Kids in church

I’ve done enough guest posts on hard theological subjects. I think I deserve a foray into Mormon Mommy Blog-ism, so here goes.

There’s a lot that I admire about the way LDS sacrament meetings are done in contrast to how evangelical services are usually conducted. I like that members of the ward regularly get the opportunity to address the congregation; in fact, for all my demi-feminist ranting about the LDS gender system, I do find it ironic that, unless yours is the rare evangelical church with a female pastor of some sort on the staff, you’re much more likely to hear a woman address the congregation from the pulpit at an LDS church than an evangelical church. I like that the LDS version of the Lord’s supper is administered weekly, whereas most evangelical congregations do it quarterly or monthly. And on top of that, what could possibly be more awesome than playing Testimony Bingo or Choose the Wife while you’re bored at church?

However, as the mother of a severely attention-deficient toddler, I’m not so sure what I think of having to have my kid in sacrament meeting with me. This last Sunday was hard. As usual, Harley had no interest in sitting still at all and so we moved out into the foyer, where she proceeded to try and explore the rest of the church. She thought the sacrament trays were buffet tables and protested loudly when I refused to let her return for seconds and thirds; I don’t know how other parents feel about it, but I’d find it disrespectful to let her do that. Her father began letting her run from room to room since they were projecting the talks through speakers into most of the other rooms in the church, and I busied myself searching the rooms to see if our building had a copy of everyone’s favorite polygamy Jesus painting anywhere (it didn’t). At one point she ran into the sacrament meeting hall during one of the talks, making her way almost all the way to the front and forcing me to self-consciously stroll down the aisle after her and retrieve her.

The one redeeming moment came after the service when I hunted down the bishop to give him our tithe check. I didn’t say anything to him about Harley, but he suddenly grabbed my hand, smiled at me and said, “Hey. Don’t ever not bring her.” It was good to know that Harley’s antics during sacrament meeting weren’t as annoying to other people as I worried they were.

At evangelical churches, it’s simple: you can stick your kid in the nursery and enjoy the worship service with other adults. Evangelical churches usually use a two-meeting system consisting of a worship service and Sunday school while offering multiple meeting times for both, so it’s easy to set up a rotating system where people work in the nursery during worship service 1 and then attend worship service 2, and vice-versa. My old Presbyterian church even had a really awesome sound-proof mother’s room at the back of the sanctuary with toys and comfy couches where you could watch the service while nursing or letting your noisy toddlers play.

However, I’ve since learned that not all evangelicals care to ship their kids off to nursery during worship services. Michelle Leise of Christianity Today has an article arguing the benefits of bringing your young children to adult worship services and listing suggestions for keeping them occupied in the pews.

I’m a little torn on which system is better. On the one hand, I really enjoy getting to spend time worshiping God without worrying about what my destructo-duck is up to. I feel like I give so much of my time and lifestyle to her throughout the week, I ought to have some time to myself on this. Besides, when I was a child I certainly never appreciated getting dragged to boring adult church. On the other hand, having her at the service with me could instill her with a respect and reverence for the act of worship at an early age.

Most of the people who comment here regularly are the parents of small children. How do you feel about having the kids in church with you?

This entry was posted in Children of god, Family, worship by Bridget Jack Jeffries. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bridget Jack Jeffries

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a human resources professional living in Chicago. She holds a BA in classics from Brigham Young University with a minor in Hebrew and an MA in American religious history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church and a single mother of two. You can read more of her writings at

148 thoughts on “Kids in church

  1. I like the balance of having my kids with me in sacrament meeting but not during the other two hours.

    I like how the importance of the sacrament is emphasized by having every member—including kids—together at once.

    And for these two reasons I dislike having to drag my kids to stake conference, where the whole program is really only directed toward adults and there is no sacrament.

  2. I used to think it was so important to have your kids in the worship service, _before I had ever been to another Church._

    Now, in retrospect, I would not even consider going to a church that did not have decent child care available during the worship service. My kids are wonderful, but it’s pretty much impossible to have them in a church meeting of any kind.

    In my opinion, Mormons–like me–only say things like “I like how the importance of the sacrament is emphasized by having every member—including kids—together at once.” because they don’t really know any better or any different.

  3. When I first started attending an LDS church some years ago, there were two things I had a difficult time getting used to: 1)The lack of contemporary music and any musical instruments other than piano and organ; and 2)the constant sound of children being children throughout the service.

    To my surprise, I have come to develop some appreciation for the reliance on a 19th-century music style in worship (although it still wouldn’t be my first choice), but I have yet to get used to the kids. They’re distracting at best. And while my kids are old enough now to behave themselves in church (usually), caring for little ones in church is a royal pain, even when they aren’t hyperactive.

    That said, I’m not sure I would do anything differently if I were in charge. Our worship of God should be a family event, and we have plenty of time for instruction without them. And I don’t think its ever too early to show children the importance of participating in the sacrament. So I really do like the idea in theory, but that doesn’t always make it easier in practice.

  4. This is an interesting post, mostly because I often find myself wishing sacrament meeting was more like evangelical worship services. One, I hate having screaming kids everywhere. And in my ward, they scream and their parents let them do it. Two, while it’s nice to let members speak, that’s expecting a lot of them. They haven’t necessarily attended much religious training and I hate the amount of crap (for lack of a better word) that comes across the pulpit. DH isn’t a member and it’s amazing how often I have to lean over and whisper to him that what the speaker just said isn’t necessarily true. (Hmmm… new sacrament game maybe?) And even if their message is all correct, it may suck for other reasons: it makes no sense, it jumps all over the place, or they’re just (slowly, painfully) reading it from a conference talk because they only spent 5 minutes Googling, er preparing.

    We try to go to a friend’s protestant congregation every or every other month just because it’s so nice. I can wear pants (woohoo!), they have refreshments, the music is interesting (a bit strange for me still, but not boring), and the message is well-prepared and nicely delivered.

