Retreat time

As I’m in the throes of preparing to leave for the Exponent Retreat in New Hampshire (can’t wait to see many of you there!!), I’ll make this post short & sweet. 🙂

Many of you have attended the X2 Retreats and have found them to be incredibly rewarding experiences. I’d like you to answer a few questions…

1) What motivated you to attend an X2 Retreat? Which years have you attended?

2) What are your most memorable Retreat moments?

3) In your opinion, what’s the continued value of X2 Retreats? Do you think they will become obsolete now that the Bloggernacle is such a hotbed of Mormon feminism?

4) If you’ve never attended or if you’ve stopped attending X2 Retreats, tell us why.

See you on Friday!! 🙂


Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is

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  1. AmyB says:

    I attended the retreat last year. It’s hard for me to find words to describe it. I felt so filled and happy last year. The sisterhood was incredible. It was an experience I will always treasure, and I hope in future years I’ll be able to make it again.

  2. Eve says:

    I would love to attend, but the timing is difficult for me as long as I’m tied to the academic calendar. Maybe a couple of years from now….

  3. fMhLisa says:

    I went so far as to look up prices of plane tickets. It was only momentary insanity, as I can’t even afford new shoes. But Waaaaaa, I want to go.

    Maybe next year.

  4. Paula says:

    I’ve never attended the Exponent II retreat, partly because of the timing at the start of the school year. Although I’m not working right now, for most of my adult life, I’ve either been a teacher, or at home with kids who were just starting school, so the timing was bad to try to get clear across the country, especially when my kids were little, and money was tight. 20 years ago, I was involved in planning for Midwest Pilgrims, a similar retreat in the Midwest(duh), and at the last minute was unable to go because of a seriously ill child. That was so frustrating that when I moved to Colorado a few years later, some friends and I started the Rocky Mountain Retreat, in the mountains outside of Denver. The motivation was that in the pre-internet days, it was so hard to know what was going on in other places in the church, and so very hard to meet like-minded women. It was also just about the time of the September 6, and that meant that people were even less likely than usual to have open conversations at church.

    For our retreat, I think that the most memorable time ever was the year that we made glass grapes, and had to call security at midnight to see if the cleaning staff might have turpentine to clean up the stuff, since I had failed to read the instructions which noted that we needed some to get gunk off our hands, etc. Other than that, there are many memorable times, but the best is just all the conversations– with time to talk for days.

    Anyone know if Midwest Pilgrims is still going?

  5. bigbrownhouse says:

    I attended lovely X2 retreats at a beautiful camp in New Hampshire in 1993 and 1994.

  6. jana says:

    We’re starting to think that we need to put together a SoCal retreat so we all don’t have to travel as far as NH. I’d be so sad to miss the history and community that I find at the Boston-based X2 Retreat, but when it carries a nearly-$1000/person pricetag once you pay for airfare and rental car and retreat fees (and that’s a lot of $$ for any of us to spend for just one weekend), it makes sense to look to a local gathering.

  7. Paula says:

    How much are the fees for Ex II? I figure it costs me around $400 to go to ours in Colorado, now that I live in California, but since I visit other friends at the same time, it’s worth it. One year, I missed since I was feeling guilty about the money, but have decided absolutely never again.

  8. jana says:

    If I remember correctly, it’s about $140 for the X2 retreat. A rental car for 3 days from Boston will cost about $100-$150 and airfare from SoCal ranges from $400-$750. Then there’s meals and airport transfers to/from LAX (or long-term airport parking fees) on top of that, which can run at least another $100 or more.

    I can justify the cost if I’m piggybacking with another trip (as I did this year), but it’s really too much to pay for just a weekend jaunt, I think.

  9. AmyB says:

    So do we get a report on how the retreat went? Did you get any sleep at all? 🙂 Anyone get up for an early morning canoe ride?

  10. Ana says:

    A California option would be most welcome. The time and money it would take to go all the way across the country are too much for me, as well. I am just keenly aware that anything I do “for me” takes away from my family time, especially since I am working FT outside the home. So I feel like I have to be very careful about that.

