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Radio Free Mormon: 168: My Last Talk in Sacrament Meeting

I gave this talk in sacrament meeting back in 2008.  No wonder it was the last time I was asked to speak!


33 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 168: My Last Talk in Sacrament Meeting”

  1. Did you label your sections with Roman numerals? All of the, um, greats do that with their church talks. You’ve said so yourself. Loved this episode!

    1. I can’t believe you spoke about rainbows like that in sacrament meeting! Amazing.

      I listened to this podcast while making dinner this evening and the thought occurred to me—wow, I am really listening to an actual sacrament meeting talk, using my own free time, as an exmormon. Kinda funny. When I was a member, sacrament meeting and talks in general bored me to death, but this one was interesting, and kind of a nice little throwback to the way I used to live. I can’t believe I used to listen to talks like this every week of my life; I t’s so crazy how much things have changed for me since then. I did appreciate the metaphors, analogies, and parables you mentioned. They were thoughtful. The atonement never made sense to me as a member, so I appreciate that you spoke about how it’s kind of impossible to make sense of it. This was a very entertaining and thought-provoking podcast. Thanks RFM!

      1. Hi, Millie!

        Thanks so much for your feedback! And for listening!

        I think you probably enjoyed that particular talk more than anybody else in the chapel where it was originally given!

    2. I totally did label the sections with Roman numerals! How did you know?

      But I want to make it clear that the titles to the different subsections were for my own benefit (as were the Roman numerals), and I did not read the section headings when I originally gave that talk.

      I included them as part of the Director’s Cut!

      Thanks for listening!


  2. My heart went out to you on this one RFM. I’ll bet the congregation weren’t doing the customary nodding off tho.

    It was very thoughtfully prepared with layers of meaning and excellent concrete examples of what you meant in the abstract.

    I think it started going sideways when you chose to use rainbows as one of your metaphors. Hahahahahahaha!

    Strictly speaking tho, there wasn’t anything that you said that was out of step with mormon teachings on the topic. You were just looking at it in a very creative way. Here’s my question……

    What in the hell do they expect the members to do with the 4 year cycle of horrendously repetitive and boring, one dimentional , correlated material??????? You said it best when you said the topic could be summed up in 5 min!!! LOL

    How is a creative, interesting, intelligent person such as yourself supposed to survive in this sterile, bleak, no wiggle room environment???

    I really relate. I did the music in Primary for years and became the queen of whatever clever visual aids could be made with poster board and magic markers. I continually tried to breath some life into the same old , same old…and boy did I succeed.

    I see now that as much as I was doing it for the kids, I was trying to make something from nothing….something to liven up the endless monotony ….not that I’m equating the atonement with this.

    The reason my heart breaks a little for you is because I see how seriously you took your assignments and how much went into this and how misunderstood and unappreciated it would have been and how it cost you. The church isn’t a place for out of the box thinking or any risky creative individual expression. It didn’t matter how solid and stalwart you had been.

    No…only conformity to the narrative will do…no deviation…sounds like communism…it was off to Siberia for you!

    1. Angie
      I don’t know you I’ve never met you but I am beginning to like you and your comments are always great and yes I expected to nod off during yet another boring sacrament talk but I did not which surprised me as one of my pet hates is yet another talk being read from the page in an emotionless monotone. I agree his effort was passable and I heard every word. I don’t want to shower him with too much praise as I wouldn’t want him to go the way of the Q15 full of self importance and you might want to choke him too and I wouldn’t want that as I like him too. If you do carry out your threat on the Q15 let me know because I wanna see that.
      That said may I ask your opinion about Primary in relation to The Christmas Nativity. After 10 years on the Stake High Council I served in Primary for 3 years and although I loved it I found it very demanding as it took me all week to prepare each lesson with little videos and visual aids to fit into the lesson content and me being me each lesson had to be fun to give the kids a good experience as well as learn something. Christmas Nativity performed in Sacrament meeting was always a high light for the children who brought a special spirit into the meeting as well as non member grandparents, aunts and uncles and even friends who were invited to Come and See. Then some idiot on Salt Lake decided this was totally inappropriate for Sacrament meeting so it moved to the Ward Christmas Party which was a disaster as the spirit was completely Lost. First time we did it in the Party Setting I was given a cloud on a stick and I had to gracefully glide across the stage with the cloud held high over the stable only to be met with roars of laughter. Most accepted the new instructions like little lambs but others like me were dumfounded and angry. My Question: Were the Q15 right to destroy the best Sacrament Meeting of the year. What was your reaction?

      1. hi Dave….thank you for your kind remarks. What is the church thinking in losing people like you and me??? Its mind boggling.

        I was primary president more than once over the years and would have given my eye teeth for teachers like you. It can be rather unglamorous in the trenches of Primary. You have to truly love the children and I did. And clearly you did as well.

        I don’t recall what you’re referring to about the nativity in sacrament meeting. Do you remember a ballpark year of when that went down?

        I really appreciated what you said in a different post about it, and something about how we went from worshipping God to worshipping ‘them’.

        I wrote and put on probably over 10 primary sacrament meeting presentations whose protocols became more and more tightened as time went on. They should rename it “The Primary Propaganda Presentation”

        Maybe those presentations were meant to replace the nativity one. I know they first started when I was a young teen in the early seventies.

        Most of my career in the church was spent with the youth and children . I had a clever and likeable way of getting around the rules by gaining forgiveness rather than permission. LOL.

