Eating & Drinking in Church: A New Trend?

Jeff Spectorapologetics, Culture, Mormon 50 Comments

It might just be me, but I’ve noticed an upswing in eating and drinking during the three hour block. Now, I am not talking about cheerios, fishy crackers and sippy cups, but older kids and adults.

There is a joke around the Church about someone having installed cup holders in the pews in Utah to accommodate the super big gulps that are now brought to church each week. I don’t know if that is true, but a bottle of water and some munches now seems to accompany some member’s scripture tote bags.

I was teaching Gospel Doctrine a week ago and as I was talking and looking around the chapel, I spied a sister taking a big swig from her water bottle. It then occurred to me that I have seen that happening a lot lately. I recall a sister in Primary who totes around one of those gallon-sized Weight-Watcher mugs. I assume its water, but who knows?

We have a family that likes to eat apples during Sacrament Meeting, not exactly the quietest thing to munch on.

So what’s the deal here? You can’t wait until after the meeting to get a drink from the drinking fountain? Do you have to stay “hydrated” 24×7? Afraid you might miss a meal? Granola bars, fruit, sandwiches, you name it, its there. Typically, the water is carried by the sisters. The brothers would never be caught with anything less than a GatoradeTM or PoweradeTM. If all this water slinging continues, will they take out the drinking fountains, like the pay phones?

Sometimes the floor of the Chapel looks like Henry VIII had a feast in there. I suppose there are some who have a legitimate reason for eating and drinking, but not most. Again, I am not talking about children.

So, what gives? Am I crazy?

Comments 50

  1. I have hypoglycemia, so I have to eat during the meeting block. (However, I avoid eating in the chapel.) I’ve been known to discreetly munch on a granola bar or other portable food in Sunday School or Relief Society.

    I think if people need to eat, they should feel free to do so, but they need to do it politely. If I’m eating on Fast Sunday, I’ll go where nobody can see me. (Partly to avoid any potential judging, and partly to avoid eating in front of people who are abstaining from food.) What bugs me is when people leave little cheerio bits lying in the pews. Definitley a no-no.

  2. I think this is a larger American cultural shift as well. Workplaces and schools are seeing a lot more eating and drinking going on. University libraries also allow a lot more of this as well in restricted areas to encourage students to hang out there. I’ve wondered how dehydrated past generations must have been, sitting around a conference table with coworkers, each of whom has a drink handy.

    When small pets are brought in to church on a regular basis, as they are to many stores now, then I will vote with my voice and feet to put a stop to it! Eating doesn’t bug me as much. Church is long, especially if you have pre- and post- meetings. For our bishop, every Sunday is Fast Sunday.

  3. “I recall a sister in Primary who totes around one of those gallon-sized Weight-Watcher mugs. I assume its water, but who knows?”

    Mind saying what that means and why it would be of interest to you what she drinks?

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  5. I think it is an okay trend to see, as long as persons clean up after themselves, and it results in a more accessible, comfortable and engaging worship environment. For one, the LDS church continues to resist creating an age-appropriate worship option for children, youth and adults. Sacrament meeting is “one size fits none (or few)” it would seem by looking around. If this happened I think most in-worship snack munching would disappear, especially if they allowed more socializing between the meetings.

    But the trend is also a bit of a mismatch to me, I confess, because it seems more of a distraction to boredom rather than a function of comfort, or creating a more casual, accessible worshipping environment. I saw many detached and “mentally checked out” LDS worshippers playing with gadgets, iPods, phones, text messaging, sleeping, munching, reading other material, or playing with the kids’ toys and activities. To the extent the LDS church would desire to create a more engaging, relaxing and uplifting worship atmosphere beverage consumption could have its place. But I’d hesitate to call this trend a “start” because there is not a dominant (nor emerging) LDS culture (nor leadership) that considers such okay, permissible or familiar behavior for worship. Munching and sipping during sac meeting will probably continue merely as a tolerated and quiet guilty pleasure like the many insulated mugs filled with Diet Coke sitting out in the SUVs lining the parking lots awaiting their owners and the end of the meeting block.

  6. Eating in the chapel bugs me, even when it’s kids. It’s a chapel; not a cafeteria.

    Sac Mtg lasts 70 minutes, assuming it starts on time. (Almost?) ANYONE can abstain for that long, as long as they plan ahead and are pro-active. My wife and I raised six children; she and a couple of our kids have serious fasting difficulties; one of our sons is Type I diabetic; so I’m not talking straight out of my butt on this one.

