Top Ten Scary Things….

…that have happened to me while doing something church-related.

10. My first scout campout. I was well-prepared, I knew how to set up my pup tent by myself, my tinfoil dinner was delicious, and I had a blast with the other scouts.

Then it got dark.

I spent the night wide awake in my tent, remembering the campfire story one of the older boys had told about the deranged ax murderer who had escaped from prison and was last seen in this neck of the woods. Sometime after midnight a thunderstorm rolled in, and between the crackles and booms, I listened intently for the footfall of large, hairy carnivores which are nocturnal and can smell fear.

9 . Elder A. and I are tracting and knock on a door. The man invites us in, and escorts us into the living room and seats us on a sofa. A handgun rests on the coffee table in front of us, and the man tells us he was just preparing to use it on himself when we knocked.

8. Scouts again. I ignored the buddy system and left the group. I was sure I could find my way, but when I turned around to go back to camp, nothing looked the same.

7. I went home teaching alone because my companion couldn’t make it. While visiting a single sister, she kept asking me if I believed we should live “all restored principles”. I said yes, and she looked at me in a way the made the alarm bells way back in my cerebellum start to tinkle faintly. Three months later she left the church and joined the FLDS.

6. The time a woman turned her dog loose on Elder K and me.

5. As a scoutmaster, I thought we had lost a boy who wandered off. Ten minutes of sheer terror, believe me.

4. It was a dark and stormy night, and we had already gone to bed when the doorbell rang. I looked through the window and saw a woman I’d never seen before standing alone in the rain. She asked if I was a Mormon, then handed me seven pages of handwritten gibberish she wanted me to deliver to our bishop.

3. I got a panicked phone call from the sister who lived in the next block, and she asked if I could come over right away, it was an emergency. I ran to her house, and when I got there, she was standing in the front yard, beside herself. She had just arrived home from work, but her big, friendly, dumb labrador hadn’t given her the customary full body wag of greeting. Instead, this dog that never barked was standing in front of the coat closet, barking and growling deep in its throat.

2. The night watchman at our mission home made his rounds on a motor scooter, so he usually wore black leather and a black helmet. Once I woke up just as he was checking our back door, and I thought a space alien was trying to get in.

1. Have you ever locked up the chapel at night? That used to be my calling, and it was seriously creepy. It probably has something to do with the contrast between how I usually experienced the building – Sunday mornings, full of light and people and noise – and the darkness, solitude, and quiet of the building at midnight. Quiet, except for the sounds a building makes. You turn out the lights as you go, and you enter dark rooms to make sure the windows are closed and secure. Once I turned a corner and saw a light on at the far end of the hall that I knew I had turned off a few minutes before. I investigated, and discovered that a clerk from the other ward had entered when I was checking rooms on the other side of the building. He worked the graveyard shift, and wanted to catch up on some church paperwork before he went to work. Try it yourself sometime, and when you turn off the lights and walk down the hall, pay no attention to the recessed, darkened doorways.


  1. What happened in #3?!

  2. Ronan,

    Nothing. It must have been a mouse or something. But we didn’t know that until we had each armed ourselves with a tire iron, then thrown the door open.

  3. Hmm, this is fun. Here are a few from my mission.

    1. The Time I was jumped on my bike, speeding down a steep hill, only to realize there were no breaks. I started to drag my feet on the ground and the seat of the bike fell off. I was too afraid to let go though, dodged ramming a motorcycle only to crash into a large pipe which had a joint in it like an upside down capital “T” and I ended up flying through the air and landing in the open pipe, nothing but net. It was scary because it was a member’s bike and I had to tell my mission president.
    2. The time I woke up with a large bleeding cyst on a not to be named spot on my body and had to call my mission president and go to the philipino doctor to take care of it.
    3. The time I stupidly acted like a jerk toward a man who was trying to get me to drink alcohol in my third area. I took the cup and poured it on the ground. He freaked out, got all his buddies together to kill me, and we ended up running for our lives through the woods to escape.
    4. The time a man came to kidnap a 14 year old member in my second area, and I knew I would either have to kill him or allow him to kidnap the girl. Then the entire bishopric showed up. The girl ended up running away with him a month later anyway.

