Sunstone, A First-Timer's Perspective
I thought I would write about my experience at Sunstone. My wife, Jessawhy, met several of her blogger friends at the symposium and many of them wanted to get my reaction on the whole event. When my wife originally mentioned the idea of attending the Sunstone symposium, I looked on the website (since I was not familiar with Sunstone) and reviewed some of the sessions. They all looked really interesting and thought provoking, so I acquiesced. I don’t read the blogs but I know enough to know that I’m part of the “patriarchy” (and a darned active one at that). So here’s MY perspective.
First of all, my general overall feeling after the conference was one of huge elation. I mean, is that IT? Why did everyone in our ward give us a crazy look when they found out we were attending (dare I say?) SUNSTONE? Sure there was a magical nudist who talked about dreams (wait a minute, that may have been a mix of a few sessions), but most sessions were, should I say, “stimulating.” So here are some awards (voted on and judged by me only) based on the sessions that I attended.
That people really were interested in talking about masturbation. I gathered this because it came up in the first three sessions. The best line from the first session was a pun about the average Deacon’s comprehension abilities. “Deacons can understand it, but they can’t masturbate it.” (hee, hee)
It would have been the nudist presenting fully clothed, until, that is, I actually SAW the nudist, fully clothed. I couldn’t get that image out of my mind while he was talking (and yes, I tried to sing a hymn).
MOST IMPRESSIVE SPEAKER
Margaret Tuscano, bar none!
THE CHRIS FARELY MEETS MICHAEL SCOTT (from “The Office”) AWARD (i.e. Worst Presenter) AND MOST LIKELY TO GO “POSTAL.”
This one goes to the guy who presented “The Psychology of Apostasy.” I had great expectations that were completely ruined in the first five minutes when the presenter bit a snickers bar in half two seconds before he began speaking, then proceeded to chew and talk at the same time. He spent the majority of the time talking about his “rage” (which he still harbors) as well as his plan (which he is sure the Church will reject) to help apostate members, even down to the detailed invitations he’ll send out. He was asked several times by the audience to get back on track and never did. At one point, someone got up to the microphone and said “If you are all interested in this topic then stick around for another session where we’ll actually talk about it.”
Clifton Jolley. Hilarious! His paper was entitled “Everything the Prophets didn’t Tell You.” And I laughed my @#$ off (oh, I mean “ass.” I learned that from the Sunstone attendees as well).
BEST QUOTE (sort of paraphrased because I don’t have the actual paper in front of me)
“If the Church continues to change simply to politically align with Evangelical Christian’s, they’ll have given up their birthright for a mess of pottage.” -Michael Quinn
EVERYTHING IS A NAIL TO ONE WITH A HAMMER
Eugene Kovalenko, who taught the session on dream analysis. In every other session I attended he asked the presenters what their experience was with dream analysis. This resulted in several obvious eye rolls from listeners and blank stares from panelists and presenters.
Overall, the symposium was very faith promoting. I was impressed with the number of saints that have been labeled, ignored, or disowned by their ward or family, and are still making the effort to know their God. That kind of spiritual honesty was tremendously gratifying for me and I felt a sense of deep respect and profound love for each of them.
What did it do for me personally? I understood (or started to) my wife’s perspective on many issues, and actually agree with her on most. I think my wife viewed my attendance as a token of both my confidence and support in her and her abilities. And, to be honest, I saw more sincere thought and pursuit of personal divine communication in three days at Sunstone than I’ve seen in the ten years I’ve been home from my mission.