Thursday, June 15, 2006

Elder's Quorum, the most unsocial place on earth

My ward has a huge Elder’s Quorum and I mean big. I guess we have about 45 elders in the quorum meeting each Sunday. Being in Southern California that is good considering the cost of living out here—real estate prices aren’t exactly friendly. The main reason we have so many elders is because there are two affordable housing (low-income apartments) complexes in the ward. My complex has about 15 families and the other has over 20. Most of the people living in these apartments are young families. This adds handsomely to our ward’s Elder’s Quorum, Relief Society, and nursery.

Despite the large group of men together each Sunday, hardly any of us know each other. I don’t claim to know why my Elder’s Quorum is unsocial; I just know what I see. What I see is a whole lotta nothing!! No talking, no visiting, no smiles, just a group of guys either staring straight forward or with their heads down. I see this during priesthood when the young men and the high priests are around and through the lesson. It is almost comical at this point because as I walk into priesthood and see this sad sight, I start to imagine what could have caused such sadness. Maybe someone’s dog was run over by a tractor and then the tractor backed over it again to see what it ran over. Someone else must have found evidence that their wife is a terrorist; others must be coming to grips that the WWF is not real. Whatever the reason, my Elder’s Quorum is not a place I am excited about going to. Even with a good lesson, there is a depressing aura in the air.

One of the other funny things to me is the groups that some how migrate to each other while still not interacting. It is the birds of a feather flock together concept, even if they have nothing to talk about. There are the fathers that have baby duty. The group of guys that kind of know each other who sit in the back row with their heads down hoping to avoid eye contact with anyone. The guys who know no one and sit in the middle hoping someone will be friendly to them. And then you have those who sit in the front rows who bring their manual and eagerly answer questions. I want to point out that our meetings are in the gym making it easier for the elders to put space between each other. Oh yes, the last group is the hallway roamers. These special creatures are the ones who stay for priesthood and then leave in the first few minutes of the lesson. They make it look like they are going to the bathroom and somehow they never return. Often I wonder if they fell in the toilet and were only freed when the class was over. This rare species was made known to me by my needing to chase my daughter as she ran out the door and down the hall. In the hallway, these creatures herd together and chat while leaning against the wall and they stay there for the duration of the lesson. I think we should make a new Elder’s Quorum calling, a hallway monitor. If I had that job I would make myself a large tag that reads “Elder’s Quorum Hallway Monitor, You know what’s up. Go to class.” And when I find my prey I would say nothing, I would just walk up to the herd and stare them down while tapping my sweet tag. Like a wolf in the mists of sheep, they would run like little sissies. I could do some real clean up that way.

I am not saying that social means that these men should be chatty during the announcements and the lesson. I am saying I hope that priesthood should be a place where people acknowledge your presence in one way or another. You know like someone, anyone, saying hi to you at some point in that hour. Moreover, for goodness sake someone besides the Elder’s Quorum president should say hi to new people. I for one know a little less then half the elders and I say hi to them. I doubt other know that many. The thing that gets me most of all is that there is at least one to two empty spaces between each elder. That is the most obvious sign that people don’t know each other and don’t want to make the effort. I at least have an excuse as to why the brethren keep there space from me, I freakin stink. B.O. City here!! Population: Spencer J


Shawn Dowler said...

You hit the nail with your head this time, Bucko!

When I first got married I was in the Twin Oaks Valley Ward. Their Elders Quorum meets in this teeny tine little room that is packed with chairs. Every Sunday there were more people than chairs and we had to find creative ways of rearranging the existing chairs so new ones would fit. Within 6 months I knew every one's name... and I'm really bad at remembering names!

When I moved into the Lake San Marcos Ward I really missed that room. Everything was easier in that room except for ignoring your fellow Elders.

Repeat after me: The Cultural Hall is not a Classroom!

Elders are like gas. They smell bad (w00t Spencer!) and they expand to fill whatever container they are placed in. I don't enjoy Sunday School or Priesthood Meeting nearly as much as I did when they were taught in normal teaching locales. Everything about the cultural hall screams, "learning? What's that? The Spirit? Fuhgetaboutit!"

I have lived in this Ward for nearly two years now and I can only put names and faces together for about ten Elders in our Quorum. That's partly because there are constantly new people moving in, but that was the case in my old Ward, too. If anything, I knew the newer people better than the ones who had been there when I moved in.

I can't say that I do much to improve this situation. I sit two chars away from my neighbors and I tend to do my share of floor-staring during lessons, but I'm not proud of it, and I want things to change.

What can we do to improve this situation? I don't think activities are the answer since we have tons of those already.

This topic definitely could use further discussion. Thanks for having the guts to bring it up.

Spencer J said...


I know what you are talking about when it comes to a smaller room. In the Felicita ward the quorum would meet on the stage. The class would sometimes be about 25 ½ people and we would be smashed together. But even with little room, I got to know my brethren. Even the ones I thought were goobers turned out to be interesting and fun people. I was more excited to go to the meetings and listen because I knew my fellow Elders were there for the same reason.

B-Dog sbbiG said...

Hey Spencie,
I think you are looking way beyond the mark here, it is obvious what has happened. One of those terrorist wife's you mentioned has actually put a noxious gas in the ventillation system that feeds into the gym. Eliminate this weapon of mass destruction and I think you will solve the problem.

Spencer J said...

B-Dog sbbiG,

Are you saying that it is the terrorist wife's noxious gas that is making me stink. If that is the case, I am going to find her and take her down like a cow in front if a train. WOOO WOOO!!

Bra-man said...

You say you are in the LSM ward Elder's quorum but how come I have never heard of you? (hehe)

This sounds like the conversation we had at the fathers and sons but put into blog form. Good points-I know your blog is true.

I need to go blog about my addiction to prescription painkillers now.

Spencer J said...

"Good points-I know your blog is true."

Thanks for baring your testimony about my blog. I've never had anyone do that before.