My sister sent me this e-mail yesterday, and after reading it, I had such a bad case of the giggles, I knew I had to pass it along.
If you’ve never sat through a Mormon testimony meeting, let me paint you a picture: on the first Sunday of every month, during our congregational meeting, the pulpit is opened up to the members of the ward who wish to bear their testimonies of God, of the prophet, and of the gospel. Ideally this would be a short, succinct declaration, but most are not. That’s okay. Sometimes it’s nice to get a little background, and honestly, hearing others’ testimonies helps to strengthen mine.
However, and I mean HOWEVER, there are members who stand up each month and either a) mumble incoherently through their sobs for a full five minutes absolutelyeverysinglemonth about the exact. same. thing. or b) talk about everything under the sun, none of which has anything to do with religion. And then you have the children.
They come in hoardes to the pulpit; whole families of children who all want to take their turn at the microphone, who stand thisclose and shriek loudly into it. (The squeal of feedback does tend to wake up those who’ve dozed off. I can remember at least one occasion where I was sitting next to my sleeping dad. Upon hearing the trumpeting blast of – I’ll call it “sound”, for lack of a better descriptor – he was startled awake and yelled out “Good HELL!” in the middle of Sacrament Meeting. It still makes me laugh, twenty-five years later. To the extent that I have tears running down my cheeks.) Well-practiced three-year-olds are “helping” their 18-month-old siblings. Eight-year-olds stand next to the microphone and direct the parade of brothers and sisters. Occasionally you get a desperate “MOM!” whispered urgently into the microphone when a sibling is being particularly difficult. It’s a riot.
Their testimonies almost always start the same: “I’d like to bury my testimony, I know the church is true, I love my mom and dad…” and then this is where they get creative. One little girl in our ward stood up and told the congregation that, while her dad was a member of the bishopric, he didn’t act very religious at home. They didn’t even have family home evening! (The congregation roared with laughter.) Her poor dad, stuck up there behind the pulpit, was red-faced for the remainder of the meeting. It became a running joke for him to keep us updated on their family activities, including FHE.
There’s the “I love my mom and dad, I love Sprite, and I hate my brother” testimony, the inevitable only child who professes love for brothers and sisters, just because the other kids do, and the well-meaning child who exposes family secrets such as, “My parents love each other so much, they even take showers together!”
So that brings me to the e-mail. For clarification purposes, a bishop (and his two counselors) are the leaders of a ward. A Stake President (and his two counselors) are in charge of several wards in an area, called a stake. Being a Stake President is a big deal in the LDS hierarchy.
Okay, here we go:
At a recent testimony meeting, a five-year-old little girl stood up and bore her testimony. After mentioning everyone and everything she was thankful for, she ended with this: ‘I am especially grateful that our house has been much happier since our family stopped using the ‘S-word’ and the ‘F-word’.”
As the little girl proudly walked back to her seat, nobody could say a word. Needless to say they were a little shocked by what the stake president’s daughter had just said.
Quickly, the red-faced stake president stood up, smiled shyly, and went to the podium. ‘I feel I should make a clarification as to what my daughter meant. In our house the ‘S-word’ is ‘stupid’ and the ‘F-word’ is ‘fart’.”
And this is why my children have yet to bear their testimonies. We have secrets, and I’d like to keep them! (kidding…)