Friday, 3 July 2020

My Mum, The Great Advocate

Mum, Dad and Brothers

So a couple of weeks ago I went round my brother's house for a BBQ and I asked him if mum had been ok with them saying the Lord's Prayer at school, to which he said she had no problem with it an had often said she liked hearing it being sung. Now the reason I asked this was because when we had been planning her LDS funeral service he (a nonmember) wanted the Lords Prayer as the closing prayer. I asked him if it was important to him? He replied it was, it was done. At the time my mind went back to all the times my mum had gone to war with a certain headteacher at school because I refused to say it as a prayer, because as LDS we don't say rote prayers nor generally recognise the Lord's Prayer as a prayer but rather a template on how to pray. That even though she raised my brothers outside of the faith I expected that to have still been a stalwart of her spiritual guidance to them, to hear she enjoyed it blew me away some. Tonight I've been pondering why there would be such a difference.

As I've pondering my childhood I remember her teaching we don't say rote prayers but pray from the heart, but I don't ever actually remember her telling me not to join in at school. What I do remember is being in my first assembly, it happening and deciding that I didn't want to join so standing their silently while the others did. I remember being spoken to by the teacher after and I explained my stance. I remember mum having a meeting with the headmistress, who reaffirmed my stance, no he didn't nee to leave assembly, no need for a fuss, just let him stand there and be silent. Everything was fine.

When I was 10 I changed school and my new headmistress was adamant I would join in. My mum went to war, I dug my heels in, always just being respectfully silent, and was a constant unresolved tension at the school until I graduated to Secondary School. Tonight I realised, my mum had never taught me that. What Had happened is I had made a decision about what was acceptable to my religious beliefs and my mum had backed me up. When I changed schools all she had to do to end the tension was say to me "look, they're just singing it and sing it as a song and not a prayer" or "just recite it like you would as if you were reading it as scripture and then it's not a prayer" and all that tension would have ended. And I'm sure she would have done if I has asked her about it. But she had seen that I had made a decision about where I stood on something important to me, and silently and respectfully kept to my principle, without stepping on the rights of others freedom to express their religion, and by God she was going to advocate for my right to do that.

I was tonight years old when I realised one of the first lessons my mother ever taught me was, even if I don't see it the same as you I will stand  by your right to believe that and not try to change you.


  1. A relatively new member of our Ward last week in Zoom, (He's also got learning difficulties and has a social worker... he also loves the church and is a humble soul) Said as the closing prayer... The Lord's prayer so this could not have come at a more appropriate read Scott. Thank you x

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