Monday, November 07, 2005

I hope questionable-doctrine-lady doesn't read my blog

There were a few tense moments during testimony meeting yesterday. It's really a liberal policy, if you think about it. Once a month set aside a block of time in your worship service during which anybody can and does stand up and say anything at all. Supposedly the bishop or other presider has the responsibility to monitor and intervene and clarify, if things get out of hand, but have you ever seen that happen? I haven't.

Actually, I was secretly hoping it would happen yesterday. Although I was sending prayers heavenward like the next guy that such-and-such wouldn't go on and on for 25 minutes, like she could very well do, and so-and-so-the-inactive-dude-wearing-t-shirt-and-jeans-and-tennis-shoes (although last week it was a three-piece suit, so you never know with him)-and-who-waxes-bizarrely-philosophical-at-every-opportunity wouldn't pontificate ludicrous doctrine, or swear from the pulpit--sometimes there's nothing better than a really bad run-on sentence--I was also furtively wishing to see the bishop stand up and ask a person to sit down mid-testimony or correct someone on an issue. But, although I could tell the bishop was sweating it while they were speaking, such-and-such and so-and-so both sat down without any major testimony infractions. It wasn't a very Christ-centered meeting. Our friend, the former stake president who is pretty darn near perfect the way I see it, stood up at one point and tried to steer the meeting back to Christ. It was a beautiful and simple testimony and it almost worked to get the meeting back on track. Until...

Questionable-doctrine-lady who tells inappropriate and really winded stories in her testimonies stood up right at the end. Read: squirming, sweating everybody in the congregation. Is this really what we want to leave as a last impression for the visiting non-members in the audience? Is there time for one more testimony at the end just so she won't be the last? But, no. She is taking way too much time and we are already overdue for Sunday School to start. We may as well sit back and learn as much as we can about glam-rock cokeheads.



For that is what she spoke about. And spoke about. And spoke about. Apparently, her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to do with the bassist of a metal band called the New York Dolls who had a drug-induced injury (specifically, falling out of a window while beating his wife) and, while recovering in the hospital, converted to Mormonism. This man changed his ways (I'm all about the Atonement, don't get me wrong) and got called to serve in the Family History Library. When his band got together to do a reunion show, he dressed up like Joseph Smith to show the world he was a changed person. I don't know if the world got that message, or not. What I do know is there were way too many details about this fellow and the documentary q-d-lady saw about his life. Too. Many. Details.

My husband was out in the hallway (pretending our son was being noisy, but really preparing a lesson). He heard the testimony about the rocker, but missed the squirming-ness and general discomfort that it provoked. The first thing he mentioned as we drove home after church: "Cool. I want to go see that movie she was talking about."

14 comments:

Abby said...

I want to see that movie too, but I can't BELIEVE someone gave a testimony about it. I have to admit that every fast Sunday for me is uncomfortable/squirmy/please-please-please-sit-down-feeling. I don't think anyone gets it anymore.
In Glendale Stake there was an incident where a guy was giving a "testimony", describing how gay men hit on him in clubs and similar topics. Two members of the bishopric escorted him to the foyer and he was yelling as they did so. Wasn't there, but this is well-documented fact.

Eliza said...

It is a pretty good doc. Not especially appropriate testimony-meeting fodder, and I think I probably got something a little different out of it from what QDL did.

But...still worth seeing.

Emily said...

Do tell, Eliza. What did you take away from this documentary? I think I'm going to have to see it, now.

Anonymous said...

eliza: are you bizzaro jane?

Emily said...

That's funny. When I saw Eliza, I was thinking it was another Eliza. But I know who you are. Welcome, Lizer.

amye said...

Emily, you've got some odd folks in your ward, but we run a close second. About every 3 months at testimony meeting, ol' Ed gets up and reads from some pioneer diaries he found, or he talks about his AA days and how he used to beat up on his wife. He throws in a few choice descriptive words. Then there was the about-to-be-divorced guy who was court-ordered to stay away from his wife who was in the congregation, but there he was at the pulpit, professing his love for her. The Bishop sent his counselor out to call the police who were waiting in the foyer when he came down. There's the sister who lives in a group home who talks about her mental illness and about her art she's supposedly got in an art show. Thank goodness for the testimonies that are appropriate.

ahc said...

Okay, this wasn't a testimony meeting moment, but who could forget our freshman BYU ward bishop who described in his introductory talk the details of his secretary's sexual fantasies which involved the smearing of mayonnaise?. . . and the next Sunday we had a new bishop. . .

Suzie Petunia said...

I can attest to that one, ahc. That was a fun testimony-shaking experience for all of us first-time-living-away-from the-parents freshmen. I've never been able to look at mayo in the same way. In fact, I avoid it.

I'm kind of sad that my ward is so wonderful, normal and appropriate. I miss the crazy old days of our Provo family ward (on the "wrong side of the tracks"). There were a few good stories there.

Lorien said...

Heh heh heh!

I live in a really tame, doctrinally sound ward now. Not much exciting on first Sundays. Except a year ago we had this lady--born a Trinidad Baptist--get up and tell her pulpit-pounding conversion story. Talk about rockin...only appropriate and amazing! After she was done, all the people after her were so white and boring. People still talk about her and nobody knows who she was. Maybe a wife of one of the three Nephites? Heh. Joking.

As a kid I always enjoyed the travel logs and stories from my wrong-side-of-the-tracks Provo ward. I don't know that I really knew what 1st Sunday was about back then, but it sure was entertaining.

LauraKins said...

I love the inspiration of that story.

I agree. If testimonies make an impression on your visitors, your bishop or other presiding authority figure should have tackled her down, hand over mouth, and gestured a more reverent member to come and reset the mood. Your rendition of her testimony also urged me to rent "that movie."

Fun blog!

AzĂșcar said...

Oh I've been in a ward or two where a member of the Bishopric has carefully invited the member at the podium to step aside. We have a few old birds in my current ward who do love to wax large in their sharing of their spirits.

lisa v. clark said...

My friend made that movie--glad to know it's making the rounds in testimony meeting. . .

A crazy (as in "burned her house down because she hated her landlord") gave her "testimony" in my ward in Nebraska about how we should all give her $5,000 and when the Bishop asked told her this was her time to share her testimony of Christ she spiked the microphone down and stormed out.

Emily said...

Lisa, so did you write her a check?

Elinor said...

Holy Toledo. What I've been missing all these years, living in Zion. The best we get is our former man from Germany who served in the _ Army there (I hate the N-z word so don't use it, since I grew up in World War II). Anyway, for a while our meetings got a bit interesting when he told of being on the Russian front, and other scary things for a returned missionary,who disagreed but had no choice, and how he didn't ever have to shoot anybody, despite the perils and then how badly he got treated in Salt Lake. Well, after a few times of this they politely privately told him he could say what he pleased but not take up all the time. Personally, testimony time is great when we go prepared, having properly asked for the spirit so we don't detract and also having contributed for a proper fast, which we actually observed. Always love those who speak with the spirit, no matter how short.