Thursday, January 27, 2011

Follow Me Here


Yesterday was messy.

I accepted a last-minute request from Studio 5 to do a live interview about my Deseret News response to the Salon.com Mormon Mommy Blogs article. I was going to just zip up to Salt Lake by myself to do the spot, but the sky started heaving up heavy snow and my competency does not cover snowy driving conditions. I know, I have limits too. Just like everybody else.

So we loaded up the family with Chup at the helm of our snow-pelted automobile. Things were treacherous from the get go. Fellow cars on the road were sliding and stopping and hitting one another. By the time we got on the freeway snow and ice were splattering at our car like it was a big metal duck in a shooting gallery. About midway to Salt Lake traffic stopped. From the radio we heard reports about miles of wrecks and delay.

"I'm going to miss it." I declared.

The Chief started wrestling with his restraints.

"STUCK!" he yelled.

Ever was no better, kicking and arching her back.

I was sweating.

By the time we passed through the other side of the jam, we had five minutes to get to set and twenty minutes to drive. Stephanie, the producer of the segment called me frantic.

"You are going to miss it."

And I did.

They were able to patch me through at the last second. At least my voice made it to set. The fabulous Annie Valentine was also there and thanks to her we had some thoughtful exchanges.

When it was over we were deep in downtown. Chup, who had braved a very intense dentist's visit just an hour before, was done. One side of his face was puffy and the other side was downward slanting. He looked miserable.

The Chief was done. Ever was done. Daddy was done.

So we drove around looking for lunch. Due to Chup's diet of liquidy substances our choices were few. Finally I told him to go anywhere that sounded good and kind. Good to his stomach and kind to his puffy/slanty face.

As we drove around I thought more about this article. It continues to make headlines locally, as well as interesting discussion with people in my life. A couple nights ago my older sister Page called me saying, "Someone sent me a link to this sweet article about an atheist woman who likes to read Mormon blogs..."

Have you read it? Most people think it's sweet. It's very nice.

I think we've established that. We're cute. Blogging Mormon Housewives are cute. Ok.

But as we drove in and out of Salt Lake neighborhoods (I married a very picky eater and with a tender dental mouth it gets much pickier--as you can imagine). I thought about what was really bothering me about the whole deal.

It's that we're more than cute. Or at least we should be. And why aren't we? Why didn't Emily end the article saying, "I am going to invite the missionaries over for hot cocoa"? Not that I want Emily to be a Mormon necessarily, but in truth, I want Emily to want to know what she was asking in the first place, Why are these blogs so fascinating?

And I don't think we've answered that question.

I think we're getting close. When I first started blogging (cue: my maternal grandbloggers voice) there wasn't a lot of religion talk in the Mormon blogs I read. Then we started to get more courageous, we started to put up buttons and link to texts (talks, articles) and sometimes we share stories about church or the goodness of God--posts that were easy on the spiritual digestion. We've come a long way in being able to proclaim our Latter Day Sainthood and it's good. But what about the doctrine? Are we sharing the meat along with the cupcakes?

Not just religion for religion’s sake, but WHY it works; why we go to church for three hours every Sunday (just to wrestle our kids for most of it) why we go on missions, why we love our temples, why we believe in families….WHY IT HELPS.

It reminds me of the time when I sat through a demonstration about a health shake. The idea was you'd buy a dozen cases of dried powered which supposedly contained enough miracle dust to save the world. You'd mix it with water, drink it for breakfast and, HOT GLORY IN A TOASTER all of your problems--mental, physical would vanish. We heard testimonials from people calling in via speaker phone crying and pleading with us to buy the powder. "The best $375 you'll ever spend, I promise!" "So good in fact, you'll want to sell cases to all of your friends and neighbors (and cousins and former roommates and mailman and ...)"


So I asked the obvious, "What is in this drink?"


And I looked around the room, and everyone looked back at me.


No one could actually tell me.


What's behind our blogs?

Sometimes being a Mormon housewife is great! Sometimes it is rosy and blissful. But when it is, it's not because we can surf the web looking for adorable images to paste on our blog. Or cook the best lasagne-thingy in the crockpot. It's because of what we believe. It's the very ideas and thoughts that make our lives what they are. Our hopes, our faith, our views of eternity. This is what makes us...fascinating

And this isn't about proselytizing. It's about (or SHOULD be about) letting people--of all faiths and directions--into our genuine, real, Mormon lives. It's about saying, "Yes I believe a fourteen year old boy saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in a grove of trees. Not only do I believe it, but I've based my faith on it." *

(Incidentally, I've called for a Mormon Message video where people just look at the camera and tell us what they believe. No music, no stirring strings just people's faces and their testimonies. While it wouldn't appeal to everyone, at least it would be an honest portrayal of what a testimony sounds like coming out of your average Mormon's mouth.)

So sure, we can be cute, but we have a lot of depth too. And I don't think that depth needs to be every post we write, I don't think our blogs need to be about our religion at all. But to those who want to write more, who want to share more, more than anecdotes or well-designed greeting cards, I say PLEASE DO.

Because if we can blog as passionately about the doctrines of salvation as we do about our Anthropology jackets or our lemon curd breakfast muffins then we are answering Emily's initial question before she had to ask it, Why are these blogs so fascinating?

And now, back to the car.

By the time we settled on lunch Ever was asleep. A drive through would have to do. My mind was teeming with thoughts and calls to action--my actions. As we drove down the I-15 corridor my thinking spree was quickly ended when Chup asked,

"So... do you want to stop by Ikea?"

Because then I started to think about all the frames I wanted to buy for my new Blue Lily portraits.

Squee! Ever Jane in a bucket? So cute!







*I've noticed that when I open myself up and share my belief system, others do the same. I've had some entertaining correspondences from people all over the world, believing all sorts of truths and I thank God for it.



Here's the video with my voice, isn't Annie dreamy? Love her.







Dear C. Jane:
The highlights of our St. George Reading




I am C. Jane Kendrick and I think that's all I have to say. You can contact me personally at cjanemail @ gmail.com or leave comments on my facebook page and if you are on twitter you can find my tweets here. But no pressure.