Thursday, July 31, 2014

Eggs Have a Date -- Who Knew?

It's funny how tiny details can trigger big memories. Just the other day, for example. I was cooking, I needed an egg, so I opened the fridge, and my eyes settled on the date stamped on the end of the carton.

Wham. In an instant I was 25 years back in time, sitting in a Relief Society Homemaking Meeting.

--Now, before I go on, I should explain that everyone who is lucky enough to be a member of the one and only true church is conditioned to believe she must attend every single meeting in order to partake of the special knowledge that a poor nonmember isn't privy to. Likewise, everyone who is lucky enough to have escaped the one and only true church can recall a series of "aha" moments when she realized this so-called special knowledge maybe wasn't all that special after all.

Back to my "aha" moment 25 years ago. I was sitting in Relief Society listening to a presentation on thrifty shopping tips. The teacher, a young blonde with a feathery hairdo, picked up an egg carton from her display table, pointed at the date stamped into its styrofoam lid and--with eyes widening--proclaimed, "I didn't know this until yesterday, but eggs have a date."

As the women around me nodded sagely, my eyes glazed over and a primal aha screamed in my brain. I gave up an evening with my family to grab the inside scoop that a raw egg is perishable.

Now, I can't blame the blonde feather-head. After all, she was just doing her best to fulfill the calling her inspired priesthood leader pressured her to accept. (She's a woman. Naturally she loves to cook!) What was maddening was that I was sitting there in the first place, honestly expecting to receive "special knowledge."

Here's another example and another Homemaking Meeting. (For some reason these "ahas" tended to happen at Homemaking Night. Maybe that's why they changed the name to Personal Enrichment.)

Anyway, a middle-aged lady was teaching a lesson on multi-tasking. Mustering the full measure of her special knowledge, she advised, with a straight face, "On cleaning day, I load my dishes into the machine, press start, and while they're washing, I vacuum."

Again, the primal aha. What? You mean unlike the rest of us you don't pull up a chair and watch as the machine goes from wash . . . to rinse . . . to dry?

In retrospect, I'm grateful to these two well-meaning ding-a-lings and the like. The poor things may not have been cut out for our divine role, but they helped me see the light. Hopefully they've had their own "aha" moments, possibly on the occasions I was called upon to share my own special knowledge with the ward.

And I did take away a few good things from Homemaking Night. I recently reupholstered a chair, having learned how in my BYU married student ward. It's been a valuable skill. Although maybe not worth 10% of our income.


  1. Aunt Marthalene once was quoting some ridiculous statistics and mumbo jumbo stating that two years of Relief Society attendance was the equivalent to an associate's degree, four years to a bachelor's degree, five years to a master's, and seven years to a PhD. She said this to my mom and a TBM aunt who is an MD, My mom made some sarcastic remark about how they' should've given university credits for reading "Hints from Heloise" which was some ancient column with tips for removing stains and that sort of thing. The MD aunt thought it was funny, but Aunt Marthalene wouldn't speak to my mom for months, which was the biggest favor she could've done my mom.

  2. I'll never forget teaching my first RS Homemaking lesson as a newlywed on how to appropriately teach young children about gender differences when a young woman raised her hand and told the following urban legend:

    A young couple that already had a daughter then welcomed a newborn son. While changing the newborn boy's diaper, the mother turned her back for just a moment then heard a piercing cry. Sister had taken a pair of scissors and cut off brother's unit because she thought it was a defect.

    Jesus Christ. I was totally at a loss as how to respond.

    The things that I remember from RS are all pretty much like that …. Can't say I miss it.

  3. Oh…kay, so Alexis and AT, combining your experiences, Mormons' "special knowledge" is equal to a PhD and may inspire LDS mothers to warn other moms that their pre-schoolers might be inclined to cut their little brothers' things off.

    Jono, WOW indeed!

  4. In terms of the lady who told the urban legend, what was her point, anyway? Teach gender differences while the next baby is still in utero? Don't let them children each other nude? Be careful where you leave your scissors lying around? i'm trying to reconcile the urban legend with the lesson topic. Then again, when I did time in Mormon meetings, I spent most of it trying to reconcile the supposed point of the lesson to any logic whatsoever?

    1. I suppose terrible accidents/mistakes happen in households of all sorts. However, it seems to me that repression and ignorance play a role here. No sign of special knowledge.

    2. "… what was her point, anyway?"

      That's a rhetorical question, right

      I mean, we are talking about a belief system where men carry around little cards in their wallets purportedly tracing their divine authority to Jesus Christ; and where women … well, never mind.

      Not to mention the Satan-proof underwear.

      ; )

  5. So much time, energy, and money given up for the LDS ... so that you could learn that eggs go bad. Donna, I have no words for this.

  6. I decided to google 'LDS relief society lesson ideas'. Here's a list of ideas for you just in case you need it.

    The blog is called 'LDS Women of God'. Here are two of my favorites:

    1) Start a “Church Books Only” BOOK CLUB.

    5) Begin offering Temple Showers to reward those Young Women who have safeguarded their virtue as they prepare themselves to enter the temple for a marriage or mission.

  7. Oh Donna, you probably already 'red this gnus'; but, I thought you might appreciate this article in the Salt Lake Tribune.

    1. I did hear about that, but only because of my blogger pal over on Sheep Dip. Too hilarious!

  8. Did the poor guy get his job back or at least get a better one?