The Laundry List

People sometimes talk about what changes they’d like to see at Church.  I’ve decided to compile a little list of things that I would change, provided that (a) my voice mattered and (b) God ever ratifies my list.  These items are in no particular order.  Some may respond that the Church already offers some of these things.  If so, you’re welcome to explain in the comments.  My response, generally, will be that there are pockets within Mormonism where such things are offered/taught, but not as a general matter.

1. A salvific solution for singles in the church that affirms their equal value before God, while not diminishing eternal marriage.

2. A YW program with the same outdoors opportunities and financial burden as those programs offered to the YM.

3. A seminary program that teaches the scriptures and teaches young people how to ask hard questions to gospel questions and how to look for answers.

4.  A YW program that reinforces the power and value of women in the Church, and that teaches the history of women in the Church.

5. An Aaronic priesthood that focuses more on service within the ward and less on performances (e.g. sacrament distribution playbooks).  This is part of an overhaul of the YM program that focuses more on giving YM the chance to be adults and to contribute to the health of the ward.

6. Church archives that are completely unrestricted except for safeguards around preservation of materials.

7.  No more Friends of Scouting.

8.  Bring back the Lectures on Faith into the D&C.  Get rid of the bracketed language in D&C 131:2.  Either remove Section 132 or clarify that it was for a different time and a different purpose.  Leave polygamy behind for good.

9.  No more Conference talks on how religious freedom is threatened.  We get it.  

10.  No more apologetics that focuses more on criticism of fellow church members than on establishing clear reasons to believe in the restored Gospel.

11. No more telling people not to study the Church on the internet.  That ship sailed a decade ago.

12.  More action for refugees.

13.  Conference talks about gun violence.

14.  Conference talks about economic disparity.

15.  Conference talks about climate change.

16.  Conference talks about human trafficking.

17.  Conference talks about not feeling innately spiritual.

18.  Nut-free meetinghouses.

19.  Public, Church-owned transportation to meetinghouses/temples.  Would assist the elderly, indigent, infirm, and would reduce traffic and emissions.

20.  Continue to invest in and develop the communities around meetinghouses/temples.

21.  More Festinords.  If the Church really wants to give singles the opportunity to meet and fall in love, invest in opportunities to do so.

22.  Less infantilizing of singles.  Marriage does not mean a special form of adulthood.  Let singles be leaders in wards and stakes.

23.  Less stigmatizing of divorced persons.  Don’t fire CES people.  Automatic granting temple divorces if requested; God would not coerce anyone to remain sealed.

24.  Either let women get sealed to multiple spouses, or don’t let men get sealed to multiple spouses.

25.  An endowment ceremony that more clearly treats men and women as being on equal footing before God and each other.

26.  More emphasis on almsgiving and church welfare. It is one of the things we do best.

27.  Missionary work should be almost entirely devoted to serving the community.  John Fowles’ prior suggestions should be taken to heart.

28.  No stigma for missionaries who leave later.  18 is too young for many.

29.  No stigma for children who are baptized later.  8 is too young for many.

30.  Basic special needs training for Primary workers.

31.  No more mandated Plan of Salvation talks by the bishopric if you want a funeral in a Church building.  It’s an insult to the bereaved.

32.  Permit cooking in the meetinghouse kitchens.

33.  Permit surrogacy and remove stigma around infertility within the Church.

34.  De-emphasize the divine nature of the U.S. Constitution and the founding fathers.

35.  Continue to denounce the prosperity gospel.

36.  Clarify that healing is a gift of the Spirit and not solely a priesthood function.

37.  Clarify that spouses have an intrinsic right and duty to bless each other and their children.

38.  Consider not making every man a member of the priesthood.  Dissociate priesthood with male identity.  The two are not the same.

39.  Increase the role of the patriarch and add the role of the matriarch.  Consider Matriarchal Blessings.

40.  Allow women to be interviewed by other women if they prefer.

41.  Revamp temple recommend interviews to focus on a belief in the restored Gospel and devotion to the Church.  Remove most of the questions as appendages to this.

42.  More awareness of current global events and a demonstration of the Church’s willingness to be a continual force for good.  We could learn a lot from Pope Francis’ approach.

43.  LDS Pilgrimages instead of Trek.

44.  Boys and girls should each participate in the pinewood derby.  Adult involvement in car preparation should be absolutely prohibited.

45.  Adult pinewood derbies with no rules. 

46.  Two hour block.  RS/PH to move to midweek.  Sunday School to be robust scripture study including context, non-LDS interpretations, and personal application.

47.  RS President to sit on the stand.

48.  Elders should be able to move to High Priests when they feel inclined.  No more stigma for not becoming a HP.

49.  A recognition that sin requires choice, ergo homosexuality cannot be sin.  Rescind the exclusionary policy.  Encourage committed, loving relationships among people regardless of sexual identity.

50.  Reinterpret the Word of Wisdom.  Permit the occasional drinking of wine, beer, cider, etc.  Emphasize healthy eating of sustainable, natural foods.  Emphasize regular exercise.  Preach against the abuse of prescription medication.

51.  Remove stigma of depression.  Provide increased Church resources to assist the clinically depressed.  No more preaching that depression = failed application of atonement.

52.  Encourage local variation in meetinghouses and decor.

53.  Don’t require Angel Moronis on temples.

54.  More live endowment ceremonies.

55.  Publish the mint brownie recipe.

56.  Give us a liturgical calendar.

57.  Teach us how to have a holy death and how to care for our elderly.  We don’t know how, anymore.

58.  Add “#NeverTrump” to the political neutrality statement this year.

59.  Don’t require active temple recommends as a condition to continued employment for Church employees.  This encourages people to lie and hide their sins.  Pastoral care is more important than ensuring employee holiness compliance.

60.  Spend less money on BYU football.  Spend more money on BYU sciences and humanities.

61.  Decry rape culture where ever it is found.  Make women equals as leaders and persons.

62.  Make the Honor Code an honor system.  Nobody likes a rat.

63.  Get rid of the no R-movie notion.  Ensure that people evaluate movies carefully based on the Lord’s standards.  Don’t entrust judgment to the MPAA.

64.  Allow Pokemon Go on Church wifi.

65.  More career resources for women, and no stigma for women that work.  We should encourage all members to exercise their talents and skills, including mathematicians, programmers, scientists, astronauts…

66.  Buy the Utah Jazz.  Make em play in all-white jumpsuits.

67.  Acknowledge that racism is still a big problem in the Church.  Apologize for the old doctrine and priesthood-temple restrictions.  Admit that it was taught as doctrine.

68.  More leadership from outside the United States.

69.  An International Music Competition akin to the International Art Competition.  Featured entries from both to be played in Conference and displayed in Church buildings.

70.  Emphasize the material culture and richness of our people.  Display framed quilts on the walls in meetinghouses.  Display the work of our hands.

71.  More Church farms — more particularly, Church gardens instead of big, useless lawns.

72.  Continue to emphasize family as a salvific vessel within the Church.  Bring back temple adoption (but adopt into the family of God).

73.  More aid for bishops. It is a long and lonely job.  Consider making it a paid position.

74.  More aid for Relief Society Presidents. It is a long and lonely job.  Consider making it a paid position.  And call them President.

75.  Give the Relief Society its budgetary and leadership independence again.

Anything I missed?

Comments

  1. observer aka says:

    This is awesome. I’d be back in a heartbeat were even 90% of these adopted!

  2. I love some of these, strongly disagree with others, and am not particularly optimistic about any of them taking place.

  3. Julie M. Smith says:

    “Nut-free meetinghouses.”

    Like peanuts or like crazy people?

    #44, revised: NO ONE should participate.

    Re #58. I’m thinking about how hilarious that would be if that hashtag were literally at the end of the neutrality statement.

    My additions:

    1. permit women in the US with minor children to be temple workers.
    2. call the mission pres’s wife the Mission Advisor (I stole this idea from McBaine’s S2 article).
    3. Have some of the music in general conference be a live (or time delay, if needed) feed of a local choir from any corner of the globe.

  4. I assume you meant “nut-free meetinghouses” literally, not metaphorically. The former seems possible; the latter, not so much.

  5. CJ: you don’t say!

  6. Rats, Julie beat me to it.

  7. Julie: like peanuts, if not both… And excellent suggestions.

  8. observer aka says:

    Oh. And my mom has the mint brownie-recipie-above-and-beyond-all-mint-brownie recipies. I really do not understand it, and I’ve asked her why over the years, but it is kept in a hidden, tarnished three-ringed binder on an upper-room shelf in a remote county in Utah, dispensed only after decades of friendship, kinship, and apprenticeship. People from my childhood still hunt her down using media like land-line phones and hard-copy hallmark cards in the U.S. Post asking for it. She cannot be bothered about it, its very bizarre.

  9. Sounds like what you want is Mormon theology and temples grafted onto the Lutheran Church. (ELCA, not Missouri Synod). Not a criticism–Lutherans are my favorite Christians–just an observation. Have you considered nailing your 75 theses onto the St. Lake City Temple Doors?

  10. We did #45 in my ward – in retrospect, not a good idea. Let’s just say that fire extinguishers were involved.

  11. Yes to the pilgrimages and the liturgical calendar! (No surprise, coming from me!)

  12. Remove the POX.

  13. Allow women to be witnesses of baptisms and sealings. They are already missionaries so God has already blessed/ordained women to be witnesses.

  14. If we are adding to the wish list:

    Make visiting teaching and home teaching voluntary programs, with the goal to have long term relationships between families built.

    Have a mother’s room Sunday School and Relief Society class. (Also, have a bathroom in the Mother’s room, but don’t put the Mother’s room in the back of the bathroom.)

    Have the High Priests teach the cub scouts how to knit hats and have a yearly contest to see which quorum can knit the most hats for the homeless. (I love the ward where this is a real thing, and what it says that the High Priests are almost always knitting during quorum lessons.)

  15. Didn’t 63 basically already happen? They took it out of For the Strength of Youth a while back and I think that’s the only formal place it was advocated. Is that still a thing talked about in a formal way? Maybe it is and I’m just out of the loop.

    I would also add that the church needs to make women’s garments far more reasonable. Like basically a total overhaul of women’s garment patterns. And as part of that a better approach to teaching the principle of modesty. Ditching hemline policing and what not.

    Also, I have a lot of thoughts about #50. I agree that the church’s strict stance can be counterproductive and even in many ways goes against the spirit of the revelation itself, but I don’t know how the church could loosen those reigns without basically abolishing any Mormon distinctiveness on that front.

  16. Fragrence-free areas in the chapel.
    And we have a ward garden. I love it.

  17. Require background checks annually for all people who work with minors – primary, YW/YM, seminary, bishoprics, stake presidencies,…

  18. bryndisrob says:

    Would you be interested in and/or willing to publish a FEMWOC list?

  19. Yes to beefing up the Young Women program. Death to Scouting. Stop Trek and anything else that would be prohibited if you were treating POWs that way under the Geneva Convention. On number 50, make it clear that failing to take ALL your antibiotics correctly will result in being disfellowshipped or excommunicated, as you clearly wish death and plague upon mankind. Have a one-hour evening Sacrament meeting available in stake for those who have to work during the day. Teach kids and young women that it is okay to say NO. No to being overscheduled, no the Eagle Scout award, no to home teachers, and no to strict ward boundaries.

  20. Pray tell – when during the week will you have PH/RS? What magical place is it where you live that has enough meetinghouses to pull this off?

  21. Just for fun, here’s ones I disagree with (in some cases strongly, in others less so) and would love to hear more about why you want them:

    8. Bring back the Lectures on Faith into the D&C.

    No, it’s mediocre theology and best left to be studied for its historical significance, not its theological contribution.

    46. Two hour block. RS/PH to move to midweek.

    I like the first part, and dislike the second.

    56. Give us a liturgical calendar.

    Only if the good folks at BCC are allowed to create it. Otherwise, I’d rather have this continue to grow and thrive at the grassroots level. But ensuring that sacrament meetings on Easter actually focus on Christ, the atonement, and His resurrection would be a welcome change.

    66. Buy the Utah Jazz. Make em play in all-white jumpsuits.

    No. Just no. Though this did make me laugh.

    73. More aid for bishops. It is a long and lonely job. Consider making it a paid position.

    Yes to the first part. No to the second.

    74. More aid for Relief Society Presidents. It is a long and lonely job. Consider making it a paid position. And call them President.

    Yes to the first part. No to the second. And maybe to the third (I’d rather we call everyone brother and sister and get rid of ecclesiastical honorifics altogether, but if the option is between maintaining the status quo and having all RS Presidents be called “President,” I strongly favor the latter).

  22. Jeannine L. says:

    Yes to EmJen’s addendum.

    My contribution to your list?

    Get out of the Church Discipline business and try pastoral care instead of institutional shaming.

  23. As I’m reading this, my heart is beating faster and faster- with the exception of the few funny ones, this is the church I want. This is the church I hope for, and closer to the church I imagined I was joining 14 years ago.

    Add:
    Get rid of separate gendered activities for kids 8-11. Combine scouts and activity girls, meet weekly, share budget and share teachers.

    Ban any object lesson for YW/YM- no modest is hottest fashion shows, nothing that objectifies our youth in any way.

    Teach the YW that college and career is JUST AS IMPORTANT as it is to the YM. Prepare for a self-sufficient life, and teach NO lessons on marriage to children.

  24. In other words, using Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations* formulations:

    Increase members’ Liberty, decrease institutional Oppression.
    Increase focus on Care for members, decrease institutional Harm to members.
    Where Authority, Loyalty, and Sanctity are propping up Oppression and Harm, mindfully reconsider how essential they are.

    *http://www.moralfoundations.org/

  25. Re: 34, In the new Philadelphia Temple’s entry, one is immediately greeted by a painting of Ben Franklin signing the Constitution: http://religionnews.com/2016/08/04/a-new-mormon-temple-rises-in-ben-franklins-philadelphia/

    I get that it’s a shout-out to the local community, but given our history (and present) of John Birch Society style politics infecting the church, I found it troublesome.

  26. YES to EmJen’s suggestions of removing the POX and allowing women to witness. Both should be absolute no-brainers.

  27. Not a Cougar says:

    Make the priesthood garment a purely ceremonial item worn only in the temple.

  28. This list did more than confirm my existing opinions but also surprised me and made me laugh out loud at times. Well done, sir.
    #18 – I totally took as a double meaning. In fact the nut allergy angle occurred to me second.
    #35 – Oaks is on it!
    #37 – Very interesting idea to focus families on self-care while engaging both mothers and fathers in a spiritual endeavor. Too often, wives outsource all the “spiritual” stuff to their Priesthood-holding husbands and have no real personal investment or opportunity to grow.
    #40 – YES
    #41 – I agree. Less is more. But I should mention that our current TR interview is better than the oddly specific older lists of questions that mentioned things like fences and cattle.
    #43 – Fantastic!
    #45 – I LOL’d
    #48 – Srsly
    #50 – Nice update, although I’m not giving up my Diet Coke no matter what changes there are.
    #57 – Very interesting
    #62 – Indeed
    #70 – WOW. Love this.
    #71 – Great idea! It could be like at Disneyland where every plant in Tomorrowland is edible. This would also help ward members know how to grow things in our climates, and would be helpful for any indigent population nearby. Perfect idea.

  29. I really love this list and so many of them seem so plausible if leadership were to budge just a little. I think they would be surprised by how many people would come back (including many of my own family members) if many of these things were in place.

    I would add that nursing mothers should not be banished to crusty old rocking chairs in the corner of a stinky bathroom. Actual nursing rooms, or better, everyone being more okay with nursing mothers in public I think would help a lot of people out.

    Also, a rule not to call people into primary or nursery their first week/month in the ward.

  30. Though it already touches on each, there are a lot of non-US, women’s, and PoC related items I would add to this list. Some have been mentioned in the comments. I would LOVE to have Bryndis’ list posted here!

    I agree that garments need a complete re-think, but if we implement #41 then for me it would be largely a moot point. In the absence of a TR interview prying very specifically into my garment practices, I would end up wearing them only on certain occasions and the daily monumental struggles I have with them would not happen.

