Doctrine and Covenants is the worst

So it’s coming up on Saturday evening and once again I am at a loss as to what to teach my Valiant 10 class in Primary tomorrow. This is my third time teaching Doctrine and Covenants in Primary. It’s my third year teaching from the Come Follow Me curriculum. And I have to tell you that the Doctrine and Covenants Come Follow Me manual is the absolute worst manual I have ever used. And I taught Young Women in the 1990s.

Most of the manuals the church produces are not great, Bob. In fact, when I am not teaching Doctrine and Covenants, I rarely use the manual. I just take whatever scriptures the manual is meant to cover that week and I figure something out. It’s not that difficult when you have decent material. I mean, I only have twenty minutes to kill. The problem with the Doctrine and Covenants is that it’s not decent material. I tried to read the Quran once. There was some stuff about a cow and I didn’t understand it, and I’m afraid I lost interest. The Doctrine and Covenants doesn’t even have cows. It’s just God telling Edward Partridge to go to the Ohio or whatever, over and over again. Everything that is worthwhile in the Doctrine and Covenants is covered more eloquently in other books of scripture. But wait, Rebecca, what about the Word of Wisdom? What about all the stuff about church organization and priesthood keys and the three degrees of glory? I SAID WHAT I SAID. Quick, think of your favorite scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants. Now think of your favorite scripture from literally any other standard work, including the Pearl of Great Price. For that matter, think of your favorite episode of Touched by an Angel. Is there really any comparison? I rest my case.

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So the church just announced that they were reinstating the Saturday evening session of General Conference. To be honest, I had kind of forgotten that they ever got rid of the Saturday evening session of General Conference, probably because it happened, like, six weeks ago, and that’s ancient history for my middle-aged brain. But now that they mentioned it, I did recall them announcing they would discontinue the Saturday evening session now that every session was available for viewing on the internet because what’s the point of having a Priesthood session if it can’t be a secret from the ladies, amirite?  

The difference between the new Saturday evening session and the old Saturday evening session is that this new Saturday Night Conference will not be geared toward any particular group of church members, such as priesthood holders or birthing people 8 & up. (Was it okay that I said “birthing people”? Am I just trolling now? Signs point to yes.) It will just be another opportunity for “more gospel topics to be taught” and “more general leaders to address the conference.” Because if there’s anything people who’ve just sat through four hours of gospel teaching want more than another two hours of gospel teaching, I don’t know what it is.

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Lessons from Zurch

“Zurch” = an affectionate nickname for online church meetings, a mashup of “zoom” and “church,” despite the fact that most of us didn’t use Zoom for church meetings. (My ward used YouTube Live, which I guess would make it “yurch” or maybe “yute-lurch,” but I like zurch better.)

I’m not going to lie to you, kids. I did not miss getting up early, putting on uncomfortable clothes, and going to church every Sunday. From March 2020 to August 2020, our ward didn’t even have an online version of sacrament meeting, which was just fine with me. No offense to sacrament meeting, but I just didn’t miss it. Of course, I had the privilege of being able to take the sacrament at home, which made most of, if not all, the difference. Our ward began limited in-person sacrament meetings shortly after it started broadcasting them. Due to the size of our ward, we started out in six groups, which meant you were able to attend sacrament meeting every six weeks. As state restrictions lifted, our groups got bigger and individual sacrament attendance more frequent, but when we weren’t attending in-person, my husband and I woke up to watch the 9:00 a.m. broadcast. Well, my husband woke up at 9:00 a.m. I usually woke up around 9:12-9:14 a.m. The kids never woke up for any of it, but we had our home-sacrament in the afternoon. It was not a hardship, by any stretch of the imagination.

