I Went To A Mormon Service: Part 2

This post will finish off the previous one. I already discussed how I sat in on a Sacrament meeting. Not gonna lie. Still odd calling it that and not calling it, mass. I could have left after the service was over but I didn’t. Elder S an Elder D didn’t twist my arm and demand that I go. They politely asked if I had plans. I’m on vacation. I don’t have plans. Being lazy is my plan. God doesn’t care much for sloths. I saw Se7en. I know what happens to people who don’t follow the 7 Deadly Sins- Kevin Spacey comes after you.

We left the room. I was still confused about how it all ended. I mentioned in the previous post that I expected someone to say some parting words. When a Catholic mass ends, the priest tells us to “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.” We didn’t hear that. Unless we did and I somehow ignored it. I join my missionaries, Elder D and Elder S for a walk down the hallway to another room. I have two  more hours of this. I remember how I dreaded church because it was an hour long. In a previous entry, I talked about a priest who would do the service in 30 minutes. It was a quick mass. In and out. He left the church and took the cliff note mass with him.

Not wanting to make it feel like we walked forty days and forty nights, (Bible reference) the Elders invited inside the second room. It is a much smaller room. This is where we have “Sunday School”. I was aware that Sunday School wasn’t going to be full of singing songs and sitting on the floor. We weren’t going to get story time and learn about Jesus and him getting lost in the temple. I don’t recall going to Sunday school when I was a wee little kid. I think all what I know about Jesus was from religion class and the monthly trips we (us students) made to church. Was strange when I told my mother I was going to Sunday school. I figured it was for kids and not adults. No macaroni Jesus art. No creating construction paper chain links. We didn’t even sing about Peter being the rock of our faith. Oh, no. This isn’t that kind of Sunday School. We will not be singing songs like the one below.

There was a small statue of Jesus on a desk near the teacher’s podium. He looked and sounded like my old neighbor. Not really relevant to the story but I just felt like mentioning that. Besides, he spoke of two things that were familiar to me. I’ll explain those in a bit. The room was mixed with men and women of all ages. There was a gentleman behind me who I forgot to mention before. He spoke during the sacrament. He was baptized and confirmed last year. An older couple sat in the back of the room. Two other Elders came in and sat near a door. A man and his wife, sat near a window. A woman of Hispanic decent was closest to the door we entered. Like I said, a mixture of people. There was another man, much older than everyone, who led us in an opening prayer. We pray a lot. We picked up where we left off last week. They could have picked up anywhere they wanted and I wouldn’t know any better. We talked about “the gifts of the spirit”. I had to Google some of the stuff from the study. I will try to keep it orderly with the following links. I’ll even get to the point about how two things seemed to be spoken directly at me.

We spoke about the gift of tongue and the gift of interpretation. A passage was read from the Doctrine and Covenants. (Section 46:24)

 And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;

Off topic…what is Doctrine and Covenants?

A woman spoke of not knowing much about her genealogy. They watched a video and while not fully understanding what they were talking about, she was able to get many names to trace her family tree. From the stories a few told, to the story of,

Elder Alonzo A. Hinckley was a missionary in Holland who understood and spoke very little Dutch even though he had prayed and studied hard. When he returned to a home he had visited before, a lady opened the door and spoke to him very angrily in Dutch. To his amazement he could understand every word. He felt a strong desire to bear his testimony to her in Dutch. He began to speak, and the words came out very clearly in Dutch. But when he returned to show his mission president that he could speak Dutch, the ability had left him. Many faithful members have been blessed with the gift of tongues. (the gift of tongues)

and the story of President David Mckay in New Zealand,

This gift is sometimes given to us when we do not understand a language and we need to receive an important message from God. For example, President David O. McKay had a great desire to speak to the Saints in New Zealand without an interpreter. He told them that he hoped that the Lord would bless them that they could understand him. He spoke in English. His message lasted about forty minutes. As he spoke, he could tell by the expression on many of their faces and the tears in their eyes that they were receiving his message.

You don’t have to speak the same language of somebody to get your message across. Actions speak louder than words. I can watch a foreign film and while I don’t know each and everything they are saying, I pick up some of it. I know what the message is and what the actors are expressing. Am I wrong? Possibly. But that is what I basically understood from the meaning behind this gift.  I don’t know any other language. I know some words in French and some in Spanish. What little phrases I know will not get me far in another country. It’s much easier to point. I should ask God for some help the next time I am in Argentina when I try to order food.

The speaker went on to discuss the gift of wisdom and of knowledge. I wish I can remember what verses we read. I know what wisdom is and I know what knowledge is. I posted a picture on Tumblr. the other day with a quote pertaining to knowledge and wisdom. Is makes sense and easily separates the two things from each other.