  31. Emily: I mentioned the policy.

  32. Tag each calling with a realistic estimate of the amount of hours a week it will take to magnify the calling. For example, A primary teacher would have 3 hours of volunteering attached to it (two during church in Primary on Sunday, one preparing the lesson sometime during the week). A ward clerk might have 5-6. A seminary teacher might have 8-10. Callings that require greater than three hours of volunteering a week should not be given to men or women who have nursery age children. All hands are need at home during those intense early parenting years.

  33. Michael: I want home teachers, but I want more of it than a monthly lesson. I don’t need lessons. I need friends.

  34. Bryndis, you bet.

  35. Allow people who LIKE scouting to serve in the scouting programs.

  36. I’m in favor of keeping Scouting – or at least some sort of outdoors program (sans arrow of light BS).

  37. Garments: Let members just buy whatever underwear they like and then draw or stamp markings on the inside. I mean come on.

  38. The Philadelphia Temple *could* feature a mural of fans throwing snowballs at Santa…

  39. Sgnm, maybe not that far, they should be white, but yes.

  40. Forever ban the showing of Johnny Lingo.

  41. Meh. They’re not even all white now.

  42. Nursing in meetings should be a no brainer! Agreed, Ashmae.

  43. 9. No more Conference talks on how religious freedom is threatened. We get it.

    You’re fighting a losing battle on this one. (http://beta.deseretnews.com/article/865660518/LDS-Church-developing-web-page-to-educate-Mormons-so-they-can-defend-religious-freedom.html)

    48. Elders should be able to move to High Priests when they feel inclined. No more stigma for not becoming a HP.

    How about allowing HPs to attend EQ? In many wards, EQ struggles because the most dependable men get called into bishoprics for a few years and can’t ever come back to EQ.

    60. Spend less money on BYU football. Spend more money on BYU sciences and humanities.

    This one may actually happen if the BIG12 rejects BYU.

    66. Buy the Utah Jazz. Make em play in all-white jumpsuits.

    Buy the NO Saints. Move them to Utah. Put an Angel Moroni on the helmet.

    73. More aid for bishops. It is a long and lonely job. Consider making it a paid position.

    Better yet, share the bishop’s burden within the ward counsel. Make HPGL and RSP responsible for disciplinary actions and TR recommends. Make EQ responsible for missionary efforts. Let the bishop focus on the youth and AP functions (tithing, employment, welfare, facilities)

  44. On #48, why do we even have a division between EQ and HP?? We don’t have an age or importance-of-previous-callings division in RS. What is the actual point? So that one group has to do all the physical stuff like moves and the other group can spend 3rd hour napping and contemplating their former greatness?

  45. It’s a separate gradation of priesthood office, but yes, it has devolved into an age division.

  46. Dave K, good thoughts, except the Saints suck.

  47. it's a series of tubes says:

    Sounds like what you want is Mormon theology and temples grafted onto the Lutheran Church. (ELCA, not Missouri Synod).

    hehe, my thoughts exactly.

    Many of the items on the list are great ideas. Quite a few are nonstarters, and a few are stinkers (paid RS/Bishop? that’s will significantly strengthen ward unity and a class-free ward…not). All in all, a great list for discussion.

  48. cookie queen says:

    Dope. 😎

  49. You know, I actually don’t feel drawn to Lutheranism at all! Odd.

  50. Re Religious Freedom – They are doing a pilot of a traveling road show with Elder Oaks, Elder Keetch, and Elder Wickman that will focus on religious freedom. The pilot is being held in North Texas on 9/10 – my stake is hosting the three and it will be broadcast to all other stake centers in North Texas. If there’s “interest”, it will then be done around other places in the country.

    So don’t expect this to end anytime soon.

  51. I want to second the “fragrance-free chapel” thing – my wife can’t attend RS because sitting in that room gives her intense migraines.

  52. Jared vdH says:

    At least according to the financial statements BYU provides to the Department of Education, the BYU Football program is self-sustaining. The only monies it spends are those donated specifically for that purpose or those that the football program itself earned.

    Of course that doesn’t account for the original funds spent decades ago nor the various school structures and expenditures that indirectly benefit the athletics programs, but the only way to truly untangle all of that is to go the BYU Idaho route and abolish intercollegiate athletics altogether. Many wouldn’t like that, but it may be a morally stronger position.

  53. Steven (11:40 am),

    Okay. Then buy the Browns. The mascot can be “Hugh Bee.” .

  54. Sold.

  55. queuno, you went there, didn’t you?

    -Eagles fan

  56. Thanks Steve, this is a great list!
    Here’s my two cents:

    #8 revision: Decanonize D&C 132. Period. Admit it was an error in the same vein as other errors (such as Adam/God theory and the priesthood and temple ban).
    I would change #41 to: The temple recommend interview should contain one question and one question only. The last one.

    I would add:
    Separate the temple sealing ordinance from the wedding. Thus ensuring no one is left standing outside and missing their loved one’s wedding.

    Make the wearing of garments optional outside of the temple.

  57. “Buy the NO Saints. Move them to Utah. Put an Angel Moroni on the helmet.”

    And we can give New Orleans the Jazz! (Mascots would make a lot more sense.)

  58. Gretchen Alice says:

    Yes and yes. A few additions…
    1. Let mothers hold their babies during baby blessings. Better yet, let mothers bless their babies.
    2. The YM also get the YW lesson about the history of women in the church.
    3. My ideal church would be sacrament (with no testimony meeting on the 1st Sunday) followed by RS/EQ/HP/combined lessons for the YM/YW. Sunday School is during the week, focuses on scriptural discussion and insight and is totally optional.
    4. A complete reworking of the MTC / mission program, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  59. Kevin Barney says:

    This was fantastic. What a list! A few thoughts:

    6. The archives are better than they used to be, as now they actually have a professional access policy. But I’m sure there are still areas were more open access is needed.

    7. No more FoS is a no brainer.I actually self-medicate on this one. I once was the FoS coordinator for the ward (I had not idea what it was when they called me), so I can tell when they’re going to do a FoS pitch in priesthood, and I conveniently absent myself from those meetings.

    8. Personally I am not a fan of the Lectures of Faith.

    28. I would add no stigma for missionaries who return early. We’ve been improving on this, but we’re not all the way there yet.

    31. YES! Elder Packer single-handedly ruined Mormon funerals. It’s time to make them authentically Mormon again–as celebrations of the life of the deceased, not a First Discussion.

    33. I would also remove the silly “discourage” vasectomies clause from the Handbook. It’s not the church’s business and it’s universally ignored anyway.

    I also agree with no little girl lessons focused on weddings (like trying on wedding dresses).

    Personally, I don’t see why the division between EQ and HP is necessary. The RS seems to manage without a similar age division.

  60. Love these. Love the garden idea. Permaculture ward houses!

    Some of my additions off the top of my head:

    No more “bans,” cultural or practical, on tattoos or piercings.

    No more rules, written or unwritten, against facial hair or non-traditional hair dye on people who serve in positions of authority.

    And PLEASE at least sleeveless garments!!!

  61. Make seminary an at-home program with once-a-week check-ins. This would allow kids to get the sleep they need, and still be accountable.

    Garments- please. If we cant make them just ceremonial, at least contract with companies that actually design and make underwear, and for the love of God (literally) get rid of the sleeves on the women’s tops and let us manage our shoulders ourselves!!

    Make it a punishable offense to pass out vast swaths of text to read from the book and call it a lesson.

  62. In response to #41, one time in a temple recommend interview by the stake pres counselor I was just asked to bear my testimony. It was great. I assume he figured I answered all the questions ‘correctly’ to my bishopric member and wanted to get to know me better, rather than just recite yes or no.

  63. Let members chose which ward they want to attend for whatever reason. I would switch wards right now based on different times available and what works for me. 9AM church is great for some. 3 PM church is better for others. 11AM church is adored by many. Let people decide

  64. Waive the one-year waiting period for couples married civilly to get sealed in the temple.

  65. Jared vdH says:

    RE: Amy @ 12:05pm

    In my parents’ town near San Antonio, TX, there are two wards. It is also a high growth area with lots of move ins from around the country. However, nearly all of the growth comes to the ward my parents are in because people will visit before moving to check out both wards and then deliberately move into my parents ward. For whatever reason people do not seem to like the other ward, it doesn’t matter what time they meet at. The building isn’t big enough to have them all meet as one ward.

    If we allowed members to choose which ward they wanted to attend, how would you address this issue and others like it – where a ward is left to wither on the vine because of cliquishness amongst the members?

  66. Others commented and JJ said – “I would also add that the church needs to make women’s garments far more reasonable. ”

    What I mean agreeing with that is, “Let a reasonable woman – that would be ME – make a reasonable, personal, and private decision about the meaning of the garment in her life and when to wear it.

  67. Create a new category on the donation forms for “Professional Cleaning of Ward Buildings” so people who hate cleaning and won’t do it and want to just spend a Saturday in the mountains or at the beach with their families can still contribute to the matenance of the meeting house. It could be a world wide program . Eventually there could be conference talks about those poor others in some other place who were so blessed by our generosity and so grateful that their meeting house chalkboards were cleaned.

  68. I’m probably the only one that doesn’t like the gardens at the church idea. But that’s because I don’t want to be pressured into spending X hours a week tending a garden at the church. **I’m just going to look at this clip board long enough to act like I’m considering signing up and then pass it on**

    I’d like to ditch sleeves on men’s garments too, or at least make them shorter like women’s sleeves. They seem to always be longer than any short sleeve shirts I have unless I buy XL shirts. And making the bottoms shorter would be nice too.

  69. I am so behind doing some creative combination of #1 and #72.

  70. Huh. I missed it on the first go around. It doesn’t need to be near the top of a laundry list, but if we were to rank them, it should be much higher.

    Also combining 3 and 67 (and will probably be talked about on Bryndis’s list): On no account should we teach our seminary students that the priesthood/temple ban was of God. Stop this teaching from happening in the coming weeks all over the CES world. We’re in deep poo when it actually gets taught.

  71. No disagreement from me. And yeah, this list is no particular order.

  72. Like most, I agree with some and disagree with others.

    I didn’t see it on the list, but can we have some quality control on the sacrament meeting talks? I feel embarrassed with how poor the instruction is, or how little we actually discuss Christ.

    Lets talk about the Consitution and proper role of government more, not less

    Lets let mothers hold their children during blessings

    Drop Scouts entirely!

    Lets make actual steps toward building zion, rather than just paying it lip service

    Sacrament meeting breastfeeding should be acceptable (why is this still an issue?)

    YM/YW/SS/Prim classes and lessons out in the ward gardens tending to plants, flowers and trees

    Definitely address the WoW with teaching what it actually SAYS!

  73. 33. Permit surrogacy and remove stigma around infertility within the Church.
    YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

  74. Clark Goble says:

    A few thoughts.

    1. I don’t think salvation is the concern for singles so much as a question for here and now. I think it’s fairly well established doctrinally that everyone gets a chance before the resurrection. Speaking as someone who got married when older (and as an aside only in the Church and the Beverly Hillbillies is marrying in ones 30s marrying late) my concern was what to do socially once you hit your late 20’s. (Not that I think the Church has a good solution)

    2. Individual Bishops can do a lot to equalize YM/YW but I agree I wish it was more universal.

    3. I think seminary that engages with the harder social issues in applying the gospel could be much better too.

    4. A manual for YW, RS, and PH that spends 2 – 3 chapters on major women the way the current PH manuals spend a year on a single prophet would be nice. There are lots of women to pick from even if one avoids the messiness with heroes of mine like Zina Huntington. i.e. do what the Brigham Young manual did and just avoid polyandry and so forth.

    5. Again I think this is tied to local leadership. AP are supposed to be doing a lot of service.

    6. I think the lawyers will veto this. I’d like more activities not tied to the church put on by individual members though. Why are we expecting Church structure to do these unrestricted activities? Nothing stopping people from doing them right now.

    7. I’d like to get rid of scouts entirely. The new system is much more laid back (and in my ward we’re pretty inclusive of young women) but really there are issues with the system as a whole.

    8. Lectures on Faith is just too problematic along a slew of lines. I’d rather have the King Follet Discourse and Sermon in the Grove before we brought back LoF. It’s format as a quasi-catholic catechism is problematic too.

    9. It’s an interesting question here. I think most of us get it, but I think part of it is motivating people politically because as we’ve seen with Johnson, most don’t get it.

    10. I’m mixed on this one. On the one hand the tendency of apologetics going back to Nibley to play group identity games is both counterproductive and annoying. That said I think there are people who portray themselves one way when their actions demonstrate something else. I think pointing that out to people encountering writings/podcasts more casually is important. I think the other thing is that while sometimes we have to be bold, we then have to followup with love. That followup has all too often been missing. But I think apologetics is getting better in this regard. There’s a big difference in tone from the 90’s.

    11. Yup. Now they should be pointing to good resources. LDS.org is doing better but there are other good resources. I’d add that volunteering for some of these other sites would be helpful.

    12. Could you expand what you mean here on a church wide level? I’d like to see some of the brethren calm things in Twin Falls a little, but my sense is most of the agitators aren’t LDS.

    13. I’m more mixed here. (Suprise 2cd amendment supporter) I think emphasizing gun safety in homes like safes and locks is important. Maybe some emphasis in FHE. But gun violence isn’t exactly being done by active LDS. Some might think the solution is for responsible gun owners to give up their guns, but I’m really skeptical there.

    14. I do hope more talks on economic justice pop up. There were a lot in the 70’s but not as many since. However I also worry about people expecting their political beliefs to be emphasized in Church. Especially in a polarized world.

    15. It’d be interesting hearing things on climate change. There’s been a bit in the Ensign but not much and nothing at conference. I would like to see a return to the period before Gore and Limbaugh made it into a partisan issue.

    16. I think human trafficking is a real issue and Mormons are surprisingly involved at a disproportionate level in trying to stop it. I’m not quite sure what a conference talk would do though. Again, LDS aren’t the ones doing the trade.

    17. Not sure what you mean.

    18. I do think announcing things about allergies has to be done. However many wards are very transitory. Further most wardhouses have multiple wards. Keeping it totally nut free is pretty hard even if it were a priority. Speaking as a person who struggles at church with mold and mildew though I do wish allergies were more of a focus.

    19. This is a big deal for many areas – especially for Missionaries. Doing it in practice can be a bit trickier given that normally one depends upon car pooling. Figuring out how to do this in a workable fashion seems hard (as opposed to appointing people by the Bishop for particular needs).

    21-22 Not sure what this means. But I would like to see more callings open to singles. I’m not sure about Bishop given the responsibilities. I’d like to see many of the others more open.

    23. I think a lot of reform here would be great.

    24. I’m fine with this, but it would require a pretty major doctrinal change and revelation.

    25. Again, this one requires clear revelation. They’ve made a lot of changes to the endowment since I got mine, mainly taking out masonic elements that bothered women. There’s more they could do, but sometimes it’s not clear what’s an accidental masonic trapping and what’s not.

    Wow – you had a lot. I’ll end there. A lot of the latter ones seem much more problematic. (Especially 48 – 50)

  75. Clark, you don’t have to actually comment on every one of them…

  76. Training for bishops and RS presidents on domestic abuse and sexual assault.

  77. YES

  78. Re: 51. There are a slew of articles on depression in the upcoming September Ensign/New Era/Friend.

    The Friend one is age-appropriate: https://www.lds.org/friend/2016/09/dont-give-up?lang=eng
    The New Era articles are great as a package (some great resources): https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/09/dealing-with-depression?lang=eng; https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/09/understanding-suicide?lang=eng
    The Ensign one is unfortunate as an example of what you dislike (but there is hopefully a better one coming as they tease): https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/09/choosing-to-live-overcoming-suicidal-thoughts?lang=eng

  79. Make that science based training taught by people who work in those fields.

  80. Hi Jared @ 12:15 .

    You illustrated my point perfectly. Assigning where memebers attend church creates problems. One ward balloons because all the affordable housing is in their ward boundaries and the leadership is stretched thin accommodating all those new people. The other ward is withering and the leadership is taxed because they do not have enough members to fill all the important callings.

