An Apologia for “High Church” Mormonism

MLP

MLP

Readers of BCC will have noticed a persistent interest here in things Anglican. If it isn’t Kristine reminding us once again that on the eighth day God made British choirboys, there are all the posts in the Mormon Lectionary Project, Ronan’s Christian Disciplines series, or John F.’s posts about occasions when Mormons get liturgical (including this Rosh Hashanah post). Occasionally, people wonder about the implications of all this crypto-Anglicanism. I mean, isn’t it good that Mormons left some of this stuff behind, the light of the Restoration dispelling the shadows of apostasy?

Allow me, then, to offer an apologia, one which I hope will be useful as the Mormon Lectionary Project gears up for a busy Easter season.

My road to high-church Mormonism probably began on my mission in Denmark (though, to be fair, I was a rather Anglophilic teenager). There, Christmas festivities center on Christmas Eve and, in both of my relevant areas, included a service at the church. To be sure, this was still an LDS service, and it wasn’t so very different from the Christmas programs that many of our wards put on, but as I sat in the service my first Christmas Eve, I recognized that these faithful saints were holding on to something good from their collective religious past. In this way I began to learn that there was much good in the religious practices that preceded the Restoration.

The next step for me was the music. I grew up not really knowing about the great tradition of liturgical music, so this has been something I’ve had to discover (and am still discovering, really) on my own. But I’ve always been struck by the power of Renaissance polyphony, and once I learned to call it by that name I’ve sought it earnestly as something virtuous, lovely, of good report (especially in a stone-walled cathedral), and praiseworthy. I also discovered Tallis as a missionary, and he’s stayed with me ever since.

Probably the determinative thing, though, was being assigned to come up with sacrament meeting topics when I was in the bishopric in Boston. I wanted—and the bishop wanted—our meetings to have real spiritual power. We wanted to inoculate against boring talks to the extent possible. We wanted to send people to the scriptures in new and profound ways. At first I came up with topics that were more than usually challenging, assigning the speakers a few scriptures to chew on while trying to figure out what to say. Then, almost without knowing it, I moved in the direction of liturgy. Thinking it a shame how little we Mormons do to prepare for Easter, which ought to be the spiritual pinnacle of the year, I decided to focus the talks in the weeks before on the seven last sayings of Jesus, followed by Easter talks on the Atonement. This way of combining time, scripture, and spiritual preparation made for a powerful experience that the whole ward shared.

These realizations coincide with something Ronan observed in an earlier post: in abandoning the “sacred time” of the old liturgical calendar, we’ve given ourselves over to secular time, making it possible for our wards to have a bigger to-do about Halloween than about Easter. This is not to say that the Church itself ought to embrace high liturgical worship, but rather that individual members might benefit from closer attunement to the rhythms of sacred time. I’m not trying to remake Temple Square over into Canterbury Cathedral—just bringing what I find good in Canterbury (or Rome, or anywhere else for that matter, as in my Gandhi post) into my lived experience of Mormonism.The lectionary in particular helps to establish the rhythm of sacred time for me.

Some combination of my bishopric service and graduate-school immersion in the scripture-soaked English 17th century primed me to appreciate the lectionary deeply. I love how the lectionary puts scriptures into conversation with each other in ways that invite careful introspection while working to place the hearers in the Christian calendar. The lectionary feeds into the collects, brief set prayers carefully crafted, in the Anglican tradition, by Thomas Cranmer, the 16th-century architect of the Book of Common Prayer. (Often, these translate prayers from the old Catholic Sarum Rite missal.) These beautiful prayers give specific praise to God, while also requesting blessings distilled from the lectionary scriptures.

