Ann Romney, Hurricanes and Time

As I’ve watched the news the last few days, I’ve thought that Democrats must be thanking God on their knees for the weather. I would be….takes attention from Republicans and necessitates them to mute their enthusiasm for Romney; makes President Obama look more presidential. He does look presidential and he sure got out on top of it which Bush failed to do.

But the Romneys have handled it in a classy fashion. For the most part. Ann Romney’s cheerful wish at the beginning of her speech that no one would be harmed or property destroyed was kind of laughable in its naivete. I would have written that differently and directed her better in her delivery there. Read more »

Explaining Garments

Since my youth, I have been well aware of how wearing garments made church members different from “non-members.” I remember going to music camp one summer (yes, I’m a nerd) to pick up another musician we were hosting for the week and noticing that her mother had markings under her shirt that looked a lot like my own mother’s garment lines. Taking a chance, I asked if they were Mormon, and they were (and ecstatic that the host family for their 12-year-old daughter was also LDS). Read more »

The Mormonism Activity Continuum….

I like to put things into buckets or some sort of system. I see member participation in Mormonism as a continuum. You have folks in the middle who are deeply committed and regular participants. As you move to the edges, you have one side which is passive movement from the center and the other side which is active movement from the center. At some point many of those members who are moving away from the center get too far from the center and leave the Church. Those on the passive side seem to slowly withdraw or go less active over time – usually for a variety of reasons (perhaps lack of commitment, no friends, no support at home, etc.) but not necessarily due to deep doctrinal discontent. On the active side, people seem to take one of two routes. First are those that were firmly in the center, then suddenly start reading or learning about the history of the Church (not the whitewashed version from Sunday School) and their testimonies are shaken and they leave. I know quite a few people in this camp. Second are those who slowly drift from the center as they continue to learn and study things. One day they find themselves so far from the center that they just give up and leave feeling there is no place for them in the Church. While this is simplistic, it captures the experiences I have seen with those who have left the Church or are moving away from the center. What do you think? Where are you on the continuum?

Sunday is Family Day

This Sunday, our RS covered the 16th lesson in the George Albert Smith manual, Offer Up Thy Sacraments upon My Holy Day.”  The teacher started by asking us what types of things our households do or don’t do on the Sabbath.

Most of the comments went like this: “We make sure that if our kids want to watch a movie, it’s a family movie…” Or, “As long as it’s family-oriented, we let our kids…” I started to get a little uncomfortable with the conversation, though. When did an activity being family-oriented become a measuring stick for keeping the Sabbath day holy? Read more »

Skirtless Sunday

Or, “How not packing a skirt prevented me from taking the sacrament”

Bryan and I went to a family reunion this past weekend. It was the first time I’ve seen everyone outside of our wedding reception two years ago. I got to catch up with Bryan’s sister, her kids and Bryan’s cousins who let us stay with them over the duration. We didn’t pack Sunday clothes as we planned on leaving the second we woke up on Sunday. I didn’t think anything about it until Friday night.
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The Well Is Empty

I am spent. I have nothing to give to anyone and it maybe a while until I am able to lift my head up off the table. Don’t ask me what happened, I can’t tell you. It isn’t my story to tell. Emotions are running so high that a slight breeze will cause hemorrhaging within me and those I love. Read more »

Visiting Teaching on Facebook: Does it count?

I was recently given a new visiting teaching list of sisters to visit.  One sister, who I’ll call “Susan,” is a woman a keep in regular contact with on Facebook but who hasn’t attended church in our ward since she was baptized last summer.  She attends with her fiancé in his ward occasionally, but they mostly travel a lot and run marathons. 

Another of the sisters, who I’ll call “Patty,” is an inactive young woman with whom I also keep in regular contact via Facebook and even see in person occasionally.  I’ve been this young woman’s visiting teacher for a few years. 

The third woman I am assigned to visit, who I’ll call “Fran,” is someone I see regularly but we do chat via Facebook quite often.  We’re on somewhat opposite schedules and her personal life is complicated. And my companion has been inactive for over a year and also pops up on Facebook occasionally.

