Conference Media Oddities

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Okay, being a non-member I do not not how accurate this information is, so please feel free to enlighten me on the topic.

While watching televised, or net-broadcasted portions of conference have you ever:

A) Sung along with the hymns
B) Raised your hand to sustain

or in the case of a home-viewing of either of the above type of broadcasts,

C) Worn Sunday clothes while watching

I have had unconfirmed reports (okay, they’re really confirmed since they came from member families I know – it just sounds cooler to say ‘unconfirmed’) that all three of these activies have occured in LDS households.

I can almost see some people wanting to A); It is unfathomable for me as to why anyone would B); And it pretty much defeats the the point of watching at home if you C)

Am I the only one who thinks these practises are odd?

48 thoughts on “Conference Media Oddities

  1. A) It doesn’t hurt you or anyone else to do it so it shouldn’t matter
    B) It doesn’t hurt you or anyone else to do it so it shouldn’t matter
    C) It doesn’t hurt you or anyone else to do it so it shouldn’t matter

    Sure I have done these things…but what does it really matter?


  2. yes to all three.

    i enjoy singing so yeah I sing along :) um, well i wear church clothing on sunday, not always on saturday unless we go to the church. probably a bit hypocritical? like wanting to put on a good face of it. yes i have watched in my pajamas too, but not since a teenager, though maybe i did 2 days after aisling was born?

    nope not odd, at least I don’t think so, but that’s because, well, puts you in the frame of mind for participating. we stay home for most of the sessions because of kim’s arthritis. makes it hard for him to sit on the church benches/seats for too long, whereas at home he can relax his foot/hip/knee.

  3. Okay I’m beginning to come around on A and C … but B?

    What is the point?

    Is someone counting (specifically at home)?

    Will someone notice if you *don’t* raise your hand?

    Is it a a ritual, habit, or compulsion?

    On a similar vein, do you stand during the playing of the anthems when watching sports?

    Do you answer questions asked by television commercials?

    Do you duck when you seethe train coming at you out of the screen?

    (Okay that last one was over-the-top, but I think you understand my point)

  4. I’ve done two, but I’ve never gotten dressed up to watch conference at home. I usually turn it on in all the TVs and radios and lay in bed all day and nap throughout the day as the spirit guides.

    Then I read the Ensign carefully afterward.

    Although, perhaps I’m forgetting something in my early born-again Mormon years when my aunt says I told my cousin her marriage didn’t count because it wasn’t in the temple. Which I totally do not remember saying or feeling.

    My sister says I made her stand and put her hand on her heart while they showed Martin Luther King’s funeral, so it’s possible, but I’m not even sure it was on TV.

  5. Jonah, every time I read “It doesn’t hurt you or anyone else to do it so it shouldn’t matter”, I think about the weird kid at school.

    You know, the one that was obviously not socially adjusted and would forever be the guy that everyone puts up with but does not like – because he’s plain weird.

    Sure, keeping my pockets dull of mashed potatoes ‘doesn’t hurt you or anyone else’, but does it matter?

    I think it does.

    Creepy is as creepy does.

  6. Rick, not everyone who watches conference on television is doing so because he just doesn’t want to get dressed up and go to church. Some people have to travel a long way to get to a building where they can watch conference and find viewing at home easier.

    With this in mind, consider a family that wants to re-create at home, as much as possible, the experience they would have if attending live in the Conference Center.

    I have never dressed up to watch at home, but I have raised my hand to sustain leaders and sung along with hymns. Why? As to singing hymns, the hymns are there for the benefit of all those singing. I can reap those benefits best by participating rather than just by listening. As to raising my hand, I realize I am not communicating my sustaining vote to the person conducting the meeting, but I am communicating it to the rest of my family who are watching or listening with me.

    If I did dress up, I would be communicating to myself and to my family that I revere the general conference so much that I dress respectfully regardless of where I am experience the conference.

  7. Rick,
    I didn’t know anyboby did any of those things watching at home, but to each his own. I do wish they’d broadcast the priesthood session.

