Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An Auspicious Anniversary

Hieing to Kolob has been in existence for one year today! Come and wish me a happy anniversary and you may be the 20,000th visitor.

Update: My blog has passed the 20,000 mark in its first year. Yippee!! And thanks to all of my loyal readers. Stay with me for another year of exciting adventures.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bored Leaves Vernal

I'll blurt it out really fast, and maybe it will be easier--We're moving to Saudi Arabia.

I sure don't have a problem moving--I've done it almost every two years since I've been married. I've lived in Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Hawaii, Nevada, California, Texas, and Utah. I've even been out of the country--a mission to Quebec and frequent visits to Mexico when we lived on the border. But this is a different challenge than ever before.

Do you know what was the first thing I worried about when I found out this move was definite? You guessed it--my screen name will have to change. I'm fascinated by the fact that this one small thing is bothering me so much. This past year that I have been "Bored in Vernal" I have forged a new identity. I've had a difficult time integrating into the small conservative Mormon community of Vernal, and I've made friends blogging. In doing so, I've been able to reveal myself in ways that were unprecedented in my real life. I haven't been afraid to be outspoken and authentic. Of course, I don't anticipate that my blogging will change in any way, but I've grown attached to the Bored in Vernal moniker.

The second thing that bothers me is the unknown quantity of the country to which I will be moving. Here in the U.S. we are unacquainted with the culture, geography, and religion of the Middle East. I'm afraid of being a woman in Saudi. The move was initiated by my husband, who will be a library director at a university in Riyadh. After DH accepted the offer, I made inquiries and was fortunate to land a job with the associated but segregated women's college. Although the men's campus has an Olympic-sized pool and a swimming program, the women are not allowed to appear in swimming suits. So instead of coaching swimming (my area of expertise), I will be teaching aerobics and health and possibly other areas of physical education. Yikes. Do the women play soccer, basketball, volleyball? I don't know. I love aerobics, but if that is the only P.E. the women are allowed, I will be seriously irked.

Religion is another area of concern. When I tried to look up the Church in Saudi, I was shocked to see that there were 0 (yes, zero) Latter-day Saints in the country. Since then I have discovered that although the Church has no official presence, there is actually a ward in Riyadh. Can I say that on the internet? Will I get caught by the religious police? If I thought I was oppressed within Mormonism, will I be able to survive an even stricter religious authority? Interestingly, I have no problem with cultural differences such as wearing an Abaya or a head covering when not on the compound. But I wonder how I will react to not being able to drive or ride a bicycle. Worse, how will DH react? Will he embrace the male dominated culture?

Lastly, we must divest ourselves of our worldly possessions. So far, I've done quite well with this. We had our first yard sale yesterday. The piano went, the bikes, most of the furniture, a bunch of junk. Next Sunday Tom Kimball will come out and cart away all of the books. I'm sure it will get harder when I start having to part with keepsakes, swimming trophies and ribbons, genealogy notebooks. I don't know what to do with years of scrapbooks for 8 children. It will be hard to pare it down to 2 suitcases each.

Perhaps I have nothing to worry about. As you can see, they do have McDonalds. Now if there is a WalMart nearby, I may be just fine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Missionary Road Trip

22 Feb 1982
Today was the wildest day! We got up at 4am to finish translating an article we needed to get to the Elders by 7:00. They were going to go to the recording studios today to get it put on tape. At 7:00 as we were finishing the last sentence, the phone rang. We didn't answer it, because we knew it would be the Elders and we wanted them to think we were on our way. So we rushed out the door, I put my coat on over my pajamas and Sister Bird threw on Elder DelRey's sweatpants. When we got to Jonquiere, they had left.

Well, we hadn't gotten up at 4 in the morning for nothing, so we drove up to Alma, where they were supposed to meet the other Elders. An hour's drive. In we walked into Elder Patterson and Ewart's apartment in our lovely attire! We had missed the other Elders by 3 minutes. So off we went to St.-Felicien, another 2 hour drive.

The Elders were supposed to meet at Guy Bouchard's shop, but we must have missed them again because the shop was closed. We knew Guy lived somewhere near, but his name wasn't in the phone book. We finally went to City Hall and they told us the nearest recording studio was in Roberval, another hour's drive. So we headed down the street, intending to go to Roberval, when suddenly we saw Guy Bouchard standing in the middle of the street! This was no coincidence, just another instance of God's guiding hand upon our lives. He came up to our car and said, "What are you doing here?"

