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Stop Murmur. Learn Doctrine. Do Crafts (if you want.)

By Courtney Kendrick

As it turns out, our church doesn’t have any doctrine about crafts. I use crafts to describe anything in our LDS culture that isn’t backed by official gospel truth. Crafts (and the craft culture) are just optional and perhaps, unnecessary.

We painted and potted plants tonight at our Mutual activity (the alliteration in that sentence was unplanned, and also, unnecessary.) It is fun to sit and talk to the girls about their “raspberry-colored prom dress” or the boy in their English class that snorts when he laughs. But of course, there was a young women or two who insisted that they hate crafts and didn’t want to do them. 15 years ago I was that girl. I worried about what a lifetime of dodging craft activities would be like. I murmured about it then, I murmur about it now.

It the midst of contemplating my roll in LDS cultural values last week, I decided to follow the Primary Answer to Everything which is read your scriptures! And there did Nephi quote the Lord saying “they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (2 Nephi 28:35)

Stop murmur. Start doctrine.

Here is what being a Latter Day Saint means to me:

I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me. The center of that plan is Jesus Christ. He has establish covenants and ordinances that will bind me to Him—and my family—forever. I have faith in the works and outcome of the Atonement.

I have hope in the Lord’s will. I understand that hope isn’t the desire for the Lord to meet my expectations, rather hope that I can detach myself from expectations. Sometimes the Lord’s will is unorthodox, like being a Democrat or a Vegetarian.

I know that charity is a deep level of love. You can have charity for someone and still be annoyed by them. After all charity isn’t a superhuman trait. Even the Lord gets bothered by those he loves (the children of Israel, I am talking to you.)

Humility is the shortest route to confidence.

Lastly, this church is lead by a prophet today and espouses programs that are inspired. For some members, a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is enough. Others are more inclined to want programs that encourage support of gospel standards. Those in the former category sacrifice (and need to have a good attitude.)

And if sitting around painting flower pots with teenage girls isn’t your style of love, then that is ok.

But to tell you the truth, it’s kinda growing on me.

About Courtney Kendrick


29 thoughts on “Stop Murmur. Learn Doctrine. Do Crafts (if you want.)”

  1. What a lovely expression of what being a saint IS. And even though it is NOT necessarily about crafts, after peeking at your blog, I must say your flower pot is righteous!

    Nice work.

  2. Beautifully said. Many I've known have confused culture with doctrine and it's so important to sit down once in awhile and just cling to the eternal truths and ignore the rest! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I doubt Laman and Lemuel found much joy or satisfaction in doing crafts.

    I realize that not everyone is a socialite, but being in good company can go a long way for making the worst/most boring/meaningless tasks more enjoyable.

    If cjane were Catholic, I'm sure there would already be little st. cjane statues all over the place. The patron of Provo.

  4. Beautiful.

    I'm not sure when it was I realized the crafts are not really about the crafts themselves, but about the sitting around and talking part. But I do try to remember that. Whether it's RS sisters, YW, or a bunch or eager eight-year-old cub scouts. It works for me.

  5. I love what you said about what hope is to you—I am usually hoping that the Lord will meet my expectations. But what a way to miss the real plan He has for me!!

    Thanks for the insight CJane.

  6. I am an anti-craft-ite for sure. But anything that brings women together where they can feel the spirit is ok by me.

    And maybe making a bunch of purple resin grapes to adorn your mantle is just the ticket.

    And pflower, I've found eight year old boys really want to learn how to carve with pocket knives — feeling brave?

  7. I hope my daughter gets to YW before you move. Or I move. Wait, that's what, 6 years away?

    sigh . . .

    Sometimes with church we put emPHAsis on the program or activity, not so much on the folks. Sounds like the YW of our ward have a leader who understands where the emphasis belongs.

    Thanks c jane!

  8. Oh, this reminds me of Elder Holland's talk: stop murmur… because I have murmured, not about crafts, which I enjoy (in a church setting, when someone has a demo and shows me how to do it, and I get to talk to people. I do not craft on my own.), but about the new Enrichment program, which I do not. I have murmured quite a bit about it. I wonder what doctrine I am supposed to learn there, that my murmuring is preventing me from learning.

  9. I hate crafts. I like the painting part and the creating part, but not the keeping it part or the receiving it as a gift part. My problem is that I have a hard time creating something just to throw it away or give it away to D.I. So, I don't participate.