So here’s my question: Does checking in with and holding “conversations” with the sisters we are assigned to visit qualify as actual visiting teaching? 

In my case with Susan, she joined the church rather quickly and her fiancé is a life-long member who understands how we keep tabs on one another through home and visiting teaching.  I don’t think she personally attended enough to get a good grasp on the program, though. So I don’t know if she understands the purpose of the programs. While I can reach Susan quite easily through Facebook, I know others seem to struggle reaching her. If she’s comfortable with this “level” of contact, is it enough? Or should I drop by her house with cookies and a “message” 

In the case with Patty, I know she has little interest in the church. Her family is mostly active and lives nearby.   She knows I’m active and that I am assigned as her visiting teacher. She lets me stop in to visit her from time to time and is very friendly. I try to keep our relationship casual and avoid too much discussion of religion. We recently had dinner (before my newest addition arrived) and she asked about joining our ward’s playgroup.  I feel like this is good progress. But, does it count as visiting teaching? 

Susan is a new assignment as of this month. Patty has been on my assignment list for a few years. And since I’ve been assigned to visit Patty, I’ve been marking my visiting teaching as completed with her each month as long as I’ve communicated more than just by clicking “Like” on her status. 

What about you? In this age of instant-contact technology, do you connect with your assigned sisters via social media? And, if you do, is this enough to “count”?

Mistakes Made By The Church Over The Years

I was thinking about mistakes, (whatever you want to call them) that the Church has made over the years that could have been avoided and are non-doctrinal in nature (e.g., policy/PR decisions, other decisions) and have resulted in significant negative publicity that could have been avoided.

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Is the Church Productive for Parenting?

To paraphrase what Bednar famously said: ‘children need to act, and be not acted upon’. Taking his words and running with it, did the church and its culture make it harder or easier to parent your kids? Read more »

Desiderata, or how to impress young people…..

Last week I went to Bill’s gospel essentials class, which is supposed to be attended by investigators and those who are becoming reactivated. None of them showed up, but there were five others who came, I’m not sure why, they are all active.

The lesson was on charity and we were discussing judging and comparing and I said something off-hand about that part of the quote in Desiderata that goes: “do not compare yourself to others, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

Boy, they thought that was wise and asked me to repeat it. I’d been a little embarrassed to even quote it because it’s kind of schmaltzy and, I thought, passe. They’d never heard of Desiderata. In my teenage day (late 60’s, early 70’s), one was thought to be deep if you could quote it—-and/or Kahlil Gabran. I would sit on the lawn in front of the library and hope some cute boy would see how wonderful I was to be reading “The Prophet.” Read more »

A Couple of Funny Stories—-tell me yours!

I have kept a journal since my first husband died in 1973. It’s sporadic, sometimes every day, sometimes only a few times a year. But more and more, I’m picking them up to refresh my memory or check a date.

They’re pretty interesting. So many stories that include my friends and family! I think I’m going to try to transcribe them so my kids will all have a copy and my family won’t be destroyed by bickering over them when I die.

Last week, I read about a funny thing that happened to my best friend and me. I’d come out of Wal-Mart to find her walking around the parking lot looking for her car. So I told her to jump in and we’d drive around and find it. Guess what? We never did! So, as reported in my journal, we just went to get a hamburger and catch up and I took her home. Turns out she’d taken her car to the shop and forgot about it. Read more »

Lovin’ the Olympics!

What is your favorite Olympics memory? I remember Mark Spitz and Nadia, Kathy Riggs, Bruce Jenner! Boy, has he changed!
He was really cute then!

I’m editing this to include some pictures of competitors others have remembered. I remembered that a girl in my class in Long Beach was a Silver medal sculler in the Olympics–Joan Lind. Nice person.

Rulon Gardner:

I thought he was our former sheriff. He was nice about it.

FOR MARTA, Shun Fujimoto:

Greg Louganis: SO admire his courage….

I was disgruntled when Russia boycotted our games in LA. Mary Lou Retton won gold that year. I probably like to watch winter Olympics more because I enjoy figure skating, but I’m glued to these summer Olympics! Read more »