Church unveils "slow-track" program

Read the complete story at the Deseret Morning News site here.

Personally, I think there’s a real need that’s being met here.

Edit: The page has since been taken down.  Read the full text of the story below.

Church Unveils “Slow-Track” Program

By Amy Chamberlain

SALT LAKE CITY-In order to better meet the needs of “our most average members,” church representative Howard S. Jeppeson announced the creation of a new slow-track membership program. “This program caters to those members of the church who may not be top-level celestial material but who are still willing to put in a nominal effort toward their own salvation,” he said.

The slow-track program includes the same components of normal church membership, but at a more relaxed pace. Members who sign on for the program are required to read scriptures and have personal and family prayer once a week, attend church once a month, visit teach or home teach four times a year, and watch one session of general conference every other year.

If slow-track members can commit to these requirements for five years, they can earn a temple recommend stamped with an S for “slow track,” after which they are expected to attend the temple semiannually. According to Jeppeson, the church may create a shorter, condensed version of the temple ceremony for S-track members “in order to better accommodate those members’ shorter attention spans and lower levels of ambition.”

Social historian Jane Schippen, PhD, a long-time scholarly observer of Mormon society, hails the new slow-track program. “Mormonism pays a great deal of attention to its high achievers, like those who are stake president before they turn forty or women who have eight children and maintain a spotless house,” she observed. Similarly, she continued, Mormons spend a lot of time and energy worrying about those on the other end of the spectrum, the less-actives. She sees the slow-track program as “a way to acknowledge and honor the vast majority of Mormons, those who will never hold high positions of leadership but who are nevertheless active – the sloggers, if you will.”

Logan Stake president Gary L. Hackett agrees with Schippen and says that the new slow-track program “will prod the lazy ones into progressing at least a little bit, which is an improvement.” He estimates that implementing the slow track will cut administrative tasks, such as nagging phone calls to complete home or visiting teaching, by as much as 75 percent. “It’s about time we recognized that not everyone in the church is that top ten percent of the celestial kingdom material,” he notes. “And, really, that’s okay.

I mean the bottom two levels of the celestial kingdom are supposed to be pretty good too, right?”

Most members seem happy with the soon-to-be-implemented system. “Let’s face it,” says local member Larry K. Whiting. “I’m not cut out for this high-paced, pressure-oriented Mormon lifestyle. I mean, home teaching four families every month? The scheduling alone takes way too much time. And then I have to go over there and pretend I care about these people when I’d rather be home watching ESPN? Give me the slow-track program any day.”

Local member Kendra Koenig agrees. “Do you know how much fun it is trying to roust five kids out of bed for family scripture study and prayer at 6:30 A.M.? I am sick to death of nagging them about it, and you can believe it’s not doing our family harmony any good.” She praised the slow-track system for offering a more realistic temple-attendance schedule. “Like anyone who has a life can manage to get out there twice a month. This slow-track program is the answer to my infrequent prayers.”

One Response to “Church unveils "slow-track" program”

  1. Oh, wow. That was funny (and a little sad at the same time). :)

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