    I’m usually the one preaching compassion and understanding and avoiding condemnation, but this topic . . . This is one I simply don’t understand. (and it doesn’t help that I oversee the physical facilities in our stake, so I have to deal directly with the effects of food in places where it shouldn’t be.)

  7. I haven’t noticed an upswing in eating and drinking during church meetings in my ward, but as a matter of principle, I am a huge proponent of people being able to maintain their blood sugar levels and stay hydrated during our marathon meetings. I see no harm in it as long as people do it in a non-distracting manner, and as long as they clean up after themselves.

    I bring a snack to my Primary class every Sunday (except fast Sunday) which they love and appreciate, and it’s easier for them to stay focused on the lesson when they aren’t distracted by hunger pangs that inevitably show up around noon (we don’t end the 3 hour block until 1 p.m.).

    Also, although I’ve never been diagnosed with hypoglycemia (probably because I almost never go to a doctor for anything), I’ve been told I probably have low blood sugar issues. For example, once in a while after the three hour block or on a fast Sunday my face will turn really pale, my whole body will feel unusually weak, and I’ll actually start shaking mildly. Although I’d like to think it’s because I’m being transfigured or having a spiritual experience, it feels awful and I’ve been told that’s a low blood sugar issue. So I’ve got no problem with people “self-medicating” with a Snickers at Church, especially during a particularly boring lesson or talk. 🙂

    P.S., I vote we ditch the Seagull, Beehive and Angel Moroni statue and adopt the Fishy Cracker as our official church symbol. Besides being a more accurate representation of what goes on in our meetinghouses, a fish symbol could really help us assimilate and mainstream ourselves! 🙂

  8. The continuous grazing approach to eating (and hydration) is catching on everywhere. It’s supposed to be healthier … but to me it sounds like a fad perpetuated by the “healthy snack” and bottled water industries.

    I don’t think we’ll ever stop coming up with new ways to get through the three hours. On the bright side, as a Gospel Doctrine teacher, I’d choose to have the mouths in the back row chewing rather than gossiping any day.

  9. Beyond hypoglycemic issues, there is also the more common very real effect (illuminated to crazy heights in “Supersize Me”) of many Americans’ diets. Many Americans subsist on amazing levels of sugar and refined carbs to maintain mood, focus and stave off hunger or cravings coming from nutrient deficiency. To get through a marathon meeting, especially if one is not mentally engaged, it is a natural craving, like for a smoke, for many to turn to snacks for a pick me up or satisfy oral habits to munch. Even high water consumption (and craving/need) is often linked to higher sugar, carbonation and caffeine consumption elsewhere. John Nilsson is right that there is also the “casualization” of culture — but I see a lot of explanation goes to everyday diets. Even at our church we have the coffee and warm drinks bar, and even a bake sale once in a while, to satisfy people before or after the worship. We are trying to make a fun, social, and more casual environment, but it’s not like we’re helping the general diet much either…

  10. I have a bottle of water with me all the time at church in all meetings, and I swig whenever the hell I feel like it (except not while the sacrament is being passed). Church meetings are already so boring; why also be uncomfortable because of thirst?

    However, I wouldn’t feel right bringing anything to drink but water, as I’d feel bad if any spilled, and plus everyone would frown on my fave beverages of Coke and O’Doul’s. Plus, water just seems pure and innocuous. I’m aware of the environmental concerns of bottled water, but the convenience is so wonderful and I’m a heavy user.

    I will admit that, not long ago, I experimented with keeping a can of Coke in my backpack during church and sipping it through a straw out the zipper, so the can stayed out of sight. However, sometimes it would spill, and it just seemed a bit too weird and inconvenient.

    Also, I often take some candy or baked goods to snack on during church, because it helps reduce the misery. I think I’m pretty good about keeping it quiet and picking up any crumbs.

    Hear, hear, for anything that makes church more bearable! I also bring church magazines to read, and I do a lot of dozing.

  11. I think it comes down to what sort of space we want the chapel to be. In the olden days of my youth it was mostly a place of reverence. No eating or drinking and no visiting unless you went out to the foyer. Now it’s only that for the few minutes of the sacrament and after that it’s just another room. As for making church “bearable” eating or dozing doesn’t do that, it just makes the time go by.