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Last chance to shop before Father’s Day

Mother’s Day was not a big deal in my house when I was growing up. This is most likely because my father didn’t teach us kids to observe it, and my mother was too much of a martyr to insist upon it. As a result, I don’t expect a great deal for Mother’s Day myself, although I am fortunate enough to have a husband who ensures that I don’t have to cook or do the dishes on that day. Sometimes my kids make me cards. I appreciate all of this because it’s nice, but the nicest thing about Mother’s Day this year was not having to go to church and listen to some bullcrap about how important women are. That may be the only good thing about 2020 so far. [Read more…]

God the Parent

I jettisoned Heavenly Mother a few years ago, and to be honest, I don’t miss Her. How could I? She was never real to me to begin with. When I was a young woman, I was fascinated by the idea of a Heavenly Mother, and very frustrated by my lack of information about her. But I think my desire to know more about Heavenly Mother did not stem from a desire to know God. I think that having grown up in a patriarchal religion, with an all-male power structure, where God was referred to always as “Heavenly Father,” I just wanted confirmation that women were equally important to men in the grand scheme of things, that I wouldn’t get to the afterlife and find out that I was a second-class citizen for eternity.

A few weeks ago, someone on Twitter was criticizing the idea that you can’t fully understand God’s love until you become a parent yourself. Obviously, this can be a hard thing to hear if you are not a parent (and harder if you know you are likely never to be one). I know why we speak of God as a Father (i.e., a parent). It’s a good metaphor, assuming you’ve experienced parental love on the receiving end. The god of Judaism and Christianity is a personal god, one who cares for his creations and is invested in their success/happiness/general well-being/etc. God also makes the rules. So God as a parent is a good metaphor, but like all metaphors, it has its limits. [Read more…]

Faith without workouts

I don’t know how many people actually subscribe to church magazines anymore, now that they’re all available on the internet for free, and if people don’t have actual physical copies of the church magazines coming to their homes anymore, I wonder how many people actually read anything in the church magazines. The only people I know who actually read church magazines are the people who post about how horrible this month’s Ensign (or Friend or New Era) is, and I kind of wonder if most of them aren’t just hate-reading the church magazines.

I found out through the evil of social media that August’s New Era is “The Body Issue” and it talks about stuff like the Word of Wisdom and other body-related issues. I haven’t had time to peruse the whole thing, but I did read this article that was being hate-promoted on Twitter last week: “What I Learned from Having to Lose Weight for My Mission.”  [Read more…]

50 Minute Primary: Friend or Fiend?

I have one thing to say about two-hour church, and it’s this: I approve.

There is really no better feeling than getting out of your second church meeting of the day and realizing that you can just go home right now. I love two-hour church. It is literally the best.

I have heard a handful of not-exactly-complaints from younger parents saying they “kind of miss” that third hour where someone else had charge of their children, and I try to be sympathetic, but it’s hard. I think I remember what it’s like to have little kids—I mean, I’m taking all due precautions to prevent myself from having any again—but I just don’t understand missing, kind of or otherwise, that third hour. Maybe because no hour of church ever felt anything like a respite for me during the eighteen years I dragged my oldest child along. Having to deal with the constant threat of her disrupting other people’s worship and class discussions made that third hour at church more exhausting than an extra hour at home would have been. I don’t know. In any case, I acknowledge that some folks have different experiences. Whether it’s the extra hour of free babysitting or the extra hour of social interaction that you miss, I am sorry for your loss. But I’m afraid nothing can mar the joy of my Sunday afternoon nap. [Read more…]

Book review: And It Was Very Good

I seem to recall an episode of All in the Family (or possibly Archie Bunker’s Place) where Archie states his disapproval of sex education in the schools. “Kids should learn about sex the same place I did—the streets!” My own sex education did not happen in school, for the most part. Nor did it happen in the home. When I was about 10, my mother told me about menstruation, but that was pretty much the last conversation we had about reproduction. (At least in the educational sense.) My first school-based sex ed was in 7th grade; my mother wouldn’t sign the paperwork to get me out of it. “You have to learn about it sometime,” she said. And I was like, are you kidding me with this?* (I mean, I didn’t say it aloud. I suspected she might not want to know that I’d cobbled together my own version of sex ed from third-grade gossip and The Thorn Birds.) Despite my initial reluctance, I was kind of hoping—since I was stuck in the class anyway—that school would fill in some gaps in my knowledge. I mean, I was only thirteen; I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but I was hoping that I didn’t know it all. [Read more…]

When saw we thee a minister, and let thee in?

