SPRINGVILLE, Utah – Members of the Springville 1st Ward Gospel Doctrine class avoided eye contact with instructor Carolyn Peters for an entire three days after Sister Peters called for a volunteer to say closing prayer.
Brother Jeffrey Young attended the class and spoke to The Sunday Pews in an exclusive interview following the record-breaking awkward silence. What follows is a verbatim question-and-answer transcript between our on-location affiliate and Brother Young:
Q: So, Brother Young, can you tell us what happened?
A: Yeah. I mean, it happens every week – the teacher bears their testimony and then asks for a volunteer for prayer. Usually there’s a momentary lull in the air and then this one sister normally raises her hand, but this week she was gone.
Nobody knew what to do, so we just … avoided eye contact.
Q: And then what happened?
A: Well, Sister Peters just repeated the question. When that didn’t work she tried rephrasing it into something like, “who here wants some blessings?” We all just sat there pretending to be seriously pondering the last scripture we had read in class on our phones. Eventually Sister Peters just said, “I’ll wait”.
And so, we waited.
Q: For three days?
A: For three days, yeah.
Q: Nobody just got up and left? You all just waited there patiently?
A: Well, yeah. Nobody wants to be the first one to get up and walk out. Rude.
Q: What about bathroom breaks, or food?
A: We established a potty-corner behind the piano fairly early on.
Food was a bit tricky but lots of sisters carry little snacks in their purse for their kids, so we managed to ration that out. We were prepared to be there for as long as necessary.
Q: You survived off of cheerios and gummy bears for three days?
A: Yes sir.
Q: And how did you pass the time?
A: Lots of the sisters are into cross-stitching, journal-writing and stuff like that. One sister made everyone a boondoggle keychain. It’s amazing how much stuff they can fit into a purse. It was like a room full of Mary Poppins…es.
Q: And the brethren?
A: We developed an entire code language so we could talk about the sisters behind their backs. But … in front of their backs.
Q: That’s ambitious. Now, our sources tell us that this all came to a close on Tuesday, correct?
A: Yes sir.
Q: And how did it end?
A: The bishop came in for his Tuesday evening interviews and found us all in class still, so he did what Sister Peters should have done to begin with.
Q: And what is that, Jeffrey?
A: Promised refreshments after class was over. Once he did that, fifteen hands shot in the air.
[End of transcript]
Despite widespread disdain for teachers that call for prayer volunteers, the practice persists. It is rumored that during the next worldwide teacher training for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Brethren will instruct teachers on how to ask someone specific before class starts to offer the closing prayer when the time comes.
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