Episode 150: Marie and Marissa go to Mormon Church

March 11, 2017


Episode 150: Marie and Marissa go to Mormon church

Marie goes to church for the first time in years and makes her friend Marissa experience the adventure with her.  Then there is ice cream.


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11 Comments on “Episode 150: Marie and Marissa go to Mormon Church”

  1. Dave Says:

    Awesome episode. When you go back for Easter, why not actually try and talk to some people? Also, Next time you crash a funeral, maybe try and look for things you have in common with the grieving worshippers as well as looking for things to pick apart, Try and look for some common ground? That way you’d have something to talk with somebody you feel some sort of connection with and then also express your thoughts and feelings. Sounds scary, but i actually go to the Mormon church and am queer as fuck think you missed a chance to do a little good and chip away the patriarchal foundations, even a tiny bit. Coming from people who are literally crossing boundaries to a new culture, this eps is actually, fairly disappointing. I’m glad you’re gonna go back.


    • My Book of Mormon Says:

      For me, the biggest item in this episode was that I needed to be respectful of Mormons worshiping their god in their weekly meeting done for Mormons, by Mormons. What use would it have been for me to come in, verbal guns-a-blazing, criticizing every patriarchal or misogynist word, all on my very first visit? I don’t know them, they don’t know me, and I’m an observer, not a participant. The time for me to make personal connections is during a normal service, not after an unannounced and unexpected (for us) memorial service while the people around us were grieving.

      Next week’s bonus Patron episode is Bryce and I discussing exactly this. I did speak to many people while at the meetinghouse, but for obvious legal reasons I couldn’t record their voices without permission, or put it up on the episode. Marissa hit the highlights of our interactions, but it certainly wasn’t the complete picture.

      I do a religious historical podcast, I interact with both TBM and ex-Mormon listeners online, I’ve begun visiting Mormon religious services, and I do so as a divorced, bi-sexual feminist with a successful career. I’m comfortable with my level of involvement, and I’m glad that you have your own path with the Mormon church. We’re both smashing the patriarchy, just in different ways.


  2. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    I really like these episodes where you adventure out and experience Mormon stuff, like the temple open house, and this Sunday meeting. If you’re game for it, you should consider sitting through a session of General Conference. Probably not the one this April, especially if you’re already going back to church for Easter, but maybe in October?

    My favorite part of this episode was the mention of some speakers’ “voice cracking with no actual tears”. I agree that it’s hard to come out and accuse them of not being genuine, because I do think they’re feeling some emotion when they do that. Still, it’s very much a “function of the form”, and while it’s not necessarily expected of them, it’s certainly accepted, and it just so happens to be a way of showing the whole congregation how much they’re feeling the Spirit right at that moment, and not merely emotion.

    Whether or not it’s a conscious affectation, Mormon leaders with cracking voices are really just emulating Henry B. Eyring, the current 1st Counselor in the First Presidency, who has been an apostle for 22 years, and can never seem to get through a 15 minute talk without getting emotional at least once.

    Here’s a clip (coincidentally a taste of what General Conference would be like) in which you get four massive voice cracks, with no crying, in just four minutes (highlights at about 5:20, 6:00, 7:00, and 7:40, if you can’t stomach a straight four minutes of it):


    • St. Ralph Says:

      Yes, Henry B. is famous for choking up pretty much all the time.

      I remember my grandparents having to “apply” for tickets to attend conference live and, as often as not, not getting them (not because they were “unworthy” in any way, but because there simple weren’t enough to go around). Is it different now? At the very least, if you wanted to do that, start planning your admittance now. It can be like a Friday night performance of Hamilton.


      • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

        Well, I was suggesting Marie could simply go to a satellite broadcast of conference at the local stake center, but still, if she wanted to attend in Salt Lake personally, I’m sure anyone in charge of handing out tickets would put an “investigator” right at the top of the list…


      • My Book of Mormon Says:

        With regret, I must inform you all that I’m parenting on General Conference weekend. I don’t own a TV and the speakers on my laptop are on the fritz, so there’s just no way I could possibly watch it, or attend in person. My heart, it breaks. (I’m being vaguely facetious here, General Conference sounds incredibly boring.)