  12. It seems like if we’re going to let kids sprawl out all over the floor with books & toys, then I don’t see what difference a bag of cheerios makes (aside from that it may require extra cleaning). I don’t know about the adults, though. I haven’t noticed increased munching by adults.

  13. I had to bust up laughing in Singles Ward 2 when the lady got out the milk and cereal and poured a bowl for the kid to eat. AHAHAHAHAHAH. And that seems to be no exaggeration. People are bringing candy and trail mix and bars, and bottled water, and all kinds of stuff.

  14. Recent trend–hah! Back in the 90’s a friend and I walked into the chapel to hear Steve Young speak at a Sunday evening fireside carrying our 44 oz sodas from 7-Eleven. I didn’t think anything about it until I had to find a place to put my drink during the fireside. Didn’t really want to profit from my Sabbath purchase during the sermon. The tall cup fit perfectly under the pew, and luckily nobody kicked over the soda. But cup holders would have been nice.

  15. Our church meetings are the most un-reverent three hours in my entire week. I’ve been to football games that are more respectful and quiet and somber than many sacrament meetings. If we allow screaming kids, women giving their boyfriends/husbands back scratches/massages, and the like in our meetings, what is wrong with so munchies? I used to teach 9-10 years olds in primary and I brought snacks for them every Sunday except fast Sundays. It kept them happy, focused, and better behaved. What’s wrong with that? And go to any business meeting now days. I never show up at one without water or soda or hot chocolate, nor does anyone else. It’s our culture or whatever that we drink or snack when we want to. Three hours is a very long time to not get a little pick-me-up. In meetings at work that last that long, there are always little bowls with mints, coffee, sodas and waters just to keep people from sleeping through the whole thing.

  16. Dude, a few weeks ago when I walked in late. I saw a family with a pizza box from little ceasers in the overflow eating it, durring sacrament meeting,
    you can’t make this stuff up.

    I am all for it though.

  17. Lulubelle and the bull, When it works the way it’s supposed to work, it’s beautiful; when it doesn’t, it can be rough. In my experience, the biggest factor is leadership.

  18. I don’t think children OR adults should have to eat in the chapel. My daughter (2 yrs.) does perfectly fine with a few books to quietly read and crayons and paper to draw on. She knows that if she acts up, it is instant removal to the foyer where she will have to sit on my lap, arms folded and no playing. She’d rather have relative freedom and be quiet in the chapel. If you train your children to be reverent, they’ll be reverent. It is harder, however, to explain to her that even though other children’s parents break out the snacks, we choose to show more respect to the chapel.

    My parents taught me it was irreverent to even work on embroidery or other such things during sacrament. Yet, we have a woman who compulsively knits. It is distracting, and not really appropriate, but I’m not about to tell her she can’t do it. I’ll just make sure I’m not doing it, and am teaching my daughter not to do it.

    If for some crazy physical reason, you absolutely CANNOT abstain from eating for an hour and a half, then by all means, go out into the foyer to eat. That’s what the foyer is at least partially for.

    It’s not a matter of “conforming” or “restriction”, it’s a matter of focusing on the speaker, showing the speaker the modicum of respect any speaker should have just for getting up in front of people and using your brain to glean the Spirit from the meeting. Anything that distracts from that any more than absolutely necessary isn’t appropriate and should be minimized, in my opinion. At that point, you almost might as well stay home and watch some televangelism.

    Incidentally, one family in the ward makes an interesting example. The mom and dad are frustrated with their wild children (4 kids under 8 yrs.). They always have a panoply of snacks and toys in order to try to distract them. It never works. Crackers and Cheerios are launched across the room, books are used as weapons, and sippy cups end up rolling all over the floor. I pity them, and have tried to help on more than one occasion, but the mother won’t accept any help. A little more authoritarianism and a little less distraction technique would probably shape them up pretty quickly. Although I feel sorry for their predicament, it is one of their own making. No one can really help them but themselves. If you don’t discipline, you have to be willing to accept that your kids will be crazy.

  19. I know if eating in Church were not just tolerated, but expected, I know I’d enjoy Sundays much more. Right now, if I caught one of my kids eating during Sacrament, I’d woop him upside the head. But if we were encouraged to bring drinks and snacks to Sacrament, I know I’d be much happier attending. I know I could really use a large Diet Coke on High Council Sunday (what, do those guys take classes on how to be boring speakers?). I’d even like to see the day where hors d’oeuvres were passed around as part of the service, much like the bread and water is done now. Now that’d draw people in! What could be more sacred than feasting on the abundance God provides us?