Well, it turned out they were recording in his house, just down the street. He had gone to get a microphone and that's why he was standing in the middle of the street. He must have thought we were kind of strange to drive all the way up to St.-Felicien, give the manuscript to the Elders, then leave right away. But we couldn't stay--even for 5 minutes--because we didn't want to take off our coats!

Questions by my 25-year-older self:

1. What were Elder DelRey's sweatpants doing in our apartment?
2. Why didn't Guy Bouchard, a native French speaker, do the translation rather than two American sister missionaries?
3. What was so important about the translation that we had to drive a 6-hour round trip to deliver it? Obviously it wasn't as important to the Elders as to us!
4. Whose idea was this?
5. Who drove?

Another opportunity to look ridiculous on the large screen at the final judgment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What Pioneers Kept and Left Behind

When the Mormon pioneers left to cross the plains, they could take very little with them. They left behind most of their worldly possessions and packed their wagons and handcarts with clothing, bedding, and provisions. But there were a few things tucked away in the corners that were too valuable to leave behind. It's interesting to see what what was taken and what was left behind, and to speculate on what is revealed about their characters by the items they just couldn't live without.

The first 1847 Pioneer Company included Orson Pratt. He took with him some specially ordered scientific instruments which had been brought over from England by John Taylor. The elite, fast-moving, well-equipped, exploring band of pioneers were not just taking themselves to the valley, they were charting a road that the Saints and others would use for more than twenty years. For this they needed sextants, a circle of reflection, artificial horizons, barometers, thermometers, and telescopes. The Mormons became a part of what is now known as the "Great Reconnaissance" of the Far West. (O. Ned Eddins)

When one pioneer woman, Bathsheba Smith, packed her trunk for the journey into western territory, she carefully selected what to take and what to leave behind. Deep in the corner of her single trunk she placed her paints, paper, and brushes wrapped in cloth. She added her lace-making tools and fibers to make the beautiful delicate lace for which she was famous. These tools of art she placed beneath the folds of a quilt made by her mother for her wedding day. In a concrete sense, Bathsheba Smith was blending the old and the new by preserving the past and welcoming the future. When she once again took up her paints, this time in Utah, she would paint the story of the journey. (Martha Sonntag Bradley)

Bathsheba Smith kept a diary and sketchbook for most of her life, including drawings of prominent members of the Latter Day Saint community. Among the best known is a profile of church president Joseph Smith, Jr. Bathsheba impresses me with her determination to take the tools of her art with her. There were others who brought blacksmith tools and other items to facilitate everyday living, but Bathsheba's effort to preserve culture seems to go beyond this.

Other women seemed to have a similar desire. Sometimes at night, camp women would place their scanty domestic belongings around their campfire to approximate their "parlors" back home. They also arranged the interiors of their covered wagons to be as homelike as possible. They hung mirrors, pictures, and lamps, spread carpets, and placed other belongings to this end. In fact pioneer women generally did everything they could to preserve their traditional role and image and the niceties of civilization, domesticity, and a semblance of home while westering. (Wallace Stegner, The Gathering of Zion)

Though the Saints were forced to leave their beautiful Temple in Nauvoo, they took some things from the Temple to remind them of that sacred edifice. The Nauvoo Bell originally hung in the temple in the 1840s. The Saints removed the bell in 1846 when they were forced to leave and placed it in a local Protestant Church. One stormy night in 1847 a group of men gathered in secret and without horses pulled a wagon to the Church and lowered the 1500 pound bell. They pushed and pulled the wagon by hand to the edge of the Mississippi River and carefully concealed it in the water. Andrew Lamoreaux and his brother, David, were chosen to bring the bell to Utah with their families, concealing it in their wagon with their provisions. During their journey, they rang the bell to signal daybreak and departure and to warn that night sentries were on duty. Today it hangs on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and signals the top of each hour and special occasions. (Melanie Cooper)

Are you aware of any other items that the Mormon pioneers brought with them on their journey across the plains?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

To Be A Pioneer

This may surprise some of you, but I am completely and totally enthralled by the Mormon Pioneer story. Any song, story, film, or talk dealing with the pioneers can reduce me to tears. Many of my children refuse to sit next to me in Sacrament meeting on Pioneer Day. When the story of Mary Goble Pay is retold, I begin to cry at the Platte River, and by the time her mother dies between the Little and Big Mountains at the entrance of the Salt Lake Valley, my eyes and nose are red and blotchy and my sobs and sniffles are so loud and wet they can be heard throughout the chapel.