    And hear are a few outside of my mission:
    1. When I got my mission call. I was afraid it was going to be a rejection letter.
    2. When I went to get my first temple recommend. I didn’t feel worthy and was afraid I was going to desecrate the temple.
    3. When I am asked to teach rebellious teenagers. I am afraid of teenagers.

    Anyway, I like being in the church by myself late at night.

  4. 10. Spiders
    9. Spiders
    8. Spiders
    7. Spiders
    6. Spiders
    5. Spiders
    4. Spiders
    3. Spiders
    2. Spiders
    1. Spiders

  5. Two scary things I can think of, other than being in charge of the nursery:

    1. I used to visit teach a young woman who seemed very fragile emotionally. Her husband was in the military and she didn’t like the next transfer he was up for. One night a week or so before they were to leave, she called me, and rambled on in a sleepy voice about how she’d just called to say goodbye. After a quick consult with my VT partner, we called police and went over. She had indeed taken sleeping pills and was later ok.

    2. One time our RS was asked to help clean for a couple who was moving. The townhouse was in Bristol PA, which is now a VERY rough area. It was only sort of rough then. When I got there, I got stuck with the attack– it was full of dead birds, and maggots, and we used shovels to clean them out. Outside there were hookers and drug dealers on the street. I’m not sure why on earth I stayed and cleaned up dead birds. Wouldn’t do it now.

  6. I just have time for two:

    1: Stake outdoor activity. Watching my five year old daughter, who was floating on an inner-tube at the time, get caught in a swift current and swept downstream and around the bend of the river toward some fairly strong rapids. There was no way I could swim to her and the undergrowth kept me from running along side her. Fortunately, about 10 minutes later I was able to catch up with her and pull her to safety. She wanted to do it again. I wouldn’t let her.
    2: My only white-knuckle home teaching experience. I had only lived in the area (Columbia Gorge of Washington State) for a week and was assigned to be HT companions with an 82 yr. old former Bishop. He insisted on driving. We were driving down the highway at about 35 miles an hour on a 55 mph windy mountain road. He started relating stories about all the accidents that he had been in recently. “They were not my fault but the policemen always gave me the tickets. That wall was too close to the edge of the road. They shouldn’t have built it so close.” We approached the entrance to the property of one of our families. “I think they live up here,” he said. All I could see was a dirt road disappearing into heavy woods. We drove for at least two miles through the thick forest. It was getting dark. I kept checking my cell phone. No coverage. I kept looking for Sasquatch. He kept saying that he “thought” we should be getting there soon. Finally we saw the lights of the home ahead. It was the right place. I managed to find an excuse to drive on subsequent HT visits.

  7. Locking the church up at night! That brings back some memories. Our building is an old one, added on to several times during the years. There are some walled off rooms, a staircase leading to nowhere anymore, a mysterious (at night, anyway) room under the stage, etc. On top of that, it’s the church I grew up in and so there are memories in every nook and cranny.

  8. I completely agree that being in a church, alone, in the dark is one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. As a youth my dad served in the Stake Presidency and I would often borrow the keys to shoot baskets in the late evenings. A few times I went home early because I got so creeped out about being in the church alone at night. And after turning out the lights I could not get to the doors fast enough.

  9. A 12 year old boy scout in our ward fell asleep behind the curtain on the stage during scouts (no clue how that happened). He woke up in the middle of the night in the dark. He tried to call home, but his folks wouldn’t answer the phone (they thought he was home), I think they’d been getting crank calls. So he walked the mile home in the dark.

    He’s a scout leader in our ward now, five kids.

    I ended up being the last one in the building once and I made Bill come and get me. I kept looking down the hall and thinking of Jack Nicholson limping after me with an axe.