As a student of Milton (and a dyed-in-the-wool Mormon) I have great sympathy for extemporaneous prayer. The usual argument for this unscripted approach is that set prayers lack spiritual power, having become hollowed out formalities rather than hallowed orisons—as though our pleas for fireside brownies to “strengthen and nourish our bodies” did not betoken a vestigial belief in transubstantiation. In my experience, the spiritual power of prayer depends less upon the form used than upon the attitude brought: perhaps if the brownies did not nourish us, the sociality did, causing Brother Joseph to smile down from heaven. Similarly, Cranmer’s collects, when treated as the occasion for honest reflection rather than as mere words, have nourished my soul, and I have felt God’s power strengthen my heart.

If Mormonism claims to encompass all truth, this need not include only propositions. Might it not also extend to ways of seeking the divine? I feel that anything that connects me with God connects me with Mormonism, my spiritual home. In keeping with what Kristine has written elsewhere of her own experience, this is my mother church, the place where my spiritual legs, lungs, and heart developed. I am in no hurry to leave her bosom behind. Rather than signaling the abandonment of the apostate past, I believe that the Restoration can mark its redemption. Even if some of us see the liturgical past as spiritually dead, might we not love it back to its true life—effect its resurrection, in other words? Our mother church, I believe, can draw nutrition from this past and convey it to us as the sweet milk of eternal life, forever and ever, world(s) without end.

For the music, I offer this piece by Thomas Tallis, which a ward choir, given sufficient practice, can tackle (shout out here to Chapel Hill 1st Ward and the fabulous Jill Austin, who jumped at the suggestion). The text is scriptural and will therefore not run afoul of any doctrinal lines. It’s even in English, though I can pass it off as a “Latin song” when my three-year-old requests one at bedtime. The Choral Wiki has arrangements in various keys, in case your Primary isn’t stocked with trained boy sopranos.

Comments

  1. JeannineL says:

    A couple of years ago, I had our ward choir sing this. They loved it.

  2. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    This is the final track on BYU Vocal Point’s “Fatter than Ever.” (1996)

    [audio src="http://www.tantararecords.com/mp3/FTE/FTE_14.mp3" /]

    Looks like a similar arrangement, not do-woppy.

  3. john f. says:

    Fantastic. I’m so glad you wrote this — this captures my own thoughts and feelings about these things very well, my appreciation for the liturgical calendar formed as a missionary in Germany and a student in the UK rather than Denmark and Boston, but still remarkably parallel.

    This genuine love of sacred time and the interest in taking Brigham Young and Joseph Smith at their word as to The Grand Enterprise of Mormonism to seek out and incorporate Truth wherever it might be found, circumscribing it into one great Whole, including all which is virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy from the liturgies and sacred observances of the faiths that are part of our common heritage, also inform the existence of the Mormon Society of St. James (https://www.facebook.com/groups/146926408811901/), which at this time on the verge of celebrating its one year anniversary has already served as a vehicle for enjoying sacred time and liturgical contemplation, both through attending services (e.g. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152055157631327&set=gm.221508074687067&type=1&theater) and through undertaking reflective intellectual and physical pilgrimages together (http://bycommonconsent.com/2013/03/30/a-stranger-a-pilgrim-liveblogging-el-camino/).

  4. Mormonism has stripped out spiritual power from its services, much like what happened to New England Puritanism. Correlation took away local control of Sacrament Meeting and replaced it with virtually nothing. Coming into the Catholic Church, I’ve discovered the rich liturgical tradition that is wholly Christ-centered, as opposed to Mormon meetings where the music is mostly uninspiring, while scripture readings and discussions about the teachings of Jesus are increasingly rare.

  5. Jason K. says:

    Jeannine and Larry: I’m delighted to learn that other Mormons are singing this marvelous song. Power to you both!

    John: Thank you for reminding us of the Mormon Society of St. James. I’ve benefited greatly from participating in its activities, and I look forward to many more. The 13th Article of Faith really is the guiding principle here, along with Mormon’s dictum that all things good come from God.

    Paul: While I disagree that LDS sacrament meetings, low-church as they are, wholly lack spiritual power, I will affirm with you that a good Catholic mass does invite rich contemplation of the Savior’s life and atonement. That’s why I make it a point to go from time to time. In any case, God speed on your journey.

