Conference talk – Respect and Reverence

This week’s talk is called “Respect and Reverence“, by Margaret Lifferth, who is in the Primary General Presidency.

Just as a note, I don’t put a blog post each week when I read talks (though maybe I should!) But sometimes I don’t feel like anything jumped out at me. It’s not like the talk was bad or anything, just nothing jumped out at me that I wanted to share. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood or frame of reference that week? But I still do read one every week (at least for the past few months). Next week’s talk is “Revealed Quorum Principles” and you can find all the talks here (along with links to audio and video)

Anyway – a few things I found interesting about Sis. Lifferth’s talk:

She talked about respect and reverence (duh!) and specifically how to instill them in our children.

May I suggest that our ability and our credibility to exemplify reverence for God is strengthened as we show respect for each other. In today’s society, the standards of decorum, dignity, and courtesy are assailed on every side and in every form of media. As parents and leaders, our examples of respect for each other are critical for our youth and children because they are watching not only the media—they are watching us! Are we the examples we need to be?

I really found it interesting doing a bit of pondering about the media today, be it tv, radio, Internet, Facebook, blogs, whatever, and just the general slide towards accepting indecency and just a lack of “common courtesy” to borrow a phrase we like to throw around in our home. I am often torn between the libertarian-ish side of me that wants to just let people do whatever(-ish) they want, as long as it does not infringe on me or mine, and the part of me that feels like when as a society, we do not stand up against things that are “wrong”, that it just becomes acceptable. Then the envelope continues to be pushed further and further out. What is that quote – something like “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”?

Ask yourself these questions: Am I an example of respect in my home by the way I treat those I love the most? What is my demeanor during a sports event? If my child has a disagreement with a teacher, coach, or peer, do I listen to both sides of the issue? Do I show respect for the property of others as well as take care of my own? How do I respond to others with whom I disagree in matters of religion, lifestyle, or politics?

Loved this too – I am really a big fan of not arguing. People (for the most part) are never going to be convinced that they are wrong, and if they are, it’s not going to be by arguing about it. I think most people have this idea that they are some sort of master orator and THEY are the ones that can convince me (or whoever) of the error of my ways.

We are a friendly people and we love each other, but reverence will increase if our socializing is done in the foyer and if sacrament meeting begins with the prelude music, not the opening prayer. We encourage reverence when we take a crying child out of the chapel and find another room where we continue to listen to the meeting until the baby is calmed or a disruptive toddler is soothed. Reverence includes turning off our cell phones and BlackBerry devices. Texting or reading e-mails in a Church meeting is not only irreverent, it is distracting and signals a lack of respect for those around us. So we exemplify reverence by participating in the meeting, listening to the speakers, and singing the hymns of Zion together.

Ah – the good ol’ sacrament meeting reverence!!!! :-) . It has been interesting over the past few months as I have been talking with a friend at work about churches. He belongs to a different church and I was commenting the other day about how I find it very interesting comparing different churches – not only theologically as in what they believe, but just logistically in how they operate. There are many differences, of course, but I think this is a big one. Most churches that I’ve seen have just a 1-hour meeting, and it’s mostly for adults and bigger kids, while all the younger kids are off doing their version of what we call Primary. So (I would imagine) it is much quieter. I would imagine that someone that is used to that level of quietness would be somewhat shocked by the noise levels in our sacrament meetings. We have talked in our ward about creating a special visitor’s insert for our Sunday meeting programs to give to visitors / investigators just explaining what is going on and giving contact numbers and such, and in thinking about it, talking about the noise levels is one of the things that I thought would be helpful.

But I don’t want to harp on this. I think this is a subject that many people feel strongly about – I have some opinions on this issue, but I understand that it is a fine line as a parent walking between taking your child out at the first peep and teaching your kid that all he has to do to escape boring Sacrament meeting and go play in the foyer is make a peep. I will also say that the angriest I have ever been at church and the closest I have ever felt to never wanting to come back was after some people forcefully expressed their opinions on this subject. I will also say that it is my opinion that my kids (and for the most part the other kids in our congregation) are more age-appropriately reverent than most of the adults (see: texting / cell phones / Blackberries / reading above). And that is all I will say (see: arguing, also above :) )

See you next week!

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Comments (1) left to “Conference talk – Respect and Reverence”

  1. Ker wrote:

    I’m with you on the not arguing. I don’t think any of us siblings like to argue.

    I think that everyone has his/her own opinion on when a child should be taken out of sacrament, and that a lot of adults forget what it was like to have little kids. I invite anyone annoyed with the way my kids are behaving to come babysit them for a few days and see how easy it is to keep little ones quiet!

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