    But for now, no, eating in Church is not tolerated and should not be expected except for maybe the very young. I don’t tolerate in my kids and disdain it in others. But it’d be nice if there was a change in expectations.

  20. SilverRain,

    Being quiet does not equal reverence to me. Reverence means you know WHY you are being quiet and that your thoughts are directed towards something or someone holy, not quietly scribbling in a book. I and others often fail to teach our children this, and it confuses the issue.
    Which brings me to: why is the chapel any different than a classroom where a Gospel Doctrine teacher communicates the scriptures to us? Are there holy objects in the chapel for us to revere? If there are, why would eating and drinking detract from reverence, if they are done “quietly”?

  21. Honestly, I am appalled at the casualness that has invaded our Sunday worship. I live in AZ and at one point when I was serving in YW, our Bishop asked the YW to not wear flip flops to church meetings. The outcry from the YW and their mothers (who also wore flip flops)was ridiculous. Eating and drinking in any church meeting (excluding very young children) is disrespectful both to the Lord and whoever happens to be speaking, teaching, etc. How do we distinguish the Sabbath as a special day if we don’t treat it like one?

  22. I agree that I have noticed more and more. The reason you see it more among women than men is easy: pregnant or nursing.

    I plead guilty to sometimes carrying water, generally when I am pregnant or nursing.

  23. I’m all for a higher level or respect, reverance, and civility in our meetings. But, as they stand now, few places are less repsectful, reverent or civil than our Sacrament meetings. While living in Washington, DC, I was appalled at my ward. The Sacrament meetings were one big free for all of kids screaming, throwing toy trucks across the foyer, and children setting off the fire alarm. The parents seemed to think it all cute and funny. Having snacks would have been the least of the problems and quite possibly would’ve enticed most of the membership to sit quietly and listen. I have no problem with someone knitting or doing something quiet because that’s usually how one is able to focus on the word.

    In business meetings, there is a very good reason why longer meetings almost always include drinks, coffees, and small candies. There is a good reason why almost everyone I see even in the most serious of meetings will bring a drink with them. Most of those meetings are far more dignified than a typcial LDS Sacrament meeting.

    I wish we could somehow have better meetings, less noisy, more spiritual. It’s so hard for me to focus in Sacrament meeting in some wards because I just cannot get past the cacophony (sp?) of screaming kids, back scratching, adults walking in and out in the middle of a talk, and more. The first time I took my non member Catholic husband to a Mormon church service, he was horrified.

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    I remember the difference when I went from attending a Single Adult Ward with my wife to a family Ward when we married. I couldn’t hear a thing until I got used to tuning out the din of the children. But I want the children there.

  25. Imho, it all boils down to the expectations of the leadership – communicated in a loving and humble way. My current ward has plenty of children, but our last Bishop made it a central priority to discuss reverence (not just quietness) on a regular basis. During the sacrament, the silence is wonderful – and the overall noise level during the entire meeting is very low.

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    Absolute agreement on your last post. The thread has inspired me for another post which will be out in a week of two.

  27. Yeah, actually it is good for you to be hydrated and running late due to standing in line for a fountain dozens of dirty hands have been all over is not everyone’s cup of (herbal) tea. I knew people who needed to eat due to medical conditions. They didn’t do it in the chapel, namely out of courtesy for noise levels and keeping it free of crumbs. There will always be people who are not courteous (apple eaters, the yappy mommies scheduling their play dates during a talk, etc) but whadda ya gonna do? Let it go or confront them kindly. That’s about the only options. Or post signs and require medical exceptions be cleared through the bishop. Sounds a bit extreme though.

    You’re not crazy, Mr. Spector, but your tone is snide. Keep in mind the spirit of meeting block, not the letter of etiquette law.

  28. bull (18): I agree. LDS worship needs an overhaul.

    John Nilsson (22): Well said. I agree that reverence is a state of mental commitment and focus. This necessarily needn’t be somber and still. Engaging music and engaging speakers, helps attendees to be engaged. And if the content to which attendees are engaged is Christ-centered, I think true reverence becomes a more probable byproduct. That reverence can be authentically still, but it can also be authentically energetic.