    Communities are changing quickly these days. We can’t redraw ward boundaries fast enough to accommodate the change.

    My solution is let people decide when and where they want to attend church. People are very capable of deciding what suits them best. If everyone gets to choose, then I bet many members would shuffle over to the withering ward because they preferred a quieter service than what the ballooning ward had to offer. Maybe some people would stay because the time suits them better. Maybe others would switch because the bishop of Balloon ward is lovely, but he has some very concrete ideas about how the youth program should work and that is not what their youth need.

    People tend to know what works for them better than a map. And as we already have problems based on the current system, why not try to be more accommodating of families an their needs.

    Last thought: Hungry, tired two-year-old who misses their nap every Sunday at 11AM church.

  81. Regarding cooking in kitchens. The local building department will make the Church build a commercial kitchen (like the kind a restaurants with a grease interceptor for the plumbing, kitchen hoods, stainless steel ducts, fire protection systems, etc). That’s why they’re “serving areas” and why there’s a placard in every one that says “Warming only! No cooking!” Just FYI

  82. Mormons have an irrational fear of paid clergy. Despite all the pointing to other Christian churches and imagining the horrors of conflicts, and schism, and popularity contests and whatever, millions and millions of Christians have for centuries managed to have very healthy churches with paid clergy, and they don’t even have our geographical ward boundaries system. Things would be fine, really.

  83. I love this. I would add discourage the cultural stigmatizing of young men who choose not to serve missions or anyone who comes home early for whatever reason.

  84. The Parisian bigwigs are not allowing any spires on the will-be-completed-someday Paris (Versailles) temple. I don’t see any Moroni going up on that one. http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/paris/model/

  85. Let YW pass and prepare the sacrament. The current practice is not scriptural.

  86. I think some quality control on garments is strongly needed. It would seem like every year the manufacturing processs or provider that makes them gets worse and worse. In order to be mildly comfortable in them, I need to purchase garments that are bigger than my actual waist size, because the elastic band for bottoms has become unbearable. In contrast, garments from 10 or 12 years ago still feel good and are actually comfortable and I’m surprise by how much they have lasted. If you can’t outsource them properly, then make the use of garments mandatory during temple worship only.

    It makes me miss the times when I was not endowed and a pair of CKs would feel great…

  87. Whoa. This list is amazing, and I was surprised to feel increasingly emotional as I read each item. I know it’s pie in the sky, but if even a third of these could be implemented, I might not have had to step back.

    So many of the people I love and care about are still active, faithful members, and I would wish a church like this for them.

  88. Jared vdH says:

    Amy, I think you missed my point – people are already actively choosing to avoid a particular ward, not because of meeting time but because of social reasons, some of which may be legitimate and others that aren’t. We already struggle with cliquishness within our wards. With your solution how would we avoid the wards themselves becoming the cliques?

    Let me mirror some of your examples:
    Singles, empty nesters and elderly abandoning the 9am ward full of children, which is full of children because 2 year olds legitimately struggle with 11am church, because they “prefer a quieter service” thus leaving only the parents of young children to staff the primary, further reinforcing BCC’s problem with calling parents of young children to the primary.

    Someone doesn’t like the calling they received so they release themselves by switching wards until they get a calling they like.

    Heck, I’ve got a great example from my local situation. We just had a stake split and created a bunch of new wards because our existing wards were bursting at the seams, but we still have the same number of buildings. Thus in the 7 buildings we have all but one of them are housing four wards. The we have wards starting at 8:30am, 10:30am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm. Which do people tend to choose? What happens when 50% of the population wants to attend one of the time slots for legitimate and logical reasons and only 15% want to attend each of the others? You can’t fit that many people into the building! Do you post people at the doors and start turning people away when the building’s at legal capacity?

    And now for one we all here would find abhorent, but we all know would probably happen: People changing wards because their current ward just “makes them uncomfortable” ie. there are too many immigrants, too many black people, too many liberals/conservatives. Thus wards become even more homogenized and people start “suggesting” people attend other wards because “your people” attend that ward and they’ll feel more comfortable there.

    I totally agree with you that the current arrangement is problematic, but the solution you propose is likewise problematic. It would be like suggesting that people pay taxes “when and where they want”.

  89. Stop the tradition of serving the sacrament to the presiding authority first before the rest of the congregation. This practice is so antithetical to the savior’s example at the last supper.

  90. I’d like to hear all kinds of music and instruments played in sacrament meetings and GC, and I’d like more creativity in sacrament meeting speaker planning. It doesn’t always have to follow the same prescribed pattern. In addition, let’s never let a sacrament meeting pass without hearing about Christ.

  91. Clark Goble says:

    Bryce I think that practice is practical in that the presiding authority has to stop the passing of the sacrament if it’s not done right. Usually that’s the Bishop (and usually he halts it even if someone else is presiding).

    Paxton, I think garments could be done better. Although honestly I’ve found it a mix of quality. Some runs are better and some are not. It varies by the style you buy a lot.

    Katie, there are historic reasons to worry about paid clergy. I think a problem that Mormons found even with their unpaid clergy is that problems arise when they’re left in place too long. I’m not sure a paid clergy that gets released after 5 years makes sense. But if it’s a full time long term position then that raises all sorts of problems in my mind. While there are weaknesses with our current system I remain convinced the strengths vastly outweigh the negatives. Plus, on the basis of the Book of Mormon, paid clergy is never going to happen.

    Erik. Yup. I don’t think people appreciate the regulations of public kitchen. There’s no way the Church is going down that route.

    Steve. Yeah. I shouldn’t have posted that. Sorry. Feel free to delete it.

  92. I can’t believe no one has said this yet, but ordain women and girls to the priesthood.

  93. @Clark-

    I think paid clergy would work best when it’s just one person, hired to take care of a wide spectrum of administrative, welfare, and organizational duties, so that bishops and RS presidents and other presidents can concentrate solely on ministry-related tasks. So paid “clergy” would really be a misnomer. Each ward should have a paid, full-time administrative assistant who could work in a ward indefinitely.

    Also, if we’re going to go strictly on what the BOM says about paid clergy, GA’s shouldn’t have stipends and should be working to support themselves by their own labors.

  94. Brother Sky says:

    Apologies if these have already been mentioned; I haven’t had time to read all the comments:

    1. Get rid of the law of chastity. Keep it a guideline, maybe, not a law. The fear of sex and the purposeful, deliberate infantilizing of the members when it comes to sexuality does more harm than good.

    2. Make a much more clear, concrete separation between the church and politics. Stop parroting the conservative party line about gay marriage, welfare and the paranoia about “religious freedom”.

    And I love the idea of garments only being required in the temple.

  95. Hi Jared. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was more control at the local level? It sounds like y’all have a set of problems and challenges unique to your area and that y’all have a very good understanding of them. Please believe that we suffer with another unique set of problems that we are all too familiar with. Too bad your local leaders can’t decide to move to an abbreviated block schedule (perhaps sacrament meeting only or some other creative alternating schedule) because that 8:30 and 2:30 time slot is a real burden and drain on families. Too bad stake leaders can’t pray and seek inspiration for solutions to problems that they understand better than anyone.

    You know the Lord essentially tells us to pay tithing where and when we want. There’s some guidlines of course, but no one is holding my hand as I write that check. It seems to work out.

    Love to you bro.

  96. I completely disagree with your suggestions, but that’s OK.

  97. Jared vdH says:

    Since I feel like I’ve potentially been a bit to negative in my contributions to this conversation here are some:

    More music in sacrament meetings – I actually enjoy most of the songs in the hymnal and we don’t sing nearly enough of them. However I also know in previous posts here on BCC that many people also strongly dislike the hymnal and also tend to dislike congregational singing in general. So I don’t expect this to be well received.

    I also would like a wider variety of music allowable in Sacrament meetings like others have suggested. Though that would also probably have to go along with regular reminders from the pulpit that there’s not one “sacred” type of music, so just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it can’t be sacred.

    Moving PH/RS to weeknights is insane – to even make it feasible for families with children you’d have to have them meet on different nights, in which case you’re breaking up potential family time even more. The 3 hour block came about because meeting throughout the week was too burdensome in the first place.

    Providing real actual training to ward leaders, especially bishop, beyond just a manual and some online videos would do some real good. Better training of teachers even better. Trade-off here is that either CES or some other church-wide bureaucracy becomes a lot more powerful because they’re the ones providing the training.

    Rather than paying the bishop or RS president, we could instead further decentralize their roles of bishop & RS president into the full ward council so that their duties are less burdensome.

  98. More than any one of these suggestions, I would most like to see the church adopt this one (which is actually a prerequisite to adopting any of the other ones):

    1. Care about what your members would like from church.

  99. GST, yes. That’s sort of the point, actually, now that you mention it.

  100. Jared vdH says:

    Steve & GST,

    But isn’t that already part of the problem? I think they do care about what members would like from church – the problem is that the current model works for some but doesn’t actually work for every one and someone has to play referee on who’s desires for change get met and whose don’t. That’s going to perpetually create unrest no matter who the referee is.

    Whoever chooses between your preferences and say, Brother Sky’s above is going to piss one of you off either way.

  101. LDS_Aussie says:

    If the church were an animal and as sick as the long list of required changes seems to indicate – it would probably be put down with a quick visit to the pound for a new one..???

  102. David Udy says:

    Remove all reference to white and delightsome / dark and loathesome.

  103. A certain large number of members of the LDS church are sufficiently zealous that they will accept whatever the church does, no matter what it does. And that’s a great thing! Because it means the church can focus on just trying to do the right thing – the thing that reasonable, good, non-zealots want – and be confident that the zealots will always accept whatever the reasonable people also accept. Because they’re zealots.

  104. LDS_Aussie, thou sayest.

  105. Love the list. What can the church do to remove a stigma? Wife and I are infertile. I also went on a mission late. It hasn’t ever kept us from feeling like a part of the ward. It hasn’t kept us from serving. So I haven’t ever felt a stigma from the church.

    Members can sometimes be oblivious or make dumb comments, but I don’t put that on the church. The church can’t keep insensitive or self-righteousness people out. They need to be there with the rest of us sinners.

    So what does the church do?

  106. Rick Powers says:

    A few questions:
    1) October Conference arrives this year and, remarkably, every item that is recommended here – including ones by commentors – is adopted by the Church. Does the Church then become “more true”?
    2) Does our Father in Heaven have the ability to have thought of these things also? Why hasn’t He recommended these things be adopted by the Church? And if He has, why are church leaders ignoring Him?
    3) By ignoring these things, does it show that the Church is in complete apostasy? Does it mean that they do not receive revelation? Does it mean they do not have the keys of the priesthood?
    4) Should a new church be formed that will add all of the above? I mean, Lutherans are cool and all, but isn’t this an old wine in new bottles situation? This way a church can be formed in our image and function from the ground up. Sounds pretty cool.

  107. It depends on what “true” means, Rick Powers. As far as I can tell from my life in the church, the statement “the church is true” is an idiomatic statement of personal devotion, not a factual assertion about the church itself.

    To answer your hypothetical 1), it would not increase my level of personal devotion.

  108. Rick Powers’ comment is at once valid AND asinine, and it deserves a response. And BCC has been responding to it for 15 years.

  109. You had me at #7, so true. #’s 13-18 had me laughing and I felt the article lost all credibility. Didn’t read anything after that.

  110. Elizabeth says:

    It would be nice if the church (and BCC) was less Utah centric. #19 is only feasible in Utah. It is at least an hour’s drive from the northern border of our ward to the southern border. Out last ward it was more like two hours. The temple is 2 hours away. Our last ward it was 3.5 hours, if the traffic wasn’t too bad.
    As for brownies, mint or otherwise, they should all be banned from ward buildings. Just ask the person responsible for digging them out of the carpet after they have been ground in by people walking through the church dribbling crumbs as they go.
    And Angela C. sometimes the HP are sleeping because they are exhausted from moving folk the day before because the elders couldn’t be bothered. (One time my husband’s HP group moved the EQ Pres. parents because he was “too busy.) Stereotypes are always painful.

  111. 1) Stop equating white shirts with purity. Let people wear whatever clothing/color they feel is appropriate to wear while worshiping on Sunday.
    2) Until the time than women can be ordained, let women hold any position for which priesthood is not absolutely mandated by scripture–clerks, executive secretaries, ward mission leaders, Sunday School presidents, etc.

    Regarding the 2 hour block, I propose the second hour alternates each week between PH/RS and Sunday School.

  112. Also, why would the church buy the Jazz? Literally, the crappiest franchise in the NBA. What a misuse of funds.

  113. Rick Powers says:

    I,myself, have often been referred to as both valid and asinine.

  114. Rick Powers, let me take a stab at your other 8 questions, too. As with all other things, my answers are authoritative and final (winkie face emoticon):

    2)
    (a) “Does our Father in Heaven have the ability to have thought of these things also?”
    I’m pretty sure, yes.
    (b) “Why hasn’t He recommended these things be adopted by the Church?”
    That’s not how revelation is alleged to work in Mormonism.
    (c) “And if He has, why are church leaders ignoring Him?”
    Human frailty and fallibility.
    3)
    (a) “By ignoring these things, does it show that the Church is in complete apostasy?”
    No.
    (b) “Does it mean that they do not receive revelation?”
    No. See 2(b) above.
    (c) “Does it mean they do not have the keys of the priesthood?”
    No.
    4)
    (a) “Should a new church be formed that will add all of the above?”
    If you want, go for it. Starting a new church is, like, the most Mormon thing you could do.
    (b) “I mean, Lutherans are cool and all, but isn’t this an old wine in new bottles situation?”
    I wouldn’t know about wine, since I obey the Word of Wisdom. I’m offended that you would use a metaphor that goes against my religion.

  115. Thanks JoeH for keeping it real.

  116. Marc, it’s sort of like buying a mall.

  117. Eric Russell says:

    Disagree with all 75 of them. You want all this, go join the CoC. Pretty sure they got it all.

    That said, I do have one offering. My wife, a therapist who specializes in trauma, frequently provides training to ward and stake leaders in our area. It’s wonderful to see the light bulbs go off in Bishops’ heads as they realize that people act the way they do for a reason – that people who sin aren’t necessarily morally deficient, but almost certainly struggling with inner turmoil from their past – whether they realize it or not. Also a part of this training is awareness of abuse of all forms and of its traumatic effects. All church leadership need this training.

  118. Rick Powers says:

    sgnm:
    Well, I’m glad that’s all cleared up. Seems authoritative enough to me.

  119. I’m a little surprised to see no mention of the Proclamation on the Family. And I note that #72 packs enough complexity to beg for explication.
    Responding to half-a-dozen entries (and I could write more), I have the sense that the Proclamation and other efforts to stop marriage equality in the United States resulted in an nearly codified rigid one-man-one-woman-dependent-children model and doctrine of “family” from which a number of problems (noted in the list) derive.
    We need a re-do on the concept of family, one that is more expansive and fluid. Polygamy is NOT the answer, but might be given a rejected-but-not-denied historical label as a failed attempt to solve this same problem.

  120. Steve, fair enough. But I’ve at least heard it’s a decent mall. Like, it’s not full of Sears, Mervyns, Radio Shack & The Sharper Image stores. Am I right?

    I have never been. I live in Texas where we have decent NBA franchises.

  121. Most of these concerns are already addressed in Liberal Quakerism. I’d repost the detailed list of ways these were addressed in my new church (I already posted on exmormon reddit), but I’m not sure BCC is the proper place. I suppose you need to ask yourself whether you want to have the patience and hope that your existing church will change as younger people lead, or whether you’ll simply have the courage to change which church you attend. I’m 40 and too old to wait for the LDS church to change. But whatever your choice is, Steve, I understand and support you, and applaud your courage to list your concerns and start this conversation.

  122. I don’t really think we need to reinterpret the Word of Wisdom.. Essential Oils are legal and I hear they can cure everything.

