If you are doing the right thing, don’t worry about who might be judging you. Fear God not man. It seems you are a people pleaser. This means you are likely very sensitive to other people’s ideas. This is a good thing as long as you learn that everyone makes judgements all the time most of which they forget within 15 seconds. Don’t live your life worrying about whether other people are making fleeting judgements about you that should be exactly what they are: water under the bridge. Please God then serve others. Don’t dwell on those that judge you. They’ll do that no matter what you do. You cannot please the gossiping judgemental few who do it incessantly without driving yourself crazy. And yes, I just judged you for judging Greg for judging others behaviors but don’t change to keep from being judged. Do what you think is right by God and you’ll be alright:)

  • Ailene

    #6: Authority Jumping. Example: If you have a problem with your kids’ Primary teacher, talk to the Primary teacher FIRST. If that doesn’t solve your problem, then talk to the Primary President. If you still don’t have a resolution after that… THEN go to the Bishop.

    Too many people go directly to the Bishop with complaints when it’s not necessary ***most of the time***. The Bishop has enough on his plate already without having to mediate disagreements between ADULTS. 🙂

  • Rob

    As a missionary, I feared some things. People who brought up deep gospel topics was one because I just knew my investigators weren’t ready for it yet. What I didn’t realize was that God was in control of providing my investigators their spiritual experiences. Fear was not from God but from my own lack of faith in the work and in God. It is ok to be concerned about these things but in the end, none of it really matters. We cannot control the actions of others. Only ourselves. On the other hand, some people need direction and guidance on proper etiquette. This article is good for those without it to get some general ideas of what to do in certain situations. I know sometimes I want to be “commanded in all (some) things” just because if I didn’t get some direction from my fellow man, I’d have to learn everything that generations of people have known for centuries.

  • it’s his idea… I swear after 8 weeks of not getting Sacrament, last Sunday not a single mother took their crying baby out, it was this unspoken solidarity/protest. The foyer is now the most reverent room in the building, the chapel is another story.

  • Karla

    Let’s love one another and not judge one another. If we see that someone is struggling then let’s help instead of pointing out their “faults”. No one is perfect and we don’t know the circumstances each individual is in.

  • Holly

    Greg, I have to be honest with you and tell you I really have thought about this post several times in the last week or two since I read it. My comments aren’t meant to offend or to be critical. I think that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions and I also think that you do write pretty insightful posts. This one just missed the mark for me. I actually do tend to agree with a lot of the things you said about sickness and screaming kids, but saying “don’t make testimony meetings weird” struck a chord with me. If someone is taking the time to go up to the pulpit and share their feelings, clearly what they have to say is really important to them. I’ll echo other comments by saying that church should be a safe place for people to come to feel loved, appreciated, and understood. I think we go through day to day life worrying too much about what others think and I feel that Sunday should be a day of self improvement, free of judgement. Again, not trying to offend. Thanks for the post!

    • Hey Holly, your comment is great. I agree that the church should be a “safe place for people to come to feel loved, appreciated, and understood.”

      But here is where we may differ. I would way rather someone silently judge me (which everyone does), or write a blog post that doesn’t attack or single anyone out than having someone cough bronchitis germs all over the back of my neck for an hour and five minutes.

      Also, regarding testimony meeting, there is a reason that the bishop gets up every fast and testimony meeting and pleads with the congregation to give a “brief and heartfelt testimony of the Savior” during that meeting.

      Should there be no rules in a testimony meetings? Should it be an uncontrolled free for all where anyone can say anything?

      In the article I took ownership of making those mistakes myself. I am guilty of these things as well.

      I believe our meetings should be reverent, peaceful, and that people should be courteous to others and my own advice should start with me.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  • Amanda –

    Thanks for taking the time to write. I think I’ll try harder with topics like this to write a little nicer. I’m really not chastising anyone. I haven’t pointed the finger at anyone specifically except for myself in the first few paragraphs. People that read this stuff online will never know whether I am a good guy or not and I don’t think I’ve written a post yet that didn’t irritate someone…somewhere. My intent is good. I love the church and I love the people.

    Thanks again for the comment!

    • J Shah

      As has been mentioned a few times in the comments, “what I get from church is up to me and not dependant on the actions of others”, what you get out of an article or how you judge the content of an article is up to you, also. Are we looking for things to get offended about or looking passed imperfections to the heart of the message?

  • I’m not sure if you read the article thoroughly enough. I’m not saying at all that kids should or will be silent. I’m not even saying that a kid won;t have outbursts…autistic or not. I’m saying parents should teach their kids what it means to be thoughtful and kind by taking them out and teaching them that the behavior is unacceptable. Sorry for any offense given!