    Probably my most scary moment was early in my activity, attending a fireside and being called on out of the blue by an overzealous speaker to bear my testimony. I will never recover from that.

    My Jared gets claustrophobic in tents. So the first time he went on a campout, he scared the crap out of the other scouts by screaming in the middle of the night. He never quite woke up, either. So they just tore the tent off and he slept content under the stars. He did it when we went camping once and it was the eeriest sort of sound, low-pitched at first and then very very loud.

  10. I have always thought the church building late at night was spooky, which is always a little ironic to me. In most cases, it appears to me to be a spiritual sanctuary, and a place of safety. Nonetheless, I always get a little tingly if I am the last one there after an activity.

    Scariest thing for me has been losing scouts or young men on campouts or high adventure trips. As my long-suffering wife will attest, it has happened all too often. We once lost 3 boys on a backpacking trip in the Uintahs on our last day of a week long trip when we got strung out on a trail, and they took a wrong turn at a river crossing, and instead of heading back up hill to Mirror Lake, they turned and headed down the Duchesne River canyon. It took us about five hours to locate them once we realized they were missing, and they had gone some 8 miles in the wrong direction.

    After moving to Washington, I took our priests and teachers on a too long trip to the Southern Utah deserts, and had a great time until our YM president started having heart irregularities, some 1100 miles from home, and in a very remote desert area. Fortunately, we got him into an airconditioned motel, and he was okay after that. On the same trip, my second oldest son, after a day on the Colorado whitewater rafting, had a classic case of heatstroke in the evening while I and one of the other adults were away from camp to get supplies. By the time we got back, he was having double vision, and close to being in shock. We rapidly got him cooled down, hydrated, and gave him a blessing, after which he almost immediately fell asleep, and was totally fine in the morning.

    After that trip, I vowed never to take a youth group that far from home. It’s also now somewhat of a church policy to not stray so far. Suffice it to say that in spite of all good preparations, you never know what’s going to happen.

  11. Age 15 and never seen an R-rated movie in my life. My whole family was out for the evening and I had the house to myself. They were showing Alien on TV. I watched the whole thing, including that part where the guy is looking for Ripley’s cat.


    3 years ago, I watched The Grudge alone after my wife had gone to bed with the volume low so as not to disturb my daughter in the next room.

    I also had to lock up and check the church building that month.

    Yes. I am a sissy.

  12. Seth, ever see The Ring? That one scared the snot out of me.

  13. Actually, the scariest movie I ever saw was before my daughter got married, and my wife and I watched the Steve Martin “Father of the Bride”. Especially the part when the caterer calls with the estimate.

  14. cantinflas says:

    Let’s see here:

    1. When a mission companion (out of the blue) commanded a paraplegic we were teaching to walk. I’m not sure I was scared, but I was horrified.

    2. My heart would always race when being chased by dogs in the mission, especially big dogs. You can kick at them to keep them a step further behind you, but if you fell off your bike you may be in trouble.

    3. I had a major asthma attack at my Stake’s pioneer handcart trek, and no inhaler. It occurred at the end of the day (one-day only) while dinner was being killed, and I kept a keen eye on the parking lot for any car to leave, and I jumped in the first one while yelling to my leaders that I was leaving. I have never been in so much pain from my asthma before or since.

    4. I definitely got nervous when a chollo in my apartment complex in the mish came back and was counting the fresh bullet holes in his car in front of our apartment. I really wished he wouldn’t park in front of our window for a while.

  15. When my current Bishop and I were teenagers we were at church playing basketball with a couple other guys. Everyone left and we were locking up when he started talking about the “Red Man” that had been seen in the church at night. I wasn’t really afraid but it did feel creepy. We went to separate ends of the building to turn off lights and as I walked past a dark hallway something red caught my eye and I nearly jumped out of my shoes and screamed like a girl. The janitor had inadvertantly left the large red vacuum cleaner sitting in the hall way. My bishop refuses to let me forget that.

