Our Voices, Our Visions: A report from the road

John Dehlinbooks, Mormon, women 7 Comments

Monday night in Claremont, California, we kicked off the Our Voices, Our Visions Mormon Women’s Literary Tour in the company of an audience of 30 Mormon women ranging from 12 to 80 years old.   “This is an historic event,” said event host Claudia Bushman.

Yesterday, Susan Scott, Lisa Van Orman Hadley and I crossed the desert from San Diego to Tempe, talking and laughing all the way about things Community of Christ members and LDS folks have in common like ancestral visions and deep connections to Mormon places.  As well as the things we don’t, like frog-eye salad and the commitment pattern.

In Tempe, we met with essayist Holly Welker and poet Danielle Dubrasky at the home of Judy Curtis, an LDS woman who started writing poetry in her 50s. Judy is a master gardener, and after this wet winter, her yard is alive with Indian paintbrush and holly hock and fragrant citrus trees and century plants.

We met forty more Mormon women last night at our Tempe reading, including a strong contingent from the Exponent.  Together, we laughed about girls who do cartwheels in Primary and stories about polygamy traded around the fire at Girls Camp.

Today, we’re hitting the road for southern Utah, passing through the twin towns of Colorado City and Hilldale on our way.  On the dashboard, we have a pink pioneer bonnet and a rock we call our peepstone.  If we get lost, we say, we’ll put the peepstone in the bonnet and try to figure out the right road.

All of us writers on the tour are unconventional Mormon women–with lives as complicated as women’s lives can be.  But we are moving through the desert, through the Book of Mormon belt, from home to home of Mormon women who take us in like kin.

When and where in Mormonism do you feel like you most belong?

For more info on the next stops of the Our Voices, Our Visions tour in Cedar City (Thursday), Provo (Friday) and SLC (Saturday), visit mormonwomenwriters.blogspot.com.

Comments 7

  1. “When and where in Mormonism do you feel like you most belong?”

    In early summer, especially when I go places where I can smell irrigation water pouring onto dry earth. Whenever I think about Pioneers. Whenever I have a thick raspberry milkshake, triggering childhood memories of the Dairy Keen in Heber City.

    That, and gobbling donuts under gray California June skies after the Elders Quorum Moving Company’s latest job.

    Yes, I am more or less a DNA Mormon.

  2. I’ve never really felt like I belonged anywhere in Mormonism. That’s why I went inactive as a teen. When I came back to the church I decided that I wasn’t going to stress about belonging in the Church culturally.

  3. John Hamer has a fantasy map on one of his BCC posts, and he’s also using it as a poster for the immediately upcoming Sunstone Midwest conference in Independence. The map illustrates the possible borders between the various Restoration and Evangelical movements.

    That’s where I’m most comfortable, in the borderlands between the LDS and the Community of Christ.

  4. ” If we get lost, we say, we’ll put the peepstone in the bonnet and try to figure out the right road.”

    And I’ll bet it will work too!

    So sorry that I could not get out to the event on Monday night.

    “When and where in Mormonism do you feel like you most belong?”

    No where really, but I call the empowered margin home.

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