Greg Trimble: We need to make it cool to come back to church

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  • EPoint Roy, UT
    Oct. 7, 2018 8:37 a.m.

    I am reminded of my "wilderness" years of the early '70s: post mission, pre-marriage, twenty-something and needing the anchor of the Gospel, yet seeking some independence from the older generation. We found a "cool" time and place to attend church, in the college branches or wards that were established at the time, where leadership, callings came from our peer group and those who understood our needs. We had the coolest Sacrament Meetings ever, and the spirit of the Lord was strong in them. We did not seek to criticize the older generations, but to respectfully learn from them while blazing our own trails of faithfulness.

  • Silflay Katy, TX
    Oct. 5, 2018 10:55 a.m.

    @ let's roll

    Karen R. here.

    "A movement that asks that we believe all allegations and places the burden on those who doubt to conclusively prove a negative."

    You're mistaken. @MeToo asks that we take all allegations seriously and investigate in an attempt to corroborate the claim. The justification for seeking this is evidence: It shows that few claims are lies while many denials are.

    So applying this to religion, you would first need to provide the evidence - falsifiable evidence, like that above - that your claims should be taken seriously, then conduct an investigation to provide sufficient corroboration with more falsifiable evidence.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Oct. 4, 2018 10:56 a.m.

    I’m not sure the title reflects the premise of the article.

    The theme of the article is to reconnect with Deity.

    The title references going to church. I submit there’s far less than a 1:1 correlation between the two.

    There are people who find Deity at church. But many go to church for years and don’t.

    If we want to invite people to attend church, we need to do all we can to make church an efficient and effective resources for those searching for communion with Deity.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Oct. 4, 2018 10:44 a.m.

    @Karen R

    I think a major tenet of the #metoo movement is to respect something (an allegation) we can’t be sure is true in all cases. I for one am willing to respect the movement. A movement that asks that we believe all allegations and places the burden on those who doubt to conclusively prove a negative.

    Apply that standard to religion and we’d all be compelled to respect God, and all those who believe in Him without question, unless we could prove conclusively that He does not exist.

  • Moby Randallstown, MD
    Oct. 4, 2018 9:05 a.m.

    The Church of Jesus Christ or Latter-day Saints only encourage good thoughts and behaviors. When an individual is not personally motivated to be good, kind, patient, compassionate, helpful, and empathetic, etc. they are like a burr under the saddle in the cosmos. It is easy to be negative and cynical and believe that they are smarter and wiser than everyone else. A thoughtful observation of current events and history shows that they are not. In the end, they will discover that they leaned their ladder up against the wrong wall.

  • Belinda, Melbourne Australia Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Oct. 3, 2018 9:46 p.m.

    I believe the turmoil so many millennials are going through right now, in some cases, is self inflicted. Life wasn't meant to be easy, it was meant to challenge and make us grow and not take the easy way out all the time. The whole time I read your opinion piece Mr Trimble, I was shaking my head. The thoughts and feelings you describe as attributable to the "millennial" generation can in fact be ascribed to many generations.

    Religion doesn't need to be cool, it already is. Unfortunately religion has already made enough concessions to make itself cool to get people back in the pews. How about just teaching these millennials to live the gospel and to stop shopping around for "something better" or "the next best thing"? I've been living the gospel all my life and never had the desire to look elsewhere. Oh, and the thing about the Church wanting everyone to be the same, no one can call me a "Cookie Cutter Mormon". I'm exactly the opposite!

  • CMTM , 00
    Oct. 3, 2018 1:33 p.m.

    RE: Thomas Jefferson There isnt one person who couldnt improve on the 'ten commandments' with a few strokes of the pen.?

    “… the second commandments is like it: *‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’.’(Mt 22:38-39)

    Love your neighbor as yourself test, Where you see *Love, insert your name(Tom) and see .