  16. Nick Literski says:

    But the important question is, did the paraplegic walk? When he didn’t walk, did your companion decide the paraplegic just “didn’t have enough faith?”

  17. Kevin Barney says:

    Great idea for a post, Mark.

    I can’t think of anything truly scary off the top of my head, but I do have a story of annoyance.

    My wife and I were chaperones for a youth conference at Nauvoo. We had a group of about a dozen. There were these two girls who didn’t want to be there and kept going off by themselves. It was incredibly rude and thoughtless of them, because we were responsible for them and couldn’t rest until we had found that they were safe. They pulled this time after time, and it got old in a hurry.

    Finally, it was the Sunday morning testimony meeting, held outside in a big outdoor park. Someone is up there giving a teary-eyed testimony when everyone hears this loud, incessant honking sound. I thought “That sounds just like the car alarm on our Explorer,” but since my wife and I had the only alarm buttons I figured that couldn’t be it. But as the sound didn’t stop we finally went to investigate, and it was indeed our Explorer. The two girls had left the testimony meeting, gotten in the Explorer and locked the doors behind them. Then when they went to leave instead of unlocking the doors, they just tried to open them, and apparently attempting to open a locked door from the inside triggered the car alarm and the doors wouldn’t unlock, so they were stuck in there like rats in a trap. It took me about 10 minutes to finally figure out how to turn off the car alarm, which was basically ruining the whole testimony meeting.

    When we eventually managed to get those girls out of the car, they at last were (finally) humbled and chastened–just in time to go home.

  18. California Condor says:

    I’m sorry Kevin Barney but your story made me laugh.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    No need to be sorry, CC, that’s what it’s there for!

  20. When I was a little kid living in Maryland–I was maybe 4 or 5–my parents went to the temple to do “work for the dead.” They left my brothers in charge of me. My brothers made me watch a cheesy horror movie called “The Dead Don’t Die.” For the last 30 years I have always associated that movie with the temple.

  21. California Condor says:

    Kevin Barney,

    The way you were ranting about the girls, it didn’t seem like you thought it was a laughing matter.

  22. My dad used to check the church building at night. There was this little alarm that went from green to red if someone opened the door without punching the code. So one night when he came in, it was green, but as he finished up for the night, it had turned red. So he had to go around again to every dark room and turn on the lights to see if anyone was there. I guess the person was already in the building when my dad got there, and snuck out, because he didn’t find anybody. That would still scare the heck outta me!

  23. i am a retired custodian and have locked up late at night when you people who walk the halls instead of going into the community to do it and ran into 4 very nervous women who started beating me with their water bottles when one split wide opennd soaked up the 3rd ward bulletin board…the problem with that is that it water stained all their month baptism pictures

  24. cantinflas says:

    The paraplegic stoically looked at him and replied: “I can’t. My legs haven’t worked since I was born.”

    My comp had a nice discussion that night with the MP about the difference in feeling the spirit and feeling emotion.

  25. One night my mission companion and I were on our way to a discussion with a man that we had tracted out earlier. We were walking across a field to his house, and we saw him standing in his doorway waiting for us. At the same time, we both got the feeling that we should NOT go any further. It was almost as if someone was standing in front of us barring us from walking. We both turned around and went home. To this day, I have no idea why we had that impression. Maybe the guy had sinister plans for two female American missionaries.

    Oh, and the Church at night is definitely freaky…

  26. Once on the mission we had a young guy who was always helping us on splits and was preparing for a mission. One night he asked for a blessing to help him prepare better for his mission. We were in the front room of our apartment and right in the middle of the blessing he jumped up and started screaming “!diablo! !diablo!” and ran out the door into the street. After we calmed him down he refused to go back in a swore he saw Satan in our apartment as we were blessing him. Talk about scary… Wierd that is was my most successful area on my mission and we baptised a ton.

