I visited my parents last week with my twin two year olds. I live around four hours away from my parents, so we are not able to see them very often. My parents live in the U.S., outside of the Utah, Idaho, Arizona region.
I realize that people have different experiences and relationships to mormonism and to their families (if they still have families who are mormon). I just wanted to write of my own experience and perspective. I have not been LDS for quite some time (over ten years), but my parents still live in the ward that I grew up in.
My parents’ LDS ward (like a church) had a “linger longer” session last Sunday. This was incredibly fortunate for us. They happen (according to my father) every two or three months or so. This is a new tradition – because I certainly would remember it if they had it while I was growing up.
Most of what I remember about Sundays growing up was being terribly hungry after the three hour church session. So any day where they served ice cream and snacks after church would have been very welcome. (For the critics out there, of course I’m being facetious, I remember more than my hunger pangs. )
Many Christian churches have activities like this after their church services. Most of the time they include coffee, which would be out of place in an LDS service. Aside from not serving coffee, everything else seemed much like the coffee social after other Christian church services that I’ve attended.
It also allowed us to visit my parents’ ward so they could introduce their grandchildren to everyone without forcing them (or me) to sit through the service. I haven’t attempted to force my two to sit through a church service yet, and I don’t plan on it any time soon. We would (no doubt) spend 50 minutes of the 55 minute service walking around the foyer.
So we saw some of the people I grew up with. My daughter, goose, was a little shy, which she is with most strangers. My son was happy to talk with everyone. I introduced them to two of the women I looked up to (who are still in the ward). I babysat for their children back in the day. They are both feminists and NOM (New order mormons) of sorts. They (by the way) are two of the people who I am thinking of when I talk about good, intelligent people who happen to be mormon. There were also more people of color than I remembered, which is also great.
Unfortunately, my desire for gossip (some might call it news) was thwarted since my parents’ ward was divided back in the early part of this decade. Most of the people who I grew up with lived in the wealthier suburbs, and they were switched to another ward in the division. (At some point, I’ll explain the LDS system of assigning members to wards, instead of letting people go to whatever ward – think church- they want to).
I know that I need to let the gossip thing go – and I try not to care, but I find myself still interested in where everyone ended up. Most of it is genuinely hoping that people are doing well.
My siblings (who are also no longer mormon) looked at me as if I were crazy, but it wasn’t so bad. No one threatened fire and brimstone – calling me to repentance. No one even mentioned the fact that I was wearing pants (although nicer pants).
Everyone thought my two were adorable, and my Mom wore a grin from ear to ear. It’s nice to do something so simple (and free) that can make them happy.