Friday, March 16, 2007

The Breeders

In our first ward there was a family, I will call them the Breeders. Brother and Sister Breeder had little to their name, except children. Neither had much more than a high school education. At the time, the 13 Breeder children ranged in age from early 20's (I actually went to school with the oldest son) to an infant. They rented a cracker box sized, three bedroom house; Sister Breeder drove a 15-20 year old Subaru Wagon; all 13 of the children wore hand-me-down clothes from other members of the ward; and the children lived on mac-n-cheese and cereal. Other than children and testimonies, the Breeders had very little.

My first calling after joining the Church was as Sunbeam Leader (what were they thinking?!?!? Best birth control on the planet, call a newly married woman to work in the primary!) and Sister Breeder was called to assist me. I stood in "ah" of Sister Breeder as she explained the ropes to me...If you ask multiple parents to bring snacks for the Sunbeams, there are always extras left for you to take home. Yippee! I can't wait, generic goldfish and kool aid!

What I could never understand, even during my TBM years, is how people can justify having kids that they can't afford...financially or emotionally. And not just one or two that hopefully, eventually they will be able to afford, but oodles of children. So many children that it is doubtful that Lee Iaccoca could afford to feed, cloth, shelter and educate all of them. And yet Mormons feel not only justified in having more than they can afford, but righteous for doing so! After all who needs the "things of the world"; food not from the cannery, a bedroom with less that four people inhabiting it and occasional undivided parental attention. Damn Satan for leading the rest of us down the path of sin and abomination; convincing us that these things are necessary to raise healthy, happy, well adjusted children.

Anyway back to Sister Breeder...One Sunday after church several months after I received my calling, I was backing my car out of a space in the church parking lot when my husband very quietly said, "Stop." I stopped the car, turned expectantly to my husband, but he was already out of the car. I jumped out to see what was going on. On the ground directly behind my car was one of the four-year old Breeder twins. He had dashed out behind my car as I was backing out, completely in my blind spot. Thankfully, my husband had caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of his eye and stopped me. Little Breeder lay stunned, but unhurt on the ground behind my car, a 'Ford" emblem indented on his little forehead. As my husband, a trained first responder, tended to him, I dashed around desperately trying to find Sister or Brother Breeder.

An eternity later, I was able to locate Sister Breeder. Upon arriving in the parking lot, she told Little Breeder to get up and quit horsing around, that it served him right for running off. My jaw hit the macadam. What?!? I apologized profusely and insisted that we take LB to the emergency room. Her reply, you ask??? Not on a Sunday! They did not patronize any establishment on Sundays! She would take LB to her husband for a Priesthood Blessing and she had faith that he would be healed of all afflictions or this was a trial to teach him a lesson. WTF???? He was four!!! Whose responsibility was it to keep a four year old safe? Again, I apologized and tried to insist upon a trip to the ER. Sister Breeder told me not to worry about it, that everything would be fine with a blessing. She actually joked that it would be easier to tell the twins apart for a couple of weeks with the 'Ford' emblem on LB head.

Looking back, I wonder how I missed so many signs?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fast and Testimony and the Little Fishy

Fast and Testimony Meetings were my absolute favorite part of church. There are days where I still miss sitting captive, listening to the most intimate details of strangers, I mean ward members lives. There were times when I learned more intimate details about these strangers' lives than I even knew about my own family's lives.

Boy, I just miss the feeling of that sweet spirit when Sister Center-of-the-Universe would get up to tell us the details of her latest Colon Hydrotherapy for her Crones Disease and how she KNEW that the suffering that she went through was a gift from Heavenly Father, it was her refiners fire.

I remember one Sunday Sister Center-of-the-Universe approached the podium, tears already gleaming in her eyes. I briefly wondered if I should cover my children's ears, least they ask me what a colon is or what rectal stretching means. But much to my surprise, this F & T Meeting was to be different. You see, Sister COTU had a very difficult life and the Lord knew this. Even though she had six health, happy, productive children; a 6500 square foot house that was paid for; 2 brand new cars; a kind and generous husband that just happen to be the owner of several very profitable businesses...she had a VERY hard life. Now, I am not one to judge another's hardships. I know that everything is not as it seems on the outside and I would NOT want to walk a mile in ANYONE else's shoes, no matter how comfortable they may look. But I am also not one to look at life as something to endure, I try to look at how marvelous and wonderful it is. I believe that you find what you are looking for. If you think life sucks, it does. If you think it is a glorious wonder, it is.

Back to her testimony...the previous night Sister COTU noticed that one of her two remaining fish had died and the last lonely one was looking a little peeked. So Sister COTU pleaded with her Father in Heaven to spare her little fishy, she told Him that she had endured so much in life, that she simply could not bear to endure this too. Sister Center of the Universe openly wept as she poured her tale of sorrow upon us. But she knew that Heavenly Father listens and answer every prayer, and so it was with her tale. Father opened the heavens and poured out blessings upon her and her little fishy and he was healed! She knew the Church was true, because her fishy lived! InthenameofJesusChristAmen!

