BCC: On the Road Again

IMG_2942 It’s no secret Mormons are great when it comes to rolling up our sleeves and helping. Our yellow vests and humanitarian aid trucks are known worldwide. In our wards many of us know the tender care of being loved through hard times. There are things we might miss the boat on, things that are hard reconcile sometimes, but there is little doubt when it comes to lifting where you stand, we rock.

The thing is, as the world gets smaller, the notion of where we actually ‘stand’ to do our lifting is also broadening. The community of Saints ready to lift with us was once our own neighborhood, our ward— and while a great deal of the love still comes via that conduit, I think the idea of a community of Saints is shifting, opening, walls are thinning and vistas are opening up.

Last spring, as I was finishing up my undergrad (thank you, fMh Scholarship!) I received an awesome letter informing me I had been accepted into a grad program in Washington DC. This was my first choice, long-shot application, and that I got in was one of the greatest moments in my life. Then reality crashed hard: I’m a single mother with three kids, living in Washington state. How the crap am I going to DO this?

My ward stepped in to help with packing and nearly insurmountable task of organizing a trans-continental move with three kids. This was the first line of community, and it was beautiful.

The online community of Saints picked up the brigade from my ward. BCC emeriti Mark Brown flew to Washington State, and drove the moving truck across the continent to Northern Virginia. He allowed me the grace of flying back with my three children instead of stuffing them in a moving truck for five days. In July. (You know what he asked me for? Tangerines, bottled water and some trail mix. Seriously.) It’s just a given that I will never, ever be able to send him enough baked goods to pay him back. But I will try.

In Virginia, before Mark and the truck even arrived (a story which I wish we had live-blogged because it’s a doozy!) there were folks from other online LDS forums, texting and messaging for directions, waiting to help lift. (Folks, I kid you not, DKL showed up at my new place to help unload my moving truck.) That’s sainthood right there.

In that sprit, we’re going to be live-blogging the newest BCC adventure: BCC Roadtrip with Mark Brown and BHodges.

This weekend, Mark is again putting on his superhero cape (with every fiber of my being I know he has one, and that it’s yellow), and he’s driving back the other direction, as BHodges and his family relocate from the DC area to the west. This sort of fellowship gives whole new meaning to calling on the Elders to help with a move. I love the shifting boundaries and softening of lines on what it means to belong to each other, and how lifting where you stand can truly reach people beyond where you ever thought you could.

I’m totally looking forward to reading about their adventure. In the sprit of road-trips and zion, if you have stories of how your community of Saints has broadened from your ward, share!


  1. Jennifer in GA says:

    When my cousin left on her mission, due to some church SNAFU her plane ticket actually got her into SLC a day and a half before she was due to report to the MTC. Obviously she couldn’t just stay at the airport, but her family didn’t know anyone in UT who might 1) pick her up 2) put her up for the night and 3) get her to the MTC on time.

    As it happened, I was a member of online community at the time for Harry Potter fans. (Don’t judge.) I had “met” some other community members who were LDS, female and in UT. I sent out an SOS message to them, and within 24 hours everything was arranged for my cousin between three awesome women.

    I haven’t had the privilege of meeting these ladies in person (yet!), but I still consider them to be wonderful friends, and truly the definition of “sisters in Zion”.

  2. Not much to add except that I found this post very uplifting. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading about this new roadtrip. May be it come across in the tradition of BBC or other UK TV American roadtrips, which are always enjoyable. Add Brown/Hodges to the list including Stephen Fry, Top Gear, Paul Theroux, Jamie Oliver, etc.!

  3. These are my people.

  4. I love this story, Tracy! Mark Brown is truly a saint.

    This isn’t help, but more just community, but I was so happy (and jealous!) when several of my sisters were taking a train through Chicago over the holidays, and they had the chance to meet up for lunch with Kevin Barney!

  5. Not a personal story (no time right now), but if Mark and Blair end up needing to stop for anything in the Reno/Carson City area, I would love to see them. Give them my email address and phone number, please, Tracy, if appropriate.

  6. When I graduate this fall I will be sending out applications to several different universities to continue my career in Financial Aid administration. I received a wonderful offer from an fMh sister to “send out my applications and stay with different fMhers while interviewing”. It was a very touching gesture as I am open to (too) many places that I am willing to live. I agree that this type of community can be a great help for those in need and I have seen it in action many times. If anyone wants to help me move (if I leave the East Coast) then I would be humbled to welcome the help as well.

  7. Mark Brown. You are the bloody DB, my friend.

  8. This makes me want to move, just to see if Mark and DKL will show up!!

  9. EOR, I am in Enrollment Management – currently the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at a small, four-year college. If you end up looking in the NV/Central CA area, and if you are interested in community colleges (since I work with a bunch of them in this general area), send me an email. The address is at the bottom of my personal blog.

  10. You know, just when I think I’m done with Mormonism forever, I read something like this and feel a little tugging at my heart that says, “these are my people.”

  11. Enchilada’s, Mark? You just let me know. You know you have a room in Cheyenne.

  12. This is the best part of us.

    When I left for my mission, someone from Florida who I never met read about my going on a mission on my local paper’s website and sent a check to help out with the startup costs of a mission. I will be forever grateful to them.

    As an EQP, I have a member of my quorum who consistently recognizes needs like this, takes care of it and just notifies me that it was done. He is the absolute best. I want a cloning machine.

  13. Ray (9) Thank you so much, how generous! When I am all finished I will definitely keep that e-mail address in my back pocket.

