Although reverence is an inner-motivated attitude of mind and spirit, it may well be cultivated by controlling one’s environment. As a case in point, some seminary students in the mission field agreed to promote reverence during worship services as a class project. They agreed that unless they had been asked to speak or sing at their meetings, they would not talk at all in the chapel. Any necessary ward business or social visiting would be conducted in the foyer before or after the meeting.
After the first Sunday of the project the class members reported on their progress. One student said, “Well, I didn’t get past the opening announcements. That’s when my dad asked where I’d parked the car, since I had gone home to pick up the family following priesthood meeting.”
A girl sighed. “The prelude music had just started when my mother rushed clear across the chapel to ask if I’d remembered to put the roast in the oven. I tried to answer with a nod, but she demanded to know what temperature I had set the oven at.”
Their experiences were similar to those of other class members as well as the instructor, who found himself in sacrament meeting “trying to nod, shrug, and smile without offending those who were talking to me.”
But the class did not give up on its project, and the students did become a nucleus for better order in the ward. The device that they finally decided upon was a small card that each of them carried, on which was written:
“We are involved in a current project to promote greater reverence in our meetings, so I have agreed not to talk or visit in the chapel. I shall be happy to meet you in the foyer right after this meeting if you like.”
Reverence is not magically produced by waving a small card, but such a device can help create an atmosphere in which reverence can grow.