    I think I was spoiled growing up. My ward was full of former bishops and stake presidents, history and classics professors, and current and former lower tier general authorities (e.g., regional representatives, area authorities). This mix ensured that every Sunday was an insightful, thoughtful learning experience. I loved going and learning and participating in the discussions in Sunday School. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the simple testimonies I see now, but week after week and month after month of boring (or wrong) sacrament talks and Sunday School lessons being read from the manuals (yeah, I read those years ago, thanks) can get boring.

  5. “In my opinion, Mormons only say…because they don’t really know any better or any different.”

    Except that I’ve attended the worship services of several other religions, so I actually do know “any different.” For all I know you are right about other Mormons who say such things, but in my case your comment was way off—though I sure enjoyed the irony!

  6. The part of Mormon worship which excludes the children takes place in the Temple.

    This topic always reminds me of this column:, and of James 1:27.

    I think the act of teaching children self-control and reverence is a secondary purpose of the sacrament meeting, equal in importance to the talks given.

    I also had five destructo-ducks who had to be incrementally introduced to full reverence. I spent years in the foyer with each child, gradually teaching them self control. Today, the older four can do it. I’m still working on the last one. Jack is at the beginning of that journey.

  7. that1girl: all interesting critiques, but almost nothing you wrote has anything to do with the point of the post, which was kids in church (unless, of course, you are a kid, in which case I’ll retract this comment). Forgive me for being snarky, but maybe you’d also like to tell us how Joseph Smith was a bad man?

  8. Rob: “I’m still working on the last one. Jack is at the beginning of that journey.” You sit with Jack in the foyer?

    I’ve considered “reverence-building” a positive in the past, but then I thought kids would probably learn how to sit still whether or not they endured the early years in the chapel. Kids who grow up going to church (meaning, the foyer) are pretty much able to sit quietly by the time they’re 5 or 6, and I’d guess that if you just pulled any 5 or 6-year old out of the neighborhood, they’d be just as capable of sitting quietly.

    And even if there is an advantage gained from all the foyer-wrestling, does it outweigh the disadvantages? (Speaking strictly about the advantage of reverence-building; I’ve already said that I think overall having kids in sacrament meeting is advantageous.)

  9. My bad. though I did mention at the beginning of the post that noisy kids make a difficult sacrament meeting. Even if the speakers were great, I wouldn’t be able to hear it. And because Jack’s post presented the topic as a comparison of LDS and Evangelical worship services, I guess I thought my comments weren’t too far off base. I’m also new to this forum and didn’t know how far afield comments could run. Now I know. 🙂

  10. I should also note that we attend my friend’s services because there are no children present. Nice and quiet and spirit building.

  11. I don’t know what you guys are talking about, because my 2-year-old is a perfect angel who sits with her hands gently clasped on her lap all Sacrament Meeting long, hums along to the hymns, and sometimes leans over and whispers, “I love you, Mommy–and I love Jesus” when the Spirit strikes her (which is often, of course). 🙂

    Actually, she’s a devil child who screams and cries and grabs other kids’ toys, just because she knows it will get her a timeout, and timeout means she gets to leave the meeting.

    So I say there are definite pluses to the evangelical system and would probably prefer it.

    Having said that, having kids in church with you is a fantastic get-out-of-jail-free card. For example, let’s say a talk or a lesson is really boring. All you have to do is hold your kid in a position that you know she finds uncomfortable. Then she cries. Then you roll your eyes and say, “Let’s go, time out” so everyone around you thinks you’re a great parent with wonderful discipline skills, and you get to leave. And no one judges you.

    …Not that I have ever, you know, done that before. Just saying that theoretically, you could.

  12. “I’m still working on the last one. Jack is at the beginning of that journey.” You sit with Jack in the foyer?


    Jack, Sacrament Meeting is a special time to be reverent and quiet so we can think about Jesus. Next time, let’s try to spend more time being soft with our voices and gentle with our hands so we can spend more time in the meeting learning. Okay? Can you do that?

  13. Jack, Sacrament Meeting is a special time to be reverent and quiet so we can think about Jesus. Next time, let’s try to spend more time being soft with our voices and gentle with our hands so we can spend more time in the meeting learning. Okay? Can you do that?

    But, but… I’m Pentecostal! We’re supposed to do things like speak in tongues, handle snakes, roll on the floor, shake and convulse, fall over, and bark like a dog during the worship service.

    You people are discriminating against my mode of religious worship. Jerks.

  14. I wonder if part of the problem isn’t that we are counting on Sunday Services for our ONLY worship during the week.

  15. I think the act of teaching children self-control and reverence is a secondary purpose of the sacrament meeting, equal in importance to the talks given.


  16. I wonder if part of the problem isn’t that we are counting on Sunday Services for our ONLY worship during the week.

    Especially since very little worship happens at sacrament meeting. If any at all.

  17. You people are discriminating against my mode of religious worship. Jerks. Just following the Calvinist examples.

    Calvinists don’t need you to follow their example. If you’re chosen, God’s grace will be irresistible. If you’re not, then you’re totally depraved anyway.

    Also, Jack was being facetious.

  18. that1girl,

    Go read the “Polygamy Jesus” thread Jack linked to in her original post.

    You’ll quickly find out that Brian’s full of crap when he talks about being on topic on this blog.

    Staying on topic is for sissies.

  19. For the record, I don’t have any issue with Nicole listing her grievances with the way sacrament meeting is run; I did start out my post talking about what I like about it. Though I would hope the entire thread doesn’t get into a comparison of the two. I think there are pros and cons to both types of services and liking one over the other is going to come largely down to personal preference.

    Is it wise to count on the temple as a regular part of the LDS adult worship experience? I mean, some people don’t live close to LDS temples, even though I know the church would like to eventually make temples easily accessible to all church members, but that isn’t the case right now. My LDS in-laws live in Sioux City, Iowa, and the nearest temple to them is the Winter Quarters temple 5 hours away. I think they only go to the temple 1-4 times a year.

  20. Oh, and by the way, I don’t count Sunday as my only worship experience. I think Family Home Evening, family prayers and scripture studies are all an important part of creating space for God throughout the week. However, almost all of those activities involve catering things to my daughter. Sometimes I just feel like I need the time with God to myself.

