The weeks before Christmas were so busy for me with finishing portraits and then cramming Christmas shopping, wrapping, and preparation into one week, that I didn't have time to post on a few interesting happenings.
My son was asked by my boss to come work on a Saturday with the guys as they took advantage of the nice weather to do a concrete pour on one of our jobs. I warned him to not complain, and to work hard, because someday soon he may want to try working construction during the summers to make more money than he would if he worked a fast food job someplace, for instance. His job was to set pins or something, I'm not sure. After his shift, I asked him how it went and if he had fun and worked hard. He said it went well.
He said there was a big silence while they worked, so he said to my co-workers, "So, did my mom tell you we're not Mormon anymore?"
I had to laugh. Trust J. to create an awkward moment just for the fun of it. He said none of them knew (religion just doesn't pop up in conversation much) and some of them talked about Mormons a bit...one of my co-workers has some family who are Mormon who ask him to attend things and to read the Book of Mormon regularly. He just says no. The next Monday, only one of my co-workers mentioned J. had said that. I said, "Yeah, I learned some stuff about the history and origins of Mormonism that didn't impress me, and that they never teach you about, so I decided it just isn't for me." He just shrugged and chuckled. Like I said, religion doesn't really enter our conversations around here much.
I wondered if my boss (whom I interact with most at work) was there that Saturday to hear my son's admission. I asked him if he had heard J.'s comment, and he said no, and I just explained the same thing, that I found stuff out and just didn't want to keep supporting a church that hides such stuff from its membership. He just said, "Huh. Interesting." It hasn't changed anything for me at work. They respect me as a worker, not as a Mormon.
Another interesting thing happened. I took my kids shopping at Target and when we walked in there was a family from my ward standing there. I said hi and smiled and wished them a Merry Christmas and moved on. In the toy section, I saw some kids from a large family in my ward. One boy was brought to me by his sister, and she prompted him to say, "Hi Sister Frank!" I smiled and told him how good it was to see him, and asked him if he was ready for Christmas to get here. He was one of my favorites in primary. Cute little white haired boy.
Then I walked around the corner a few minutes later and there stood my bishop and his wife. I smiled a huge smile and walked up to them, and we talked about Christmas and their daughter who's having her first baby, and basic small talk. They were very kind, and it was nice to talk to them. Apparently there had been a ward party that evening at someone's house, where each family adopted a family in need from the shelter, and bought their Christmas for them. That explained why so many from the ward were there shopping. I saw two more acquaintences from church and said hi in passing after that.
A few days later, I was standing in line at the post office in the doorway where people had to pass me to get out. One person turned away from the counter and it was a teacher in primary. I smiled at her as she recognized me, and she said, "Hi! I haven't seen you in a while!" I said, "No, I haven't been there in a while." She just said, "Oh...Merry Christmas!" and I returned the greeting and that was that.
And now, my good friends from my old ward (4 years ago) have invited us over to dinner. We get together about twice a year, and it's that time again. Our families became close because 1. he was my bishop for years in that old ward, 2. she and I were visiting teaching partners for years, 3. we are the same age, 4. she and I worked in the primary presidency together for years, and 5. he was my home teacher for maybe 5 years, even before he became bishop. He is the only home teacher I've had who ever actually took the time to get to know us well.
He was my bishop in whose office I sat with my husband, and whom I cried my guts out in front of because I'd just been blindsided with the church's rule that my non-member husband had to give me his permission in writing in order for me to attend the temple to take out my endowment. I don't think I've ever felt more humiliation than I did that night, there in front of my friend, being denied permission for something that was really important to me.
I wonder if they know that I'm not going to church anymore. If they do, they may ask me about it. If they don't, surely this question will come up in conversation: "So what calling do you have now?" and I will tell them, "I don't have one...because I don't go to church anymore."
This could be very interesting.