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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reasons for Leaving Early from Priesthood Session

by A-Dub (bio)

Going to Priesthood Session of General Conference was not my favorite activity as a kid. I viewed it as two hours of sitting in the dark listening to boring talks. Years later, I am much wiser ... at least, less fidgety. I do enjoy the talks in Priesthood Session now, particularly the current First Presidency.

However, being on a Saturday, I am sometimes tempted to maximize the rest of my evening by sneaking out immediately when the Prophet says "Amen," thereby forgoing the closing hymn and prayer and beating the rush. This past conference my son and I attended with my brother-in-law’s family, including my 13 year-old nephew. When my nephew asked his dad if we could leave during the closing hymn, his dad replied "Well, it's really considered bad form to do that." Then with a big grin he looked at me and said, "Let’s go." We didn't, of course.

However, there are always a few that do sneak out a tad bit early. As my wife always says I need to give people the benefit of the doubt, here are five potential reasons for leaving Priesthood Session before the final amen:

1. Trying to get a seat at Chuck-a-Rama. Going out to eat after Priesthood Session is a time-honored tradition. Particularly in Utah, where the overall quantity of after-priesthood-dinner-goers is larger, you may have to wait an extended period of time for a table if you leave when everyone else does. So it's tough to get a quality meal afterwards. Seconds count people. If I don't get a bacteria-infested bowl of macaroni and pudding from the salad bar at Chuck-a-Rama immediately, bad things may happen.

2. Save gas. Let's face it – Mormons are penny-pinchers. Leaving priesthood session seems to be an even bigger jam up than after Stake Conference. Understandable that someone might simply just not want to wait in line and waste gas. And in the Pacific Northwest, we could also list our phony environmentalist fervor as a reason for not wanting to waste gas/pollute the environment.

3. Need to help with the kids and/or sick family. I guess this one is possible, though in my opinion, pretty wimpy. If your family is well enough that you can leave for a two hour meeting, they're well enough that you can be away for the additional ten minutes you would've saved by leaving early. And if your wife felt it was important enough to let you go to the session, she can probably handle the kids for a few more minutes. Okay – maybe while you were playing Angry Birds you got a text that someone is in the hospital – I buy that one.

4. Stomach pains. Priesthood Session is at a pretty bad time food-wise. If I cram in a starchy, potentially fast-food type dinner beforehand, my already-too-snug suit pants feel even tighter and ... well ... how do I say this as not to offend. You can't really let loose in the chapel without even a crying baby for cover noise. Plus, it's packed pretty tight – so the odds of being exposed after the fact are high. Though I guess that does let you potentially blame a neighbor as you look around with that sort of confused, yet, horrified look that someone – not you – would do that. [Bonus joke: There is an old couple sitting in church. The woman turns to her husband and says, "I just ripped a silent - - - -! What should I do?" The husband replies, "Turn up your hearing aid."]. Yes, I am still 12 years old.

5. Escape church leaders. Being in such proximity to your priesthood leaders, there's always the chance that someone "needs to ask you something really quickly." Like "Hey, while I've got you, would you mind speaking in sacrament meeting next Sunday?" Or "Would you be available right now to help me help Sister Jones move a couch? There might be a couple of other things too." Or "There was an outbreak of the flu at the local elementary school and all 700 children were hospitalized. Do you have a few minutes to help me go give all of them individual blessings?"

Thanks to alert MMM reader @vennieboy for the post idea and some quality excuses with which I can stop judging others. Any other colorful excuses you've used or I've missed? No judgments.

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