Sep 13, 2010


By: Rebecca Irvine

One of the things I enjoy doing, although it has been a rare occurrence, is speaking. I especially love speaking in sacrament meeting. Yes, I get nervous, but I love the challenge of putting together a well-balanced talk and then delivering it (which is a challenge in itself).

Well, a month ago I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting. I accepted willingly, with a smile on my face, and immediately began my background and research work. I spent a number of mornings looking up scriptures, pondering various conference talks, and then deciding which personal stories I might share. My scripture journal was more well used this past month than it has been for quite a while.

Yesterday was the big day. My stress level was high because I also had to teach Sharing Time in primary and attend ward council before church. As I sat on the stand waiting for my turn I shivered with cold despite having clamy palms. Communication apprehension was running high.

But it was all for nothing.

By the time it was my turn to speak there were only two minutes left in the meeting. You see, the bishopric had scheduled two youth speakers in addition to the three adult speakers (not to mention the choir number). And having been the mom sitting in the audience with the squirming children before, I could not bring myself to force everyone to sit there and listen to my 15 minute talk. That would be just a little selfish, right?

So, I stood up. Scrapped my talk. Spoke for two minutes on my assigned topic. And then sat down.

I think this is a lot like working on a manuscript for years and then getting turned down by a publisher. A great deal of sweat and tears, seemingly for nothing. At least with writing the manuscript can be resubmitted elsewhere. What are the chances I will be asked to speak on the same topic again in church?

I am guessing not good.


  1. I find these kinds of experiences fascinating. Oh the lessons learned! I love it when I have and "excuse" to delve into the scriptures and seriously ponder and apply them to principles of the gospel. We are told to learn and then share, but when your opportunity to share is cut short...must be frustrating! We are promised that we will be given the opportunity to use everything we learn. I wonder when that time will be for you on this subject!

  2. Yeah, what Kari said.

    But dang, that would be a let down after all the adrenaline-rush of waiting for your turn.

  3. My husband had to speak yesterday, and also only had 2 minutes...the speaker before him...who says she has social anxiety disorder and can't speak...ran way over.

    Guess it was leave no time for the last speaker Sunday.

  4. Oh, I hate it when that happens. Even when I'm in the congregation and I know I'm not going to get to hear what that speaker prepared.

  5. I'm sure there will be some opportunity to use that knowledge. Maybe there's a change ahead in your church calling that will use this newfound/remembered knowledge?

    How about creating an ebook on the subject? Put it on your website as a freebie, or send it to everyone who buys your print book "Adventures with the Word of God." If you don't have a way to track buyers (no personal website store), send it in exchange for their scanned receipt or email verification from an online store.

    Now I'm rambling, but I'm sure, as Kari said, your efforts won't be lost to you. After all, you were able to condense the essense of your subject into two minutes, and knew which personal experience to use for doing that. You've gained a strength, I say.

  6. Thanks for all your kind remarks--you have given me some great ideas to think about. I know I learned a lot from my personal study. That alone made the experience worthwhile.

  7. As a mother of two small, noisy, busy children I love people like you. Also, delivered or not, I'm sure you walked away with a greater understanding.

  8. I say save it in a file cause someone may ask for a talk with no assigned topic or a substitute for a lesson. But I like Masha's ideas for selling and marketing better. You always benefit from learning...

  9. No, all that preparation certainly is not lost. But this makes me appreciate our bishopric even more - they NEVER plan too many speakers, and if there's time left over at the end, well, either we have more time for Sunday School, or he calls someone out of the congregation, or he makes remarks himself. Love that man.

  10. Talks are often more for our own learning and growth, and you certainly accomplished all of that. How frustrating though to be so well prepared and not get to share. We had a non-homecoming (don't know what we call them now,)for a return missionary in our ward last month. The chapel and cultural hall were filled with his family and friends. There was a sister scheduled to speak before him and she took about 50 minutes. It seemed that everyone in the audience was squirming and quite disappointed. The return missionary finally had his chance to say "Hi" and bear his testimony in Korean. I can only imagine how those that drove a long distance to hear him felt. The sister that spoke appolized to him after saying she hadn't realized it was his homecoming. Homecoming or not, she knew there was a 2nd speaker. Weird.


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