A wise institute teacher once gave me some advice that changed my behavior during Church meetings.
His advice addresses a problem that often occurs at the end of gospel lessons or talks in sacrament or other meetings. Frequently, when speakers begin to conclude and bear their testimonies, we prepare to leave by zipping scripture cases, shuffling papers, and packing bags. Sometimes the noise is so loud students can barely hear the teacher. Unfortunately, this noise happens at what is often the most significant part of a lesson or talk: the sharing of testimony! The sound disrupts what can be a powerful spiritual experience for the listeners.
My institute teacher suggested a simple solution to this problem: sit still. He challenged us to listen attentively until we hear the word amen. Even though we are often anxious to get to another class, chat with friends, or even go home to eat, he urged students not to begin packing up books and papers until the class or meeting is over.
I took this challenge to heart, and the result has been amazing. I feel more spiritually nourished by lessons and talks. I am able to listen to my teachers’ conclusions and testimonies rather than concentrate on the next activity. My focus is exactly where it should be. I try to stay alert and attentive until the very end of the lesson, even if everyone is rustling around me. We are commanded to “endure to the end,” and I believe that this admonition can apply to meetings and lessons as well (see D&C 14:7). This simple challenge to “sit still” has completely changed the experience I have during sacrament meetings, classes, and even non-Church events. I do not remember the name of my wise institute teacher, but I will never forget his challenge that has allowed me to more fully feast on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Photograph by Craig Dimond