Children say hilarious things all the time, but there’s something especially funny when their unfiltered honesty comes during a solemn time at church.
The Salt Lake Tribune asked its social media followers to share the most amusing, embarrassing or inappropriate words uttered by a youngster while sitting in the pews — munching Cheerios, no doubt — or attending Sunday school.
No matter the religion — from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Catholicism to Presbyterianism — these little ones aren’t afraid to say it like it is.
Here are some of the best stories (edited for length and clarity):
Jesus is a zombie?
During a [Latter-day Saint] Primary sharing time for Easter, my friend’s Sunbeam [class] son listened intently as the leader shared how Jesus — who once was dead — came back to life.
Realizing what this meant, he blurted out, “Jesus was a zombie!”
He was a fan of “Plants vs Zombies” video games.
Regina Layton, Hillsboro, Ore.
Cleanliness is next to ...
My mom was teaching nursery once when a very precocious 3-year-old came in and said, “I’m sorry I’m late. I could not get my parents to come out of the shower.”
Megan Bair Buhler, Salt Lake City
While teaching the second grade CCD [Confraternity of Christian Doctrine] class at the [Catholic] parish, I was reviewing the sacraments they would receive during their lives.
A student raised his hand and asked me why I didn’t take Communion during church. I started saying how I wasn’t married in the church so for me to take Communion, Father (insert priest’s name here) would have to marry me in the church.
The boy yelled, "FATHER (priest’s name here) IS GOING TO MARRY YOU?!
Gina Zupan (messaged)
“And a little child shall lead them.”
P is for priesthood
When my daughter was about 5, they were doing a Primary sharing time and the leader asked, “What is something that starts with P that men have?”
My daughter blurted out “penis.”
Jessie Christensen, Orem
Another anatomy lesson
My eldest son, as a toddler, had an epiphany in church one Sunday that what must make males is their being in possession of a penis.
He thenceforth — at the top of his lungs— proceeded to point this new realization out with cries of ’He’s got a penis! And he’s got a penis …” And so it went.
And this usually quiet, self-contained child couldn’t be constrained, wanting to share his first crude biology lesson with the entire ward.
Gina Colvin, Christchurch, New Zealand
Bless the brontosaurus
My son said the opening prayer in Primary and insisted on doing it all by himself. He blessed the dinosaurs.
Kathy Cushman, Payson
A little guy in a Primary program singing “I Am a Child of God” included thanks for “parents kind of dear,” instead of “kind and dear.”
Scott Pugsley, Salt Lake City
When I was little, I liked the children’s sermon part of the (Presbyterian) service and would run around in excitement unknowingly yelling, “I can’t wait for children’s semen!” My mom, who was also one of the pastors, was mortified.
Sara Ingerson, Millcreek
Shots for all
My friend, who didn’t regularly practice [the Latter-day Saint faith] and whose young daughter hadn’t ever attended, brought her family to a sacrament meeting for a brother’s missionary farewell.
When they passed the tray of sacramental water (served in miniature, individual cups), the daughter burst out loudly, “Mom, I wanna take a shot!”
Grant Emery, Westminster, Colo.
My younger sister, when she was about 3, was standing on the pew in [a Latter-day Saint] church. She leaned over to my mother, and in a loud stage whisper said, “Mama, I have a cigarette.”
That was how she pronounced “secret.”
Joan Thompson Lind, Salt Lake City
Save our seats
In Catholic Mass, a family is often selected to bring the bread and wine to the altar for Communion.
We were that family one Sunday. As we got up to get the bread and wine, my young son piped up, “I hope nobody swipes our seats.”
Dennis Edmonds, Sandy
What wouldn’t Jesus do
Child misbehaving in sacrament meeting. Mom whispers something in his ear. He throws himself backward and yells, “but I DON’T WANNA BE LIKE JESUS.”
Julie Jensen Nelson, Salt Lake City
There was a time in my parents’ [Latter-day Saint] ward when a boy about 4 years old had been misbehaving. I believe his father was a bishop’s counselor, so he was sitting on the stand.
His mother finally had enough, so she picked him up in her arms and started walking out of the chapel. Instead of going quietly, he yelled, “Help! Bishop! She’s going to kill me!”
Joan Thompson Lind, Salt Lake City
A real weiner
Our son, when he was about 5, said the most amazing prayer: "Please bless the dogs, the real dogs AND the hot dogs AND the real dogs that look like hot dogs.
Alisa Allred Mercer, Bountiful
One time my son stood up and launched a paper airplane and said “bombs away.” That paper plane flew all over the chapel in the middle of the meeting.
Anne Jeppson Bradham, Atlanta
During Primary, the teacher asked how families can have fun together. A kid said, “My parents play leapfrog in their bedroom at night — especially after they fight.”
Katina Anthony, Salt Lake City
Years ago, when our son was in kindergarten, my wife set our kids up with [Latter-day Saint] conference bingo cards to be filled in with mini M&M’s.
One of the first speakers that session was Elder [Dallin H.] Oaks. His talk, titled “He Heals the Heavy Laden,” starts out with a long list of troublesome burdens like divorce, drugs, pornography and same-gender attraction.
No bingo boxes could be filled in. Before long our son gave up and declared in disappointment, “This guy’s no good for conference bingo.”
Chad Emmett, Springville
I was interpreting at a funeral, leaving [my children] with family. They escaped and crawled under all the pews until they reached the casket at the front of the chapel.