    *Love is patient and kind;*love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It((Love)does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. *Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. * Love never fails. —1 Cor 13:4-8

    Love(Agape) is described in 1 Cor 13, “Agape love” is different from other types of love?
    Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character.
    Agape love is benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love.

    Unlike the English word love, agape is not used in the N.T. to refer to romantic or sexual love.

    Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 10:43 a.m.

    It's not about not being 'cool'. People see how hypocritical church leaders (any group) are and they find that a huge turn-off. If you can't trust your religious leaders to follow the tenets of the religion, why should others?

    "The world began to rely on another god for answers to their deepest questions".

    -- As if your god is the only god people rely on; the above sentence completely denies the existence of the gods of all other religions.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 10:37 a.m.

    There is nothing off topic or disruptive here. Someone just doesnt like my opinion and are making poor excuses.

    I hope the trend continues and more people see religion for what it really is. A way for the few to convince everyone else to give them power/money.

    Every one of the believing posters so far knows that humans have made up thousands of gods. But for obvious reasons they all believe that the one their parents told them about when they were a child is the 'real' god.

    There isnt one person who couldnt improve on the 'ten commandments' with a few strokes of the pen.
    How about 'thou shalt not rape'?
    How about 'thou shalt not own slaves'?
    But that isnt what was important to Yehweh. He decided that 'worship me' and 'dont do anything on the Sabbath' were more important to make the top ten than those.
    Yehweh even set up clear rules for how to treat your slaves, who to buy them from, and how if you beat them and they dont die right away-its all cool.

    I challenge every believer to actually read the whole bible for once. To me it is clearly a work of fiction. The deity described is the antagonist, not the hero.

    *What kind of god demands 'worship'?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 3, 2018 9:52 a.m.

    @ 2 bits

    Please name something that you don't believe exists that you respect.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 8:32 a.m.

    @Diligent Dave
    Your chili cookoff doesn't have to be cool to be effective in bringing friends and neighbors together to get to know each other better and love each other more.

    When working in the Young Mens program we were always instructed by our leaders to not try to make our activities "Cool" or try to compete with the world on "Entertainment Value". We were never going to win that battle. But if we focus on doing our thing (activities that expose the young men to the spirit) instead of competing on purely entertainment level with the numerous other activities the outside world provides to attract their attention, we will improve their lives.

    So don't worry about being cool. Going to church is never going to be cool, it never has been. That's not why you go. If it is... you're going for the wrong reason.

    If you go to feel something you don't feel elsewhere (the spirit)... you are going for the right reason. But it's never going to be cooler or more entertaining than going to a movie with friends, going to the football game, or playing video games in your parent's basement.

    Nobody goes to church to be cool. At least they shouldn't. This goes for millenials too.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 8:20 a.m.

    @Karen R,
    RE: "2 bits, Do you respect things you don't believe exist?"...
    I respect them, but I don't believe without question (as you Assumed). I always test and verify what I hear. I will be researching and praying about everything I hear in General Conference that I haven't already verified.

    I don't "accept without question". And I don't expect any Millennial to "accept without question". Nobody does. Especially God and his prophets. They always tell us to study and pray to get our own testimony (never advise us to just accept without question).

    I respect all beliefs, whether I believe them or not. There's no value in mocking or disrespecting somebody else's beliefs just because they aren't my beliefs. I wish some people posting here could learn that lesson.

    Listen to conference this weekend. See if you hear ANYBODY insist you accept without question. You won't. Then listen for how many times you are asked to study and pray about what you heard to get your own confirmation that it's true. You will hear that numerous times.

    No... God doesn't ask Millenials to believe without question. He never has. He never will.

  • CMTM , 00
    Oct. 3, 2018 7:55 a.m.

    Karen R..” All while some believers are bemoaning these changes as signs of things unraveling.”

    America needs Christian revivals like 1910-1970s.

