Sunday, January 6, 2013

I See… Why Good People Do Bad Things: Falling Asleep in Church

One of many valuable services the Mormon Third Eye provides to all readers brave enough to get beyond the title and read this far into the post is relevant, timely, and useful explanations about some of the more pressing problems that taunt and haunt the typical Latter-day Saint.  From Why There Should Never be a Perfect Primary Sacrament Meeting Program” to “Why the Stake President Always Speaks Last,” “Why a BYU Sports Team Will Never Win a Major Collegiate National Championship… Probably…” and the most practical, ”Why, If You are a Man in the Church, You are Just Plain Dumb if You Don’t Serve at the Annual Stake Relief Society Dinner,” the Mormon Third Eye is constantly striving to make more of mysteries of church culture accessible to the inquisitive Mormon mind.  This Sunday, I seek to reveal the scaffolding behind probably the most persistent, troubling and widespread challenge LDS members face, a problem that doesn’t affect testimony and doesn’t even really matter in the divine, grand scheme of things- why people fall asleep in church.

As in all minor mysteries of the gospel, application of man’s reasoning falls short.  Rationally, it is easy to assume that the night before, a husband was up late watching a pivotal BYU sporting event that ran into the wee hours of the morning Eastern Standard Time; a wife was up late worrying about the rapidly deteriorating health of a husband who was up late watching a pivotal BYU sporting event that ran into the wee hours of the morning Eastern Standard Time; a return-missionary son who was up late at BYU Idaho simply because he runs his own life now and can do what he wants; and a young adult daughter is worn out due to an action-packed night dreaming about the nonstop action-packed movies  she has watched the previous week (this has never, ever happened to our family personally, but I’ve heard that it is all too common in other LDS homes).

However, the scriptures are the best place to find answers to today’s problems, including the all-to-common falling asleep in church. A careful reading of the account of Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah serving missions among the Lamanites as recorded in the Book of Alma in the Book of Mormon contains some hints in understanding this dilemma.  It seems that when Ammon or Aaron began teaching the plan of salvation to Lamanite royalty, they tended to respond by …. falling asleep!! (see Alma 19:8, Alma 22:18-23) Later we learn that during their long moments of slumber, they were actually having visions-  being taught the glad news of the gospel and the plan of salvation by heavenly messengers.

So, the next time you see heads nod in sacrament, don’t judge too quickly- they may be conversing with angels!


  1. That is great. Very funny, so does that mean I shouldn't harrass my sons?
    My son who is currently a missionary always slept in sacrament. I hoped as a missionary he would give that up. I ll have to ask his trainer who is home now if he helped keep my son awake in sacrament. Thanks for the chuckle.

  2. Sharon,
    Yes it does. for all we know, angels were persuading your son to serve a mission during his sacrament slumber.