If I believed in the world as she sees it, I would have wondered why Heavenly Father saved Sister COTU's little fishy and yet when my 19 year old niece pleaded with Him to not take her father that she still needed him, he died. Oh, that's right, my niece isn't Mormon...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Just Want You to Know How Much I Love You!

From the outside looking in, Mormonism is a blast. Kind of like a sorority/fraternity, instant friends, fun activities, tons of support and fellowship...who wouldn't want to join?

When I was first investigating the Church(funny use of that word, isn't it? Investigate, just not too deep.), a lot of my friends were active in the Church. I would attend YW with my girlfriends, FHE at different friends' homes, church dances and even early morning seminary. Suddenly I was very popular, ALL the LDS kids wanted to be friends with me..."Oh, your investigating the Church? How wonderful! Do you want to join us on Friday night for a scavenger hunt? We would love to have you!" People I had never even spoken to were suddenly calling me and inviting me out. Truthfully, it was kind of weird.

I have always been a very private person, with a close, intimate group of friends. I have never been one for lots of acquaintances. In the Church, it is impossible to live that way. After all, we are one big family, Sister.

Particularly disturbing to me then and now, was the use of absolutes and the exageration of feelings. "I want you to know how much I love you!" Love me? We barely know each other!!! This completely devalues the meaning of these words. If you 'love' me and we have only known each for a short period of time, then what words do you use to discribe your feelings for your husband? Your children? Your parents? It reminds me of a line in an old Culture Club song, "Love means nothing in some strange quarters."

How disengenoius it is! The manipulation of friendship to encourage young adults to join the Church...almost cultish.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


I remember my mother teaching me to pray when I very little...

Dear God

Thank you for today.

Thank you for my family.

Please bless Mamma and Daddy.

Please bless Momma Moose (Dear Sister) and Black Sheep (Dear Brother).

Please bless Jabba the Hut (Other Sister)....

"Mamma, what do I say, if I dont' want Him to bless Taz (Other Dear Brother)? He was mean to me today..."

"Just say Amen"

"Ok, Mamma...Amen!"

It was years before I realized that you did not say "amen" or "awomen" at the end of your prayers at night, depending on the gender of who you didn't want Godd to bless that day because they were mean to you...when Taz was mean it was "amen" when Jabba was nasty it was "awomen."

What do I say at the end of my prayer when it was the Church that was mean?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Woman's Place is in the Kitchen

Thinking back, I wonder how it is that I ever joined the Church...I am not the typical Mormon woman. I don't fit the mold. I grew up as a warrior, a defender, an adventurer. These are not words that one would use to discribe the typical Mormon woman...

There was a country song out, when Nerd Man (At the time it was more like Nerd Boy) and I were dating, "I Wouldn't Hit Ya, But My Girlfriend Might." Nerd Man got such a kick out of that song. He said it was written for me...a pacifist I am not.

So, it is with total befuddlement and wonder that I think back on my decision to join a church that sees women as little more than servants and baby factories. What was I thinking???

Nerd Man and I took the missionary discussions together while we were dating. Actually we took them many times over the course of two years. I remember the first set of missionaries distinctly, even though it has been...crap, 15 plus years...Time flies, Elder Runion and Elder Bishop. Elder Runion was new to the area. He had experienced great success in his last area and expected the same here. We were to be his first conquests. It didn't quit work out that way...

We had several close friends that were LDS. They arranged for us to start having the mishies over for dinner ever week and having informal discussions on religion...Nerd Man was raised catholic and not ready to be pushed into anything.

Picture it...there would be 8 or 9 of us for dinner including the mishies, with the oldest being Nerd Man who was a University Sophomore at the time. I would have loved to see the look on the Mission President's face had he walked into that! I remember one night after dinner, Elder Runion was reminissing about his pre-mission life. He had been an escort for the Miss Teen USA pagant. OMG! It was like having royalty in the house and it just so happened that the Miss Teen USA pagant was on TV that very night. Of course we must watch, after all we had an insider in our midst.

At one point during the meat market, Elder Runion commented that this would be much more enjoyable with some refreshments. No one made a move for the kitchen...Elder R then turned to my girlfriend and me, informing us that we needed to learn that a woman's place was in the kitchen or we would never be able to find an RM willing to marry us. "After all," he continued,"Hot bodies are lost after a couple of kids, but an attentive wife and a good cook can last a lifetime. And that is what the men will be looking for." WTF?!?!?!

To my total embarrassment, I just sat there dumb. Probably the one and only time in my life that I have kept my mouth shut. I really wish that I would have decked the jerk. In the end he got his. The next time we were to meet with them, the ward missionaries shwed up instead. They informed us that Elder R and Elder B had been transferred to a bike mission in the southern part of the mission...the weather that night reported that it was 115 in the south.