    The Industrial Age was is in full force and Darwinism is reshaping our sense of the value of history and future accomplishment. Much like the revivals before it, this period is noted for its large gatherings and the accusation of sin and proximity of people to the gates of Hell as a result of their wayward lives.

    Billy Sunday, preached the Gospel message beginning in 1907. His message went to 1.5 million people around the country in month-long meetings. His preaches up until his death in 1935. Billy Graham in 1949 with his Los Angeles crusades that catch the attention of the press. He goes on to hold more than 400 crusades in 185 countries, attracting arena-size crowds and broadcasting many crusades on television.

    Francis Buchman who begins the Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous and Robert Pierce who founds World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse represent the social arm of revival. Graham’s work is careful to work with local churches.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 6:59 a.m.

    "There are so many competing voices in this information age." Yes, sure. But isn't Mr. Trimble's voice just one more competing voice?

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 6:40 a.m.

    If you want to encourage people to return to church, work on not making religion a mockery of itself.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Oct. 3, 2018 12:54 a.m.

    I don't know about cool, but 12 days ago our Ward sponsored a chili cook-off and homemade ice cream competition, as an excuse to get people together for a meal and some fun.

    We had background music throughout the event, good food, and we were lucky to get 200 to 300 people into our cultural hall.

    Kids whacked three pinatas to release their candy, & we sponsored a coloring contest for kids, mostly to minimize their running around.

    We got folks there by taking a 1/2 page invite door-to-door & hanging it with a rubber band. We emphasized that no membership was required, & to bring some food to share, or at least good appetite.

    In this digital age, we don't see persons in front of us & get a chance to visit with them enough.

    Joseph Smith said, "that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there..." (in the eternities).

    We certainly need more get-togethers, and just not sitting facing one direction in a room for a lesson, or even a discussion. Both small & large, we need to get together more, so that we have some kind of sociality here, so that we might have it there (after we die).

    The art of conversation is dwindling, and needs kindling!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 8:13 p.m.

    The piece seeks to categorize people into those who believe in God and go to church, and those who believe there is nothing beyond this life.

    Yet among the fastest growing religious category in the US - the "Nones", who claim no religious affiliation - 2/3 of them have faith in an existence beyond this life.

    Religion is clearly losing customers, as people disbelieve the tales... yet many haven't lost faith, in spite of rejecting religion.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 2, 2018 7:40 p.m.

    @ HSTucker

    "We have come to the earth in troubled times..."

    Something like this has been the refrain of many a religious generation. But when I look at history, I see morality, decency and basic respect generally improving, particularly in regions where religion is checked by secular government, and particularly for groups historically oppressed or mistreated, often by the dominant religious power. All while some believers are bemoaning these changes as signs of things unraveling.

    So I don't put much stock in such pronouncements, except to understand that they're repeated because they work. It seems that some in every generation get convinced that their time is unique among all others.

    @ 2 bits

    Do you respect things you don't believe exist?

    @ cmsense

    I see your comment as another example of how little utility religion brings to understanding what is actually true.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 6:32 p.m.

    While I consider myself a Christian I don't know what exactly it'd take for me to decide to attend church with any significant degree of regularity. In theory I match up better with less rigid ones but if attending or being of that particular denomination doesn't matter then there's not a whole lot holding one in place. But, stray too far in the other direction and it'd run into my tendency to just reject pieces I don't believe that they might consider essential.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 5:47 p.m.

    I can't imagine life without religion. Purpose, hope, perspective, faith, guidance, basically down to the core of Who, Why, and for what end.

    I don't think it is mere coincidence that the rise of suicide rates coincides with the rise in the percentage of atheist, agnostics, and the nothingness and lack of purpose that must be and feel like. Why stick around for hardships and grow if there is no point? Do unto others how you would like to be treated, becomes give me me and mine. The 10 commandments become irrelevant, morality becomes only what can be beneficial according to science.

