First of all, can I just say how much I hate the word "inappropriate"? To me, it's just a filler word for a lot of people that means "I don't like that. Therefore, it should not be done." Just because you personally wouldn't do/watch/listen to/say something, that doesn't make it inappropriate.

Ok. </rant>.

About a month ago, Spencer got called to be the ward choir pianist. He's very good at the piano, but he was slightly out of practice and therefore very nervous. Before the choir's first number with Spencer as accompanist, he was kind of freaking out. Between choir practice and Sacrament meeting, we were sitting in our usual pew and I was trying to get him to calm down. His hands were ice cold (which is what happens when he's nervous. Weird, right?). I started scratching his back as I told him that it was going to be ok.

"Excuse me!"

We both turned to see an older woman sitting by herself, leaning forward across her pew two rows behind us with an angry look.

"Are you going to stop doing that before Sacrament? Because if not, I'm going to have to leave."

I was completely taken aback. I stammered out a "No, we're going to stop," but I could barely finish before she said,

"I'm just sick of it. It's distracting and rude and, frankly, inappropriate. We're in church."

I was humiliated. She was speaking rather loudly and there were probably 5-6 people sitting immediately around us that could clearly hear what was happening. We tried to apologize again, but she kept her lecture going, telling us that she was sick and tired of seeing couple after couple in front of her scratching each others backs. Apparently, the sound of fingernails against cotton is much more distracting to her than the thirty or forty children under the age of twelve chattering through the meeting.

After we apologized again and turned around, I immediately burst into tears. That's what happens when I get lectured. It's an automatic response that I've had as long as I can remember. So, then I was doubly embarrassed. Also, that meeting was when I was going to be sustained as the second counselor in the Primary presidency, so I knew that I needed to get those tears under control or people were going to think that I really hate working with children or something.

The funniest part to me about this event is that back scratching is far from the worst PDA I've witnessed during Sacrament meeting. I've seen kissing, foot rubs, and straight up making out. For reals. There's an account on Instagram called byupda that documents instances of super gross PDA on campus.
One of their gems posted last month.
This ward puts that account to shame at times. I don't know if it's something in the Sacrament bread or what, but back scratching is a very minor offense.

By the way, we haven't dared back scratch again. That woman was terrifying.


  1. Tell me where you guys go to church. I'll come to your ward. Sit next to that lady. Scratch her back and then whisper ever so reverently, "You like that, don't you?"


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