Steve’s big list of things we ought to bring back, unless we never did them, in which case we should start.

I was grousing the other day to my bishop about how the Church during my halcyon days of youth seemed to have a number of practices and activities that were fun, challenging, at times embarrassing, but ultimately productive ways of forming community and strengthening the ward. I realize that correlations and the ever-growing CHI have stifled many of these activities, some for good (and liability-limiting!) reasons, but still — I’m bringing churchy back. Most of these, upon reflection, are simply ways to use the stages in our cultural halls.

1. Roadshows.

2. Plays!

3. Pine box wood derbys — amongst the adults. EQ vs. RS.

4. Haunted houses.

5. Sunday School opening exercises (including hymn practice).

6. The great arrangements from the blue hymnal.

7. Crazy maps of mesoamerica to explain the Book of Mormon. Oh, wait.

8. Door-to-door fast offering collection, with tattered blue envelopes.

9. Ward libraries with more local content, personal histories, genealogical archives, and people donating their LDS board games, Dialogues and Skousen archives. The ward library should be an immense treasure trove of nuttiness and coolness.

10. Ward Talent Night.

11. Ward Survival Skills Night. SERE training.

12. Progressive Dinners!

13. Sadie Hawkins!

14. Live nativities (our ward actually does this. I am tired of being baby Jesus).

15. Ward Teams for public sporting events like relays or marathons.

16. Moroni topiaries out front of the building.

17. Trick or treating, none of this centralized trunkfuls of junkfood crap.

This list is a work in progress. Please add your own.

Comments

  1. I was just thinking yesterday, What happened to the Gold and Green Balls we had in my youth? I remember practicing for weeks for the floor show where the youth did a waltz for the whole ward. It was a big deal for the Ward. The last one I remember we danced to was the Moody Blues’ Pieces of April. Bring back the Gold and Green Balls!

  2. That’s a good one Steve.

  3. Thank you Parishioner Steve.

    I see that BCC has become our ward’s suggestion box. Sigh.

    How about national sporting competitions with the US finals at the Deseret Gym? Seattle First was the #2 volleyball team back in the 70s. (I’m picturing soccer in Brazil being pretty amazing, culminating at some huge stadium and garnering real public interest. Create a Mormon FIFA… MIFA.)

  4. I know of a few wards that still do Gold and Green Balls. Our stake does a live nativiey. Our ward RS has a Progressive Dinner once a year, and we have a Halloween haunted house put on by the youth.

    SS opening exercises were a waste.

    I think bringing back public speaking competitions would rule.

  5. Most of these, upon reflection, are simply ways to use the stages in our cultural halls.

    Funny. Why do they still put stages in the Church buildings?

  6. Sunday School opening exercises (including hymn practice).

    Please no.

    Although, I’d be all for a practice hymn with the adults in Gospel Doctrine.

  7. Mommie Dearest says:

    I suggest that wards combine the pinebox derbies with the haunted houses for greater effect.

    I have actually run the pinewood derbies in my ward, when I was Cubmaster. I have also been involved in, during the recent past, roadshows, plays, door-to-door fast offering collection (as the driver, no ph ordination required), ward talent show, progressive dinners, and live nativities including real animals. We have awesome activities committees.

  8. LOL, good typo Mommie.

  9. OK, OK, no opening exercises for SS, but still hymn practice.

    J., I agree that public speaking competitions would be GREAT.

  10. Maybe its because I’ve been in Utah county single wards/married student wards for the last 5 years of my life, but it seems to me like I’ve participated in most of these things during that time, and wasn’t aware that they had been done away with elsewhere.

    Also, my dad mentioned to me last night that my home stake is putting on a road show this year.

    Also, I think your suggestion for the ward libraries is brilliant. I would do everything in my power to get called as ward librarian if that was the case.

  11. J., I agree that public speaking competitions would be GREAT.

    Or incredibly painful.

  12. Researcher says:

    Stages? Your ward buildings have stages in them?

    How many years has it been since I’ve been in a ward with a stage? (Quite a few.)

    Our new ward building, scheduled to be built sometime this millennium (hopefully), is stage-less although it’s supposed to be a fairly large building.

  13. Bring back the Sacrament Gem.

    Don’t bring back the split/long Sunday meeting block, or Primary during the week. Or the welfare farm. Or ward budget assessments. Or weird questions during temple recommend interviews. Or mandatory full length one-piece garments.