    Also, my comp and I had to sprint out of a door after being looked over in a very strange way by an older guy all through a first discussion and all the sudden him grabbing my leg as we were about to close with a prayer!

    For some reason, having a pistol to my head by some punk Argentine teenagers doesn’t compare to the experiences that I mention above…

  27. The doctor told us my four-year-old daughter had cancer in her throat.

  28. Come to think of it, the single most terrifying moment of my life was when I first arrived in my mission and one of the AP missionaries took us out tracting, spotted a young Japanese kid with a soccer ball, and told me quietly “go get him.” I swear, I almost threw up.

    It only got marginally better as my mission progressed.

    That even beats when my car did a 360 and spun off the icy road halfway through Wyoming, with me, my wife, and two daughters in it.

    I really couldn’t hack street contacting.

  29. 1) The sound of bullets flying by our heads on the Brazil-Paraguay border and checking the elders for bullet holes after pulling them up from the ditch we jumped into … Tal, you whiner, oh nevermind …

    2) Street contacting … As soon as I made senior companion, never did it again until I wound up in the office. Seriously, you’re gonna cold call people when you got live bodies with friends and family that they’d just as soon have join them for a little church on Sunday? Now that lack of insight into the human condition is what really scared me …

  30. Nick Literski says:

    I have also had the assignment to check a chapel at night for locked windows, etc. I agree, it was creepy!

    I think it’s interesting though, that when I worked as security for the Nauvoo Temple, I generally worked graveyard shift. I absolutely loved being in the temple with no patrons around. It was wonderful.

  31. Being shot at in Port Eliabeth South Africa while on a bike.

    Sure they were 400-500 yards away. But I still heard the AK rounds go over my head.

  32. Mark Brown, what happened to the man in your number 9? Did he join the church? Did you have return appointments? How cool that you knocked on his door just then. I expect that was God’s work.

  33. 1) Being threatened by a psychologically unstable man with a gun on my mission if I didn’t deny the BofM. That put my junior companion in bed for three days.

    2) Having a man let us into his house to talk – only to ask us if we could perform the same type of miracles he could (like leaving milk out for days without having it go bad). When I think of the Dark Side, I remember the feeling permeating that house. Creepy, no; evil, yes.

    3) Conducting my first temple recommend interview. I was surprised how scary that was.

    4) The first week when I was called as a Primary teacher of the 11-12 year old boys. I chose to teach high school specifically because I was afraid to teach middle school.

  34. When I was in high school I had the opportunity to spend a week with full-time missionaries as a “mini missionary”. There was one time when we were following up on a referral. The guy invited us into his home, then locked the front door and went upstairs. He was rummaging around up there for about twenty minutes or so, every now and then calling down to us that he’d be right there. Suddenly my companion and I both looked at each other and without a word stood up and slipped out the back door. I still get creeped out when I remember the feeling I had in that home.

    I also agree that street contacting is terrifying. I was in one of the first groups to go to the MTC in Madrid; we spent four weeks in Provo and then went to Spain for five more. Our first Sunday in Madrid they told us we were going to go do street contacts. I spent the entire Metro ride paralyzed with fright, and then I just wandered around the park without speaking to anyone.

  35. California Condor says:

    I’ve had about enough games of one-upmanship for one day. Why is everyone trying to out-do each other on this thread?

  36. One-upmanship? (I now will employ the deep breathing techniques I learned in Lamaze class.)

    OK; done. So . . . never mind, again.

  37. Ugly Mahana says:

    Reading the comments of wet blankets who want to criticize instead of contribute. Especially when good, fun, not-to-be-taken-too-seriously stories are being shared. Frightening.

  38. Tatiana, # 32,

    Hey, where’ve you been? Good to see you back around! Yes, we did have some follow appointments with him. The first one went well, but the next time, he was intoxicated to the point of being catatonic. Sometimes he was home, sometimes he wasn’t. The last time we dropped by his apartment, he wasn’t there and the neighbor told us he had gone to a treatment center, then I got transferred. Just one of the many, many tormented souls I was unable to do much for….

