In celebration of a fine post last week at T&S which reprinted the entire text of an excellent 1990 Armand Mauss essay, "Alternate Voices: The Calling and its Implications," I'm declaring this Alternate Voices Week here at DMI. I'll start off with something from the current Spring 2006 Dialogue: "Mormon Laundry List," by Julianna Gardner Berry. It's a short two-page note registering dissatisfaction with the increasing tendency of Sacrament Meeting talks to be extended exercises in finger-wagging, with the inevitable admonishments drawn from a short but reliable list (the "Mormon laundry list") of proper LDS behaviors: read the scriptures, pay your tithing, go to your meetings, do your home teaching, pay your tithing, pray more, etc. The author's plea was for more education and edification in talks at church. That, or you can just bring a good book and tune out the speaker at the pulpit. I've been reading the David O. McKay bio in church lately.
I made some related comments in a post last year, Mormon Exhorters. Here's a quote from the last paragraph:
Getting a little tired of being exhorted at for 60 minutes every Sunday? Have you ever found yourself (gasp!) thinking that maybe having a trained minister to preach a proper sermon wouldn't be so bad? Think how things would change if every Mormon sacrament meeting speaker had to take a 10-hour basic lay speaker course before inflicting themselves on the congregation.