Monday, December 17, 2007


Somebody did something at Church yesterday that REALLY bothered me. I wasn't there for the first part of it (since I've been sitting on the couch in the foyer during Sacrament Meeting so that I'm not too sore to make it through the rest of church). Peter was in the chapel, and somebody behind him gave a toy cell phone to a small child to play with. The phone started making electronic noises, and after a few minutes, when the girl's parents did nothing to silence the phone or take it away, Peter turned around and said something like, "Could you make that phone stop making noise?"

Somebody took the phone away from the child, and the matter seemed closed. At the end of Relief society, Peter came to find me, and the child's grandmother apologized to him. She said she couldn't figure out how to turn the phone off, and that whoever brought it to church wasn't thinking clearly. As we were walking out to the car, the child's mother came up to Peter and said, "That was really rude, what you did in Sacrament Meeting today. You should just ignore the noise." Peter said, "No, you were rude, to bring something into the meeting that would make noise and disturb the people around you." She persisted. "You were wrong to tell my child to be quiet, If you didn't like the noise, you should have just gotten up and walked out!" Peter was tired, hungry, and stressed about other things, and this was the last straw. He half-shouted, "No, YOU were wrong!" I was very uncomfortable, and could see that this would go nowhere good, and got Peter to walk away, but we were both upset.

Where does this woman get off? Common courtesy (as we are reminded often, by several different sources) dictates that you should turn off your Cell Phone ringer when in meetings, movies, or other places where it might disturb others. If you forget, then turning it off as soon as it rings, and looking appropriately embarrassed for all the people who've turned around to glare at you is the accepted practice. Surely, the same rules should apply to a toy that makes the same noises. At the same time, we frequently have lessons or talks about reverence in Sacrament Meeting. We're a family oriented church, so people accept that there will be some noise from young children, but when a baby starts to really cry, or a child can't be kept fairly quiet, one parent or the other generally picks them up and takes them out to the foyer so that others can continue to listen to the meeting. This happens several times in EVERY sacrament meeting in EVERY family ward in the church. If everybody who was disturbed by the noise had to leave, then we'd be left with nobody in the chapel but crying babies.

I'm pretty sure that she did it because she was angry that she felt embarrassed earlier, but I don't see how the second rudeness makes up for the first. I hate to see Peter in no-win situations like that. She was entirely in the wrong, for bringing the noisy phone, for giving it to the child, for not silencing it when it made noise, and for confronting Peter to tell him HE was the rude, but from the point of view of everybody in the parking lot who could hear the last part, Peter looked like he was the one being unreasonable and threatening.