    Change is good.

  14. The AP in our ward still collects fast offerings in the blue envelopes, although they close with velcro instead of the long string wrap around mechanism of my youth.

    Here’s another one to bring back: the roaming microphone in testimony meeting. I have not seen that since my youth.

  15. You left off opening and closing socials for Young Men/Young Women. Because that means you get the summer off.

    How about sacrament during both Sunday School and Sacrament, to give the deacons and teachers extra practice?

    How about 1 1/2 hour sacrament meetings, to allow real development of talks? (on second thought…)

    We still have pinewood derby, haunted houses, fast offering collection, Survival Skills night (ad nauseam), live nativities, in my building.

  16. RE: Libraries. Our ward library actually has a bunch of donated books, and when I had a key to the library, I used to occasionally borrow some of them to read. However, they had accepted all donations, and there were a couple of evangelical-themed books, and some hard core MeCarthyite communist fear monger volumes. I fear if I donated my old Sunstones or Dialogs, they’d get tossed after a few months.

    I also miss the old hymnals, think road shows and plays were great, and would love to see our ward do more talent shows. Our last one was about four or five years ago.

  17. Roadshows were so much fun. My mom was always roped into writing the things, and she complained a little, but LOVED it. A ton of fun. Ditto talent night. And ward Christmas parties where Santa came and you were allowed to sing secular Christmas music too – now ward Christmas parties seem to be very somber affairs.

    Our ward still does the door to door fast offering collection.

  18. Our ward does fast offerings door-to-door, complete with blue envelopes, though they are in pretty robust shape.

    When I was called to be an assistant ward librarian, the head librarian was in the midst of a huge library purge of all the sorts of materials you mention here. And by “purge,” I mean she was THROWING THEM AWAY. Years of old RS magazines and Improvement Era’s from the ’50s and ’60s–she was going to RECYCLE them, i.e. TURN THEM OVER TO A THIRD PARTY SO THEY COULD BE MADE INTO…NEWSPRINT, or whatever recycled paper turns into. Obviously I was called just in the nick of time to save these artifacts from extinction. They live in my house now. The church library is very streamlined and organized and contains nothing of interest, but the head librarian was just released a few weeks ago. I thought about giving the rescued items back, but how do I know they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands again? I only wish I could have done more. Also, I would like them to call me to be ward topiary specialist. There’s nothing left to do in the library but hand out chalk and curse at the copy machine.

  19. SteveP: I think Pieces of April was Three Dog Night.

  20. Celestial marriage.

  21. I miss “Dime-a-dip” building fundraiser dinners, and all Relief Society fundraising events (what I remember, they were awesome). Dance festivals were alot of work but great fun. Our ward does have door-to-door fast offerings. A couple of years ago the youth did a haunted house for the ward halloween party.
    From experience it is almost impossible to get people in our stake to come out to ward or stake choir practice. When the stake has tried to do a special cultural event, it has been really hard to get people to participate. Attendance at the event is not always a problem, but not many people are willing to commit to weeks and perhaps months of practice.
    I’d love to see a Priesthood vs. RS pinewood derby!

  22. My first calling as a graduate student was to spend the rest of the ward budget on books for the library, about $1000 as I recall. I put together a good list, priced them all out second-hand and bought :)

  23. Ardis E. Parshall says:

    Bring back SS opening exercises WITH hymn practice AND 2-1/2 minute talks … why do you think our music and our speaking are generally so awful these days? Because nobody ever learns how or has a chance to practice. It’s like we schedule recitals without having had lessons beforehand.

    And I could so go nuts over plays and real roadshows and speech festivals and real dances (the kind where the dance is the culminating event after weeks of actually learning how to do different styles of dance)

  24. Road shows are great if actually on the road. We did that when I was a kid, and it was chaotic excellence. But the competitive nature of road shows tends to emphasize economic inequality in a stake.

    The Finnish Green and Gold Ball is a big deal. The two stakes take turn hosting it, and I know several couples who met at Kultaa ja Vihreää.

    The three wards in the city together have a football (soccer) team and a salibandy (floorball) team that compete with other teams. But we have no church sports program.

    Collecting fast offerings sucks, as does any activity where you have to get a bunch of young men to do something on a Saturday morning.

  25. Our ward actually still does SS opening exercises and hymn practice, which surprised the heck out of me when we moved here. It’s like a flashback to my childhood every Sunday afternoon from 1:40 to about 1:44.