  14. Great story demonstrating how community spirit can enrich both the giver and receiver.

    Just a question for Tracy M, did you make the decision to apply for the program without any thought of how you were going to get across the country (did you expect that everyone else would step in and take care of your situation for you) or were you willing to “get ‘er done” on your own if need be? Just curious. Not trying to take away from the spirit of the event or the context in which help was both given and received.

    As a grumbling former EQP, I was/am constantly amazed at the number of people in the ward who just expected everyone else to handle the moving for them.

  15. #14 – In case Tracy doesn’t see your question or doesn’t feel like responding, her story is well documented on her own blog and in her older posts here at BCC. Feel free to read them and understand her situation better.

    That would be far more appropriate than your question in this thread.

  16. I think jm has an interesting point, however it doesn’t apply to Tracy.

    It is wonderful how much help she is getting, but there are many of us who don’t get that kind of help for whatever reason. It’s a difficult thing to know how to balance charity of the Saints with independence. I know I have a hard time letting people help me, and there are many who have a hard time figuring out how to do things on their own, as many wards know.

  17. jm, obviously she was one of “those” who just expect everyone else to do their work for them, like 47% of the country, apparently.

  18. So what is the itinerary/planned path of travel? I’d love to help when and where I can.

  19. jm, not to take away from the spirit of your question, but if you knew anything— anything—- about me, you would know what a tool you sound like. For your bona fides: I expected no one to do anything for me. I graduated college, (4 year program, under three years, manga cum laude), single mother, three kids, absent ex-husband in drug-rehab, and I was blessed to have kind people help while I was helping myself. Now take your preconceived notions, next time you think about applying them to someone you don’t know, and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

  20. Thomas Parkin says:

    “As a grumbling former EQP, I was/am constantly amazed at the number of people in the ward who just expected everyone else to handle the moving for them.”

    I always pay movers because … Lord knows I wouldn’t want to have any expectations of anyone.

  21. Whenever a convert single mother of three (including an autistic child) who has just put herself excrutiatingly through college while her ex-husband is unavailable and delinquent in support payments asks me for help in moving across the country to a new city where she can begin a master’s degree at a top university in her preparation to begin a new career to provide for her family on her own due to the tragic divorce that was entirely not her fault, I always ask whether she has thought it through so as to spare her ward members any extra hassle in helping her out. Has she considered how hard it will actually be to accomplish it, even to get out there in the first place? If not, then she is being very inconsiderate.

  22. Snap!

  23. (And by the way, what does it say about us that I felt I needed to include that the divorce was not her fault? It’s too bad that we view some people as deserving of help and others not. If she was somehow to blame in the divorce, would we feel justified in judging her hardships as just desert for getting divorced? Anecdotal evidence tells me that we indeed have a tendency to do this.)

  24. Chad Too: “So what is the itinerary/planned path of travel? I’d love to help when and where I can.”

    We’re going where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain. Going where the weather suits our clothes. But mostly we’re just going where the GPS directs us in as straight a shot from Maryland to Salt Lake City that the GPS can provide. Hardly any stops along the way, not a lot of time for visiting and whatnot. We’re even missing the Super Bowl!

    jm, quit raining on our moving parade, brother/sister/whichever you are. (You aren’t related to ji by chance, are you?) I think we can all agree that we ought to be considerate of elder’s quorums in regards to moving in and out. Maybe a post and discussion on that score would be fun. What isn’t fun is implying that Tracy somehow selfishly took advantage of a few hours of her elders quorum’s time for the hay of it.

  25. Thomas Parkin says:

    #21 for comment of the week

  26. When my husband was in the elders’ quorum presidency, just about every Saturday was devoted to helping someone move. This was not just because we had a lot of people moving in and out of the ward, but because my husband and the EQP were usually the only people willing to show up. I don’t think it occurred to me to resent the people who were moving. I was too busy resenting the people who weren’t helping.

  27. What’s interesting about jm’s subtly venomous jab at Tracy, is the assumption that we should not plan on each other for help in our hours of need. This is in contrast to the spirit of the pioneers, who absolutely relied on one another. They counted on their fellow Saints being there to assist them. It’s part of what it meant to be part of this community, that you assisted and were assisted by your fellow sojourners. The idea that Tracy should not have looked to her community for help misses so much about the vary idea of Zion. As we replace Jesus with Rand, don’t be surprised if the City of Enoch retreats further and further into the sky.

  28. “don’t be surprised if the City of Enoch retreats further and further into the sky.”

    And with Rand’s legendary penchant for amazing symbolism, said city is replaced by a giant dollar sign.

  29. Having read Tracy M’s story, I am in awe of the work she’s done for herself and her kids and in awe of the help and love that everyone has surrounded her with. As a current compassionate service leader, I have some compassion for jm’s statement, although perhaps he could have phrased it differently – more a general question rather than questioning Tracy personally?
    It’s certainly 2 different topics – people pitching in and helping each other as friends and Saints and ward members vs people expecting service to happen solely as a result of assignments being made through EQ or RS to those mythical people who have time and money to do so.

  30. “Not trying to take away from the spirit of the event or the context in which help was both given and received.”

    It’s amazing how sometimes we can succeed spectacularly without even trying!

  31. One of my favorite stories of my favorite EQP: He basically cut off EQ help for move-ins/outs, with the rationale that most families moving into our urban ward could afford movers, and we had enough work-widows in our ward as it was without asking the husbands for their Saturdays. He was hardcore about it, too. And yet, there was one Saturday when I had to get the woman I hometaught out of her apartment with all her stuff before the husband got home (long story), and he was there to help. She couldn’t pack at all prior to us getting there, it was 95 degree weather, 4-story walkup on both sides of the move, and he was there, sweating like a pig to make it happen. My hero.

  32. ^ like

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