  6. “scripture readings and discussions about the teachings of Jesus are increasingly rare.” Wow. That has certainly not been my experience. I’m not questioning your experience, but it certainly is not universal. From where I sit, I’ve seen an increase of scripture readings and discussions about the teachings of Jesus. I suppose that’s just a reflection of different local leadership.

  7. Also, I wholeheartedly agree with Jason, that a good Catholic mass can be spiritually uplifting. I hope my last comment doesn’t suggest otherwise.

  8. This is lovely, John. The Lectionary project is enriching my spiritual life, and I love feeling the depth of the Christian calendar more fully. It was a delight to me, years ago, when I learned the word to describe the music I already knew I loved: polyphony. I love the Tallis piece, though there is no place for in a choir that can pull it off. I will sit raptly in my seat, however.

  9. I have often experienced liturgical envy myself. I love what you’ve said here.

  10. jlouielucero says:

    Mormonism is a pretty broad brush to paint with in saying the power has been stripped. I think the OP shows examples of how individuals who seek Christ and the goodness of Christ from all places and then share them with their congregation, spiritual power and the love of Christ can bring that power to “Mormonism”. There is no doubt that many miss the wonderfulness of that power do to the embrace of correlation, but having a consistent message is not the problem (and can be very helpful), it is the apathy of the people who should be seeking Christ and bringing that power to the services and instead choose to be mindless and lazy in their relationship with Christ. My guess is that apathy exists in almost every religion, the difference is that many apathetic Mormons tend to continue to go to church as it is demanded by the culture. My hope is to inspire people out of that apathy into finding Christ in the ways presented in this post and many other ways. The embrace of the spirit of Christ and the awesomeness of many liturgical traditions and all kinds of other great things will bring more happiness and goodness to the world.

  11. “Mormonism has stripped out spiritual power from its services…”

    We regularly have wonderful, spirit-filled meetings in our small ward, lovely choral numbers (although not so much the congregational singing), and touching testimony meetings filled with members testifying of the role Jesus Christ and his atonement and gospel plays in their lives. I am very sorry if you are having a different experience, Paul, and I feel for you, but you can only speak to your own experience and not for all of “Mormonism.”

  12. Jason K. says:

    Let’s be easy on Paul. Our good experiences do not invalidate his negative ones (although they do show, as others have said, that his comment isn’t universally applicable). We should rejoice that he is experiencing a rich engagement with the teachings of Jesus and leave it at that.

  13. Sorry; I didn’t refresh the page before posting to see that the concern had already been addressed. Didn’t mean to pile on.

  14. Jason K. says:

    No worries, Amy. Things hadn’t gotten out of hand yet, but I wanted to comment before they did. It sounds like you have a good ward!

  15. marginalizedmormon says:

    One of the sad things I’ve witnessed (and it has a flip side; sometimes the same people ‘perform’ over and over again to the point of tediousness) is competition among LDS. I knew one young person who was very talented who ‘served’ musically only when asked and with some hesitation. This person was not from an ‘inner circle’ family; wasn’t a popular youth. A leader complained to one of the parents that the young person was being too much heard. The talent and spirit were both of substance, and others had asked the person to perform. One popular youth with a negligible gift was always praised and ‘performed’ much more.
    The first young person, though continuing to go to church, did not, even when asked, serve musically again.
    The problem was that the complaining person’s children, also musically talented, refused to serve. Must have been some kind of resentment. “If my child won’t serve; neither will yours.”

    I don’t know.

    There are always those who with purity appreciate the gifts of others, but some are very self-seeking.

    I don’t think there can be too much musical beauty in worship.

  16. Really excellent post. Wish I could have been in your calendar-sensitive Boston ward. I love high-church, but have trouble executing calendrical appreciations on my own.

  17. Ben, hopefully the Mormon Lectionary Project will provide support for you in that. It has for me!

  18. woodboy says:

    Excellent, thank you. This is also my go to piece for a first introduction to English choral music in Mormon wards. Or at least it was, back when I used to do that sort of thing.