I'm a convert, and have no Mormon Pioneer ancestors, so I don't know what it is about their story that has grasped my heart so strongly. I suppose it's the epic, archetypal, "Hero's Journey" that I relate to. I won't go back to Joseph Campbell and try to compare his elements of a hero's journey with our pioneers, but I do want to name some of the facets of the Mormons' trek that resonate with me.

First, the journey starts with the death of their Prophet and all of their hopes and dreams for a new Zion of peace and safety. The pioneers are willing to enter an unknown wilderness because of their faith and belief in something outside of themselves.

Next, they are cast out of their homes and must divest themselves of treasured possessions. This is just wrenching for me. It symbolizes the worldly things we must cast aside as we take our spiritual journey. I suppose I must find this difficult in my own life, as the tale of pianos and china left by the side of the trail holds such pathos for me.

The tales of selfless sacrifice along the way are an important element of the story. Some of these have been embellished to the point of legend, but are important to us as a people. These include Mary Fielding Smith's determination to beat the captain of her wagon train to the valley (and the anointing of her ailing ox); Robert Parker who went back to find his young son carrying his wife's red shawl; and the young men who carried some of the Martin Handcart Company over their last crossing of the Sweetwater and suffered the effects the rest of their lives. These stories highlight our better nature and remind us of the courage and cooperation we must maintain as we help each other toward our goal of eternal life.

I love these stories of bravery and faith. They strengthen me and encourage me to continue my journey. I've got a journey coming up ahead of me in the next few months that may be as difficult as that faced by the pioneers. I hope I'll be found as courageous as they were.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thomas Parkin's Challenge to the Bloggernacle

A general challenge to the bloggernacle:
Write posts centered on Brigham Young quotes that you like as least as often as around those that offend your sensibilities.

I loved Thomas Parkin's comment (#17) in the recent BCC thread "Can Women Sin?" And I've decided to take up his challenge. I agree with Parkin that "Brigham Young speaks in a language that we no longer understand. We are probably not capable of getting past our own prejudices to read him well. His language is not only of his time but is idiosyncratic to himself." However, there are many things that Brigham said which are fabulous. He is so sure of himself, so forthright. Here are a few quotes I really like from Brigham:

Now I say the women have great influence. Look at the nations of the earth. Any nation you like, no matter which, and you enlist the sympathies of the female portion of it and what is there you cannot perform?

...The mothers are the moving instruments in the hands of Providence to guide the destinies of nations. Let the mothers of any nation teach their children not to make war, the children would grow up and never enter into it. Let the mothers teach their children "War, war upon your enemies, yes, war to the hilt!" and they will be filled with this spirit. Consequently, you see at once what I wish to impress upon your minds is, that the mothers are the machinery that gives zest to the whole man, and guide the destinies and lives of men upon the earth.

We see in this quote Brigham's tendency to hyperbole. But women really do have great influence, and his turn of phrase tends to inspire and call to action. After reading this, I am ready to go forth and add zest to my family, to fill our home with the spirit of accomplishment and great aspirations.

Another quote which inspires me is this:

It is your right, wives, to ask your husbands to set out beautiful shade and fruit trees, and to get you some vines and flowers with which to adorn the outside of your dwellings; and if your husbands have not time, get them yourselves and plant them out.

Since my husband is one who "has not time" (nor, I might add, the inclination) to set out beautiful plantings or mow the yard, I've done just as Brigham suggests, do it myself. Early in my marriage I was always waiting upon the husband to come home and fix the disposal or caulk the bathtub. As Brigham says, it is my right to ask my husband to help with these things to beautify the home and make it functional. But if he has not time, I now do it myself!

Brigham's no-nonsense, get-it-done attitude is oftentimes useful and motivational. It recalls the Mormon pioneer spirit of sturdiness and self-reliance. It is fairly obvious that he exaggerated to make his point. He had his own brand of humor. To wit: "To mind your own business incorporates the whole duty of man." This Prophet was a know-it-all and could be overbearing, but had a firm sense of what was right and a determination to live according to the dictates of his Father in Heaven. "It is the business of a Latter-day Saint, in passing through the street, if he sees a fence pole down, to put it up; if he sees an animal in the mud to stop and help get it out."

