Words I Can’t Stand, Part I: “Opportunity”

I have the wonderful opportunity of attending Church each Sunday.  And while Sunday is still five days away as of this writing, I’m already dreading the inevitable…  I’ll have the opportunity to walk into Sacrament meeting just after 10:00 am, have the opportunity to sit down, and then have the opportunity to listen to the opening prayer, in which the prayer-giver will surely thank the Lord for the opportunity we all have to come to Church, the opportunity we have to live in this wonderful country, and the opportunity we are all about to have to listen to the wonderful talks.  After I’ve had the opportunity to take the Sacrament, I will then listen to at least two speakers, both of which are likely to talk about various opportunities they’ve had during the week, or at least publicly thank the Lord for the opportunities He has provided them.  It’s also likely they’ll thank the Bishop for the opportunity he’s given them to speak in Church, even if they actually secretly loathe the opportunity.  (Perhaps I’ll get lucky and have the opportunity to sing a hymn between the talks too, though I doubt it will be a Churched-up version of the Pet Shop Boys’ "Opportunities.")  Finally, someone will give the closing prayer, thanking God for the opportunity we all had to come to Church, and asking that God allow other Church members who weren’t with us the opportunity to attend next week.

Then it’s off to Sunday School, where I’ll have the opportunity to listen to a (hopefully) riveting lesson, which will undoubtedly be prefaced by a prayer of thanks to the Lord for the opportunity we all have to listen to our wonderful teacher.  The closing prayer will be yet one more opportunity for someone to give thanks for the opportunity we just had to be spiritually nourished, although I might have left for an early bathroom break at an opportune moment.  Did I mention how thankful I am for the opportunity to leave class whenever I want, so that I can take advantage of the opportunity to roam the traffic-free halls, or the opportunity to use the urinal?  (If not, please allow me to take the opportunity to do so right now.)      

Finally, it’s off to Priesthood, where all the ward brethren get the opportunity to listen to a lesson straight out of the McKay manual.  Lest I forget how fortunate I am to have this opportunity, the opening prayer is likely to mention the wonderful opportunity we have to listen to the lesson, while the closing prayer is likely to mention this choice opportunity yet another time.  Once that’s over, I will have the opportunity to chat with a few friends and acquaintances in the hall, the opportunity to run screaming to my car, the opportunity to drive out of the parking lot like a bat out of Hell, and finally, the opportunity to return home, shut and lock all my doors and fearfully await these same lovely opportunities sure to come the following Sunday.

I swear if I hear one more talk, testimony or prayer in which the speaker casually drops the word "opportunity," I’m going to take the opportunity to gouge their eyes out at the most opportune moment, and then opportunistically strangle them with my necktie.  Folks, are you with me?

Aaron B 

Comments

  1. Agreed, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read your post.

  2. Probably not the leading issue in my mind, but, yeah, I’m with you on this. In fact, if you made a collection of all the meaningless stock words and phrases that we use in the church and attached a $5000 fine for the use of any of them, I wouldn’t complain.

    We don’t like vain repetitions in our prayers, but I am sometimes surprised at how happy we are to have them everywhere else. Oh, yeah, and we also like them in our prayers.

  3. alamojag says:

    My pet peeve is “we’d like to thank (the speakers, the choir, etc.). If you would like to thank them, then why don’t you just do it? Say thanks. In my mind I always hear “We’d like to thank the speakers (but the talks were so trite and boring we just can’t bring ourselves to do so).”

  4. I would be ungrateful if I didn’t take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your post…

  5. “People say things in church that don’t make sense! Ha ha ha!!”

    At least you have an idea of what they are trying to say. Come to my ward and watch me conduct. That’s where the mumbling, sputtering, and silence-after-lame-jokes are king.

  6. Christina says:

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for commenting today. And did I mention, I KNOW the church is true.

  7. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    As a teenager, my alcoholic step-father forbade me to attend church. I wish I had had the opportunity at that time to sit in church and hear people use platitudes and stock phrases. There are many around the world who wish they had the opportunities that we take for granted.

    ALAMOJAGman- That is one of my pet peeves too. When I was bish, I told my councilors to thank people, not to *like* to thank people. It gives an innuendo to the comment, z.b., *I’d like to thank the choir, but they really sounded rotten today.*

  8. Julie in Austin says:

    I’d like to take this opprtunity to express my appreciation for other overused phrases:

    MOISTURE (It’s rain, darn you! Rain!)

