Scott Taylor: Don’t take ‘a vacation’ and miss memorable Sunday worship experiences worldwide

Members of the Kapaa 2nd Ward and visitors stand to leave the chapel after sacrament meeting in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii, on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. Credit: Scott Taylor, Church News
The interior of the meetinghouse chapel in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii, on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. Credit: Scott Taylor, Church News

During a recent personal trip to Kauai, my wife and I attended a sacrament meeting of the Kapaa 2nd Ward of the Kauai Hawaii Stake. We were greeted warmly outside the chapel doors and found a place to sit in the chapel, with attendees observing the state’s COVID-19 precautions by sitting in every other row and wearing masks.

It made for a beautiful start of a beautiful January Sabbath — the ordinance, the messages, the hymns and the prayers. The setting matched as well — a chapel lined with glass doors that could be opened to allow the natural ventilation of island breezes and trade winds when heat and humidity becomes uncomfortable.

I snagged a couple of smartphone photos after the meeting — one with participating Latter-day Saints starting to move to second-hour classes, and one just of the chapel interior — to show friends and family later and to talk about our experience that morning.

Our Sunday morning attendance in Kauai was the latest in gathering with the Saints wherever we travel. We’ve enjoyed attending Church services around the world, getting the local language, local architecture, local culture and local flavor along with the consistency of global gospel message and — most importantly — the opportunity to partake of the sacrament.

Attending with traveling family members or friends and visiting with local Latter-day Saints before and after the meetings is an added bonus.

The pandemic has limited travel and made it difficult. Some Latter-day Saints traveling during the pandemic opt to join videoconference broadcasts from their home wards and branches while on the road, given the ease, safety and familiarity.

Some on vacation may find it inconvenient to pack Sunday clothes and make the effort to identify the time and location of nearby Sunday worship services.   

We’ve found it easy, enjoyable and memorable. A few highlights include:

  • Worshipping in the same historic, small-community meetinghouses in Almo, Idaho, and Grouse Creek, Utah, that my parents did when they were growing up and having longtime members there share their memories about my mom and dad.
  • At a sacrament meeting in Rome, Italy, unexpectedly bumping into two new missionaries who just the week before had been in the Provo Missionary Training Center branch that I presided over at the time.
  • Gathering in a small Vientiane, Laos, apartment room with my in-laws and other service missionary couples and a member assigned to a local embassy — a half-dozen years before Laos was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel.
  • Attending meetings with expatriate branches in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing in the People’s Republic of China. In Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, I connected regularly with Philadelphia sportscaster and NBC correspondent Vai Sikahema — now Elder Vaiangina Sikahema, a General Authority Seventy — at worship meetings and talked of then-Elder David O. McKay’s stop in China during his 1920-21 world travels.

And the list goes on — sacrament meetings from Austria and France to Australia and New Zealand, from Ukraine and Russia to Haiti and the Virgin Islands, and from a neighborhood ward in Venezuela to an MTC branch in Mexico City.

When we travel — for business or for pleasure — we use the Church’s online Meetinghouse Locator ( to identify the most convenient locations and starting times.

Oh, there have been a few misses. In the Washington, D.C., area once for a convention, I took a taxi to a meetinghouse in northern Virginia to attend Sunday meetings there — only to find the parking lot empty and the doors locked.

More recently — but prior to the pandemic — I was making time to at least visit local temple grounds during out-of-town trips. When possible, I’ve tried to participate in temple ordinances, such as in the Calgary Canada, Hamilton New Zealand and São Paulo Brazil temples in recent years.

So, when traveling on vacation, don’t take “a vacation” from Church services or partaking of the sacrament. When traveling on business, make it your business to attend.

So, pack a set of Sunday clothes. Find a chapel. Meet new Latter-day Saints. Remember and renew your covenants.

It makes for a meaningful, memorable Sunday worship experience.

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