I hope Thomas Parkin has enjoyed this post. I now have a free ticket for a BY post centered on quotes that offend my sensibilities!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nuclear Issues in North Korea

With my oldest daughter serving a mission in South Korea, I've been particularly concerned with the nuclear threat in nearby North Korea. Since 2003, when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and restarted its reactor, activities in the country have been a concern.

This morning, encouraging news has been reported. The sole operating reactor has reportedly been shut down, apparently in response to U.S.-backed sanctions placed upon the country by the United Nations Security Council. These sanctions were put into place after North Korea's nuclear test in October 2006. U.N. inspectors are to verify the shutdown later today. In response to this action, North Korea will receive a large oil shipment. Disabling of the facilities will continue as economic sanctions are lifted.

This news is very welcome. It's encouraging to see an example of a peaceful solution to tensions among the nations. I'm not always confident that sanctions are enough of an incentive for countries to dismantle their nuclear programs. It remains to be seen if North Korea will cooperate fully. But I'm thrilled that things are moving in a positive direction.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Heroine's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a basic pattern found in important myths throughout the world, as described by Joseph Campbell. The fundamental structure of this journey has been described as follows:

1. A call to adventure, which the hero has to accept or decline
2. A road of trials, regarding which the hero succeeds or fails
3. Achieving the goal or "boon," which often results in important self-knowledge
4. A return to the ordinary world, again as to which the hero can succeed or fail
5. Application of the boon, in which what the hero has gained can be used to improve the world

Many historic, religious, and literary figures, such as Moses, Odysseus, Joseph Smith, and Abraham Lincoln follow this hero prototype. I think that the Temple endowment casts all of the Lord's covenant people into this hero role, and follows many of the particulars on the Hero's Journey found in Campbell's book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces."

I've been captivated by the application of the Hero's Journey to women. Since the writing of Campbell's book, women have asked if we find a different journey with different archetypes when the hero figure is a woman. Do we need to adjust the stages of the hero's journey to fit the female life or do we just need to search for heroes (male or female) that we can relate to? Are women able to place themselves easily into the role of hero?

Many men, and especially those at the tail end of their adolescence, can visualize themselves as a participant in the Hero's Journey. Young women, on the other hand, can find it difficult to accept an image of themselves as powerful and competent, and so they reject "hero/ine" as a model of their journey. In recent years, there has been more literature with heroine as protagonist, especially in the young adult field. Motion pictures, however, have lagged behind, and Mormon culture in particular is sadly lacking in providing heroines as role models.

I would love to see more Mormon women heroine role models. When I think of Mormon women who we encourage our daughters to emulate, I cannot think of a one who strongly models the Hero's Journey. Many of them are known for their association with a powerful husband (Camilla Kimball or Patricia Holland). Others who seem ideally placed as models for women have been disappointing. I am thinking particularly of our recent General Relief Society Presidents. Name recognition and visibility has been quite low. (Try this: Name all of the Presidents of the Church in your lifetime. Now name all the General RS Presidents in your lifetime. Can you even name the current one?)

Are any of my readers aware of Mormon heroines suitable for emulation by Mormon women? What are their accomplishments? Do they reflect a Hero's Journey, or is their journey a modified one due to their gender? How well are these heroines known Church-wide?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Number Three--False

For those of you who are wondering which of my Eight Random Facts was false--it was number 3. I did not major in math in college. Fooled you all! My actual major was P.E. and Recreation Management. I was the President of the Swim Team my Junior year. I was the President of the Rec Club my Senior Year--we enjoyed camping, rappelling, white water canoeing, and a week long backpacking trip in the Florida Keys at Spring Break that year. After graduation and a mission I went to BYU and did graduate work in Educational Psychology.

I am indeed a Born Again Christian. At age 17 I experienced the power of God for the first time and invited Christ to be my Savior. At age 19 I joined the Mormon Church. My father is a Protestant minister--a very liberal one. When I was growing up, he was the pastor of a congregation of the United Church of Christ in Massachusetts. His parishioners did not know that he practiced polyamory--that was a "family secret." Despite the fact that my dad was a preacher, we did not pray or read scriptures in our home and religion did not touch me personally until I was in college.

About the "D" grade--I am actually pretty good at keyboarding, so I figured I didn't have to go to class very often. Big mistake.

