Moving to the lesser law — a bitter farewell to the 2.5 hour block

May 21, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 9:55 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

It’s finally over. After about 4 years of enjoying the higher law in our stake — a 2.5 hour block every Sunday — we are switching back to the standard 3 hour block. Lament and wail oh ye Queen Creek saints; Zion hath fled!

I know what some of you are thinking: “A 2.5 hour block?? That must be awesome.” It has not just been awesome… oh no. It has been the most awesomely awesome awesomeness that ever inspired awe in some… uhhh… people. But alas it is over. Starting this Sunday we are back to three full hours. I don’t know how we’ll survive it. But survive it we must I suppose.

Anyway, if you are interested in getting on the 2.5 hour block just move to an area where there are way more Mormons than buildings to hold them. We have had to jam 5 large wards into each building in the area for years. It turns out that the best way to do that is by shaving 30 minutes off the block. (Our stake in ’04 is now 5 stakes and our ward in ’04 is now 4 wards with another split pending.) But after 4 years the number of buildings in the area is finally catching up to the number of saints. Our latest new building opens on Sunday and it is the end of an era here.

Wish us luck. We are hoping there won’t be any casualties with the new (but decidedly not improved) marathon-like three hour Sunday services for our ward.

Associated song: The Verve — Bitter Sweet Symphony



  1. Ha! Finally. Every week it just eats at me knowing you are skating out a half-hour early. Now I can enjoy the 3 hour block, knowing that the church is true in Arizona once again.

    Comment by Jacob J — May 21, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  2. You mock my pain

    Comment by Geoff J — May 21, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  3. life is pain

    Comment by Jacob J — May 21, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  4. True. I suppose anyone who tells me differently is trying to sell me something…

    Comment by Geoff J — May 21, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  5. Geoff – we mourn your loss. Note that there are presently three versions of the two-hour block you can opt for. There’s the skip priesthood version, the skip sacrament version, and the skip Sunday School version (split-shift, but does not require spouse approval).

    Comment by Dave — May 22, 2008 @ 4:49 am

  6. I just got fired from being Ward Clerk, so I’m down from the 7 hour block to the 4 1/2 hour block….


    Comment by Matt W. — May 22, 2008 @ 5:07 am

  7. Hello Geoff,

    I am a bit curious, is the Church growing there because of convert baptisms, or because members are moving to AZ. in large numbers? If convert baptisms, perhaps you could share the secret to those of us less fortunate.

    Comment by CEF — May 22, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  8. CEF, the growth has been commensurate with the housing construction in the area. Loads of Mesa Morms andus outta state Morms just happened to converge in this area SE of Mesa this decade.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 22, 2008 @ 8:20 am

  9. Geoff,
    Although I lament for you the passing of awesomely awsome awesomeness, your prescription for getting a 2.5-hour block doesn’t necessarily work. A few years ago in our stake we had about 8 units meeting in one building, which was fine because, between the four or five floors of the building were two chapels and basically two churches worth of classrooms. But then they converted the top two floors into a temple, and suddenly we had 7 or 8 units meeting in a building with one chapel, one church worth of classrooms, and two elevators right outside the chapel (which jammed things when church ended, when wards switched sacrament meetings, etc.). But each and every unit continued with the 3-hour block.

    So even though, in theory, I applaud the implementation of a shorter block, I have to say, your stake leadership were wimps.

    Comment by Sam B. — May 22, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  10. Well Sam the other factor is that each of the wards had 600-800 members and often 400-500 people showing up each week. (You know the drill with giant wards — 70+ nursery kids in the 4 nurseries, etc.) So while they kept it to 5 wards it was the equivalent of 8-10 wards in terms of membership and attendance through most of the last several years.

    But I have been to that Lincoln Center building for church — it is cool.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 22, 2008 @ 9:58 am

  11. No, it certainly is. And other than singles wards meeting from 3:00-6:00, it wasn’t bad except for those times (roughly 12:15 if I remember correctly) when one ward was leaving sacrament meeting, another was going in, another ward was showing up at church, and another was leaving. Because the entrance/exit to the chapel was in the same little area as the elevators/staircase that you had to use to get in or out of the building. So those moments of trying to get in or out were pure craziness (in a good way if you weren’t in a hurry; less good if you actually wanted to get somewhere).

    But again, I feel your pain. I’m fine with a 3-hour meeting, but I’m not in favor of lengthening meetins. I’d hate to add half and hour to mine, and I can see that you would feel exactly the same.

    Comment by Sam B. — May 22, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  12. Also in Gilbert, the land of the suburban, you have severe parking issues if you try and cram too many units in at the same time.

    Comment by Jay S — May 22, 2008 @ 11:51 am

  13. I wonder how many wards per building it would take to drop it to two hours?

    Comment by Boring Mogget — May 22, 2008 @ 1:01 pm

  14. Well Sam the other factor is that each of the wards had 600-800 members and often 400-500 people showing up each week. (You know the drill with giant wards — 70+ nursery kids in the 4 nurseries, etc.)

    Wow. That makes my head spin. I’ve spent all my life in wards the size of your nursery.

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — May 22, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  15. When did you become boring Mogget?

    PDoE — The crowd issues have greatly improved thanks to lots of ward splits. We are now down to two nurseries with fewer than 10 kids each if I remember correctly. (Of course it is only May so who knows where things will be in December…) And weekly attendance is more like 250-300 now I think.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 23, 2008 @ 12:04 am

  16. In case you were wondering — yes it was painful.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 25, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  17. what..2.5 hour block, try a two hour block meeting schedule, now that is really fun.

    In some of the small branches in our stake here in New Zealand they have a two hour meeting block.

    On the down side you also get to talk in Sacrament meeting every three months and generally have to teach a couple of lessons, count the tithing and home teach 15 families as well.

    Comment by Bob — May 26, 2008 @ 3:09 am

  18. So much for my theory about the 2.5 hour block being a pilot program for the Church, and that Elder Oaks in a recent conference address regarding Good, Better, and Best, was indicating that a change to the block was forthcoming.


    Comment by BHodges — May 27, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  19. I propose a 90 minute block. One speaker in sacrament meeting rather than two, with the focus being the sacrament rather than talks. Then switch off between PH/RS one week and SS the next. On Fast Sunday have a 75 minute F&T meeting and then let everyone go home.

    Comment by a random John — May 27, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  20. Let me preface this by saying that I’m not complaining. The experience I have had has been a spiritual harvest. Having said that let me now say…You’re all welcome to come to the Tohatchi Branch in New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation. There are 800 members on the roles in the Branch. Only 20 attend. My family drives 35 miles from our home ward to attend the branch. I have the privelege of speaking weekly (or nearly so) in Sacrament meeting. Sometimes I teach the combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting too. My wife gets the entire Primary show. When the Sunday School Teacher doesn’t show up we just skip that hour. So, sometimes our meetings only last 2 hours. Come on down! We need the help, and it’s a small price to pay to get 2 hour meetings.

    Comment by Tired — May 28, 2008 @ 9:32 pm