I’ve been thinking a lot about ministering lately, or maybe I should call it “the ministering program formerly known as visiting/home teaching.” Until a couple years ago, I was a visiting teaching supervisor for about twelve years. I noticed that a lot of women didn’t believe they had done their visiting teaching unless they’d done a home visit and delivered the monthly message as printed in the Ensign. This was why our Relief Society president asked us supervisors to change the way we asked the women in our districts about visiting teaching to “what sort of contact (or attempted contact) did you have with your ladies this month?” It didn’t seem to relieve any sisters of their guilt about not doing their visiting teaching the “proper” way. So I welcomed the changes to the program. I even approved of the awkward new label, “ministering,” because it clarified that you were there to meet the individual’s needs, not to teach them a lesson (or to deliver a message from headquarters, as it were). I especially liked the part where VT supervisors became obsolete, as I’d been ready for that since forever. [Read more…]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

misterrogers_700xOn Friday my husband and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary about Fred Rogers. (Make that Fred “Mister” Rogers.) On Saturday I went and saw it again, and I was glad because it was probably the most profound religious experience I’ve had in a long time.

I know what you’re thinking. “This lady really likes Mister Rogers.” Well, I do, yes. I’m a huge fan of Mister Rogers, as are most people of my generation. So as soon as I learned of this movie, I knew I would have to watch it, but I didn’t expect it to affect me the way it did. [Read more…]

Marriage and the best-laid plans

Tuesday was my twenty-first wedding anniversary. I’m very happy and I’ve already had a nice dinner out, so I don’t need to be congratulated. The occasion just reminded me of this Slate article I read last month, “The Work of ‘Marital Maintenance’ Is a Privilege,” in which the (divorced) author argues that working on your marriage is a lot harder when you’re poor. The vast majority of people responding to this article on Twitter said something like “give us a break, lady.” Actually, that’s a nice way to render the responses, most of which were personal attacks on the author’s intelligence, maturity, and character. Commenters cited the longevity of their own marriages, which was due not to material comfort but to hard work and commitment, something this woman would obviously know nothing about. A few pointed out that she began badly—having a kid before the marriage—so she was kind of doomed from the start. Why should anyone listen to this [screw]-up?

Actually (ack-shually), the author concedes that her marriage had more problems than just a lack of money, but her main point was that lack of money makes everything harder, including—maybe especially—marriage. And as far as I’m concerned, she’s not wrong. [Read more…]

Teaching Old Testament, Primary-style

I’m having a pretty good time teaching the Old Testament to my Valiant 9 class. They’re a good group of kids, and the Old Testament is a wack book of scripture, so it’s kind of hard not to have fun with it. One of my kids is a natural thespian. When we had the lesson on the Creation, he wanted to act it out, and I, having nothing better to do with our time, said sure, why not. So he took on the role of Creator, and the other kids…well, one of them handled the lights, and the others sort of took turns embodying things like water and springtime. It was a little avant garde. At some point I did remember that it’s against the rules to let anyone portray a member of the Godhead in role-play situations, but by then it was too late, so I figured God would just have to forgive us this one time. Unfortunately, re-enacting the Creation turned out to be their favorite activity, so God has had to forgive us multiple times, but I like to think the Godhead understands these things.

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The Myth of Invisible Fatherhood

By Brother So-and-So

We were at church. I was sitting on the stand. My wife was wrestling with our kids, when the three-year-old escaped to the aisle. I knew the second my wife stood up, our daughter would try to outrace her mom.

Men were gathering to bless a newborn baby. My wife rushed to the front of the chapel, picked up our three-year-old just in time, and headed to the foyer.

