Monday, November 28, 2011

My Experience In A Non-Mormon Christian Gathering

I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post (and all I did was post a picture of a naked girl on a pumpkin). I had to go out of town for a few weeks for a wedding and a much needed vacation.

I had an interesting religious experience while I was away and it was a very positive one...

I went to witness a wedding (the kind that everyone is allowed to attend). It was in an Episcopal church. Prior to the wedding, I visited the church on a Sunday and sat in their service. Boy oh boy was it different from a Mormon sacrament meeting!

First, there was an actual band and they played fun, upbeat music.

The service was strange. All they did was read from a pamphlet and every once in a while the congregation would say stuff together. Sometimes we had to stand up, sometimes kneel.

The most interesting part, however, was that this happened to be the one Sunday each year where they talk about money and donations. But it was anything than what I expected. The preacher simply asked the audience members to please pay the amounts that they had pledged because they make their plans and budget based upon what people pledge. They talked about money for maybe two minutes and that was it.

So damn different from Mormonism! The members weren't being guilt-tripped or promised huge blessings for paying. It wasn't preached for hours and hours. It was a simple and humble reminder to those who hadn't paid what they had pledged. That's it! They did pass the collection tray once.

Although I am still an atheist, I was very impressed. Their focus was actually on god, whereas Mormons focus on tithing, strict obedience, Joseph Smith, and missionary work.

After the service, the preacher stood at the door and greeted everyone as they left. The preacher was a kind, charismatic, and very sincere man. He didn't want to interview me to determine my worthiness. He didn't assign missionaries to manipulate me into joining.

When it came time for the wedding, he memorized all the guests' names and where they were from. I was very impressed with this man. I intend to write him a letter and let him know.

While I was driving home, I thought up a funny joke (at least I think it's funny).

What is it called when President Monson takes a dump?

Holy Shit!

8 comments:

IonicPaul said...

You're back! *joy*

Andy said...

I think that is the reason why when people do convert from one religion to another the new religion is typically more lenient.

Smorg said...

I had only experienced the Catholic and the evangelical Christian church services before I had my first taste of a Mormon testimony meeting when I went to church with the missionaries a couple of months ago. It's really different indeed. Having came from the livelier side of things I was endlessly uncomfortable sitting through the 3 hrs Mormon Sunday thingy. Had the hardest time trying to reconcile the happy and friendly individual Mormons from their stifling church practices. :oP

I bet the Christian minister will be very happy when he gets your note. :o)

Mormon411 said...

Thanks, Paul, it's good to know I was missed!

Andy, more lenient or has a damn good story. Mormonism is not lenient by any stretch of the word. However, they do have a very convincing story.

Smorg, I can see how coming from an upbeat religion into Mormonism you must have been bored out of your skull. Mormon sacrament meetings are so damn boring! People are sleeping, and as soon as the final "amen" is said, people are making a mad dash for the exit. It's a painful experience and if heaven is anything like a Mormon 3 hour block, count me out!

dmarks said...

"So damn different from Mormonism! The members weren't being guilt-tripped or promised huge blessings for paying."

I've seen this begging/etc happen a lot though at other non-Mormon Christian churches.

Smorg said...

Hi again,
I got invited to a 'fun ward concert' last night by my merry missionaries... gotta tell you, the Mormons have a rather perculir idea of 'fun'. The stake president played the host and asked everyone right off the bat (I guess the members brought in quite a few non-Mormon friends, so he was concerned) to refrain from acknowledging the performance until the end of the concert - no clapping or bravoing. So... a bunch of church singers and little kids and student singers went up and sang, then went back to their seat, and the only noise one got to hear in between the musical numbers were the wining and crying of the little babies (love 'em! Go babies!).

It was a weirdest thing to behold. Even on a 'fun gathering' the fun was regulated!!! :oP

I still like my missionaries, tho. One of them must have broken a thousand rules turning to tell me about stuff all concert long. :oD I keep seeing the mishies because of the (surprisingly unorthodox) mishies I got rather than the church or its dogma, I'm afraid.

Anyhow, just another two non-mo cents. Hope your weekend is going well!

Mormon411 said...

Smorg, yes, the refraining from clapping after a performance is typical in a Mormon gathering.

Bearz said...

I am glad you had your positive experience, and saw some sort of collective experience of what I would think, from the distance I am from it, as 'an experience of religion without guilt trips about money', guilt about money travels well beyond religious circles, travels very well round the world with very little prompting. It is a respite when we can give and our charity, giving beyond our own needs, is a private matter on which we will not be questioned.