    Lulubelle (25): Well said. LDS meetings are very discordant. I think the problem is so common and widespread — at least based on where I’ve travelled — that I think something as radical as revamping may need to be done. I think the first step is that young children and youth need age-appropriate worship experiences. Now this is not a statistically valid sample, but what we’ve seen with our children since changing faiths has been remarkable. The time my wife and I are in “family worship” our 5-year-old goes to “kid’s worship.” They can sing (and dance if they want), sit more attentively and quietly during story and lesson time, do hands on activities, plus free play and have snacks. All in about 75 minutes. We’ve noticed that our child is discussing church things more, articulating them, not just saying “I learned about Jesus” when we used to ask what they did in Primary. What are kids learning when they’re told to sit still in LDS sac meetings, or just play quietly? They are being conditioned that “reverence” equals silence and stillness. Now this isn’t bad, but it’s not the only way reverence is manifested. Probably worse is when they see their older siblings or parents fidgeting, spacing off, sleeping, or playing with gadgets, or “checking out”. If they don’t see engaged adults, they “best” lesson they are encultured is that sac meeting is boring.

    Similarly, youth deserve their own worship where music/sermon/lesson are directed age appropriately, and this is where our “tweener” attends. Our “family worship” is the most “serious” of our worship meetings, and though energetic by LDS norms, is not on target age-wise for all children and youth. We seek to have options for such so that they can join in “family worship” at whatever time they and their parents feel they are mature enough to give the mental attention that makes reverence possible.

    I don’t say this because we have perfected reverence, engagement, and worship. But I think approaching worship with the “end in mind” (reverence for God) helps, I think, the clarify the wisdom in targeting the experience appropriately to different ages/demographics. This is something, with good vision and leadership, could be accomplished easily in the LDS faith, even if reverence is culturally maintained always as “stillness”.

  29. Frankly, I bring snacks for my kids occasionally, but not every week. Ward & stake conference, mainly, but not for the normal meetings.

    I *might* bring a drink for them for a regular meeting, but generally not. I try to encourage them to wait until after the meeting to get a drink, and frankly, I think that’s appropriate.

    Now, that’s just the sacrament hour. For primary, sunday school and RS/Priesthood, it doesn’t matter because those are intentionally more relaxed. I personally need something sometimes to stay awake myself, but that’s because we are, as a culture, continually sleep deprived.

    Oh well.

  30. You are not crazy. We are a society of casualness. It has little to do with food/ cell phones/ water bottles etc. Sunday worship is slowly eroding away.

    It’s less about bringing our best to worship, and had become more about our personal comfort and preferences. Since when haven’t we been able to go with out food for 3 hours? I understand there are exceptions and it seems if someone had medication to take, pregnancy etc.. they would politely excuse themselves to the kitchen, take care of their business and then join the class.

    Until we change our attitude towards our worship, this trend will continue.

  31. Brutha-from-anotha-mutha Ray (31):

    Exactly! 🙂 One place where Primary could do a little better is with less stillness of sitting in seats, and more kinetic learning, given the strong proportion of kids who learn this way. Of course, the criticism isn’t entirely unique: many public teachers operate on the same rule of sitting in stillness and speaking only when called upon. It makes me imagine a common image of Jesus, sitting on the Mount, and His followers all sitting in stillness round about. Then He asks the meaning of one of His parables, and you see a couple disciples (at least the ones not leaning on the back of their chairs) raising their hands saying, “Pick me Master! Pick me!” Maybe it’s just me, but I try to imagine something more charismatic and engaging. And probably more audience-appropriate. [Then, again, I am one of those Transformationalist-leaning renegades! 🙂 ]

    At any rate, if LDS kiddies could attend Primary –even how it most commonly operates– while the more mature were in Sac Mtg worship I think it’d help a bunch. In Sac Mtg kids are largely they’re being reared to mentally check out by being overly still and quiet, by not having music or material directed for them, to find other activities to occupy their mind, mouths and fingers. Is it any wonder LDS worship has grown into what it has?

  32. In Sac Mtg kids are largely they’re being reared to mentally check out by being overly still and quiet, by not having music or material directed for them, to find other activities to occupy their mind, mouths and fingers.

    Word. That’s how I’m raising my kids, anyway.

