“You hoo! Jesus!”






I wouldn’t say that I hate change, but it does bug me. My husband makes fun of me as he drags me into the 21st century, periodically making me change my phone or email. We had to go to therapy when he wanted to make me switch from a PC to a Mac. Seriously. It had me rocking in a corner in the fetal position.

As a feminist I there are many changes that I deeply desire in the Church. But I fear the only changes that happen are destined to make me nuts. For example, my new calling irritates me. Not the calling itself but the title, which I can’t even bring myself to type because it is so totally stupid. I am the leader of what is formerly known as Enrichment, which was switched from Homemaking in 2000. The new title has the word meetings in it. Nobody is really sure what it’s called now. If the change was to simplify  things, it failed as everyone now refers to an extracurricular RS event as “enrichment or homemaking or stuff not on Sunday or whatever.” How’s that for clarity? So I have decided to go old school and call it Homemaking. Maybe we’ll make grapes out of resin or macrame some pot holders. At Christmas time I’d like to make some Tampon Angels. Real classy stuff.

Other super irritating changes at church involve hymns. I know it was a little wacky to have everybody singing “You, who unto Jesus” but come on. It is just so boring to sing “Who unto the Savior.” I feel like Mormons hate the word “Jesus” and try to solemnize everything. So I still channel my inner-owl when we sing about Firm Foundations. I even made sure my Primary classes all sang it that way. But the one that I absolutely can’t make sense out of is “Joy to the World.” Why did WW Phelps go and switch “heaven and nature sing” to “saints and angels?” My Episcopal friend came with me to a Christmas service (it was an Enrichment or Homemaking or whatever it’s called sponsored) and when we got to that part of the song, she turned to me and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Mormons have issues with nature singing?”

And if we are going to change hymns, lets make meaningful choices. So I’ve bitched here before about the whole issue of Kolob, that it kills me when the media locks onto to our crazy during the “Mormon Moment” instead of all the really good and beautiful aspects of our religion. Still, I must admit, I love singing about hieing to Kolob. At a Retreat years ago Pandora sang that song for us (I cried–no I wept) and had all of us slightly alter the songbooks. At the end of the third verse the line reads: “There is no end to spirit, there is no end to race.” Pandora wisely had us put a “g” before the final word. That tiny addition created grace. Over the years I have added that “g” to every hymn book in my reach. Now that is a change I can get behind.

What changes in the Church have made you nuts? What stuff are you dying to have altered?


  1. I totally agree that the Homemaking/Enrichment name change has been confusing. In our ward we decided to call it Sisterhood meeting 🙂

  2. I have a friend who used to work at Starbucks, and every time her husband came home from the Priesthood session of conference she would ask, “can we drink coffee yet?”

  3. Oh my heck! Thank you!! I can’t stand it when they change the words in the hymns. I first noticed the change in “Joy to the World” last Christmas and my head almost exploded right there in church. Also, why do they change the melody? What was wrong with the old tune? Argh!

  4. I think even “you, who unto” is a change from an earlier version. In the “Sacred Harp,” hymn book, the words are, “Ye who unto Jesus for refuge have fled” (1787). If you join a local Sacred Harp singing group you can have the pleasure of singing the following lyric to “I know that my redeemer lives”, known as 277 Antioch.. Third verse, “He lives to crush the fiends of hell…He lives and doth within me dwell. ” In my Sacred Harp group, we sometimes change deity pronouns to female ones, which lets me think I am singing about Mother in heaven.

  5. lol

    Living in Philly, I can totally see someone saying or singing “Yo, Bro Jesus’ down the street” and no one batting an eye or turning around to see what’s going on.

    Gotta love Philly

    As far as the coffee thing, I know plenty of Mormons here who drink coffee and have temple recommends. And I don’t know where I read this joke but, I thought it was pretty hilarious so I’m going to share, Mitt Romney is so Mormon he won’t join the tea party because of D&C 89. So, I’m waiting for that change to especially given the fact of the many documented health benefits to drinking tea

  6. On “the Meeting Formerly Known as Home, Family and Personal Enrichment”:
    I do not miss that meeting title at all. When it first came out replacing “Homemaking” we received a letter from higher-ups (I don’t remember which ones) scolding us for calling it, “Enrichment” or “HFPE” instead of by its full, formal title. My reaction? If you want us to use the full name, give us a succinct full name that we can say in one breath without special diaphragm breathing training. Also, I disliked that both “Homemaking” and “HFPE” seemed to imply activities centered on crafting, while more often (and appropriately, in my opinion) such meetings were used for community service. Both former names implied that the meetings were about improving members’ own homes and not about improving the community at large.