  19. Thanks Jason for putting these thoughts down for us. Clearly there are limits (both doctrinal and in terms of individual comfort levels) on formalism and liturgical calendar integration in Mormonism, but the concept of High Church and preserving a sense of sacred space and sacred times is something amazing.

  20. I sang that years ago with a ward choir but I somehow didn’t realize it was Tallis. D’oh!

  21. “Rather than signaling the abandonment of the apostate past, I believe that the Restoration can mark its redemption.”

    Thanks for this post, Jason. The line above really struck me as something I’d never considered but absolutely should have.

  22. Jason K. says:

    To Steve’s apt observation about the limits placed by doctrine and comfort level, I think that the key is to implement these things in a recognizably Mormon way. Everybody would freak out if the bishop entered the chapel walking behind a deacon swinging a censer, but nobody would object at all if the sacrament meeting talks on the first Sunday of Lent focused on fasting.

  23. “but nobody would object at all if the sacrament meeting talks on the first Sunday of Lent focused on fasting”

    Bingo. In fact, they’d be spiritually fed.

    I should point out a slight ambiguity in the original post. Though some of the collects in the Mormon Lectionary Project so far have been borrowed from Cranmer, most have been drafted by us for a Mormon audience. In other words, by Mormons for Mormons. So if there is some minor level of discomfort arising from the collect in each MLP entry, it might be worth keeping that in mind.

  24. Jason K. says:

    Thanks, John, for that important clarification about the MLP collects. Readers should note also that we’re putting LDS scripture into conversation with the lectionary readings.

  25. Kristine says:

    I also think it’s important to take note of how much of this has to do with temperament and personality. There are people who are far more deeply nourished by our informal style of worship than I am, and who are simply bored by music and poetry that I find transcendent. It’s really important for me to remember that my taste is not evidence of superior intelligence or spirituality, but partly an accident of upbringing and experience and built-in aesthetic sensibilities. In matters of liturgy and ritual, as in everything about being a Christian, charity is to be cultivated above all. (Which is really frustrating to my inner elitist snob!!)

  26. Jason K. says:

    Yes, Kristine, that’s a very important point. None of this is to demean or take away from the reality that people do find spiritual nourishment in low-church LDS worship. We should be more concerned with the fact that people are being nourished than about the precise manner. And where greater nourishment is needed, we should be attentive to the specific needs and temperaments of the people in question instead of being predisposed to a particular solution.

  27. John Mansfield says:

    The Pew report a couple years back observed, “Nearly two-thirds of Mormon college graduates (65%) view evangelicals as unfriendly toward Mormonism, compared with roughly half of those with some college education (52%) and roughly one-third of those with a high school education or less (35%).” It seems that differences in education are a substantial barrier to friendship, and as all readers of this site know, those evangelicals are a bunch of hillbillies. Too bad the poll didn’t also look into Mormon affinity for Anglican worship.

  28. I have attended a few episcopal services and I generally have found the music to be excellent, the liturgy inspiring and the sermons mediocre.

    The problem with the lectionary project is that it seems to arise from a perverse hankering for respectability. The episcopal church is the gold standard for mainline protestant, upper middle-class respectability — the establishment at prayer. As protestants move up the social scale and find their place in the world, they move from the baptists and pentecostals, to the methodists, and then to the episcopalians. It is somewhat disturbing to see Mormons wanting to follow the same trajectory.

  29. Jason K. says:

    As the instigator of the lectionary project, let me say that the “hankering for respectability” you mention never crossed my mind. The main thing, for me, is the way that the lectionary readings put scriptures into conversation with each other in interesting and illuminating ways. And, from a purely literary point of view, Cranmer’s collects are genius, so I enjoy the challenge of trying to write in the form. The goal in all of this is spiritual uplift, with the caveat that it won’t work for everyone, which is fine. See also Kristine’s comment above re: elitism. I fully endorse what she says.