  123. Good point re oils, but you also need the right laundry detergent and nutritional supplements

  124. Mary L. Bradford says:

    Steve for President–USA and LDS!!

  125. Mary: Nooooooope. Noooooooooooo. No.

  126. Changing tables in the men’s room… for babies, that is.

  127. My laundry list has just one item: That members would forget focusing on how the church should change and focus on how they can change individually to build the kingdom. Leave this stuff to those with the stewardship for such things.

  128. Katy Clarke says:

    I would add that YM, Priesthood, and High Priests learn about women in church history as well. We all need to honor and hear about women, not just the females.

  129. Anne Chovies says:

    It seems to me that several things you list are more local culture and less church doctrine. Nevertheless, as such they do need deemphasis at church, clarification that they are not necessarily part of “the gospel”. We’ve been blessed in my stake with a stake president that had been real good about separating church doctrine and practice from culture and local practice.

  130. Anne, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect.

  131. 76. Allow wards to trade their members like sports franchises. Trades can be proposed by ward council but must be sustained by membership.

  132. Provide more training on what domestic abuse looks like — to all members of the clergy, and teach it every now and then in classes.

    Emphasize that families come in different shapes and sizes and styles but all of them are loved of God; every family is empowered to make and be supported in their own decisions about careers, balance, etc.

  133. it's a series of tubes says:

    Marc, with #76 you win this thread, and all the BCC internet things.

  134. DeepThink says:

    Single men between the ages of 30-60 can be ordinance workers. No punishing them for being single.

  135. MikeInWeHo says:

    Great list, Steve. I’d come back if some of those changes were in place. It does sound like you are describing the Community of Christ, though. John Hamer, are you reading this?

  136. No, still pretty different. But some similarities, to be sure.

  137. I’ve been on the 2 hour block bandwagon for awhile, but have recently been musing on an alternative 3-hour concept that would feel re-invigorating, at least to me.

    Sacrament Mtg – 45 minutes. Essentially the same format but just one short talk and one full-length talk.
    2nd Hour – 90 minutes. Make the classes and activities more modular – maybe 3-6 options available at a time (some permanent, some rotating). This would let people bounce around, be anxiously engaged, self-select, and give opportunities to do some good and enable “constructive socializing.” So many options here. Hold ward choir. Open the family history center for indexing or other efforts. Build humanitarian kits. Have a sharing/singing/activity time open to all ages. Have focused, finite courses on the scriptures (i.e. the Gospels, or a specific book, or range of D&C sections, or topically-based), or church history, or the existing temple prep and family relations units. Organize creative missionary and/or service efforts. Hold ward council. Have a provident living unit. Play conference talks (most recent and best of). Organize field trips to visit sick members. Have a dedicated quiet room for personal study or meditation for those who need to recharge. Have a new-member lesson/gospel principles hybrid unit. Every so often, hold nothing and let people interact in an un- or loosely-structured environment to build friendships, enjoy each other’s company, and generally decompress. Gear some of the classes or activities so they could be done as a family, let some classes be youth-focused, or 14 and up, or whatever. Have something available for the parents to leave their kids somewhere if they need a break. Given the marketplace of options, it would probably elevate the quality of preparation. Knowing ahead of time many of these would be finite assignments, it would be much easier for many to embrace, knowing there is an end point (also easier to turn down without guilt…”too busy this time, but happy to for the next cycle”). Another side-benefit is that suddenly the SS presidency would be relevant and busy trying to organize and implement this type of program!
    3rd Hour – 45 minutes – PH/RS/YM/YW/Primary classes. Essentially the same as the current 3rd hour but a bit shorter. Keeps these communities intact but the shorter time reduces the potential for tedium that creeps in sometimes.

    This seems extremely doable within our current way of thinking and operating.

  138. “What can the church do to remove a stigma?” This is difficult in organizations with low power-distance index, but in a highly authoritative church like ours it’s much easier to effect these types of changes. If you want to remove the stigma of wearing colorful shirts, some of the speakers at GC wear colorful shirts and problem solved. If you want to remove the stigma of infertility, 1-2 church leaders speak about how wrong it is to judge the infertile and get the others to include the infertile in references in talks about procreation, and you can turn this ship around. That’s the hidden benefit of leader worship.

  139. YW and YM get lessons on consent as part of learning about healthy chastity.

  140. – Find a better name than “Activity Day Girls”. We wouldn’t call males “The Meeting Men”.
    – Revamp Personal Progress to include more vocational and educational goals.
    – Allow single sisters, widows, etc to feed missionaries in their home.
    – Allow prospective missionaries to choose between service and proselytizing missions.

  141. Teach a second hour class on marriage relationships — there is a handbook for it (the one that is written by the actual psychologist not just a bunch of spiritual stuff). Marriage can be so hard, and sometimes people don’t have a lot of safe resources to turn to for advice.

    As a convert I’d like to see a lot of Hymnbook revisions, but that is a whole other thread. As a sidenote, I cannot sing “Israel, Israel Jesus Is Calling” or whatever it is called because it is to the same tune to a very familiar song I used to sing growing up called “What a Friend We Have In Jesus” which I like a lot better, so I will usually just hum it when that hymn comes up.

  142. Allowing beer and wine under the WoW is the worst idea ever. Alcoholism is not a choice, it is a disease you can’t know you are susceptible to until it’s too late. Preventing so many people from ever becoming entangled in this life-destroying demon is one of the best things the church has ever done.

  143. Owen, there have definitely been worse ideas.

  144. #66: Here is what needs to happen, 3-way trade:

    New Orleans Jazz
    Utah Lakers
    LA Pelicans

    You’re welcome.

  145. RE the many comments about the mandatory 24/7 wearing of garments and the temple recommend:

    My job requires weeks of working 10+ hours outdoors in 90+ degrees for days/weeks at a time. I am a woman, the mesh garments are itchy, and I choose normal underwear over heatstroke. My response to The Question is that it’s private, bishop/stake president, but I do my best to keep my temple covenants. So far the response is a brief pause, a reading of the paragraph out of the handbook, and we move on.

    Regardless of how I choose to wear the garment, my underwear is not up for discussion with any person who is not my spouse or my mother.

  146. I would revise 41. Revamp temple recommend interviews to focus on a belief in the restored Gospel and devotion to the Church. Remove most of the questions as appendages to this.
    Revamp temple recommend interviews to focus on faith in Jesus Christ and devotion to Him.

    Eliminate all pinewood derbies.

    Remove all hymns that are doctrinally incorrect or that leave singers feeling less than whole.

    Absolutely, a1 1/2 hour schedule. Sacrament Meeting 45 minutes. Sunday School and RS/Priesthood could alternate for the the remaining 40 minutes.

    Change the RS/Priesthood manuals to teach ways we can better love the Savior, ourselves, and others. Stop with the shaming and blaming over the pulpit and in lessons.

  147. Eric Russell says:

    Yes to marriage. Someday when I have enough spare time to start my own church, a full hour will be dedicated to a pragmatic lesson on marriage. Every week, every year. For everyone, including singles.

    It’s embarrassing that we profess to be the religion of marriage and family and yet have so many members struggling so much with marriage. And it’s embarrassing that among all the national authorities on marriage, Mormons are nowhere to be found. We should be leading the way on marriage, both in theory and in practice.

  148. Allowing beer and wine would be nice, but gin would be the best.

  149. Like what, Steve? Alcoholism touches child abuse, domestic violence, rape, and murder. I mean, I guess you could suggest a genocide or something, but that would seem pretty out of context on this list.

  150. Really Owen? I think you could say that the patriarchy touches all those things.

  151. Loved this, agreed with most. I actually think this list is really encouraging and believe many of these can and will change in the future. I am also a big believer that we shouldn’t wait around for the leadership to tell us that it is okay to do things. Maybe it has been too long since I lived in Utah, but if you want a garden on the grounds, plant a garden! If you want the YW to do more outdoor activities, help make that happen! I have attended a ward that had a changing table in the men’s bathroom, had a boy/girl pinewood derby, and that had women attending who wore sleeveless dresses or pants and no one said anything. Some of these are administrative changes, but we could all help some of these happen in our congregations. Re the garment, while it could definitely use some (a lot) improvement, I actually really love wearing it and would be sad to see it go. I would love to see them made higher quality. I also think that how often you wear them is a personal choice, especially if you live in a hot/humid climate. I would definitely love to see less hemline policing!

  152. Sorry if some of these are already covered:

    Make handbook 1 publicly available.

    Remove from handbook 1 (if it’s still there) injunctions against in vitro fertilization.

    Remove from handbook 1 injunction against surgical sterilization procedures, if it is still there.

    Perform sealings separate from weddings so that all people can attend weddings.

    Let missionaries talk to their parents any time they want. This could stop a lot of abusive situations.

  153. Oh yeah, forgot about the Handbook. Make it public.

  154. This is wonderful Steve. I would add get rid of scouting period. It’s an anachronism that no longer speaks to our youth. A few lessons on how science works would be fantastic rather than holding it at arms length and raising suspicions about it. But Lectures on Faith? That’s one of the silliest things ever written. No to that.

  155. Steve, I love em. I know the LoF are a bit silly, but I think they’re historically important and fun to read.

  156. For my own personal reasons, this list (and a great deal of the comments) just confirm more to me that I never want to come back. Sad.

  157. EOR, that is sad. Sorry.

  158. A Happy Hubby says:

    Reading this list almost brought me to tears. I so much want a church that was improving itself. Instead I am making plans to distance myself from church activity for mental health issues – these very items.

  159. Sorry HH.

    Guys, I feel a need to clarify – this is a laundry list, a wish list. Some of these things are more important than others, some are jokes, some serious. But I feel the Church is true and operates in my life pretty effectively even without these things. Yes, the Church can do better. We can all do better. I don’t mean to imply that I know more than the Brethren — I obviously don’t — or that the Church isn’t true without these things — it is. Anyways, don’t take this for some declaration or anything bold against the Church, because it’s not, it’s just a bunch of ideas of things I think would be great to see.

  160. True Blue says:

    I liked most of your list. I also particularly liked Amy’s point at 11.21 about leaders who leave their wives with the young children.
    At the other end of life, have been advocating a retirement age for Apostles, or else a culture change so that retirement is an option. Otherwise we will not ever have a Prophet younger than 85. I would also like to see Apostles able to disagree openly. I would like to have seen some come out in opposition to the PoX, at the moment there is no sense that there are a variety of views in the 15, like there is in the churchmembershi. More openness/honesty.
    I am close to 70 and have not had a responsible calling for 10 years. My father who is the same age as the senior Apostles and Prophet, is in a nursing home, and has trouble concentrating, let alone seeking revelation, or thinking of ways to improve the church for the members. Perhaps this is why these things don’t happen.
    I would also like more clarity on what is Gospel, and what is conservative culture, and that the conservative culture is optional, and not even recommended.
    As for the idea that these things can be implimented at grass roots level, I asked that we stand for the intermediate hymn, and Bishop had to go to SP who said no. Unless it comes from SLC it is not happening. Perhaps that could change too?
    Strongly agree there must be something clerly against voting for Trump in GC.

  161. Yeah, emeritus leadership all the way up would have benefits. Also drawbacks. I believe the feeling is that an apostolic calling is one for life. But there’s not much Biblical experience of apostles dealing with the effects of advanced age.

  162. Clark Goble says:

    Got to admit I’m shocked by some people bringing up pretty core issues like eternal marriage and the law of chastity as needing change. Pretty shocked at wanting to get rid of the word of wisdom too – especially that the excesses of alcohol and drug use still afflict society a great deal.

    Having some younger apostles as was common up through the 60’s would be beneficial. We also have the problem of being able to prolong life beyond ability. It used to be people simply died earlier. Now living to ones 90’s is common. Some kind of emeritus program that simultaneously keeps them in the loop would be helpful – although as always it’d require a pretty clear revelation to do. (And it’s up to the Lord to decide if that’s what he wants)

    Kristen, 60% of sexual offenders are intoxicated, 80% of incarcerated offenders have substance abuse problems (drugs/alcohol), 50% of inmates are addicted to drugs/alcohol, and then there are DUIs and related accidents like drownings tied to alcohol. According to the Department of Justice 40% of all crimes have alcohol as a factor. 2/3rds of all domestic violence say the violence was tied to alcohol. 31% of victimizations by strangers are alcohol related. Want to stop violence? Heavily regulating alcohol use would do far more than banning guns. (I think 20’s style prohibition would make things worse – but limit it’s use to special government monitored buildings with restrictions for people caught with drugs/alcohol outside them)

    So yeah, I think it’s a bigger issue than a vague sense of patriarchy.

  163. Steve,
    ” But I feel the Church is true and operates in my life pretty effectively even without these things”

    I say this with the utmost respect for you: Of course this is the case for you because you are in a position of privilege in the church. You are a white, straight, temple married, male with children. The only way you could be in a greater state of privilege is if you were the prophet himself. Excuse my language, but I thought the point of this post wasn’t just to bitch an moan about things that are a pain in the ass with regards to church policy or whatever (although granted, there is some of that), but to acknowledge and share ideas about building zion. It was obvious to me that it is because you love this church and it’s people that you want it to be better and do better. But not everyone is in the same position of privilege as you, nor can everyone love this church and it’s okay for them to say so, and even step away if necessary. That leaves the onus on the rest of us to keep that vision of creating zion where everyone can gather and feel loved, accepted and safe. We can’t build zion if we don’t acknowledge where we are falling short and make a real effort to change those things.

    I appreciated this post. It was presented with a combination of angst, hope and humor. Don’t backslide. The struggle is real (along with some plain old weird).

  164. Kristen, not backsliding. There’s a reason I wrote “in my life” – to convey that I’m aware of how good I have things. Your comment is entirely correct.

  165. Ban the use of the phrase “The Brethren.” At best its patriarchal, but mostly to me it just sounds culty and contributes to our already vast problem of leader worship.

  166. Clark,
    There is nothing vague about the patriarchy in the church or in society at large. Those stats that you offered I would say apply overwhelmingly to men. Correct me if I’m wrong. I certainly don’t know everything.
    I agree that the misuse of alcohol is a problem but I believe it’s more of a symptom than the cause.

  167. As others have commented, I disagree with the paid Bishop/RS prez idea. On a related note I would suggest no paid clergy, including GAs.

  168. jlouielucero says:

    I think Kristen is right about one important thing. That the “lists” we all would make largely are influenced by either how our lives, or those we care about, relate to the church. There will never be a church on earth that can have practices, doctrines, and culture that include “everyone” since there are so many divergent situations, behaviors, and experiences out there. The Gospel necessarily, according to Christ, has boundaries, so even if you didn’t have church “practices and programs” to facilitate the administration and spreading of the Gospel and the accompanying culture created by gathering many of like mind together, you would still be leaving plenty of people outside looking in. That for some would cause them to reject the Gospel of Christ since it would not work for them. I guess that is what is one of the most hopeful parts of the Gospel is that somehow things will work out for those who it doesn’t work for. I agree wholeheartedly with many of the things on Steve’s list and other comments, but I also think with lists like these we can ignore, or at least diminish the things the church does get right about helping us live the Gospel, maybe in ways we don’t even think about because it is such a part of our lives. Anyway, I think it was a cool list. Thanks

  169. Clark @ 8:29pm:
    “Got to admit I’m shocked by some people bringing up pretty core issues like eternal marriage and the law of chastity as needing change.”

    I’m shocked that you’re shocked. It’s never really about the small potatoes. Those are just a means to an end–this end. You’re well-versed. This is nothing new. The levers, the objections, are different for each generation, but the process is always the same. And so is the end.

  170. whizzbang says:

    A lifelong,very capable RM man in our stake was turned down twice to be a Bishop, Why? he’s divorced. There is a policy that says you have to be divorced 20 years before being called to be a Bishop of a family ward and remarried of course. Plus you can’t ever serve as a YSA Bishop. However the person that did get called to be a Bishop has only been a member since 2005 and he was divorced but prior to joining the Church, as if that makes a difference? I’d like to see those two policies go away. People wonder why I have no faith in my Patriarchal Blessing, um stuff like this?

