At the end of the second hour of Sunday worship in my Mormon ward, I have a decision to make. I lock up the meetinghouse library and stand in the hallway, deliberating how to spend the last hour of church.
I can turn left and go to high priest group, or I can turn right, where I have a choice between elders quorum or the women’s Relief Society.
It’s really a question of where I feel most inclined on a given Sunday. I’ve ended up in Relief Society more than once.
Two weeks ago, I was lovingly encouraged/told to stop attending Relief Society. Rather, I should find my way to the priesthood class to which I belonged during the last hour of church.
The presence of a brooding Y chromosome in Relief Society made some of the sisters uneasy.
Fair enough. My presence in most church classes (and it doesn’t matter the faith) makes people uneasy, alarmed, borderline hysterical, or, even better, just outright pissed.
According to the rules as set forth by the Lord himself, I belong in high priest group, with Mormon men of my similar age and priesthood rank (but definitely not temperament).
At issue isn’t the subject matter per se. All three adult classes teach the same lesson most Sundays. Instead, it’s the way the material is presented. Hell, I even have a testimony of it.
Brothers and sisters, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the most pointless and useless classes are the ones in which everyone automatically agrees.
I said as much to the person pointing me in the direction of high priest group, a person whose opinion I respect. I really do.
However, in my own opinion (which I happen to respect even more) I might just as well seek further light and knowledge by going into the men’s room and beating my head against a urinal for three-quarters of an hour.
For me and those like me — most of whom normally don’t attend church — few things are more aggravating than an instructor who, no matter what, is bent on dragging a rhetorical lesson to its predetermined finish line.
The class discussion could stray into some profound cosmic welling of deep spiritual understanding that makes life better for everyone in the room, and the teacher will insist that everyone get back on track.
“OK, OK, enough of that. Who’s got scripture Number 6 about the importance of what color socks should be worn while home teaching? Would you please read that?”
Word is that this type of borganized instruction is going to change after the first of the year. The LDS Church is introducing Relief Society and priesthood lessons that allow for more open and diverse discussion in classes.
Presumably, I still won’t be able to attend Relief Society, but it will be easier to pick a fight. If nothing else, I won’t need to go somewhere else to make things more interesting.
And if that doesn’t work for me, I can close up the library, make a U-turn in the hallway, and head out to the parking lot and home.