    It also gives the SS presidency something to actually do, giving them a grand total of…one thing to actually do.

  26. Good call, Ardis.

  27. A lot of these still happen:

    — roadshows: I’ve heard within the past decade of stakes still holding these

    — door-to-door fast offerings: our ward (Parker CO) does this

    — progressive dinners:our previous ward (Chevy Chase Ward, DC) did this, and our current ward does this (in fact, we’re having the dessert portion for a progressive dinner here at our house next month)

    — live nativities: the RS is planning one at our house for the progressive dinner next month; and, of course, the Washington DC Temple does a live nativity every year as part of their Christmas lights display

    — Trick or treating, none of this centralized trunkfuls of junkfood crap: I’m not entirely sure what you mean here. Our ward does do a trunk-or-treat every year, which is actually highly popular with the non-members in the area (we typically get 200-300 people each year, about half of which are non-LDS), but from what I can tell, most of the kids in the ward go trick-or-treating through neighborhoods as well. ..bruce..

  28. Rameumptom says:

    How about interesting firesides?

    No more John Bytheway type firesides, and a few more that actually dig down into the doctrine? Perhaps some that discuss ancient things, such as you would expect from a Kevin Barney seminar.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh, please don’t bring back AP FO collections. Bleaah!

  30. Mark Brown says:

    We need to bring back welfare farms. I have wonderful memories of hundreds of people showing up to pick cherries, sweet corn, or green beans. Then another shift would show up at the cannery to can everything we picked.

  31. I wasn’t aware that there had been an effort to do away with welfare farms. Our stake here in Utah County still has one. Have these been done away with elsewhere?

    We still have stake road shows and other items on the list too. So Steve, just move to Utah!

  32. Great ideas all. -

  33. What are Sunday School opening exercises??

    Our ward does door-to-door fast collection, but it’s a crap shoot when/if they will show up each month.

    I’ve never been in a building without a stage. Santa still comes to our Christmas party, we have usually have a fun variety show type thing. We decorate the whole building for Halloween and the kids trick or treat to each room. We also have games, apple bobbing and costume contests with our big Halloween Dinner.

    And I don’t have kids in scouts yet, but I’ve been tapped twice to paint someone’s car… so I know we DO it.

  34. I dunno. Color me too modern, but I have no burning passion for Gold/Green, Blue/Gold, Red/Blue, or any other kind of colorful dinner. It all seems so 1960s. I like giving my fast offerings in an envelope (“get off my lawn, you durn deacons!”).

    As for the others, my ward already does progressive dinners and adult pinewood derbies. As for roadshows, who has the time?

    I’m a minimalist when it comes to Church activities. A good adult dinner three times a year, and I’m good…

  35. – Trick or treating, none of this centralized trunkfuls of junkfood crap: I’m not entirely sure what you mean here. Our ward does do a trunk-or-treat every year, which is actually highly popular with the non-members in the area (we typically get 200-300 people each year, about half of which are non-LDS), but from what I can tell, most of the kids in the ward go trick-or-treating through neighborhoods as well. ..bruce..

    We do trunk-or-treat as well. We’ll draw in a few hundred kids. It’s much more fun than neighborhood treating, which seems to get worse every year with the teenage thuggery…

  36. Steve, you will be either happy or horrified to know that our ward has a great tradition of taking the young men out to our local firing range and filling up garbage bags with acetylene and oxygen. Then, they fire .22s at the bag until it explodes with a bang that can be heard several miles away. We fill smaller bags and put them inside of pumpkins and then have target practice to see who can hit the pumpkin square in the middle, thereby exploding the pumpkin in a splash of violent orange. So, I really think you should add this to your list.

  37. I think Mission Farewell and Homecomings need to be brought back as long as they’re done tastefully.

  38. And I thought you were going to say “blood atonement.”

  39. I miss plays, real trick or treating, and, most of all, big, fun parties – especially Christmas parties with ice skating, wreath making, and food. I know that some of these no longer happen because of the budget and because I have recently been in wards with transient populations, but I liked them nevertheless. They created ward solidarity and fond memories. Also, I can’t ever remember a good library (some people in my ward would not have been pleased with the inclusion of items like Sunstone or Dialogue), but I would love to see one.

    For one year, I was in a ward where they still collected fast offerings. So I assume that still happens in some places.