    DAILY LIFE (As opposed to your non-daily life?)

    AS WOMEN (We’re in big trouble if we start talking as men in Relief Society.)

  9. But it’s really scary to conduct a meeting. It’s hard to think what to say and my mind goes blank. I pretty much just try to get it over with, let alone say anything that makes sense.

    Opportunity–the opportunity I really love is to stay at home alone with all my neighbors gone and no dogs barking.

  10. My dad always laughs when people in their prayers say, “we ask Thee that x might happen.” He says it might happen anyway, so why pray about it.

  11. One time I was on a committee at BYU that had to evaluate scholarship applicants. I was reading a bishop’s endorsement where one of the questions was about how well the student had taken advantages of the opportunities available to him/her.

    The bishop had written, “This student is the most opportunistic person I have ever known.”

  12. the “might” is one of my biggest prayer-language pet peeves.

  13. Earlier in my life I spent most of my time with thespians. By comparison, active Mormons are dull, nonverbal, unfunny, introverted, lacking self-confidence, gullible, unread, naive, narrow minded, short on smarts, lacking originality, uncreative, and just plain boring. Theatre people are a lot more fun, and just make better friends.

    In fact, just about the only characteristic that active Mormons have in which they excel theatre people is in the degree with which they try to repent of their sins and keep the commandments of Jesus.

    I guess I’ll continue hanging out with active Mormons. They aren’t really my kind of people, but I love and admire them more. And I don’t get into as much trouble.

  14. A few years ago I came back to church after a long absence.

    I still hear stock phrases that I heard before. Nothing wrong with them, but I find the repetition distracting.
    “our most kind and gracious”
    “nourish and strengthen our bodies”
    “we gather (or ‘are gathered’) here today”
    (well, DUH!)

    “we lay our hands upon your head” (which is
    not a required phrase for confirmations,
    bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost,
    or blessings as many believe) This is
    another “well, DUH!” phrase to me.

    The redundancy of the last two phrases has always seemed to annoy me. The last seems silly so I tried avoiding it, and then had a branch president in the mission field interrupt and shove me aside during an actual confirmation because he thought it was required. Another time, a member present at a confirmation tried to interrupt, but we got through it. His bishop finally set him straight.

    Other buzz phrases seem to have passed. I remember “sweetly bold” back in the 80′s. “Special spirit” seems to have passed. But “special” still remains, which some of us mock by saying “SPAY-shul”.

    Also gone is “and the hands that prepared it” in blessings on food.

    I remember McConkie, in either conference or a fireside, denouncing the phrase “personal relationship with [y]our Savior”. I forget exactly why. Perhaps because it was popular in mainstream christianity and it implied some doctrine contrary to ours, or perhaps because our relationship is supposed to be with Heaveny Father, through the Savior, and not just with the Savior. Whatever the reason, I remember hearing, over the church satellite if memeory serves, that a religion teacher at BYU was reprimanded for teaching his class to “have a personal relationship with the Savior” because that was a protestant doctrine.

    However, that phrase is now in use, both in conference and in the Ensign. I’m a bit confused on that one.

    The word “opportunity” doesn’t bother me. That’s mainly what Heavenly Father gives us. We have more opportunities than perhaps any generation or dispensation in the history of the earth. In this country we have opportunities for the fullness of the gospel, and freedoms that were inconceivable in times past, and are still inconceivable to the majority of humans on the earth today.

    The $64,000 question is what are we doing with all the opportunities.

    As I place my fingers on this keyboard to close out my message, I’d like to humbly thank you for the opportunity to comment on your special blog. You’re kind and gracious.

  15. Aaron Brown says:

    GreenEggz — the BYU religion teacher you’re thinking of was George Pace. That whole incident was very interesting and there’s a long-winded story that could be told about it.

    Incidently, my griping about the overuse of the word “opportunity” could be interpreted as criticizing our attitude of thankfulness, but that’s not what I’m intending. I really am just sick of hearing the word. Just say “chance,” or come up with some other way of phrasing your gratefulness, people. Please.

    Aaron B

  16. Aaron,

    Here’s me voting that you tell the interesting, long-winded story about George Pace.