  21. that1girl: fair ‘nough. It seems that lately discussions on this blog have devolved into an “anti-LDS/anti-Joseph discussion” and I was afraid that your comment would send us there yet again. So it’s really not your fault (and I was probably being a bit trigger happy).


    …because she knows it will get her a timeout, and timeout means she gets to leave the meeting.

    Time out with my kids is not fun for them (at home or at church). It is spent sitting on my lap with my arms snugly holding their folded arms. They can scream and yell and spit, but they can’t walk around. If we’re at church, it’s also spent in a thoroughly boring room—like the large coat closets (i.e., no paintings of Polygamous Jesus on the walls to entertain). And we spend it talking things over.

    I try to avoid as much as possible any time out where I send my child off somewhere alone.

  22. I really like the idea of bringing kids to services. I think it’s a great idea.

    It just sucks in practice.

    As long as babies are really young, I am happy to bring them wherever I go. Even at our current (non-LDS) church, I brought Hazel with me for as long as I could get away with stuffing a boob in her mouth in public until she fell asleep (Kullervo keeps asking for the same treatment, but as yet I have resisted). There is something really sweet about snuggling a sleeping child while listening to someone talk about Godly things.

    I don’t think that I can think of any benefits that come from bringing a toddler to a worship service though. I don’t think it teaches them reverence. I think that the parents wind up stressed out, not learning, worshiping, or even thinking about anyone but the old lady sitting next to them who is giving them dirty looks (or just saying rude things) about how intolerable their children are.

    For LDS services, Kullervo and I have definitely employed the ‘pinch your baby just hard enough to make him holler so you can get out of sitting with the family feeling uncomfortable’ strategy with much success (sorry, Oliver). At the time, it was useful as we were pretty apathetic to church and living with the in-laws was making me a little batty.

    However, when we were trying out a bunch of different churches, I would get uncomfortable with some of the child care situations. The church we go to now has an electronic notification system, so if your kid is freaking out they can let you know quickly without interrupting the service. So, I would qualify the desire for child care by saying that I like it when there is good child care available during the service.

  23. Well, having toddlers in Sacrament Meeting does have the advantage of a humbling effect on the adults. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously with a kid kicking the back of your seat.

  24. I agree with Katy.

    I respect the LDS for putting their money where their mouth in having all those kids and taking them to Sacrament meeting.

    Evangelicals always bemoan that kids don’t come to service like they used to. Easy thing to miss when you don’t do it any more. This weekend I couldn’t get my 4 year old to sit quietly through a 15 minute secular wedding service.

  25. “The church we go to now has an electronic notification system”

    Like those pagers they give you when you’re waiting for a table at a restaurant? Cool.

  26. BrianJ: no problem. Thanks. And Joe Smith is only a bad, bad man because all men are eeeevil and us ladies are full of awesome.

    And now for my kinda related and yet still wildly off-topic addition:

    Kids in sacrament do have the annoying effect of reminding others to ask about my own reproductive status. Every week. How? Lots of friends hand me their babies during the meeting because I have an uncanny ability to put any baby to sleep. This arrangement leads to at least one (but usually more) RS ladies coming up to me after the meeting and in wistful tones telling me that seeing me with a baby was just *so* sweet and looked *so* happy and natural for me. (And sometimes, they can “tell” it’s time for me to have my own.) Even if I don’t get saddled with a kid, they all notice that I *wasn’t* juggling babies. It’s all downhill from there. Either I’m selfish for not having kids (e.g., getting a PhD made Heavenly Father sad and now that I’m done, I’d better hurry), or I’m getting old and can’t wait (in scared tones). Even if I quietly mention that my ovaries tend to have their own ideas about the situation (hoping this may garner empathy and shut them up), it turns into a frequency question. In the chapel.

    Polygamy Jesus indeed.

  27. That’s a funny story, Nicole.

    Eric Huntsman, my evangelical Mormon professor, had a hard time having kids, too, and one day an old lady at his ward asked him, “Aren’t you and Sister Huntsman at least trying to have children?”

    And he replied, “Why yes, Sister _________, we’re trying almost every night!”

    I imagine that shut her up. He’s got two kids now, btw, ages 12 and 6 I think, and they’re great kids.

  28. Even at our current (non-LDS) church, I brought Hazel with me for as long as I could get away with stuffing a boob in her mouth in public until she fell asleep (Kullervo keeps asking for the same treatment, but as yet I have resisted).

    What? It seems completely reasonable to me.

  29. Even if I quietly mention that my ovaries tend to have their own ideas about the situation (hoping this may garner empathy and shut them up), it turns into a frequency question. In the chapel.


    Next time that happens, you should totally say something super scandalous and waaaay too detailed (make it up if you want to) so the person gets all embarrassed.

    I love making people feel embarrassed. Especially when they’re embarrassing.

    (Kullervo keeps asking for the same treatment, but as yet I have resisted).

    LOL, Katy. That was funny.

    This whole thread has been funny. Good job, everyone.

  30. Katie, I agree. I am funny.

    No, wait. I was actually going to agree about embarrassing other people more than they’re ready for. It shuts them up.

    I think that when Kullervo and I were getting annoyed when people would comment about when we were going to have kids, we would say something obnoxious like, “Oh, we don’t like kids.”

    Nicole, you could always say that you guys are having sex twice a day, but are still unsure where the church stands on garment removal, and ask for instruction. Is it okay for you to remove his? Him to remove yours? Do they have to be placed on the bed with you, or is it okay to chuck them in reckless abandon?

    (I note this because I was told firmly by someone in Kullervo’s family that even during passionate times, care should be taken with garments so that they didn’t touch the floor. I responded that since that’s where all our laundry winds up, this was no different. :D)

  31. …And now we’re back to garments during sex! Thank goodness!

    I shouldn’t reveal this, but I had a mission companion who wore underwear underneath her Gs so that her Gs wouldn’t touch her bum.

    Don’t ask me, because I can’t explain it any better than I just did.

