I really enjoy conference! I'm serious - I really do! I enjoy being able to go to church in my pajamas. I enjoy the family gatherings. I enjoy the sense of priesthood strength singing together as a worldwide community of brethren. I enjoy learning from the spirit.
But... I also really detest the "cultural" aspects of conference. And is it just me, or is this getting worse and worse with each passing year?
What I mean by this (for those of you fortunate enough to live outside Zion) is the bombardment of ads in the paper, on the radio, on television etc. for you to "buy" the latest CD, the latest and greatest GA book, or your own personalized latest design-CTR ring. It is getting to be worse than Christmas. UUGGGHHH!
I can't stand it! I know I've said this before, but it feels so much like Priestcraft! Just as I hate the commercialization of Christmas, I can't stand the commercialization of Conference and of the Church as a whole. Sure they sell sweet and inspirational syrup for you to consume in every available way to take your money. Look at some of the most recent offerings:
1. Jospeph B. Worthlin's Press On... Can you tell me why Elder Worthlin has to write such a book? Is it really necessary? And must I endure the ads that remind me how long he's lived (he's 87 and yet the ad says he's 90) and what an example of "pressing on"???
2. Emily Freeman's 21 Days Closer to Christ - now if that isn't a poster child for Priestcraft, I don't know the meaning of the word...
3. Ardeth Kapp's Joy of Believing... Ditto.
4. A twenty-something's Guide to Spirituality? Give me a break!
5. How do I change my husband? Now that;s just what my wife needs. Maybe I'll buy it for her so she can learn how to make fun of men and the stupid things we do...
6. Of course don't forget your personal 19" Christus marble statue that you can use for a book end. (And to think that all those crucifixes and Mary statues in homes in Italy were looked upon by missionaries to be idol worshipping).
I know I'm ruining the spirit of conference with this satirical post, and maybe I should be above and beyond such things, but I am sick of it! I want to get out a protesting poster blaring "PRIESTCRAFT" and rally the troops to protest in front of each DB store this weekend. Are you with me?
Why can't we just get back to listening to the messages and leaving it at that? Why do the Brethren allow such commercialism of testimonies? Why do we as a culture buy such crap? What's wrong with reading the scriptures? Have you tried that?
It makes me want to leave Zion. I know of non-member friends who have noticed it as well. I've one friend who has asked me how he can take our religion seriously when there is such a barrage of inspirational fluff at the core of what is portrayed to the community at large. He misses the message of humanitarian service, education, missionary work, relief efforts with the welfare program, etc. because he sees DB as equaling the Church's real mission. It's a fair question and I feel fortunate that so far (I hope) it has contaminated only the Wasatch Front, but I'm fearful that the disease of sweetness will spread to "all the world".