When Church Is Like A ‘Big Mac’


I’m sure all of us have had a bad experience with food. One of the worst that I experienced happened in high school. One day on the way home from baseball practice I stopped at the local McDonald’s, I bought a Big Mac, fries and a drink. No sooner had I consumed my meal when I was hit with a “Big Mac Attack.” I don’t mean I wanted another one. I mean I became deathly sick from it! Looking back, I am sure it was a typical case of food poisoning. Well, I recovered from the attack physically within a few hours. However, the mental scar persisted for over 20 years. That’s how long I went without eating another Big Mac. Every time I thought about ordering another one, my mind raced back to that day and I would always pick another item on the menu. And even though intellectually I knew there was no rationale behind my decision, it didn’t matter. I associated the “Big Mac”, with a negative experience. With time and a little courage, I mustered, (no pun intended), up the strength to order one just a few years ago. Having tasted the “Mac” again, it is now back on my list of acceptable burgers.

The following story was told by James E. Faust back in 2005.

“Some years ago, Constance, a student nurse, was assigned to try to help a woman who had injured her leg in an accident. The woman refused medical help because she had had a negative experience with someone at the hospital. She was afraid and had become something of a recluse. The first time Constance dropped by, the injured woman ordered her out. On the second try, she did let Constance in. By now the woman’s leg was covered with large ulcers, and some of the flesh was rotting. But still she didn’t want to be treated.

Constance made it a matter of prayer, and in a day or two the answer came. She took some foaming hydrogen peroxide with her for the next visit. As this was painless, the old woman let her use it on her leg. Then they talked about more serious treatment at the hospital. Constance assured her the hospital would make her stay as pleasant as possible. In a day or two the woman did get the courage to enter the hospital.” (James E. Faust, “The Light in Their Eyes,” Liahona, Nov 2005, 20–23).

There are many members of churches who, because of one negative experience, have developed an aversion to the church. Their “Big Mac Attack,” comes when they think of returning to church. And like the above woman in the story told by James Faust, they risk their spiritual lives by not coming back to the Lord’s hospital. It is amazing what miracles can be accomplished by just one visit or note from someone who cares. The one negative experience can be removed by the visit and the member can be encouraged to return. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But let us be like Constance the student nurse who cared enough and gained the confidence of the old woman while convincing her of the need to go to the hospital.

It would have been a shame for me to go the rest of my life without another Big Mac. They taste so good! So does the gospel. Let us be diligent in bringing our brothers and sisters back so they can feast on the word of God.

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