Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Some Wards Fit Better Than Others

Haven't we all been in a ward, or attended a church where we didn't really feel we fit in?
The ward I had the hardest time in was one where 75% of the members were all related, and if you didn't go to their family reunion they kind of wondered what you were doing in their ward.
I stuck with it though and made some very good friends in that ward.
Happily, most of my wards have been great, and the one I am in now is wonderful.
But I read this article from the Salt Lake Tribune that explains how a different makeup of wards could be beneficial.
Which one would you go to?


Find your niche in specialty wards
-Robert Kirby, Tribune columnist
Salt Lake Tribune

Most Sunday mornings, you'll find me on a pew in the Rosecrest 1st Ward chapel.
It's where I'm supposed to go to church. Lucky for me, it's also where I want to go.
Technically, Mormons don't have a choice. For church, we're bound by the geography of the ward boundary. We worship where we live.
The only time Mormons can switch wards without also contacting a Realtor is when we attend specialty wards.
For example, I went to a Spanish-speaking ward in West Jordan for a while.
Specialty wards allow members with specific common needs to worship together and support each other in their exclusive part of the Lord's vineyard. There are (or have been) lots of LDS specialty wards, including singles wards, college wards, deaf wards, ethnic wards and nudist wards.
OK, I made up that last one. There are even seasonal "snowbird wards" in places where Mormon RV owners congregate.
I talked it over with my friend (despite a restraining order) Ken Wallentine. We think the specialty-ward idea needs to be improved on in our ever-changing and increasingly divided culture.
For example, there needs to be a late ward, a ward Mormons who are perpetually late for church could attend and not feel bad about dragging their herd in 15 minutes late.
The only problem with a late ward would be showing up late for a meeting that was supposed to start late in the first place.
Eventually, you would end up with a ward that ran out of time before it started. "Welcome to the Tardy 3rd Ward, brothers and sisters. We will close now by singing hymn No. 145."
Given the high birthrate among Mormons, I thought about the need for maternity wards. Except that we already have those. They're called married student wards.
A Star Trek ward might do well. The bishop would preside from "the bridge" instead of the stand. High-council Sunday would be referred to as a "Klingon Sunday."
Harley riders congregate to the exclusion of just about everyone else. Why not an LDS biker ward? White shirts and neckties go well with black leather.
Ken really wants to attend a concealed-weapons ward. He says church would be a lot more interesting if real personal risks were involved in disagreeing with a lesson.
There could be a texting ward for teenagers. Bear your testimony with your thumb. In 25 years, they'll all belong to carpal-tunnel wards.
At the less-active ward, maybe there'll be a meeting and maybe there won't.
Testimony meeting in an anger-management ward might be interesting. Nobody's going to sleep through, "HEY! I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE, STUPID!"
A big hit would be the Multi Level Marketing ward, also known as a "Gadianton robber ward." With all the financial scamming that goes on in this culture, it would be nice to have them all in one place for a three-hour block weekly.
I think a Democrat ward is a good idea, although in Utah the best we could probably hope for is a Democrat branch..


The family said...

Oh Della- THIS is a really good read. For many reasons. I just probably write it on the internet.

How are you doing? Have you been busy with WoW? I haven't seen you around as much?

Love ya!

Tom and Lillie Wilkinson said...

What about the facebook ward, we wouldn't even have to leave our homes.


Chuck and Nancy said...

I think I could enjoy an outdoors ward with most meetings held under the trees. But I doubt my wife would like it.
Thanks. DAD

Victoria said...

I like this idea, as much for weeding out the people I would rather NOT spend time with, as for anything else. For instance, you could have a whole ward just for the smart people, so the rest of us don't feel dumb. I would like a self-service ward. In such a perfect world, we could visit-teach ourselves. Rather than listening to someone else give a talk, we could all read our own pre-selected talk materials (or, as I frequently think would be fun, do a crossword puzzle). They would never make us play games at enrichment...the possibilities are endless.

Thank goodness it's NOT a perfect world. Wouldn't it be terrible if we actually got everything we asked for???

Oh, and BTW, Della's dad...your "perfect ward" exists all summer long at Aspen Grove in Provo Canyon. They hold a Family Camp there, and church is held in the most amazing outdoor ampitheater. I dream abou that, too.

Amanda said...

LOL. . . My husband would go to the Concealed Weapons Ward. That is if he actually follwed through with his plan one of these years and went to the class to get the permit. I don't know what ward I'd go to. I'm shy and wouldn't want to go somewhere where everyone else was shy, because then I'd never meet anyone.