After the blessing, she trekked back in, only to find that the rest of the bench was now full. So, in addition to carrying our three-year-old, she was climbing over five people. I watched as she lost her footing and fell into their laps! Then the three-year-old took off the one-year-old’s shoes and threw them over my wife’s head! [Read more…]

What does it mean to be worthy?

My husband was part of an interfaith discussion in which someone asked the LDS participants, “What’s the point of making someone quit smoking for a week before they can get baptized? Does God really care if you smoke or not?” I think the standard, or at least predictable, answer to this question is that it demonstrates a person’s commitment to what will (or should) be a new way of life, their acceptance of the church’s moral authority; it makes sense as a test of how serious someone is about baptism and how well they understand what will be expected of them as members of the church. Someone else defended the practice along those lines. Brother J, being Brother J, said, “No, actually, God probably doesn’t care if you smoke or not.”

At least, He probably doesn’t care if you stop smoking for seven days.

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Anarchy: a love story

Me (tacking up a picture of Lorenzo Snow on the board): Do any of you know who this is?

Primary child: You, when you were younger?

Me: Tough, but fair.

Last September, after a four-year hiatus, I made a triumphant return to teaching Primary. Well, it was triumphant for about five minutes, until I actually tried to teach a lesson. Then everything was exactly the same as it had been four years ago: a circus in search of a ringmaster. A circus that is such a fun-filled romp for everyone that random adults wandering the halls tend to poke their noses in and say, “Everything okay in here?”

“It’s okay,” I reassure them. “We’re cool here.”

We’re not cool, of course. We’re completely off the rails, and in the time I took to answer that question, one of the kids just climbed out the window. But NBD.

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Back in the (Primary) saddle again

In September I became a Primary teacher again, after a four-year exile in Sunday school and Relief Society. I am happy to be back in Primary because I find it a more pleasant way to spend two of the required three hours at church. (If I could spend all three hours in Primary, I probably would. But I suspect there’s a law of diminishing returns that takes effect at some point.)

I teach nine-year-olds turning ten, which is a pretty good age, and most of them are ten by now. I have eight kids, five of whom are pretty chill. Practically angels, really. Two are lively but manageable. One is…an original. I have never met another child like him, and I don’t expect to in the future.

I was less than excited to learn I’d be teaching Doctrine and Covenants again. It’s my least favorite of the standard works, and it’s nearly impossible to work the scriptures into the lessons in any way that makes sense. But teaching church history isn’t bad. I will now go on record as saying that the Doctrine and Covenants manuals are not terrible. They have lots of good stories, many of them about women and girls. I mostly tell stories in class and let the kids draw their own conclusions. Because heaven knows they won’t let me have the floor long enough to give them my conclusions. [Read more…]

One meeting down, only 437 left to go

I was pleasantly surprised by the Church Newsroom’s announcement that in 2018 they would be consolidating the Women’s and Priesthood sessions of General Conference to one alternating session (held Saturday evening), with priesthood holders meeting in April and women in October. Surprised because, much as no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects Mormons to cut meetings. (Although it occasionally does happen. But then, so did the Spanish Inquisition.) Pleasantly because I think cutting meetings is generally something that should be encouraged, so I calibrate my emotions accordingly.

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The end of an era

So it has been our family tradition, since our oldest child was a toddler, to go to Saturday morning session at the church building and go out for hamburgers afterward. Even after internet streaming at home became the norm and we didn’t even go to church for Sunday session, we still went to church and out for hamburgers on Saturday because THIS IS OUR TRADITION. For the last couple years, it’s pretty much been just us and the missionaries. And our friend who’s the stake A/V guy says they’re going to stop showing it at the building after this conference. Which makes sense, frankly, but it’s kind of a shame because a) without making the kids sit through two hours of boring talks at the church, I feel like we won’t have earned any hamburgers, and b) even though we play all the other sessions at home, the session I’m forced to sit through at the church is basically the only one I pay attention to (because there’s nothing else to do). Which I guess isn’t really a shame, except it’s hard to watch traditions die.