    I do have very low expectations for my kids these days. It’s somewhat depressing, when I think on it. I started out thinking that food was inappropriate for the chapel, always. Actually, I still think it’s inappropriate. I just purposely don’t live up to my ideals. It started when my first child was still young and we switched to 11-2 church–which, as far as I’m concerned, is still the worst 3-hour block of time to hold church, and I’m including the ward where we went 3:30-6:30 pm and 8:00 to 11:00 am. I tried to feed her in a location other than the chapel, but usually there was no other location. The tiny nursing rooms were already crowded with nursing mothers, there were no empty classrooms, the kitchen was locked, and the chairs in the foyer were filled with other people who didn’t feel like being in church either. So I tried my best to be discreet, but that was the slippery slope that led me to where I am today, with four kids and a pew covered in Goldfish crackers by the end of Sacrament Meeting. It’s disgraceful. I never said I was proud.

    One of the reasons it got worse, the more children I had, was that one or more of them would become unduly upset if I ever left the room for any reason. This is why I started nursing in Sacrament Meeting. When I was pregnant, I would get sick if I wasn’t constantly eating, and since the children would scream bloody murder if I left the room, and there wasn’t enough room to take them all where I’d be going, I’d nibble on saltines in the chapel. I did what I had to, even if it was wrong.

    At some point, though, I think it became a habit for my kids to eat in church. It’s just what they expect to do, and frankly, for such a long time it was a cheap way to buy their compliance. I did go for quite a while before it became all-out crazy-snackfest time during Sacrament Meeting, and those were not pretty years. When my oldest child would act up, I’d take her out, but I’d have to take her younger brother, too, and I couldn’t sit them on my lap in the foyer because they wouldn’t sit in my lap, so we’d go out to the car, where I could buckle them in their car seats. They still screamed, but at least we weren’t disturbing anyone. This was when I began to question the value of any of us (except for my husband, who was the organist and didn’t sit with us) going to church at all.

    Then one Sunday the bishop’s wife gave a talk about reverence and how to keep children non-disruptive during sacrament meeting. The first tactic she mentioned was not letting their feet touch the floor. The second was stuffing their faces with snacks. And there were others, but they were all so been-there-done-that that I do not remember them. Anyway, not letting their feet touch the floor lasted all of half-a-meeting. Stuffing their faces, on the other hand, was a much lower-maintenance tactic, and it worked, inasmuch as any strategy could be said to “work” for my family. So there, a tradition was born. Blame my former bishop’s wife. She told me to do it!

    Actually, I enjoyed Elder Ballard’s talk last conference specifically because of the story he told about trying to tend his children all by himself in a church meeting, and how the Cheerios got away from him. I thought, “There, Elder Ballard feeds his kids Cheerios in church, so maybe it’s not that bad a thing to do.”

    Seriously, I eagerly anticipate news of a fool-proof strategy for keeping kids’ behavior in check. For now I am sticking with the “let them live so they can get older” strategy. It worked like a charm on the first two. Jury’s still out on #3 and #4.

  33. My son’s behavior was best on the Sunday he took a Benadryl on an empty stomach (fast Sunday). The kid was out like a tiny light. So, Benadryl works, but you can’t keep them drugged every Sunday.

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  35. The hypoglycemia diagnosis always cracks me up. Not to burst any bubbles, but there is no such diagnosis of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. People can become hypoglycemic if the have an insulinoma or an insulin secreting tumor or if they have overdosed on insulin or a sulfonylurea (anti-hyperglycemic diabetes medicine). We do not become symptomatic unless our blood sugar is around 60mg/dl and that won’t occur in normal healthy people after a short three hour fast. How many of the hypoglycemics wake up every 1-3 hours at night to eat and hydrate?
    That said, I love a snack at church and steal my kids food-stuff as often as possible.

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    So here is the conclusion I come to after reading all of the comments here and my own observations:

    1. There is a general decline of respect and reverence in Sacrament Meeting

    2. It is ok to do what one wants because, after all, the Meeting is boring.

    3. It is everyone else’s fault that it is boring, the leadership, the speakers, etc.

    4. Some people cannot seem to refrain from taking a drink or eating for any three hour period, even though we fast at least one per month for two meals.

    5. There are many reasons/excuses why this is so, some possibly legitimate, but those are rare.

    To quote President Kimball,

    “…we do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord.” Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 514

  37. Nice; more guilt. Should nothing be considered how to make the meeting environment, content, structure and length more appealing, uplifting and worship-friendly to the visitor, parents, teens and kids? [Though talking about it here is likely not too influence much change unless members create it or ask for it. 😉 ]

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  39. I meant: I don’t drink from a straw, man. 🙂

    Just trying to give ya a good natured ribbing Jeff. Sorry for starting a flame.

