Two Faces

March 20, 2006 | 7 comments
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On the sweetness of Mormon life:

Today in Elders’ Quorum a brother said that the great, unanswerable mystery is that God loves us.

A woman who is always sad sat in front of us during Sunday School. Her baby died a few months ago. The lesson didn’t offer much in the way of consolation to her. The original topic was Isaac marrying Rebekah but, Sunday Sunday school lessons taking surprising paths the way they do, we were now discussing whether personal attractiveness was necessary or desirable in looking for a mate. This in a room with at most one single person.

The woman raised her hand and observed that once you start loving someone their personal attractiveness starts to increase. The teacher, her husband, grinned and said, yes, after ten years of marriage I’m now the most handsome man she knows. She blushed red and then started to laugh. We know this family well and I’ve never seen her happy like that before.

A young man, maybe 13 or 14, was confirmed during sacrament meeting. For several minutes he had to sit on the stand and be stared at while the bishop went looking for the missionaries, who were supposed to participate but had forgot or something. The young man took it calmly. He received the gift of the Holy Ghost, received a blessing that he would be a good example to his younger sister, shook everyone’s hands, still calmly, and went back down. Unexpressive type, I thought to myself. Typical at that age.

His sister went up. She was 10 or 11, self-posessed, and smartly turned out in a pink-and-black dress with diagonal stripes. Her parents love her and it shows, I thought. When she went back down after I chanced to look at her brother and he was grinning at her with all delight. He loves her too, I thought.

Mysteries everywhere.

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7 Responses to Two Faces

  1. Richardson on March 20, 2006 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for the musings!

  2. Matt Evans on March 20, 2006 at 9:08 am

    Nice thoughts, Adam, except for the guy in Elder’s Quorum. Why wouldn’t God love my kids? Why wouldn’t God love my mom’s kids? We don’t believe love rests in the loved object but is a characteristic of the one who loves. I know the brother in EQ was trying to make a statement about our nothingness, a la Moses 1, but he had to rest his point on world-think. And there’s little mystery to the disharmony between gospel truths and world-think!

  3. S. P. Bailey on March 20, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Adam: I like what you capture here. My question: to what extent is this sweetness distinctively Mormon? Certainly husbands of other religions pay wives compliments, etc. I have noticed your earlier comments (wishing Mormon art/literature could capture better the sweetness of Mormon life); generally I wonder how to distinguish Mormon sweetness from the rest.

  4. Kimball Hunt on March 20, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    I like observational stuff from life with heart like this. Its images stay with me.

  5. Adam Greenwood on March 20, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    “I know the brother in EQ was trying to make a statement about our nothingness, a la Moses 1″

    That’s a natural reading, but you would be wrong, Matt E. Sorry. The brother in Elders Quorum was making a point about the greatness and grandeur of God’s love for us. It is beyond comprehension. It cannot be explained because there is nothing beyond it. God is. God is love. And, in a smaller way, our own loves for each other are also beyond explanation.

  6. Doug on March 21, 2006 at 3:03 am

    Ah Adam. I had some of my own sweet moments this last Sunday but I could not describe them like you described your own. I just want to say that my occiasional visits to the bloggernaccle will probably continue as long as you are around. Your posts are my favorite and are the most meaningful. Alas, what is an endevour if its not uplifting (speaking here of blogging, but also of all things).

  7. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2006 at 8:24 am

    S.P. Bailey:

    See this post here and some of the comments, especially Jeremy’s.
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=2715

    I think the unique sweetness of Mormon life is more likely to emerge from writing about Mormon life than we are to identify it and start writing about it.

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