It is a good thing the church doesn’t publish instructions on how to perform this ordinance, because I would have probably done it about a hundred times by now to the church’s computer system.
Let me explain. One of my callings is clerk, so I’m one of the guys who stay after church on Sunday and account for the donations. We enter all the information into the computer, make sure it all balances, and then transmit it all to the church’s main computer in Salt Lake City. Simple enough, right? Well, it is, unless the computer you are using is ten years old and you have to transmit over DIAL UP.
There are several frustrating things about it all. The old computer is slow enough already, but then the church adds all kinds of monitoring and filtering software which imposes even more overhead. The network’s name is Moroni, and my guess is the reason that name was chosen is because nobody wants to get caught looking at teh porn on the toobz by Captain Moroni. But Moroni is old and slow, and when you combine that with a computer that is old and slow, and then you combine that with a dial-up modem, you have the perfect recipe for clerkly frustration.
This is how it went for me on a recent Fast Sunday.
2:30 Church is over.
2:45 Go to the clerk’s office with bishopric counselor. Begin opening envelopes and counting donations. Enter it all into the computer.
3:30 Begin the balancing process. Make sure that the money counted matches the total on the donation slips. Double check everything.
3:45 Begin preparing the bank deposit and transmission to SLC.
4:00 Begin transmission. Listen to the modems squawk at each other as they synch up. Watch the progress bar telling you that the process is now 5% complete.
4:10 Rearrange the drawer which holds post-it notes and paper clips. The progress bar says 23% complete.
4:15 Go get a drink (of water). Stop in the foyer and listen to the speaker in the other ward for a minute. Back in the office, the progress bar now says 48% complete.
4:25 After reading scriptures for a few minutes, you see that the progress bar is at 62%.
4:30 Think of all the ward members now at home who are digging in to their second helping of dessert. Wonder if any of them appreciate you. Conclusion: No. Progress bar says 71%.
4:31 The modem drops the line and the transmission is aborted. [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted].
4:32 Begin the transmission again. This time you can’t hear the modem squawk because your growling stomach is making too much noise.
4:40 You only get to 15% this time before somebody calls the bishop’s office. Since the bishop’s phone is on the same line as the modem, the transmission fails again.
Such is my life on a Sunday afternoon. I have sometimes had to try nine (9) different times before a successful transmission was achieved. At a time when I should be home enjoying pot roast and a nap, I’m stuck in a windowless cell of a clerk’s office, growing an ulcer and wondering why the universe hates me. Sometimes we clerks commiserate and we have concluded that the reason the office doesn’t have a window is because we would be tempted to throw the computer out of it and then yell “We’re mad as heck and we’re not gonna take it anymore!”
I realize the church has many demands on its resources. I realize that on Sunday afternoon there are probably thousands of wards strung out all the way from downtown Salt Lake City to Fleabite, Louisiana all trying to transmit at the same time. But let’s get serious, this is the twenty-first century. Let’s join it, and install high speed Internet access in the clerk’s offices. I will be grateful, my growling stomach will be grateful, and most of all, my bishop will be grateful, because then I won’t need to make an appointment every week to repent of my language and close calls with the Word of Wisdom.
We can do this. Yes, we can.