#GiveThanks: The Miracle of the Flour

I’ve kind of hesitated to participate in the #givethanks challenge. Mostly because I hate doing whatever the crowd is doing, and I don’t want to be trite in my gratitude. I’ve been thinking about what I could share that’s not shallow.

In the early days of the pandemic and shut down, when the store shelves were really bare of everything, I was quite worried how to feed my family. With moving two years before, a broken foot, and then my husband and I both losing a parent in a short time period, I just had let our pantry and food storage get really low. Week after week there was no bread in our store and I was starting panic. With a food allergy kid anything that comes from a commercial bakery is going to be unsafe to eat. There are two kinds of commercially produced bread Kroger sells that my son can eat. I was also down to my very last bag of flour and half-jar of yeast, so even baking bread was going to be problematic.

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Turning Something Very Good Into Something Very Bad

Jacob Z. Hess

This is the fourth of a seven-part series, “Recruiting Alma the Younger” (see earlier essays on attachment injury, the pain of separation from the Saints and historical claims against the Church). Appreciations to Public Square Magazine and Meridian Magazine for sharing this previously. 

When a divorce takes place, something else almost always happens before:  whatever had once been earnestly, easily embraced as good and beautiful comes to be experienced as definitely not good and anything but beautiful. In the place of previous preciousness, new feelings of aching animosity often arise, alongside a new understanding of one’s partner, the relationship, and its history – as old memories are swapped out for a very different story.    

This happens with a dissolving marriage. And it does with the end of other kinds of unions, including in relation to faith communities. 

In a talk earlier this month, Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, outlined some of the humanitarian work the Church had been able to accomplish in a single year with the help of member contributions, including:

  • 400,000 food orders given out to hungry individuals
  • 300,000 people in 35 countries receiving vision care 
  • 50,000 people in dozens of countries receiving wheelchairs
  • Thousands of mothers in 39 countries receiving newborn care
  • Over 100 disaster-relief projects around the world helping victims of hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other calamities

Since these efforts began, hundreds of communities in 76 countries have also received clean water, with a total of more than two billion dollars provided in aid to people throughout the world independent of “church affiliation, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, or political persuasion.”

To many observers—even those who wouldn’t consider themselves religious—such efforts would be reliable markers of a people and an organization that is “good.”But especially over the last decade, more and more have come to see this faith community (along with other religions) in a very different light. 

How does something good on its face, come to be experienced as bad?  

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