Saturday, November 17, 2012

I’m not really good at this

So what’s up with Mormons and this compulsive need we have to apologize for our speaking abilities when we get up and deliver a sacrament meeting address?

This suddenly became quite a bit more real (and not just annoying) to me since my oldest was asked to speak in sacrament meeting tomorrow. She practiced her speech in front of Jeanne and me this evening, and it was good and we told her so, except that we asked her to eliminate the sentence she opened with where she said she was nervous and downplayed expectations for the whole thing.

She objected to our request, saying—seriously!—that one has to start a sacrament meeting address that way.

I mean, kudos to her for such astute cultural observation skills, but is it really a good thing to tell people at the outset that you’re no good at what you’re doing? After all, such a claim is either wasted time since we’re all about to become painfully aware of it whether you say it or not, or it’s false modesty. Either way, not good.

(And it’s not just girls, or even just girls and women—men and boys do it too. Do similar things happen in other faith traditions where congregants regularly speak in services?)

p.s. She finally conceded our point after a couple minutes of back and forth on the issue. Score one for basic rhetorical competence.

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

The other thing that needs to go is people saying "I have no idea what I'm going to say..." Code for I didn't actually prepare and my talk is going to seriously suck.

Ani has spoken twice in Sacrament Meeting since she turned 12 (I suppose there are some benefits of being in a ward with very few kids). She started her first talk, a week and a half after she turned 12, saying that unlike most people she was totally excited when she was asked to speak. No apologies from that kid.