Mercia Second Ward
During the time of the Great Apostasy, faithful followers of Christ tried to keep doctrines and practices in accordance with their knowledge of the Gospel. We know that many truths were lost and distorted over time, but we also know that many disciples of Christ tried their utmost to live the Gospel. Recently a remarkable cache of documents has been discovered that shows just how much medieval saints resembled modern day wards! Every ward has been asked to keep a ward history, and Mercia Second Ward was no different. Beautifully illustrated, this priceless document shows the inner workings of a regular ol’ ward in the Dark Ages.
Sister Aelfgifu believed that best gift she could give patrons of the Ward Library was a smile and a good attitude. Sometimes she had to grit her pointy teeth when Brother Egbert showed up out of breath asking for a video to teach his class for him again but she did her best. Sister Godgifu had no such compunctions. She knew Brother Wealdmaer wouldn’t return that chalk. He never did. The moment her back was turned some breezy teacher would waltz in to make a few copies, ignoring the “library demons only” sign on the scriptorium and wouldn’t you know it, the parchment would get stuck or start unravelling uncontrollably. Oh look, there it goes again. “This is so typical,” she thought as she heaved a giant tome of “church illustrations volume 7” onto the checkout desk. “At least I get to miss Sunday school and talk with my friend.” Despite its drawbacks, the Ward Librarian was a plum job even back then.
The annual Youth Costume Ball is a privilege and, as usual, those rotten teens from Wessex Eighth Ward ruined everything, after we put so much work into our neat sideways alphabet wall hangings! Sister Mersnake had worked for months perfecting her costume so she could show that she was a “fun” and “hip” chaperone, so those girls would finally see her as a friend. The modgepodge work that went into her crown alone! Then of course, Osmund and Hilda had to show up as Adam and Eve, which they claimed was an expression of religious devotion but was obviously a taunt because of an unmentionable mishap from Sister Mersnake’s standards night fireside. Well. Those little brats forgot their dance cards, and you know what that means. You’d better buckle up for a little refresher on the rules before we let you in. “No slam dancing. No mosh pits. No nudity. Oops, that’s you. And you’d better stay this far from her when you dance.” Osmund never showed up underdressed with a beard and shaggy hair again. He certainly learned his lesson. Sometimes you need to take a firm line with these rebellious youths for their own good.
The problem with Relief Society activities is that someone always hovers on the periphery hoping for some juicy gossip. Sister Baldethiva and Sister Goldeburga were working hard on their Super Saturday Spindle Holiday Hearth Ornament. It was looking perfect — pointy, stringy and festive. It was the ideal opportunity for Sister Baldethiva to open up about her husband’s struggle with lewd illuminated manuscripts. But of course, right on cue, there was Sister Maerwynn, leering and lurking, trying to act innocent but obviously tuned in for all the titillating details. There’s a place for everyone in Relief Society, but nobody likes it when their private struggles find their way, thinly veiled, into the “Tattler” column of the Ward Newsletter. It has to be admitted her craft station is very on trend though — giant arrows are in, and go with everything.
What are you supposed to say when someone hands you their limbless gremlin and asks “isn’t she the cutest?!” when, quite frankly the answer is “not really, no”? These were the thoughts that crossed Sister Oslafa’s mind when presented with the newest baby in the ward. “But,” she thought philosophically, “I’m not totally nailing it in the neck/shoulder department either. Everyone is a child of God.” So she said, with all honesty “your baby is precious. Congratulations.”
While the children’s fathers smiled beatifically from the stand, presiding their hearts out, the wives of the Bishopric heroically wrestled what felt like upwards of two dozen children. Naturally the deacon offered the bread tray to the toddler, who proceeded to help himself to snacks. All of Sister Beorngyth’s six children insisted on sitting next to her, which necessitated a complex stacking arrangement. Sister Aelflaede offered Osred some crackers in a bag, but meanwhile the twins had disrobed and climbed into the yawning mouth of the pew dragons. Welcome, welcome Sabbath morning, now we rest from every care.
Sister Bebba couldn’t wait to put in her Christmas letter that little Alfred got his Eagle Scout at 12 “all by himself.”
These historical documents are opening new vistas for church historians who previously thought so many plain and precious truths were entirely lost during the Apostasy. Not so! What a blessed time to be alive, with new treasures coming to light!