  171. Great list. Totally agree with all. Rubber stamped “approved”

  172. DeepThink says:

    Are we really debating whether substance abuse or patriarchy is more damaging?

  173. Dropcubsalready says:

    “Activity Day Girls” is not the official title. It’s just Activity Days and it’s presented as being for children ages 8-11. Outside of the US, wards don’t generally participate in Cub Scouts, boys and girls both do Activity Days instead. We need to drop Cub Scouting in church entirely. Let the focus be on Faith in God. (Not that it’s perfect, just a better alternative.)

  174. 76. Allow divorced and remarried men to be called as a ward bishop.
    77. Allow non-member parent(s) to attend their member children’s temple weddings or sealings.
    78. Create a jurisprudence to give bishop’s guidance when working with member’s who require a disciplinary council–there is way too much bias which creates ‘leadership roulette,’ and handbook recommendations are too categorical and linear. Do not include bishop counselors in disciplinary councils. In fact, dump disciplinary councils in favor of a more pastoral model except in cases of some misdemeanor and all felony behavior.
    79. Stop excommunicating members for being critical of the church (i.e. its leaders) or for seeking social justice.
    80. Stop asking men and young men in particular to wear white shirts as a symbol of purity and because we have “an unspoken way of things.” Everyone knows men look much better in blue. Dump pressure for women to wear dresses. We need more members to attend who have tattoos, who don’t own a white shirt, or who dislike ties.
    81. BYU…I don’t know where to start or end (I’m an alumni)… Drop the honor code. Dealing with members who are struggling and sin is one reason we have bishops is it not?
    81a. Enforce pastor-parishoner privilege. Who trusts their bishop not knowing when he will be “compelled” to talk to the stake president, or his counselors, or the honor code office, etc. Violations of law in cases of child abuse, rape, murder, etc., are exceptions. Restore respect to the privacy of the bishop’s office. Make it a safe environment and we will have stronger, more spiritually authentic members.
    82. Call a South American, Asian, or African to the Q15 already!
    83. Start teaching seminary students how to be moral agents instead of rule followers and proof texters. The scriptures can be used effectively to do this and stop being afraid to bring in secular knowledge on these topics. Kohlberg makes a great addition to any discussion on moral development. It pairs well with scripturally-based discussions on moral development. Why not roll in a little Piaget? Secular education is not the enemy, but our youth will go more to secular answers if secularism provides a better offering to their immediate challenges in life. We need to stop being defensive and broaden what we teach in combination with our scriptures and doctrines.
    84. GA’s need to stop sermonizing in platitudes and start writing long form. We are told religious freedom is under threat, but I’ll be darned if I can find examples in those writings and sermons and the legal theory underpinning it. (Maybe I’m not digging deep enough.) Put those Ph.D.’s and J.D.’s to use brethren!
    85. Publish the church budget. Why not provide more financial transparency?
    86. Talk openly about *all* of the real challenges we face. Religious freedom? How about the declining rate of converts per missionary…we may be closing in on our first year of negative membership growth… Have any of you looked at a 40 year trend? It’s alarming.
    87. “Raising the bar” was the unintended consequence of the policy and resulting cultural expectation that every young man be called on a mission. A mission may not be right for every man or woman, but every man or woman can become a powerful member of the church, mission service or not. Focus on quality, not quantity. Go back to bishop’s inviting young men and women to serve instead of making it culturally and institutionally compulsory.
    88. Stop quoting CS Lews (or any one else who is not LDS for that matter) in general conference while telling us never to bring in outside material when teaching a lesson. It’s hypocritical, condescending…and makes for more boring church lessons. More positively put, change teaching instructions to encourage the use of outside material where it can reinforce doctrinal teachings.
    89. Drop the LGBT policy. Oh, you already listed that. Worth mentioning again. Celebrate marriage between same sex couples and integrate them into the church. Stop telling us that we can love people while harming them. Stop telling the people we harm through categorical exclusion that we are doing it because we love them.
    89a. Stop trying to make BYU the “Harvard of the West.” Return it to its mission by basing admission not on ACT scores and gpa’s but more on material demonstrations of community and Christian service, social justice, knowledge building and selflessness. BYU’s ivy league aspirations are embarrassing and make us look insecure; the endless self promotion and self adulation is nauseating. We are a new religion but don’t need to act so new money. (I apologize for the rant…I strayed.)
    90. End punishing members for being honest. We only reward the correct answer. If we want greater honesty (and therefore individual growth) we have to be more genuinely welcoming and reward honest behavior by not stigmatizing members who may disclose their struggles with policies of the church, or disagree or have questions with certain doctrines, or who question the historicity of the BOM despite loving its teachings, as a specific example. (This includes revamping temple attendance as you mention.) We are endlessly patient with investigators. Why are we so hard on each other once we join the club?
    91. Be honest with members about how stake presidents are called. We criticize the Papal Conclave and its politics…yet stake presidents are called by a similar political process. Bishops, current stake presidency members, high councilors submit a headshot, answers to questions (essentially a church and professional resume), and a count is taken of who each person would recommend to serve. Instead of shroud this process, celebrate it! Publish the results, and allow members to vote on the top three with the majority vote getter being sustained as the next stake president.
    92. Do not institute pay for bishops in the United States (and Canada), BUT offer full tuition reimbursement, travel once a year to and from the states for he and his family, and a salary for those willing and selected to become bishops and serve in a developing country for a minimum of ten years. Those wanting to do this must be 30 or younger when they start the training program and can serve until retirement if they choose.

  175. Peter LLC says:

    Focus on quality, not quantity. Go back to bishop’s inviting young men and women to serve instead of making it culturally and institutionally compulsory.

    I agree in principle, but in practice I fear it would lead to the mission becoming an even more elitist gateway to leadership positions.

  176. Love this list. Agree with most of them. The few I thought of look like they have already been added, namely, garment wearing: let me please decide how I wear them (and please make them sleeveless!!); let women hold babies, breastfeed, etc., and let girls pass the sacrament; get rid of any politics in church, like one political preference is more righteous.

    Side note, yesterday in sacrament meeting (our sabbath is on Friday in my neck of the woods), we had a speaker say from the pulpit something about Obama’s doing away with the pledge of allegiance in schools. Really? Really? Totally false information and had no place in a sacrament meeting talk. Sigh.

  177. BigSky: your number 80.. Yup.

  178. I really love many items on this list, however, I would not love moving RS midweek. I’m a busy mom in grad school, and I would be entirely excluded from RS if it was moved midweek. I know lots of women who don’t attend weekday RS meetings. If we were to go to a 2 hour church block (which I wholly support), get rid of Sunday school — let RS be the robust scriptural meeting for women on Sunday.

  179. -Erick, cooking in meeting houses isn’t banned because we don’t have industrial kitchens. Every other church in your community (Catholic, Lutheran, baptist, etc.) has a simple kitchen like ours that is used frequently. Every other church passed legal/health inspections. It’s quite normal. You don’t need that type of equipment.

    Why did we shut cooking down? Fires, insurance, and the cost of permits. Essentially, it was to be cheap-cheap-cheap.

  180. Kevin Barney says:

    True Blue, re: Standing for the intermediate hymn:

    Once when the directive not to stand for the intermediate hymn was fresh, as that hymn started I stood up and after a wavering moment the entire congregation followed me. Afterwards the presiding authority was kind of pissed at me, but I honestly wasn’t trying to be a rebel. I pointed out that the bishopric counselor who was conducting when he outlined the rest of the meeting said “we will stand and sing hymn X,” so I was just following instructions (which was true, I wasn’t trying to be cute). That smoothed things over.

    Ironically, these days in our ward we stand for the intermediate hymn every week. The reason is that the chorister raises her arms in the signal that the congregation stand, and so we do. (The chorister is a filipina who has never been in the kind of leadership meetings where such a directive might be promulgated, and standing for that hymn is a longstanding tradition in the Church.) Not standing for the hymn is unwritten order leadership training territory, and so my current bishopric doesn’t even realize that there was a pet policy of an apostle not to stand, and so we stand. That’s part of the problem with the unwritten order of things–it’s unwritten, and so by definition compliance will be patchwork. And it’s unwritten because Apostle Whoever couldn’t convince his brethren in the Quorum that it was a good idea, so this is his attempt to promulgate his own pet notion throughout the church. And of course he couldn’t get the other 11 to sign on to not standing for the intermediate hymn; the longstanding tradition of standing exists for a reason, and the blanket rule of not standing was attempted to be promulgated by apostolic fiat without stating a compelling reason for the Apostle’s preference. In such a case the silly little rule is not going to stand the test of time and will die out eventually.

    Which leads to another addition to the list: Do away with the “unwritten order of things.” If it’s important enough to make it a rule binding on the Saints, then make it an honest to God written rule and publicize it as such.

    While I’m at it, stop with all the seniority traditions among the Apostles, like how a junior Apostle can’t leave the room until everyone senior to him has done so. That’s ridiculous and feeds the whole leadership worship thing which is a problem in this Church. Our leaders should be servants of the Master; they are not the Masters themselves.

  181. St Dunstan says:

    Preach! I love this more than I can say!

  182. – 2-5 year pope and prophet cultural/ study abroad exchange. We take Pope Francis, they can borrow President Monson. It would be a Sabbatical for them. (You want many of the things on this list, right? Pope Francis would turn City Creek into a shelter with showers for the homeless, talk about gun violence, current events and the environment in general conference, remove the Pox and pardon Kate Kelly.)

    – Gathering back to Zion, – Missouri. Many temples and cities to be built near KC. Oh yeah, and ushering in the Second Coming. Just kidding. Take a deep breath. No one is going to propose that.

  183. I would love to see some open conversation about not shaming people (including healthcare workers such as my husband and I) who choose not to vaccinate their children. Believe it or not, but the choice actually stems from a place of love for our children, and the weight of the absolute responsibility we have of taking care of them (much like many of theses other proposed ideas). If you feel like you are a fair minded individual, check how you felt in your heart upon reading this idea. What would Jesus say? I can assure you, he did not tell me to vaccinate my children.

  184. Like most laundry, this list needs a lot of detergent. And bleach, too.

  185. Well while we are firmly fixed in “fairy tale” suggestions (don’t get me wrong, I love fairy tales): several have suggested publishing handbook 1. Let’s go a step further. Rewrite handbooks 1&2 by an apostle-led committee made up of lay members from all over the world (i.e., not just Utah). After the committee has recommended language, the verbiage is posted online for a comment period where anyone with an LDS.org login can provide suggestions and ask questions. The committee will read all comments and consider worthy suggestions before finalizing. Once completed, the handbook will then be submitted for approval to the entire church body. The handbook will be considered binding with a vote of at least 50%. Any needed revisions follow a similar process.

  186. From the church’s website about music:

    “An intermediate hymn provides an opportunity for congregational participation and may relate to the subject of the talks presented in the meeting. The congregation may stand during this hymn as appropriate” (Hymns, 380).

    I have no idea where people get the idea that there’s some directive barring standing during an intermediate hymn. It happens in every session of general conference, after all.

  187. Mark B. In the MTC missionaries are instructed that we do not stand when we sing the hymns of zion.

  188. More ideas:
    +Stop discouraging the use of modern Bible translations, or even better encourage researching multiple translations

    + Improve sacrament meeting talks. Perhaps this could be done by any of the following: public speaking class in Sunday school, more time to prepare, people called to speak on a slightly more regular basis so they hone their skills

  189. Melissa – Is that a recent thing? I seem to remember that we stood quite often when I was in the MTC (1994).

  190. Moana Jakubowski says:

    When a primary worker is called, besides a background check, how about a 3 hour session on the signs to look for of sexual and physical abuse. Yes, it happens here too. Also no more all wood doors, put a window in them.

  191. Not sure about all of these… but totally on board with #58.

  192. Re: standing for hymns

    This has been discussed here before, I think. The Bloggernacle is literally the only place I’ve heard anything against standing for hymns.

    In the MTC (’97) we regularly stood for hymns.

    There was one time we stood as an apostle entered during a practice hymn. The chorister was livid. He said that you should only stand for a hymn or song if directed by the chorister.

    Since then I have stood for hymns at directions of the chorister in multiple states and countries, general conference and stake conference, and wards.

    In the MTC we stood to sing at the beginning of every class. I suspect if they now say we don’t stand to sing, that it began by someone saying we don’t need to stand to sing and morphed into a directive.

    Reminds me of how someone jokingly warned me against taking the sacrament with Satan’s hand (I.e. the left hand).

  193. In our ward council last year the bishop asked for suggestions to make sacrament meeting more uplifting. Standing for rest hymns was suggested. Everyone on the council thought it was a good idea, but the Bishop thought that he needed to ask the SP. The next ward council the Bishop returned and reported that the SP had been instructed that we were not to stand during rest hymns during sacrament meeting but that it was ok during conferences which were generally longer.

    Stupid unwritten order of things.

  194. I was in the MTC in 2005, and that was repeated often. My husband also heard this in the MTC in 99. I won’t speak for anyone else, but we both heard it there.

  195. By “that”, I’m referring to the directive that we not stand when singing the hymns of zion.

  196. I sing/hum/whistle the hymns of zion while sitting, driving, showering, riding my tractor, using my chainsaw, laying down, during target practice, at FHE, while jogging/running, while shooting hoops, while milking the cow, … but NOT while standing? I thought the hymns were prayers of the righteous and we are to pray always?

    At MTC in ’97 we were reprimanded for standing during singing of “Called to Serve” when we weren’t directed to by the visiting apostle (it was a quasi-spomtaneous mid-song thing), and the instruction was given that standing is fine as long as it is directed. Now they don’t stand at all? That’s lame!

  197. I like most of these, Steve, but I think some of them would do a lot to reduce Mormon distinctiveness in ways that would be a significant loss. Following Armand Mauss’ optional tension theory, I think implementing all (or even most) of these rules might swing us way over into the land of not enough tension with surrounding culture to maintain a cohesive community. But of course, the things I think represent necessary and good distinctiveness have a lot to do with my personal preferences–it’s very hard to tease out what is really essential to the Church and what is just essential to me. Given that difficulty, I think it’s actually good that the Church behaves like a huge, stodgy bureaucracy and changes slowly (although I don’t think the pace needs to be quite so glacial on most things, and I do wish there were a mechanism for changing quickly when things are urgent–like repealing the PoX and fixing the seminary manuals yesterday).

  198. This conversation about not standing and singing is the most depressing thing I’ve heard since I watched the news. I am NOT going to call my family to repentance for singing while they are standing / laying down / cleaning / driving / etc. #istandforthehymnsofzion

  199. While I disagree with paid bishops/RS presidents–though both are very time-consuming callings, there is a precedent. The phrase “worthy of their hire” actually refers to the fact that in the 19th Century (and maybe early 20th?) bishops were given a percentage of tithing receipts, as were stake presidents. Currently there aren’t as many potatoes and pigs and sheep to care for in the Bishop’s Storehouse.

    But, on a serious note. One change I have long wanted is to offer an advanced Sunday School class for adults. Like a graduate seminar. Discuss/learn things that the “weak testimonies” (See I Corinthians 8) cannot handle. I stopped attending SS about 35 years ago partly out of a concern that me “eating the meat of the sacrifice” might damage others’ testimonies. And partly because the class was/is still the same old, same old.

    Also, provide better, more specific training in “administration” to bishops, in person, locally. One issue is to help them do a better job of encouraging the women in Ward Council meetings to take part/speak out. Another: my ward’s last two bishops did not know they were supposed to be meeting monthly, one-on-one, with the RS pres–and that is printed in their “handbook.”

    And where did the entirely useless, and for a couple of years now, ubiquitous announcement at the start of sac mtgs and stk conferences as to who is presiding? Pure pomp.

  200. Rockwell ha ha I don’t care either way to be honest. It isn’t one of my big items. I was just responding to another commenter’s question as to where the conflict arose.

  201. What number are we up to?

    100. Move the COB out of Salt Lake City already. Independence? Texas? San Diego? Sorry, Utahs, but we need to stop exclusively putting people from Utah into every auxiliary presidency and council.