Being esteemed as filthiness: What Not to Wear

Last year my family and I were fortunate to spend a significant portion of our summer in Japan. One of the things Brother J and I admire about the Japanese is that they are, generally speaking, much less slovenly than Americans. You don’t see Japanese people walking around in public wearing sweats or raiment in ill repair (what used to be known colloquially as “grubbies”—at least that’s what my mom called them). Almost everyone is dressed neatly and stylishly. I like to think I take a modicum of pride in my appearance, at least if I’m going to be seen by people not related to me by blood or marriage, but I rarely felt presentable in Japan. They are a very well-dressed people.

I probably noticed this only because the cultural differences were so striking. At home in the United States, I don’t think a lot about how other people are dressed, unless someone has committed a Glamour DON’T so egregious that it can’t be missed, even by the likes of me. I’m just too self-absorbed to be judgmental about clothes. Also, I have no taste. I know what I like, but that’s just, like, my opinion, man. At the same time, I try to dress appropriately for the various occasions, situations, etc. I don’t like to draw attention to myself, and at my age, I particularly don’t wish to appear undignified. [Read more…]

What if they had a ward activity and nobody came?

On the last Sunday in April, one of the counselors in the bishopric asked to meet with both Brother J and me. Whatever could this be about, we wondered—for about three seconds before my husband figured out that it must be about the upcoming Fourth of July Breakfast.

“No,” I said. “NO.”

“But this could be our chance to restore it to its former glory,” my husband said.


As long as we’ve lived here—which I guess is thirteen years now—our ward has provided breakfast for the neighborhood’s annual Fourth of July celebration, which also includes a parade and a modest carnival with bouncy houses, snow cones, a dunking booth, a clown, etc. In the beginning, the ward provided a full breakfast, complete with pancakes, bacon, and eggs in addition to fruit and beverages. As attendance grew (much) higher, we had to jettison the bacon and eggs and just serve pancakes, fruit, and beverages. Then the parks and rec district stopped providing us with tables, so we replaced the pancakes with muffins, bagels, and donuts, making it a “grab-and-go” breakfast. Obviously, the baked goods were much more expensive than pancakes, but what else could they do without tables? But every year I think to myself, “Why the hell am I getting up this early for half a muffin and a Dixie cup of fruit?” Well, why the hell does anyone? But everyone does. Last year, I think, we served this paltry breakfast to 1,200 people. Or maybe it was 1,300. I don’t really remember, just that the number was astonishing. Because seriously, why the hell? [Read more…]

Judge not, but still judge sometimes (just not too much)

You may have heard or read about the story of the student at a Christian high school who has been barred from walking at her graduation because she is pregnant (out of wedlock, as most pregnant high schoolers are). The school’s argument is that she violated the pledge she signed not to engage in “immoral behavior” (something not unlike BYU’s Honor Code). The student and her parents argue that she has already been punished (by being removed from a leadership position on the student council), and forbidding her to walk at graduation is just too much punishment. Her cause has been picked up by some pro-life advocates because, after all, if she’d had an abortion, no one would have discovered her “immoral behavior” and there would have been no issue. They’re afraid that shutting a pregnant student out of her own graduation sends the message that it’s more important not to get caught than to “choose life” for their unborn babies. [Read more…]

The blessings of the priesthood

On Sunday my younger son, age 14, was ordained a teacher in the Aaronic priesthood. His older brother, who has been a priest for about six months, performed the ordination. It was my husband’s idea; when he was a priest, he had ordained his younger brother as a teacher. It’s not uncommon for teenage priests to perform what ordinances they’re authorized to do—e.g. baptism—for their younger siblings, even when there’s a priesthood-holding father in the picture; I think most families want their boys to take advantage of such opportunities. In my husband’s case, there was no father in the home; his mother had been widowed more than a decade earlier. Ordaining his brother had been a memorable experience for him, and he wanted our son to have the same chance.