  32. I swear this blog sounds more and more like Feminist Mormon Housewives all the time…

    Who let all these women in here anyway?

  33. Oooo… DH isn’t LDS, so I’m sure I can make the garments-during-sex discussion last even longer with questions about their opinion on DH even seeing them, let alone feeling them during the deed. Or maybe I can say that I sleep naked just to make sure he doesn’t see them… you know, in case he’s in the mood. So many great options.

    I like you guys.

  34. Yeah Seth,
    don’t they know it’s a shame to let women talk about church? That’s what Calvinists tell me the Bible says….

    (Kullervo, both my previous comment, and this one are tongue in cheek, in case you weren’t sure).

  35. Silly psychochemiker. That’s why this is resembling Feminist Mormon Housewives and not Feminist Calvinist Housewives.

  36. I also had a mission companion who wore Hanes underneath his garnments, because he didn’t like thinking about his garments as underwear.

  37. sometimes I don’t like what you guys are doing to this blog. Can someone please call Joseph Smith a creep?

  38. gvbackui to 9the 9subj6ec5t a4t hand, how about ni bloggng with cfh ildrenj?

    (The above was typed with my child in my lap. Then she spat on me, so now she’s in time out.)

    And now I’m going to go put her to bed. ‘Night everyone.

  39. I’ll REALLY get worried when Tim starts getting advertisers in the margins that tag into our themes; we are a rowdy crowd…except for psychomiker.

  40. If we really want this thread to sound like an fMh thread… what’s the skinny on women wearing their bras over their garment tops? Is that what most Mormon women usually do?

    This thread at RFM (which is admittedly a pretty hostile source) makes it sound like that was the standard for a long, long time, but now women are typically told it’s their choice. I’ve only seen a couple of LDS women without their clothes (locker rooms, married friends changing, etc.) and they all wore their bras over their garments.

    But I’ve always been too polite to really ask… would you LDS/post-LDS women who are “in the know” like to humor me?

  41. I wear my bra over my garment top. So does my mom. So do all the LDS women I’ve ever seen in their undies (which is actually quite a few, since I’ve got a background in theatre and have shared several dressing rooms with LDS ladies).

    So in my experience, it’s definitely the norm.

    When I was in the MTC, the president’s wife had a big devotional just for sisters where she told us we needed get rid of all our flashy bras while serving our missions. I always thought that was kind of weird.

  42. Hmm, I’m not sure. Garments are personal for a lot of Latter-day Saints and I wouldn’t want a post on it to turn into one of those “lolgarments” ordeals.

    I could put something together, but I would prefer one of the LDS people write it. A garment tell-all from a faithful perspective or something.

  43. Jared: TMI. But funny TMI, so it’s all good.

    BJM: The tricky thing about the garment talk would be the “from a faithful perspective” part. There are so many versions of what a faithful perspective is. Most of us have been told of the three S’s (sports, swimming, sex), but even that’s open to interpretation. There are people who fulfill their duty to procreate with them on. I know a girl who plays competitive volleyball in them and other ladies who do everything (e.g., activities involving lots of sweating) in them because they want them on all the time. I, on the other hand, prefer to not wear them for sports or anything where I’ll get all gross and sweaty (like heavy yardwork) out of respect for the garment. In those cases, it’s a toss up. They feel they’re respecting the garment by wearing it always; I feel I’m respecting it by not getting it all gross. Then there’s the whole where-does-the-bra go thing. And I know some ladies that wear underwear underneath it, uh… periodically… to help with the logistics of it all.

    Add to that the alterations that aren’t supposed to happen, but do. Some very petite ladies shorten their bottoms so they can wear knee-length shorts. I have the opposite happening: the short ones go about mid-thigh and the calf-length ones go to my knee. It’s awesome when I wear shorts that are 1/2″ above the knee and the G’s aren’t poking out. I always get a glare from the ladies that I shouldn’t alter my G’s just to show some leg. Little do they know the regular ones don’t even come close. Even the fit of the tops can be an issue. I know some ladies that buy them 1 size smaller to make sure they’re covered as high up as they should be, and other ladies that buy them a few sizes bigger to make sure they don’t show under their V neck shirts.

  44. These inequities are the part of the reason we should go back to fundamentalist style. . to the ankle and to the wrist, with a collar.

    burn the bras.

  45. Oh no no no. Once a lady passes 25 and/or has more than 2 kids, bras are necessary for comfort and for everyone else’s eyes. Ew.

  46. By “a faithful perspective” I just mean that I think someone who actually wears garments should write about it. I certainly know plenty about the do’s and don’ts of wearing them from my interfaith marriage, but I’d still feel a little strange writing about it when I’ve never worn them.

    I think it could be a useful post though, because non-members ask me questions about the practice all the time. I mean, it’s a curious religious practice.

    I can lay down strict “no mocking” rules for the topic. How do our LDS regulars feel about it though? Anyone interested in writing about it? Would it make you intensely uncomfortable if I wrote about it?

  47. Jack, I could write it too, as an ex-Mo who wore garments faithfully for years, including the bar over the G, and post baby. While I was nursing, though, I wore a nursing bra underneath. And, well, I haven’t had a period after nursing/pregnancy that I was Mormon (or, really, after nursing/pregnancy, since I have been either pregnant or nursing for the last 4 years now, nonstop. Crazy!)

    I was able to request to get garments made special for me because 1. I’m short, 2. I have some thunder thighs, compared to the size of my waist/butt, and 3. I asked.

  48. Somewhere, TIM is holding his head in his hands:

    “what have I created ???…..” the UNDERGARMENTBLOGGERWORLD……

  49. Jack, I could probably write it for you if you want. I’d have to think it through pretty carefully. And the “no mocking” policy would need to be in full effect. I don’t love wearing ’em, but I do faithfully. And while they’re easy for outsiders to make fun of, they’re quite sacred to LDS, and it’s never nice to make fun of things that are sacred to people.

  50. I guess formally it would be up to Tim.

    For myself, I could take or leave the online garment discussions.

    I’d much rather discuss why Joseph Smith is not a creep and why Ed Decker sucks.