    On a more serious note –

    101. Allow parental involvement/council in the YM/YW programs. Leaders always complain that parents treat it like 90 minutes of babysitting on a Wednesday night, but there is *zero* feedback allowed from parents/families, *zero* involvement in planning (youth leaders with young children have zero idea how busy and stressful high school is), *zero* involvement as volunteers.

    102. Don’t pay bishops or RS presidents, because on some level these are spiritual roles, but definitely pay an administrator for the ward – you could combine the callings of ward clerk and executive secretary.

  202. Queuno, like what they do for temple recorders?

  203. Left Field says:

    “As appropriate, a priesthood leader may ask a congregation to stand for an intermediate hymn or a national anthem (see “Hymns for Congregations,” Hymns, 380–81).”

    (Handbook 14.4.3)

    If one were so disposed, that could be twisted into a general prohibition, I suppose. That wouldn’t be how I read it. In my ward, we stand on the director’s signal. If the director forgets to signal, people eventually start standing anyway.

  204. Steve – Do they pay temple recorders? I don’t know. Generally speaking, we need to have some professionally paid administrators. In some units, exec secy + ward clerk is 20 hours a week.

    As for standing during hymns – we don’t do it in our ward because we did an informal poll and no one likes to stand (esp. the elderly members of the ward). Then again, most Sundays feature someone with a musical number and not an actual rest hymn.

  205. Yes, they’re paid.

  206. If we’re going to pay anybody, it should be a choir director and an organist.

  207. it's a series of tubes says:

    Yep, and if only one, the organist.

  208. Temple recorder was a full-time paid job (a busy one) last time I knew, by a friend who had the job.
    Stake clerk used to be a paid position. From the (first) biography of Spencer W. Kimball, relating a meeting with [apostle] Melvin J. Ballard (which I quote because I like it, and because it illustrates three or four issues):
    “It is hardly right, is it, for one little man to have two big jobs?’
    What do you mean?
    I’m both stake clerk and a counselor in the stake presidency.
    Which position would you like to keep?
    It doesn’t matter. I’d like to serve wherever I am called.
    But if you had a choice, which would you rather do? We won’t hold it against you. You tell us which you’d rather do.
    I’d rather be stake clerk, because I have a secretary in my business and I have an office. I have typewriters and a telephone and files.”
    After the switch was made, Spencer received a letter from an acquaintance: “Spencer, I’m disappointed in you. To think that you’d accept the money calling instead of the spiritual calling.” She predicted that within six months Spencer would apostatize.

  209. @Kristine, re: paid choir and organist: AMEN!

  210. Kevin Barney says:

    Most of you are unfamiliar with any directive against standing for the intermediate hymn because (a) historically standing for that hymn has been very common, if not universal, and (b) the written music guidelines explicitly say it is acceptable to stand for that hymn. That’s a large part of my point; the effort to impose a no-standing rule was undertaken by an Apostle (and I do not know which one) through his 70 and AA70 acolytes through regional leadership training. I quote here from notes taken at an Area Seventies training meeting a few years ago (shared with me by a friend who was in a leadership position and attended that training):

    “The congregation should not be asked to stand during the sacrament meeting rest hymn.”

    (If you want to see this in print, I quote it on p. 136 of my contribution to the recent Dialogue music issue, 48/4 Winter 2015.)

    Note how this leadership training explicitly contradicts the Church’s published music guidelines. That’s part of the reason that I view this regime of the “unwritten order of things” as a scourge. If the Church wants to change its music guidelines, then change the printed guidelines that are available to all. Don’t impose a new and contradictory rule that will only apply in certain stakes that happen to receive this training, especially when no rationale is given for the new rule and we’re expected to just jump to attention and accept it. This is some Apostle going rogue and trying to inculcate a pet position without getting the rest of the Quorum on board.

  211. Additional one: During interviews with youth, require a second, trusted adult in the room, like a mother or father, to prevent child abuses behind closed doors.

    We’d like to believe that everyone in the church is amazing and wonderful and would never do anything to hurt a child, but we know that’s not true – based on statistics, human nature, and the past and present events that take place within, and without, church buildings, involving members abusing their leadership positions.

  212. Sarah Wilcox says:

    Hell yes. This is the first time I have ever commented on BCC and I have been reading for two years. I give this a hearty hell yes.

  213. Christensen says:

    And another addition: “Fellowship”– A time after services in the cultural hall for visiting with one another with snacks, as most other religions have. In addition to the cookies, brownies, Rice Crispy treats, etc., there could be a fruit/vegetable/cheese platter for those concerned with their blood sugar levels. And instead of the ubiquitous (to other religions) coffee, punch and pitchers of water could be offered.

    What was wrong with the “Whenever two or more are gathered in My Name, there will be food” we grew up with?

  214. “What was wrong with the “Whenever two or more are gathered in My Name, there will be food” we grew up with?”

    When we started putting 4 wards in buildings and lost a professional janitorial crew to clean up after the single ward met on Sunday and 3 other days that week.

  215. Just found out that a multi-stake “Fall Ball” is scheduled for the same night my son’s high school is having the Homecoming Dance (which impacts three wards across 2 stakes). Can we stop with all of the “Alternate Mormon Activities”, like Mormon Prom, Mormon “Homecoming”, etc.?

  216. Some of us are allergic to the toxins found in wheat… We eat nuts instead… Why don’t you tech your children to not eat other people’s food rather than ban mine… Or ban both nuts and wheat.

  217. How about I just ban you (speaking of this thread, of course)?

  218. I don’t need to change, the Church is what needs to change. Then we will all be happy and live in Zion together.

  219. Mark L., there’s no question we all need to change. My post is not meant to diminish that responsibility. But pretending that the Church is perfect is ridiculous.

  220. Clark Goble says:

    Kristine by patriarchy do you simply mean men are the problem?

  221. Clark Goble says:

    Rereading that despite being short I can see how that could be misread by some. Let me put it a different way. Among most feminist writers I read the patriarchy is defined more than just male power structures but the society that keeps them in place. Thus women frequently are, from many feminist authors perspectives, part of the patriarchy and sometimes creators of it depending upon the use age in question. By first putting up an opposition between drugs/alcohol and the patriarchy and then saying “they’re mainly men” you’ve seemed to adopt an unique usage.

    It would seem at minimum one might say alcohol/drugs are tools of the patriarchy to maintain its force and may well make the stronger claim that it’s an essential cause of the patriarchy by establishing the social structures of the patriarchy. Thus users of drugs/alcohol might be victims of the patriarchy and are used by the patriarchy to victimize others.

    If even a portion of that is true then tying the patriarchy too essentially to men (of whom society can not rid itself) and merely railing against the patriarchy rather than disrupting one of its main forces and structural causes you yourself have become an agent of the patriarchy, sustaining it and ensuring its continued persistence and damage.

  222. What I would add to the list:
    Outdoor, fenced play area at chapels for young children.
    Decrease the primary instructional time (eliminate sharing time or rotate it monthly?)with class time. Have singing/activity time and opening or closing exercises.

    Expand the hymnal to include more current songs–allow a wider range of musicsl instruments–guitar for example.

    Redesign women’s garment tops–get rid of the sleeve.

    Liberalize acceptable dress requirements for females to include slacks.

    Please, please no more sacrament meeting talks on sales–proselytizing.

    LDS church should divest itself of Deseret News or make it strictly concerned with church news or expand to include more liberal perspectives.

  223. And kill the correlated youth curriculum. My kids HATE the fact that they cover the same topics both second and third hour and that the same topics recycle each year. In the word of my 14 year old, “Boring!”

  224. I would say “make garments mandatory during temple attendance only” but just thinking about it makes me so lustful and depressed that it will never actually happen. Can we at least get a major rehaul on the designs? As a very short, busty, midsection-heavy female, I really feel like the garments are designed for… the exact opposite body type that I have. Hah!

  225. Joseph Stanford says:

    I think much of the suggestions could be put under this umbrella: Develop and maintain robust, credible, functional, systematic, institutional procedures for 1) local flexibility; 2) suggestions, concerns, and feedback from the rank and file membership of the church to be seriously listened to by the leadership, all the way to the top 15. In other words, make the “bottom-up” or grassroots pathway for revelation as healthy and functional as the “top-down” pathway.

  226. Your #1 is my #1, and I’ve been happily temple-married since I was 23. I’ve also been a bishop who has ached and cried over the alienation of singles (and children of singles) (and childless couples) for whom our constant Forever-Families homilies are a slap in the face.

    Our ward is one of those “pockets” in which #5 has become an institutionalized reality. And let me tell you, the boys get a lot more excited about getting out and helping people on Mutual nights than they ever did about playing.

    I’d add: Get rid of Utah-centric and USA-centric hymns in the hymnal. Don’t include God Save the King [sic; was the hymnal committee expecting Her Majesty to drop dead at any moment in 1985??] in any case; there is literally NO occasion on which it would ever be appropriate to sing in any Commonwealth country. If you want to give the English a patriotic hymn that they actually do sing, add “Jerusalem.” And quit restricting the meager few Christmas carols to American favorites. British saints have taken to holding Christmas Eve services where for one brief hour of the season they actually get to sing in church their own beloved carols (In the Bleak Midwinter, See Amid the Winter Snow) and melodies (O Little Town of Bethlehem, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear have different tunes in the U.K.).

    As for #54, #56, #64 and #66: oh HELL no.

  227. @BigSky: Not sure why you think divorced and remarried men can’t already be bishops. I’ve had at least three that I can think of, including my cousin and including the bishop who first called me as a counselor 30 years ago.

  228. Aaron Brown says:

    “A recognition that sin requires choice, ergo homosexuality cannot be sin.”

    LDS Church leaders already do this. Very clearly and unmistakably. Mormon progressives do their causes no favors by pretending this isn’t true.

  229. Not sure I understand your comment.

  230. Aaron Brown says:

    Steve, your comment uses the word “homosexuality” ambiguously, but it suggests the Church labels unchosen sexual behavior a “sin”. It doesn’t. Instead, the Church draws a distinction between sexual orientation (though it admittedly doesn’t seem to like to use the o-word) and sexual activity, and then condemns the latter, but not the former. Your comment seems unaware of this, yet I find it impossible to believe you’re actually unaware of it.

    It’s one thing not to like what the Church does with the orientation/act distinction. It’s another to ignore that the distinction exists at all. It clearly does. So what you claim you want the Church to do is something it’s already doing.

    If you want to disagree with the Church’s moral stand on homosexual behavior, fine. Do so. (I’m no big fan of it myself). But don’t pretend the Church declares unchosen sexual proclivities to be sinful when it so very clearly does not.

    Aaron B

  231. You’re getting a little upset, I think, over a quickly drafted sentence. Of course I’m aware of the distinction you’re pointing out. I did not intend to pretend otherwise, and you’re right to highlight the error in my writing. The problem is that there is no way for a homosexual to ever engage in sexual behavior that aligns with their desires. Even if legally and lawfully wed, the Church condemns homosexual activity.

    But further, it’s quite clear that the Church doesn’t know what to do with homosexuality. It is still widely discussed as aberrant and twisted. The fact that feelings are fine – possibly genetic – but any outward expression of those feelings is evil just doesn’t make much sense. So that whole mess needs to be figured out. That’s what I’m saying. Does that help?

  232. Real talk about abuse. Not just “hey everyone, abuse is wrong.” According to Lundy Bancroft, abusive men usually think of abuse as something that OTHER men do. So vague pronouncements of “brethren, you must not abuse your wives” is not helpful. Say things like,”Brethren, controlling your wife’s friendships is wrong. Controlling finances to keep her dependent is wrong. Physical intimidation is wrong. Demanding sex is wrong. Using the language of the priesthood to demean or control your wife is wrong, wrong, wrong.”

    (Of course, we’d have to eliminate the presiding/hearkening language and treat spouses as TRUE equal partners, but I digress.)

    Real talk about sexual abuse of minors. It is a HUGE problem, and there’s no reason to think we are immune to it. Everyone who is in contact with minors should take a training course on recognizing and preventing abuse. I had to take a 3 hour course for the school system I work for – and I’m a *lunch lady.* I don’t, for example, meet behind closed doors with minors of the opposite sex to ask them about their sexual purity.

    Institute a 24/7 hotline for VICTIMS of abuse. In states where the Church has political clout, push to eliminate the clergy exemption to mandated-reporter laws. Educate ALL adults in the church about mandated reporting. Provide financial support, if needed, to provide counseling to victims of abuse.

  233. Joni, for sure. Yes.

  234. Left Field says:

    Contrary to Dean, you’ll have to put me down as an “oh HELL yes!” on #54.

    I acknowledge the value of the filmed endowment in making the ceremony available in multiple languages, but fracturing the ritual between live and filmed portions has in my estimation, made several generations of saints completely unable to understand what’s happening.

    The film has become something distinct, something we “watch,” rather than part of the ritual we participate in. The film is seen as something we observe for its information content, or worse, as an imagined historical documentary, rather than a contemporary ritual. People have suggested that that portion of the ritual drama could be eliminated, as if we could skip all that unnecessary water in the sacrament or in baptism.

    It’s jarring enough to have characters bouncing back and forth multiple times between screen and stage, even having a single live officiator playing multiple characters. But the majority of temple patrons seem unaware even that it’s happening. One moment, all of us as the posterity of Adam and Eve are onscreen with them in the Garden of Eden, and the next moment, we find all ourselves moved, as if by the Enterprise transporter, to the temple endowment room. Then back into the world of video, then back to the temple, perhaps then moving to the World Room, then back to the video version of the World Room. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    That’s for those who understand what’s going on. Everybody else just thinks they’re taking a break from the ceremony to watch a movie about Adam and Eve.

    In the live endowment in Salt Lake and Manti, it’s seamless. The officiator who represents Peter always represents Peter. They don’t need a narrator to tell us that the officiator represents Peter because Peter himself just steps up the the altar and officiates. When we’re in the garden with Adam and Eve, we know we’re with them, because they’re physically present with us in the room representing the garden. When Adam and Eve and their posterity are cast out, we all are cast out. When Adam and Eve are taught how to be redeemed, we are there with them going through the process, and ultimately through the veil.

    So yeah, give me the live endowment, please!

  235. Bradley Kramer says:

    What about “Provide a church that challenges my faith and world view so that they are based more on a relationship with deity and less on a relationship with mortals and their limited ideas”?

  236. Bradley, I’m on board with that. But the distinctiveness of our religion comes from the prospect of extending those earthly relationships through the eternities. So we can’t really not focus on those relationships.

  237. Steve, you are an Ark steadier.

    125. Stop calling people who come up with useful ideas for improving the Church Ark steadiers.

  238. Nice!

  239. “As appropriate, a priesthood leader may ask a congregation to stand for an intermediate hymn or a national anthem (see “Hymns for Congregations,” Hymns, 380–81).”
    (Handbook 14.4.3)

    Thanks for digging that out Left Field. So, back when I was music chair I tried to get standing for the intermediate hymn, which has not happened here for many years, reinstated. It lasted 2 weeks, because of the above directive. It was felt that the priesthood leader conducting would be required vocally to invite the congregation to stand each and every week, and week 3 they forgot, which meant, apparently, that the chorister was exceeding their authority in indicating to the congregation to stand for the hymn. Given that the invitation could well be forgotten on another occasion, it was judged too confusing for the congregation, and so we don’t stand. The only exception is for the patriotic hymn on remembrance Sunday, and sometimes that has been the closing rather than intermediate hymn. So yes, really frustrating.

  240. Kevin Barney says:

    Hedgehog, something different happened this morning. Usually our chorister just raises her arms and we stand. But today she came to the podium and gave a little speech, something to the effect that there’s no need to stand, but if you would like to stretch your legs and stand for the rest hymn you’re welcome to do so. (I’d say about 75% ended up standing, the rest remained seated.) There’s no way she made that speech on her own motion, so I assume someone in leadership asked her to handle it that way. Which is ok by me; at least this way I can still stand, which is my preference.

  241. Aaron Brown says:

    Yes, Steve, that helps. And my own view isn’t too different from yours.

