I’m trying not to be too enthusiastic about this but to be honest, by the end I was so tired and burnt out I was pretty much just showing the kids videos.  They were church videos and I did try to come up with questions or activities to go with them but I’d had it.  I’d gone from “if there’s somebody else who needs this, Lord, I’d be happy to hand it over” to “I really hope there’s someone else who can do this, Lord, because I can’t anymore.  I’m done.  I quit.”  I hated having to be the Bad Cop so often.

The funny thing is that I’d about managed to work my way past that.  I was determined to be a good teacher for those kids.  When I say my prayers at night, I tend to thank God for my dear husband and dwell fondly for a bit on the things I love about him or was most especially grateful for that day.  (Like him canceling an appointment with the financial-type people when I told him that the Prophet had passed on because he thought I needed the stress off my plate.)   One day it occurred to me that despite seeing less of each other these days than we’d used to, my feelings of attachment to him had kept growing.  “Hey,” I thought, “maybe it’s because of that thing I do when I pray — it reinforces the good vibes or something.”  So then I tried being grateful for the class and the kids and y’know, it rather worked.  I wasn’t eager to face those challenges but I at least felt able to.

So of course  one day shortly into the new year the second counselor asked to talk to me before church and released me.  I don’t wanna get too specific here but just let me say that I think the new teacher’s military experience will be a great help to him.  I really think he can be good for the kids and I mean “good for them” as in “will be able to command their respect and attention and be a good role model” not “will beat them into shape.”

There’s an amusing little addendum to this.  One child evidently thought that they had driven me to resign.  I called them that afternoon and let them know that I had not quit but had been released.

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I’ve officially proved that I can pass for a fifteen-year old. Two separate groups of kids told me they thought I was a camper, not a leader. Mwa ha ha ha!

It went pretty well. I must say, it’s just as awesome to be there as a leader as it is to be there as a camper. Maybe even better since as a leader I didn’t need to wait for anyone else to take me to the flush toilets. (We had a latrine.) icon_biggrin.gif

Camping in tents was new for me; when I was a camper, we always had cabins. I always longed to do it “for real” in tents; now having done both I heartily support cabins! They make set-up much easier for one thing and for another, they make bad weather much more bearable. I like tents just fine; it’s just that I think they’re better for a family outing than for housing 50+ people. Let me tell you, I have an all-new respect for the pioneers who did pretty much the same thing but on the move and for months at a time, not just five days.

We camped at a conservation area near Guelph, Ontario. It had everything! Beautiful trees, a river that ran right smack behind our campsite and a beach! The only swimming I had at camp was this old, scummy man-made pond; by the second year at that site the leaders didn’t even bother with swimming time. Here we had canoing and paddle-boating too. There were islands all over the place, little caves, cliffs and inlets to explore. It was paradise — until the last day, when they closed the beach due to unsafe bacterial levels in the water. They didn’t make a big deal of it or herd people out of the water so it can’t be too bad but still, it’s not very confidence inspiring.

They didn’t do hikes the way I’m used to. Instead of each year going on separate hikes of different durations, everyone went at once and it only lasted a couple of hours. On the one hand, this is much easier on everyone and that was something of a relief. On the other hand, less rigorous seems less character-building or something.

Because of bad weather or delays (herding teenage girls is about as useful as herding ferrets) we had to cut out some games but on Friday we did this awesome Adventure game and I got to play too. I successfully faked my way into a half-hitch knot at the first task. icon_eek.gif That was very cool.

The only fly in the ointment was the “night hike.” I can remember one being planned one year I was at camp myself and the leaders scotched it. I was very disappointed; I thought the idea of hiking at night was awesome. Now I understand why they killed it.

They started off by having one of the priesthood leaders tell a scary story about his first “snipe hunt.” He claimed that it had really happened to him; I thought his acting was far from convincing but some of the other leaders said later — among each other, with no kids around — that he’d frightened them.

