Sunday, October 4, 2009
Thoughts on Conference -
I have been working with the missionaries as they are teaching a young lady about 26 years old. She remembers Tiana from high school. She was raised strong Catholic and for the last two years has been very active in a Evangelical Christian church where she works with the youth and has made several charitable mission trips to Mexico and South America with that group. She is one that is living the religion she has been taught. A whole new world has opened up to her by teaching her the restored gospel. The first LDS church meeting she attended was a very powerful and spiritually rich Stake Conference two weeks ago and she made a very interesting statement after the meeting. As I’m listening to General Conference this weekend I keep on thinking about what she said.
Her impression was one I have heard from a number of investigators or visitors to our church meetings. Their walk-away impression of an uplifting and spiritual meeting has always bothered and saddened me. To summarize her comment she said, “It seemed like a business meeting. Where was the room for worship?” Her comment just blew me away and I wondered about the disconnect, and are we missing something in our meetings?
I think it is all based on the premise of why we attend church. To many in the Christian world, they attend church to “worship” God. To aid in that practice they employ crosses, ornamentation, gowns and robes, participatory services, and lots of “Praise the Lord”. They attend weekly to drop off their few minutes of worship and praise and once that’s taken care of they can go about and live their own lives. It is good to bow in respect and admiration of Heavenly Father and in the Savior, but is that true worship? Almost sounds like the Rameumpton people in the Book of Mormon.
During our “business meetings” the heart of the reason we gather weekly is to take the sacrament. Instead of bellicose external worship our route is one of very quite and individual reflection of our standing within the family of God. What better path then personal introspection into our discipleship and need for repentance to bring us back into at-one-ment. That is the whole reason of Christ’s passion. The ancillary talks are then designed to allow the spirit to direct our thoughts to ways we can live our lives better and draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Our worship is deep and personal but quiet and reflective. What better way to honor our HF then silently repenting and/or resolving to change our lives for the better. No need for drapes or incense or candles or crosses, just a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I like that kind of worship.
As I watch and enjoy General Conference it is a personal experience of worship as we have the opportunity to put on the whole armor of God and put off the natural man. It is a great opportunity and I’m so glad you all are taking advantage of the treasure of listening to a prophet’s voice. Enjoy conference.