Recently, on Facebook, Elder Bednar shared a list of questions I hate to admit I ask myself far too frequently:
Have you ever heard a Sunday School teacher introduce the topic for a lesson and thought, “I already know about this subject”?
Have you ever heard a speaker in sacrament meeting identify the theme about which he or she will speak and responded, “Not again”?
Have you ever wondered, “Why do Church leaders always address the same basic doctrine and principles in general conference?”
Have you ever “checked out” mentally and spiritually because you anticipated an episode of repetitious teaching?
After reading Elder Bednar's list, I had to wonder, how did he know? How did he know exactly how I think and feel on those Sundays when it takes all there is in me to even show up at Church when the spring sunshine is outside or I'm overwhelmed with the 50 things I have to do by that night.
But then Elder Bednar surprised me by admitting that we all have these reactions at times—even him, an apostle of the Lord. So, instead of getting frustrated with ourselves for letting those thoughts pop into our heads, we can change our attitudes by realizing another surprising truth: it's supposed to be that way.
He explains: "Repetitious learning and teaching as a line upon line and precept upon precept pattern of revelation can invite the Holy Ghost to renew, enrich, and enlarge the knowledge we already have obtained; it also can bring new knowledge and understanding into our minds and hearts."
In an address he gave at BYU-Idaho, Elder Bednar dived even further into this topic, showing how this is the way even our Heavenly Father's holy prophets learn and receive revelation. He gave the example of Joseph Smith, recounting the experience when the angel Moroni visited the young prophet no less than four times to deliver a message that was nearly identical to earlier messages.
What's more, the greatest learning that we do within the Church occurs within temples where words and covenants are repeated verbatim. Obviously, repetition is an important way for the Lord to instruct His children and help them become and receive the best He has to offer.
Now that you know the important reason why Church is so repetitive, hopefully you can understand that this doesn't mean it has to be boring. In fact, it's that very repetition that could lead us to greater, more profound and exhilarating truths than we could learn any other way.
But, if you still struggle, check out John Bytheway's six tips to love church, even when it seems boring.