Sunday, October 07, 2007

Occam's razor

Conference weekend

Next time going to church for an hour seems like a drag, consider this: twice yearly, faithful Mormons around the world spend 10 hours over the course of a single weekend watching live satellite broadcasts in an event called "General Conference." I highly recommend the proceedings to interested readers, and I'm always ready to discuss, but that's not the reason you're still reading.

Despite our increasing numbers (13+ million) and an increasing number of high profile members (ever heard of Mitt Romney or Harry Reid?), Mormons remain a bit of a mystery to the populace at large. I recall an anecdote recounted to me by the son of a BYU anthropology professor. The professor, who we'll refer to as JP, frequently worked with other anthropologists who were trying to unravel a bit of the Mormon mystery.

One particular colleague of JP had a theory that speakers at General Conference used special vocal techniques to lull listeners into a catatonic state. In this state, the helpless individuals would be more susceptible to moral persuasion. Ever the scientist, JP invited his colleague to experience a couple of sessions of General Conference firsthand. Needless to say, after awaking from a rather normal nap midway through one of the sessions, he promptly discarded the theory.

On a more personal note, I did rather well this go around in terms of not dozing off. Not something to brag about, but I did want to establish a solid baseline of my behaviour before I can start blaming my napping propensities on late night interruptions from the baby.

Photo credit: cuibel

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