Sisterz in Zion

October 1, 2006 | 36 comments
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An amazing documentary premiered on byu.tv today between sessions of conference.

Sisterz in Zion chronicles two dozen young women–all converts, mostly recent immigrants, all living in New York City–who went to EFY. The faith of these young women is awe-inspiring, their culture shock in Provo is by turns wickedly funny and cringe-inducing, the quality of the film itself is commendable, and the music kicks butt.

You can watch it anytime at www.byu.tv (you’ll need to set the date to October 1st and scroll to 12 noon) and you can get more information at their website. If you are a Young Women leader in your ward, you might consider showing your girls the first few minutes of the film as well as the scene near the end when the girls meet Sister Tanner, the General Young Women President. It’s powerful stuff.

36 Responses to Sisterz in Zion

  1. Julie M. Smith on October 1, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    My link above takes you to their main page, but you’ll miss the intro, which includes their very excellent rendition of “Sisters in Zion,” so you may want to just type in http://www.sisterzinzion.com.

    And more info here: http://byunews.byu.edu/archive06-Sep-sisterz.aspx

  2. Nate Oman on October 1, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    I watched the film until I had to break off to get some food for my son. What I saw was really fabulous.

  3. Ferg on October 1, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Having spent time at the \”Y\”, in New York City, and as a YW Leader I thought the film was dead on!!! Not only was the message great but the production side was excellent too.
    I also appreciated that this was one of the pieces for the time slot between sessions. It wasn\’t your typical subject matter. Loved it!!!!!

  4. random me on October 1, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    wow, it sounds great! thanks for the head’s up! i’ll make sure to find my way to a real computer soon. man, i reeeeeeally miss byutv!

  5. Carrie Lundell on October 2, 2006 at 12:17 am

    I can’t believe I missed this!! I was a young women’s leader for some of these girls 4 years ago but moved the year before the big EFY trip. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I can’t wait to see it. Just seeing their faces on the trailer brought tears to my eyes. They are amazing girls that I will never forget.

  6. Alison Moore Smith on October 2, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Thank you, Julie!

    This certainly brought back memories! I served in YW for almost half of the decade I lived in Florida. The program was about a third white, a third various hispanic, third haitian. That carried interesting challenges of it’s own. (It was there that I was informed that all my daughters have “black names.”)

    Anyway, we watched conference on KSL today (they also had great shows in between sessions) so I missed this. I found the streaming video on the site and just watched it. By the time I was done, three of my daughters were watching it, too. One has been to EFY twice and the other cannot STAND to wait until she’s finally old enough next summer. She was nearly jumping out of her seat.

    Anyway, we all loved it and were touched by these sweet girls. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.

  7. Rusty Clifton on October 2, 2006 at 12:26 am

    It was fabulous. All of us were sitting in our friend’s apartment in Brooklyn watching this film with tears in our eyes (from laughter) and joint horror at the embarrassment for our girls. My wife is friends with some of the girls and it was a lot of fun to watch.

  8. random me on October 2, 2006 at 12:45 am

    alison, what are your daughters’ names? i’m frequently told i have a “black name.”

    i’m especially interested, having lived in very diverse areas. as caucasians, we’ve been minorities everywhere we’ve lived for the past four or so years. it’s given us a great appreciation for cultures and lifestyles different from those of the podunk town in which we grew up.

  9. random me on October 2, 2006 at 12:45 am

    alison, what are your daughters’ names? i’m frequently told i have a “black name.”

    i’m especially interested, having lived in very diverse areas. as caucasians, we’ve been minorities everywhere we’ve lived for the past four or so years. it’s given us a great appreciation for cultures and lifestyles different from those of the podunk town in which we grew up.

    the comments here are making me think twice about my plans for tomorrow morning. i think i’d rather find an open library and watch this program!

  10. Clair on October 2, 2006 at 12:49 am

    I just watched it at http://www.byu.tv. Had to download some software, which was easy. What a great film! You who know these girls, please tell them hello from all us no-more-strangers. Tell them we love them, too.

  11. Dave on October 2, 2006 at 12:56 am

    Thanks.
    That was an amazing video.

  12. Clair on October 2, 2006 at 10:24 am

    Did you notice that Spence Kinard was giving The Spoken Word in the Choir scene. He resigned in 1990. Stock footage?

  13. Rosalynde Welch on October 2, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the link, Julie; I stayed up waaaaay too late last night watching the whole thing. Very very enjoyable. The YW leader’s painful embarrassment in explaining to the girls that their races and ethnicities would set them apart at BYU was an excruciating moment—but done with a very light touch, just pitch perfect, I thought. And I was very interested in the way that the filmmaker made the variety show merengue the structural turning point—this is a motif I’ve been noticing all over the place recently: a cathartic stage performance provides an aesthetic resolution to real social conflicts. Think Napoleon Dynamite, New York Doll, and others.