    There is a growing amount of atheist etc, but I wouldn't ever want to switch places with them. I prefer guidance and purpose and the spirit I find in religion.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 3:45 p.m.

    Karen R. - Houston, TX
    RE: "This piece is written from the assumption that the author's preferred god exists. This isn't an assumption that Millennials accept without question anymore"...
    Don't know which God you respect. But the one I respect doesn't ask ANYBODY to accept him without questioning.

    He expects all of us to question and come to an understanding on our own, and be converted. He don't accept blind belief. He expects us to find and grow a testimony that is firm, then we don't have to doubt anymore, because we've tested it, and proven it. But we do keep testing it and proving it throughout our lifetime.

    Don't know what method your God expects you to come to know him. But mine doesn't expect or accept blind belief. He expects us to test him, and prove him.

    Nowhere in scripture (later day or modern) does God say to "accept without questioning", as you Assume.

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 1:15 p.m.

    @Karen R: Congratulations on having a comment selected as an editor's pick.

    It appears there are some on the staff of the Deseret News who agree with your views, which are becoming increasingly popular in our culture.

    Imagine my surprise.

    "We have come to the earth in troubled times. The moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an “almost anything goes” position. I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed much of the metamorphosis of society’s morals. Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider."

    -- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2011

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 12:53 p.m.

    A lot of millennials are actually going to church although that is, in a way, beside the point. Church activity has, I believe, fallen off a lot generally, though membership in "my" Church, the one I go to, has bucked that trend. The writer shared the definition of "religion" but I've never ever known the meaning of "cool". I seems to mean popular of fashionable. Fashions and popularity are poor guides and often as ridiculous as back-breaking four or six inch heels.

    The truth isn't usually popular and embracing it sets you up for derision and scorn, sometimes worse. If I may use a different word than cool, it is "good" to stick with your beliefs, and it is good to believe the truth.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 2, 2018 11:56 a.m.

    @ HSTucker

    "...of having been created as male and female..."

    I see this as an example of where religion can't help us. It's a position from the past and based on the status of knowledge in that past. But the hard truth is being revealed: sexual orientation, gender, gender identity - it isn't as cut and dried as we thought. It exists on a spectrum, not in two neat boxes.

    What help is religion in understanding this? In certain sects, no effort is made to understand it at all. The instinct seems to be reflexive rejection - rejection of anything that contradicts what their ancestors from millennia ago thought was true.

    This isn't helpful at all and the young see this. They've come up in a time where change is so obviously the norm and where evidence is part of their lexicon from the get-go. But they see their elders resisting both and, worse, dismissing and denigrating the reality and legitimacy of their own friends' existence.

    And so they choose. And religion is losing.

  • 2close2call Los Angeles, CA
    Oct. 2, 2018 11:02 a.m.

    "Young inquiring millennial minds who were just looking for answers became the primary consumers of thousands of competing and compelling voices. We scroll and scroll and scroll — just looking for something new to hear and something new to tell.

    Meanwhile, the wisest and steadiest of voices have been pushed into the background..."

    I believe this statement by Greg is true for the most part but simply finding your own comforting religious "truth" is not the way to overcome it. This leads to many different forms of subjective opinions, not actual objective truth.

    In other words, religion is currently part of the problem, not the solution.

  • hbeckett Colfax, CA
    Oct. 2, 2018 10:35 a.m.

    it would seem from the information presented in the article that being ccool is self gratification that life's answers are only the important ones that are prepared by some data gathering machine that does not have feelings for a purpose in life and really living a profound productive lifelike actually being connected to others and not with some electronic device but really showing love towards other people this life requires actual problem solving skills not found in a cracker jack box of feel good fixes for now where is the space for long term real answers because if you can only touch stuff what really is the lasting good this life requires actual working hands on solutions faith in others to be good and not for an exciting life time party atmosphere answers are only found in actual hands on social interaction and having faith in your abilities and love of your fellow real hands on interaction.

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 9:44 a.m.