  39. California Condor says:

    OK, fine, here’s mine:

    Once when I was a stake president one of the Apostles (Elder Holland) was in town for Stake Conference and he wanted to go on splits with me to visit a less-active member. It was pouring rain. This less-active guy lived in this big 85-year old house. Anyway, as we pull into this guy’s driveway, he comes out the side door wearing a pair of overalls and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun. I looked at Elder Holland and he just looks at me and says “Put her in reverse, President.” (I was driving). As I backed my Suburban into the street, this less-active guy starts sprinting towards us, and Elder Holland says “Hit the gas, president.” So I slammed down on the gas and started peeling out and swerving my Suburban all over the wet street but finally starting going down the road at about 65 mph. Later Elder Holland said he didn’t have a good feeling about that guy. It freaked me out.

  40. Mocking legitimate experiences shared in a spirit of community. Thanks, CC, for sharing.

  41. California Condor says:

    Ray, lighten up. I’m just trying to have a few laughs on a Friday. Yes, I made #39 up completely. No, I’ve never been a stake president.

  42. Mix in a smiley face once in a while, then. In all seriousness, given the condescending tone of some of the other thread contributions, it’s impossible to tell when you are trying to be funny – especially when you use a word like “one-upmanship”. :-)

  43. Steve Evans says:

    Strike two, CC.

  44. California Condor says:

    Ray, a smiley face would ruin the joke. It’s like saying, “Okay, this is supposed to be funny.”

    Plus, they’re trailer-park tacky.

  45. #27, jjohnsen, your comment requires a comment, but I am obviously not alone in not knowing what to say. Please accept my, and I know I speak for so many others, sincere hope your daughter is doing well.

  46. California Condor says:

    #27 jjohnsen,

    I hope you took no offense to my joking on this thread. Your comment is different from most of the others on this thread, so your comment was not the target of my whimsical remarks.

  47. I have really been enjoying this thread, so in the interest of getting other people to share (so I can enjoy more), I will share a couple of mine–although they are nowhere as interesting as yours, Mark B.

    1. At Girls Camp, while sitting around the campfire late, a bunch of the older girls were talking about how Cain was still roaming around the world as Bigfoot. It was very dark, and most of our leaders had already gone to bed. Just then one of the girls semi-shrieked, “Look over there!!!” and pointed to a clump of trees twenty yards away, where something–BIG–was moving. I have never in my life felt that sort of heart-stopping terror, and the wash of cold sweat all over.

    (It was a deer.)

    2. During the Rodney King L.A. riots, we had smaller riots in Vegas. Many parents chose not send their kids to high school that Friday, at least in my inner-city high school, but my sisters and I went to school. We were told to keep our cool, avoid big groups of people, and stay away from any known “gang” groups. During a class break, I turned a corner and walked right into a bunch of big, mean-looking (at least to a scrawny freshman) guys wearing L.A. Raiders jackets. I was pretty sure I was doomed. That was my scariest moment in high school, even counting the nearby gang shootings and the lunch-time cafeteria knifing.

  48. #39 CC, I thought it was funny. “I didn’t have a good feeling about the guy.” Classic understatement.

    Here’s mine:

    Temple wedding. For some reason I figured he was going to change his mind at the last minute. It didn’t help at all that the whole time we were kneeling at the altar he looked like he was going to throw up.

    I’m really glad they asked him first. Because if I had said yes and he had said “No,” I would have died on the spot.

    We had our 10th anniversary on Wednesday.

  49. With DH’s calling as bish, we have unfortunately been placed in several pretty scary situations. After the arsonist tried to burn down the chapel, locking up the church late at night is rather terrifying.

    BUT, probably the worst situation was when a member of the ward came over and…um…committed a crime in our home. I won’t give more details than that, because too many people in our ward know I write on the bloggernacle. But let’s just say that as a result of this situation I almost demanded that DH be released, and I didn’t go to church for 3 weeks. Sorry no fun details, guys, but you’ll have to trust me that it was pretty scary.