  40. Mission Farewell and homecoming never ever please no! They all start out great and 2 hours in I just want someone to shoot me. Older couples missionaries were the worst ever. Every son and daughter had to speak and then the missionaries themselves arrrgh that was painful especially with large Mormon families.

    I do like the way they do it now the Missionary and one other person with music in between.

  41. Even nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. Can’t we bring back:

    Bro. Lewis, the ward clerk, at his little table by the gym, receiving (and giving receipts for) contributions from people as they came in for church.

    Evening sacrament meetings, where you could actually sing the “end of the day” hymns and mean it, and where you’d come out into the frosty dark.

    Sunday afternoon sessions of stake conference! Mom and Dad would go, and leave us home!

    Playing “pomp” on the lawn before Primary, Wednesday afternoon.

    Bishop W____ in his long-sleeved white shirt, 365 days of the year–to cover the tattoos received during his misspent youth in the U.S. Navy.

    Flirting with the girls at the welfare farm. Heck, flirting with the girls anywhere.

    The Pie Supper. (If you lived in Brooklyn in the good old days, you know. If you didn’t, don’t even bother to ask–your life frankly isn’t worth living anyway.)

  42. Thomas Parkin says:

    All this is making me yearn for my gentle childhood.

    I confess I never liked most of these cultural hall things. I always pretty much wanted to shrink away from them.

    I do desperately miss the evening Sacrament Meetings of my childhood. If for no other reason than it gave folks the chance to sing Now the Day is Over. Singing Now the Day is Over at 2p would, of course, be silly. The Wonderful World of Disney and peanut butter-marshmallow sandwiches awaited before our 8 pm bed time!

    Did we or did we not take the Sacrament both in morning Sunday School and evening Sacrament Meeting? I remember my father getting up so early to attend Priesthood meeting.

    Another thing I miss is going to P-hood session of GC with my dad in the days before closed circuit or satellite TV. I remember how difficult it was to concentrate on those speakers when there was only the sound of their voice coming over the intercom. I recall loving Pres Kimball’s raspy whisper. And I recall knowing that some ice cream restaurant awaited us afterward.

    I miss some of the meeting houses we used before the Master Design was adopted. Some of those meeting houses were built by the faith of the members. (Simply meaning the workers weren’t paid properly. hat tip: EM Forster). Seattle 1 meets in just such a wonderful building.

    Mostly I miss the security of knowing I was loved and taken care of. The world is a cold and lonely place for gentle forest creatures and tender-hearted fools, like me. ~

  43. I miss the stations of the cross from my childhood. We could get a lot out of that, I think.

  44. Our Ward has a monthly Potluck, and every six months or so, it’s Karaoke Night. w00t!

  45. Steve Evans says:

    Geoff B: AWESOME.

  46. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Dinner Groups!

    We used to love it when our parents hosted a Dinner Group, because, well, extra dessert for the kids!

  47. About every year the bishop in our ward gives a come to Jesus talk to the priesthood about fast offerings, and indicates that he has received many requests from the AP and the AP’s parents to stop collecting fast offerings door to door.

    His argument is always the same–we will always collect fast offerings door to door because it’s scriptural.

    So now I’m making a list of scriptural things we no longer do. It’s quite long.

    Has the church made a general statement about collecting fast offerings and how it should/must be done, or has this become a local thing?

  48. Also, what about the annual church building maintenance day? Everyone on ladders, pruners, scaffolding in the chapel, kids running around, and other dangerous things.

  49. The Rain Gutter Regatta.

    Also, Boy’s Life.

    Possibly not to revive: “Seat belt checks” while en route to scout camp.

  50. Then, they fire .22s at the bag until it explodes with a bang that can be heard several miles away. We fill smaller bags and put them inside of pumpkins and then have target practice to see who can hit the pumpkin square in the middle, thereby exploding the pumpkin in a splash of violent orange. So, I really think you should add this to your list.

    I don’t think this is a LDS tradition, but it certainly should be.

  51. Where I grew up, our stake was assigned to work at the local church welfare farm — a pig farm. No joke. We had to work two Saturdays per year, and it always seemed to land on the same day as a school dance or some other school activity. You could never get rid of the smell in time. I don’t know if that farm is still operated by the church, but I hope so. Every Aaronic priesthood boy needs an assignment to shovel pig crap.

