We held the Relief Society Book Club at my house yesterday. Because of my job, my house is filthy. It’s sort of surface clean, in that there’s no visible clutter and acceptable. This time I left it pretty much as is—scrubbed the toilet (last time, I cleaned and mopped and scrubbed to beat the band, set the table with china and cooked all day). I served chips and salsa. And I got home only 10 minutes before it was supposed to start because my friend, Jane, and I had gone to the Mormon Women Writers presentation at the university. Interesting and thought-provoking, but not soul-searing. I would have liked to stay for question and answer, but I had to go home so we could talk about Kathy Soper’s book “The Year My Son and I Were Born.”

We’ve got a good group of women, smart and funny and intrepid. Some women objected to reading “The Stand” because of language, which I usually never even notice, but mostly nobody’s got a stick up their butt about reading only Anita Stansfield and Sheri Dew.

The ladies commented positively on Kathy’s candid exploration of her feelings as she nurtured Thomas through his first year of life. It had been awhile since I’d read it and I’d lent mine out to a neighbor for the book club and I didn’t remember some of the things they brought up. Mostly, I remembered her neglecting her daughter and resenting her mother. Kathy didn’t spare herself in this book at all. Others will surely benefit.

But towards the end, after we’d discussed the fact that some of us avoided the handicapped, the many ways we have approached others who are dealing with life’s difficulties—or been tactlessly approached ourselves, and acceptance of our lots in life, my friend, the Relief Society president brought up the subject of scripture and prayer. She commented on how Kathy didn’t turn to the scriptures and prayer as solace.

I said that was pretty much the last thing on my mind as I dealt with the anger and anguish of my losses and I thought others were the same way. You don’t get the news that your child is dead and sit down with the Book of Mormon. She countered with her story of five miscarriages and said that was the first thing she did.

Somehow that doesn’t sit well with me. Not that I haven’t found hope and comfort in scriptures. I have and I love them. But that’s not my first move. The first thing I do in times like this is talk to my sisters and my friends. I talk and talk and sort things out. I turn to the scriptures later after things have calmed down. And, in my case, as I dealt with the huge shock, God was the last person I wanted to talk to.

How about you guys? Where do these things sit on your list of comforts? Something about my Relief Society president’s attitude strikes me as cold, a bit judgemental, and maybe too “letter of the law.” Form without substance. She’s a lovely sweet person, but she in actuality fails makes a human connection. At least with me. I can’t put my finger on it. Can you?