I fondly remember the annual Aaronic Priesthood commemoration campouts I went to growing up and then later with my young sons. What could be better than camping with your dad or with your sons? We'd have a campfire fireside with funny stories and skits that culminated in a spiritual message about the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. We'd retire to sleep with peaceful thoughts of angelic visitations and how lucky we were to be members of the One True Church on the face of the earth and we'd fall asleep in the middle of God's creations. We'd wake in the morning to sizzling bacon and pancakes prepared by the bishopric and then spend the day hiking, fishing, and just enjoying a day out in nature. As a youth I never thought of it, but as a father I felt a little guilty that the daughters in the church never got to experience this with their fathers unless their fathers organized it themselves and that rarely happened because the church kept them so busy.
Anyway, I just received the agenda for this weekend's exciting Tri-Stake Aaronic Priesthood Encampment. To be honest, when I received the email I thought I'd see if the boys wanted to go. After all, it was camping. We could put up with the fireside and could probably keep from laughing since we now know that Joseph and Oliver made the whole priesthood thing up several years after it supposedly happened. But then I opened the attached agenda. This is what the boys have to look forward to:
Eat before arriving Friday evening (no camp cooking). Apparently they will be staying in cabins. The first evening will be spent in dockers and collared shirts listening to an hour from the Stake President and then another hour with a devotional on The Role of the Priesthood in the Plan of Salvation.
Saturday they have to get up at 7:00 am for Group Scripture Study. Then they have to dress up again and sit through more Mormon endoctrination from 9:00 am to 12:00. After lunch they get to don white shirts and ties for the exciting Preach My Gospel Introduction and the even funner Preach My Gospel Activity. Then they get 40 minutes of free time and then two hours participating in the Sons of Helaman Games.
After dinner they get to set goals and prepare for yet another fireside with their Stake President. Then they get another devotional with their Counselor before turning in for the night.
But that's not all! Sunday they get to have an all male Sacrament Meeting with a real live General Authority.
I can see they are working hard to win the hearts and minds of their youth.
It pains me to see the church tear out everything fun that it used to have and replace it with these kind of unsubtle, intense, endoctrination sessions. Do they think that this will really work? I think that they honestly believe that the answer to the church's problems is to increase the level of spirituality. Instead, I think that they are taking away any reason a borderline member has for attending. Actually, I'm glad to see it. It shows how desparate they are.
I'd say I'm speechless, but I guess I'm not. What a bunch of mucking forons.