Sometimes Going to Church Is Like Eating Your Vegetables, With One Big Difference

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A salad.

I was recently thinking about our Sunday church meetings when the following thought came to me as it probably has at some point to you:

“Man … church is sometimes pretty boring.”

Another thought, probably not my own, followed after the first one:

“Well, church isn’t meant to be entertaining.”

OK, if church isn’t meant to be entertaining, then what is it? The answer to that question came (ironically) while sitting in a recent gospel doctrine class.

Church meetings are like spiritual vegetables. But before we dive into that a little more…

According to their language, unto their understanding

Jesus Christ and child.

At first, I thought it was a bit strange for the Spirit to be speaking to me in vegetable metaphors. But I’m thankful the Lord is willing to adjust His language to condescend down to our meager human capacities. The scriptures reiterate this point over and over again:

Doctrine and Covenants 50:12,

Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I, the Lord, reason with you that you may understand.

Doctrine and Covenants 1:24,

Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

2 Nephi 31:3,

For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.

In other words, God is totally willing to take important principles and dumb them down for us, so that we might better understand. On this particular Sunday, I think that might have been exactly what happened. Anyways… vegetables…

Related: Why is attending all of our meetings a requirement to enter the temple?

Eat your vegetables

A variety of fruits and vegetables.

Going to Church is sometimes like eating your vegetables.

  • Vegetables aren’t the most fun or entertaining things to eat. Sometimes church meetings aren’t fun or entertaining, either.
  • Some people flat-out don’t like vegetables. Some people flat-out don’t like going to church.
  • Despite our individual preferences, it’s important for everyone to eat their vegetables, because they provide essential physical nourishment. It’s also important for everyone to attend church meetings, because they provide essential spiritual nourishment.

But as I thought a little more about that simplified (and generalized) comparison, an extremely important caveat surfaced.

The Moroni 7 principle

Latter-day Saint (Mormon) chapel.

Here’s Moroni 7:6-9,

For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

I’m sure you get the point. When you eat your vegetables, you automatically get the nutrients associated with those vegetables. But when you attend your Sunday meetings, you still don’t automatically assimilate those essential spiritual nutrients. Whether or not you receive the nutrients depends largely on your intent and your attitude. Moroni 7 might as well read as follows:

For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he attendeth his Sunday meetings, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

For behold, if a man being evil attendeth his meetings, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had stayed in his house; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall do anything and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

Moral of the story

Portrait of Jesus Christ

God has asked us through our prophets to attend our Sunday meetings. Attendance provides essential spiritual nutrients, sort of how vegetables provide nutrients to your physical body. Not eating vegetables won’t immediately harm you, but over time you may become deficient in various vitamins and minerals. The same applies to attending your Sunday meetings, with one important caveat:

In order for you to assimilate essential nutrients from church, attitude matters. Are you attending grudgingly? What is your intent? Having real intent doesn’t mean you have to be over-the-moon excited for church. All the Lord requires can be found in 3 Nephi 9:19-20,

And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.

And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

A broken heart and a contrite spirit. That’s the goal. As we come to church with an empty cup, we give God the opportunity to fill it. That’s the only way to get the nutrients we need.

Have any additional thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!

David Snell is a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's the Founder of The Sunday Pews, and has experience writing for Mormon Newsroom Pacific, KBYU11, Classical 89 Radio, FamilyShare.com and plenty more. He tries not to take himself too seriously and just wants to brighten your day a bit.