  30. It’s an aesthetic affinity, and a willingness to drop barriers of tribalism and embrace or cherish practices of another tradition (The Church of England, primarily, but also the Roman Catholic Church and Jews, and others — see Jason’s Gandhi post — including Mormon men and women who will be honored in the framework of the lectionary) on their own merit for their ability to draw the heart and mind to Christ, who is the center of the focus of those of us involved in the Mormon Lectionary Project.

    I guarantee you that this is not about attempting to achieve “respectability”. We have no illusions that, as Mormons, our Anglican co-religionists (“co-religionists” because we believe, though they likely do not, that we are on the same team as them in the cosmic scheme of things as disciples of Jesus Christ) would not continue to reject us utterly as has always been the case since the Spring of 1820.

  31. I really like the attention to things Anglican. There’s a similarly long history for me (although my path runs through Roman rather than Anglo traditions). It’s part of what keeps me coming back to BCC.

    As for LDS sacrament meetings, let me suggest that there’s a low-cost way to improve (my opinion on “improve”) . Just shift the scheduling and planning from a “next week” model (which is what I’ve seen in most places I’ve been) to a “next three months” model (which is what we used in one ward where I had some input). There’s a startup cost in shifting from next week to next three months, but after making the transition there is little or no incremental cost going forward (no extra meetings, no additional planning in the aggregate). Even without direction or goal setting, without labels (even the word “liturgy” can be off-putting), just shifting the planning horizon out leads to programs that have the flavor of a Mormon liturgical calendar.

  32. Jason K. says:

    Great suggestions. When I was in the bishopric I planned the topics a year at a time, which caused me major headaches when Church was snowed out two weeks in a row. Doing things a quarter at a time would have been much more sane. And we always tried to give people two weeks’ notice when they were speaking.

  33. Peter H. Bendtsen says:

    Interesting points you bring up and thank you for sharing that music with us. As you may have realized I to have a soft spot for this type of music and the special sound you have in those stonewalled churches.
    I think you have put the bar high in most Primarys for the children to sing this kind of music but it would be nice to let them try it. 
    I have always compared our temples as High Church although they are very far apart but I think there is room for small comparison/similarities.

  34. Planning a year at a time is really ambitious! A three-month horizon that keeps moving is much more doable. In practice we had something like (a) calendar and topics three months out, (b) music two months out, (c) speakers one month out, all rolling forward month by month.

  35. That is similar to my experience dealing with Sacrament Meeting planning on a bishopric.

  36. Jason K. says:

    Christian and John: yeah, I was young and crazy. Your way is much better.

    Peter: I’m curious to know if the Danish congregations in which you’ve participated hold Christmas Eve services like the ones I talk about in the post. I certainly remember having one in Frederikshavn, and I think I remember one in Esbjerg (but I’m a little fuzzy on that).

  37. I find myself oscillating between high church in observance of holidays and readings, evangelical in preaching, and old-school Mormon when it comes to temple practice. The point is that in worship we have a bit of a paradox, it is intensely personal and yet is also often at its best in community. I am excited about the lectionary project and other such endeavors here and in other venues . . . as we approach Holy Week, I will be gearing up with my own set of personal study and family devotionals and would love to share and also learn what works from all of you.

  38. Olde Skool says:

    Amen, and amen. Liturgy internalized becomes, I think, indistinguishable from spontaneous orison. Unforced hallelujahs indeed. You are doing good here, and in all your spheres, JK.

  39. Hedgehog says:

    As the music person handed the topics, I wish our Bishopric would pay more attention to the a regular calender. Last quarter it was left to me to question the topic Priesthood scheduled on Mothering Sunday (which is our mother’s day) – thankfully they adjusted things, and this quarter to ask if they’ve realised 20 April is Easter Sunday. Our primary presentation last year was on Remembrance Sunday.

    There are some things use of a liturgical calender could certainly improve.

  40. Jason K. says:

    Eric: your example inspires this project, and I hope that it inspires you as well.

    Thanks, OS.

