Today is the last day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold a three-hour meeting block. After nearly 40 of this schedule, Sunday services will only be two hours in duration starting next week.
Officially, this change is part of a shift toward more personal and family study which is home-based. Unofficially, it is a shift away from a meeting structure which has grown stale.
This shift is also a recognition of change in our attention spans. I am not sure if we used to have a longer attention span (I have always had an attention deficit). However, I think we are now more aware of how our attention span impacts the amount of communication and learning that takes place. A longer lesson or a longer meeting does not necessarily facilitate more learning or increase the amount of information that is transmitted. Likewise, a shorter block may not be an improvement if we don’t use it wisely. No amount of change to the block or curriculum will make up for poor teaching.
I am curious to see what other changes along these lines will take place. The gutting of regional pageants (like the Hill Cumorah Pagaent) was justified as being part of a move toward a home-based focus. That was a stretch (to put it nicely). However, I am curious as to whether we will see shorter General Conference sessions and a change in the format of early-morning seminary (I will write about these at a later point).
While the change in our Sunday meeting block reflects a shift in emphasis (a shift from church to home), it does not reflect a grand shift in doctrine or theology. However, it is a distinct change in the practice of Mormonism. Lived Mormonism is the Mormonism that most interests me and it will be the focus of my new series Mormon Journal. My Mormon Journal posts will focus on teaching, scriptures, and my own experiences. These experiences will include some of my reflections of being a parent of a missionary.