    Makes me wonder: could documentary be the real strength of Mormon cinema, in the way that personal essay has been a strength of Momon letters?

  14. Eric Russell on October 2, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    “could documentary be the real strength of Mormon cinema, in the way that personal essay has been a strength of Momon letters?�

    Great question, Rosalynde. I think you may be on to something here. That’s definitely worth some more thought.

  15. Greg Call on October 2, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    Rosalynde: I’m with Eric. A couple of years ago I posted about a film that should be considered in answering your question: http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=257

  16. Tatiana on October 2, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    What a great show! I loved the feeling it evoked of finally being at home, and yet being a stranger there at first. Even though I’m white, I would totally be intimidated by that sea of seeming sameness at BYU! And yet it would be so awesome to be around so many other Latter Day Saints. I feel the same mixture of foreigness and belonging that the show captured so well. Thanks for posting about it.

  17. Alison Moore Smith on October 3, 2006 at 2:22 am

    #8 My daughters are: Jessica, Belinda, Alana, and Monica. The conversation had me bawling I was laughing so hard. But it’s an audio funny that wouldn’t write up well. I think they sounded “black” to my girls because of hte “uh” sound at the end of each of them.

    #12 I noticed that, too, Clair, but there may be another explaination. I thought Kinard was long gone, but I saw him hosting something in the conference center in the past year. Can’t remember which event it was, as we attend a lot of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if he fills in sometimes. I’ll ask my sister if I can remember to.

    It seemed to me that while the dance was the general turning point, some girls had their own disctict from that. For one it was teaching the younger girls and sharing her testimony, for another, being able to write everyone’s name in Chinese.

    #13 “Makes me wonder: could documentary be the real strength of Mormon cinema, in the way that personal essay has been a strength of Momon letters?”

    Oooo. Great question. (I’ll be waiting for The Making of Sons of Provo.)

  18. Anita Kiteau on October 3, 2006 at 3:17 am

    I enjoyed watching this documentary. I underwent the same experiences that these faithful sisters had experienced and I\’m truly grateful for their strong testimony and steadfastness in the truth. I joined the church when I was eleven years old and I experienced every trials of becoming a Mormon during my teenager years. With the protection and blession of a loving heavenly father I stood strong even to today. I can see the love of God reflects upon these young, beautiful and faithful young women. I thank you all for your faithful dedication to live the teachings and principles of the church, esp. in New York. I know that God will bless each and every one of you (them)according to your faith, just how he is doing to me. My testimony has been strengthen and my spirit has been uplifted after watching this documentary. It reminds me so much of the love of God and our savior toward every child (daugther) here on earth. It reminds me of our worth and I pray that we all stand together and be a witness of God at all times, all places and all things. I hope that someday I get to meet these faithful young women personally and thanks them and congrats them for their great devotions. I strongly believe that this documenary should be shown to all the youth of the church.

    Seriously I was supposed to go have lunch but then i didn’t because this documentary was amazing. I sat and watched the whole documentary.

    God Bless

  19. Nita Kiteau on October 3, 2006 at 3:20 am

    I enjoyed watching this documentary. I underwent the same experiences that these faithful sisters had experienced and I\\\’m truly grateful for their strong testimony and steadfastness in the truth. I joined the church when I was eleven years old and I experienced every trials of becoming a Mormon during my teenager years. With the protection and blession of a loving heavenly father I stood strong even to today. I can see the love of God reflects upon these young, beautiful and faithful young women. I thank you all for your faithful dedication to live the teachings and principles of the church, esp. in New York. I know that God will bless each and every one of you (them)according to your faith just how he is doing to me. My testimony has been strengthen and my spirit has been uplifted after watching this documentary. It reminds me so much of the love of God and our savior toward every child (daugther) here on earth. It reminds me of our worth and I pray that we all stand together and be a witness of God at all times, all places and all things. I hope that someday I get to meet these faithful young women personally and thanks them and congrats them for their great devotions. I strongly believe that this documenary should be shown to all the youth of the church.

    Seriously I was supposed to go have lunch but then i didn\’t because this documentary was amazing. I sat and watched the whole documentary.

    God Bless

  20. Idahospud on October 3, 2006 at 9:40 am

    I watched it yesterday–extraordinary! Thanks for the heads-up, Julie.

  21. Sara R on October 3, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Looks like byutv is broadcasting it again on Wednesday morning.