    Hedgehog: you’re absolutely right. Closer attention to these things could make our services more spiritually rewarding for members while also being more welcoming for investigators who are aware of the liturgical calendar, however vestigially.

  41. David Redden says:

    Interestingly enough, my family decided a few weeks ago that the LDS church wasn’t working for us anymore, and after checking out a few churches, it now looks like we will be joining the Episcopal church. Nothing to do with respectability or class-based concerns, as suggested by a commenter above. It just works for us spiritually, for many of the reasons hit on in the original post. After my wife’s first visit there, she told me it was the first time she felt the spirit in church for years. That’s not a rip on Mormonism, of course. People need different things from church. I have since learned that there are a number of ex-Mormons who wound up in the Episcopal church. It would be interesting to see if there are commonalities in the reasons why we left the LDS church.

  42. Jason K. says:

    David: may God bless you and your family in your worship.

  43. I love this article and the wonderful discussions in these posts. I was raised Catholic. At age 20 I attended my first LDS Sacrament Meeting and thought, “Wow, this is pretty business like…”. 18 years later, I was baptized into the LDS church and a year later I was endowed in the temple and some things came full circle for me then. The absolute truth of the Restoration and the power of the priesthood and apostolic authority trumps the liturgy. However, I do miss the special attention paid to the liturgical calendar, especially during Lent and most particularly during Holy Week. I was raised with a reverence for Holy Week, especially Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Those days have such a special meaning for me and evoke a certain feeling. However, part of what I have learned during my ongoing conversion process is that “feeling” isn’t the most important thing. Knowing is. I don’t always feel my testimony burning in my heart any more than I always feel madly in love with my husband. Feelings change and come and go. That is why we make covenants. To endure when the feelings may wane is our ultimate test. We will get out of our church meetings (and marriages for that matter!) what we put in. I make every effort to maintain eye contact with the speaker, to take notes, and to pay attention to the words in the hymns while I’m singing. I love Jason’s bishopric experience with focusing the talks (and therefore musical selections) around the liturgical calendar in order to try and evoke more spiritual experiences. We are ultimately responsible for our own testimonies and need to work hard to get out of our meetings what there is for us personally. Additionally, when we need the more personal, focused, intense and traditional spirituality, we need to go to the temple. Maybe that needs to be my new goal for Holy Week this year… thanks for making me think!

  44. Speaking for my Welsh religious heritage that along with the Irish helped bring Christianity to the barbaric Germanic tribes, I’d like to see more (any at all) attention paid to St. David’s Day.

  45. Jason K. says:

    Yes, and there’s some good LDS history we could celebrate in the process.

  46. One approach is to be more active in developing an LDS liturgical calendar. We have something of a sense of calendar with the observance of April and October conference and July 24, but watching eight hours of repetitious talks on TV or the computer isn’t everyone’s idea of worship and July 24 is more ethnic than spiritual, a sort of Utah Mormon St. Patrick’s Day with root beer instead of green beer. However, why could we not observe Book of Mormon Day on the Sunday nearest 9/22, Joseph Smith’s martyrdom day the last Sunday of June, Christ in the Americas the Sunday after Easter (which would also get us to focus more on Easter, a traditional holy day we do technically observe but could emphasize much more) and co-opt the Sunday nearest All Hallows Day and All Souls Day to observe the spirit of Elijah and temple work (which would also help balance the influence of the broader culture’s obsession with Halloween)? I am sure that bloggernaclites could think of some other days for an LDS liturgical calendar.

    This is not to criticize the beauty of the traditional high church Christian calendar, which I greatly appreciate (and let’s not leave out the Eastern Orthodox), but I think you would have a greater chance of getting average LDS to have a greater liturgical sense of season if we use LDS points of reference rather than (or in addition to) those borrowed from others.

  47. Jason K. says:

    Great suggestions, JWL. We do have quite a few days planned to honor LDS “saints,” but I love Christ in America Sunday, Book of Mormon Sunday, and a day for Elijah and temple work. I’ll try to work them in. Thanks!