  50. Mark IV (#38) I didn’t know I’d been gone. Maybe I got uncharacteristically quiet for a while or something. But thanks for the welcome back!

    And for whoever that was who called smilies trailer park tacky :):):):):) you must not have met Elder Hobbes yet. He will convert you!

  51. Marjorie Conder says:

    When I was about 8 or 9 years old, someone decided that children did not belong in Fast and Testimony Meeting. So it was decided to show movies in the Jr. SS room to those few kids who didn’t go home after Jr. SS. (Our parents insisted that we be at the Church.) The knucklehead who supplied the movies worked for the county and brought police training films of BAD automobile accidents. To this day I can still see a virtually decapitated woman from one film. My brother and I were seriously traumatized (but silent) about this experience. We never talked to each other about it until just a few years ago, but both of our memories were still vivid. These movies went on for about 3 months until someone (I have no idea who) put a stop to them and we all returned to Fast and Testimony Meeting.

  52. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 21, you’re right, I didn’t think it was a laughing matter at the time, but I do now in retrospect with it safely in the past.

  53. Superactivities. Remember those?

    There was the one where we went to Disneyland and two priests spent the whole time getting stoned on the monorail.

    Then there was the one where we ran the San Juan River and a rainstorm upstream caused the river to rise six feet in the night and it carried all our boats away.

    Good times.

  54. :-)

    Yeah, tacky.

  55. :-D

    Even tackier.

  56. ;-)

    Kind of fun though.

  57. :-(

    Help, I can’t stop!

  58. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    We were having a great F&T meeting in Korea. The spirit was really strong. I was so glad that my investigator family was there. The native missionary BP announced that he was going to give the closing prayer. In the middle of the prayer he started giving a weird, creepy moaning which escalated into screaming. It went on for a minute or two and then he turned around and started beating on the wall. The spirit changed to a really creepy one. The DL said he wasn’t going to tell the MP about it, so I did. I was persona non grata to the MP from then on. The native MP felt that the native missionaries could do no wrong.

    Being left high and dry by the church leadership while my son was dying of leukemia. He was scared and wanted me to be with him. My councilors (I was bishop) told me that they were not going to take any extra responsibility. The SP told me that I was bishop and that it was my job to figure out what to do.

    After being released as bishop, I was called by a mentally ill sister and told that she felt that the world would be better off with out her. I called the sheriff and had them check on her. She moved from the ward after that.

    Being the new hire and hearing the announcement that there will be layoffs.

  59. Wondrous Floyd,

    Your comment reminded me of two similar experiences.

    When I was a deacon, we had completed the passing of the bread and were standing at the sacrament table with heads bowed, listening to the prayer on the water. Suddenly the priest who was praying made some odd noises in his throat and sprawled backwards, knocking over chairs and falling to the floor. It was the first (and only) time I’ve seen an epileptic seizure. But at the time, I thought he was dying.

    I took what seemed to be a great new job three states away from our home. We fully anticipated moving, and were eagerly making plans. My job started on a Monday, and on the Thursday of that week, they announced that they had been acquired by a competitor and most of our jobs would become “redundant” within 90 days. Yikes.

  60. There is a great thread over on mmw about funny experiences in church meetings. It was started in April, has over 200 comments and still gets traffic every once in a while. It highlights the best and worst of our lay ministry and talks by the membership – and simply is hilarious. It reinforces the “speaking unto the Church collectively and not individually” concept really well.

  61. On my mission, we had found the “golden” family — we were tracking down a referral and the wife answered the door with a copy of the Liahona in her hand. Teaching progressed and we invited them to sacrament meeting, which happened to be Easter Sunday. The speaker was to be a man with a long history in the Church in that country, but who had been disfellowshipped, and his wife, who was also a long-time member but had been excommunicated and recently baptized.