Then they had the girls leave their flashlights, gather in groups of three and took them off. I joined up with two of the girls, one of whom was very scared. I’ll call her “J.” They did the usual shtick of having other girls hiding in the underbrush making scary noises and jumping out. Once that was over, the Assistant Director gathered everyone around her. She asked if anyone was scared. J — who had a death grip not only on her friend’s hand but on mine as well — raised her hand. The Assistant Director then proceeded to tell another scary story using J’s name for the protagonist.

I don’t have anything against scary stories at camp. They’re as traditional as marshmallows. I’m not personally into horror but I realize that some people enjoy the scare. However, I really don’t like how this was handled. The night hike was mandatory; they didn’t let any girls stay behind. Then, when they were a captive audience, this creepy story was told. Go ahead and tell scary stories but it’s not fair to force others to listen. If you enjoy them knock yourself out but not everyone can turn their brains off afterward. I feel that, as leaders, it’s our job to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen and I’m upset that I was made a part of it.

I told them my feelings on the subject later so hopefully this won’t happen again.

As for the baking contest I mentioned earlier: we won second place! Woot!  Yes, Applesauce Gingerbread rocked the judges socks. We lost to Pineapple Upside-down Cake.  

My Girls’ Camp, ’tis of thee

Sweet tents of liberty, of thee I sing;

All the marshmallows we roasted,

Of hikes past we boasted,

From all girls bonfire toasted, let testimonies ring!

I loved Girls’ Camp. The Young Women’s program was okay, though I could have lived without the make-up sessions, but Girls’ Camp was the best thing since sliced bread. I lived for Girls’ Camp. It was more than the appeal of camp to my tomboy side; Girls’ Camp is where I made some of the most important friendships in my life. Others have commented on how vicious the girls can be to each other and I don’t doubt it but Girls’ Camp was nothing but magic for me.

We’ve all scattered to the winds now; every summer I remember the great times we had together and wonder what everyone’s up to. Out of all of us, there’s only one I’m still in touch with but they’re all written in my heart.

There was that lake, more of a pond really, man-made and green with the forces of nature marshaling to reclaim it. I swallowed some by accident once; I’m still surprised I didn’t come down with typhoid or something. It didn’t matter though, there was a creek running along behind our cabins, beautiful and clear, great for exploring and splashing around in.

There were the music sessions where we twisted and tormented songs until we could hardly breath for laughing, let alone keep singing. “My Camp Tis of Thee” is true to the spirit of those sessions, though not an actual product. No, our songs were “I Walk In Pain,” (a revision of “I Walk In Faith” and an homage to all those hikes) and a mutated version of “They Do Run Run” involving camp life in general. I’m sure there were more but those two are the ones I can still sing. Kind of.

There were the ghost stories, of course. And the Senior’s Prank which had us sneaking from cabin to cabin in the moonlight, throwing open the door, chucking in a bag of candy and dashing off. Oh, and since that year’s theme had something to do with Lamanites/Native Americans, we painted a Cabbage Patch doll with war paint and strung it up the flag pole.

My first year we had to do some kind of skit and I can still remember the song from the Cinderella knock-off that the older girls in my ward did. “Midnight… all alone in the bathroom… there is pee on the floor…” (Put that to the tune of “Midnight” from “Cats” and you’ve got it.) Also, someone decided we had to show off during roll call so when they called our ward’s name we all had to stand up, stick one hand on our hip and the other hand out like a stop sign, and shout “Stop! Annapolis time!”

I lucked out. Seriously. My fourth year I had mono and wasn’t allowed to go on the hike. I managed to talk my mom and the doctor into letting me go to camp anyway; I was only allowed to go for the two or three days at the end, after the Fourth Years had returned from their hike, and only on the condition that I take it easy. Are you kidding me?! I had a doctor-approved excuse to avoid some of the dumber activities and I got to do my fourth year twice! My dearest friend, the one I’m still in contact with, tells me her mom still knows me by the nickname I got that second fourth year when we all got lost doing orienteering.