    One of my family member’s stake did a “video” road show contest a couple of years ago. Each ward called a director, and was given a few weeks to plan, shoot, and edit a video (I think about 10 minutes long). That sounds like an interesting twist on the building-to-building live show routine we did in my youth.

    Our ward still does door-to-door fast offerings too. I don’t think I’ve been in a ward that doesn’t.

    RE: Justin (#36) — So when/how did they formally do away with SS opening exercises?

  52. CE: about the pig farm followed by youth dance- that may have been a ploy to prevent youth from dancing too closely….

  53. Wow, Jim. Wow.

  54. X (Adam Greenwood, his mark) says:

    Our ward does some of these, thank the good lord. But not enough. I’m sick of trying to pare down the culture until nothing but the gospel is left.

  55. The Wonderful World of Disney and peanut butter-marshmallow sandwiches awaited before our 8 pm bed time!

    For us, we were always home in time for Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Disney came on afterward.

    The block meeting times destroyed church culture. Oh, well, that, and all the new members, and the success of the missionary program, and diversification of American culture, all of which required growth and adaptation. That and cable. Change sucks.

  56. Every Aaronic priesthood boy needs an assignment to shovel pig crap.

    Truer words were never spoken. All I ever had to do was work on an asparagus farm. That and pick raspberries occasionally. Probably explains my lack of commitment to the deeper principles of the gospel.

    I miss our collective economic projects. I blame capitalism. Please include that in my previous comment.

  57. Steve Evans says:

    Change does suck, Russell. There’s no question that the Church culture experienced by those 40+ years old is markedly different. To a certain extent I am bemoaning change. But more than bemoaning change, I am getting at a lacuna — we have dropped all these things, but what new LDS culture has emerged to fill the gaps? Very little, actually. If anything these items represent extinct species, where our cultural biodiversity has been reduced, not expanded (increase diversification of LDS populations notwithstanding). That’s not a good thing.

  58. Thomas Parkin says:

    Steve,

    You forgot the internet as an agent of change. Why go eat casseroles with the RS ladies when you can refresh BCC fifty times every evening. ~

  59. Steve Evans says:

    BCC: Brain Chicken Casserole.

  60. Thomas Parkin says:

    Mmmm … Brains. ~

  61. Stake Swim meets and stake track meets – they were awesome (This was England).

    I do believe I will take it upon myself to reintroduce adult pinewood derby since I am now in a position to do so.

    I miss the farewells. I understand that is some large wards this could be a problem, but out here in BFE we have 1 or two missionaries leaving a year if we are lucky.

    We still have a talent night and the deacons get out for FO collection.

    I really think we should bring back home teaching, but maybe that is just me who has given it up.

  62. I forgot, my ward also has an annual chili cook off. This year we had 22 different chilis to try. I was passing gas for a week; of course that wasn’t anything unusual according to my wife.

  63. Check out this ward’s road show it is a good one.

  64. Thomas Parkin says:

    “I really think we should bring back home teaching”

    *snort*

    I think HT activity should be a TR question. ~

  65. This won’t go with the tone of these other comments, but I think part of the reason we have trouble keeping young adults is that they have developed stronger ties with teammates and school friends than with other youth in the church. These discontinued activities might have made a difference there. I also have the impression that Pres Monsen might understand this and some of these things could be on the way back.

  66. Re #52, the ax fell as the ball dropped to close out 1993:

    Sunday Meeting Schedule Change

  67. Here’s another one to bring back: the roaming microphone in testimony meeting. I have not seen that since my youth.

    I was in a SLC ward this summer and they had one.

  68. His argument is always the same–we will always collect fast offerings door to door because it’s scriptural.

    He wouldn’t get far in my century (the 21st), where everyone includes their FO with their tithing check. And since you can’t hand tithing to the deacons … my FO gets handed to the bishopric member, as modern revelation permits.

    Geoff likes taking aim at pumpkins. I like taking aim at deacons interrupting my Sunday snarking or football watching…

  69. Mission farewells are great, if you just ban the family members from participating.

  70. As for fun ward parties — do it yourself. When Sandra and I were living in the Chevy Chase Ward back in DC, we started the habit of holding a BBQ at our house every 2-3 months and simply inviting the ward. It was great, we had large turnouts, and we still get wistful e-mails from our DC friends telling us how much they miss the BBQs.

