The story is told of someone who asked President Spencer W. Kimball what he does when he finds himself in a boring sacrament meeting. He answered, “I don’t know. I’ve never been to one.” Well, I’ve yet to reach that lofty state. I confess that I’ve walked out of many meetings with a less than perfect attitude.
But I learned from a talk given by President Henry B. Eyring that there’s always something you can do, even while listening to what he called a “terrible talk.”
Years ago I was sitting in a sacrament meeting with my father, whose name is the same as my own, Henry Eyring. He seemed to be enjoying what I thought was a terrible talk. I watched my father, and to my amazement, his face was beaming as the speaker droned on. I kept stealing looks back at him, and sure enough, through the whole thing he had this beatific smile.
Our home was near enough to the ward that we walked home. I remember walking with my father on the shoulder of the road that wasn’t paved. I kicked a stone ahead of me as I plotted what I would do next. I finally got up enough courage to ask him what he thought of the meeting. He said it was wonderful.
Now I really had a problem. My father had a wonderful sense of humor, but you didn’t want to push it too far. I was puzzled. I was trying to summon up enough courage to ask him how I could have such a different opinion of that meeting and that speaker.
Like all good fathers, he must have read my mind because he started to laugh. He said: “Hal, let me tell you something. Since I was a very young man, I have taught myself to do something in a church meeting. When the speaker begins, I listen carefully and ask myself what it is he is trying to say. Then once I think I know what he is trying to accomplish, I give myself a sermon on that subject.” He let that sink in for a moment as we walked along. Then, with that special self-deprecating chuckle of his, he said, “Hal, since then I have never been to a bad meeting” (“Listen Together”, BYU Speeches, September 4, 1988).
Later in the talk, President Eyring added that his father may very well have been praying for the speaker. So rather than tuning out, he really made an effort to tune in to the spirit. Perhaps President Kimball did something similar, which ensured that every meeting he attended would be wonderful.
Stephanie Whitted says
Thank you for this. I’m keeping it for my son to read. He is at an age when everything “church” is boring to him. Maybe reading a story like this will help. At least it will be from someone other than his parents. 🙂 Love your new site and appreciate your talks. I’ve used bits and pieces(and credited you, of course) in lessons for the youth and Relief Society. Happy General Conference Sunday!
JanelleToday in Sunday School I taught 13 year olds about the Plan of Salvation, or God’s plan of hpneiapss. We talked about the great questions that can be answered by having an understanding of God’s plan for His children. 13 year olds were asking and answering the great questions of life in our lesson today, like Who am I? Where did I come from? Where will I go when I die? Some felt confident in their answers. Others needed to study and pray more about how they felt, which is great. Asking and receiving answers to prayer binds us to God and helps us to build a personal relationship to Him. I so loved this post Kathryn.