I received a call tonight asking me to participate in a survey about politics and abortion. At the end of the survey the caller asked, for statistical purposes, what my average church attendance in a year was. I responded with once a year as I’ve only been to a church service once in the last year. (Fig wanted to go to a Christmas service. It tanked, lol. He didn’t want to go at Easter. 😉 )
Afterwards I was talking to Fig about the survey and the question at the end and he asked, “Did they want a lifetime average?” I laughed and joked about how I could claim weekly attendance if I lived til 110…. and then I stopped and wondered if that was the case. WAS I exaggerating?
My parents joined the church not quite 2 years before I was born. They were sealed 6 months before I was born. I have memories of attending church back before I turned 3. I remember my first talk in Primary with my oldest sister helping me. Since she is 7 years older than I am, that gives a very limited time frame that could have happened in.
So, I’ll pick age 3 as a starting point. I’ve forgive the first 3 years of my life (though I do remember my baby sister being blessed when she was born and she’s only 2 years younger than I am.) and just use the last 29 years as a guide.
Oh wait, nope, I quit going right before my 31st birthday, so I have to take another year off of that. So I’m down to 28 years.
I’m also going to give myself 4 weeks off a year for vacations and illnesses, which is being very liberal. I was a very healthy child AND we didn’t do many vacations. And when we did we went to church.
So that’s 28 years, 48 weeks in my “year.” I’m not going to count EFY’s, Youth Conferences, etc. I can’t easily count the hours I spent in those and that should offset any errors in calculations anyway. I’m not wanting to superinflate the numbers. (I’m doing this as I go along, sorry for the stream on consciousness.)
So from age 3 through age 11 (9 years as I need to include all of age 11), I give myself a flat three hours a week at church. I did conferences but I didn’t have to do all conferences, so I don’t need to take any additional hours into account.
So 3 hours x 48 weeks x 9 years= 1296 hours at church. Gah.
Next step will be shorter. I’m taking ages 12 and 13 solely. Using the same year length but adding in 2 hours a week for Young Women activities and that’s it.
5 hours x 48 weeks x 2 years= 480 hours at church for those 2 years.
Next I’ll take the 4 years of high school. I was 14 when I started and I’ll take through age 17 (I turned 18 right after I graduated.) School was 36 weeks long (180 days required divided by 5 equals 36.) Seminary started a week or two into school and ended a week or two before school was out. So I’ll whack off an extra month when I calculate that in. God, this is going to require more thought. Ick. I never liked math.
Okay, I’m going to calculate seminary independent from the rest of the year.
Seminary is being calculated at 32 weeks a year (these weeks are 5 days long, not 7 days.) 1 hour a day.
5 days a week x 1 hour a day x 32 “weeks” x 4 years= 640 seminary hours.
In that same 4 year time I had the same 5 hours of church a week (3 hour block and 2 hour Young Women activity), plus I am going to add in stake dance (monthly, I went to them all.) So I am going to add in another hour a week (4 hour dance is a little long but should cover any other activities and such that I am missing. Including that I was attending multiple sessions of General Conference and the General Young Women’s conference at this time.)
6 hours a week x 48 weeks x 4 years= 1152 hours of church for those 4 years not including the seminary time.
Now comes the uber-tricky calculations. BYU. How the HELL do I calculate 3 years at BYU? Tuesday Marriott Center devotionals, religion classes, all sessions of conference, 3 hours of church a week, tunnel sing, ward prayer … Gah! Then count the 3 months of lesser attendance due to summer breaks at home. But then I have to add in the last year and temple attendance, which was weekly. Hell, I went to the temple and did baptisms weekly for a year and a half prior to getting married and then going to do endowments. Crap. I hate math. Why the hell did I think of calculating this up? And now I need paper…..
Okay, once again I had to break it all up.
Religion classes I am going to assume I had 1 per semester (I think I may have taken 2 one semester but I can’t remember anymore. This seems safe.) I’m counting a semester as 12 weeks long and I was at BYU for 6 semesters.
3 hours a week x 12 weeks x 6 semesters=216 hours of religion class at BYU.
Weekly devotional…. I’m only going to count going to three a month because I know I skipped a few. So three hours a month, 3 months (since I’m counting semesters as 12 weeks) and I’m taking off a semester for the ones I skipped after getting married, lol.
3 hours a month x 3 months x 5 semesters= 45 hours of devotionals.
Temple is the only other one I’m going to worry about. Once again I’m going strictly under semesters and I’m only counting 5 semesters since I didn’t go much my first one out there. I’m also counting 2 hours a temple visit.
2 hours a week x 12 weeks/semester x 5 semesters= 120 hours of temple attendance.
Now church for those three years.
3 hours a week x 48 weeks x 3 years= 432 hours of church for those three years.
The next 10 years I’m once again going back to basics. I’m not going to count any Visiting Teaching, any extra calling meetings, any extra activities including Enrichment Meetings, Activity Days, Primary Activities, etc. Just straight church time. Not even counting temple attendance after leaving YBU.
3 hours a week x 48 weeks x 10 years= 1440 hours of church, which is an EXTREMELY lowball number. But like I said, I’m not wanting to overinflate.
So, as long as I didn’t miss a calculation, I came up with 5821 hours of church and church instruction for 28 years. That’s like 3.99 hours a week, counting 52 weeks a year, for those 28 years. If I lived til 110 years old and just used THAT number of 5821 hours, I have a reserve of an hour a week of church for each and every week of those 110 years.
Which means I’ve gone to church more than most every Christian out there in my short 32 years.
I’m sure those numbers can be extrapolated out further (how many years or days or whatever did I sit in church over the course of my lifetime?) Amazingly less than 1 year. Like 242 days based on my numbers. Which isn’t as depressing as I thought but then again, I’m not counting FHE’s, callings, etc. But that is every second of those 242 days. You want to just count waking time and it would be 363 days, so basically a year of my life.
13 days a year of my life (well, 28 years worth) I spent doing NOTHING but receiving direction from the church.
Just for comparison sake…. If I went to a different Christian church for 1.5 hours (long sermon but I don’t know….) 48 times a year (remember sick Sundays and vacations), I’d spend 4.5 days a year (16 hour days, same as I gave myself once I calculated in sleeping time) receiving direction from the minister. Only thing is, I’m giving them half the amount of time we spent in church yet my number is 3xs bigger than theirs….
Wait, let me refigure something…… Have I mentioned I hate math?
If I refigure….. Using the 5821 hours, divided by 28 years, divided by 48 weeks (since that’s the number I used to figure out how much church “normal” Christians went to a year), I spent 4.3 hours a week in church compared to their 1.5 hours.
Like I said, I can extrapolate out til the cows come home. Like if I had worked that same amount of time per year for $6.50 an hour, I could have made an additional $1341.60 (before taxes.) Over 28 years (which won’t count because I was underage for almost half of it), I missed out on $37, 564.80
But yeah, I guess I can answer that I attend church weekly, since it appears that I have weekly church attendance credits built in until I’m 110. At which point I will have to stop answering survey questions or admit to now being a part of the godless majority. *Snerk*