An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Sunday morning: I sit in my recliner perusing a Buddhist text. Through my window, I see my neighbor Jamie backing from her driveway. Our Mormon ward sacrament meeting begins in ten minutes. Jamie, a single mom, will be hugged and welcomed at church. Her 3-year-old and 5-year old will be greeted by name and made to feel important.

After sacrament meeting, Jamie will get a 2-hour respite from parenthood while her kids are in Primary and she attends Sunday School and serves as Relief Society secretary. Jamie will return from the 3-hour block spiritually fed and emotionally refreshed.

Our ward substitutes for Jamie’s missing husband and for the dysfunctional family in which she was raised. The Church strengthens Jamie and other members. We all need love and support, and Mormon wards are organized to provide that quickly—even to new move-ins.

Active Mormons don’t always understand that not everyone needs the kind of succor they offer, and that other places exist from which to draw spiritual and emotional sustenance. Less-active members don’t always appreciate persistent invitations to attend meetings. More tolerance and understanding from both sides would help.

Jamie receives peace and comfort from attending Sunday meetings. My peace and comfort come from uplifting reading, meditation, and nurturing the plants in my garden. Both Jamie and I keep the Sabbath in our own way—the way that is holy for us.

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