conference weekend

is all the rage, all the buzz. people LOVE it. it is AWESOME.

conference, for the uninformed, is a weekend, twice-a-year, where members of the lds (mormon) church hear revelation from their prophet, seer, and revelator, get advice, and hear about how pornography is still evil (have you signed the pledge?). this weekend is conference weekend.

as a child, my parents would turn on conference (it is broadcast worldwide!) in the kitchen. i remember sitting at the kitchen table, mesmerized not by the words but by the sheer dullness of the presentation.

i thought conference, like the curious undergarments my parents wore, was strictly for adults. it was something i would understand when i got older.

honestly, it still puts me to sleep. this sleepiness is mirrored in the book of mormon. i'll share a delightful excerpt from mark twain's roughing it to humorously illustrate my heretic point:
All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the "elect" have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet to "slow," so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle -- keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.
i'm just going to continue excerpting, because i'm having a lot of fun:
The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases of the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James' translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel-half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern -- which was about every sentence or two -- he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as "exceedingly sore," "and it came to pass," etc., and made things satisfactory again. "And it came to pass" was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.
if you're still reading, thanks, and i have two more thoughts for you. first, i have a really high threshold for boring things. most of my interests are probably boring for most people. there's a reason why more people don't get graduate degrees and i don't think it's because it's particularly difficult. this is why i'm surprised i can't handle conference!

second, in the end, it's just not my cup of tea. i don't understand it. i'd like to get it, i'd like to derive pleasure and inspiration from it, but i don't. and i'm genuinely amazed by my friends who do. what am i missing?

that's really not a rhetorical question.

4 remarks:

Kayla said...

With conference, as with life, you generally find what you look for. I still fall asleep sometimes because it is a lot of people talking in generally cool, even tones, but it is riddled with inspirational messages, thoughts, ideas, encouragement, etc. I don't particularly enjoy sitting in front of the tv listening to people talk for a total of 8 hours spread out over two days, but I do enjoy the feeling it leaves me with. And I look forward to learning things I may not have known before, or feeling comforted if I need it, or just generally feeling good and loved.

I also don't enjoy doing dishes, driving to work, or measuring my fabric before I cut it. But I enjoy the benefits they bring and I am grateful for them.

Natalie said...

That's some great perspective! Thanks, Kayla!

jm said...

I agree with what Kayla's said. I think another reason why I enjoy conference is that while sitting through so many sessions of conference may not be the easiest thing, I really benefit from it. The speakers are there with messages that they've given a lot of thought and prayer to, they want to help people and to improve their lives. My life has been better for listening to conference and for following advice that's given there. Though I've doubted it at times when I've heard it said before, the speakers really do have a great love for those who they serve.

Natalie said...

99% of the time, I think the LDS Church means well.
But then I read this http://www.fox13now.com/news/kstu-lds-apostle-boyd-k-packer-opposing-gay-marriage,0,842127.story and wonder.
Sorry, it's not related to my blog post at all. But my heart breaks for all of the gay boys and young men who have taken their lives this month. I think about standing in their shoes for a moment, in a society where they are stigmatized and told that, should things ever look up and they find someone to love, their relationship will destroy liberty and civilization.
It leaves me feeling sick.