How Embarrassing!

Is it just me or is sacrament meeting a prime place for embarrassing moments? And not just the meeting, but specifically during the sacrament itself.  While I have 3 whole hours to make a fool of myself in front of my congregation, it is during those sacred 15 minutes of blessing and passing of bread and water that our family is most likely to call attention to themselves.

Of course the more serious an event is the greater potential there is for irreverence. When my friend Jen’s son was two he was convinced the whole thing was like a mid-meeting treat and would shout out: “I LOVE the Snackrament!” I wish I could say my most embarrassing church story was because of something wacky the kids did (I need to shout out to my sis-in-law Sarah who mooned the entire Primary when she was 3). But it wasn’t the kids. It was me.

A little background. Sometime in 2000, we discovered that my husband Dave had developed a sesame allergy. So if he bit into a burger that had seeds on the bun, or any Chinese food that had come in contact with any seeds or oil (basically all of it), he’d get itchy, then red, then his throat would start closing. You get the picture. Well one Sunday we’re sitting in church wrestling 3 kids and I mindlessly grab a piece of bread from the sacrament tray and chew it. Mmmm. Savory. Crunchy. And then it clicks that I’m tasting sesame seeds. I look over at oblivious Dave who has the bread half way to his mouth and I dive across two kids to smack his hand away and shout in a stage whisper, “Don’t take the sacrament!!!!”

Everyone in a 6 foot radius goes stiff and silent. In the pew ahead of us are the Temple President and Matron. She steals a glance at us and shakes her head. Dave was the president of the young men’s organization and the boy holding the tray for our row looked like he was going to cry as he imagined what sordid thing Dave must have done for me to literally knock the bread out of his sinning hand. I turned beet red and felt like I was going into anaphylactic shock. Being the center of attention is just fine by me, but being the center of a scene–I was mortified. Dave loved it. Thought it was hilarious.

And there’s no way to gracefully dig oneself out of embarrassing moments. I am still cursing my sis-in-law Sue for getting me into trouble with our delivery man. Sue refers to the UPS man as “brown Santa” because they bring presents and wear brown. So this summer I hear a loud knock and I open the door to find a package there that I’d been dying to get. I scoop it up and shout across the road, “Thanks Brown Santa!!!” And when I look up I see an African American UPS guy shaking his head at me in disgust. There’s no extraction at that point so I slink back in the house and order things via FedEx for a while.

Sometimes I think a little humiliation is good for the soul. Especially as a parent. Kids routinely delve into humiliation–wetting the bed, crying in public, falling off monkey bars with the whole playground watching. Then when they come cryin’ to me, which they always do, I can nod my head and say I understand. And mean it.

What are your embarrassing sacrament moments?

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17 Responses

  1. Stephanie says:

    My worst was when my skirt fell off as I was walking out of Sacrament meeting. It was after my first was born, and I didn’t realize I had lost too much weight to wear a particular skirt. I wore the skirt and was carrying my son out of Sacrament meeting when my skirt just slipped to my ankles. Somehow I grabbed it with one hand and yanked it back up and ran out of the chapel to the parking lot where I cried and begged someone to go tell my husband to come so we could go home. He never got the message, so after about an hour, I got the courage to go into Sunday School and get him out. Noone ever said anything. It happened toward the last pew, so I think that the only people who might have seen were those on the stand. Either the Bishopric was asleep or too polite to say, “Ha! Ha! I saw your g’s”.

    • Heather says:

      Oh oh oh! Those stretchy elastic waistbands can be a girls BFF or her downfall. One time I went to stand for the congregational hymn and my 2 year old sitting next to me was holding onto the skirt…and I stand up and the skirt went to my knees. Good friends were behind me and they are the only ones who got a garment mooned. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  2. Ziff says:

    Heather, the story of you forbidding your husband to take the sacrament is hilarious!

    I’m sorry I don’t have any good stories to share, but I can say that as a deacon and priest, I worried endlessly about botching various aspects of the sacrament. I was sure I’d spill trays on people, on the floor, say the prayers wrong, etc. But none of it ever happened.

  3. Jessawhy says:

    When my oldest son was little, we would whisper to him during the sacrament about the meaning of the emblems we were eating.
    We told him that the bread represents Jesus’ body and the water represents his blood.

    One Sacrament meeting when he was 3 or 4, he was eating the bread with a lot of enthusiasm and in his outside voices, exclaims for half the church to hear, “Mmmmm, Jesus’s BODY!”

    I wasn’t sure if I should laugh of cry.
    We haven’t taught the other children quite like we taught the first.