    "It appears to me that, when presented with harsh facts versus a comforting illusion, more people will take the latter."

    I agree. Many would choose to reject the sometimes harsh realities of the creation, of having been created as male and female, in frail mortal bodies, experiencing the pain caused by sin, having a short lifetime in mortality, followed by a certain death. It is quite understandable that people are tempted to accept a comforting illusion, for example, a virtual (cyber) counterfeit of the creation.

    Elder Bednar had some profound things to say about this in his Ensign article entitled "Things as They Really Are," also available on YouTube.

  • Mayfair Logan, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 9:14 a.m.

    A lot of great lines in this piece.

    I am sad and worried for the numerous Millennials I know who think they are 'too good' to have to follow Standards...... which in time has led them to thinking they don't have to follow commandments or remain true to covenants made either.

    Not sure how we will make coming to Church 'cool'...the ones I know who have issues with coming are already sure they are way cool enough without it.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 8:06 a.m.

    Ultimately, true religion for the world may never be "cool". Because, "cool" is the praise of the world; (i.e.) praise of people in "the great & spacious building".

    In fact, it was actually the concept of making religion cool that anciently (not quite 2000 years ago), caused so many once true disciples to become those with "itching ears" who wanted to listen to flattering words, & who eere turned away from true religion.

    Locally, those churches that have in recent decades strived to connect with Latter-day Saints with a less demanding & more casual & caffeinated religion, via freeway billboards & internet invitations, are among those who want to soothingly scratch "itching ears" that await to be told they are fine just the way they already are, & who leap at being lulled into any number of P&G-like religions, or pseudo-religions that appeal to what so many want to hear.

    I believe many among the Latter-Day Saints in recent decades who have found "The Work & the Glory" reads to fulfill their hunger for religiosity in lieu of actually studying & striving to know & understanding the real scriptures, to be an easier & more exciting prepackaged source of "religion".

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 2, 2018 7:03 a.m.

    This piece is written from the assumption that the author's preferred god exists. This isn't an assumption that Millennials accept without question anymore.

    I do think that humans instinctively need something that binds them. History shows us that groups with common identity and purpose have a better track record of survival than those without, so it's not surprising that we feel this need. It's just that it's a lot easier to create and maintain those bonds when you believe that what's binding you is actually true.

    I suspect that religions will always draw some and perhaps more than secular groups. This is based on personal experience only. It appears to me that, when presented with harsh facts versus a comforting illusion, more people will take the latter.

    But it's also clear that more people are unwilling to accept some of the dogma that's traditionally been associated with that illusion. So maybe that's where churches can work on making themselves "cool" to the young. Listen to what's important to them. What I hear isn't a concern about their status in an afterlife, but being of service now, in this life.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Oct. 2, 2018 5:01 a.m.

    Try it because you've got nothing to lose?

    How is that persuasive to anybody?


  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Oct. 1, 2018 10:19 p.m.

    In order to make church, any church, "cool' again, IMHO "church" needs to re-examine it's purpose.

    If the purpose of a church is to expound on politics, then that church will never be cool to millennials and a growing number of the rest of us. If the purpose of a church is to force people to believe in dogma and resist questioning said dogma via expulsion or excommunication, then the church will never be popular. If the purpose of a church is to force conformity, then that church will fail (millennials are much more independent than us older folks).

    If a church wishes to welcome all, welcome skepticism and doubt, replace dogma with aspirational messages, avoid at all costs involvement in politics and truly be a compassionate light in a world of suffering, then that church might find some new followers. Also a good dose of humility might help, something lacking in most of our public religious figures I would add. And maybe a little less empire building that seems to infect so many religious organizations.

    Millennials see through much of the hypocrisies of today's dominant organized religions. The scandals, the power politics, the money lavished on leaders. Not "cool".

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 1, 2018 10:10 p.m.

    Nope. We're fine. It's cool not to.