#hearLDSwomen: My Bishop Said My Christmas Program Was “Icky.”

By Lisa

I wrote a Christmas program for my ward when we lived in Ithaca, New York. It was spirit-filled and a fresh take on a familiar story. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive: everyone loved it and was appreciative of it.

Later, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Christmas was around the corner and a program was needed. So I submitted my Christmas program to my new Bishop. Weeks went by and I got no feedback. One day after church, I approached the Bishop coming out of his office. He was obviously uncomfortable with my follow up. He didn’t want to be stopped or questioned; I almost had to jog to keep up with him while he walked down the hall.

He told me that he didn’t like my program. When I asked him to please be specific, he said that it was just “icky.” He said it gave him the “heebie-jeebies.” I was mystified and asked him what gave him that reaction. He then told me that when I described us as a “people, pregnant, along with Mary, anticipating the birth of the Christ child,” he just thought that was “icky.” And he shook his head and shoulders and soured his face for emphasis.

And he walked away, leaving me standing there, watching his back. No apology. No thank you for submitting a program or trying to help. It didn’t matter if anyone else was moved by that specific imagery, or if the rest of the program was acceptable anyone else. There was no talk of editing. He didn’t like it and there would be no further discussion. His word was law.

Lisa is a writer, reader, traveler, mystic, seeker of truth and beauty, empty nester.


Pro-tip: Express appreciation for women’s contributions in the church. Treat them with dignity and respect when giving them feedback about their ideas and offerings to the community.

Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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7 Responses

  1. Em says:

    What a message to women! So women are expected to constantly identify with the male experience and to see that as not at all problematic. We have to imagine that we’re meant when the scriptures say brother, son, mankind, man etc. etc. But imagining that you’re a woman experiencing something female is disgusting and creepy. How very telling.

  2. SC says:

    Teaching with metaphors and symbols prepares people to better understand the temple, so your metaphorical language here is beautiful and appropriate. Also,
    conception, pregnancy, and childbirth are the powers allotted to women that church leaders keep insisting are women’s consolation prize for not receiving the priesthood or any leadership roles in the church, so these topics/terms should be given equal air time at the pulpit as priesthood topics anyway. Your program language was both beautiful and necessary.

    • Joni says:

      Jesus Christ often used imagery of motherhood, breastfeeding, etc to describe His relationship with His people. I guess Jesus didn’t get the memo that that’s icky.

  3. Eveline says:

    Is it possible to use your program for our Christmass programme here in the Netherlands? Please?

  4. MDearest says:

    Anything icky is on him, he’s the person with that problem, and a juvenile sense of aesthetics along with it. Too bad he gets handed the position of power and you and the rest of your ward may be the losers in leadership roulette.

  5. AdelaHope says:

    This is so strange to me that a basic aspect of Christian worship – all of us waiting with Mary for the coming of Jesus – was “icky” to him. I don’t think it would have been “icky” to a Catholic priest, and they’re (supposed to be) celibate.

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