    (There was an affair and they had left their spouses and were now married. I’d rather not get into a discussion of why the woman was exed and the Church leader only disfellowshipped. Not germane to the discussion. Move on.)

    Anyway, this couple were to be assigned to speak on Repentance and the Atonement. On Easter Sunday! Excellent! We couldn’t wait to bring our golden family.

    It started well. The songs were good. The branch president, with whom we openly feuded, was on his best behavior. The wife gave a magnificent talk and testimony. Then it was the husband’s term. I had my head down, my arms resting on my legs, and I heard the familiar words, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father except by me” (in Spanish). I thought to myself, interesting that he’s opening his talk by quoting the Lord.

    Then I looked up. And found that Brother X was standing with his head gazing up, his arms fully extended to the sides, with dark spots drawn onto his hands.

    I instantly felt a chill and felt as if my hair were standing on end. I really felt that if I let this continue, we would all be struck down. I glanced at my companion, a college football hero with a national championship ring that he’d use to knock doors, and he was immobile with fear. We sat there as the talk continued and left with our investigator family the moment the prayer was over.

    (It was a very quiet walk all the way to their home. No one said a word for several blocks. Then I ventured, “So, what did you think of Church?” The wife looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “That was the most wonderful experience of my life!” Oh, fine.)

  62. I heard a story once from a mission president to Russia about how when they picked up new missionaries at the airport, they’d transport all of their luggage back to the mission home while the missionaries and the assistants would ride the subway back so that they could contact people.

    This continued until they arrived at the mission home and found that they’d lost one. The mission president was notifying the Area Presidency while everyone went back out to the subway to look for the missionary. They ultimately found him at another stop — turns out that he was engaged in conversation with a rider and missed the stop.

    I can only imagine the terror the MP felt…

  63. Re #35 and “games of oneupsmanship”:

    Long before there were computers or television, before movies or records, long before the Olympic Games, modern or ancient, there was story-telling around the campfire or over the communal stewpot. For every day that Beowulf and his brothers spent running monsters through with their bright swords, they spent 364 days telling stories about facing those monsters and their mothers in the dark, scary mere. And of course each storyteller shaped her or his tale to be more chilling than the last. That was part of the game.

    There was also a special genre of the sport called the flyting, involving an exchange of personal abuse in verse form.

    Many thanks to all the BCC story-tellers! What good reading on a rainy Saturday morning!

  64. There was the time we were invited into a home just south of Kyoto on a sunny summer afternoon. After we spoke to the man of the house and his pre-teen children for a few minutes, we asked about his wife.

    He said he had killed her in a fit of rage, and then that he had tried to kill himself when he realized what he had done. He raised his shirt to show us three jagged scars across his belly.

    I looked at him, at the children, and realized that we were in the same room with a killer, whom the Japanese authorities had released (either finding him not guilty, or insane–we couldn’t figure it out). I just wanted to get out.

  65. Not church related, but checking the church at night is a piece of cake. For true thrills do the night weekend check at the meatpacking house. Basically you are checking that the coolers and freezers are still cooling and freezing. There are no windows, lots of big sharp equipment, no lights except your flashlight, the constant hum of the coolers, and a few million pounds of meat in very large storage rooms. That will make you really nervous, especially if you have ever seen any low rent horror movie.

    Otherwise while on my mission I saw a picture of my young men’s advisor plastered on the front page of the papers. I guess he had started an affair with a young man, got frustrated, beat the young man and his parents to death with a cricket bat, and then climbed up a tree with a rope around his neck and threaten to jump if anyone came near him. Not really scary to me, but I can remember the times I got a ride home from him.

  66. Mally Cargo says:

    okay so was sitting in my room, i was home alone. then i herd somthing downstairs. i called for my dog lucy but she never came. i did here somthing running up the stairs. i looked and nobody was there. i went back in my foom and somthing was under my bed. i will never go in my room. it is still locked and noone has gone in it.

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