One of the most amazing things about our church is that we are expected to preach to each other. As a result, lay people who have no business expounding on anything in public, find themselves in front of a congregation who are waiting to be taught.

I have given my fair share of lame, boring and downright silly talks and church lessons.

The one that comes to mind right now is the time I taught a Relief Society lesson on the Word of Wisdom. I started off by asking for a raise of hands of how many sisters in the room believed Brigham Young was a prophet of God. I waited until every person raised their hand. It took a few seconds for the class to catch on that I wasn’t going to continue until they participated in my object lesson. After I got reluctant compliance from everyone, I proceeded to tell the class that since Brigham Young was a Prophet, his thoughts on eating and lifestyle from the Discourses of Brigham Young should be strictly obeyed. (As a side note -BY was pretty progressive on his denouncements on sweets, the importance of eating free-range beef and having work/life balance. He would be considered an Organic Foodie nowadays, with a healthy dose of sexist pig.)

I took the basic Word of Wisdom tenets and ratcheted it up by a 1000%. Listening to me, you would have thought bringing a chocolate cake to the next ward potluck would land you a seat in Outer Darkness. It was not my finest moment as a Mormon.

I’m not the only nutty one in my family who has said dumb stuff in church. My husband once gave a Sacrament Meeting talk that he was unprepared for. Normally, before a talk he will spend the week studying scriptures and reference books looking for scholarly insights on the assigned topic. He spends so much time preparing his talks it drives me crazy. You would think he was giving the Gettysburg address for how seriously he takes church talks. But this one time, he was was super busy at work and he just didn’t have time to put it together in his usual way.

He decided on Sunday morning to share a vivid dream he had the previous night, which was still fresh in his mind. I knew he was in trouble within a minute of his talk, when he said, “My sister turned into a purple-polka dotted pony who talked to me in real words.” He went on to describe a hot-mess dream that made no sense unless you were high on crack. After he was finished, he wrapped up his talk by saying something about how his crazy-land dream was just like how Jesus wants us to treat our neighbors. riiiigggghhhhttt.

Rob was sincerely puzzled by all the handshaking, back-slapping and grins he got from the congregation after the meeting ended. He had never gotten any acknowledgment from talks he had given in the past. He finally understood that no one understood what he was talking about after the tenth person said, “Wow Rob, had no idea you were that kind of weirdo. What kind of meds do you take at night?”

Lastly, we had a bishop who told us a cautionary tale about Fast and Testimony meetings. Before we moved in, there was a young, beautiful single lady in the ward who loved to bear her testimony every Fast Sunday. She was honest, she was sincere and her words should have been inspiring and uplifting to all. They weren’t because every month she prefaced her testimony by saying, “I was in the shower this morning, when all of a sudden I had this spiritual impression,” and then she would proceed into her deep thought. Unfortunately, most of the men in the congregation where unable to follow her lead into spirituality because they got stuck in her shower scene. It happened over and over again for several months before the bishop decided he needed to help her out. He pulled her aside and delicately explained that although everyone adored her sincerity and spirit, by starting every testimony in her shower, it made it difficult for the menfolk to concentrate on anything else. She was purple from embarrassment and refused to give her testimony in Sacrament meeting again. When the school semester ended, she moved into a different apartment outside of the ward boundaries.

Please tell me that me, Rob and that poor cute college co-ed aren’t the only ones who have said dumb stuff in church. It’s Sharing Time, folks. Feel free to unburden your soul among friends. I promise to snicker quietly.