Monday, July 9, 2007

In Which We Are Trained To Be Nice

I am appalled and concerned about the recent trend on the Bloggernacle to avoid controversy and to be nice at all costs. This went so far today as Times & Seasons taking down their post about the impropriety of the Marriott hotel chain being involved in questionable activities. On this chain, there were heated comments presenting both sides of an argument of concern to all of us as members and friends of the LDS Church. I realize that Times & Seasons strives to present a faithful aspect of Mormonism. In the past, I think they have done an admirable job of being balanced and fair while faithfully discussing issues of concern to LDS of a more intellectual bent. On occasion, they have found it necessary to delete comments, moderate the discussion, or close the comment forum down when they felt things were out of control. I think these actions are sometimes necessary in maintaining the tenor they would like to present at T&S. But in my opinion, deleting the entire thread is censorship akin to the type I have found unacceptable in the Mormon Church.

LDS members are trained to be nice at all costs. One will rarely find a satisfying intellectual discussion in any of our meetings, because we do not wish to tread on toes or cause waves. We will keep things inside of ourselves to the point of explosion, because we've been trained to be nice. Perhaps this is valuable in a ward setting. After all, we must closely associate with the members of a ward over an extended period of time. We must socialize with them, teach their children, work with them and attend meetings together.

But the Bloggernacle is an excellent forum for the expression of our true feelings. We can tell it like it is. We don't have to worry about official Church disapproval or repercussions. (at least so far...) We can discuss things that may not be welcome in our ward or even in our own homes. We are also able to participate at our comfort level. If the discussion gets too heated for our taste, we can be gone at the click of a mouse. The only thing we need to remember is that our position is only one view of the world. Others will have different ideas. These differing positions are not an indication of the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of any participant.

The blogger MCQ has opined: "At their most basic level, blog posts are expressions of ideas. The ideas are those of the poster originally, then those ideas are added to or modified by the subsequent comments. They become unique expressions, a preserved moment in time, and can never be perfectly duplicated once they are gone. These ideas deserve a spot in the marketplace, to stand or fall in the court of opinion. By their very nature they do not imply the endorsement of all who are permabloggers on a particular site, and anyone is free to voice their agreement or disagreement with them explicitly in the comments. Based on the above, there is no affirmative reason, in my mind, to ever delete them. Moreover, there is a grave danger in doing so. It is a disservice to all of us when deletions take place, because it robs us all of the opportunity to learn from the ideas that were expressed there."

I have always regretted actions of the Church which tend to censor or force members not to publish on their personal conjectures. I am more of the opinion of Gamaliel, when he says in the Book of Acts: "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." There were many things I did not agree with on the T&S thread. However, reading the discussion of the topic helped me form my own opinion. A more restrained restatement of the problem can be found at BCC (Sustaining Our Leaders, Sustaining One Another, by Mark Brown). But I found nothing wrong with the original post. That the discussion became heated and out of control is only an indication that the respondents possessed strong feelings on the subject. Such strong feelings should have a place to be expressed while feeling free to remain affiliated with the Church.

That is the value of the Bloggernacle to me. I can always attend my local ward when I am looking for niceness.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Eight Random Facts I'll Bet You Didn't Know

Yeah, I got tagged by that Dumb Meme 8 Random Facts. But the person who tagged me is a brand new friend, J G-W and I like him a lot, so I'll do it. But let's try to make it a little bit interesting...

1. Jimmy Carter described himself as a Born Again Christian, notably in the first Playboy magazine interview of a U.S. Presidential candidate. Bored in Vernal is also a Born Again Christian. (she has never appeared in Playboy)

2. Synchronized Swimming was added to the Olympic Games in 1984. Some of the girls on the Olympic team attended the same competitions I did when I was a synchronized swimmer in 1970-1977.

3. I love the program "MathMovesU" which is being promoted by Apolo Ohno to help kids enjoy mathematics. Why? I majored in math in college.

4. I have something in common with Billy Graham's son, Franklin. My father was also a Protestant minister.

5. Like Bill Clinton, I tried marijuana, but I didn't inhale.

6. I got a D in keyboarding at BYU. I don't know any other celebrities who have accomplished this feat.

7. I had seats at Cougar Stadium on the 50 yard line in 1984--the year the BYU football team won the National Championship. I also know and can sing every word of "Rise and Shout."