    Okay, let me reword that to fit this thread. I have a testimony that you’ll pur your shoulder to the wheel and take this opportunity to share with us the faith-promoting story of Brother Pace.

  17. Kathy S. says:

    Biggest word choice pet peeve: when people end their talks/testimonies “in the name of thy Son.”

  18. Aaron Brown says:

    Kathy,

    Best way to handle that situation is to approach the speaker afterwords, tell him/her you’re flattered that he/she would mention your son in his talk, but insist that there must be some mistake, as you don’t have a son named Jesus.

    Aaron B

  19. Aaron Brown says:

    RoastedTomatoes,

    Sorry, but I’m afraid I’m foggy on the details at present. It’s been too long since I discussed the story. George Pace is a good friend of my parents, one of my BYU Bishops was best friends with one of his sons (and he told me the story), one of my BYU professors was in Pace’s ward when this happened, etc. I think David Pace (a son) has talked about the incident at Sunstone ….

    Aaron B

  20. I predict that the 2010 version of this post will be about the phrase “tender mercies.” Much as I LOVED Elder Bednar’s talk, I’m already starting to hear people use the phrase in slightly odd ways. It probably won’t be long until it’s overused and annoying.

  21. I think someone complains a little bit too much.

  22. I want to compliment Aaron B on a fine post, even the finest I have read in some time.

  23. And while we’re at it, when did GBH become “our beloved prophet, even Gordon B. Hinckley”? You can’t just call him the prophet anymore – he’s our “beloved prophet.” I mean, I know people love the guy, but the phrase has become so overused it’s almost meaningless.

    And don’t even get me started on “even.”

  24. alamojag says:

    Ann (#22),

    If you think you are tired of the “beloved prophet”, remember the last few years with Pres Kimball. They were selling t-shirts with his picture and the phrase “Do It” on them. If he’d lived a little longer, I think somebody would have started making teddy bears of him.

  25. The George Pace “personal relationship with the Savior” story, with Elder McConkie’s denunciation is here:

    http://mormonalliance.org/casereports/volume2/part2/v2p2c06.htm

    I’m not sure I agree with the mission of MormonAlliance.org, but that’s where the article is.

  26. I agree that the overuse of these words and phrases is very annoying. Embarrassingly, however, I have a difficult time breaking free of them! I manage to speak like a normal person outside of church, but on Sundays a switch turns on (…or off) and I am guilty of using the aforementioned grimace-inducing phrases. Out of fear of Aaron, or the folks that are with him, gouging out my eyes or strangling me, I’ll do better from now on! Thanks for giving me extra motivation to get over these bad habits.

  27. In reference to “…laying on of hands…” statement when giving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I was confirming someone on my mission and did not say it. While I was about to end one of the members of the circle shouted out “BY THE LAYING ON OF HANDS” it messed me up and I lost the spirit of the moment. I was so angry.

    When I blessed my first child I related this story to my friend and informed him how I was going to omit the oft repeated and highly annoying phrase “the name which we have chosen her to be known in life and on the records of the church….” His reply was “I guess you’ll just take you chances about with someone yelling out ‘ON THE RECORDS OF THE CHURCH”.

    It made me think. I ended up saying the dumb line. I guess these cultural things have a way of enforcing themselves. Plus, I am just weak.

  28. Seth Rogers says:

    “And please bless these refreshments that they may nourish and strengthen our bodies.”

    Of course, if you consider the stuff they serve at ward functions, a little divine intervention might not be inappropriate.

  29. lyle stamps says:

    Hm, perhaps that is why me and my wife decided to just do our talks w/o any jokes or intro lines or excuses or explanations. Simply:

    I’m going to talk about X (y & z)…[talk]…amen.

    Why do we feel the need to tell folks who asked us to talk? or when they did it (i.e. they just did it Fri night, the jerks), etc?