    Since moving here to Colorado, we do it a bit less often — 3 or 4 times a year — but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s not a “church” activity — Sandra and I just do the BBQ ourselves and invite everyone from the ward (kids included). We never turn any receipts into the ward, so we feel free to run it however we please (e.g., we feel free to hand out diet Coke from our fridge for those that want it).

    If anyone wants to bring food, we tell them it’s true “pot luck” and bring whatever they’d like; we’re providing all the main meats, fixings and soft drinks. (Here’s a photo blog from one we did two years ago.)

    Pretty much everyone just shows up, eats, and talks for a few hours. No organized games (though our basement has an air hockey table, a ping pong table, and a lot of toys for small kids), no programs, no presentations, no decorations (well, I did decorate the front lawn and porch for the High Priests BBQ we had here on Halloween a few weeks ago). Sandra and I have been doing this for years, so we have it down to a science. We use paper plates, plastic ware, paper/plastic cups, and foil serving pans; even after feeding 70 people, we usually have just a single dishwasher full of things to be cleaned.

    The members who come tell us that they feel far more relaxed and tend to socialize and mix more than at official ward dinners and parties. People come because they want to, not because they feel an obligation or feel they need to support someone.

    So: do it yourself. Make it fun and relaxed. And don’t make it an “official” church activity. ..bruce..

  71. I grew up in the Seattle First Ward back in the 70’s. I remember passing the sacrament twice on Sunday’s and collecting fast offerings on Fast Sunday. It sucked going to the Gershner’s house because they would always be eating when we got there and it smelled so good. Road Shows at the Stake Center on Ambaum were just awesome. We also had fun with the Relief Society bazzares. Bishop and Sister Boyack would usually do some sort of funny play. It was great.

  72. i miss Enrichment! or Homemaking, or whatever it was. our ward doesn’t have a lot of group things happening and that female fellowship is noticeably absent.

  73. Back in the 50s in our Salt Lake City ward, we had a “ward movie” at least one Friday night a month. It was sometimes called the “budget movie” because you were supposed to have made your monthly ward budget payment in order to attend the movie. These were rented movies (reel to reel) and you could bring your own snacks, or sometimes one of the auxiliaries would sell popcorn balls or homemade cookies. Whole families came, and it was a lot of fun. Best of all, it wasn’t much work for anyone (except the janitor who had to clean up afterwards).
    As for all those other social activities, I was happy to see them go. I did enjoy weekday Relief Society, however.

  74. Terry Foraker says:

    I love to visit stake buildings just so I can see what their meetinghouse library has. Our last ward met in the stake center, and they had a TON of old stuff: Improvement Eras dating back to the 1960s, three or four copies of Covey’s “Spiritual Roots of Human Relations” (most wards I’ve attended keep that one around), Crowther’s Prophecy: Key to the Future, and (my personal favorite) Prophets, Principles, and National Survival–featuring Ezra Taft Benson’s deliciously wacky anti-Communist screeds from the 1960s. Fun stuff!

  75. Steve Evans says:

    Bruce, I’ve seen photos of your BBQs and can attest that they do look delightsome.

  76. Our current Youth traditions are going rock climbing, going paintball gunning, and playing dodgeball.

  77. No mention of the Dance Festivals!? Remember when the Rose Bowl was used for gigantic dance festivals?

    And Thomas, yes, the sacrament was passed in both sacrament meeting and sunday school, even jr. sunday school.

  78. Catherine, I remember ward movie nights like that. I’m pretty sure I saw “The Rescuers” at such a movie night in the late 1970s in the Bay Area. I was pretty young then, so I could be misremembering.

  79. This isn’t a “fun” one, but I would go back to the days when September was the beginning of the Primary year. Back then, every child went through Primary with the kids in his/her grade at school. This age-you-are-on-January-1st thing makes it harder to transition from school to church and back when the kids aren’t in the same Primary class with kids who ARE in their grade at school. This is ESPECIALLY bad during the transition from Junior to Senior primary when you have two boys, close in actual age, but divided at church. One boy is stuck in Jun. Prim. with “the babies” while his classmate from schoolonly a few weeks older, gets to be up with the older kids. This happened in my family and it is very hard to get my son excited about going to Primary, especially when he was teased by some for still being in Junior Primary.

  80. dug, #48 You asked: “Has the church made a general statement about collecting fast offerings and how it should/must be done, or has this become a local thing?”

    The current instructions in the CHI is that every household should be given a chance to contribute fast offerings each month. If they don’t contribute, they should still be given a chance to contribute next month.

