My father was an “inactive” Mormon.
This means that he was baptized a Mormon, but stopped going to church somewhere along his life... Sometime after he married my mom in the Mesa Temple.
I do not remember him going to church very often with me, my mom, and my two sisters.
If I think back to when I was a child, I remember sitting by him in a sacrament meeting, passing the little sacrament cups down the row for the deacons to collect. We used to take the little paper cup of water, pass the tray, and then pass our used cup to the person next to you, so that at the end of the row the last person would have a tall stack of little cups. (kind of unsanitary in today's world--but that was a step up from the days of sharing a cup.)
I remember that he dropped us off at church some days. Or he would pull up to the entrance and tell us to go ahead and go in while he parked the car.
I'm not sure if he ever came in.
I don’t recall if he had a church calling. My mom was always busy serving in the Primary, Young Women’s Program (MIA-Mutual Improvement Association), and Relief Society. I remember cupcake sales at Primary and bazaars at Relief Society.
I remember that he did not go at all when I was a teenager. He stayed home, sitting in his favorite chair in his room, watching a golf tournament on TV while eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
He didn’t say much about it. He was happy. He was not negative about us going, he just did not go. We had lots of church parties at our home and he was involved. I don’t know why I didn’t think it was strange, or even that we were recognized as a family without an active dad.
He did say, in a humorous way, are you going to “churchy le femme?” when we were going out the door to some meeting or activity. He did have a goofy sense of humor.
Thinking now, I guess that was correct--it was church for the females in our home. My mom, sisters, and me-- le femmes.
I am more sad about it now, than when it was going on. Maybe because I know now how it could have been--now that I have a family -- now that I have a testimony.
My parents eventually divorced. Messy and sad all the way around. However, all three daughters have married in the temple with church-going, faith-believing husbands.
Women do have an influence in the home. And, some women have those tough callings.
Eve out of the Garden
photo: La Canada, CA where I attended as a young girl