  48. It also occurs to me that observing Joseph Smith’s martyrdom the last Sunday of June could provide an interesting counterbalance to the occasional jingoism of the 4th of July observances which follow.

  49. Jason K. says:

    Ooh, yes. And observing him in June is definitely better than Smithmas.

  50. To the contrary opinion, it was, in fact, the not letting go of Protestantism, that stifled the Restoration and made short work, actually no work at all, of Zion. Mormons should have made all things new, music, preaching, gospel nurture by the wisdom gained from accomplished sainthood rather than just pack em in the aisles, collecting the best of the best.

  51. It’s worth considering that one of Mormonism’s distinct theological contributions is the notion of creation ex materia, as opposed to creation ex nihilo. So Mormonism can hardly help but be shaped by its roots in Protestantism, as they’re what we had to work with. The creation of Zion is still very much a work in progress.

  52. “The creation of Zion is still very much a work in progress.”

    Yes, and, as President Uchtdorf very effectively expressed in his address in the Priesthood Session last week, the Restoration also continues to be a work in progress.

  53. Peter H. Bendtsen says:

    Jason I would believe that this special Christmas meeting is now a days held in all Wards and bigger Branches of the church here in Denmark. This tradition is taken directly from the Protestant church in Denmark where close to 80% of the Danish population are members of.

    Not many of the Danes goes regularly to church but they go on Christmas day.
    Many LDS therefore also love this tradition and went to the Protestant church Christmas Day before we started having our own Christmas meetings.

    And all this simply started by the many members going to the Protestant church of the LDS people when they started asking there local Bishops to make our own Christmas Service.

    I will therefore just suggest that you ask you Bishop to start having this meeting Christmas Day and have your friends go and ask him to if you not already have this meeting.

    How are they held?

    At this meeting there will be a lot of focus on singing the Christmas Hymns and there will be a reading of Luke 2:1-20 often read by a YM or YW and 1 og 2 speakers and will be about 1 hour long.

  54. Jason K. says:

    Thanks for this information, Peter. I remember the meetings being much as you describe them. My family usually goes to another church on Christmas Eve—last year it was the local Anglican, and Duke Chapel the year before that—but I’d gladly attend an LDS service instead (much as I did enjoy worshiping with the Anglicans).

  55. ditto

  56. I just ran across this article and I loved it. As a young active member of the Church, I would love it if we incorporated other traditions into our worship. I am 100% in support of a having a liturgical calendar that closesly mirrors the Christian calendar with some LDS points of reference that JWL mentions.

    Perhaps incorporating the calendar can infuse more spiritually where sometimes our low-church style can leave people thirsty for more spiritual nourishment.

    Also, the idea of having music such as Tallin’s would be awesome in our Church. I also don’t mind the Southern Baptism “Hallelujah” choirs either. Sometimes you just need to get up and clap because you’re happy for what the gospel provides!

  57. Now that it’s complete, I just have to say thanks to BCC for this series. This is my first time experiencing High Church Mormonism during Holy Week and I was blessed. Thanks!

  58. Jason K. says:

    You’re welcome! In the coming months we’ll be expanding the series to celebrate a broad range of figures from within the LDS tradition, as well as many from without who have contributed to the spread of light and truth in the world.

  59. I was raised Catholic in the ’70s, so with the rise of Guitar Masses and the charismatic movement, with some of history’s worst pseudo-folk worship music, “a good Catholic Mass” was hard to come by in my boyhood. However, I now work for a Christian not-for-profit with Lutheran roots, and they observe some liturgical calendar events – we have Advent and Lent services for employees who wish to attend, and this Latter-day Saint has sung in the choir, read Scripture, and even served as host (we’d say “conducting”) for those services. As a choir director in the Church, I’ve tried to get out of the hymnal and into Protestant hymns, including many of the majestic old Anglican/Episcopal ones (especially when I can do it by using a familiar LDS hymnal melody). I like to think that adds something to our meetings.

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