Visiting Other Wards

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Why is it when people visit other wards (for baby blessings, “homecomings”, “farewells”, whatever), they rarely, if ever, attend Sunday School or priesthood/Relief Society?

20 thoughts on “Visiting Other Wards

  1. Because when we do, people in the bloggernacle make comments about those annoying “utah mormons” who visit and actually *gasp* try to fit in and answer questions in sunday school, etc.

    In other words, I used to stay for such things until about two years ago when the bloggernacle consensus convinced me that most people didn’t like visitors hanging around, even though I like to get a feel for what the ward I am visiting is like, and get the perspective the instructors can offer me on the Gospel.

    So now I head out as soon as the closing prayer is done, rather than burdening a ward with my annoying presence during the last two meetings. I mean, heaven forbid that I should actually stay and SAY anything. That would, according to bloggernacle consensus, just be rude and condescending to the people in the local ward.

  2. Interesting thoughts, Jordan. You should come by here more often. :)

    Our elders quorum openly welcomes all visitors and often their comments have been the most insightful. We had someone who just moved into our ward this week, and if it hadn’t been for him (and his wonderful, inspiring comments) it would have been just me, my first counsellor and the instructor commenting.

    If you ever come to our ward, Jordan, you’re more than welcome to come to EQ.

    That being said, I am doubtful most of the people who have attended my wards as visitors even know of the bloggernacle.

  3. Jordan

    Hmmm…we really enjoy visitors too. Always have, here in Alberta and in BC and when I lived in Ireland. I have yet to hear of anyone complain about visitors. Maybe this is an American thing?

    Oh, and when we visit other wards we always stay for meetings after Sacrament too. :)

  4. ok, well Kim already said we do, but he just said EQ whereas I mean Primary too. Of course it’s always a good idea if the children’s parents tell us who they(the parents) are, especially when the children are really young, otherwise if we need to find them, we CAN’T!

    The only thing that gets me is visiting in the foyer after Sacrament. But I didn’t notice that today at all. Oh and I was very impressed with Mike not having 40 people in the blessing circle. He had a very reasonable number of people there. Good job, you did it right.

  5. I like staying for all the meetings and enjoy the different dicussions in SS & RS. I’ve always felt welcome. I’m sorry your experiences, Jordan, haven’t been positive in that regard.

  6. Thanks Mary. I just invited Will’s grandpas and uncles. I condidered having Kim and James join us, but figured 6 was enough (including me and the bishop). Oh, and I tried not to hold him up afterwards, but I gave in and did a quick lift.

    As far as visitors skipping out of church early goes, I’m not sure the reasons are always the same. Sometimes it could be something to do with travel times. Or family activities. Or maybe they are uncomfortable meeting new people or feeling out of place. Or maybe they just think that being in a different ward with no responsibilites is their opportunity to cut out a third of the three hour block and take a rest once or twice a year.

    Probably not valid reasons, but justifiable in their own minds.

  7. when we travel we always stay for all the meetings.. in Lethbridge I used to go to SS and RS but last time Mary is now in PP so I joined her there so that I could get any cool ideas. The only times we have stayed past Sacrament was because we too had travel plans to get to. ANd I couldn’t care less if members did not want to hear me talking when conversation was going on in class. IF a question is asked and I have an opinion then I will voice it. If you don’t want opinions don’t ask the questions!

  8. In my family, the baby blessing is the first time the baby shows up at church where all those people germs are. The baby is at least a month old. The baby and mom leave at the end of sacrament meeting, having had all the public exposure they can stand. Some of the family stays for the rest of church, some leave because they’re uncomfortable around strangers. I come from a shy family.

    When I’m visiting another ward, we usually stay for all the meetings because my husband is gregarious.

  9. Mike

    That’s the way to do it! :) Shortly after we moved to Lethbridge, they were discussing this in EQ in the first ward we were in Kim made some sort of comment about this and one father (who had older children) seemed rather appalled that Kim would even SUGGEST not inviting everyone in the family (like literally everyone, cousins, uncles, and so o n and so on) because they would be offended. I don’t see why. Yes, 6 is enough :) Sometimes I think we turn baby blessings into major events, lol.

    For some reason the stake president joined the blessing circle for Aisling. I am not sure why, but oh well.

    Hey Mum, well you CAN go to EQ, but Primary is OH so much more fun, hehe.

