Part 1: Jana Reiss and Peter Breinholt
Part 2: Andrew Ainsworth and Peter Breinholt
Part 3: Claudia Bushman, Michael Fife and Stephanie Lauritzen
Part 4: Benji Schwimmer and Story Sharing Time
Part 5: Comedian Bengt Washburn
To Claudia, I feel disappointed by your assessment of Joseph Smith’s behavior in marrying a 14- almost 15-year-old. Yes, it is true that girls married younger in that day, but 18 years was the average and they were not marrying a 38-year-old man with other wives. By pointing out that Helen Mar Kimball’s journals expressed her regret for having her social life curtailed by a marriage she opposed rather than the plural marriage itself, were you implying that those objections were inconsequential and trivial? Not having the freedom to choose her own spouse through normal social interactions seems important to me. And all of this does not equate with “socks on the floor” or ants in one’s bread. The consequences and implications are far more grave than your analogy allows. Then there’s the matter that she did not want to marry Joseph Smith, nor did her mother want her to. Her objections were overridden in what appears to me to be unrighteous dominion.
I can sympathize with your concerns about the temple covenant. I have felt the same for decades but chose to stay in the faith, just not to attend the temple. I have to admit your examples about R-rated movies and shopping on Sunday threw me. I have lived long enough to be grateful not to espouse the beliefs and world view in most R-rated movies. They cause so much pain in real life. The films never seem to show the real abiding pain of divorce or adultery or crime or violence. I frequently think they are written by men who never grew up emotionally past the age of teenagers.
Also, I have to wonder if because you grew up after the repeal of Sunday closing laws you know what was lost when whole communities had a sabbath day? I miss the peace and the family together time. Only those with a job that involved health or safety had to work. Your boss never demanded that you come in order to prove you were a team player. Minimum wage workers had a day when they could spend time with their family members, not just those in professional careers. People assumed God and family were important values, worthy of societal respect and protection. Families had a meal together. They visited grandparents and other family members. The week had a rythmn and a pace to it that gave meaning to life. If you never experienced it, you cannot know what was lost.
I have heard people talk about the joy in leaving Mormonism or being inactive when they have their Sundays off and don’t have all the church callings and responsibilities.
I know for myself, I used to force myself to take Sundays off when I ran my own business and I was frustrated because I would want to organize my office or do odd jobs during a day when clients were not calling. Instead I would come to Monday and be distracted and overextended and feel endlessly like I was failing. I learned over time that for me I was far more relaxed and nurtured when I would let myself do things like that on Sunday which nurtured me rather than try not to do ‘work’ which may relate to my profession.
I think the intention behind downtime and understanding nuances of what truly nurtures a person is what is key. Much like there are so many people who obey the letter of the law and don’t drink green tea which has health benefits and don’t drink wine which in moderation is also said by some to have health benefits, but then they gorge on sugar and are overweight and risk diabetes and other health issues, and eat meat which the word of wisdom says not to do.
The romanticization of what was ‘lost’ is often just that, romanticization. Some things were nice, many things were not. Many things are better and addressed in more respectable, healthy ways. A lot of ignorance and bigotry has also thankfully been lost. And yes, some things may have been lost and may be worth seeking to bring back, but with new eyes and more refined minds and deeper hearts.
David, if you have time please listen to Stephanie again. She was not referring to using Sunday for work at home. She specifically said she liked shopping on Sundays. As someone who has had jobs where I was required to work on Sundays so someone else could go shopping rather than organize their week to get it done some other day, I did not find it nurturing for me or for my family. Children are off school on weekends. If a parent is required to work, their families suffer from their absence.
Also, to characterize my personal experience as “romantization of what was lost” while your experience is considered a valid example is insulting. And adding peace at the end does not make it less so.
Of course not all from the past was good. But in my experience of both current Sundays and past Sundays, the past beats out the present on all counts. If you have specific examples of how the current lack of a Sabbath day in our society is a more respectable, healthy way to live, please describe them. Vague generalities do not an argument make. Also, please explain exactly what ignorance and bigotry we eliminated by getting rid of Sabbath observance.
Jana, I loved your presentation with so many truths, thank-you for reminding those who disagree with the a variety of things,(i.e.doctrine policy traditions and practices)that they too should listen, along with the chastising you mentioned of our leaders in the church should listen, a two way listening channel is important. Often times, when we state those things we want changed in the church, and than changes do not happen, than somehow the church is not listening. We need to be careful not to be what we accuse others of being. Your wisdom, Jana, is inspiring.
I would love to interview my grandmother about her unique history. You mentioned you had a format that would be helpful, but I can’t seem to locate a link anywhere. Could you or mormon stories provide the link you mention in your talk?
I was wondering if it was at all possible to get a written copy/transcript of Andrew Ainsworth’s talk? How would I go about acquiring this?
Thanks for ants in the tea! Next luncheon.
I would really like to get my hands on the packet Claudia Bushman talked of for her Mormon Women Oral History project. My mother and mother-in-law would be fascinating contributions to this body of work. I don’t know that they’d be willing to tell their story still filled with so many hardships within their families, communities, and the big “C” and little “c” church, but they’ve remained faithful throughout and I find that remarkable! Their descendants hunger to hear it in their own words and to resolve many of their questions to fill in gaps. Can anyone point me to this packet?