  8. I suppose it would be strange depending on the reason you do it. I don’t raise my hand to show other people I sustain the prophets and those called. I don’t sing for their pleasure. I don’t dress up for their pleasure. I dress up, raise my hand and sing for Heavenly Father. An argument might be “Well He knows your heart so why do it?” To show Him I care. Not a big deal I guess, but that’s why I do it. And also, it shows my children an example. Hopefully.

  9. Rick, you’ve already seen that it can have a purpose. You did read the comments above, right?

  10. Well, maybe I answered it in #14. You might think it has no purpose, but some of us do think it has some purpose. My purpose is for Heavenly Father, for some others it might be something else. But then a lot of good things seem strange to many people. And I for one, will keep doing it, strange or not.

  11. Peer Pressure? Oh thanks Rick :) I never considered Heavenly Father a peer before. That’s a great compliment (not that I still think He is a peer, but it’s kind of you to think so).

    If you are referring to other people, I for one don’t care what they think. I used to, but I am getting over that (at least in this issue I don’t care what others do, only what I and my family does).

  12. You should Mary, as He is you may become after all.

    Except you’ll be female since we all know people retain their genders into godhood. ;)

    The peer pressure I’m talking about is, when the kids get to the age when they may be sustaining leaders, they’ll feel obliged to raise their hands as well – since mom and dad do.

    …and if they don’t; well let’s not go there, right?

  13. So all exemplary behavior before children is peer pressure? I suppose it could be defined that way. It certainly seems to carry a negative connotation, which isn’t justified when applied to any and all teaching in the home.

  14. Oh, ok. Well, I don’t know, I don’t see it as peer pressure, so much as teaching our children. And not only through action, but explaining why we do it, as they get older. The choice is up to them to follow that example as they grow up, but if they don’t see us doing it, they would wonder what the point is.

  15. Yes.
    Social coercion takes many forms, which can be used for both good and evil.

    The definition of good and evil are largely in the hands of the impartial observer, though.

    Mom and Dad smoke? Smoking’s ok.
    Mom and Dad talk to invisible allpowerful beings? This is normal.
    Mom and Dad hold their hands up to vote when there is no way they can be counted? …

    All I’m saying is that the (omnipotent) gods know what you think. the only reason for an external exhibition is for a social effect.

    Whether that’s good or bad – it doesn’t matter much to me; it just is.

  16. “if they don’t see us doing it, they would wonder what the point is.”

    I think that sustaining leaders at church is normal…it’s the doing it at home that makes no sense to me Mary.

  17. Yes He knows, but He likes us to show we care enough to SHOW Him, rather than just think it. I suppose He doesn’t want us to take it for granted, right?

  18. Why bother going to church if the lord knows what is in your heart?

    I beleive that the lord wants you to go out an actively worship him. Do we need to raise our hands to sustain him so everyone around us knows how “good” we are? Of course not. We raise our hand to sustain our prophets because we are asked to by the lords servants. It’s a simple expression that we sustain our leaders.

    Now, does it matter if we do this at home or at church?

    For the record, I don’t recall raising my hand to sustain leaders from home, but I really don’t understand why it would be considered creepy.

    Why do we say prayers at home, by ourselves? That could very well be considered creepy.

  19. So the raising of the hand is ritualistic and serves no purpose but to complete the ritual.

    It is akin to throwing salt over one’s shoulder?

  20. I raise my hand to sustain my leaders at every general conferance I attend whether at home or at church. I do it because they are asking us (whoever is doing the conducting at that moment)if we sustain our leaders. I do it because in my temple recommend interviews I am asked if I sustain my leaders. If I don’t raise my hand when asked they how can I in all honesty say I do? It doesn’t matter that whoever is asking me can see me or not. My Father in Heaven can see me. When we sustain a leader or a member in a new calling etc we are asked to raise our right hand to do so. We aren’t asked to only do it in church. We are asked to do it every time we are asked.. period.

    There is no ritual involved.. but that could just be terminology to you and I. I don’t do it out of habit. I don’t do it so others can see me do it. I do it cause I am asked to. If I don’t do it then TO ME it means I do not sustain the person that is being discussed at that particular moment.