      2. We were baptised in 1980 and every year a few weeks before Christmas our primary would begin to reherse the Nativity play all were given parts to play Joseph, Mary, Angels, Shepherds etc etc all with full costumes, props and of course baby Jesus. The play would then be presented in the Sacrament Meeting on the Sunday before Christmas by the children. The Children loved it and so did we many non member extended family often attended. This stopped about 5 years ago and from memory I believe in the new hand book of instructions it was stated that such activities were not appropriate in Sacrament Meeting so the Bishop at the time immediately stopped it. It maybe that the Nativity presentation as described was not performed Worlwide that may be why you never did it.So now I’m confused.

        1. I imagine that the church has these kinds of naturally occurring traditions spring up all over the church. That one probably caught on better than most…it is the nativity after all!

          The church probably turned a blind eye to it until it became too varied and they couldn’t regulate its content. they even correlated the live nativities some stakes were doing for years as a missionary tool. Now they dont even trust their own members to simulate the manger scene without micro managing every correlated second of it!

          I personally never saw the children do it in sacrament meeting and I lived all over Alberta, a very mormon place.

          When the nativity is deemed no longer appropriate for sacrament meeting, something is terribly wrong…come to think of it, they pretty much outlaw the crucifix too!

          What area did you live in? It was obviously a little more relaxed perhaps?

    2. Thanks for the comments, Angie!

      Going to church became oppressive to me after a while.

      It wasn’t just boring. Boring is too small a word.

      It was actually oppressive to me spiritually.

      It was a bad place and so I am glad to not be going anymore.

      I came to feel that the church was a box that I no longer fit.

      A box that I outgrew.

      A box in the shape of a coffin.

      Planted six feet under.

      It took a lot of work to break out and claw my way up to the surface.

      But it was worth it!

  3. RFM
    When I left school my dad tried to persuade me to become a lawyer and told me the reason was that it was the only way you can rob people legally so who do I believe, my dad, or a lawyer who says trust me I am innocent I had already recorded the podcast along with the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Well since the Talk you gave was a passable effort on this occasion I will give you the benefit of the doubt and as you suggest agree on Great minds think alike.

  4. Just a quick note of appreciation for this podcast… Thank you for reminding me of some of the positive feelings that I have felt periodically while I was fully invested in the church. This talk helped me to feel the “spirit™️” and helped me to remember some of the positive aspects of the community that I now miss. On another side note your recent daily podcasts have often been the highlight of my day. And I find myself waiting in anticipation for the next release. Your requests for financial contributions have not fallen on deaf ears thank you, thank you, thank you (repeated three time for sacredness)

    1. You’re welcome!
      You’re welcome!
      You’re welcome!

      Repeated three times for the same reason!

      Thanks so much for your support!

      I am coming to the end of my eighth week of putting up a new podcast every weekday.

      It looks like restrictions are going to start being lifted.

      Guys are swimming.
      Guys are sailing.

      This hectic podcasting pace may have to give way to more pedestrian concerns shortly.

      But it has been an absolute blast!!!

      Thanks for listening!


  5. I enjoyed the sacrament talk. As you observed in another episode when talking about a member of your 1980’s single ward, talks that provide unique ideas (as opposed to just parroting the thoughts general authorities) are always better.

    Also enjoyed The Rainbow Connection. As a child in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Muppet Movie soundtrack was one of the albums my parents owned. (Also had a lot of musicals, like Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, and Oklahoma, but I digress.) Any time you can fit in a Muppet Movie song, please do. Great memories for me.

  6. Hi RFM!

    Totally enjoyed this one. Best sacrament talk I ever heard

    But you mentioned rainbows alot, and I got the feeling that loyal listeners like me should totally know why, and that I was apparently missing something. Feeling stupid. Help me out, RFM!

    1. Hi Matthew!

      The mention of rainbows calls to mind not only the bow set in the cloud after the Deluge, but also the rainbow flag that is the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride and LGBTQ social movements.

      Nuff said!

      Thanks for listening!


      1. Nuff said! Say no more. Wink wink. Nudge nudge.

        Love your work, RFM. Thanks so much.

        Bye, I thought I caught a little slip recently when you were referring to a paper you wrote back in 2014, I think you maybe said 1914 by mistake. Or maybe not. Maybe you DID write another very insightful paper back in 1914. Maybe you’re really one of the Three Nephites. It would explain alot.

        Love you.


        1. You certainly could be right about that, Matthew.

          I haven’t had the time in the past two months to go back and review my podcasts as thoroughly as usual prior to putting them up.

          Not that my reviews caught every mistake, but they certainly caught a lot.

          Your patience is appreciated.


  7. RFM: If only we actually received these kinds of sacrament talks I would be sitting in the pews every week. (Well as soon as the Covid is eradicated) I too felt the “spirit” as you spoke; the metaphors, the nods to magic and the explained Unexplainable followed by the closing song “The Rainbow Connection”. I am so glad you saved and shared this for those of us who grew out of the box. Thanks so very much for putting out these podcasts during the Pandemic!!

    1. You are so welcome, Lynnette!

      Not only did listeners to the podcast get to hear the “Director’s Cut” of my talk, you also got to hear the frog singing the closing song!

      I wasn’t able to play anything from Kermit during the actual sacrament meeting. ;^)

      More’s the pity.

      Thanks for listening!


  8. Hi

    Do you believe in the atonement?

    Do you believe god required him to sacrifice and suffer for our sins?

    What are your thoughts about Jesus? are leaving the religion?

    1. Hi, Emma,

      To be frank, I find it difficult to believe in a merciful Being who cannot simply forgive somebody the same way we are required to do with each other.

      Instead, this Being apparently requires the sacrifice and suffering of an innocent creature in order to be able to forgive others.

      Not only is the very idea difficult for me to swallow, it seems to lead to the conclusion that humans have a power that God does not.

      And that is quite a reversal of fortunes!

      For God, at least!

      As to your question about whether I am leaving the religion, by no means!

      I am only just entering into it!


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