Mortimer the glow-in-the-dark rat won’t be going with me this year. I have the giant sticks of Pixi-Stix but no idea who I’m going to share them with. I don’t think I’ll need my Super-Soaker either. My giant brown backpack, relic of my brother’s stint in the Boy Scouts won’t be stuffed with gear and strung with whatever else wouldn’t fit inside; I haven’t even seen it in ten years. Instead I’m packed in two old backpacks scavenged from our 72-hour kids. My sleeping bag, so often used as a comforter as much for the weight and warmth as the memories, has gone the way of the brown backpack. In general I’ve had to beg, borrow and jury-rig all the gear that I used to have.

Harder to face than the loss of my gear has been the realization that Camp will, of necessity, not be the same this year. The friendships that made it what it was for me won’t be there. I’m going into this as alone as I’ve ever gone into anything; I don’t know any of the other leaders. I don’t even know the girls. I teach in Primary; I’ve only seen the Young Women (all two of them) in the hallway.

The magic won’t be there for me this year.

This year, I’ll be there to make the magic happen for someone else.

And they’d darn well better appreciated it — I have absolutely NO idea what I’m going to do with the 5 1/2 liters of kidney beans I bought so we could bake in the tin cans.

Seriously.

He’s a misogynist.  Contrast his approach with Christ’s; the scriptures abound with stories of Christ’s interactions with women.  Paul told us to sit down and shut up.

He argues against senior Apostles  and tries to claim more authority than them.  Instead of working with them to unite the church he further splinters things with his claim that even the so-called “super apostles”  cannot contradict him. (Gal 1:8: the term was changed to “angels” in later scripts, as I understand the situation.)

According to the Catholic priest down the street, Paul is a source of Trinitarian creed.

Can anyone out there in the Bloggernacle give me  even one good reason not to dismiss Paul as an interloper and the beginning of the rot we call the Apostasy?

I am a Harry Potter fan. Love the books. Love them. A co-worker of mine is a very devout Christian (Southern Baptist I think) and he and his wife home school their 3 children. They decided on home schooling to ensure that their children learned correct values and the like. Very, very nice people.

The other day I asked him if he or his children had read Harry Potter. He was very adamant in stating that they are evil, occult and lead children to Satan. I have been doing some research (driven by his comments) and have even spoken with some internet ‘friends’ who are Wiccan – I cannot see any connection. He admitted to never having read the books, but I was very surprised by the emotion he had behind his answer. Very surprised.

I know there are verses in the Bible that speak of witchcraft and the like (i.e. Duet 18:10-14). I have been a member my entire life and know very little about this ‘occult’. Is it really something to be ‘worried’ about? Why does the Church not address it?? Harry Potter – good or evil?

I plan to keep reading it and can’t wait for the final book to come out. Just thought I would see what y’all thought.

Thanks!

Guest Poster Amy

This was originally a comment on a post over at Mormon Stories.

By now you’ve probably heard of a new Anti-Mormon DVD about to be released. Just in time (as apparently is usual) for General Conference. It’s called “The Search For Truth” and is packaged to resemble Church videos. You can find the Foundation for Apologetics and Research’s response to it here.

The purpose of this video, the disingenuous nature of the distribution (the “fake” LDS packaging, the leaving of it on cars parked on private property and the leaving of it on doors like junk mail) deeply offend and anger me. If I find one (doubtful because, thankfully, Canada seems to have a smaller, less vociferous population of antis) I think I shall take great pleasure in smashing it.

You are welcome to discuss your religion with me. You are welcome to discuss my religion with me. You are not welcome to sneak around like a thief and leave your ugly thoughts of what you <i>think</i> I believe lying around, disguised as something coming from a source I would trust.

If you’re not Mormon or you’ve left the church that’s your choice and your path. Please allow me the same freedom you seek for yourself, to believe as I feel directed by God.

And at least have the strength of character to do what you feel you have to do up front. I have more respect for the guy who dressed up like a devil (red face paint, pitchfork and all) and stood outside the Hill Cumorah Pageant than I do those who seek to tear down the faith of others but evidently cannot stand up for their own.

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