  22. Jenny Webb on October 3, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks Julie—that was great. I know what we’re doing for Mutual in a few weeks …

  23. Tanya Spackman on October 3, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for pointing this out! I loved it.

  24. Kevin Barney on October 3, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Can someone explain to me exactly how to watch it? I went to the BYU TV site and set the program for Oct. 1 at noon. There was a listing for the film, but just a summary, no way of viewing it.

  25. Rosalynde Welch on October 3, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Kevin, here’s what I did: Go to byu.tv. (The first time I had to download some kind of software plugin or something.) Click the “-” button twice by the date box below the screen to set it to Oct 1, then click the forward arrow a few times by the timeline to set it to 12:00 pm. That worked for me just now.

  26. Rachel McClina on October 3, 2006 at 10:14 pm

    Just watched it and absolutely loved it…well worth the time.

  27. Betty on October 17, 2006 at 7:41 pm

    I am a Roman Catholic, not LDS. My cable service in Phoenix Arizona provides the BYU channel with their package. Flipping through the channels, I started to watch Sisterz in Zion. What a wonderful documentary! I am originally from Philadelphia,PA, and remember how different the southwest appeared. I wasn\’t a minority, but it was still an adjustment. I loved the lessons of faith, that we truly are to love each other. As an educator, I found this message powerful and inspirational. More documentaries like this are needed in today\’s world.

  28. Patricia Munroe on November 5, 2006 at 10:18 am

    This is a wonderful documentary and should be shown to all the Young Women & Men organizations in the church (and elsewhere too). I was over come with tears several times during the video. It has special meaning to me because my daughter who lives in NYC teaches Seminary to several young women who are just like these lovely young women. They are very inspiring!

  29. Jenni Evans on April 1, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    I watched this after watching conference and I actually enjoyed it alot I mean I went to efy for 2 years these past years and after watching these girls from NYC making friends at efy and coming here to Utah where everyones different it reminded me of my efy years as a participant I was inspired when I watched this these girls are amazing to go to efy and feel the spirit and then become members of the church it was amazing to see them have that mighty change inside them and to see what the efy program can do for youth now and me especially it helped me when I went to efy for my second year by myself I felt like I didn\’t make any friends everyone was different from me but in the end I had the best experience ever!!

  30. Alicia on April 22, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I am a black YW in the Arlington Ward, probably 2/3 white and 1/3 Mongolian. I\’ve been the minority all my life and have grown up around white people. I have been a member for as long as I can remember getting baptized when I was eight and going to church with only my mom. Then she stopped. I have not however and will not. I am going to EFY in the summer by my self in Utah. It is not my first time in Utah, but I feel a bond with the girls in the documentary because I have been the minority evens though I have grown up around white people all my life. I completely understand where they are coming from and bow to them from there strength. Each and everyone of them. I\’m not sure if any of you have the movie but at the last extra 5 minutes they talk about where the girls are now and just watching the five minutes let me know with complete confidence I can do it. I can get married in the temple and go to BYU if I want. If those amazing girls that had harder times then I will ever have can do it, so can I.

  31. Jenni Evans on May 1, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    I just watched this on Monday April 30 7 p.m. on BYU TV again I watched it on conference too but I didn’t get to see all of this documentary the part where they all the sing the efy medley well the sisters in zion part touched my heart I went to efy as a participant for 2 years these past years and now that I’m 19 I’m going to EFY this summer up In Ogden as a EFY Building counselor so I’m way excited but anyways I loved this documentary it touched my heart and I felt the spirit soooooo strongly but one thing I didn’t notice was these two twin girls in my ward were shown a little bit in the documentary the part where Wendy Lee was speaking I saw them in it so yeah but anyways I love this documentary I loved the last part where the girls said the YW theme to Sister Tanner of the YW presidency of the church it really made me cry almost it was great!!!

  32. manaen on March 12, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    You will be able to stream this program until about 26Mar2008 by clicking here because BYUTV showed this again on 2/26.

  33. bianca on May 22, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Hi,I am one of the girls that went to efy in this trip and it was a wonderful experience meetinq the yw leader at that time meetinq and goinq to gordon b.hinckleys ward(I was burstinq in tears.)And goinq to byu also we went to a members house and spent a couple of days there and also stayin near the temple but most of all efy experience at byu it was kinda difficult at first but then we had lots of fun.I was blessed to go on this trip and it will be a forever memory.

  34. Julie M. Smith on May 22, 2008 at 10:03 am

    bianca, thanks for your comment!

  35. JennyW on May 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    bianca, thanks for sharing your experience—we watched the film for a yw activity and my girls really enjoyed it and learned a lot.

  36. Britt R Grannis on May 28, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I saw this film this morning and was very inspired by it\’s message. My kids have had the blessing of atending EFY and it strengthens the whole family when they do. Thank you for sharing.

WELCOME

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