Our 16-year-old did very well. I could tell that he was a little nervous, but he gave his brother a very nice blessing. (More importantly, he didn’t screw anything up and have to repeat it, as so often happens with stuff like sacrament prayers. Not that my son has ever screwed up a sacrament prayer!) Afterward, as we walked out of the bishop’s office, my husband turned to our older son and said, “I can honestly say that that was better than doing it myself.” That was a thing I had wondered about. There will be plenty of opportunities for a young man to exercise his priesthood throughout his life; a father only has so many kids and so many such milestones. But there is a different kind of satisfaction in witnessing your child take on adult responsibilities. [Read more…]

March 2017 General Women’s Session: Charity Still Not Failing

How many of you attended the women’s session of General Conference on Saturday? There were not many bums in the pews at my stake center, and even fewer bums in the plastic chairs set up in the overflow. That may be par for the course in many areas, but women’s session in our stake tends to be pretty well attended, even though (like all the sessions) it’s available streaming live, online, in the comfort of one’s home. Most LDS women I know are more than happy to take advantage of an excuse to get out of the house, even if it is church (and even if they do feel morally obligated to drag along their 8-year-old girl children now).

I imagine the severely reduced attendance was due primarily to Spring Break starting Friday afternoon and people being out of town. But even the women who were in town seemed hardly aware of women’s session happening at all, much less interested in going. It probably means nothing, except that conference is kind of boring and now that the stake Relief Society no longer does a big shindig in connection with it (they used to do dinner/appetizers/dessert/ice cream sundae bars, plus an excruciatingly long “Laurel appreciation”), people are less inclined to bother putting on a skirt and trekking to the church building. [Read more…]

Book review(ish): Carol Lynn Pearson’s The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy

33bb98d31532c5a93920dabfe0ff91efThe Ghost of Eternal Polygamy by Carol Lynn Pearson was released earlier this year, but as I do not have a voracious appetite for all books Mormon, I did not get around to reading it until this month. I’d like to blame Christmas for me not posting about it until now, but the fact is that I love reading books and hate writing book reviews. I like reading and writing about stuff that interests me, and polygamy interests me. (Interest being the kindest verb I could use in this context.) So maybe this post will not be so great as book reviews go, but it is a post about a book about polygamy, and maybe that will suffice for enough of you.

What you must bear in mind if or when you read The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy is that Carol Lynn Pearson is a poet, not a scholar. This is not to say that Pearson doesn’t know what she’s talking about, that she hasn’t studied the relevant issues. Obviously, she has. But she approaches this project as part memoir, part meditation on what polygamy means to contemporary Mormons and what is required to build what she calls a “partnership Zion,” rather than a patriarchal one. [Read more…]

M is for the many things she gave me

Before we were married I told my husband that when we had children, I wanted to stay home with them. It never really occurred to me that I would do otherwise. I like to think that I was not particularly brainwashed into this decision by my Mormon upbringing. I don’t know. As a youth, I rebelled pretty strongly against the cultural, sometimes pseudo-doctrinal message that women belonged in the home. From a young age, I assumed that I would have a career. I didn’t want to have kids, probably because my mother had five children for whom she was the full-time caregiver, and I saw firsthand how difficult it was for her. I didn’t assume that I could do it better. I assumed it would probably kill me. [Read more…]

The ground game is in our hearts

I’ve tried to write a coherent post-election post, but nothing comes together. It’s probably because I still haven’t decided what to make of the result. I was as shocked as the next person (unless the next person was Bill Mitchell) that Trump won, and so decisively too. Like a lot of folks, I really underestimated the number of white voters. In my defense, I don’t do this for a living. But I feel more than a little silly for having overlooked the most relevant fact: both candidates were about equally disliked and distrusted, and the one who was currently in the spotlight always suffered for it. Apparently, Trump’s campaign managers managed in the last week to do what they’d failed to do for the previous 15 months—take his iPhone away so he couldn’t Tweet something stupid to distract people from whatever was happening with Hillary. I guess I didn’t notice because I gave up on this election in July. [Read more…]

