Thursday, August 19, 2010

How can you go to Finishing School only twice a year?

Perfectly Perfect Posture!
I have a new young friend. I'll call her Cat.  She is older of two daughters of a business associate.  During a recent promotion,  Cat and I got quite well acquainted.  I couldn't leave til the time was right.  She couldn't leave til her Mom and Dad packed up the van and rolled off into the sunset.  We were stuck, and she decided I was her new geriatic best friend.

What do you talk about with a pint sized courtesan.  With Cat, it was way too early for sex--most inappropriate-- Pretty early for boys, but she had favorites.  We talked about school, clothes, make up and church.  Cat is very outgoing--has a great future ahead of her--already has modeled her great mom at the early age of eight.

I learned to my quiet sadness that she only went to church twice a year: Christmas and Easter with her folks--and it really wasn't even a proper church.  It was the gym of their church school.  More of a community gathering, really.

My mind went forward to the next day when I would be attending church at my H2W (Holladay 2nd Ward)  Another sweet little friend named Beth would be there again, as she was every Sunday in a kind of Finishing School--knocking off the rough edges and becoming steeped in scripture and doctrine that would serve her the rest of her life.

Time was in the world that several exclusive Finishing Schools flourished, taking young women in their late teens and early twenties in hand to polish and mold them into what politically correct young women should be--following a conservative recipe that stressed class, understated culture, polite, courteous manner and always proper posture.

Church is like that-- a finishing school for our spirits.

My now dear Father in Law once asked me rather gruffly, "Why do you Mormons go to Church so much?

It's not just church--It's Weekly Family Home Evening, Temple attendance, Mutual in the middle of the week, Home teaching, Welfare farm, Campouts, Scouts, Cubs and a host of gatherings to help Finish our souls.

I couldn't help reflect on what's available to us in the Kingdom and what my precocious young friend Cat has available to her in the two times every year she makes a ceremonial visit to see and be seen at her church.

If life is measured by one opportunity cost against another, Beth and Cat will be able to measure themselves against that standard. Who will be found wanting?  By the time she is 21, Beth will have attended enough "church" to become thoroughly grounded in the arts and crafts of solid motherhood, wifery and scholarship.  She will be able to raise children to the Lord and share her background that has literally taken all her life to produce.

Cat's parents may be able to afford the last minute cramming, spit and polish of a Finishing Experience for her.  They may set the same wonderful parental example for Cat that Beth gets from her folks--but at twice a year, what kind of spiritual finishing will she really have?  It is for this opportunity cost that I gently share whenever I can.  I imagine Cat's change of heart as she immerses herself in what the Kingdom has to offer and I look for ways to interest her and others like her in this great gospel. JWC

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