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.