  51. Hi, jack. I liked your post. Although I never did get a chance to play “choose the wife” during sacrament meeting when I was LDS – oh well. Plus, my ultra serious husband probably wouldn’t think it’s “appropriate”…( a word used often by my LDS hubby)

    I wanted to share my thoughts on kids and bringing them to service. Obviously I did for years and years while I was LDS. I was super strict back then, and would often give my kids the “evil eye” if they were rowdy, etc. To say that it was stressful, is an understatement x10. ( plus I have 10 kids, so you can imagine the sheer amount of effort to “get” to church plus have them sit still!!)

    The kids and I now attend a small non denominational christian church. I don’t know if I would catergorize it as “evangelical” ( my pastor detests labels) though.
    Our church does family intergrated worship — that is the kids stay with the parents for worship and preaching. Prior to my pastor we had another pastor and they had “kid’s church”…. so I have experienced both sides of the coin.

    The kids stay with me, but it’s not stressful at all. We come as we are , that is we don’t have to “dress up”. Yippee! That alone takes away stress not having to get clothes pressed and kids looking spiffy. Also, there is not this pressure that kids have to sit still and be “reverent”. My pastor often asks questions during preaching, asking kids questions and he has kids recite passages of scripture, so they are integrated.

    Let me say I love having my kids worship with me. They have learned what it means to “worship” truly. We also open with prayer — and the kids have learned what it means to pray , that is not just the pastor prays but anyone who wishes to can pray. It’s awesome. I love how they have learned what worship is, especially since LDS really don’t worship per say in their meetings like Christians do.

    My kids also enjoyed the kid’s church and have missed it to some degree.

    I also recognize I am much more relaxed as a christian than I was as a Mormon. My church experience now is much more relaxed too… hey, my pastor comes in Jeans! Too cool. I love how the focus is on worship and Jesus not on behaviors of the congregrants…. every once in a while, a child will cry or something…. but that’s ok, no one even looks.

    My pastor is also super sensitive to the needs of the families….he often stops during preaching and asks how the kids are doing and whether things needed to wrapped up…

    Overall, I love having the kids with me in church now, but I didn’t when I was LDS.

    I hope I made some sense!


  52. I am reading thru the comments on this thread and wowza…… do you all know how to go off topic. 🙂



    ps. for the record as a former endowed mormon, I always wore a bra under the garments. I never met any LDS woman who didn’t and I served a mission with lots of LDS gals. For the record. 🙂

  53. I’m not seeing what this “garment post” would be about. Bras and garments? Why/when we wear garments? Altering garments? Wearing garments while we take kids to church?

  54. Oops! I meant to say “over” the garment…..

    It’s been a while since I wore them, so sorry about that…..

    BTW, the freedom of not wearing them is awesome!


  55. Back on the subject of kids in meetings. Over the years we found (after plenty of time in the foyer with each of five children) that the thing that worked for us was to sit in the second or third row. We were close to the speakers and choir, so the kids could see and pay attention (or turn around and draw) and the little ones were locked in by Dad and Mom’s legs (give those little critters a little freedom and they take off!) . Take cheerios and crayons and whatever it takes to keep them docile (I don’t recommend drugs) for the hour and ten minutes. Then count the days, weeks and months till the babies turn 18 months so they can go into the nursery during Sunday School.

  56. As a garment-wearing nominal Mormon who has posting privileges on this blog let me make it clear:

    There is no way in hell I am writing a post about my underwear.

  57. I could write a post about the best-of-both-worlds beauty of boxer briefs but there’s nothing sacred about them.

    I’m open to a post about undies, but it would have to be pretty skillfully done and have more of a purpose than saying “Mormons are weird”.

  58. Katyjane and Katie L., I’ll talk to you guys on Facebook about a potential garments post sometime next week, I think. Maybe the three of us can collaborate on it, but I’ve given it some thought today and I need to finish a guest post I’m working on for another LDS blog (I’m compressing my journey with Mormonism and tackling the old “Are Mormons Christians?” chestnut) before I work on anything else.

    Brian, I think I would intend a garments post to be something of a FAQ for non-members. I need to take a look around the Internet and see if anyone else has done something similar. So far most of the sites I’ve seen which talk about garments have either been (1) remedial, not-very-informative pro-Mormon or (2) hostile, make-fun-of-garments anti-Mormon. I’d like to see something which is both truly informative and polite.

  59. For the record, I actually feel like I would have substantve things to share, despite the fact that I would certainly be irrelevant.

  60. I would break the “no mocking” rule.

    Kullervo: the ultimate in self-awareness and self-disclosure. A zen master, perhaps ??

  61. “. . . and have more of a purpose than saying “Mormons are weird”.”

    Mormons are definitely weird, but would be pretty ironic coming from an evangelical 🙂

    (especially from somebody like Jack 😉 )

  62. Well Jared, unfortunately I do not own either of the specific underwear items I linked to.

    However, I do own other thongs, and I’m happy to share a picture of myself wearing one, taken just a few minutes ago even.

    You men had better think carefully before you click on that link! It is not my desire that I cause any of you to stumble by viewing a sexy picture of me in a thong. You may even wish to consult with your wives beforehand.

    Be warned, this is a GENUINE picture of me in a thong, taken just a few minutes ago. This is NOT a gag!

  63. Someone please explain the joke. I know Jack’s a jokester, but I’m not willing to click to find out. Please tell me it’s a joke, Katie. If not, ew.

  64. Getting back to the TOPIC. (ahem…)

    Is it wise to count on the temple as a regular part of the LDS adult worship experience?

    It was the only thing I could think of, outside of the “complementarian” third hour of meetings, which is not free of baby care if the babies are still small.

    Maybe I should blog, sometime, about my opinion that Mormon Sunday meetings could profitably be reduced to 2.5 hours from the current three, by taking 15 minutes from the Sacrament Meeting and 15 from the third hour, or some other positive rebalancing.

