Date: September 09, 2017 07:45PM
I had not been forced to relocate to another State, due to employment. The ward I was baptized into, in the Deep South, was like a family. Literally. Everybody knew everybody else's business, but in a benign sort of way.
Parties were fun. I enjoyed the fact that there were never furniture burns left by carelessly abandoned cigarettes, nobody ever got drunk, nobody ever (as far as I knew) made "moves" on somebody else's spouse. Everybody was friendly.
I joined the church as a divorced mom of one child, and I felt completely accepted. I thought the religion itself was a bit hokey, but I never said so. It was the people in the ward that I loved.
We were THERE for each other. I got a call very late one Friday night, asking if I could rush over to the local hospital and spend the night with an elderly sister whom I barely knew. She had been in a bad car accident. She and her husband were both delightful people. She wanted somebody to talk to, to help keep her mind off her pain.
She told me some wonderful stories, about growing up Mormon in the very early days of the 1900s. I will never forget one she told me about when she and her husband lived in a cabin out in the middle of Nowheresville, Utah. It was during a snowstorm, and their phone service was out. Their young daughter was desperately ill with something (I forget now, what it was), and her husband ventured out in that terrible weather to find another priesthood holder, to give their daughter a blessing.
The daughter had a high fever, and had had a few convulsions, and the mother was frantic with worry for both her child and her husband, out there in the storm somewhere. Her husband finally trooped in, after several hours, with another priesthood holder. In the meantime, Mom had been trying to keep the daughter hydrated, and keeping a croup kettle bubbling away near her bedside, to ease her breathing. I forget what other remedies she used, but it was fascinating pioneer-age stuff.
Dad and the other PH did their magic mumbo-jumbo, and sure enough, the daughter gradually began to recover. her fever went down, her breathing eased, and she eventually healed. I later knew the daughter as an adult. (I didn't like her much; she wasn't nearly as sweet as her parents.) But the story was enthralling, told with complete sincerity, and I was very fond of that dear old couple.
I was pretty wiped out the following morning, when another RS sister came to take over, but I was deeply impressed with the ward's commitment to "be there" for each other. It was simply a given.
When I had to make an emergency trip to California, because my widowed mother was ailing, somebody from the ward was able to check on my cats and feed them, while I was gone. (I was divorced at the time, and very alone.) The ward people also brought in my newspapers and mail, and made sure that the cats had water.
This was in the late 1980s - pre-correlation, I think. When I moved to NM in mid 1989, the new ward was a complete shock. The people were cliquish and snobby, and the feeling of "family" was definitely missing. It was a HUGE disillusionment.
I have often wondered what my old ward is like, now. I can't imagine that those people, who seemed so kind and caring to me, could have changed into the stuffy Morgbots that I have seen elsewhere. If they have, I don't want to know about it. I would rather cherish the memories that I still have.
The church sucks, but those people didn't.