    On hymns:
    The completely unnecessary changes to Joy to the World make no sense, but I wouldn’t mind changing lyrics like,

    “…In pow’r it would be preached on earth
    By menthose of God ordained…
    The pow’rs of heav’n are opened wide
    To men of GodGod’s children below…”
    (Hymn 12)

    On other changes I would make:
    Since I am a RS teacher, I read the Teachings of the Prophets manuals more thoroughly than most, and it bothers me that the editors include statements said decades ago that have since been refuted by more modern teachings. Maybe they want to include these outdated statements for historical accuracy, but if so, they should include brackets or footnotes or something stating the more current doctrine. For example, the current RS/Priesthood manual includes this gem of a quote from 1935: “Do we realize that every man is in the image of God and is a son of God, and every woman his daughter?” whereas the 1995 proclamation states, “…all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God.”

    • Last summer, I went through the hymnal and got rid of gendered language (except for language referring to God or a specific male individual). I changed things I considered to be false doctrine, too, and I added a bunch of hymns that aren’t in our hymnal. It’s all sitting on my computer. Someday I’ll print it out for myself. In sacrament meeting, I’ve been known to sing my version of the words instead of the actual ones.

    • If they’re aiming for historical accuracy in the Teachings of the Prophets manuals, they should really start acknowledging the plural wives of our earliest prophets. But I’m pretty sure they don’t give a tinker’s damn about historical accuracy, and, to the contrary, are more committed to historical whitewashing when the history has the potential to hurt the image of the church developed via correlation and PR.

    • re: “the Meeting Formerly Known as Home, Family and Personal Enrichment”

      You mean you have a meeting specifically devoted to “personal enrichment” but shouldn’t be so personally enriched that you feel entitled to communicate in ways that are meaningful and convenient to you personally? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • Brillant points, April.

      I always hated the “homemaking” title, I just never saw myself as a homemaker, so didn’t attend. I was a little more interested when it was changed to Enrichment, but found little enriching about it. Again, as a working woman who was moving around, I saw little reason to make/store Christmas crafts to sit in my apartment for a holiday that I hoped to get overtime for by working, and largely (and happily) spent alone anyway.

      I was actually called as a HFPE Leader, but frankly, ended up leaving the church for a period over it. (I re-arranged my hours for lecturing for the term, and changed a medical procedure to go along with the Enrichment schedule, and the RS president then changed the schedule to attend her grandchild’s birthday party. That put me over the edge. I now NEVER screw with my job or my body for anything churchy.) As well, I could not understand why I was called, but felt later that the reason was because as a childless professional, it was assumed I had a lot of time to learn, then organize and teach crafts that I had no desire to make. Yeah, had to take a break from church after that. Its been 5 years now, and I still rarely attend anything Relief Society-based as a result. I don’t miss it.

      So I’d like to keep Relief Society, and let me join, but then nix that whole (enrichment?) program, whatever it’s name is? I kinda hate it. A lot.

  7. Most of the changes I’ve witnessed have been a blessed relief. Way slow in coming, too. I can’t think of any that have irritated me; I must have erased those memories.

  8. I seem to be the only person who isn’t irritated by the new RS meeting. I grew up with my mom going to Relief Society on Tuesdays. So what if I go to RS on a Tuesday night. I am not confused. What is wrong with saying “On Tuesday at 7:00 the Relief Society is putting together kits for foster kids.” “I have RS tonight.” “We will have Relief Society on Tuesday the 26th where we will have a dinner and Sis. So and So will speak about gardening.”

  9. I’m bugged that Come Thou Fount is not in the hymn book.

    The new tithing slips bug me too. From what I’ve heard, not everyone has them, but my stake does and there are fewer categories to give to; you write them in. And at the bottom there is a disclaimer about the church trying to put the money where you want it but that they might put it somewhere else if they feel like it. That really made me mad; if they’re just going to do what they want with donations, why have the options to designate it? If you care deeply about something, you can’t even be reasonably sure that your money is going where you wanted it to, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Make me glad I pay tithing to different organizations now that have to disclose their finances.