    We knock on every door each month, and for those that live in security buildings where we can’t actually knock on the door, we mail a news letter that, among other things, reminds them about fast offerings and has a phone number for them to call if they would like their fast offerings picked up.

    All of our AP youth participate, and about half of our active MP adults. In general people love it. The kids build relationships with the MP. We have some MP that complain if we don’t let them go.

  81. I lOVED road shows, ward plays, dance festivals, temple pageants, even (grumble, grumble) service projects to earn money for the ward.

    I agree that we need time to practice hymns and talks. I’d like to see my kids getting a little of the “Jr. Sunday School” action that I used to get.

    While I wouldn’t relish primary activities being reinstated during the school week, my 7 year old son has taken a keen interest in a local evangelical primary type thing called Awana. They play games, run around, sing Jesus songs and learn scriptures. I let him go because his friend invites him, but I’d rather he’d be going to a primary activity than a place that tells him “you’re a born sinner.”

  82. Left Field says:

    #48: Maybe I’m forgetting something. Where in the scriptures does it mention collecting fast offerings?

  83. Steve Evans says:

    Meems, primary used to be a lot more fun than it is now. We are very heavy on the spiritual messages, but I can’t blame your son for enjoying the local evangelical program.

  84. The columbia Maryland Stake has Road shows, an dat least one ward in the stake was using the little blue fast offering envelopes.

  85. I miss the dances we used to have. We’re in our 60’s and we used to belong to a dance group that would meet once a month at different chapels around the SL Valley. it was discontinued because of legal reasons. :o(

  86. Eric Chambers says:

    When I was growing up, before our stake purchased a welfare farm, we participated in church welfare projects at the tuna cannery. Yes, you heard right, a tuna cannery!

    We gutted the fish, cooked them, deboned them and then ran everything through a automatic canner. It was a worthwhile experience but talk about stinky!

  87. Back in the 50s in our Salt Lake City ward, we had a “ward movie” at least one Friday night a month.

    Yes! The Ward Show!

    I don’t think that I ever actually saw a full movie as I’d always end up falling asleep on my sister’s lap. But the movie wasn’t the reason for going anyway. It was the candy that the Relief Society sold before hand. Everything was a nickel. My mom would give my sister a coin for the candy and then my sister would tell me whether we were able to pick one piece of candy or two for that show (Jolly Rancher cherry sticks were my favorite).

    It wasn’t until many years later that I did the math. Let’s see: a single coin, 5 cents per item, never any change, I got 2 things max…wait a minute :-)

  88. That’s pretty much the list of the stuff I liked about Mormonism as a kid…

  89. #82.

    I went to one of those in second grade. I got in trouble with the pastor when I questioned him on the idea that by praying to Jesus as a 7 year old gets you a free pass to heaven. Good times

    I really miss youth and adult sporting leagues. I know that some places still have this but they seem to be fewer and fewer as the years go by.

    I also miss temple trips. It was pretty cool to load up the whole youth program and go stay a couple of nights and go to the temple that was 500 miles away.

  90. Eric Chambers (#87) —

    A tuna cannery?! I imagine that smell might rival even a pig farm. And gutting and deboning a tuna might be about as bad as snipping off the canine teeth and tails of the baby pigs. But that’s more than enough detail already, I think.

  91. I would throw in:

    Beehive hair-do’s
    Homemade root beer float socials
    Gordon Jump as “Peter” screenings

    We still have roving road shows, ward talent night and progressive dinners.

  92. We could always bring back Scouting.

  93. Should we also add Times and Seasons to the list?

  94. VeritasLiberat says:

    Yeah, what happened to Times and Seasons?

  95. How can we forget the third-base-between-married-couples question in recommend interviews? Good times…

    You know, this blog entry would make a real nice Statler Brothers song.

  96. 1. Roadshows.
    I agree
    2. Plays! Nope

    3. Pine box wood derbys — amongst the adults. EQ vs. RS. Nope

    4. Haunted houses. Yep!

    5. Sunday School opening exercises (including hymn practice). Never!

    6. The great arrangements from the blue hymnal.

    7. Crazy maps of mesoamerica to explain the Book of Mormon. Oh, wait. We still do that

    8. Door-to-door fast offering collection, with tattered blue envelopes. still do that

    9. Ward libraries with more local content, personal histories, genealogical archives, and people donating their LDS board games, Dialogues and Skousen archives. The ward library should be an immense treasure trove of nuttiness and coolness. Ours is still crazy

    10. Ward Talent Night. Still do that

    11. Ward Survival Skills Night. SERE training. What is this?

    12. Progressive Dinners! Yeah, those were fun!

    13. Sadie Hawkins! Still do that

    14. Live nativities (our ward actually does this. I am tired of being baby Jesus). Still do that
    15. Ward Teams for public sporting events like relays or marathons. Now that sounds like a good idea
    16. Moroni topiaries out front of the building. ?

