Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Shout Out to All You Sister RMs

For over ten years now I have had an idea in my head. I go through phases where I am more or less serious. But now, I'm really serious. Really.

I had a companion who suggested to me some years ago that I write a book about being a sister missionary. Because, she reasoned, our experience is just different because what we bring to it is so different than what the elders bring. I have given in a lot of thought and half-heartedly collected stories over the years. I think the slump has passed, however, and I'm hoping to spend a lot of time on this project this year.

What I am hoping to produce will be something more than a self-help manual and more than chicken soup for the sister missionary's soul. I think I want to create something more like a collective memoir.

My publishing track record is dismal, so there is little fear of my profiteering from your stories. :) When the result is in, if no publisher will pick it up, then I will possibly self-publish and send all contributors a copy.

Potential topics I'm seeking anecdotes for:

joy in the work
companions
obedience
hard work
faith
Holy Ghost
Joseph Smith
Priesthood
temple
charity
missionary's mantle
conversion

I've even set up an email account: sister.missionary@hotmail.com for stories or queries to be sent to. My real email address contains my name, so that is the reason for the alternative. So, here is your chance to tell YOUR story. If you did not serve a mission, but you have a sister or friend or female relative that did, please encourage a contribution. I think our voices need to be heard.

14 comments:

FoxyJ said...

I hate to be a kill-joy, but someone just published this book:

http://segullah.org/winter2007/bookreview/

On the other hand, there are still plenty of stories out there that people need to hear :)

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Sigh.

Yes, you are pretty much a killjoy. I think I'll just have to go back to my old mantra: I'm really writing primarily for ME.

I think this is why so many strange LDS novels get published. For an idea to actually be original it has got to be out there.

Doreen said...

This is totally OT, but could you pretty please check my latest blog entry and give me some input? :D

As for the book, I say go for it, regardless of what else is out there. Just start writing, put your own style into it, and who knows, you may end up with something completely different than your original idea. :p

micah e. said...

I think you should totally do the book. There are a lot of different angles to the experience of sister missionaries that you'd be able to find some unique way to contribute to what's out there.

There's an interesting essay in a feminist Mormon text that looks at the history of women and missionary work-- very interesting. It also talks about differences in the missionary program for male and females, and the benefits/ drawbacks to being a sister missionary. The book is Women & Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism and the essay is Sister Missionaries and Authority by Maxine Hanks.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Thanks for the tip, Micah. It reminds me of a really funny story that did NOT at all seem funny at the time.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

If you still plan to do the book, do you want stories that specifically relate to being a sister in those situations, or should we just submits stories that are special to us and assume the sister perspective will automatically be there?

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Good question, Kimblue. I don't know if I have a good answer. I think I just want to tell a "story" that really tells it like it is: the good, the bad, the humor, the heartache, the ick and the wonderful. In the end, I think the whole gospel is about the power in a single conversion. While 11 million members in X number of countries is impressive, it would all fall apart in a few months without the testimonies of the members.

The Segullah link I looked at was a combination of chapters, each told by a different sister. The one I read was well written, but there was a fair amount of darkness: Am I good enough? I know God hates me, etc. before coming out of it. And while that experience is totally valid, it just wasn't MY experience. There was little I could relate to in her experience. And Micah's links, though interesting, didn't shed much light on my experience either.

When I got home, a group of really together and pretty sisters I'd served with sang at a homecoming for one of our "fellow" sisters. After we finished, the fiance of a former companion leaned over to her and said, "Why weren't there sisters like THAT in my mission?" Newsflash, Elder, there probably WERE! Maybe my collection is an attempt to erase the stigma of sister missionaries being weak/ sick/ overly emotional/ whining/ ultra-assertive/ man-haters/ unnattractive/ unmarriageable/ grouches.

But I'm sure none of you lovely ladies out there never were looked at this way by an Elder or an RM, right?

on.the.run said...

I say go for it... there are plenty of books on marriage but people keep writing new ones and people keep buying them...

on.the.run said...

I need your opinion... and it has nothing to do with this blog. I get all sorts of political stuff from people at church through my email account. I know they got my email address from the ward list. It bothers me that the ward list is being used this way (because it is only supposed to be used for church related things) and it makes me uncomfortable, we have strict tax guidlines don't we? Should I mention somethng to the bishop (or someone else) or should I just keep ingnoring it?

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Yikes. First--are you SURE it came from the ward list? Could they have gotten your address from somebody else's group email? I am still getting stuff from someone in Champions Ward about Mitt Romney because she has me on a group email from other events. And all I ever got from Parkway Ward is church related stuff.

Maybe I would first try replying to the person (or people) via email and not getting into a discussion or anything about politics just say that you don't really give your email out so that it can be part of a mass-mailing list and that you would appreciate if they would take your name off their list. If you can word it carefully enough, you might indicate the person should remove all address that were found through the church's website.

If you are totally uncomfortable with the person and/or don't think the email approach would work, then you may have to approach the bishop. Just make sure you are positive that the person accessed your address via the ward list. I think the bishop would have to agree that it is a problem, seeing as how his handbook instructions are very clear on this. Besides, non-political affiliation has been emphasized over ever pulpit and the ward website itself says your information can only be for church use.

I would definitely attempt to contact the person directly (tactfully), first. Bishops are just so busy.

Why do other LDS people assume your politics will be identical just because you basic doctrinal beliefs are the same? Most things about politics fall into the realm of PRACTICES, not PRINCIPLES.

on.the.run said...

I only guessed they got my email from the ward list because I haven't given it to many people... and they aren't the people I have given it to. Actually, some of them I like on a personal level, but still, they got my email from the ward list... or from someone else who got it from the ward list. I will try your approach of trying to tell them nicely that I don't want to be on mass mailing lists - I almost never like anything that comes from them anyway. I got a really anti Obama email the other day, talking about how he was a terrorist because he was raised (in some part) Muslim... it made me really sad, especially coming from a Mormon, who you would think would not be doing exactly what people are doing to Mitt... some people don't see the hypocrisy of it all. I keep debating about putting a bumper sticker on my car but it is a little scary here in Texas (as you know.) I wonder if I will get released from my calling... (ha.)

barb michelen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Science Teacher Mommy said...

That makes me sick, otr. He's got more integrity than anybody in the bunch, I think. Oh, yeah, but he thinks that poor people need to be helped, so he must be REALLY evil.

on.the.run said...

You hit it on the head!