An LDS Church meetinghouse was recently swallowed by a giant sinkhole when a Relief Society teacher didn’t have enough class time to get through everything she had prepared. This was reported by Sister Annette Banks, who had slipped out early because she had company coming for dinner and needed to get a roast in the oven.
“I knew, as I was leaving, that Sister Jensen was never going to get through everything she had prepared,” Annette says. “There were only 7 minutes left in class, and they were just dividing into several discussion groups. After the groups had come up with a favorite scripture and personal story about their assigned topic, they were supposed to report back to the class. Sorry, but that alone is going to put the lesson into overtime. Not to mention that Sister Jensen still needed to do the wrap-up and bear her testimony. Then you have the song and closing prayer. No matter how fast Sister Jensen talked, there was just no way to do it.”
It is rumored, but not yet confirmed, that Sister Jensen had passed out 7 Church leader quotes on slips of paper before class started, but only 4 had been read to the class at the time of the calamity. She also had the T.V. from the library up front, so it can be assumed she was planning on showing a brief video at some point before the rumbling, sucking noises of the Earth splitting open started.
Possible causes explored
Surviving members of the ward are trying to avoid placing blame for the catastrophe. “Some people think that this kind of disaster is caused by releasing the Primary a few minutes early,” shared Brother Bunsen, who was home with a cold, “but in my experience, children repeatedly opening the door a crack and peeking into the Relief Society room to look for their moms during the last 5 minutes of class only causes minor damage. You can’t blame little children for a whole building sinking miles below the Earth’s surface. That can only be caused by an intense, slightly obsessive, but well-intentioned teacher who sincerely needs to get through everything she has prepared.”
Annette comes to Sister Jensen’s defense, adding, “it’s not her fault that she couldn’t get through everything she had prepared. Sacrament meeting ran over, so naturally Sunday School went a few minutes over. There were also a lot of birthdays to announce in Relief Society, and there were a ton of visitors to introduce because we had 3 baby blessings today.”
Some people feel the complete annihilation of the ward building could have been avoided by teaching a 2-hour “class commenting sensitivity” training for enrichment. Annette explained the predicament of long class comments, saying, “we are supposed to be encouraging class participation so that everyone gets more out of the lesson, but on the other hand, the teacher must get through everything she prepares. So it’s really an impossible situation. That’s why we need the class commenting sensitivity training. If the teacher is smiling, nodding, and saying “uh-huh” during a long comment or story, but the color is draining from her face and she is tapping on the table with her fingernails, it means wrap up your comment fast. And no one else should raise their hand for the remainder of the lesson. Not everyone is sensitive enough to get that.”
After several Sunday School teachers’ heads exploded due to trying to get through everything that they had prepared, the Church started including this in the Sunday school manuals:
“Covering all the lesson material is less important than helping class members better understand the scriptures and commit themselves to increased discipleship. If class members are learning from a good discussion, it is often helpful to let it continue rather than try to cover all the lesson material.” 1
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland also recently discouraged the kind of perfectionism that can lead to these disasters: “My brothers and sisters, except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call ‘toxic perfectionism.’ We should avoid that latter excessive expectation of ourselves and of others.” 2
Daring rescue underway
“Until we come up with some kind of solution,” says Bishop Banks, “this kind of thing will keep happening. We’ve had a multi-stake rescue effort going on all day. I’m just grateful that there are no fatalities so far. A big thank-you to the scouts who rappelled down and helped folks out of the sinkhole. We still haven’t found Sister Jensen, but we’re hoping for the best.”
Disclaimer: This is meant to be a satirical piece based on fictional characters. Although we’ve heard many teachers say this, and we’ve probably said this ourselves, this particular account is not about real ward or a single event.