    17. Trick or treating, none of this centralized trunkfuls of junkfood crap. I completely agree

    Fun topic, I miss you guys, seems like I never have time for blogging anymore. There’s a ward here in Cedar—9th or 11th, I think, that has, for years, marched in the parades playing Kazoos. They’re really pretty good and they practice their marches and all.

  97. We ought to bring back T&S.

    Oh where oh where has T&S gone? Oh where oh where can it be?

  98. Struwelpeter says:

    Another relic of the past that I looked forward to every year was the ward auction (used to raise budget funds). Ward members would donate all kinds of good stuff: homemade quilts, embroidered dish towels, saddles and tack, hand-crafted furniture, eight tracks of Eddie Arnold and Marty Robbins, canned peaches, etc., and a professional auctioneer would work the crowd to make sure we had light and heating for the next year. Many years a “Primary Auction” was held at the same time for the kids to bid on toys.

    The pride of craftsmenship that the Saints put into preparing these items for donation was something to behold, and the members of the ward recognized that in their bidding. Having a quilt from Sister X or a table made by Brother Y was something to be proud of, and something worth paying for, especially knowing that the money was going to a good cause.

  99. We bought T&S and DESTROYED IT.

  100. Eric Russell says:

    BCC is getting kickbacks from the sale of Mormon Garments on Shopzilla.

  101. Thomas Parkin says:

    Steve,

    Go Daddy, go! ~

  102. Roadshows are a greater shame on Mormon history than Mountain Meadows! And no one has ever been held accountable or even properly scapegoated for roadshows. Good riddance to them and the useless embarrassment they brought to so many scarred youth. Bah, humbug!

  103. I miss Tuesday Relief Society which lasted an hour and a half. With all that time, we had REAL lessons, and really learned something. The kids were in school or the nursery. We had time to get to know each other and enjoy some time being women (and not wives or moms.)

    I also miss practice singing and learning new hymns. And what happened to the gorgeous musical numbers during Sacrament meeting? Who needs an “intermediate hymn” when our ward is loaded with musical talent?

  104. The ward bazaars! I know with the new budgets these are not allowed, but they are fond memories of my childhood.

  105. I miss the big 4th of July pancake breakfast in my Salt Lake City Stake where a bunch of food was donated by Dan’s Grocery. I think a lot of wards still do this — we did it in our last ward in Indiana and even had a national anthem around the flag raising ceremony complete with an oboist and trombonist.

  106. When I was a kid I always fantasized about being the Aaronic Priesthood holder that got to pass the mobile microphone around… but it didn’t last long enough for me to get the chance and my childhood dreams came to nothing.

  107. I have nothing serious to add. But, it says a lot about me that before reading the whole post I thought “blood atonement” (#39 beat me).

    So, in lieu of that suggestion, I will add the Mormon Militia to the list. Who needs pine derbies or scouting when you can form a militia? Peaceniks fear not! It will be run with the stunning efficiency as your ward’s hometeaching.

  108. Poor Orwell, we still have the microphone. Come share a Fast Sunday with us and I will see if I can get you put on mike duty.

  109. Do you have to hold the priesthood to pass the mobile microphone?

  110. Do you have to hold the priesthood to pass the mobile microphone?

    No, but it does give the teachers quorum something to do that will cause them to be actually seen, forcing them to at least dress nice for Church…

  111. We still do a haunted house in our ward, but I’m so not in love with the church-wide trunk or treat phenomenon. So boring!

    I almost forgot about roadshows! Weird, so much stuff is gone. And out east, we don’t have a lot of church sports that I still hear about from my family in CA.

  112. My sister just did a road show not 6 months ago…

    About 2-3 months ago, I was oiling the equipment on the welfare farm…

    My grandmother gets her door knocked on every month (she’s in a neighboring ward) for the fast offering collections…

    Not all of those are gone yet.

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