  4. beth says:

    This actually happened at a funeral, but it was still in the chapel, so it counts, right? I was asked to play the organ at a funeral of someone I didn’t know. I got there about 15 minutes early to play the prelude music. The bishop was the only person in the chapel and he was sitting there going over notes. The halls were packed with people though. I had on a black dress with a slit up the back that went up to just above my knees. I sat on the organ bench and as I slid over, the back of my dress caught on the bench and it tore the slit all the way up above my butt. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t leave because the funeral was about to start. I couldn’t not do anything because I was going to be sitting in front of hundreds of people. My husband wasn’t home so I couldn’t call him to bring me something. The bishop told me to go into the sacrament preparation room and he would find help. 2 or 3 minutes later, a lady I’d never met before came in with a stapler and stapled the heck out of my dress. Thank goodness I was wearing a black slip or it never would have worked. I managed to make it through the funeral and then snuck out the side entrance when it was over. I was hoping that the only two people who knew were the bishop and the helpful woman, but sadly, the bishop thought it was too hilarious to keep to himself and apparently everyone at the funeral knew about it and soon the whole ward did too. We were friends so I know he wasn’t being mean spirited. But still.

  5. Walden says:

    I’m not a sister (I’m a guy), but hope you don’t mind me passing along one I was witness to. Those who have raised kids may have noted that babies & toddlers will many times, when their diaper is already wet, actually “hold” any further urinary contributions, having discovered that mom will soon change the diaper, and they will a nice, comfy, fresh one to do it in. One day during sacrament meeting, for some reason it occurred to my wife to attend to the wet diaper on our first baby, right during the sacrament. I suppose she no doubt out of habit checked his diaper, and finding it to be wet, followed a mom’s instincts and “openned the package”, thinking to change it. Well…. ….you guessed it!!! No sooner did she undo the urine-saturated diaper the little tyke had on, when he cut loose with a new stream he had been holding back…. so, we had the “fountain of youth” right there in the middle of the sacrament – shooting high into the air (she had him laying down on the bench we were sitting on). She made a heroic effort to cover it up up and keep it from shooting all over the place, but…. well, I’m sure you can imagine the scene for yourselves! She got drenched, and there was urine all over the bench and the floor… he was too tiny to understand any verbal commands yet, and there was no way he was going to just stop doing it right in the middle of relieving himself…. so, obviously he just kept done til he was finished. She did, after a few frantic moments, finally think to cover him back over with the diaper she had just undone, but of courrse, not before he had already done a pretty good spray job. Ok, I guess that is an adequately grotesque description of how things played out. Anyway, no doubt most everyone has come through some moments that they wouldn’t want to live through again, given any choice in the matter!

  6. Walden says:

    Ok… I can’t resist… gotta pass along another moment of embarrassment. I will concede in advance that this one is slightly off-topic, since it didn’t happen during sacrament meeting, or even at church, for that matter… in fact, it happened at the laundromat – but it has an element in common with the original story that got all of us going here.

    I’ve had since I was a kid a fascination with rocks & minerals, and when my kids were still relatively small (perhaps around 4 or 5 years old) I had a sort of a “relapse”, and got myself one of those little prospector’s picks… the kind that looks sort of like a hammer with a point like a pick on one end, instead of the usual “claws” that a claw hammer has… anyway, I had this implement and a few other minor items in the back of our station wagon, to have them handy if I happened upon a spot that merited some poking around. One day we went to the laundromat, & while we were inside doing the laundry, we left the little ones in the station wagon, just sticking our heads out the door every now & then to make sure everything was ok (it seemed less trouble than having them running all over the laundromat and getting into mischief). My wife (a native of mexico… we spoke spanish between us, normally) went out to check on the kids, and returned red-faced and furious, and lit into me in spanish, giving me a scolding the likes of which I have rarely received… it seems that our son had found the prospector’s pick in the back of the station wagon where I had left it, and he had taken it and used the pick-end to poke holes in the back seat of the car, absolutely all over the back seat! My wife was absolutely furious with me for having been so dumb as to leave that kind of thing where the kids could get their hands on it and do that kind of damage (and I gotta admit, that was REALLY bad… and could easily have turned out much worse than it did), so she gave me an absolutely furious scolding… in fact, she was so mad and red-faced furious that another young woman who was there in the landromat came to her support and also verbally ripped me up one side and down the other, letting me know in no uncertain terms what kind of a scum-ball she thought I was, then turned to my wife and said to her, “poor thing, what did he do to you???” (remember, the scolding all took place in Spanish, since my wife wasn’t yet proficient enough in English to express that kind of fury at a level that would match/satisfy her current level of rage) ….so I also got ripped by a woman who was a total stranger – she had it figured that for my wife to be that outraged, I must have done something REALLY, really bad (well, and I did, I guess; though not of the nature she apparently assumed… she had it figured that I must have cheated on her, or done some similarly horrendous and shameful thing). So, there you have it… it’s amazing how things going on between people can be misconstrued. You can develop a reputation for being a louse without the need to ever even engage in the behaviour!

