So the General Conference priesthood session is going to be broadcast live and in real time over the internet for the first time. My husband took the news hard. For Brother J, being forced to put on a suit and tie and drive out to the church to watch priesthood session is a sacred tradition. It’s his favorite excuse to hang out with a bunch of other dudes, in a world where there apparently aren’t that many legitimate excuses for dudes to hang out with each other. I think when he was a young man, the menfolk in his stake would have ice cream sundaes afterward or something, and so it was awesome. For the last several years he has organized a priesthood session after-party that involves going out and eating manly food (e.g. ridiculously-hot hot wings or ridiculously-hot something-else that you can make fun of somebody for not being able to eat, oyster shooters, deep-fried Oreos—that sort of thing) and playing video games at the nickel arcade. It’s harder than you might think to coax adult Mormon men into attending a guys’ night out; many of them feel obligated to go straight home and “spend time with their families” or whatever. I think the first time it was just him and one other guy, but it has since grown into a group of maybe six other guys, and now that our son is ordained, he and his Aaronic priesthood-holding pals get to come along and be full-fledged members of the man tribe. How are they going to get dudes to go out and eat hot wings and play arcade games after priesthood session now that dudes can sit around the house and watch priesthood sessions in their pajamas?
Yeah, I know, they can theoretically eat man food and play video games at home, too, but 1) what kind of lame tradition is that, and 2) that’s what they do while the ladies are out watching the Relief Society broadcast.
So I’m kind of sad for my husband, if this actually is the end of an era. Even if it’s not the end of the priesthood session after-party, it’s never going to be quite the same now that priesthood session isn’t the super-secret and exclusive meeting they’ve been pretending it is all these years. Will the magic still be there? I just don’t know.
And what about my time-honored tradition of welcoming my man home from priesthood session by demanding to know what new ways he learned to oppress me this time? He’ll just tell me I should have watched it myself. (Like I have time for that sort of thing.)
Personally, I’ve never been particularly interested in attending priesthood session. And I don’t mean that in a “gosh, I’d never want to attend priesthood session, that’s too much responsibility” way, just a “gosh, that sounds like two more hours of TV church that I don’t need” way. I know there are some good talks given there, but that’s what the Ensign report is for—to read all the good talks you missed because you weren’t paying attention at the time or you were a woman. The only thing that would bother me was when my favorite apostle (whoever it happened to be at the time) would speak at the priesthood session and therefore wouldn’t be speaking at the rest of the sessions because that usually meant 12 more minutes of listening to someone less interesting. But what’s twelve minutes in the 10-hour scheme of things?
There’s something else, too: I am happy to let the menfolk have a meeting where it’s just them. I like having meetings where it’s just women. As much as I enjoy and heartily endorse intermingling of the sexes, there are times when I find the presence of men to be kind of a drag. I have to think that men must feel the same way about women sometimes. (Heck, it could be most of the time, but I’m not going to ask.) But enough about them; more about me. As I was saying, I enjoy meeting with just the ladies. I would say that I wish we could have a Relief Society broadcast without any (priesthood-holding) men cramping our style, except that they tend to give the most interesting talks.
And who’s going to give up a chance to listen to President Uchtdorf again? No one. Yeah, it’s so predictable to love Pres. Uchtdorf, but who doesn’t love Pres. Uchtdorf? No one. Even hipster douchebags love Pres. Uchtdorf (though they can’t help pointing out that his talks were better when he was just an Area Authority). The accent is intoxicating.
I seem to have gotten off track a bit. Oh, yeah: Relief Society broadcast. Did you know that we had one last Saturday? I know because I went to it. I went because I always go to it. Because this is our meeting, just for us–us women that is–and therefore I think it’s important, even when it sucks. Actually, I’ve always found something to enjoy about the RS broadcast, even during those years when it was just a 90-minute infomercial for Relief Society and/or how awesome women are. (But wait–there’s more! Act now and you can also hear from Pres. Uchtdorf–at no extra charge!)
Our stake Relief Society always plans a post-broadcast shindig where we all stand around in the cultural hall eating hors d’oeuvres and/or dessert and chatting with each other until they kick us out at 9:30, at which time it’s too late to do anything but go back home to our families, who probably aren’t even in bed yet, even though they ought to be. I like that the stake feeds us and makes it nice, but frankly, I have been a bit jealous of my husband’s non-church-sponsored after-parties (that he gets to have twice a year!) and the fact that he always gets to stay out past 9:30, so this year I organized my own rogue after-party and instead of eating dessert at the stake center, four of us went out to eat and stayed out until almost 11. (It was totally out of control. One of us didn’t even go to the broadcast at all–she just showed up for dinner. That’s how crazy it was.)
But before that, we had the broadcast to sit through. Usually when I have to sit around and listen to a bunch of talks, I like to take notes. Not because I’m ever going to refer to those notes again, because I won’t, but it does help me focus on what’s being said instead of letting my mind wander off into vain imaginings, which is my usual MO in sacrament meeting. (It started when I couldn’t listen to the talks because my kids were distracting me, but after so many years of such distraction, I found I’d developed a taste for it.) Unfortunately, they always turn off all the lights during the RS broadcast, so taking notes is kind of difficult. At least I find it difficult. Well, mostly I just feel kind of silly taking notes in the dark, especially when this is the one time I’m going to look at them and I’m not even seeing them. Anyway, that’s why I was not taking notes at the broadcast, which is why I ended up only half-listening to it. From what I recall, it went something like this: covenants…something…making covenants…keeping covenants…something something covenants…important covenants something…covenants important…President Monson tells a story. Well, that hour and twenty minutes just flew by!
So while we were hanging out at the restaurant waiting for our food, one of us (not me) said, “So what did you think of the broadcast?” There was an awkward silence before one of us (the one who actually took notes, despite the darkness) said, “I really liked President Monson’s story.” We all agreed that Pres. Monson told a very nice story. This reminded our note-taker of the story Pres. Monson told once that she didn’t like (something about a pioneer woman digging a grave for her dead child with nothing but a spoon–I think). This reminded us of the TV shows that we like to watch. And that was pretty much how that conversation went.
Yeah, I went to the broadcast, but I didn’t get much out of it. I take full responsibility. I wasn’t really paying attention. So why am I writing this? Because, gentle readers, BCC hasn’t published any posts on the Relief Society broadcast, and I think that’s a disgrace. Especially since I was counting on someone else to pick up on anything important that may have been said. Yeah, I could look elsewhere on the internet for information, but sometimes I just like to see how much power I wield as an blogging personality and ask people to bring information to me.
So tell me:
* Did you go to the broadcast? If so, what did you think? Did you like Pres. Monson’s story?
* No, forget Pres. Monson. What messages did you get from the RS general presidency? (That was the part I mostly missed. Because it was so dark, and also I was hungry.)
* Did you have an after-party? If so, what did you do?
* If you’re a dude, are you going to put on a tie this Saturday and go to the priesthood session broadcast at your local church building, like our (your) leaders have asked? Have you ever wished you could attend the RS broadcast (perhaps on the off chance Pres. Uchtdorf might be speaking, or so you could get out of watching the kids)?