How (not) to plan a missionary activity

I know that a lot of people have strong feelings about Trunk or Treat activities. (For those of you who don’t know what Trunk or Treat is, it’s when a bunch of adults park their cars in one place on Halloween and lure children to their trunks with candy. It’s actually pretty messed up, when you think about it.) I do not have strong feelings about Trunk or Treat, or rather, I don’t really understand my own feelings about Trunk or Treat because I can’t separate them from my feelings about Halloween in general. As a child, I loved Halloween, as all children do. As a teenager I completely lost interest in it, and as an adult I can hardly stand it. I recognize that this is a personal failing. I have never attempted to deprive my children of the joy that Halloween can bring, because I know how important Halloween is to kids. Just because I hate it and think it’s a pain in the neck doesn’t mean I want to spoil it for everyone else. But mention Trunk or Treat to me, and the only reaction I can dredge up is “gah, more Halloween.” So I don’t know if Trunk or Treats are inherently good or bad, or if they’re potentially good or bad depending on certain variables. I just know that they’re part of Halloween and so I don’t care.

I say all this by way of disclaimer because my post today is not about Trunk or Treat per se, but it involves Trunk or Treat, and I just don’t want people to lose focus. Put your feelings about Trunk or Treat on the back burner and listen to (read) my tale. [Read more…]

General Women’s Meeting: ‘Cause you gotta have faith (and also charity)

Beknownst to some, and unbeknownst to others, Saturday was the first session of General Conference, the semi-annual General Women’s Meeting. Did you go? I did. I wouldn’t have, but I knew that if I didn’t, no one else would recap the meeting for BCC and its gentle readers. Once again, I am working from notes, not transcripts, so please forgive any inaccuracies, unattributed quotes, etc., usw. I am just trying to give you a general feel of this General Meeting. Interestingly enough, there were no special video presentations breaking up the talks this time. I wonder if they’ve completely given up on making the meeting eight-year-old-friendly. Or maybe the General A/V Guy was sick. Your guess is as good as mine. On to the meeting!

For those of you not already in the know (or the beknownstment), Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, was conducting. The First Presidency was in the house. (Like, the whole thing. All three guys.) A choir made up of women and teenage women (no “tween” women that I could see) dressed in various shades of pink that looked like a sea of Pepto Bismol from afar (but not in a bad way) graced us with a rousing rendition of “Arise, O Glorious Zion.” (Actually, I don’t recall if it was rousing or not, exactly. I just like to say “rousing rendition,” particularly for songs that begin with the word “Arise.” I am resisting the temptation to make further plays on words. You, of course, may do what you feel. It’s not like we’re in the chapel or anything.) Bonnie Goodliffe was at the organ. [1] [Read more…]

You’ve given this program a bad name

Brothers and sisters, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted at BCC, and I won’t lie to you: the neglect has been due to a lack of will and a lack of inspiration. But something’s been bothering me for a long time, and I’m finally going to write about it here because I’ve hit the breaking point. I can no longer pretend that I support the status quo. There’s something wrong in Mormondom, and it must change.

“Activity Days.”

I’m not talking about the Activity Days program itself, although goodness knows its shortcomings are legion. But baby steps, first things first: that name, “Activity Days,” is a horrible, stupid name for a program. Yes, the program itself desperately needs improvement. Activity Day leaders across the church do their best, working with miniscule budgets and almost zero guidance. But I think the name itself demonstrates why the program is so substandard. What a slapdash affair that planning meeting must have been. [1] [Read more…]

ICYMI: General Women’s Meeting, March 2016

refugee-choirYou may not have realized it, what with all the spring break and Easter and whatnot going on, but General Conference did begin on Saturday with the General Women’s Session. I came very close to not attending this session myself since a) it had been a long time since I’d actually enjoyed one, and b) I didn’t feel like getting dressed and going to church. (Yes, I know it’s on the interwebs now, but I don’t have the self-discipline to spend my Saturday night in front of a computer watching church, of all things. Watching cat videos, maybe. Maybe.)

But tradition is a hard thing to resist. [Read more…]