  65. Just click on the picture, you sissies. Like I’d actually post an indecent picture of myself on the Internet. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even take an indecent picture of myself in real life because, as celebrities have taught us, those always somehow wind up on the Internet. No thank you.

    Rob, you of all people should know that Republican women are hotter. But incidentally, I did vote for both Obama and McCain last election.

    Back on topic:

    I do think that the LDS 3-meeting system v. the Protestant 2-meeting system has a lot to do with it. Both systems essentially dole out 2 meetings kid-free every Sunday, but the inclusion of the extra meeting in the LDS system makes it harder to provide child care services during Sacrament meeting without depriving the child care workers of attending altogether every week.

    BTW, has anybody ever been to a Protestant church that had weekly gender-segregated meetings? I know I haven’t.

  66. And a mighty fine thong at that.

    I need to point out that hideous thong was given to me by my Heritage Halls roommates at BYU for my 21st birthday. I would never purchase underwear that ugly on my own. I don’t even like thongs.

    I do wear the matching bra that came with it sometimes though. It’s comfy.

  67. ” Has anyone been to a protestant church that has weekly gender segrerated meetings?”

    Are you talking about a “woman’s bible study or prayer meeting?” I have heard of that often enough within Christian churches. Our church holds a midweek meeting for the entire family — we begin with corporate prayer and worship and then the women go off for a time of prayer and chatting, while the men watch the kids play games, have fun etc. Then when we women are done, the men have a time of prayer and fellowship for just the guys.
    Works out great. I love having time with women only. 🙂

    God bless,

  68. Rob, you of all people should know that Republican women are hotter.

    Ugh. Ann Coulter is not hot.

    And what happened to comparing best versus best?

  69. And what happened to comparing best versus best?

    In politics? Who does that?

    Julie Andrews and Judi Dench are in their 70s and still hot. Can we agree on that?

  70. Someone please explain the joke. I know Jack’s a jokester, but I’m not willing to click to find out. Please tell me it’s a joke, Katie. If not, ew.

    Wait . . . did you just “Ew” my wife in a thong? Did YOU just seriously “Ew” MY wife in a thong? The only woman to beat out Ali Larter AND Charisma Carpenter for “Most sexiest?” The woman whose hotness defies temple marriage? And you “Ew” her in a thong? We need 500 cc testosterone, STAT!

  71. It’s a Jack’s-husband sighting!

    My evening on the internet is complete.

    Now I can get that paperwork done for my court hearing tomorrow.

  72. That’s a cop-out, dude. Every guy likes to know his wife is hot, and other guys want her but can’t have her.

  73. “Holy crap, I just realized Jared is in Finland. JEALOUS.”

    In the summer its great. . . winter, not so much.

  74. I used to live in Alaska–I imagine it is pretty similar climate-wise. Still, jealous. I have a weird obsession with Finland (thus the Kullervo moniker).

  75. I lived at Ft. Richardson from, um 1980 or so until I guess 1983 (my brother was born at Elmendorf in 1981), and then we lived in Sterling, close to Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula from 1987-1989ish.

    My dad grew up in Anchorage and Sterling, so lots of his family is still up there–my grandma has an old homestead ranch out in the sticks (we house-sat for them when they went on their couples-mission in 87-89). But much to my chagrin, I have not been back up there in almost 12 years.

  76. Finland is an interesting place.

    Very strange language, difficult to learn, my kids are always lambasting my attempts to speak Finnish.

    People are nice but very reserved.

    I do like the Kalevala too, eventually I want to visit Karelia (now in Russia) where Lönnrot originally collected the verses. I hear it is almost untouched by the 20th century world, people live like they did 100 years ago.

  77. Talvisota is one of my favorite war movies, ever. Also I have read a relatively rare English translation of Vaino Linna’s The Unknown Soldier and loved it.

    I think Finnish is a fairly awesome language. I have some books and resources on it. I also have a Finnish cookbook.

    How’d you end up there anyway? Did you not lock your heart? Oh holy crap, we should post that talk.

  78. My wife is Finnish, but luckily I didn’t serve a mission there. That would have been dismal. We met at BYU.

    Talvisota is a great movie.

    Here is my favorite version of the Kalevala, my kids love it:

    Finnish may seem like an awesome language if you don’t have strong pressure to learn it. Otherwise it is pretty freaking annoying: 17 conjugations/cases for every noun, the numerous word endings allow for over 1200 permutations of every verb.

    at least pronunciation is not that difficult.

  79. See, I almost went into linguistics. 17 noun cases is dead sexy. Most of them just replace prepositions, though, right?

  80. yeah, Finnish really is a different kind of language, the cases generally replace different prepositions but they also add other shades of meaning. You have to really change your way of thinking to think in Finnish.

    I think I would be happy if I could just speak it without being ridiculed by my 5 year old.

  81. Jared,

    “You really have to change your way of thinking to think in Finnish.”

    I’ve a friend in Washington, D.C. that I’ve known for over twenty years. Ever since I first met her, I’ve known about the Finnish class she goes to every Saturday morning. She goes to Finland at least once a year. This is the first time I’ve ever come across someone else who speaks Finnish. My friend is super, super, smart, so it makes sense that she would like Finnish and be challenged to learn it. Now I think I understand why she likes it so much. I’ve always wondered, “Why is she studying Finnish?” because she’s not Finnish, nor has she ever lived there. Now I know.

  82. Kullervo & Katie, My mission president used to say “Lock your heart, but keep your eyes open.” He met his wife on their missions.

    Rob Perkins, Our current ward meets for 2 1/2 hours rather than three. Sacrament meeting is 1 hour, and equal time is shaved off of Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society. It. Is. Awesome. It’s amazing what a difference that 1/2 hour makes. Now to see if we can talk them down to 2 hours. 😀

    Kid-free worship is an area where I have HUGE evangelical envy. My sister gets to drop off her two little buggers and spend a good hour of quiet, worshipful time with her husband every week. SO not fair.

  83. Not just Evangelicals. Every single church I have visited other than the LDS Church–Episcopalian, Quaker, Nondenominational, Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, and even Church of Christ Scientist–has offered childcare. Except for one “child friendly” Roman Catholic parish.

