On Sunday We Attend Church
January 2014

“On Sunday We Attend Church,” Ensign, Jan. 2014, 34–35

On Sunday We Attend Church

The author lives in Utah, USA.

Attending church alone with six small children was a challenge. Why did I even bother?

As I struggled to comfort the fussy baby in my arms and quiet the restless toddler at my feet, a sister walked by on her way to Sunday School. She had seen me in the halls many times because that was where I spent the majority of my time during church.

“I don’t know why you even bother to come!” she laughingly said, echoing my own feelings of frustration. I, too, often wondered what was to be gained from attending church alone with my six small children. I rarely heard a complete talk or lesson. Since my husband served on the high council and sometimes went out of town on business, he was often gone for our ward meetings.

Just getting all six children ready for church was usually cause for exasperation. By the time I had put the last ribbon in place, the baby had invariably spit up on my dress or one of the boys had lost a shoe. Once we arrived at church, it was only a matter of minutes before the baby would need to be changed or the two-year-old would begin crying because there was no room left for him on my lap.

As I considered what that sister had said about why I even bothered, I thought of my childhood. My father was not a member of the Church and never went to meetings with the rest of us. Even though my mother was alone, she always took my three siblings and me to church. Not having a spouse with her never stopped her from worshipping at church and doing her best to participate.

Reflecting on my own situation, I realized I would never neglect to meet my children’s physical need for food each day. So why should their spiritual nourishment be neglected because my husband couldn’t be with us all the time?

It also became easier to go to church when I didn’t make the decision week by week. The decision was made once and for all—every Sunday we attend church. I knew it and the children knew it, so they didn’t waste time trying to find excuses not to go. They also knew that being unruly in the meetings was not a way to get me to let them stay home the next week.

As the years went by, though some Sundays were still difficult, the children began to learn how to sit quietly and listen to some of the talks. Occasionally one of the children would even quietly whisper, “I liked that story.”

Eventually my children grew up and moved away to start their own families. My daughter called once after a particularly trying day in church with her own toddler. “Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to go,” she lamented.

But really she knew why. From lessons learned when she was small, she knew—on Sunday we attend church.