On the first Sunday of every month in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. LDS or “Mormon”) the theme of the day is Fast & Testimony. Members are encouraged to fast for 1-3 meals as your health permits and to donate the cost of those meals to the church which then distributes the funds to those in need. We (the members) are also encouraged to come up to the stand and bear testimony over the pulpit to the rest of the congregation. It’s supposed to be really spiritual and to help you strengthen your own testimony, but often what happens is something else.
Some of us have dubbed Fast Sunday as Open Mic Sunday. This is when people get up and give their thank-a-monies (how they’re just SO THANKFUL for their laundry list of blessings, etc.), or their travel-monies (in which we are treated to a retelling of a recent trip). Sometimes we’ll get an organ recital (detailed description of health problems), a life history (some of those older folks can be long-winded!), and though politics at church is taboo, there will be plenty of stump speeches in the fall. Usually there’ll be at least one Job’s Doppleganger (the person who’s got so many trials you’re amazed they haven’t jumped in front of a truck, yet), a few kids that barely know their names but somehow know the church is true, 2-3 guys calling you to repentance, and my personal favorite: the podium as confessional-mony.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I realize sometimes you want to give a little back story as to how you’ve come to Jesus. But let’s not lose sight of why these meetings exist: to strengthen and nourish our spirits. So let’s get going with the Reader’s Digest version. Edit for content. Leave out the TMI, the travelogue, and the things only the bishop needs to know. Tell me what you know, not what (you think) makes you sound like the next prophet, and if you have a story you want to share then give us something like “I have a really neat story that goes with this, but what I really want to say is….”
I say these things in the spirit of brevity, Amen.