Toting to Church

Jeff SpectorMormon 16 Comments

I remember when I starting attending Church that many members, mostly woman carried around large white cardboard tote boxes filled with materials, usually for primary or young women. I tried in vain to find a picture of one of these beauties, but they are no longer sold by the Church and nothing came up during my Internet searches.  The men, on the other hand, carried authoritative-looking briefcases and not necessarily those in leadership positions. Just like at work.  I can’t say that I ever saw a sister with a briefcase!

There are also those distinctive scripture totes that immediately identify one as a Latter-day Saint. In most other churches they carry one book, the Bible, so often do not need a scripture tote to manage their scriptures. But we have either two books, a Bible and a Triple Combination (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price), or one large quad, containing all four books of scriptures (five, if you are really picky). Our scriptures come in many sizes and styles, from the small that no one over 40 can read, to the large print edition quad that takes a wheelbarrow or luggage cart to move around.

Anyway, times have changed. Gone are the white boxes and now we have canvas totes, in all styles and varieties!  Usually natural canvas color that can be embroidered (Relief Society Enrichment night project) with names or familiar Church mottos like Choose the Right (CTR), Families Can Be Forever, etc. Rainbows are a big favorite as well.

So, just what is in those things?  Lesson materials, scriptures, food for the kiddies?

Lest I forget, the perennial diaper bag, which then sometimes makes the Sisters look like a pack mules with the diaper bag, tote bag and purse slung over each shoulder while the husband and kids have their little scripture totes to carry. My wife, the Relief Society President carries a blue, plastic woven basket tote that must weigh 50 pounds! I try to carry it for her or get my son to do it.

I usually just have my handy green, super deluxe scripture tote unless I am teaching and need my backpack and projector. Then I take on the pack mule sort of appearance.

So, what is in your tote?

Oh, and by the way, those guys with the briefcases, they still carry them.

Comments 16

  1. My mother still has one of those totes. Since she’s a primary teacher she needs it for her books and materials.

  2. I use a neoprene Denali portable DVD case for my scriptures. For other stuff I use my Exponent II retreat tote bag with the “well-behaved women” quote from Laurel Thatcher.

  3. It is interesting to see how times change. My teenage son doesn’t even tote the scriptures. He just brings his ipod touch with an LDS scripture app (kind of ticks off the SS teacher who wants him to mark scriptures). We no longer take the church magazines, we just read them online.

  4. That’s funny you talk about this. Just the other day I spotted someone with a book made of the same looking leather as our scriptures commonly are and had a million little tags (like references for the major books) sticking out the side and I immediately thought: I bet this is a Mormon. I was right. You could tell by no more then what the book looked like from a distance.

  5. I was on a subway in Shanghai on my way to church and another visitor to the city pegged me as a member by my scripture tote. I was able to show her the way from the subway station to the meeting house. 🙂

    When our kids were young, I always had to carry the luggage, while my wife got the cute kid. We were so happy when we moved out of diaper bag mode; our in-church luggage was reduced significantly.

    Never a fan of the briefcase, I used a LandsEnd canvas one for church for a long time. My wife carries her organ shoes and music in a separate bag, which I now carry around for her like a high school kid carrying his girlfriend’s books.

    We had a friend in Japan who used to carry a plastic basket that held stuff for the kids (three under 6) in church (Dad was bishop, so she had plenty of entertaining to manage), plus whatever she needed for whatever class she was teaching.

  6. I use one of those fabric grocery bags so ubiquitous these days, bule with the logo of the city electric utility emblazoned in white on both sides. It contains chalk, eraser, about 20 mechanical pencils and a similar number of pens (my Primary/Sunday School class is Very Large), a roll of magnetic tape, scissors, my Primary Manual, that week’s visual aids or handouts, Graph-paper notebook, a couple of tithing slips & envelopes, choir music, and at least two sets of mini-quads, plus an odd assortment of old bulletins, Relief Society & Mutual invitations/reminders, and odd candy wrappers. My youngest is 12 now, but that bag is as heavy as it ever was.

  7. I usually use a pillow case or a trash bag to carry my stuff around in… On an interesting side note I met this guy in Mesa, Arizona that used to ride up and down university blvd. on his bike sometimes going for blocks with no hands on his handlebars. He had a bible… but, it was cut out inside to make it a box where he presumably stashed his drug paraphenelia…

  8. Still using the same ancient leather scripture case from my mission, where it was run over by a truck (with no apparent damage) and used to test the thickness of ice on a river before we used it for a shortcut. (My companion’s bright, and protested, idea.)

    I need a recommendation for a suitable replacement; the handle strap’s about to finally break off.

  9. Now that I have the LDS Scriptures app on my iPhone, I don’t carry the scripture tote + accompanying manuals, etc!

    I have a three month old and a 2 1/2 year old, so naturally, I still have to carry my backpack/diaperbag. But, one less bag is awesome.

  10. When my wife and I were teaching sunbeams, we had a big bag for that, plus the diaper bag (mostly with toys and stuff for our 3 year-old)… good thing that ended because now we have baby #2 to tote around. 🙂

    I don’t carry scriptures anymore either, with everything on the iPhone. Plus, my favorite BoM is too big (the Earliest Text) to easily carry around.

  11. In my bag–which is very large leather-like bag, alligator-ish, which I got as a freebie from Coldwater Creek. In it you will find a 3 ring binder which weighs a lot–I’m the Primary secretary. Scriptures are in my iphone (hallelujah!). Ziplock baggie full of crayons. Empty fruit snack wrappers. Pens, pencils, tape, sticky glue dots, a million tithing envelopes/canary copies, gum, chapstick, lipstick, old programs, and papers which I keep meaning to put in recycling. If I were to clean that bag out, it would weigh half of its current amount.
    My girls carry these little purse-y scripture totes a friend in Utah made. I’m sure they’re all the rage there, but I haven’t seen other little girls in Primary with bags like them.

  12. i sooooo remember those white cardboard totes-a clean canvas that you could decorate(or leave plain)to your hearts content. they were kind of like those banker boxes, werent they? i think they came flat and then you had to “build” it by unfolding it and standing it up.
    currently i use a nicole miller brief case style bag. lots of compartments and separated sections to hold files or papers(and scriptures and lesson manuals). kind of classic chic, if i do say so myself! it was also free-a hand me down from my best friend who got it as a gift with purchase item, so it satisfies the whole lds frugality.

  13. Well, you may not have seen me Jeff,but I was carrying that briefcase.I wondered why I intimidated the guys,but clearly not enough to get it.

    These days it’s a basket.What am I not getting now I wonder?

    We’re out of the backpack stage with the babies.Sometimes wondered if it should be a suitcase.

  14. I have the scriptures (and lesson manuals, topical guide, etc.) on my iPod Touch, so many Sundays I’m not carrying anything other than the stuff in my pockets. Much better than my briefcase. I do sometimes take either my briefcase or a file folder with things I need like handouts, etc.

  15. It’s just me and my husband, so I have a blue tote bag I got for free in the mail a few months back. It carries my scriptures (in their own case, which I’ve had since I was a youth), a hymnal, and the Gospel Doctrine book, plus snacks for my husband and water bottles for the both of us. He only stays through Sacrament Meeting because of a chronic condition, and I either come home with him or stay and go home with my family, depending on how he feels.

Leave a Reply to SUNNofaB.C.Rich Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *