Kirby: You can chop the three-hour Mormon block on your own. After all, how much Sunday suffering does the Lord require?

Robert Kirby

Mormons currently attend church for three hours every Sunday. This doesn’t count our holy “holidays” like stake and General Conference, when the meeting time shrinks to two hours. Less if you catch a session on TV.

Three hours is a long time, especially if most of it’s spent on a steel folding chair. I’m firmly convinced that there will come a day when “folding-chair back” will be a medically recognized ailment.

Other Mormons think this way as well, many of whom are asking why the attendance block can’t be reduced to two hours. Surely the Lord didn’t require this much suffering from his people.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand the whining. Church attendance is voluntary, people. How long you spend there is up to you. Go when you’re ready and/or leave when you’ve had enough.

What? Church attendance is a commandment? Please. How many commandments do you break in the course of a given week? Be honest now.

See? It’s not like you’re going to the Celestial Kingdom anyway. Go home. Eat some Froot Loops. Watch part of a game. Come back later if you want.

Jeez, I had this stuff figured out before I got out of Primary. The only problem was that I wasn’t old enough yet to make it stick.

The Old Man would regularly check to see if I was in Sunday school class. Usually he could tell just by listening at the door. If I wasn’t there, he would get in the car and go looking for me.

Home was only half a mile from the church. Even if I ran, I wouldn’t make it before the family Rambler pulled up next to me.

“Just where do you think you’re going?” he would demand.

Since this was an even dumber question than some of those I was asked at church, I never bothered to answer. I simply waited to be dragged into the car through the window and returned to church.

Eventually, I left home and could decide for myself. One Sunday, in the middle of a lesson on the necessity of a handcart mentality in order to return to Heavenly Father, I’d had enough. I got up and left.

Church for me that day was 73 minutes long. My wife, whom I had abandoned in class, found me in the car reading a novel.

Her • “What are you doing?”

Me • “Going to hell. Wanna come?”

We went to Village Inn for waffles instead.

Some of you may find this inappropriate, or even sacrilegious, but the truth is that this is how most changes are accomplished in the church. For you, here’s a bit of interesting news.

The chaste hemlines you see in church today didn’t get there on their own. Heavenly Father didn’t decide to make a fashion change out of the blue. No, hems came up as cooperation went down.

This is also true of other changes, including those made to the previous split-meeting schedule, hairstyles, full-length garments, missionaries no longer having to wear fedoras, and Primary in the middle of the week.

Look, if people are uncooperative, changes will come. So might floods, pestilences, frogs, destroying angels and famine, but some things are worth bucking the odds.