Sunday, March 20, 2011

I See... Why the Stake President Always Speaks Last

“BYU slaughtered Gonzaga last night!” “Who is that new family sitting in the back?” “I'm going to wait until Ellie fills her pants again before I take her out...” “Luke, I am your father!” “somebody left their Cheerios on our bench... I wonder if they are still good...” “I'm hungry!” “I'm tired!” “Do you think I'm pretty?”

As I scan the horizon of our ward conference sacrament meeting crowd at the opening moments, these are thoughts I imagine I am reading leaking out of the heads of ward members of all ages. This is why the Stake President always speaks last. When we come to church, we bring our thoughts and desires with us, and at the beginning they are not completely focused on the reason why we are there. The profound pearls of inspiration the Stake President has been prompted to share competes poorly with thoughts of Jimmertime, Star Wars theme music, and premature worries about innocent victims smelling the loaded diapers of our little loved ones. We are not ready.

After the sacrament has been passed and the bishop has finished his remarks, however, our minds have been trained and made fertile for holy advice. The Stake President may deliver a seemingly boring message on love, charity, or forgiveness, but it will thrill the prepared soul and prompt pondering like “my next door neighbor seems to be nice man...I wonder what I can do for them?” or “could the Savior really love me that much?” or “the twinkle in Ellie's eyes tells me that it hasn't been that long since she left heaven...”

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