  7. My sister once got up and yelled, “When’s it time for the snack!?!?!”

    My other sister turned around in the pew, and, quoting one of our favorite movies, asked our neighbor, “Can I have your watch when you are dead?” He said yes. I wonder if she’ll hold him up to that some day.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I still remember the first sacrament meeting in my BYU singles ward one fall. There was a particularly cute guy passing the sacrament. Apparently I was so stricken by his appearance that I chose to dribble the water all down my chin and dress. I predictably ended up in the friend zone with him.

  9. P.S. says:

    Not anywhere near as funny as some of the others, but here goes:

    Since I’m the ward organist, I usually stay seated on the organ bench after the Sacrament Hymn, and then go sit with my family after the Sacrament has been passed. One Sunday, the three-year-old brother of one of my piano students noticed me sitting there at the organ during the Sacrament and started calling my name. The kid didn’t care, but his mother and I were both quite red! He kept calling out to me intermittently for about five minutes.

  10. Carol says:

    I have three Sacrament Meeting moments:

    1. When my two year old daughter reached over and pulled off the wig of the women sitting in front of us. (It was our second visit to our new ward. )

    2. My mother says as a toddler I stood my and yelled, “Hey, boy, bring me some bread!”

    3. During a Fast and Testimony meeting, an apostle was sitting on the stand because one of his relatives’ babies had been blessed. A mother took her toddler out before the sacrament was passed to change the child’s diaper. The child needed to be stripped down (big mess), and while the mother was finding the new diaper, the little girl escaped and ran naked down the aisle, across the front of the chapel, and up the other aisle with the mom running after the little girl.

  11. Jenn says:

    I went to sacrament meeting with a friend in high school. Someone must have passed gas and her little bother stood up on the pew, put his hands on his hips and said loudly “All right, who shi… their pants”. I think his mom about died. She kept saying “where did you hear that word from”. His response was from his older brother.

    I have a 3 year old son who only has one volume; super loud. For some reason we can’t get him to understand whispering. We have been in the process of potty training and explained to him where poop comes from. So while the sacrament was being passed he said “Mom, I ate bananas, toast and yogurt and now I made poop. You need to change my diaper.”

    One lady got up to talk and after a few minutes, my son said “I don’t like this show, I want a new one. Go away lady.”

  12. Ann Broadbent says:

    I attended a BYU ward only one time, and the Sunday I did, the poor woman who was conducting the choir got up for their special musical number, turned around, and then the ENTIRE congregation noticed that her skirt was tucked into her waistband, giving us a nice rear view.

    And there are other clothing malfunctions–blouses that become unbuttoned right before giving a talk, skirts that have become unzippered during stake conference, and (I hate to say it, this just happened two weeks ago)… my sweater was on inside-out. And I have to play the organ in front of the entire congregation…. The 16 year old sitting behind me once I got back to my seat was busting a gut and STILL asks me if I get dressed in the dark.

  13. Stephanie says:

    Had one of these today! My one year old daughter was on the floor playing with two other toddlers her age during RS. For the most part, they were playing well and quietly, taking turns digging stuff out of our diaper bags. I felt safe to turn my attention away to make a really fantastic (of course) comment. As I finished, I looked down to see a tampon go flying toward my purse. I turned around to see all of the women behind me cracking up. Apparently the little girls had pulled it out of my purse and passed it around to each other until one started sucking on it. At that point, another mom took it away and threw it to me. I said, “Please at least tell me that it was my own daughter sucking on the tampon?” Nope!

  14. Corktree says:

    The image of the horrified deacon and the “Brown Santa” story made me laugh out loud today. I needed that, thanks.

  1. March 23, 2011

    […] Jessawhy, commenting on Heather’s post “How Embarrassing!” at the Exponent: When my oldest son was little, we would whisper to him during the sacrament about the meaning of the emblems we were eating. We told him that the bread represents Jesus’ body and the water represents his blood. […]

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