    • Billie B. Says:

      Thanks for that link, I thought of him, too. As a never-mo I like to watch GenConf (well, as much as I can take of it) to see what’s happening here in the Morridor. As a trained performer I tend to analyze his talks and wonder why these breaks happen when they do – it seems to happen almost randomly and not at the logical break-points in the message. They might have cc online but it wouldn’t be the same.


  3. J. Reuben Clerk Says:

    It sounds like this may have been a stake conference, rather than an ordinary sacrament meeting or an ordinary fast and testimony meeting. Usually, each stake has a stake conference twice a year. This may have been a special stake conference in order to call a new stake president. How long was the service? Was it a three hour block with three different meetings or just one long meeting (around 90 to 120 minutes)?


    • My Book of Mormon Says:

      I was a surprise! stake conference held earlier than anticipated because of the unexpected death of the prior stake president. It was just a two hour meeting, no three separate meetings. It wasn’t announced anywhere on any website, either! I mean, if we were actual congregants then we would have known. But… interlopers were we.

      It felt a bit like we’d been dropped into the last third of a movie without context. Definitely not a normal church-going experience! Also, wow, lots of people crying.


  4. Julie Says:

    Baptisms for the dead are performed in the temple. Normal baptisms are in the stake center.


  5. MarsGirl Says:

    I really enjoyed this episode where you and Marissa ventured out to go to church at your local ward building. I think it is fun when you take the podcast “on the road.” I am assuming that you went to the ward associated with your geographical location. I tried to explain one time to a friend about how wards differed from other churches in the sense that members are assigned to wards based on geography and not choice. She was so taken aback and couldn’t believe that you didn’t get to choose the church you wanted to go to. I responded that I thought you could get permission to attend a different ward if you really wanted to because there was a member in our ward who was out-of-bounds; my friend just shook her head in bewilderment; can’t say that I blame her.

    The meeting that you and Marissa attended was a special Steak Conference, oops, I mean Stake Conference, which is held twice a year or under special circumstances like when a new Stake President needs to be chosen. Very rarely does someone really high up in the Church Hierarchy, i. e., a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, show up to preside, but in your case I think it was Elder Rulon F. Stacey who is an Area Seventy of the 6th Quorum. (Does this sound a bit SciFi to you?) Anyway this meeting’s format was a bit different from a regular Sunday Sacrament or Testimony Meeting. April 2 is the next Fast Sunday, but that is also General Conference (bring your popcorn or not) so the next regular Sacrament Meeting will be April 9.

    You and Marissa brought up so many interesting topics in your podcast. In reference to the PusseyHat Project I thought I would check the Morman Newsroom (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org) to see if they specifically mentioned International Women’s Day which they didn’t, but they did have some articles about Women on their home page. The Canadian Mormons were a little more #BeBoldfor
    Change and did (http://www.mormonnewsroom.ca/article/celebrating-international-women-s-day). Go figure. I am not sure which of the following two, Pussy Hat vs. Tattoos, would cause the higher eyebrows, but in this case I’m going with the Pussy Hat.

    Marissa cracked me up with her concern about showing her cleavage. Most Mormon women go to great lengths to hide their cleavage by wearing layers. They will wear a tee shirt with a higher neckline underneath another top or dress with a lower cut neckline to maintain their modesty. Then, of course, underneath those layers is their Sacred Underwear Top which is worn beneath their bra. And because of the length of the Sacred Underwear Bottoms, hemlines can’t be too short otherwise that garment might show when they sit or stand. Can you imagine how hot all these layers can be in >90 F weather plus 100% humidity in Florida? No wonder they keep the chapel so freaking cold!
    I loved your comments about bringing kids to Church. In my local ward the families with children generally sat toward the back of the chapel which was where I liked to sit. I often found it interesting and entertaining (Spoiler: Sacrament meetings can be very boring) to watch the kids and how their parents managed them. Mormon women with small children lug these heavy bags full of toys, books, food, and drink for the kids. If a kid gets too unruly one of the parents will take the little rascal out into the foyer.

    Your observations about the “Formula” that you observed in the talks presented by the Brethren are right on. Unfortunately “music as propaganda” does not make up for the “scary misogyny” that may be observed or heard, but I do still love to hear church music. I don’t want to say anything yet about bishops vs. pastors until after you go to church again. So I look forward to your next road trip!


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