    What does that say to me? That I only need to sustain my leaders on Sundays at church? I guess that would work if I only needed help on Sundays while I am at church…. if I needed help during the week, for a Priesthood blessing.. to assist me cause I needed a ride to the doctors .. whatever.. if I only am required to sustain others on Sunday then I guess I can only get assistance on Sundays.. would be fair wouldn’t you think?

  21. An important point was mentioned earlier about prayer. I pray in private. God already knows what I think. Is this also pointless in your view, Rick?

  22. And I have to assume you also consider it utterly pointless and slightly creepy for me to tell my wife I love her. After all, she already knows it.

  23. Rick, I thought about this some more this morning. It seems that, applying your view of this, all prayer is either pointless, or mockery of God, or both. If I’m praying alone, then according to you, I’m engaging in a completely useless ritual. If I pray in the presence of someone else, I’m mocking God by pretending to address him when I’m really communicating only to someone else (or in other words, to apply “peer pressure” to the other people in the room).

  24. To spin this out to what I think is the ultimate conclusion of your position:

    1. All communicative behavior when alone is useless, pointless ritual.

    2. All behavior of any kind in the presence of others is peer pressure.

  25. No ltbugaf, I think prayer is pointless for a completely different reason than the sustaining while at home thing…

    Look, you’re in your house and they ask if you sustain your leaders, and you think,”Hell yes – the seventy are doing a bang-up job!” (or something to that effect).

    God should know this, and no amount of hand raising will help clarify your position to Him.

    Conversely, if you hold up your hand while fervently believing the leaders to be incompetent, God should know that as well – so the hand holding up thing is moot.

    On the other hand, if the sustaining by the raising of the hand is in truth a remnent from a time when leaders were actually looking for a political victory and the public display of popularity was indeed a powerful tool of coercion, then I could completely understand holding one’s hand up in private. To show one’s family how they ought to vote would be the rational conclusion for the home-based activity.

  26. “To show one’s family how they ought to vote” is different from “to show one’s own support for the Prophet to one’s family.”

  27. Obviously it is an option. By what logical construct could it not be an option?

    Plenty of people teach their children to reject the Prophet. On the other hand, plenty of people choose to support or not support the Prophet, in oposition to their parents’ teachings.

  28. By the if-you-don’t-act-like-we-act-we’re-going-to -assume-you’er-subversive-and-need-to-be-sent -to-the-LDS-hardwork-camp-in-Arizona-to -straighten-you-out construct.

    I’m not saying that I want people teaching their children to reject the prophet, I am saying that I want people to teach their kids to carefully deliberate important decisions and not defer to authority by default.

  29. “I am saying that I want people to teach their kids to carefully deliberate important decisions and not defer to authority by default.”

    I would think most parents do. We do, anyway.

  30. “I am saying that I want people to teach their kids to carefully deliberate important decisions and not defer to authority by default.”

    But you believe that any time a parent expresses his own faith or belief, as for example, by raising a hand in support of Church leaders, the parent is not teaching this? He’s merely enforcing conformity through unspoken threats of Arizona work camps? That’s just a little too bizarre. What forms of expression would you deem acceptable, rather than classifying them under your list of totalitarian oppressions?

    By the way, if you know any parents who sent their kids to a “hardwork camp” in Arizona solely because the children failed to raise their hands during General Conference, do let me know. I have a strange feeling that the family you’re describing lives in a universe other than mine.

  31. Here’s a crazy idea ltbugaf, rather than trying clarify my position on a subject why don’t you just explain your position?

    My position is when there are four people sitting in the living room watching conference and three raise their hand to sustain, there is pressure for the fourth to do the same. A *different* type of pressure than when they are at church watching the same conference.

    No one, sans God (who ostensibly knows how you would have voted), is taking official account of any non-sustaining votes while you are not in the presence of a church official so the sustaining vote is pointless.

    “I have a strange feeling that the family you’re describing lives in a universe other than mine.”

    I can confirm with utter certainty that I do live in a different universe than yours. ;)

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