With the gift of knowledge,

Everyone who becomes like Heavenly Father eventually knows all things. The knowledge of God and his laws is revealed by the Holy Ghost (21:26). We cannot be saved if we are ignorant of these laws (131:6)

That reminded me of a story. I had a friend acquaintance who told me of a dream he had one night. I still don’t believe the dream. He was a partaker in the world of narcotics. The dream was of him being on a ship in the middle of the ocean. He fell off the ship and was drowning in the ocean. Then, a calming peace came over him. He wasn’t scared of drowning and welcomed death. He said a hand pulled him from the water and placed him back on the ship. Said it was the most beautiful feeling ever. The phrase, “no words can describe how I felt” were said. God saved him and told him everything. He told him about the future, the past, and the present. He was given the meaning of life and when it will end. When he awoke, all the greatest mysteries were gone. He remembers none of it. He only remembers the connection he had with God and God saving him. I should believe him. I have odd dreams all the time. I would hope people believe them.

We skipped to learning the gift of knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. (46:13)

Two things were brought up during this topic. One was about faith. I’ve talked to the missionaries before about my lack of faith. I don’t know when it went away or if I ever really had it. I was given the scripture of Alma 32 to read. With the symbolism of planting a seed and letting it grow. Listen below.

Alma 32

28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.

32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.

33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good. (Alma 32)

The speaker said something else too. When the missionaries were over at my place one day, I told them how I am not a praying man. I told them that “I’m doing pretty good without God.” The speaker said just that. He asked if they have ever had someone say that to them. Strangely enough, I felt like I was being singled out and this whole trip was planned to move me and get me to accept faith and the teachings of the Lord. It’s hard when I don’t have faith. I am sure I do. I think I’ve been lying to myself for so many years and put up some facade of not needing it. If it isn’t a facade, where did my faith go? When did I lose it? Is it under that rock in the front yard? I don’t attend mass. I did. I was raised Catholic. I was baptized. I had my first communion. I even went through reconciliation. But I never did receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I was never confirmed. Was that the reasoning I lost my faith?

The Bell rang. A final closing prayer. More shaking hands. Lots of shaking hands. I need some Purell. The final and last hour is the Priesthood class. That’s for the guys (12 and older). The girls are in some other class, powdering their noses and gossiping like school girls. That might not be true. I don’t know. I’ll never get to sit in on that one. I sit in the room. The class starts with a prayer. Always with a prayer. I think I prayed enough for the month. Kidding. I mean this year.

The speaker spoke about an upcoming dance and other events. People were offering help with events that were coming up in the next few weeks. I almost stood up at one point but kept seated. I wasn’t sure if I was to stand up. We were asked if their were any visitors in the room. I am a visitor but not a member of the Latter Day Saints. I stayed seated and let the class go on as normal. A couple of people were given duties? I believe someone called it, “atonement”. I may be wrong. I did some googling and the only thing that came close to what I witnessed was The laying of hands. I cannot find anything online that really describes what the class is really about. The LDS site mentions two different type of priesthood classes. (Aaronic PriesthoodMelchizedek Priesthood)

Which class was I in?

How does this differ from the Sunday School teachings? During the priesthood class, we prayed, people were blessed and given positions. I am still confused but what really went on there. Someone read from a book, Teachings of the President George Albert Smith. The following section is from chapter 11 of his teachings.

“Near Milford, Utah, we suddenly flew into one of the worst fogs I have ever seen. I tried to look out of the window of the plane but could not see anything through the fog. Not a thing could be seen in any direction outside the plane.

“I knew that we were approaching the mountains at the approximate rate of three miles a minute, that we were compelled to pass over them to get into the Salt Lake Valley. I was worried and asked myself, ‘How can the pilot find the way when he cannot see a thing?’ He had his compass but the plane might drift off its course. He had instruments indicating our distance above sea level but he had no way of knowing how far we were from the ground. I thought he might fly high enough to clear the mountains between us and the Salt Lake Valley and try to find the landing field by the flash of the beacons if we got close enough, but I chilled when I thought of the danger of losing our way and missing the beacons and the airport.

“In my anxiety I went up into the space that was occupied by the pilot and the co-pilot to see how they knew where we were going. I could not tell whether we were a hundred feet, a thousand feet or ten thousand feet above the ground and I did not know how they could tell, except approximately. I noticed that the pilot had a little device over his ear like operators in telephone offices use to receive with. I inquired of the co-pilot how they could tell whether we were flying in the right direction or know if we were off course. He replied, ‘When we cannot see we are guided by the radio beam.’

