Urban Mormonism

June 17, 2012 | 12 comments
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As the sacrament was passed in the rural ward we attended today, my younger daughter looked at the deacons passing the sacrament and asked, “Why are those kids doing that?”[fn1]

(My wife tells me that my older daughter noticed the same thing.)

[fn1] Just in case it’s not clear what my daughters are talking about, there is one teenage boy in our ward (but another turns 12 in a month or so!). And that’s not a significant outlier in my perhaps limited experience. So my daughters have rarely seen a bunch of 12- and 13-year-olds get up after the sacrament is blessed.

12 Responses to Urban Mormonism

  1. Jax on June 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    We have two young men, but neither are worthy to bless/pass, so it is the MP’s every week.

  2. Ardis E. Parshall on June 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Another urban Mormon here: While we don’t have young children to notice (because our ward HAS no children) the generally elderly makeup of our priesthood quorums might surprise visiting children.

  3. Bethany on June 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    In our rural branch growing up, we would frequently enlist visiting young men to bless/pass because my brother was it. We also did that with pianists so that we didn’t have to sing along with the CD.
    I thought wards were the coolest thing because they actually had primaries. I tell you, kids in wards have it so easy when it comes to the primary program. The three of us took up the whole hour. We were fabulous readers.

  4. Rachel Whipple on June 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    My 4 year old never noticed who was passing the sacrament until his older brother turned 12. Sacrament was suddenly very, very interesting to him. And now he wants to turn 12.

  5. Jason Hardy on June 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    We’ll tell Finn that he needs to be an example for all the young children of the ward. He will both love and hate that.

  6. Amira on June 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Yeah, my four-year-old has no idea that it’s weird to have his brother be the only deacon in the country. But that will hardly be the only thing that’s strange for him at church the next time he goes.

  7. Kent Larsen on June 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Traditionally in our wards the age distribution for the youth is like a pyramid — lots of babies (our ward will have over 20 new babies this year) and nursery age kids, decreasing as they hit school age until there are just a handful or even just one of most ages when they are teenagers.

    Part of it is due to the development of careers in the parents (which lead them elsewhere as they go up the ladder), part is the, IMO wrong-headed, suburban ideal, and part may be the assumptions about schools (urban schools are bad in the view of many, or the school near the home is bad) — which are often not justified either.

  8. Katie on June 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Ditto what Kent Larsen said

  9. PostScript on June 18, 2012 at 12:20 am

    About 5 years ago my ward had 2 Priests, 3 Teachers, and 2 Deacons. About once a month they’d all show up on the same day and we’d have the Sacrament done entirely by the young men, the rest of the time it being done mostly by the “old” men. For some strange reason, we now have 14 deacons, even after we went through a ward division last December and lost a lot of families. Just as an aside, while we only had 5 young me a few years ago, we had about 150 kids in Primary! I guess some of the kids are finally reaching 12 without their families moving out.

  10. jds on June 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    We visited a ward on Sunday in an area we’ve been thinking about building a home in. My almost-5yo was fascinated by the kids passing the Sacrament. “Why are the kids doing it, mom?”

    Re: what Kent said: I don’t know if the suburbs are “ideal,” but we are marketing our home and moving to a suburban locale to accommodate our growing family. Our cozy 1190 sf, 1 bathroom home won’t house my soon-to-move-in dad and our baby due in a week, in addition to our two other children. At least not in a manner where everyone over a certain age can enjoy privacy when desired.

    Urban wards are wonderful, and I’m loathe to leave mine. Deeply saddened, actually. But urban living is expensive, and our local schools leave much to be desired (I have strong opinions on the poor math and reading curriculum that the schools use). A suburban home is far more affordable (double the size of my current house for a lower mortgage payment on a shorter loan term).

    One thing I noticed about the suburban ward I visited: the primary was about the same size as ours. Perhaps we are attracted to areas that other families shun?

  11. Kent Larsen on June 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    jds, how many kids?

    We’ve raised three, infants to adult (I think I can about count two as adults, since #2 will turn 18 during the summer) in about 1000 square feet — a 3 bedroom apartment in a 50+ unit building in a neighborhood full of similar buildings packed together cheek to jowl.

    So, if you have more kids than I, or your kids are extremely active (which makes you yearn for a backyard), I’m not convinced that size is a real issue. Sure its nice to have more space, but I think its better to sit down and decide first how much space is reasonable.

    During my life, house sizes per person have steadily increased without rhyme or reason. From what I’ve seen, its usually because we steadily acquire more stuff that we really don’t use very often. Living rooms, despite their name, become formal event rooms in many houses, entered only when entertaining. Our grandparents would look at this and think we were spoiled or want to appear rich.

    jds, I’m not saying that this is you. I am suggesting that our consumer society is focused on more and more and never answers ahead of consumption the simplest question: how much is enough?

    And because we never ask or answer that question before we consume, we justify our consumption saying that we “need” more room or more things. I do it too. 90% of the things I have (mostly books) I have rarely or never used. But somehow I can always justify one more, and my Amazon wish list contains over 100 items!! Fortunately, books are quite space efficient and seem to be getting cheaper (if you are willing to buy used).

    I’m not criticizing you, jds, but I do have the perception that our society is out-of-wack when it comes to consumption, and housing is one of the chief areas where our society overconsumes. I encourage everyone to decide how much is enough coldly and objectively before they even consider buying.

  12. Cameron N on June 20, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Lots of people have huge houses that they don’t need, but more than that I find that I grew up with a nice back yard and want that for my kids. We had a good patch of yard to play sports on, and behind that there was unkept woodland that ran to the property line in a small creek.

    I’m a product designer, so I can appreciate the city as much as anyone, but I think people want some semblance of nature (read-trees, grass, forest, etc) around them, and hence suburbia with all it’s flaws, is still so sought after.

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