    I wasn’t upset, just irked, because failure to draw the distinction opens one up to charges of misrepresentation, etc., and such charges are probably best avoided. The subject is heated enough as it is.

  242. Maynard Sorensen says:

    Consider the praable of the ten virgins. Five are ready and propared to meet the Bridegroom and the other 5 are out to lunch trying to decide how to stuff the above tripe down the throat of Jesus the Christ, the Bridegroom. And then it all happens, the door are shut for the wedding party. The five who are prepared join the Bridegroom, and the other Five have joined up with the Unitarians trying to figure out how they got left out in the dark. “Where there is no prophet, the people perish”.

  243. Wow, Maynard. Your version is way better than Jesus’. It’s a bit ironic, however, that you’re willing to rewrite the words of the Savior in order to try to condemn a fellow member of the Church.

  244. Central Standard says:

    # whatever. Surely we have the resources pay for the rights to use “Come Thou Font Of Every Blessing.” To borrow a phrase, give them an offer they can’t refuse.

  245. Okay, how about this one:

    Have an equal number of female speakers and male speakers in the general sessions of General Conference.

    Failing that, at least have a minimum of one female speaker in every session.

    Failing that, if you are going to have a male apostle speak about how much women’s voices are valued and needed, at least have one female speaker in THAT session.

  246. I would like to add a couple more:

    Remove coffee and tea from the prohibited substances in the Word of Wisdom.
    (No, I probably wouldn’t drink either just because I don’t really care for them, but I think it is
    ridiculous these harmless substances are taboo in this modern era. In fact, coffee has been associated with lower death rates, lower suicide rates and lower incidence of some diseases such as Parkinson’s)

    Move away from appearance oriented restrictions such as no facial hair, white shirts etc. that have nothing whatsoever to do with morality.

  247. Left Field says:

    Hedgehog, if they really want to parse the words to that extent, it doesn’t say that standing is permitted *only* when a priesthood leader asks. Read literally, it just give priesthood leaders permission to ask the congregation to stand, and is silent about whether the director can do so, or if the congregation can stand on their own accord.

    In context with the unqualified statement in the hymnal that the congregation may “stand as appropriate,” reading the handbook as some blanket prohibition seems a stretch.

  248. Kevin Barney, that’s an interesting development! Agree with your earlier comments on GA’s going rogue btw. I have long complained about this on various issues. One of the big problems is the longevity of the ideas/actions they promote, lasting long after they’ve moved onto something else. Even the publication of a new handbook doesn’t seem to rid us of these accretions, sadly.

    Left Field, I pushed it as far as I could, but they weren’t budging on that particular reading.

  249. My wish list would add:

    1. Do away with missionary leadership positions (ie DL, ZL, AP), or modify them/rotate them differently (ie no AP but the two missionaries assigned closest to the mission home also help the MP as needed; ZL is simply the senior most missionary in the zone, etc). I think a lot of missionaries get distracted by this, and it can build an us vs them attitude sometimes in the mission field. I think it ultimately causes more harm than good.

    2. Show greater trust for the membership that they can adult properly. I’m getting tired of spending my church time getting approval for musical numbers, sacrament topics, nursery worker callings, etc. If you delegate to me, trust me. If I make a mistake, which I will, then let’s address it then as a learning opportunity. But this constant checking in with the man on every little thing is exhausting.

    3. Do away with the unwritten rule that new move ins occupy sacrament meeting. My ward is transient and I’m tired of hearing talks from people I don’t know that move out six months later as it is. Let’s hear from the people we actually know. It’s more relatable (if that’s a word).

    4. Stop treating the EQ as a free moving company. It’s not.

    5. Institute advanced placement gospel doctrine classes for those who feel ready for more. I understand this is not an easy task, but I think would be useful.

    6. Have temple sessions for those that are seasoned and can do without some of the repetition (ie I don’t need to be instructed on the veil, I know what I’m doing). Some repetition is good, but not all of it is necessary for those of us who have been for years. Time is money.

    Our chapel’s men’s room does have a changing table, so perhaps it’s something that can be requested for wards without.

    Fun post!

  250. “Fun [a]post[asy]!”

  251. “Spend less on BYU football.”

    Don’t you ever, EVER, say that again.

    (In all seriousness, my understanding is that not only is the football program self-sustaining, it generates revenue for other programs at the university.)

  252. JT, Not only at BYU but at every major university with a football program.

  253. Let me put it a different way: give academics the same level of resources as football.

  254. That football programs generate money for other programs, and, in particular, academic programs, is a myth. See Jeff Benedict (isn’t he a Mormon?) and Armen Keteyian, _The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football_.

    And that doesn’t begin to address the costs the program imposes on the integrity of the university.

  255. What Mark B. said about college football. It’s scandalous, really. Sometime you need to kill your darlings. And stop drinking the kool-aid.

  256. Mark B. you may be right. I’ll have to read that book and see how the authors did at getting credible numbers and crunching them. I think it’s pretty obvious that college football generates more REVENUE than all the other sports (compare 60,000 seats at $50 each and add the TV contracts to the smaller draw of the other sports) but the authors’ contention that despite the millions of dollars pouring into the game, 90 percent of major athletic departments still lose money speaks to the EXPENSES that go with it. In BYU’s case though, from everything you hear, they don’t pay coaches anything close to the other big schools. It’s less clear to me that academic programs would be better off without the national visibility that football brings. If BYU gets left out of the BIG 12 and ends up dropping athletics like BYUI did, I guess we’ll find out. From the reviews, it sounds like the authors defend the integrity of BYU’s football program, so yeah, maybe Jeff Benedict is LDS.

  257. Clark Goble says:

    I vote we keep football. Especially with the new coaches. If we suck and don’t make it into the Big 12 we’ll reconsider.LOL

  258. I really like most of your list, Steve. I’m particularly partial to changes that I think might lead to other positive changes in an upward spiral of goodness. For example, I love Joseph Stanford’s suggestion of a mechanism for feedback from the rank and file to the Q15. And MTodd’s suggestion for a crowdsourced Handbook rewrite. And True Blue’s idea of a retirement age for apostles. I think gst probably wins, though. My sense is that changes like these, or any changes on Steve’s list would require Church leaders who are actually concerned with what members think. That would be step one.

  259. right on

  260. Lindsey K. says:

    Standardize procedures church-wide for sacrament bread for people with celiac’s disease. Either provide ongoing training for leaders and Aaronic priesthood holders to avoid cross-contamination or validate the option of abstaining from the bread altogether.

  261. “Have temple sessions for those that are seasoned and can do without some of the repetition (ie I don’t need to be instructed on the veil, I know what I’m doing). Some repetition is good, but not all of it is necessary for those of us who have been for years. Time is money.”

    Ironically, nothing says “I don’t understand the endowment at all” quite like, “let’s get out of here quick so we can make money.”

  262. A Happy Hubby says:

    OK. Maybe Chadwick could have picked a better phrase (or maybe he is focused on making money). But if there is urgency to try and get as many ordinances for the dead, he has a point. What about more of, “so I can get more done and still be able to go home quicker and spend some time with my family or get my home teaching done”? There are times I could spend less than 2+ hours and get some sessions done if what is suggested was adopted.

  263. Clark Goble says:

    The endowment has two functions. Work for the dead but also the ordinance itself. There’s no separation between endowments for the living and for the dead. Further many of us who go to the temple go for the experience and not merely trying to get work done as quickly as possible. The Church already shortened it significantly in the 90’s. While I think there are places that could go quicker, such as in the early parts, I think it’d be quite sad were it to be changed too much. If anything I kind of wish we had more live ceremonies as are done in SLC.

  264. Discourage leader worship in all it’s hideous manifestations. Put in place a mechanism by which senior leaders may be removed when they become incompetent or reactionary. Most of the problems in the church are leadership problems, either in their creation or in a failure to respond. This is the FIRST thing we need to be open & honest about if anything is to ever improve. How much despair there is in all these comments!

  265. Time at the temple, especially in the Celestial Room, is the pinnacle of time-well spent. The idea of rushing it along seems counter productive to the reverence it deserves. If you are in the temple thinking “I’ve got other more important things to do” then you are much like Martha (Luke 10:41) who is fretting about minor chores and missing the pinnacle opportunity in front of you. No, we shouldn’t be lingering in there all day, and yes time with family is important. But to equate the expression “Time is Money” to temple service (and not just time pondering in the Celestial Room, but to the length of the ceremony itself) is to show a staggering disregard for the sacred events you are involved in there.

    Maybe you do know the routine by heart (as many of us do). But what if the spirit of the person you are there to represent is present there, learning/hearing/seeing it for the first time? Might not they benefit/need the detailed explanation of the procedure?

    I’m definitely all in on more live ceremonies!! I took out my own endowment at a live ceremony in Salt Lake. The first time I went to the Jordan River Temple and saw the video version I thought that much of the perspective was lost.

  266. “Time at the temple, especially in the Celestial Room, is the pinnacle of time-well spent. The idea of rushing it along seems counter productive to the reverence it deserves. If you are in the temple thinking “I’ve got other more important things to do” then you are much like Martha …”

    Or perhaps you’re a mother with a nursing child at home.

    Or perhaps you’re a pregnant woman and your blood sugar is wonky.

    Or perhaps you’re a diabetic and ditto.

    Or perhaps you have back problems and want to go to the temple but after about an hour, you are in severe pain.

    Or perhaps the temple is at a great distance, and you are only able to fit in one or two endowments for your deceased loved ones, and wish you could fit in three or four in a trip.

    Or perhaps … (lots of other scenarios of people to whom one hour would be much more manageable than two-and-a-quarter-hours)

    “a staggering disregard for the sacred events you are involved in there”

    Whatever. Is the endowment truer than a baptism because it takes over two hours instead of less than a minute?

  267. “took out” ones endowments. Can we add that to the laundry list, please? In the “add a gallon of bleach” load.

  268. I genuinely don’t see the problem with offering a shortened endowment session to those who want it, while still offering the longer version for first-timers or those who enjoy spending more time in the temple.

    I will say that for me, the current endowment is way too long. My husband always falls asleep and since we are seated on opposite sides of the room, I can’t nudge or kick him back into consciousness. I’ve been trying to develop telepathy, but so far no luck.

  269. Clark Goble says:

    Anon what does “truer” mean in that context? It’s a ritual. If you change it significantly it’s no longer the same ritual. Again, the endowment has been changed in the past and undoubtedly will in the future. Without disclosing anything inappropriately I will say that there’s a bunch of stuff near the beginning that largely follows Genesis that could easily be shortened. However much of the rest can’t really change much. Perhaps the video could be tightened up since there are places it actually is longer than a live session. But there are limits as to what one can do.

  270. Anon, I’m a disabled vet with back problems who is often in great pain before I reach the temple which is 4 hours away. So I fit several of your scenarios. I’m aware of times it would be nice for it to be shorter. And everyone knows going in how long it will be, plan accordingly; or choose to do the other equally good ordinances that take less time if you need to breastfeed, watch your blood sugar. The argument above wasn’t one of “need” for it to be shorter; it was impatience/annoyance that he had to be burdened to repeat something he already knew.

    So making a comparison to baptisms, it isn’t about time. Chadwick’s suggestion was about impatience with already knowing what is coming next, so lets skip it. So it would be like making the suggestion for baptisms for the dead sound like this, “We all know the baptismal prayer, so why can’t we get into the font, read every name at once and just do one dunk. Time is money.” That suggestion would be equally repugnant to the sacredness of the event.

  271. Emeritus status?! Heck, let’s go all the way and do an annual Shirley Jackson-style lottery martyrdom. If it was good enough for the ancient apostles, it ought to be good enough for us! :-)

  272. In regards to the Jazz/Lakers/Pelicans trade referenced above, there’s no need to get LA involved. Not enough people know that the Great Salt Lake is home to one of the largest inland pelican rookeries in the world. Just trade New Orleans straight across, and then we can have a pelican mascot paragliding inside the Vivint Center (or whatever they’re calling it this week).

  273. 34. De-emphasize the divine nature of the U.S. Constitution and the founding fathers.

    Why? If they have a divine origin, why would we want to de-emphasize it? Or do you mean “emphasize that the Constitution has no divine nature”? That position I could understand; that if doesn’t have a divine nature that we should stop saying/treating it like it does.

    But given the prophetic statements that it DOES have one, why would we take time to de-emphasize it? This seems like you are suggesting that something happen akin to a SS instructor whispering, “shh, we don’t want people to know we think the Constitution was inspired.”

  274. A Happy Hubby says:

    I took the “De-emphasize the divine nature of the U.S. Constitution and the founding fathers.” not to deride it, but just not make it such a centerpiece. As in don’t put so much emphasis on it. It hurts missionary work around the world as we come off as an American church even more than being a Christian church. Spend a bit of time outside the US and you will hear the complaint A LOT.

  275. Bingo.

  276. Clark Goble says:

    I’m not sure I’d say de-emphasize so much as perhaps contextualize it. The way many speak of the Constitution as scripture misses out that there were many compromises in the constitution necessary to bring all the states on. Many of those compromises were horrific except that the alternative was worse. Obviously the way Africans were treated is one of those. I think it’d be great to hear a talk about the constitution that noted that sort of thing. For one it speaks very much to the Mormon concept of God as doing the best possible with highly flawed often evil beings. (Our perception of the Law of Moses is quite similar) Second we can then talk about the correct principles of civil rights that sprang out of our constitution and often became parts of democratic movements since. In that way we could speak of changes in France, Japan, the UK and more as part of the constitution. The constitution thus is contextualized to not be an infallible document but a testimony to how God unfolds his ideals with fallen humans.

  277. I love you guys for doing this. Seventy five changes in the OP and 275+ comments with uncounted additional ideas. It does me good to see this lively of an exchange over it, and with so little actual contention. I’m plumb out of energy to engage, except to say I’ve been following and enjoying reading this.

    I will say that any comments regarding teaching the true history of Relief Society, and allowing women to discuss anything they darn well feel like needs to be discussed gets a cheer from my corner.

  278. Morthodox says:

    I would sincerely appreciate it if the Church stopped the custom of automatically changing women’s surnames to their husband’s name when they marry. Yes, many women and couples want this. Many have different plans. But in a church that supposedly values agency so much, at least let it be a choice. There’s no reason why the couple can’t be asked at the temple on their wedding day about their intentions regarding their future name(s) (Or simply speak up- as I wish I had. Hindsight, etc.)
    Also, please lets do away with trying to pin down who the head of the household is on church forms. Husbands and wives run their households together; they are co-heads of their homes.

  279. Ditto MDearest, as an idea for a post this was simple, brilliant. What a response! Memo to the Brethren: the answers to so many problems that plague our beloved church are to be found among its greatest resource, the lowly rank & file. Utilize it, please!

  280. I’ve spent a fair amount of time out of the US. Being US-centered is a complaint, but not that I’ve heard because of the Constitution but because of US cultural practices that policies/GA’s/missionaries try to spread that are not gospel based. The American-centered complaint isn’t because missionaries are preaching about the inspiration of Washington/Jefferson/Adams/Franklin and the benefits of Federalism, are they?

    “just not make it such a centerpiece” In what way is it a centerpiece now? Centerpiece to what? I hear about it in comments during SS occasionally, but my SS class is in the US so sometimes it is relevant. I can’t remember it coming up in GC much recently. Did I miss it? Most often all I hear is something in testimony like “I’m so glad I live in a land of freedom to worship as I want” to which I usually roll my eyes as if Argentinians don’t … etc. I almost never hear specifics about the founders or the Constitution by name – just freedom in general

  281. RE: profits and big time college athletics, as of 2010 BYU needed tithing subsidized funds to subsidize the athletic department. At least that is what they reported to the NCAA.
    http://www.espn.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/101207_tuesday_morning_quarterback&sportCat=nfl

    20 schools managed to get their fiscal houses in order and report a profit by 2014 but it isn’t clear BYU was one of them.
    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2014/08/ncaa_study_finds_all_but_20_fb.html

    Maybe BYU isn’t as bad the University of Utah but it is unlikely the athletic department is turning a profit in the independence wilderness. Keep hope alive.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/sports/wp/2015/11/23/running-up-the-bills/

    Better luck next time.