  10. I am actually headed out the door to “Homemaking” as I type this. But it’s been a long time (two years?) since I’ve been to one of these activities, and I am kind of anxious, so I checked in here for some sanity and wasn’t disappointed. If only we were making tampon angels tonight!

  11. Plans for my ward’s whatever-it-is meeting in July? A picnic honoring the women in the ward who have recently completed graduate degrees. I don’t know if we’ll be making tampon angels, but I’d be up for that too.

  12. W.W. Phelps took a popular Christmas hymns of his day and turned it into a hymn about the Second Coming. In the 1835 hymnal the opening line is “Joy to the world, the Lord will come.” Personally, I think we ought to just change it all back to the original words if were going to sing it as a Christmas song!

    Karen, I’m totally baffled by what you mean about changes to the melody. Are you referring to “Joy to the World” or to some other hymn?

    Finally, regarding “How Firm a Foundation”: the whole point was for it to not sound like “Yoohoo Unto Jesus!” There was absolutely no “Afraid-to-say-Jesus-so-let’s-remove-the-name” conspiracy! Really, “who unto Jesus” doesn’t have enough syllables to fit the tune, so since Jesus is The Savior, and it had the right number of syllables, we now sing “who unto the savior.” Really not a big deal.

  13. Though I like what the YW theme asserts, I feel that it has become rote repetition and not as meaningful as it once was. It’s been around for almost 30 years now– they have added “strengthen home and family” and the value “virtue”– I still watch my girls’ eyes glaze over each week as the recite it. The previous time I was YW president I tried something different. We only recited the theme on fast Sundays. It threw the girls off the first time we didn’t recite it, but I found that they seemed more engaged when that first fast Sunday came.
    I would love to see something new and refined for the YW. Especially the manuals, for heaven’s sake! They are over 30 years old too—(can you imagine learning from manuals from the 50s while growing up in the 80s? Gag me with a spoon!)

    • I was really angry when they added “virtue” to the YW theme. I’m all for the law of chastity and whatever–which, we all know that’s what virtue’s about, amirite?–but the implication was that we ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO DRILL INTO THEIR HEADS that their worth comes from not being licked cupcakes. That it needs to be a special focus for GIRLS, but not for boys.
      Also, I’m irked that they added “strengthen home and family” to the theme. Ugh.

  14. PostScript: as far as changes in melody, I did not mean Joy to the World. Naturally I cannot think of any songs right now that have been changed, so probably disregard my comment on that topic! Hopefully others who are more musically inclined might be able to back me up, cus I swear some tunes have been changed. Anyone? Beuller?

    • Before we had Vaughn Willams’ tune for Hieing to Kolob, we rarely sang that song because the tune was so bad. Now it has a great melody (and harmony) so we sing it unendingly.

  15. I never noticed the word change to Joy to the World. That will give me something to irritate others with next Christmas. Almost enough to look forward to the holidays.

    You have also converted me. I will be changing “race” to “grace” in hundreds of hymnals for the rest of my life.

    Jesus and I will have a laugh about that when my video is playing on judgment day.

  16. What truly bugs me is that in ordinary conversation Mormons say “come unto Jesus”. Why is Jesus come-unto-ed? It may be shorthand for something but it’s archaic and awkward.

  17. I was just thinking recently how much I enjoy the music to ‘Ave Maria’. Some years ago MoTab did a version but changed the wording to ‘Heavenly Father’. From a doctrinal point of view – I understand that – but can’t we just enjoy something in it’s original form because it’s beautiful?
    Heather – you are awesome – I love your blogs! Best wishes in your new calling – I’m sure Enrichment/Homemaking will never be quite the same again – but did I miss something because I still don’t know what the name change is?

  18. I’ve always wondered about the different words to “Joy to the World” but had no idea that one of the versions was specifically Mormon! Argh! I hate that. I hate how we change things for absolutely no reason.

  19. I love the idea of adding a “g” to the all they hymn books under that great Kolob song. Consider it done in Northern Virginia.

    In my talk last Sunday on Spiritual Gifts, I realized there were entirely too many male references, so I took a liberty of my own with the parable of the talents.

    ” …. A man travelling into a far country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every woman according to her several ability.
    The she that had received the five talents ….”

    Some noticed and some did not … but everyone seemed to like the change.


  20. I can’t believe I haven’t been around here before!! I’m thrilled to find you all–and I plan on altering all the hymn books in church tomorrow on #284…:)

    Great post!

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