8. Six of the above facts are true. One is false. I betcha can't guess which one it is!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Writing a Life

"It’s the people who write, who last. If any woman out there has any inclination to to remembered in the future, the next few generations, she’d just better get busy and write out her story, her experiences." --Claudia Bushman

I haven't been very satisfied with the writing of my own story. I wish I had a more representative record of my life. I began journaling in 1974 when I was 14 years old. I had a diary all through my high school years. I was certain that when I was a teenager I had some intelligent thoughts. But reading back in my journal, I am not so sure. By what I wrote, it seems that I thought about nothing but boys. Many things happened during the years I was in high school. The Watergate scandal, and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The war in Vietnam. Unrest on college campuses and the Kent State Massacre. Manned space flights to the moon. The first test tube baby. Affirmative Action and Title IX. Radioactive leak at Three Mile Island. I remember all these things happening, but I did not find them important enough to write down. Instead, here is a typical journal entry, written on the date of the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War:
30 April 1975
This morning I had a big fight with Mom because someone took my toothbrush and I refused to go to school without brushing my teeth. I finally used someone else's. Later we found out that Kenny had it in his room. Don't ask me why. Today I made up the math test I missed on logarithms. We had swimming fifth block. We had a boy in our gym class that was swimming with us--we all wondered what he was doing there. He was a good swimmer though, and pretty cute. After school, Kenny, Doug, Mark and I sat outside and fooled around with a magnifying glass trying to start some paper on fire. We did, a couple of times. A cop car came by and Mark sat on the fire. Doug kept putting his arm around me. I wonder if he likes me again?
Tonight was Allison's night to go somewhere with Dad but she wanted to see the movie "The Great Waldo Pepper." But all of the rest of us wanted to see it too, so we all went. It was starring Robert Redford!! He is the best actor and so cute!! The only other movie I want to see is "Tommy." It has Elton John (the singer) in it. I want to see him. He is the greatest!! And he sings the best songs!!

I joined the Church in 1979, when I was in college. For several years my journals are very saccharine and faith-promoting. I write a lot of quotes from the Book of Mormon and books I've been reading such as "Faith Precedes the Miracle." I did find one entry that gives an insight into what kind of person I had become as a Mormon:
30 Nov 1979
A very sad experience happened to me before I left for Christmas. I saw T. drinking coffee in the cafeteria. She is a member who has not been attending meetings lately. I went over to talk to her and asked why she was drinking coffee. She said the doctor told her not to drink any beverages except for coffee and tea. I mentioned that it might be better to just drink water. She was very upset with me. That night I received a package which contained a Book of Mormon, a D&C, and two Institute manuals. This note was with it: "I give these things to you and you can give them to someone else but just don't drive them up and down a wall and away from the Church as you have me. Don't approach me on campus and don't come down to the room to talk about it cause I will not answer the door."

Hopefully I learned something from this experience!

You've already had a few samples from my missionary journals. I probably did a fairly good job representing myself, the ups and downs, and the things I was learning during this time. Soon after my mission I married and started having children right away. I wrote very rarely. This is the time I really wish I had kept up my journal. It seems that during these years I only wrote when I was angry and overwhelmed.
1 Oct 1991
Thoughts are flying through my head like crazy--I can't get them down. The RS class and the article set off some kind of dissatisfaction in my mind. They seemed so basic and so boring--I tried to tell [a friend] how I felt but I didn't really feel like she understood me. She said they'd had that discussion in their family and they'd concluded that the Church had to gear materials to the new-convert-type member, or as she put it, "the least common denominator." I don't know why they can't include more meaty talks along with basic ones for new converts. I just feel so disappointed, jaded and cynical.

And then there are some entries about cars that break down, and financial troubles, and fights with the husband, and it sounds like I don't have a positive thought for the next ten years.

Now that I've started to blog, it looks like I may have fallen into the same trap. Though I am an active and faithful member of the Church, I tend to use my writing for airing my grievances. Apparently, I give the impression that I am an apostate or disgruntled member. I don't know quite how to remedy this. For when I read blogs that are supposedly encouraging and faith-promoting, all I can think is "Yawn!" I want to show the spiritual side of myself, but I refuse to write a bunch of smarmy pablum.

Unfortunately, Sister Bushman, my writings probably won't be of much interest to future historians. Neither am I representative of a twentieth-century Mormon woman. I'm just one of myriads of bloggers, sitting at a screen and pouring out the day's frustrations, hoping to make a couple of sympathetic connections and stay sane at the end of the day.