I’m writing this knowing that I have a big meeting in fifteen minutes. Here’s the reason I’m never going to go very far.
I hate meetings.
I don’t mind meeting with people when there’s something to talk about – I just hate “meetings.” Where people sit around a table and have an agenda. Where someone always “calls in” and everyone has to speak up so the speakerphone can hear it. And when that person is asked to comment, he or she has to take the phone off mute and say “what?” And then the whole meeting stops as you catch them up on what’s just been said. And the meetings last at least an hour longer than you thought, or at least an hour longer than it needed to go, even if it was only supposed to last an hour.
I remember working for the pseudonymically-labeled Myron Felgewater, who used to cram the day with meetings, including meetings on how to make our meetings more productive. When he asked for input on how to make that happen, I suggested fewer meetings, which didn’t go over well.
Where I come from, it takes a damn good meeting to be better than no meeting at all.
Which, of course, leads me to believe that I’m probably in the wrong church. Mormons meet. A lot. It’s gotten better with time, from what I hear. It used to be that you’d go to three hours of meetings in the morning and then come back for a two-hour Sacrament Meeting at night. When I was about twelve, the Church came back with their new, improved “block schedule,” which combined most of the massive meetings into a single, three-hour block.
Yes, you read that right. Three hours. Every Sunday.
This was one of the main reasons Glenn Beck was initially reticient about investigating the Church. “If your God can’t get it all done in an hour like everybody else,” he reportedly said, “ then I’m not interested.”
Of course, now that I’m no longer in a bishopric, three hours is nothing. I used to get up at 5:30 AM to get to my first 6:00 AM Bishopric meeting, and then do nothing but go through a series of meetings – Correlation, Welfare, Priesthood Executive Committee – until the three-hour regular meeting block started. And then there were stewardship meetings and temple recommend interviews and whatever else meetings after the block. I didn’t get home until four o’clock on a regular Sunday, and I wasn’t at that meetinghouse half the time the Bishop was.
For the Bishopric, sitting up on the stand is the only time Sunday is actually a day of rest.
I always fell asleep sitting up on the stand. Always. In full view of the entire congregation. It got so bad that one family had a running bet – not whether or not I would fall asleep, but whether I would do it before or after the bottom of the hour.
I tried not to. Honestly, I did. But when you’ve been up since 5:30 and been meeting all day, and you’re finally not being asked to do anything but listen, it’s hard to get the body geared up enough to stay alert. Once the snooze instinct hits, you have no recourse. You can, of course, tighten your sphincter, which gives you about three seconds of alertness, but there’s not much else.
I bring this up because our family attended the dedicatory services for the new Draper, Utah temple. The dedicatory prayer was beautiful; the Hosanna Shout was inspiring, and hearing the choir sing “The Spirit of God” was certainly a highlight.
So why did the whole thing have to last an hour and a half?
We got THREE choir songs, about FOUR different speakers, and an event that could have been about thirty minutes long and felt entirely complete was elongated to three times its natural length. Why?
I hope this doesn’t make me look faithless. I love the Church; I love the Gospel; I love, adore, and worship the Savior.
And I really, really hate meetings.