The Sounds of Mormon

SprinklerIt happens most in summer. I miss my childhood home in a small rural town in Idaho.

I miss the expansive sky and impressive sunsets. I miss the smell of farmed earth. And lately I’ve been missing the sounds of summer: the high call of a killdeer or the certain way dry air blows in the trees at night. Most of all, I miss the sound of sprinklers in the fields. Here in Northern Virginia (where I live now), it rains, so there is no need for sprinklers. But in Idaho that steady ch, ch, ch, ch sound of the large sprinklers gives me a feeling of peace.

And, as today is Sunday, I’m thinking of sounds of church and worship and being Mormon. Below is the “sounds of Mormon” I compiled in Sacrament Meeting today. They all make me smile.

  • The zip-zip-zip of scriptures closing at end of Sunday School.
  • The clunk-clunk-clunk of chairs being folded and set against the wall after RS when you’re the last ward in the building.
  • The clink and clank of chairs being quickly and neatly stacked after EVERY church activity.
  • The twak-twak of a basket ball dribbled on the gym floor whenever there is a boy (old or young) in the church building. (And it’s not Sunday, of course.)
  • The quiet water that runs in the (poorly stocked) church kitchen as members wash dishes after a funeral.
  • The gushing water as the baptismal font fills.
  • The strange echoing sound in all church bathrooms (why is that?).
  • The screech of microphone feedback, which always seems to accompany every MC at any road show.
  • The cracking voice of a new priest blessing the sacrament.
  • The click-click-click of small sacrament cups dropping back into the tray.
  • The Elder belting out “we’re going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell” … heard through the dividing wall during Relief Society.
  • The swish of polyester in the temple halls.
  • The almost silent tinkling of the chandeliers in the Celestial Room of the Washington DC Temple.


What are your favorite “sounds of Mormon”?



Suzette lives in the Washington DC area and works as a Professional Organizer. She enjoys blogging and serving on the Exponent II Board. Her Mormon roots run deep and she loves her big Mormon family which includes 20 nieces and nephews, 6 sisters, 5 brother in laws, 2 parents - and dozens of cousins. Her favorite things about church are the great Alexandria wards, temple worship, and all things Visiting Teaching.

You may also like...

9 Responses

  1. Elizabeth says:

    How about the distinctive sound of a child’s head cracking on the pew in front of them followed by a profound silence followed by a sure intake of breath followed by the expected howl. (Makes me half smile every time. Don’t judge me 🙂 )

  2. anita says:

    Organ prelude music welcoming you in; the rustle of being handed the Sunday program by your newly tall son; the thuds of hymnals returned to their perch; happy chatter in the hallways; crying babies and toddlers being whisked out of the chapel.
    Thanks for this fun post–have you seen the instagram feed Textures of Mormonism?

  3. Mike R. says:

    Children breathing heavily into the microphone between phrases.

  4. Violadiva says:

    Sweet, sweeping nostalgia. I relished all of these memorable sounds. I hear the Primary kids playing the “hot and cold” game where they alternate belting and whispering; the clink of high heels on the gym floor; the podium raising and lowering; the swish of kids playing in the stage curtains; the chorus of “amens” in every voice tone and volume after every prayer or testimony. Funny….after reading your list, I wondered “do we hear the noises women make?”

  5. spunky says:

    I love this, Suzette. I love the quite chatter just before passing through the veil in the temple, and the “knocking” sounds. I also oddly love the hum of hairdryers in the temple baptistery.

  6. Ziff says:

    This is great, Suzette! I don’t have anything to add to your list of church sounds, but the sound of sprinklers that you describe is so evocative for me too. I grew up in the desert in the western US too, and when I was about 10, there was a school built across the street from my house. My family didn’t have air conditioning, so we always had the windows open at night in the summer, and I almost always fell asleep to the sound of the sprinklers watering the school’s lawns. Oh, and I’ve also now moved east to a place where sprinklers are much less needed. I miss them too.

  7. Kathy says:

    I hadn’t realized how consistent a backdrop these sounds were during all my childhood. Thank you for putting me in that nostalgic space for a moment. I don’t have any sounds to add at the moment, but I’ll definitely pay more attention to the small sounds around me next time I go to church.

  8. Suzette says:

    Thanks all for your “sound additions”. I’m adding them to the list of things I love.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.