  30. lyle stamps says:

    Oh, Aaron, forgot 1 thing. It’s okay, just come out of the academic closet and admit this is a backwards stab at all the economics talk. You just don’t like the concept of “opportunity costs” do you? Okay, now that that is out in the open… :)

  31. Aaron Brown says:

    Lyle, I’m totally with you on the “let-me-tell-you-the-circumstances-in-which-the-Bishop-asked-me-to-give-this-talk-cause-they’re-just-so-damn-interesting” introduction problem. It’s just oh-so annoying. I actually have long had the following fantasy:

    I’m asked to give a 20 minute talk. I dedicate the first 10 minutes to the detailed circumstances in which I was asked to give the talk (including, but not limited to, what I was eating for dinner when the Bishop called, what the weather was like that day, the precise content of all the other issues we discussed in the phonecall, tons of other pointless crap, etc.). I dedicate the next 5 minutes to philosophizing mindlessly about how the topic is something I’m really not good at (complete with sordid, sinful details illustrating this fact), and how it was thus so timely for the Bishop to ask me to speak on it. I dedicate the next 5 minutes defining a host of terms from a Webster’s dictionary with the longest possible title I can find, and I make sure to read all the definition variants for each term. Then, just as I’m about to actually give my talk, I look at the clock, announce that we’re out of time, and then sit down, having said absolutely nothing of substance whatsoever.

    Admit it: That would be AWESOME!

    Aaron B

    P.S. I want to take this opportunity to ask you, Lyle, why your name is sometimes spelled “Lyle,” sometimes spelled “Lile” and sometimes spelled “L’ile.” It’s always been one of the Bloggernacle’s greatest unsolved mysteries for me.

  32. A Nonny Mouse says:

    This post is incredibly relevant to our everyday living, because nobody ever mis-/over-uses tropic stock-phrases outside of church, right?

    I mean, it just seems like associating the “We’d like to thank,” which we’ve all heard a million times on the radio, or the “thank X for the opportunity,” which I’m sure is said a million times anytime anybody gives a public address anywhere, strictly with what we hear in church is a bit of a pseudo-intellectual gripe… I don’t mean to be flamey, but perhasp the reason we hear this stuff so much in church is because there is so much public discourse at church? Those phrases are all stock phrases in other public discourse, too, it’s just that you don’t hear lectures given in public very often in non-church life…

  33. “We thank thee for this beautiful building to meet in…” Ummmm, I don’t know about you, but the church building my ward meets in isn’t beautiful. It’s utilitarian, convenient, it’s a dry roof over our heads, but it ain’t beautiful. I mean, come on, plain painted cinderblock walls with wear resisant carpet on the floors and pews? Nope. I refuse to call my ward building beautiful.

  34. alamojag says:

    ANM,

    I’ll have you know that I am an equal-opportunity “I’d like to thank” hater. I do not like it in the rain, I do not like it on a plane; I do not like it here or there, I do not like it anywhere–esepecially not in church.

  35. Things I’m thankful for about the LDS church in Indianapolis Indiana.

    I’m thankful for plain painted cement block walls and carpeted floors and either carpeted or padded pews, and indoor flush toilets, and real toilet paper, and hand-soap, and clean paper towels, and air-conditioning and cool potable drinking water right out of the drinking fountain.

    I’m thankful we have electricity WHENEVER WE WANT IT, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Well, with only RARE exceptions).

    I’m thankful I don’t have to worry about whether the sacrament water had a fizz to indicate it was bottled.

    I lived without carpeting and padded seats for 2 years, and when I came back it was like “PADDED pews?!?!?! You guys got PADDED pews?!?!?!!? And AIR-CONDITIONING?!?!?!?!?! WOW!!!!! AIR-CONDITIONING!!!!!! WE **** THANK **** thee, Oh Lord, for AIR-CONDITIONING!!!!

    I’m thankful for fellow members who shower and use deodorant/anti-perspirant before coming to church.

    I’m thankful I don’t have to worry about getting sick when fellow members invite me to dinner (well, except one sister, but they warned me in advance about her.)

    I’m thankful for a hot-water faucet with which to fill the baptismal font, so they don’t have to boil water in the kitchen then carry it to the font.

    I’m thankful for a church satellite with VIDEO instead of just audio, or no satellite at all.

    I’m thankful I live in an area where people don’t vandalize our chapel, and don’t spit on us just for the church we belong to.

    I’m thankful to have 5 temples within a day’s driving distance, with one of them just 2.5 hours away, instead of having to travel over 1,000 miles and across national borders.

    Sometimes I wonder what Moroni and Mormon would say if they visited our chapel. “Why’s it cold in here in the summertime?”

    Man, we got it good in the church in this country. No joke.