    I will try to stop murmuring.

  10. I murmured much against crafts in the days of my youth. I was a challenge for my poor leaders and I quote, "Why are we painting these dolls for mutual? Why don't we have some professional lectures? The reality is that most of us will probably have to work and I seriously doubt that painting dolls or making candle holders will prepare us to do anything."

    Here's my other secret: I'm really good at crafts. Am I kicking against the pricks? Burying a talent? Cardine's point is also mine, I don't need another object kicking around. Therefore, I do my best (really, it was nothing) to create a spectacular craft, and then give it away to the young woman who wants it.

  11. Lisha I loved your comment on it being culture and not doctorine … how often is it that someone assumes something about us because of something they saw in our 'culture' – cjane i find your posts very refreshing and confirming :0)

  12. Six months after I was baptised, I was called to be RS Enrichment counsellor. That was 7 years ago, when it was still Homemaking. I was so freaked out by the calling, as I didn't fit the mould – I worked, had a child in full-time day-care, non-member husband, and didn't quilt, scrapbook or country-chic craft. I didn't WANT to do that stuff!

    My first Enrichment evening (already organised – I just had to turn up) it was painting pre-cut figures that were country-style women, complete with little shape for a ribbon in the hair. I nearly gagged!

    I started doing what everyone else was painting (aprons anyone?) but decided I may as well be me. So I decked out my chick with turban (multi-coloured), heels and jewels, rings and earrings. It was fun!

    Then a sister came over to see how I was doing, took a look then said….

    "Gee, you really AREN'T crafty, are you!!!"

    I still find that hilarious – that because I didn't paint it gingham and curly I wasn't crafty. I had heaps of fun in that calling anyway – and I know that learning to be crafty wasn't why I was called!

    Great post – thanks!

  13. Your gospel reference was perfect! And thank you for sharing your testimony with me. I think crafts are great, and for me creating art is a spiritual experience- after all, I am using the talent the HF gave to me, and dang it he wants me to make stuff. Okay?!? LOL!

  14. Sue, after your done erecting my statue do you think we could find a place for it down town? I like that corner by Atchafayla.

    Thanks everyone for the amazing comments today. Interestingly enough, I spent the day mod podging my mother's birthday invites. Now I am off to read my scriptures. A little bit of both worlds, I suppose.

  15. I'm back in YW again, for the umpteenth time in my life. The first time I had this batch of class presidents at my house and we did some planning for activities, they, as one, pleaded with me: "NO MORE SCRAPBOOKING!" and "NO MORE PAINTING QUOTES ON WOODEN PLAQUES WITH THE RELIEF SOCIETY!" And I wanted to shout a hearty hallelujah. Don't get me wrong—I'm not the Anti-Craft. I mean, okay, I love to knit. That's a craft. I weave. That's a craft. I do stuff with paper, I MAKE paper, I haunt craftster.org and subscribe to CRAFT magazine, I even occasionally do leaf prints. I will make bath salts. Somewhere in storage I even have a king-size bottle of Mod Podge. Crafts galore! But I have a terrific allergy to many forms of crafty busywork.

    But guess what. When I find myself surrounded by YW, creating the occasional floppy Frosty the Snowman from a rice-filled Fruit of the Loom tube sock, I make the most of the opportunity. The talking really is the thing. Busy hands are like walking feet; they can occupy tensions that sometimes get in the way of easy communication. Like Dalene, when I discovered (in Relief Society) that church crafts are actually more about safe socializing and small successes, I was more inclined to take part (or at least show up with my own project when I couldn't handle another painted plaque).

  16. The anti-craft. I LOVE it.

    And yes Courtney, a place is reserved next to Atchafalaya's just for you. I hope you like Cigarette butts. Maybe with the Patron Saint looking over thier shoulder, people will behave.

  17. I think this post describes why I think the new Enrichment program has such potential. We need opportunites to be with each other, to talk, to support, to encourage, and sometimes to complain. What we really need are friends in the ward; and friends rarely come without quantity time together.

    So what I love about the new Enrichment program…

    1)there are a variety of activities in which to have those experiences

    2)I don't have to go to the types of activities that aren't my thing

    3)if you have another activity I would like to do, I can get permission to do it

    4)I get to be in smaller groups with people that have at least superficially similar interests


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