All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ

High Council Sunday

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So, here’s some humour for your Sabbath day.

In the LDS Church we have a lay ministry. All of the local leaders of the Church, teachers, and others are asked – or called in our terminology – to serve in a particular way for a (usually unknown) period of time. It can be daunting. It can be frustrating. It can be exhilarating and incredibly spiritually uplifting. It’s one of the ways we worship and serve the Lord, by doing what we are asked to do to teach and uplift others.

One of the things men can be called to do is to serve on what is called the High Council. Twelve men will be called into these positions at any one time, and the role is basically to help leaders organise different elements of the Church across several of our congregations.

Accompanying these responsibilities is usually the requirement to also attend a different congregation one Sunday each month to give a sermon. Now, it should be noted, that men are virtually never called to serve on the High Council because of their ability to address a congregation. And the result of that is that once a month each congregation has some guy who many don’t recognise come and spend 20 minutes or more speaking with varying degrees of ability.

This is usually called “High Council Sunday”, and across the world is usually met by varying degrees of groans. I should know: I’ve lived, and experienced High Council Sunday, on four continents. Don’t get me wrong, some High Councillors are really excellent speakers. Others… well, it’s just not something they’ve been blessed with.

I don’t say this to be critical. Indeed, I have served as a High Councillor on several occasions. Speaking in front of a large congregation of people you don’t know can be daunting. In fact, I have often wondered how many groans I have induced in others.

But, we serve. We do our very best. And the Lord will be happy with that.

So with all of this as introduction, a few years ago I wrote a short poem about High Council Sunday. Please note that at the time, I was in fact serving on the High Council.

With that in mind, I hope you enjoy, and that it serves to put a smile on your face – even, or especially, if you’re a High Councillor.


High Council Sunday

I left for Church one sunny morn,
Uplifted I would be.
For the teachers I would hear from
Would prepare most carefully.
Their testimonies, quiet and sure,
Would declare things that were true.
Their words, spoken from the heart,
Would touch my spirit too.
The Holy Ghost would testify,
And so my heart would burn.
And in my Sabbath classes
Of the scriptures I would learn.
But when I got to chapel doors
I learned to my dismay,
A High Councillor had arrived
To speak to us on this Sunday.
I undaunted sat in chapel pews
My hope I tried to keep,
That happiness – not misery –
Would cause my eyes to weep.
But though I like to think
That I’m naturally optimistic,
I’m no match for High Councillors –
World class soporifics
The time arrived for him to stand
And commencing his dull drone,
His voice projected through the hall
In lifeless monotone.
The clock was watched and time implored
To speed me through the hour.
But second-hand stood frozen
In the grip of boredom’s power.
In horror, panic, or maybe dread
I found my circumstance.
My body’s self-preservation sure
I entered a deep trance.
I’m sure that any who could see
Would spot my eyes were glazed.
But in truth I think it likely
That all present were dazed.
And after what seemed eternity
The meeting finally ceased.
My body’s healing could begin
My soul again find peace.
A month gone by, and mostly free
From that Sunday’s great sorrow,
It pains me to remember
That he’s back again tomorrow.


© Copyright 2013, Jeffrey Collyer

Author: JeffC

I'm a 50-something bloke who lives in the northern hills of England. I write fiction (mostly fantasy), blog about religion and work in book publishing after a career in healthcare.

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