    Great list and comments by the way.

  282. Clark Goble says:

    I can’t speak for their analysis – it’s not clear to me how various buildings are amortized – but in 2013 the Deseret News said BYU was profitable.

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865570213/BYU-Utah-football-teams-more-profitable-than-Utah-Jazz.html?pg=all

    If they get into the Big12 that’d significantly increase along with exposure of the program.

    The problem with a lot of these reports is it’s hard to tell what numbers are being used. Also for costs sometimes they’re just talking football expenses but sometimes entire athletic departments. There’s no doubt many programs are badly run – often building big facilities in hope of future revenues. (Colorado State we’re looking at you) In other places the team gets little support but has big costs. (Seriously, when was the last time you saw the Berkeley stadium full and it’s not even that big a stadium)

    So for the second link Rb, it was clearly talking athletic departments. But of course most athletics don’t remotely cover their costs. It’s not clear to me that getting rid of football would suddenly make women’s or men’s soccer or lacross suddenly cost less.

    Don’t get me wrong. college spending is out of control. But honestly if I had a choice between slicing the administration department significantly or the football department significantly I know which one I’d do…

  283. Jax, thank you for thinking the worst of me.
    A Happy Hubby, Anon, and others, thank you for thinking better of me.

    Apologies for the delay in responding as I spent the better part of the day on an airplane.

    Jax, you said it perfectly when you said “Time at the temple, especially in the Celestial Room, is the pinnacle of time-well spent.” Bingo. The part of the session I’m criticizing comes when I’m basically ready to be in the Celestial room, and the only thing holding me back is a repeat of what I am about to do myself, so I don’t find it helpful (though I certainly did find it helpful the first 15 or so times I attended the temple). If you feel otherwise about this particular part of the temple endowment, great. Perhaps my phrase “time is money” was not appropriate. Thank you for pointing that out.

    While it’s probably true that I don’t understand the endowment very well, I find several parts of your comment to be very uncharitable toward a fellow Saint, even if I am a stranger. My experience is that a kinder approach is always better received.

  284. Clark Goble says:

    Here’s more recent profitability stats from USA Today

    http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/

    Utah remains one of the few profitable. BYU is not listed as it’s a private school. However SB Nation had latest data and it shows BYU among the most profitable even without being in a conference. If they are brought in the Big12 that’ll be a huge increase in revenue.

    http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/5/6/11362094/ncaa-football-revenue-chart-profit

  285. Chadwick. My apologies for the approach. As you say “Time is money” was inappropriate, and my sarcasm probably was too. I don’t think the worst of you though…

    I was thinking about it quite a bit though… What does anyone think about the idea that the deceased are witnessing the ceremony with us and that they need the instruction? Is that scriptural? Is it hokum? Any know of any prophetic explanation of how the individuals we proxy for receive the info they need to pass the sentinels? Could it be the repetition is for them as well as for us? Or could/should we find a way to limit some of the repetitions?

  286. Steve, loved the list and the idea of the OP overall. Like many, if not most, others, I “sustain” many of the ideas, shrug at some, and strongly disagree with some.

    Can I add “paint ball voting during open mike days”?

    The question that this list raises is one that I’ve chewed on for a while. If we become a post-modern, member driven (yes, yes, this is the By Common Consent blog) church, is there room for revelation? For deeper truths than those “co-created” in the blogosphere? And how do we discern those inconvenient Truths (capital ‘T’) from the zeitgeist truths? As much as I agree with many, if not most of your suggestions (even the tongue-in-cheek ones), I want a church that requires some significant sacrifices that are counter-cultural, otherwise God is no better than the Kardashian Twitter-feed. Thanks for all the great posts, comment-tending, and otherwise oxygen injections into my thinking.

  287. Jim, of course. There is room for much revelation. And yes, I want a God and a Church that are not easy. I guess my view is that the path Jesus laid out for us is difficult enough without us making it tougher on ourselves.

  288. Steve, true enough. I think you and I are fairly closely aligned in many things. But my question was sincere and more than rhetorical: how do we know/discern/decide? (This is coming from a pro-evolution, bearded guy who refuses to wear white shirts to church and brings drunk people to fast and testimony meeting)

  289. Jim, I think Mormon answered that one pretty well for us. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/7.19

  290. A Happy Hubby says:

    Jax – my assumption is that they get to see every single ceremony at ever single temple everywhere. So for me it is the ordinances that they are waiting for, not a physical seat in the temple. That is my assumption that drives my desire for a shorter session option. Just like the baptism for the dead, they don’t have to sit through a talk on baptism and the holy ghost. Instead it is “just the ordinance”, next, “just the ordinance”, next …

    But I don’t know for sure. In fact I would say most of my faith in what we “know” is fairly thin.

  291. Diane Kunz says:

    We had conference talks about economic disparity. President Kimball gave them. They were thoroughly ignored. Perhaps all we need to do on that score is to quote them and live them in our own lives.
    There are many areas of Church culture of which I disaprove. They were entirely different when I lived in one of the most liberal areas of the Church than they are now in the super conservative. But they existed equally in both places. Pride in wealth, pride in education, a sense of superiority in your pioneer heritage. How is it really any different? Puny mortals trying to cover up their insecurities by seeking to appear better than others. I have learned through long life that some of the changes I would have recommended when I was young would not have turned out so well. Sometimes the overall culture needs to change for people in general to feel comfortable believing and acting in new ways. I sm grateful those changes finally came. Other times I needed to learn that I was not as wise as I had believed. What motivates me is not always the same as what motivates others. And we all have great weaknesses that can be empowered by changing religious rules and cultural expectations. Weaknesses that can only be kept in check by strong prohibitions. Prohibitions people would casually toss aside.
    I am trying to learn to focus on Christ. And on my own behaviors. That is all I can reasonably hope to change in this life. Other than that, I just ignore what I feel is wrong. It is less disruptive to my life. And it drives other people crazy if you do not engage in their arguments.

  292. “I am trying to learn to focus on… my own behaviors. That is all I can reasonably hope to change in this life.”

    I think this list is important because, if church leadership doesn’t know there’s a huge percentage of the membership that sees a problem, and they (the leadership) don’t see it, how are they to know it needs changing? Can a person receive revelation on a subject they aren’t pondering? Surely, but is it not more likely that God will grant us knowledge on the subject that currently takes our time, thoughts, and pondering? Isn’t that why we can leave feedback on temple garments, so they can be improved? I think we need to separate “men” and “Priesthood” and the feeling that is generally had that we can’t criticize or question our leaders “because Priesthood”, so that changes and improvements can be made.

    Another change that some members and I discussed included: having a paid janitor. In many wards and branches (especially here in Germany), the membership tends to be a lot older, and that means a lot of men and women who’d like to help, or feel obligated to help, but then suffer for three days recovering after they’ve cleaned the building.

  293. Here’s one: members who are new to the ward get to spend a year in Relief Society or Elders Quorum before they get shuffled off to Primary!

  294. Wow, if they did this I might actually consider going back to church! But it will never ever happen. Nope.

  295. Not sure if someone already mentioned this, but BYU football is entirely self-funded by ticket sales, donations, and NCAA funds. They and basketball pay rent to use the stadiums.

  296. Left Field says:

    Jax and Happy Hubby, your comments are examples of the kind of thing I was talking about when I mentioned people thinking of the film being something distinct that we “watch.” The endowment isn’t about just “instruction” or the equivalent of “sitting through a talk.” The drama IS the ordinance. We’re ritually taking every person who ever lived individually, by name, through the fall and redemption. They have to be there in the garden. They have to be cast out. They have to be redeemed. They have to embrace God. They have to be brought through the veil. It’s the ritual fall and redemption that IS the ordinance.

    I don’t know if it’s even so much that *they* have to experience it. I think it’s more that *we* experience doing it for each member of Eve and Adam’s posterity. That’s not to say that there aren’t ways of shortening it, but taking out what you think of as “instruction” is taking out the very essence of the ordinance itself. What would be left wouldn’t be like baptism without talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost. It would be like baptism without the water and with two out of every three words removed from the prayer.

  297. A Happy Hubby says:

    Left Field – I guess I just don’t get the endowment session. Even after a few decades and over 100 sessions (I don’t live that close to a temple). I hear your words, but they just don’t make sense. Just for one point as an example – I assume the deceased can see all human events – even back to Adam and Eve – better than I can now. Just left scratching my head. But if it works for you and brings you close to God – by all means embrace it and enjoy it.

  298. Window on the Bishop’s office door and/or following 2-deep leadership principles with youth interviews.

  299. Happy Hubby, do you assume that the dead can travel in time or “see” events in the past and future? Do you mean that they can see all human events because they are able to communicate with those who were there? I imagine that we would perceive time differently because we’re no longer bound by mortality, but it still moves in the same forward direction. I also think our perceptions will be somewhat different and perhaps clearer as spirits than they are in the flesh, clouded as our mortal experience is by physical issues and surroundings, but I don’t think they will be THAT different, given that the personalities of our spirits or whatever remain essentially the same. I like Left Field’s concept of “taking ever person who ever lived individually, by name” through a similar experience. I don’t think I’d thought of it that concisely before.

  300. A Happy Hubby says:

    Villate – Yes I assume that people are free from “time” as we know it. So they could go back into the past and see things that have happened. I have heard that taught many times at church, not that I consider it a core doctrinal belief. But even if that isn’t the case that a deceased can go back in time, they wouldn’t need to if they can just see what is going on right now on earth. A few tens of thousands of those that have passed on could watch one person going through for their own endowments.

  301. Hm, interesting. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever heard about “time travel” in that way at church. I guess I just assumed people thought there would be like a movie or something that everyone could watch. I think I may have been told that explicitly in seminary or Sunday School as a young person. When I examined the idea more critically as an adult, it didn’t seem very feasible, however. *shrugs* I’m interested in your idea of being free from time as we know it enabling us to somehow go backward and “see” things. Could that work from a physics standpoint? My knowledge of relativity theory is pretty basic, but I don’t think Einstein meant we could actually go back in time.
    Sorry to go off on a tangent there. I suppose another item on the laundry list would be “Receive and communicate specific revelation that explains, even in the most basic way, how the mysteries of the kingdom work so we don’t have to make wild guesses.” I suppose God would have to provide that rather than Church leaders, though.

  302. I’ve heard that idea too. Probably in seminary. (My seminary teachers put forth all sorts of crazy theories like that Joseph Smith only had one wife.)

    I’ve often wondered if women who died before the endowment was restored have been holding their breath, so to speak, to see if their proxy work would be done pre-1990 or post 1990. It makes a pretty bug difference whether you will spend your entire afterlife *obeying* your husband, or just *hearkening to* him.

  303. Joni/Villate (my Mom’s middle name!)/et al.

    While we’re still adding to the list – I’d love to get back to the basics and leave alone the faith promoting (destroying) speculations that go on in Church meetings. If BY had left alone his philosophizing on blacks and the priesthood, or JFS had not been so adamantly against evolution (contrary to First Presidency statements), etc., generations would have been better off. And yet, this garbage, and other like it, seems to still get quoted. When did Seminary instructors get trained in cosmology and astrophysics?

  304. it's a series of tubes says:

    I’ve often wondered if women who died before the endowment was restored have been holding their breath, so to speak, to see if their proxy work would be done pre-1990 or post 1990. It makes a pretty bug difference whether you will spend your entire afterlife *obeying* your husband, or just *hearkening to* him.

    Joni, I hope your comment was tongue in cheek :) but if not: the situation you describe would certainly make God a respecter of persons. Whatever the situation will be, I don’t believe anyone’s eternal fate will be influenced in the slightest by what particular version of the endowment they received. Otherwise, all those folks in single piece wrist and ankle garments are going to be miserable in the eternities :)

  305. it's a series of tubes says:

    When did Seminary instructors get trained in cosmology and astrophysics?

    Isn’t it “every member a cosmologist”? That’s what I was always taught. Hence, Earth In the Beginning, The Kolob Theorem, et al.

  306. Left Field says:

    I don’t think just being aware of what happens in an ordinance really counts. A person having seen someone immersed in water or knowing the process of swallowing and digesting bread doesn’t complete the ritual. It has to actually happen for you. Even if you could go back to some time and watch John Doe being cast out of the Garden Room into the World Room, and then receiving the keys needed to pass through the veil to the presence of the Father, all you’ve done is watch John Doe receive the ordinance. You may know the process, but you haven’t received it yourself.

  307. Clark Goble says:

    The word of truth is the eternal Hamiltonian, Tubes. Find that and you have true omniscience. Still a test for seminary teachers to see if they can at least calculate metric tensors might be a very useful way of increasing their quality.

    Left Field I’m not sure what “receiving” means I confess. I can (and have) participated in ordinances I didn’t fully understand. Indeed I’d say that of most of the ordinances. I always learn things and suspect I’m still missing pretty key parts. They question is whether they were functional. But to say they were functional we have to really understand the function. And again my ignorance is that while I understand bits and pieces of function I strongly suspect most of the function is a mystery to me.

  308. Left Field says:

    Clark, understanding is important too, but in this context, by “receiving” I mostly just meant that you are the one who is being baptized or endowed (either for yourself or by proxy) and not someone else.

    To me, the temple ritual is the whole shebang. Baptism is a cleansing and rebirth. The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance and recommittal. But the endowment is the ritual that takes us through everything. It goes from our creation through our temptation and fall, our cleansing and redemption, and ultimately our exaltation. We are the prodigal son, gone off on our own way, finally coming back, wearing the Father’s best robe, with his shoes on our feet, literally embracing the Father as he welcomes us home. It’s not just instruction; we are enacting our own course of life and exaltation, just as in baptism we enact our own rebirth. The sacred play is the essence of the ritual. That’s probably what “receiving” ultimately means.

  309. Left Field: yup.

  310. Left field

    So what if I do work for a relative tomorrow but they don’t accept it? Then let’s say in two years time from now they do. Is that good enough? (I understand time may be different but let’s put that aside for now). If you believe they literally must be by my side in the temple, then it seems we are going about this all wrong.

    I personally lived through my endowment but still don’t understand it, and definitely did not at the time. I’m really at a loss as to what this means.

  311. Left Field says:

    Why would they have to accept it immediately or in any sense be “by your side” in the temple? There was a ritual drama in which the characters included among others, Eve, Peter, Adam, Jehovah, and Brother Deceased B. Chadwick. Bro. Chadwick ritually fell from grace, and was redeemed in parallel with the fall and redemption of our first parents. The ordinance has been done for him. He can accept it later. The important thing for us is that we perform this ritual individually by name, for every one of our brothers and sisters. The important thing for him is that the drama includes him as a son of Adam and Eve.

  312. LF – That’s an interesting way to look at it, but I still don’t understand. “The important thing for him…” statements lead me to more of ‘huh?’ ‘why?’ than agreement. I can’t see that a reenactment becomes reality. Reality (of the atonement, of our fall, of genetics making us sons/daughters of Adam/Eve) is reality.

  313. Left Field says:

    ReT, it seems like your question is more about ritual in general. We ritually reenact the Last Supper as a remembrance. We are ritually washed and reborn, but it’s still up to us to actually become a new person in Christ. The ritual both symbolizes the change and helps bring it about. The endowment symbolizes our past creation, and our past and ongoing fall, and also symbolizes and effects our ongoing and future redemption and exaltation.

  314. I’m slow to the game to reply, but I have to applaud this list. This is brilliant. This makes me oddly hopeful, because it’s all so reasonable and doable and possible. This is a possible dimension of Mormonism, somewhere, and I want to go to there.

  315. Thanks Grover.

  316. When my son passed away, we made it explicitly clear to the bishop that there would be NO Plan of Salvation talk by the bishop. We stipulated that the only speakers would be my husband and me and if any presiding authority muscled their way onto the program, we would hold the funeral at the funeral home.

    The funeral was lovely and perfect and simple.

    And Amen to #30. My son who was severely disabled wasn’t acknowledged by the primary until he was 10 years old.

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