    It was weird for me at first–growing up Mormon I thought of it as inappropriate to put your kids in child care instead of having them in the service, and I even got offended when it was suggested that I give it a try (granted, sometimes the “suggestion” was made offensively), but now I would never go to a church that didn’t have childcare available. With a three-year-old and a one-year old, there’s no point going at all otherwise.

  84. Well, one of the reasons why I most liked my former Evangelical Presbyterian pastor, is that he would deliberately make it a point to encourage mothers with children in the church service. Many times I have heard a child start crying, and when the parent would start to leave the service, he would stop preaching and say to the person, more often than not calling them by their first name, “You don’t have to leave. Children are a part of our lives, and should be.”

  85. Okay guys, I have a dilemma, and I’m posting it here because it’s related to this topic and if I write about it on my blog, people from my church are more likely to see it.

    I took my daughter to church tonight and arrived at 4:15 PM for a service that starts at 4 PM—Mormon Standard Time runs deep in my veins. Took her up to the nursery only to find that the ages 0-2 nursery workers were overwhelmed. There were 8-9 children in the room already being managed by 2 workers, at least three of the children being under 18 months and screaming. I just couldn’t drop Harley off in that. As I was leaving the room, another mother showed up with a sub-18-month-old.

    I thought I would try to sit through the service with my daughter, but she made it clear that she had no interest in sitting in the adult service. So reluctantly I took her home and… didn’t go to church. We had a fantastic guest speaker lined up for today, so I was really disappointed.

    So, I’m frustrated with the lack of nursery workers. I know that the nursery coordinator has a hard enough time filling the desired quota of 8-10 volunteers a month as is, and it’s becoming clear that we need more workers than that. Since I rarely see any men sign up for the nursery, part of me is wondering if this is a complementarian “nursery is women’s work” attitude that’s part of the problem.

    I feel like I shouldn’t have to worry about missing church due to lack of child care. I also really miss having Sunday morning church. I also really miss having a Sunday school class.

    I’ll probably keep in touch / attend my current church at least once a month regardless of what I do, but I’m tempted to shop for another church. Then again, I’m moving in August and I wonder if I shouldn’t just tough it out until then.

    There seems to be a fairly large Assembly of God near my home which I could check out, as well as a smaller Nazarene Church.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Am I being stupid?

    BTW, my Mormon husband offered to take a shift in my evangelical church’s nursery. Now that’s a man for ya.

  86. Bummer. That sucks. 😦

    I don’t think you’re being stupid at all. We switched wards once because church went from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.–right in the middle of the kid’s naptime (this was before she was able to attend nursery). It was completely impossible to enjoy church for even 2 seconds while you wandered the halls with a cranky, overtired infant.

    So if you had years ahead of you in the same location, I’d say it’s probably a no-brainer you should look elsewhere. Having said that, since you’re leaving so soon anyway, maybe the question to ask yourself is if you think you’re going to burn bridges or hurt feelings by doing so? If not, why not look around? If so, does the peace of mind or increased quality of worship you’ll gain over the next couple months outweigh any feathers you might ruffle?

    And wow, tell Paul he just scored 10 awesomeness points in my book for his willingness to take a shift in your nursery. 🙂

  87. My advice would be to take your husband up on his offer. I don’t see the point of church-shopping so soon before you’re leaving. (On the other hand, in my Protestant days I found church-shopping to be a bit of a pain, but that could be different than your experience.)

  88. I’d say stick it out and show up for church earlier.

    Men are allowed to work in the nursery at my church, but they aren’t allowed to change diapers.

  89. When we moved here our nursery was overwhelmed every week (20-25 kids). So I just stayed down there with my daughter for the first 6 months. It was a weird way to meet the new ward—there are still several adults that I only know by their kids’ names.

    I agree with Tim+Eric: get there early and have Paul help.

  90. Men are allowed to work in the nursery at my church, but they aren’t allowed to change diapers.

    I don’t think anyone but parents are allowed to change diapers in the LDS wards I’ve lived in. When I served in the nursery, we always just went and found the parents whenever a kid had a “surprise.” Something about other people’s kids’ poo is just SOOOO unappealing. (Not that your own kid’s is appealing on any level, but you know what I’m saying…)

  91. My wife did a write-up on her own private family blog on a day at church with our youngest boy back when he was still too young to be in the nursery. Figured I’d post part of it just for the heck of it (at her suggestion):

    “Blake and I spent half of Sacrament Meeting out in the foyer where he played with two other boys his age, hiding behind the curtains by the glass double doors. He made two new adult friends, tried crawling back into the sacrament room twice, and attacked a lady’s walker. I’d keep him in Sacrament Meeting, but he just doesn’t sit still, and it becomes a wrestling match keeping him in the pew for more than half an hour.

    For Sunday School, I teach the 12-13 year old class. Our lesson was on prayer; the hows, wheres, whens, and whys. My kids knew the answers (even the primary song that teaches the order of how we pray). However, it was the rowdiest lesson that we’ve had in some time. Seth, who usually takes Blake during SS, was late picking him up after taking Bailey to Nursery. So the kids were playing with Blake, detoxing from Halloween candy, and very difficult getting back on topic (they would only stay on it for a couple minutes at a time). One kid kept writing Japanese kanji on the chalkboard when he wasn’t trying to sit on the table. Another kept playing with chairs. Don’t get me wrong though. I actually had a lot of fun. I like my kids, even though I have three of the three “problem” kids in the 12-15 age group.

    Seth handed over a sleeping Blake to me for Relief Society (Seth’s in the Elders Quorum presidency, otherwise I’d make him keep Blake). He slept fine until everyone quieted down for announcements. Luckily, he was still sleepy enough that he sat still for the first 15 minutes before deciding to attack the baby we were sitting next to, pull our diaper bag apart, attack another baby’s car seat, make a beeline for the garbage can, play for a little bit, fling an open bag of snacks everywhere, almost make it out the door, repeatedly pull my shoe off and try to replace it, attack the diaper bag like a puppy (rolling all over with it, pouncing, and growling), and try to play with someone’s scriptures during closing prayer. He’s so exasperating but amusing to watch at the same time.”


