Does anyone else TiVo General Conference, and if so, how much of it do you watch and which parts do you skip? I ask because I just enjoyed the sybaritic pleasure of watching GC from home in my yoga duds, and I must say thereâ€™s no comparison between that experience and having to watch it in church. Iâ€™ve been pondering the difference and thinking about why I enjoy GC so much more now than I used to, and why I actually watch more of it now. I used to skip it altogether and wait for the conference issue of the Ensign, which I would flip through sporadically if at all. But now that I have the remote in hand, I find that I look forward to Conference and get more out of the experience.
Media studies scholars have written about whether and how the medium changes the message. In other words, is Conference a more spiritually uplifting experience for me because Iâ€™m watching it at home alone? In some ways, yes: I donâ€™t feel guilty about fast-forwarding through talks that I find to be less helpful. And I can participate in the service in ways that my well-behaved Mormon peers never do, recalling the evangelical fervor of my college days. I actually shouted â€œAMEN!â€? to one of President Hinckleyâ€™s comments about the need for Mormon men to show women the respect that the Savior did. I donâ€™t typically cry out in sacrament meeting, having assimilated to Mormon culture enough to gravitate toward the quiet witness of the Spirit. Shouting in agreement with the prophet was a beautiful moment of unguarded joy.
On the other hand, thereâ€™s something inherently lonely about this TiVo experience, which enables me to pick and choose only the Mormonism that fits my palate. Cafeteria conference. Itâ€™s lonely in a Roger Williams-y kind of way; Iâ€™m reminded of the pitiful example of Williams cutting himself off from the body of Christ in his later years, ultimately taking Communion only with his wife because he felt polluted by the stains of others. What prideful nonsense. No, Iâ€™m my best self when Iâ€™m trying to work out my salvation in community, alongside people who disagree with me at nearly every turn.
Some Buddhists I know who work in a meditation community compare their spiritual growth to the potatoes they have to cook for dinner. Since theyâ€™re cooking on a deadline for the hungry vegan masses, they throw all of the potatoes together to boil without washing them first. Theyâ€™ve found that when the potatoes bump up against one another during cooking, they clean each other in the process. In other words, the potatoes need each other to become washed and whole.
We Mormons are much the same. So maybe I should think about going back to church for at least one of the sessions of Conference.
Hmmmm. I would do this, but the recliner chair is so very comfy, and besides, no one else is going to be there. Theyâ€™re all home in their own recliners, watching Conference. And so we bowl alone.
And now a word on our Slayer . . . .
Itâ€™s cool to see so many Buffy fans in this group. I donâ€™t know why Iâ€™m surprised to meet Buffy fans everywhere, but I always am. A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a publisher in Minneapolis, and after the secretary buzzed me in she said, â€œBy the way, Iâ€™m really loving your book.â€? There are a shocking number of Buffy and Angel diehards in publishing.
Someone asked what I thought about the series finale of Angel. Of course I wish that they had had two hours to really wrap things up, and I wish theyâ€™d given Spike more to do, and I wish that Fred hadnâ€™t been possessed by that evil primordial chick, and I wish that Wesley hadnâ€™t bit it . . . but in all I was pleased. The gang went out as champions, fighting the good fight. What did you all think?