  36. Aaron Brown says:

    I share your sentiments entirely, Greeneggz! Just as long as you don’t couch them in terms of opportunities to sit on padded pews, opportunities to receive good air-conditioning, opportunities to use electricity all the time, etc. Otherwise, I’ll have to dunk your head into one of those indoor flush toilets you were talking about.

    Aaron B

  37. I second GreenEggz complaint about people always starting their prayer with “Our Most Kind and Gracious Heavenly Father….”

    One day I realized that I was completely guilty of this myself. The scriptures are replete with the command to praise God, and the best I could do was this trite and now meaningless phrase? I have made it a point now to try to think of a different adjective to describe Heavenly Father whenever I open my prayers. What do I really think my Father is like? Now I say things like “Most Gracious,” “Most Holy,” “Most Loving,” ect ect. Whatever helps take you out of your routine, helps you get more out of your prayers.

  38. ANM, I disagree with your assessment that this is a pseudo-intellectual gripe. There is nothing at all approaching intellectual, pseudo or otherwise, about this conversation. But it is pretty funny to have the mirror turned on you so forcefully. I just met with the RS President an hour or two ago about visiting teaching and was horrified to hear myself say in the opening prayer “we’re grateful for the opportunity to meet together tonight.” Then I had to stop myself from giggling. Flame away–it’s flame worthy, but then take some time to find the fun….

  39. Mark N. says:

    Aaron B: I want to take this opportunity to ask you, Lyle, why your name is sometimes spelled “Lyle,” sometimes spelled “Lile” and sometimes spelled “L’ile.”

    I prefer the alternate spellings of “L’isle” and “L’aisle”, myself.

  40. I’ve thought about this in my own prayers since reading the original post. I think its important to distinguish in the use of the word opportunity. Thanking God, the bishop or anyone else for the opportunity to do something in the past can be a bit redundant and sometimes annoying in a pet peeve kind of way.

    But when we pray for the opportunity to do something, I find that very different. We are seeking the chance to excercise our agency or interact with someone in a specific way. In this sense I find nothing wrong with its use.

    I would also add that if we pray for opportunities and they are granted, I find nothing wrong with thanking Heavenly Father for those opportunities in our prayers.

  41. greeneggz, (#35), I am grateful for living in the USA, and for all that entails. But a typical plain cinderblock walled, ugly carpeted LDS ward building, however convenient, utilitarian, warm/dry/cold is still not beautiful. I have yet to enter an LDS ward building built in the last 50 years that was beautiful. My gripe is not ungratefulness for what we have, but with the overly flowery language used that is frankly a lie.

  42. Mark B. says:

    The main problem is that most of the people who stand at the pulpit and speak are unprepared. There is the rare person who writes out his talk in advance and practices it. Most speakers seem to operate from notes, making up the words as they go along.

    The only people who conduct meetings from written texts are the first presidency, in general conference. That means that all those stake and district presidents, and bishops and branch presidents, are up there winging it. No wonder they lapse into saying things that are repetitive and inane.

    I think, however, that before you take the opportunity to knock “opportunity” for a loop, someone ought to consign to the fires of hell the line “Then Brother X will give us a prayer.” Not only does it sound stupid (sounds like a cheerleader saying “Give us a yell!” but it’s dead wrong on the facts–that person speaking up there isn’t giving us anything–he’s speaking to the Almighty on our behalf, and he’d better get it right).

    On the other hand, we should look at the bright side. How many of our repetitive prayers have “Guard, guide and protect us . . .” I have some protestant friends who complain about that one–but I’ve never heard it in an LDS prayer.

  43. Speaking of turning the mirror on ourselves. I’d like to take the opportunity to recommend the film “Sons of Provo” the first mockumentary about an LDS boy band.

    A friend of mine wrote and produced it and I think it will be on DVD in a few months. My particular favorite line in one of the songs is a background repeat of “all-those-in-favor-please-make-it-manifest, please-make-it-manifest”.

    Very funny song – and a good movie.

  44. “It’s rain, darn you! Rain!”

    Maybe in Austin it is. ;)

    “we got it good in the church in this country”

    Which country?

  45. “There is the rare person who writes out his talk in advance and practices it.”

    Actually, I’m more of a medium-rare person.

  46. “That means that all those stake and district presidents, and bishops and branch presidents, are up there winging it.”