They pulled themselves up using the handles where they proceeded to use them like a door knocker all the while calling out, “Grandma, you there?”
Cynthia Dawn, Logan
A 4-year-old in sacrament meeting on Easter Sunday looked at the water cup in his hand. He asked his father, “Dad, is this supposed to remind us of Jesus?”
“Yes,” answered his dad.
The boy then held the plastic cup high in the air and hollered for all to hear: “Long live Jesus!”
Keith Lane, Laie, Hawaii
Spare the rod
One Sunday during sacrament meeting, a mother — and the bishop’s wife — was struggling with keeping her two noisy and rambunctious little girls quiet.
Finally, she decided she’d had enough. As she stood up to take the girls out of the chapel, one of the little girls cried out, “MOMMY! PLEASE DON’T SPANK ME!”
Scott Adams, Layton
Trying to be ‘liked’ Jesus
My then-3-year-old son once sat next to me when I was on the stand waiting to conduct the music. He was looking around with a thoughtful expression and asked where Jesus lived.
I said “in heaven.”
“Does he have a big house?” he asked next.
“Um, yeah. I’m sure he does.”
Then he looked around at the ceiling and the lights and said, “I don’t like Jesus [long pause], but I like Santa!”
Jessica Anderson, Spanish Fork
Don’t wake the bishop
I was the pianist in Junior Sunday school. We had been learning a new song about the bishop.
Since the bishop was visiting us one Sunday, sitting up on the “stand,” the chorister announced to the children that they should sing it in their best voices.
She started in, and one child cried out, “the bishop is ASLEEP!” Sure enough, he was hunched over catching some very good zzz’s! The buzz from the children woke him, and he looked around in such great embarrassment.
Mary Jane Jones, Springville
An older woman got up to say the closing prayer. She went on and on and on. I’ve never heard such a long prayer in a sacrament meeting.
Everyone — including a 4-year-old boy — was getting antsy. While her prayer was still going strong, the boy yelled, “Amen!”
She just kept going. Undeterred, the boy yelled at the top of his lungs, “Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen!”
Scott Spilker, Draper
Shortly after I became a Latter-day Saint bishop, my 5-year-old son was at the other end of the building and saw me and started yelling “Bishop Daddy!” and running toward me.
“Dad! They gave us candy in Primary and Mom said I can’t eat it until after lunch ... but you’re the bishop now and you can say yes!”
Brian Surprenant, Rochester, N.Y.
The kids in Primary were playing a guessing game, and the teacher was giving clues.
The clues included “it has a bushy tail” and “it eats nuts,” “climbs trees,” etc. The teacher kept giving clues but the kids weren’t getting it.
Finally, one little kid pipes up and says, “I know the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me!”
Betsy Huntington Croft, Provo
Keep it short
It was a particularly hot Sunday, and our church didn’t have air conditioning, so someone had propped the doors open, creating a slight, but insufficient, breeze.
The speaker was going at length about some esoteric point of the gospel when my 5-year-old daughter crawled in my lap, laid her head on my shoulder, and said quite loudly, “When the bishop says one or two things, that’s OK. But when he says five or six things, he just puts me right to sleep.”
Jeff Schrade, Stafford, Va.
My husband often lets them silently rip in public places, so our 4-year-old said loudly during sacrament meeting: “Ew, what stinks Daddy?”
Rachel Gianni Abbott, Orem
More gas problems
During the quiet of the sacrament service a small girl exclaims “My goodness, Daddy, bad gas.”
Joe Bennion, Spring City
My mum asked my sister to sit quietly during sacrament and think about Jesus.
“I am thinking about Jesus,” she said.
“What are you thinking?”
“Jesus is stuck on the cross and he’s trying to get down.”
Alison Baines, London
Nibbles in the nave
When our son was really little, maybe 3, he called the bread and water the “snackrament.”
Norm Marquardson, Seattle
Anything beats this
During an especially boring meeting, my [4-year-old] brother sighed loudly and said rather loudly to my parents, “Take me out and spank me.” I guess a spanking was less agony than staying in the boring meeting
Kristine Madsen Ellison, Carmel, Calif.
The healing word
"I'm sick, Mom. I need to go to the Doctor N. Covenants.”
Breck England, Bountiful
The elephant in the room
When I was Primary president, the kids were learning the Articles of Faith. The phrase in the 13th article that said “honest, true, chaste, benevolent” scared one child. He said that we believe in being “chased by an elephant.”
Also, in a Primary program, the kids were reciting the Ten Commandments. One girl got hers almost correct: “Thou shalt not admit adultery.”
Donna Kelly, Salt Lake City
When my niece was a busy toddler, I was trying to hold her still during sacrament meeting.
It was not easy, but she held very still, watching with fascination, during a baby blessing.
When it was done, as they held the baby up for viewing, like they do, she turned to me and asked, “Now are we going to eat him?”
Diane Tueller Pritchett, Oxford, England
I'll never forget the Sunday our family did the sacrament program. Dad spoke first, then I did a musical number. Our then-5-year-old son wanted to do a short talk, so we let him.
He got to the pulpit, stared at the audience, posturing himself while leaning on one elbow and blurted out, “This is pathetic. Church is pathetic. Why are we here?” while nodding his head.
The week before my little boy had fallen in love with the word “pathetic.” He'd been walking around the house telling our cat and his toys they were pathetic. I should have known better than to give him an open mic.
Sue Krupa, Salt Lake City