  • I spent much of my time walking the halls as well on Sundays. It’s a sacrifice to show up and get your kids in the pattern of being at church. Even though I got very little out of church during those years…I thought it the least that I could do to show the Lord that I love Him and that I would be willing to go through some struggles on Sunday…

  • J Shah

    But there is a difference between complaining and judging others for what they are doing or not doing and teaching them. Kindly addressing issues that may help them and others.
    My opinion, this article was OK but yes, could have been worded a little differently sometimes to make the point a little more clear and less “judgy” but for the most part I found it to be on track.

    And, just as you said, “what I get from church is up to me and not dependant on the actions of others”, what you get out of an article or how you judge the content of an article is up to you, also. Are we looking for things to get offended about or looking passed imperfections to the heart of the message?

  • Joella

    we need to let members speak what they want in church the person if their baptism will find out about thedoctrine and temple soon enough if they already know then they wont have problems.
    and last week when my bishop taught relief society he talk about doctrine about heavenly father and about heavenly mother that only unqine to us, and we had new people there that we dont know yet. point is he will tachdoctrine and he doesnt care who there

  • Aaron T. Lawley

    What I’ve learned from this article are two things… 1. We need to try to express our views in a way that is non-judgmental. (I learned that the hard way on this article because I was being judgmental in some instances.) In order to do that it takes having the guidance of the Spirit. Without the Spirit we will (emphasize the WILL) let our worldly views get mixed in with Gospel truth and say things that aren’t as loving and charitable as they need to be. 2. Everyone has the gift of agency but a lot of people don’t understand how universal that agency is. Claims such as, “this article is offensive.” or “He made me mad.” are contrary to the gift of agency and are untrue. Nothing is offensive unless someone lets it be and nobody can make you mad but yourself. People process information and choose what to do with that information. Yes, with guidance of the Spirit those ideas can be processed easier, but in the end it’s up to the person to decide how to process and react to information they receive.

  • Cami

    I am surprised by the responses to this article. I guess everything is ‘judgey’ these days. Eh. I did like the suggestion of the lady in the comments that helping your child sit quietly outside in a classroom can make them more eager to sit inside quietly in the chapel. The only thing I was iffy was the calling dropping. I know a lot of people bring stuff up because they learned a lot in their calling, just as a missionary learns a lot on his mission and thus tells his stories his whole life. Sure, there are instances where people might be doing so to sound cool, but honestly the amount of work that a bishop or mission president had to do for free, let them calling drop the rest of their life. 🙂 And when I have brought or know that there are investigators in church especially on fast Sunday, I just pray really hard they are taught what the lord wants them to know. That goes for myself too.

  • ssf

    Oh my gosh, you people are nuts! He made some perfect points. If you are offended, get over yourself, he wasn’t talking to you! Take the points you like and throw away the rest. Our meetings could definitely be more reverent and spiritual… we all need to do our part. The church is true and we are thankful we are members. He’s not the prophet, you don’t have to agree or obey everything he has said. Add another point to that list…people who get offended when no offense was ever meant!

  • Love your Bishop too for setting a good example, as I’m sure he did.

  • Sofie

    Hi Greg, well done on the article!!!!! Greatly appreciate someone who is brave enough to write about some of the things that WE all should try to work harder on it!!!! I’m a recent convert of the church and I loved everything about the gospel but not the members. I really wasn’t surprised at the reactions and how OFFENDED most members are when they read this article. Which only added to your list as tip#6 “don’t get offended” tip#7 “don’t get so defensive” tip#8 “don’t get butt hurt” tip#9 “grow up” tip#10 “repeat 1-10”
    For the rest of you readers(the offended ones only), take your negative comments and put it under an “ex-mormon” article, it’ll go very well.

  • Jessica Braithwaite

    You know what is funny? I stayed home today from church. Because me and my little one are sick. And I really felt bad reading this article. I don’t think it needed to be written. And it didn’t feel loving to me at all. Which is what we are supposed to be able to do.. Especially if we are going to use strong words with each other.the key is always to be loving.

    If you don’t agree with someone else’s choices, because you don’t think they have any idea how it could affect others or because it should be “common sense”..just remember you have no idea why they made that decision. It is not up to us to decide what others sound be doing. Just to love them. Period.

    Imagine those investigators reading this article and now struggling with the fact that members may not be accepting of them trying their very best. There is no one way to be a child of God, but there are a million ways to not accept one if that is your choice.