Readers tell their funny stories

Mormon Times

Published: Tuesday, June 9 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

When Mormon Times debuted in January 2008, our editors sent out an invitation for readers to send in their stories. We wanted a collection of insights and experiences pertaining to not just LDS doctrine, but Mormon culture as well.

Since then, we've received a lot of heart and humor.

This week, Mormon Times presents a sampling of short anecdotes sent in by readers. Some stories are the product of child innocence; others of slippery wax floors. But whether they deal with drifting ward clerks, meetinghouse mice or a "precious" mistake on a missionary plaque, we have just two hopes — that these stories make you smile, and that you'll continue to send them in.

Back in the 1970s, I was called by our bishop to be the ward clerk. In those days, one function of the ward clerk during our sacrament meetings was to sit at the table on one side of the stand, in front of the congregation, and take minutes, recording the hymns that were sung, who offered the prayers, who the speakers were, the topic of each talk, and so forth.

Unfortunately, during that time, sacrament meeting was held very late on Sunday afternoon, and I was often sleepy in church. In fact, my wife, Marie, tried multiple times to make me understand that by so obviously dozing while the speakers were talking, I was bringing shame and disrepute to myself and the entire family.

I went along with some remedies that the family suggested to keep me awake. For example, I would sometimes take a nap before sacrament meeting, so it might be easier for me to stay awake during the meeting. In addition, Marie and the children (who usually sat on the front row) would get together and stare fixedly at me. Marie told me that they hoped their collective mind power could somehow arouse me from my slumbers.

I suppose that if I had thought my behavior really needed correcting, I might have been more concerned. But really, I didn't think that my occasional dozing would be such a big deal.

But that all changed one Sunday, when I was awakened from my slumbers at my ward clerk's post by the sound of laughter. It was obvious that every person in the chapel was looking, and laughing, at me.

As soon as the meeting was over, I asked Marie what had happened. One of the newer young deacons had been assigned to be what was informally referred to as the "bishop's runner." His job was to deliver messages from the bishop, if needed, to somebody in the audience. Most sacrament meetings, the deacon had nothing to do, so he just sat up there on the stand behind the bishop.

This particular Sunday, the runner was a young deacon named Clayton. He was evidently very sleepy that day, because he was nodding off, too.

At one point, someone had said, "Look at Clayton — he must be practicing to be a ward clerk!"

Submitted by Francis William "Bill" Houghtaling, Raleigh, N.C.

My daughter recently returned from the Germany Munich/Austria Mission. While she was gone, my husband and I were serving a church service mission in the inner city project and did not attend our home ward. This and other circumstances (along with some procrastination) made it so I didn't get a picture and scripture to our home ward for a missionary plaque until right before she came home. They did, however, get it done in time to present it to her when she spoke in church upon her return.

As the bishop stood at the pulpit to give her the plaque, he said there had been a mistake by the company that made the plaque. He said that while he may have chosen the scripture on it for her or her parents may have chosen it, he knew she would not have chosen it for herself.

The scripture that she had chosen was Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

But what the plaque actually had on it was Proverbs 3:15: "She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her."

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