    Not in our ward. It’s all written verbatim. They have 2-4 pages where the text is typed out and they just fill-in the blanks.

  47. “Guard, guide and protect us . . .”

    That sounds good. Thanks. I’ll add that to my repertoire.

  48. Instead of saying, “Heavenly Father, we thank thee for the opportunity to listen to Sister’s lesson today,” I should say, “God, Sister’s lesson today totally rocked – it’s sure a good thing we were here!”

    Yeah, we get overused phrases, but I think a lot of them come because we’re trying to sound reverent and profound. We don’t normally speak reverently and profoundly, so we copy other people.

    Tell the bishop to introduce speakers thus: “And it shall come to pass that Brother Jones will exhort us to repentance, then we shall sing praises to God, following which it shall come to pass that Sister Smith will petition God for mercy and forgiveness. Then you can all go home.” See if that catches on. :)

  49. danithew says:

    “God, Sister’s lesson today totally rocked – it’s sure a good thing we were here!”

    When I read that I had to laugh. Sometimes I think it would be refreshing if we could pray like that.

  50. “Sister X’s lesson today [was really good]. Thank-you for that.”

    I sometimes pray like that in private. Would it be bad to pray like that in a group setting, speaking with Heavenly Father as one man talks to another?

    Sure, it’s good to use reverent language. But some of the best prayers I’ve heard in church are from recent converts who: a) don’t bring prayer-speak from a previous church, and b) haven’t been programmed with all the “mormon-speak” or “lds-prayer-speak” yet.

    I’ve heard youth give good prayers in priesthood opening excercises with some really good as-one-man-to-another parts, but then they sometimes feel they haven’t prayed long enough, so they throw in a few prayer-speak stock phrases.

    I admire people who can pray and speak publicly in close to the same voice as when they talk man-to-man. Sure, they get more reverent with the formal pronouns. But the less “mormon-speak” or “prayer-speak” in a group/public prayer, the more I’m edified.

    When I speak in a group, giving a talk or a lesson, I tend to “put on a show” and be someone that I’m not when I don’t have an audience. My stage persona in those instances is not my everyday persona.

    As far as talks go, it doesn’t matter to me whether they think up the words on the spot just by using notes, or whether they are reading from a prepared talk. The Spirit can give you the words as you write your talk in advance, or on-the-fly at the podium. It’s still inspiration either way.

    I laughed when I read an ex-mormon dis speakers for reading prepared talks from the teleprompters at Gen Conf, because he said they weren’t “speaking by the Spirit.” If the Spirit inspired your words as you wrote it two weeks previously, it’s still speaking by the Spirit.

    And whoever said that only the Prophet reads from prepared remarks might not have been aware that the teleprompters are there for all speakers. Some have read from hard-copy because of eyesight problems reading the teleprompters.

    I’ve heard that Elder David B. Haight and Elder LeGrand Richards almost always gave extemporaneous talks.

    And those who mix prepared words with on-the-fly remarks probably have to use written text because that can really confuse a teleprompter operator.

    Anyway, I’m feeling a bit bad for judging other people’s prayers. Before I joined the church, I think I prayed to Jesus instead of Heavenly Father, yet my prayers were heard and often answered, and sometimes great blessings were poured out in response to my imperfect prayers.

    We give Mormon a pass for the repeated “and it came to pass”, so I think I’ll try to be a bit more charitable in my feelings about others’ words of prayer.

  51. D. Fletcher says:

    I can’t stand the word “amongst.” What’s wrong with “among”? Then there’s the whole “towards” vs. “toward” controversy.

  52. Aaron Brown says:

    Yes, but at least both “toward” and “towards” are correct. What I can’t stand are people who say “anyways” instead of “anyway.” Folks, “ANYWAYS” IS NOT A WORD!!! Got it?

    Anyways … this word would qualify for my Part II, except I don’t think it’s a Mormon phenomenon. It appears to be universal.

    Aaron B

  53. How flustrating is that?

  54. ‘Anyways’ is spoken often enough it just might be correct pretty soon. It’s already correct enough to be publishable in many venues.

  55. “…we’re thankful we could be here *this* day…”

    Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. *This* day.

    And, what’s up with the word ‘so’ after everything now:

    /utahvalley/ “We was upta Ay-Eff ta visit DeVerl and his sister tuhday, so…”

  56. Kim,

    Glad to hear that you’re not winging it up in at least one ward in Canada. Maybe it’ll catch on.