  10. We rarely stay. If it’s local, we’ve usually already attended in our ward or will be in three hours, so we choose not to double up on our church meetings.

    If it’s down in Calgary, there is usually a family gathering directly after sacrament. With so many people from so many different locations attending, we gather for a family dinner as quickly as possible after sacrament so family has time to eat, visit a bit and then travel back to their various and far off destinations. So I guess I’m choosing family over church on these occasions. And I’ll probably do it again! :)

  11. Kim: We don’t attend because even when we attend at our home ward, we wish we could leave early. When visiting, nobody is going to question you why the following week or call you that afternoon to see if everything is alright.

    Mary: The Stake President joined in the baby blessing circle because he was the presiding priesthood officer at the meeting where the blessing was being held and he presides over any priesthood ordinance being performed. On the off chance that something is done improperly during the blessing, the SP is to correct the situation.

  12. JM

    Shouldn’t he have asked if that was ok before doing that? Not all Bishops participate in baby blessings (I have seen blessings where the Bishop has not participated). I don’t have a problem with him being in the circle, but I do think he should have asked Kim if it was alright if he joined in, as a courtesy. The Bishop always does, if not asked to join.

  13. Mary,
    Actually, no. Kim was acting under the direction of the Stake President’s authority. As the presiding officer, he is required to be in the circle. Was it Koegler? He’s always been pretty good about doing that.

    The only reason why a bishop shouldn’t be in the circle is if the Stake President or another higher authority is in attendance and presiding at the meeting. Just because some bishops don’t fully understand their roles and responsibilities doesn’t mean that it’s O.K. Actually, it’s funny in a case like this – when proper procedure is followed – that we view it as being strange or wrong. Just goes to show you how far we have drifted in our sea of complacency in Southern Alberta (and other area’s too I’m sure).

    The following is taken from Book One of the Church Handbook of instructions. Hopefully more bishops and stake presidents will read and follow:


    A priesthood leader who oversees an ordinance or blessing ensures that the person who performs it has the necessary priesthood authority, is worthy, and knows and follows the proper procedures. Leaders also seek to make the ordinance or blessing a reverent and spiritual experience.
    When ordinances or blessings are performed in sacrament meeting, the bishop ensures that they are performed properly. To avoid embarrassing a priesthood holder, the bishop quietly corrects errors only if essential elements of the ordinance or blessing are incorrect.

    Participation in Ordinances and Blessings

    Only brethren who hold the necessary priesthood and are worthy may perform an ordinance or blessing or stand in the circle. Those who participate are usually limited to priesthood leaders, close family members, and close associates such as home teachers.

    When several brethren participate in an ordinance or blessing, each one places his right hand lightly on the person’s head (or under the baby being blessed) and his left hand on the shoulder of the brother to his left. Large numbers of brethren are discouraged from participating in a single ordinance or blessing.

    Leaders encourage worthy fathers who hold the necessary priesthood to perform or participate in ordinances and blessings for their own children.

    Family members are usually invited to attend when a person receives an ordinance or blessing.

    Performing an Ordinance or Blessing in Another Ward

    To act as voice when naming and blessing a child, baptizing or confirming a person, ordaining a person to a priesthood office, or dedicating a grave, a priesthood holder who is outside his own ward should show the presiding officer a current temple recommend or a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance form (obtained from his bishopric).


    You will note that it does not explicitly say that the Bishop or Stake President needs to stand in the circle, but I can think of no other way for them to quietly correct the priesthood holder who acts as voice if they are not standing next to them. Note that council has been given to Bishops and Stake Presidents regarding this matter in local priesthood training meetings.

    Hope that helps.

  14. “Actually, no. Kim was acting under the direction of the Stake President’s authority. As the presiding officer, he is required to be in the circle. Was it Koegler? He’s always been pretty good about doing that.”

    No, we are in the Lethbridge stake.

    I wasn’t referring to whether he is supposed to be there or not. I was referring to courtesy. I still believe he should have at least mentioned it (since Kim was in the meetings with him in the morning, it wouldn’t have been hard). After all, this is our baby.

  15. I think some people are just shy. I personally do not enjoy standing up in both of the following meetings to introduce myself to a bunch of strangers. I’d rather just blend into the crowd. But then I guess some people out there would be insulted if they didn’t get special attention as a guest.

  16. Interesting, Nermalcat. I can’t remember the last time I was in a ward (including my own) when someone was asked in Sunday school to introduce him/herself. I had forgotten all about that.

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