We Miss Singing in Church


ward-choir

I have been singing in church choirs since I was a teenager. So has Carol. I learned to read music at my mother’s insistence, when I took piano lessons at the age of eight. I think each of my sisters did as well. Music has always been an important part of my life, especially worship music. I grew up with the Tabernacle Choir. My mother would play their music in our home. We still enjoy Music and the Spoken Word each Sunday.

Here in California, we haven’t been able to attend church since March 8th. It doesn’t look like we will be able to get together again until probably after the election is over. Our ward has Zoom church meetings every few weeks, and there is usually music, but it’s just not the same. There is something special about getting together and singing hymns in a congregation. For me, it’s even more special to sing with the choir every month.

Before my mission and before I married, I sang bass. I thought it was cool to dig deep for those low notes, especially with a large group like we had in our regional young adult choir. I still sing bass on occasion, but switched to tenor shortly after we were married as the need was obvious. Singing tenor is not much harder, it just takes practice. And good tenors always seem to be appreciated by choir directors of most small ward choirs.

You Could be an Asymptomatic Carrier

Intellectually, I understand the idea behind the current restriction on singing in church, even though I disagree with the need. There are plenty of times in the past when it was obvious we passed colds among ourselves in the choir, even though we tried to stay healthy. That’s one of the most common things you hear prayed for as we close a choir practice, that we’ll all stay healthy enough to perform when the time comes.

We have friends who are adamant in sharing with us how real the need for masks is and how selfish we would be if we were to go out in public without them. We get it. I have to wear a mask every time I go in to work. You would be amazed at the hoops our company has had to go through to be able to stay open. We are part of the city and county of Los Angeles, where the numbers are the highest in the state, because we have more people.

Yes, the cases have been going up, never mind that the deaths have been going down. We are convinced the numbers are increasing because of increased testing, but that can’t be true according to the WaPo, NY Times and CNBC. And yes, we still believe this is simply the damned flu. The deaths are nowhere near the Spanish Influenza, the Asian flu or even the Hong Kong flu. Oops, is that racist to refer to them by country of origin?

elder-bednar-religious-freedom

We are not Politically Correct

Carol and I are not politically correct. Nor are we very woke. The other day, an article appeared in one of our local community newspapers reporting on the deliberations of the city council to Defund the Police and endorse the BLM. Carol wrote a powerful and persuasive, if not somewhat emotional letter to the city council. She even quoted from Anonymous Bishop. The senior city council member quickly clarified their position.

While I perhaps would not have been so passionate, I was and am impressed by Carol’s deep feelings of patriotism in defense of conservative values we both believe in. We grew up in the sixties, Carol in North Logan and me just an hour away in the East San Gabriel Valley. Our parents were children of the Great Depression, our fathers both fought in World War II and our mothers raised our brothers and sisters with unselfish love.

We both either watched or read Elder Bednar’s excellent talk on the free exercise of religion, amazed at the response of some of our friends online. I don’t do Facebook any more, but Carol shares with me some of the things our friends say, especially those who are younger from the days when I served in our local Young Adult ward. Too many seem to have drunk the Kool-Aid. They wrote they thought Elder Bednar’s talk was divisive.

A True Understanding of Tolerance 

Divisive is just another word for saying you don’t agree with me and you don’t like it. I happen to agree with President Trump’s message from Mt. Rushmore last night. “We only kneel to almighty God” resonates with me. The political weapons of the left have become those of children throwing temper tantrums: riots, destruction of personal and public property, shaming through social media and through the institutional news media.

The political weapons of the cancel culture are “driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and to our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.” I am surprised at the tolerance of the majority of quiet, conservative Americans in putting up with this crap.

“In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate board rooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, performance, rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not gonna happens to us.” For a party that claims to be tolerant of dissenting views, the left sure doesn’t like our conservatism.

joseph-smith-revealed2

Some Things are Worth Preserving

Tearing down statues is the left’s attempt to erase our history. These childish protesters seem “determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.” I appreciate President Trump’s announcement of a National Garden of American Heroes. “To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance.” The first thing a new totalitarian regime does is to make every effort to destroy history.

We can’t let that happen. Learning from history is critical to our progress. That’s why I have always had such an intense interest in studying the history of the Restoration. I know my understanding is nowhere near that of those who write books on the subject or who teach it for a living. But I have come to appreciate that history can be rewritten even by those who are trying to preserve it, because they add their own interpretive spin.

I continue to have private dialog with readers via texts and emails about the restoration. They seem confused by my defense of Joseph Smith. They have bought into the lies that he was a polygamist and an adulterer. I continue to be grateful for the work published by Whitney Horning last year, “Joseph Smith Revealed: A Faithful Telling.” I experienced an outpouring of the spirit as I read it, reviewed it and wrote about in my blog.

Life Goes on – This Will Soon Pass

The birds still sing outside our window every day. I work from home more days each week than I go in to the office. The weather is beautiful here in Camarillo – always is. It’s easy to get distracted by the birds as they come to eat the breadcrumbs we leave them. The lizards still do their push-ups as they sun themselves. The squirrels play in the yard.  Carol shared a video with me about an engineer who built a squirrel obstacle course.

I enjoy watching the SpaceX launches every few weeks. They are becoming routine by now. Say what you want about Elon Musk, his work inspires me. If I were twenty or thirty years younger I would have pursued the opportunity to work at SpaceX. But I’m an old man now, content to work on the network technology I am so familiar with. I’m very grateful to have a job, one that I enjoy, at which I excel. Just perfect for an INFP like me.

Carol and I still read the scriptures aloud to each other each night before we have our family prayer. There’s something about reading the Book of Mormon aloud that invites the spirit of the Lord into our home. Our prayers are better because we read it together. I love Carol. Even though we disagree about the role of the LDS Church in our lives, she blesses me by loving me, praying with me and by living after the manner of happiness.

3 Replies to “We Miss Singing in Church”

  1. Nice to know Im not alone in my thoughts about current affairs. Living in New Zealand has its benefits as we were never manadated to wear masks in public, though, as you say, businesses imposed it on their employees.

    Liked by 1 person

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