Monday, March 5, 2007


My sister...hmmm, let's call her Momma Moose, called me last night to discuss her daughter's impending wedding. During the course of the conversation, she casually mentioned that my niece would be bringing her father to the wedding...

Huh? My mind stumbled over this little tidbit like a hiker in a creek bed full of boulders. What? How? Huh? You see my niece's father died almost 6 years ago.

My first thought was actually, "Has he been resurrected?" I think that I need to get more sleep...

In reality, niece...what shall we call her... Amazon Girl, will be bringing her father's ashes, to place at the alter in the chapel.

Am I the only one that finds this really creepy?


The salt on the still icy sidewalk crunched beneath my feet, as I walked up the hill towards the college. My gaze wandered to the snowy hills; the clouds, a blanket of down tucked around the sleeping mountains. Night clung to the edges of the sky, not wanting to release her hold. In front of me the first rays of sunlight appeared. Turning, I looked to the eastern sky, where dawn was beginning to make her entrance. The blanket of down was covering the mountains to the east as well, except for a small hole where one would expect to see the face of a child peeking out, instead the first red and golden rays of the sun.

The beauty of it shocked me. As I gazed at a sun rise that could have been painted by one of the Masters, I was stunned.

We rush around this world trying to acquire more than our neighbor; trying to find the beauty, the joy. We collect for the sake of having; art, books, objects d’ art, homes, vehicles, friends, children. We put our possession on display for the world. See how wonderful I am, look at all that I have. My things, are they not lovely, therefore am I not lovely? In an age where there are those that would gladly pay more than some make in a year for a lovely to hang on the wall, I wonder how many stop to just watch the sun rise?

If I am lucky, I will live through 31,025 sun rises. As I am well into my thirtieth year, over 11,000 have passed. Of those, I can recall maybe 5 or 6. Where was I for the other 11,000 plus? Too busy? Too preoccupied? On my way to other things, as I was this morning, when I happened to turn around? Probably. Rushing from place to place just to accomplish something, which I will more than likely never take the time to truly enjoy.

On rare moments like this, when I stand still long enough to hear the whisper of the earth in my ear; my thoughts always turn to my children, those which I hold most dear. Boxes and albums filled with photos clutter my closets. Snapshots, brief moments captured on cellophane in a futile attempt to stop time. How many of those moments were fully lived and enjoyed? In how many was the focus on the acquisition of a synthetic memory?

We try to make sure that our children have the best of everything, regardless of whether or not we can afford it. Soccer, Little League, ballet, gymnastics, scouts, piano lessons, swim team, learning toys, book clubs, educational outings, vacations, pta (you have to make sure that other peoples children are provided for as well), don’t forget to read to them - an hour every night, no TV –wait, educational shows are a must, oh and eat your veggies. In our quest to give them the best as defined by our modern society, what about the best that was given to them at birth? Two parents that love them, the world that was created for them, time. Time, time just to be with them, time to explore the world at their own pace, time to play and learn and love. Just time.

Oh, well…I need to get back to planning my scouting project. But I do wonder about the 20,000 sun rise that I may have left; how many of them will I notice, how many of them will I enjoy, how many of them will I share with those that I hold most dear?

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Greetings and Salutations! This is my first attempt at a blog. I have been lurking for the past year...mostly around the bloggernacle and combination, isn't it? There is something so empowering about being able to post your thoughts, feelings; life really, out there for the world to see...anonymously of course.

So here I go...

Where to start? I have thought about this a lot, since most of my experience is with Mormon or ex-Mormon blogs...Where do I fit in?

I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My husband and I were baptized almost 12 years ago, shortly after we wed. My 3 children were all blessed and are children of record. My husband and I have held numerous callings over the past 12 years. We have also experienced periods of complete inactivity and possibly apostasy...well, ok maybe just me. Am I Mormon?

That is the question of the day...or maybe of my life.

I think that it basically boils down to this, I wish with all my heart that I was Mormon. As I re-read that, it sounds kind of strange, but it's the truth.

I grew up in and still live in an area that is highly populated with LDS. I grew up watching my friends' mothers volunteer in our classroom; bringing in homemade cookies, always with an angelic smile on their lips, a baby in their arms and a toddler clinging to their legs. I watched my friends head off to Primary Activities, Young Women's Camp and Missionary Farewells for their older brothers. I grew up watching the commercial on TV where the husband and wife are driving down a country road, lost and bickering when they run out of gas. On the walk to the Gas Station, they start to laugh and joke with each other. When they reach the Gas Station, the attendant asks if they would like a ride back. They laugh, smile at each other, tell him no thank you and walk off back to their Jeep hand in hand as the viewers hear, "Best friends make the best marriages. A message from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." This is the life that I desperately wanted.

I wanted "that" commercial, "that" dream, but the truth is you can't have the commercial. No one can, it doesn't exist.