  92. We don’t normally change diapers at our nursery, either, we retrieve the parents if they really need it.

    Alright, I’ll tough it out and maybe take my husband up on his offer to do a nursery shift.

    Something about other people’s kids’ poo is just SOOOO unappealing. (Not that your own kid’s is appealing on any level, but you know what I’m saying…)

    Somehow, Katie, I do know what you’re saying.

    Seth, sounds like you guys have quite the destructo duck yourselves.

  93. I heard someone say that human children produce a certain pheromone that prevents the dads from killing them, or something like that.

    Maybe that’s why the smell thing is less for your own than for others.

    Jack, we have a BOY. Whole different ball of wax from a girl.

  94. Science has shown that boys tend to be more rambunctious as kids; whether that’s nurture or nature is probably debatable.

    I have gotten irritated at our current church on the days when we’ve gone and they didn’t have enough volunteers to put the kids in child care–and Oliver LOOOOOVES his Sunday school class, and will. not. go. to the main room.

    I never thought about people changing other kids’ diapers. I’ve volunteered in nurseries before, and blessedly that hasn’t ever come up with me. Unfortunately, I’m not a good enough person that if I’ve come to church to worship and they don’t have enough people to volunteer that I’ll be a good sport and volunteer so other people can leave their kids… I guess that’s how I know that I really need church, eh?

    And Seth, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who has had those days when my kid is acting like that. 🙂

  95. Science has shown that boys tend to be more rambunctious as kids; whether that’s nurture or nature is probably debatable.

    It’s true enough, but Harley’s pretty darn rambunctious. Brian can vouch for this. When we visited him, she kept attempting to attack his nice white couch with a piece of carrot cake.

    And I totally wonder how much “nurture” has to do with current gender differences. I got a little annoyed with Harley’s playgroup teachers because they had a “parent education week” which involved passing out a packet on how to raise a toddler boy v. a toddler girl. This packet listed in-depth bullet points on what toddler boys are like and how to handle them. The girl parts were much shorter and basically said things like, “whatever’s not on the boy list.” I couldn’t believe it. On top of that, most of the stuff on the “toddler boy” list fit Harley to a T.

    It also said something on the boy list like, “Show him respect and make it clear that he’s to respect you, too.” The girl list said nothing about respect. Starting the “women don’t care about respect” myth in the cradle, gotta love it.

    Hey Seth, did you name one of your daughters Bailey?

  96. Jack, I definitely think that nurture has a lot to do with it. Also, I know that girls can definitely be just as rambunctious as boys. The people who live below us love that Hazel has learned how to run. It gives them one more thing to constantly complain about.

  97. “The girl list said nothing about respect.”

    What kind of a playgroup is that? I’d be looking for another playgroup. No way would I put up with that. At my daughter’s school, there is one other boy who has been enrolled together with Nadine since the toddler program. 99% of the time he is well behaved and hardly ever puts a foot wrong. I envy his Mom at times. Of course, he has a real hard time separating from his mother sometimes, where Nadine is very independent. Every child has issues of his/her own. If you are lucky in one area, you usually make up for it by having a hard time somewhere else.

  98. I’ve always liked Harley / Riley / Bailey as girl’s names. Yay for boy’s names re-invented as sexy girl’s names. Sierra is pretty. It almost got too common at the turn of the century, but now it’s back on the decline in popularity; I’m wondering if it will see a slight bump again after the Dollhouse character.

    I don’t think I could ever name a kid Blake after all my run-ins with blogging Blake, but I think it’s a nice enough name in itself. Our home teachers were visiting with us for several hours last night with their adorable son and Blake was his middle name, Ezra Blake.

    I confess, Seth and Jared were both on my shortlist for boy’s names if we have a boy, but after blogging here, I don’t know if I could do it.

  99. Yeah, I believe Nehemiah is Hebrew for “I wanna get beat up at recess for every day of my entire childhood.”

    LOL! No, really, that one made me laugh out loud.

    I like the name Sierra. I worked with a fun girl at Hollywood Video back in my youth named Sierra, so I have positive associations.

    If we have another girl someday, we would like to name her Harper Grace. If we have a boy, I am vying for the name August and my husband wants Rocky.

    I’m not sure if we could bring ourselves to do either when push comes right down to shove, however.

    Oh, and FWIW, I also worked with a fun girl at Hollywood Video named Riley, spelled exactly the way you spelled it up there, Jack.

  100. Oh, I forgot to say earlier, Lisa:

    What kind of a playgroup is that? I’d be looking for another playgroup. No way would I put up with that.

    That seminar on gender in toddlers was dumb, but the teachers at her playgroup have been absolutely stellar. It’s been nothing but good for her. Besides, she turns 3 next month. I think she can keep going to playgroup for the summer, then she’s off to preschool this fall.

  101. Glad you guys liked it.

    I had never seen the original music video for that song. Damn, it was pretty creepy on its own! Did (comparatively) hot female schoolteachers lust after their male students back in 1984? Maybe that video was the inspiration for certain infamous figures of our day…

    I have to confess though, I kind of like the original song. On my wedding day, I was in the basement of my church getting ready and my bridesmaids and I were being goofy and belting that song out at the top of our lungs… when suddenly Paul appeared around the corner! And our eyes just met for the first time that day and we both smiled. He’d heard the singing and come down to see us. And one of my bridesmaids chased him out of the basement yelling, “PAUL! Oh my gosh you’re not supposed to see the bride before the wedding!” He had totally forgot and he ran. But damn, he looked good.

    So I have all kinds of good associations with that song now.

  102. Oh my heck, my friend and I sang this song at my wedding, too!!!! (We had a karaoke party during the luncheon, as well several performances–including one of myself and two other friends doing a choreographed dance to Bootylicious).

    And I LOVE the original song. It’s on the mix I use to go running with, because nothing wants to make you sprint as fast as you can than Bonnie Tyler belting the hell out of that song. Awesome.

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