“‘What is that?’ I asked. He explained that the beam might be likened to an electric highway between two points, and in our case the points were Milford and Salt Lake City. He said that the device over the pilot’s ear operated so that when the plane was in the beam a low, purring sound continued to be heard, but if the plane goes to the right or left the sound changes and the pilot is warned by clicking as of a telegraph key. If he … pulls back to the beam or highway, on to the path of safety, the clicking ceases and the purring resumes. If we continue on the beam we will arrive at our destination in safety.(Chapter 11)

We dissected the story. I have my interpretation of it and I am sure others have theirs. We closed the book and another  member of the group spoke of a passage from the book of Nephi. It pertained to ‘his father’s tent.’ Don’t ask me what it means. I don’t. I probably never will. The guy was questioning us and asking why he chose to use those certain words. Why use “tent of my father“?

And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been carried away in the spirit, and seen all these things, I returned to the tent of my father. (1 Nephi 15:1)

We sang a song…We probably sang that song earlier but I forgot to mention it.

The class was over. I shook more hands. Would it be okay on my next visit to offer fist bumps instead?  They all hope to see me again. That was the priesthood class. I didn’t see much of difference between it and the Sunday School class. It was an experience to say the least. The people were nice and very welcoming. I am still shocked as to how different it is from a Catholic mass. I know they are two different religions but you’d think that they might just have some similarities.

That was my day at the Mormon service. Thank you to all the people there. Thank you, Elder D and Elder S for taking time to ask me to join them. Thank you for answering my questions. I wish I could remember more about the day. Sometimes I have a hard time retaining information. If you have any questions for me or want to correct any facts I may have given, please drop a reply.

Thank you.

 

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pitweston

I like food. I like the smell of cinnamon.

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  • Guest

    Hi! I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (so, yes, a Mormon), and I stumbled onto your blog earlier today. I figured I could probably help answer some of your questions as best I can. The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of revelations (things that God has revealed to His modern day prophets here on the Earth), most of which were received by the Prophet Joseph Smith for the establishment and governance of the kingdom of God in the latter days. It is considered sacred scripture, to be used right alongside both The Book of Mormon and The Bible. 
    In regards to your question about which Priesthood class you were in, I believe that all of the Brethren (the men in the church) meet together in the beginning for something called “opening exercises” (which is basically like a welcoming into the meeting). After that, they split up into their different groups called “quorums”. The Aaronic Priesthood is generally held among the younger brethren–the boys you saw blessing and passing the Sacrament, for example. The Melchizedek Priesthood is held by Elders (like the missionaries you went with) and High Priests, both of whom separate off into their own meetings. If you stayed with the Elders, you most likely went into Elders Quorum. I have a direct quote from LDS.org about this meeting: ”
    The purposes of quorum and group meetings are to conduct quorum business, learn priesthood duties, strengthen families, and study the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    I will admit that I don’t know as much about what goes on in these meetings because I’ve never been to one–I’m a Sister in the Church, and attend other meetings in which we study ways that we can find more peace in our lives by centering them around the Savior.

    I know it may seem weird, coming from a Member, but I do understand about not having a lot of faith, even growing up in the Church as I did. There have been many, many moments in my life when I have looked around at the world and found that I didn’t have much of a will to hope for anything good, because I couldn’t see any good to hope for (if that makes sense). There have been times when I simply gave up trying to find hope or faith or anything–I stopped looking. And as much as I’d like to say that it was a relief, a rest…it wasn’t. Because the thing is…I couldn’t see it in my own life. But I began to see light, things to hope for, something to believe in–in the people around me. The ones I cared about. I may not have been able to see there being any point to hope in my own life, but I was able to see the miracles in the lives of those around me. And…I started to hope that I could hope again. Hope for something good to be out there, watching over me. And as I let myself look to see it in my own life…I found it. I think that hope and faith can be really, really similar things. Faith just usually requires more of an action. 

    I don’t know if that even made any sense to you at all, but I do want you to know that I have found it. Peace. My life is hard–not as hard as some, but hard, nonetheless. And sometimes, it feels like the walls are just going to crash down around me at any second. But that’s the really fabulous part about faith–I have the ability to see beyond the temporary. I know that I am not alone. That I am loved by my Heavenly Father and by my Savior. And that, even as bad things may be happening in my life, I am never given more than I can handle. 
    Let me know if I can help with anything, or if you just need somebody to talk to. I’d love to be able to have the chance to talk, if you’d want to. 
    My email is abstractnoun72 .com. 

    • Guest

      *abstractnoun72@gmail.com

  • Opxcrnnr

    What stake were you at?

    • I live in Kansas City. Honestly, cannot tell you what stake it is.