    D.

    The Brits seem to be stuck on “amongst.” I can’t figure it out, but it seems like a small problem for a people who pronounce “Beauchamp” as “beecham” and some unspellable monstrosity as “chumley.” Kudos to whoever can find that one.

  57. It’s “Cholmondely.” And I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for Google.

  58. D. Fletcher says:

    It’s not the Brits that overuse “amongst,” it’s the Mormons in our ward Sacrament Meetings and Testimony Meetings. I think there’s a natural tendency to speak “spiritualese,” trying to heighten our speech with words that sound vaguely like Scripture, hence the Elizabethan endings. It’s very annoying. “Amongst” is used in the general public and press too — it has almost replaced “among.”

  59. My favourite is ‘apostasize’. The root word is ‘apostate’, not ‘apostase’. The word is ‘apostatize’.

    Oh, and when did ‘proselytize’ become ‘proselyte’?

  60. I shouldn’t be annoyed at overly repetitious stock phrases as long as they match the spirit or intent of the speaker. Like Linus’ pumpkin patch, it’s the sincerity, not the outward trappings, that count.

    The Lord has surely been merciful to me when when I had good intentions, but my outward actions were inept.

    One thing that creeps me out, and I haven’t resolved it yet, (and it can really give me a sense of “oogie yuckiness”) is when someone intentially mimicks or affects the inflections and voice patterns of others (usually General Authorities) attempting to imitate the Spirit without actually having the Spirit.

    I noticed it in the MTC in 1984. The branch presidents tried to speak like General Authorities at the weekly assemblies. They said all the right words, I don’t remember any false doctrine, but the way they said it creeped me out. It was like they were acting, and didn’t believe what they were saying. It was like they were putting on a show and pretending to be important.

    I’ve noticed among missionaries today, that some of them affect the voice patterns of their leaders or trainers or the popular missionaries. It’s as if they’re trying to have the Spirit by imitating the way someone with the Spirit speaks.

    Three voice patterns I’ve noticed are the “Utah sing-song” pattern, the “slow and sleepy” pattern, and the “psychological/emotional bully” pattern, though the latter is rare around here.

    There are times when sincere people do have a natural sing-song voice pattern or a natural slow-and-sleepy voice pattern, and they actually can have the Spirit, and that’s fine. But when someone affects those patterns, without actually having the Spirit, it’s just plain oogie to me.

    With the bully pattern, it’s as if they are using the force of their personality to shove something down your throat. Even if what they are saying is 100% truth, the emotional/spiritual forcefullness with which they shove it down your throat gives it a bad taste, and makes the delivery offensive.

    The bully pattern is obviously against the precepts of the priesthood as described in Section 121, yet well-meaning but overbearing people sometimes do it.

  61. In fact, proselyte is both noun and verb, and it was proselyte that became proselytize. Proselytize did not appear in English until 1679 and Webster’s 1828 dictionary says that it “is not well authorized, or not in common use, and is wholly unnecessary.”

  62. Interesting, Bil. Outside of LDS circles, whenever I have heard anyone use either term, it’s always been proselytise.

  63. What about all the other overused words.
    the
    and
    to
    Just so annoying….

  64. I’m with greeneggz on the beautiful building. Beauty is in the eye and all that.
    I remember when my ward met at a dance studio. Then we built a chapel. A small, two story chapel. I’m sure everyone thought it was beautiful.
    I hope someone in that chapel occasionally is grateful for the opportunity they have to meet there in that beautiful place.

    What makes me smile most is thinking about going to church a few weeks after General Conference had taken place. We’d all sit in the chapel on that Sunday, they’d pop the audiocassette tape into a little tiny tape player, and we’d listen to conference.

  65. What happens when Mormons write newspaper columns:

    “Using coupons is a wonderful privilege and opportunity that can allow us to stretch our incomes, build up a usable pantry, save time by eliminating trips to the grocery store, and increase security and peace of mind through having food on hand.”

    . . .

    “I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the double coupon promotion . . .”

    From The Savvy Shopper, published in The Daily Herald, Aug 9, 2005 at B-1.

  66. D. Fletcher says:

    HaHa, that’s hilarious Melinda!

  67. The Daily Herald can scarcely be called a newspaper.

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