Conference Cinnamon Rolls AND Anger

There are many different ways to make cinnamon rolls. There are options for dough, considerations on ingredients (no nuts or raisins in mine), and preferences around icing (a thick layer of cream cheese frosting for me). For many holidays growing up, we had Pillsbury orange rolls, and I still love those nostalgically.

Today, I’m starting homemade cinnamon rolls using my step-mom’s butter crescent roll recipe as my base. Many would find it an odd choice. It takes planning, because the dough has to rest in the refrigerator for at least four hours before rolling out. It also doesn’t get as big and airy as other dough recipes. But it brings a rich taste, and I can use half of the dough for morning cinnamon rolls and the other half for butter crescent rolls to go with dinner.

I get out the family recipe book, the ingredients, three mixing bowls, and a wooden spoon. I pick up my angst about General Conference, and decide to put that back on the shelf for a bit. My kids ask what I’m making, and I tell them. They are thrilled.

I start proofing the yeast. I measure and combine and, like the recipe says, am careful to not overmix. I want the butter to stay in nice chunks throughout the dough. I cover the mixing bowl and place it in the fridge.

I’m done for now. Tonight, I’ll roll out the dough, add the cinnamon sugar mix, shape the rolls, and place them in pie pans to rise. Tomorrow morning they’ll go in the oven and I’ll make the frosting.

I pick that angst back up and look at it. General Conference has become increasingly complicated for me over the years. The lack of women and non-binary speakers. The musket fire against the LGBTQIA+ community and anyone whose life and family doesn’t match the oft-spoken ideal of the Church. Messages of limited, conditional love. And while I know many people I love will feel peace and hope and will be spiritually filled by the messages shared, many others I love will be left hurt and lonely and spiritually hungry. And in my experience, those who share their hurt and loneliness will often be met with judgement and platitudes. I sigh, feeling the heaviness of the this weekend for so many.

I think of the times that I’ve shared my hurt about General Conference and the friends and family members who have attempted to shut down my feelings. They’ve told me I’m not thinking or feeling about this the right way. That sexism and racism and queerphobia in the Church doesn’t matter. That I should just feel happy, or grateful, or hopeful at surface changes that do not address systemic issues.

We Can Do Hard Things by sisters Glennon and Amanda Doyle is one of my favorite podcasts. In a recent episode, they talked about how emotions are information. We don’t need to judge these emptions, but consider what the emotion is teaching us. Women often feel shame about “negative” emotions like anger, but that anger offers important information about something that is wrong. And that anger or other “negative” emotions are not exclusive of other emotions.

Amanda said, “How many times do you hear women say, I should be grateful, but … I should be happy, but … it’s like we view having one of these, meaning it’s at the exclusion of another. And I just feel like it’s helpful to think of it in another way. It’s not like you’re 50% grateful and 50% angry. You can be a hundred percent grateful and a hundred percent angry.” Glennon agreed, saying we should take out the “but” and embrace the “and.”

I am grateful for any conference message that brings someone closer to Jesus Christ AND I’m angry about the ways that conference highlights systemic inequality in the Church and does not seek to address or improve these problems. I’m grateful for the privileges in my life that allow me to take time in the afternoon to make cinnamon roll dough and sit down and write AND I’m sad at the complete lack of institutional repentance, transparency, and accountability in the Church.

I look out my sliding glass doors, across Utah Lake, and at the mountains along the Wasatch Front that are showing off their fall colors. This is my favorite season of the year AND there is a lot weighing on my heart and mind. I am looking forward to cinnamon rolls in the morning AND I am anxious about the messages that will be shared over the pulpit this weekend. Both/And.

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14 Responses

  1. Jack says:

    Honestly, I don’t understand the discontent of so many good folks who are poised to inherit the universe.

    • Elisa says:

      Oh, you must be confused! This post was written by a *woman*. We aren’t inheriting anything – just the right to serve our king-priest-husbands along with our sister wives and birth a billion spirit babies in eternal silence.

      And remember, the church has disavowed the planet promise anyway.

      • Jack says:

        The man and the woman are to be one–like Adam and Eve–ruling together as priest and priestess.

        I don’t go for that silly 19th century theology–though I think there’s more to what those folks were trying to say than we moderns give them credit for.

  2. SisterStacey says:

    I didn’t watch conference at all. It’s hard, because I miss that person, but I found myself yelling at the screen. So I sit with you today.

  3. Elisa says:

    This year I’m keeping the cinnamon rolls but ditching the conference talks. True cafeteria Mormoning!

  4. Sarah says:

    Sitting with you in the discomfort and relief of AND. We don’t watch Conference anymore. It’s the biggest soul saver for me. I love hearing when people are moved but my faith is far more in Jesus and our Heavenly Parents lately than anyone running anything in the Church.

  5. Heather says:

    Amen. Thank you for articulating the fact that we can feel many—often clashing—emotions at once. Beautifully done.

  6. Glenda says:

    Keep up the honest writing, Katie. You are helping many- not just mormons! I hear this perfectly.

  7. Al says:

    Amazing to me the wonderful faith filled messages in this weekend’s conference and some can find no joy because their preferred combination of speakers isn’t on the menu. The church is doing all it can to express love for LGBT members without approving of those activities. That will not change. So many are wrapped up in ideas that will never lead to good endings. Some day there may be a gay speaker in conference but such a speaker will never say he practices those things. If there was a gay speaker that would not be good enough-now we need a transgender speaker. Please abandon these ideas, they lead nowhere good.

  8. Mortimer says:

    This conference was rough. Shaking, crying, rocking in fetal position 8 hours after the last amen. Hugs. Take care of yourselves- good mental health can mean putting yourself above duty right now.

  9. Becky says:

    So much of the same feelings!!
    It’s too hard for me to listen anymore.
    We cannot “choose to believe” something that goes against our knowledge. I cannot choose to believe in Santa Claus or the Easter bunny, because I know the stories behind the scenes. And those characters are not reality for me, like they were when I was a child and didn’t know the whole story.
    A choice involves selecting what makes the most sense for us, what benefits and best aligns with our knowledge, our intellect, our lives, our truth, our integrity.
    I spent a lifetime with beliefs about, and judging, homosexuals and people of color, wrongly, according to what I was taught, by church leaders, to be true. Those teachings no longer align or resonate with my soul.
    Now that I understand better, I am choosing different beliefs.

  10. EmilyB says:

    This post resonates. It has taken me years and lots of therapy to learn how to experience the full spectrum of emotions because my LDS mentors and leaders all made me repress anger (“contention is of the devil!”), refuse to mourn (“rejoice! Plan of salvation!”) and stamp out sadness (“joy of the saints! All is well, all is well!”) lest I present anything less than a constant Stepford joy-glow to my spouse, children, and nonmembers.

    But i have since discovered that allowing myself to feel anger and walk thru grief and cry on sad days actually helps me heal faster and my mental health has improved by leaps and bounds. Repressing emotion in order to project religiosity was making me sick. Being human made me healthy again! I related so much to everything you wrote here. Bravo.

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