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  41. I actually stumbled across this blog while trying to figure out if it was okay to drink water on Fast Sunday.

    You see, I walk to church, and it’s 95 degrees outside (granted my church is only a block away). My dietician tells me I should drink a gallon of water every day. That is 6 of my Arrowhead Bottles I carry around. I typically carry it to church with me and drink at least 1 to 2 bottles during the block. This is for my health. But it’s actually good for everyone. However, I try to be quiet and non-distracting when drinking so as not to disturb others. Also, drinking water keeps you awake, and let’s face it, sometimes in sacrament, it can get boring. My dietician also wants me to eat every 2-3 hours. I draw the line at food in church. I eat right before I go, and right after I get back. It’s a little more than 3 hours, but it’s still fine. I think drinking water in church is perfectly acceptable. I would not say the same for any other drink such as Juices, Soda’s, Diet drinks, meal replacement drinks, Energy Drinks, or Gatorade or Powerade. However, I think that a simple water bottle that holds around 20-32 oz that is re-sealable is the most you should carry. You don’t need a gallon jug or anything like that. You can refill your water bottle at the fountain once you have emptied it. If you are trying to keep track of a specific volume amount, I just subtract the number of oz in the bottles I have drank, from the gallon, and I know how much I have left.

    Somebody mentioned pets. We have a family that brings their Dog to church every sunday. However, they are the exception to the rule. They were challenged several years ago to do more things as a family, so they decided to become a family that trains Dogs that will assist the elderly and blind. They get puppies at a very early age and take the dog’s to classes etc… They have the dogs for 6 to 8 months, then it goes into the program, and they get a new dog. The idea is that these dogs go to members that need assistance getting around (or being their eyes). These members will need to bring them to church, so they get the dog trained in a “church” atmosphere so that it will behave properly for the member. Plus, Dog’s such as that will be going into public a lot, so they take the dog everywhere they go to make sure it will interact with others well, and won’t “freak out” by other people.

    Anyway, that is my two cents. No food, but WATER is okay. Pets are okay if you are doing it basically as a church project to help others.

  42. Madhousewife-thanks for the reality check.What I appreciated about your post was that you were not satisfied with your current position and are engaged in a process of change,whilst responding to the needs of your children.
    I have no problems with the kids who have a right to grow and develop in their attitude to worship and to self restraint.As adults however we owe a duty of reverence to the Lord’s sacrament and it’s a short enough time to dwell on the things of eternity.Whoever said it was going to be easy?(I can’t believe I’m saying this about adults not eating or drinking for one hour in a week!)

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  44. I place some importance on keeping certain things sacred. Acting a little differently in the chapel is helpful to our worship I think. Our leadership locally has spoken to the congregation about cutting down on the backrubs/massages as it is distracting to others (actually was a very entertaining talk). They have also spoken about taking overly distracting children out to a room they set up with TV broadcast of the sacrament service (installed flat screen and mounted camera in chapel). Also, because the meeting overflows into gym, they have runner carpets for the aisles in the gym to make it seem more like part of the chapel (also reduces sound of high heels in the gym).
    I think if we remember the main purpose of sacrament meeting is the sacrament – which is a sacred ordinance – we should try to create a little different atmosphere in the chapel than in other classrooms, etc.

  45. This is funny.
    You should just do it the way we do it in France and specially in my ward. I think that something like one week a month AT LEAST we just all eat together.
    What happens is that because a lot of us live so far we often bring food to church. Then very often there are left overs from the activity the day before.
    So very often we set up tables in the church (not in the chapel) so that everybody can eat together either by enjoying some of the left overs or because they brought their own food.
    When I was younger I remember that very often families would bring food for their own children but other children would come and ask for food too.
    I think this was not right, parents had not thought of their own little ones and were expecting others to feed them.
    But things are different in my ward.
    We would not let a child go without food if the parents had forgotten to bring food but I don’t think it ever happened.
    What happens is that people only eat of the left overs if they are really hungry because most of the time we consider it “almost” sacred and think that first the missionaries should eat what they need and if there is some left then those who really need it (meetings, feeling sick…) and then if a little is left we take of it.
    This really brought me to think how it is nicely done in my ward. There has never been fights over who should what. It has always fallen into place naturally.

  46. What a dumb article. Typical mormons making somthing out of nothing. You must have a boring life if youre writing articles about drinking water in church

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