I went to church today for the first time in months, because it was the primary program. I know the primary program is supposed to be cute and fun, and it certainly had that effect as I was making faces and waving at my own kids. But after a while, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I was glad that my 18-month old was acting up so I could take her out in the hallway.
As I sat in the pew today, I began to suspect that the primary program is the epitome of why I can't stand church. It wouldn't be so bad if most, or even some, of the kids went up and said things like, "I know I can be a good person by helping others." Or, "I can help my family by sharing my toys with my sister." Or, "When I mess up I know I can be forgiven." Or even, "Jesus told us to love everyone so I need to try to do that."
But did any of the kids say anything like that? Not hardly. Without a pause, four-year old after four-year old streamed up to the podium and announced things like, "I'm thankful we have a prophet we can follow, and his name is Thomas S. Monson." Or, "I know the prophet will never lead us astray." Or, "I know Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus, and Moroni helped him translate the Book of Mormon." Or, "I'm preparing to go on a mission." One six-year old had a black missionary nametag.
I've come to accept that this is standard fare, but come on. Far from uplifting, I find this extremely depressing. Can we ever let kids be kids? Do we really need to make every single one of them parrot doctrinal garbage when some of them are barely out of diapers? I don't like to think that my kids are being indoctrinated, and stuff like this primary program certainly doesn't ease my mind.
At least we ended the service by singing only two verses of "Praise to the Man". It could have been worse.