Five tips for a better sacrament meeting talk

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  • Craigo Hurricane, UT
    Nov. 27, 2010 8:38 p.m.

    All points are dead on. Cant tell you how many times Ive heard a talk start with telling us how the speaking assignment came.. How the couple met at BYU. Then, to go on with READING the entire talk.

    Id like to add 1 very important concept, that was missed. Its to the Bishops of the ward..

    1. You are to choreograph the meeting, you preside. NEVER turn the meeting over to the speakers to run the meetings. (Family sacraments meetings etc. are bad news)
    2. The idea that EVERYONE needs to speak is false. Ive heard from many leaders, that sacrament meeting is not for the novice. Only people that can teach and edify should be asked to talk. Sunday school and priesthood meetings are better suited for the novice.

    3. We must raise the standard of teaching in our meetings.. There is man in my ward, with a masters degree, that reads his talk verbatum. He has no business speaking, or he is just lazy.

    I constantly as myself, "If I were visiting for the first time, would I think this person speaking has passion for the restored gospel?"
    Most times I answer No.

  • John Charity Spring Alloway, NJ
    Nov. 27, 2010 3:19 p.m.

    This story, and all previous comments, contain wonderful ideas. Unfortunately, the vast majority of speakers in Sacrament Meeting will never get even the slightest exposure to these ideas.

    These ideas are great, but they mean nothing, unless Bishops are prepared to teach these ideas and enforce them.

    Too many speakers are never trained on how to give a good talk. Other who are trained ignore suggested time limits. This leads to boring talks that continue for far too long.

    For the vast majority of speakers, Bishops must give strict instructions on content and time. These instructions must be enforced, for the good of the listeners.

  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    We routinely come across standardized opinions about aspects of Mormonism. This is an example. Few of these seem to recognize that as wards differ one from another, so will the propriety of sacrament talks differ. What may be off-putting in a ward populated mostly by older, mature members might be appropriate and effective in a ward composed of single members or a high percentage of young married members.

    It is worth noting that Church general authorities' General Conference talks are notably more sedate and scripted than their talks given at stake conferences or sacrament meetings. Follow the Holy Spirit the best you can, realizing that "tips" are just that--tips. Consider the tips, but don't be strait-jacketed by them.

  • easternobserver Denton, MD
    Nov. 27, 2010 11:05 a.m.

    Number 1: Understand that giving a talk doesn't mean reading a conference address word-for-word in a monotone voice.
    2. Prayerfully research a few brief, pertinent scripture passages and conference quotes from the past few years, bearing in mind that certain popular radio hosts and politicians are not GA's. Insert one or two brief, pertinent GA or other Ensign stories and one or two brief, pertinent, and edifying personal experiences.
    3. While some verbatim reading will be necessary, use a somewhat animated voice and be familiar enough w/ your material to look up occasionally and get back to the paper w/out losing your place.
    4. Be familiar enough with stories to relate them w/ just a few glances down at notes.
    5. Don't say wacky or potentially offensive stuff, especially if you see that the missionaries or others have brought visitors. If your dog channels the spirit of Brother Brigham, tell your home teachers, not the whole ward. Avoid using "members" and "non-members," and don't make derisive comments about other denominations or groups of people.
    (The "no wacky stuff" rule applies to testimonies, teaching, and comments during lessons, as well.)

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2010 9:20 a.m.


    And for goodness sake get outside and do something instead of watching tv so you have some real life stories to talk about!!!

    Don't tell us the same stories that we have heard our whole life. If you like those then maybe you can volunteer to give a talk in Primary so you have a fresh audience who hasn't heard it 50 times.


  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Nov. 27, 2010 8:17 a.m.

    To the five great tips in the article, I would also add do not say something like "I got this assignment late in the week." That is code for "I really don't care enough to prepare a sermon that will be spiritually fulfilling or uplifting so don't expect much."

    When I was about 11 I would get so nervous at the idea of being asked to speak in church I would lie and tell the adult asking me that my family was going to be out of town that week. When I was a teenager the thought of speaking in church made me so nervous that I would tell the other Deacons to pass the sacrement slowly so there would be less time left over for the Stake President to call on members to bear their testimony.

    Now I welcome the opportunity to speak.

    What changed?

    I gained a testimony.

    This is the single greatest tool in becoming confident of speaking in church and in providing a spiritual feast for yourself and your fellow ward members.

    Ironically, speaking in church and preparing DILLIGENTLY for a talk is one of the best ways to gain a testimony.

    Good luck!