  11. Dora says:

    This was the first year that I’ve ever attended the X2 retreat. I had such an amazing time. Favorite moments include:
    -Meeting Deborah for the first time!
    -The discussion on diversity
    -Meeting a sister who grew up a few years ahead of me in my home stake.
    -The singing … especially Dona Nobis Pacem, which is the most lovely round.
    -Final discussion on how to effectively communicate with our leaders.
    -Getting a ride back to Boston with a very generous sister, and discussing our nursing background.
    -Coming to a better understanding of the fascinating history behind this organization.

  12. Caroline says:

    I’d love a West Coast option as well.

    It was an awesome weekend. My favorite moments:
    – the talent show, with Victoria reading that purse poem and singing the Oedipus Rex song
    – the session on non-violent communication
    – sharing a room with Judy Dushku
    – meeting Deborah!!!
    – driving through all these charming New Hampshire villages
    – the roundabout that I got stuck on 6 times around
    -hearing so many pivotal moments in other women’s lives.

  13. jana says:

    I think I giggled harder each time you went around the roundabout again. 🙂
    I’ll never go through a roundabout again w/o remembering you. 🙂

    Many of my fav moments from the Retreat have already been shared. But here are a few more:
    –sitting at the lake with my X2 sisters and just talking, talking, talking
    –the meditation workshop and the insights I had as I stood and meditated on the hearth of the lodge
    –Singing! Especially Lead Kindly Light.
    –the Talent Show. My amazement at sisters who make chocolate and massage and learn Gaelic & Hebrew, and who are uninhibited about singing & dancing (read: not me!)
    –Having some sisters let me know that they enjoy reading my soloblog. Hearing how much the founding mamas are supporting our efforts here on this Blog.
    –a super-massage from Deborah. My shoulder still feels good. 🙂
    –putting names with faces. Meeting many of you in person for the first time.
    –The introductions on the first night. Learning of so many women’s lives and struggles. Feeling much less alone in my own.

    Note: We didn’t get to do the early morning canoe because of rain, unfortunately.

  14. amelia says:

    i wish i could have gone. 🙁 but it was just impossible this year with my beginning-of-the-year commitments. maybe next year…

  15. Paula says:

    I think that the hardest part of starting a retreat in socal would be finding a place. Many places charge a non-refundable deposit, quite a bit in advance, or want you to guarantee a certain number of rooms booked, and the cost would probably be higher in Socal than in Denver, or New Hampshire. We would have a harder time starting the retreat in Colorado now because Snow Mountain Ranch’s cancellation policy is much stricter now. The first year we were able to reserve two cabins with just a $300 deposit, and could cancel up to 30 days in advance, and get all the money but $30 back. Now the cancellation date is much earlier and the deposit fee much higher.

  16. EmilyCC says:

    My fellow X2 bloggers know that I agonized over whether or not to go, and ultimately, decided not to. It is so expensive to get all the way out there. And, now that I have to juggle childcare for the day before and the day after the retreat while I get back to AZ, well, it feels almost impossible.

    I’m planning on doing the Rocky Mountain retreat next year since it would be closer and cheaper.

    A So-cal one would be even easier to get to, but I think Paula makes a good point. Finding a location is tough (X2 has had such a hard time finding places since Hillsboro closed down). If someone finds a location, I’d be happy to help plan…

  17. BarbT says:

    I realize that as one of the organizers of the annual X2 Retreat I am a biased voice, but I have attended all but two of the Retreats over the years and have enjoyed every one of them. Some years I would come home emotionally exhausted from all the angst and pain that was expressed by some of the “Retreaters” who were struggling with Church doctrine, local leaders, disfunctional or abusive marriages, challenging children, etc. but mostly I came away grateful for the amazing strength of these women who in spite of their difficulties were muddling through and making choices for themselves. I guess that is where I see the real value in things like the retreat, blog, etc. – these things buoy us up so that we can have the courage/strength to choose. I think we need all these “tools” since we all respond to different ways of receiving information so I hope none of them go away. Will I come to another Retreat – absolutely!

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