Mormons often joke about the 14th Article of Faith, and it often is quoted somewhat like this:
We believe in holding meetings, and in asking all members to attend these meetings; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We schedule all meetings, we plan all meetings, we have endured many meetings, and hope to be able to endure all meetings. If there is any reason to hold a meeting, we seek after these things.
I can’t remember where I first heard the following sentiment expressed, and I can’t find a source on Google, so it probably is a very twisted version of something someone once said (how about that disclaimer!), but I love a couple of thoughts about meetings that have stuck in my mind:
It takes an excellent meeting to be better than no meeting.
There is no meeting so unimportant that it can’t start on time; there is no meeting so important that it can’t end on time.
Given how religiously we cling to the idea of the importance of meetings, I want to ask a few questions that I believe are profound and important:
Why should we hold meetings? (What is their purpose?) Why should we not hold meetings? What meetings need to be held in person, face-to-face? What meetings can be held in alternate ways – and what ways would be most effective, particularly by employing modern technologies? What meetings are essential to a designation of “active” in the Mormon Church? Are there meetings that are strictly supplemental – that can be skipped or attended sporadically by “active” members and have that lack of or sporadic attendance be no dig deal?
PS. I added “eternity” as a category for this post, because some of our meetings feel like they take that long.