Our Sister Rosemary

October 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm (Genealogy/Family)

Rosemary with Abby

My brother, John, is finally a very happy man. Over the years, John has made something of a comfy nest in northern California, and while he’s been building this very nice nest, he’s finally met a wonderful and traditional girl who has promised marriage to him, and will be my sister-in-law. Her name is Rosemary. John has been making efforts to bridge Rosemary’s family together with ours, and he has gone to fantastic lengths to drive Rosemary to various family happenings, kindly giving us a chance to know the bride or John’s future wife. We hope to see her on Thanksgiving and Christmas, even Easter next year if everything works out. 

My wife, Amanda, is very pleased with Rosemary, and I’ve been impressed by her general Christian and lady-like demeanor. By all estimation, she will make an excellent wife for my brother. Rosemary and her family are Mormon, and last December my brother was finally baptized into the Mormon church (LDS). While I will avoid the theological implications of re-baptism, etc.,  let’s say John’s commitment to Mormonism has been deepened by a certain covenanting not only with Ward elders but also with friends and family in the Mormon Church.

When I look back on the religious choices both John and I have made over the years, I’m forced admit our parents were generally indifferent in matters of faith. As small children we attended Sunday school. After our mother left the United Church of Christ in the mid-seventies, we never succeeded in finding another church. For me, it wasn’t until I lost teenage friends that I joined the Presbyterian church. For my brother, it wasn’t until he wanted a true lady to marry. While we ended up in different places, our desires were the same. We wanted to acquire wholesome and Godly relations.

I believe the nominal christianity of our parents was mostly due to the times they lived. Our parents are older folks. My father is a WWII vet. My mother grew up during the Korean war. Their era was a time when mainline Christianity had enormous sway and capital in the culture. The mainline had converged for the last hundred years upon  general Protestant-Evangelical doctrine. A person could afford to be somewhat easy-going about their church commitments, yet reap still expect the benefits of a christian society. Ideas about divorce, marriage, celibacy, modesty, dress, sexuality, et al., were de facto conservative. Their social ubiquity in belief compensated whatever laxity or carelessness happened at home. It was if the larger society gave the family cultural insurance regarding basic elements of morality. That’s changed.

Our family always knew the meaning of Christmas even though we rarely attended church or even spoke of it at the table. Much was said by my grandma who would say Grace in German on Christmas Eve. It was beautiful, but I never knew exactly what she was saying except asking God for blessings before the food we’d eat. She also sung Christmas carols during this time of year, humming the lyrics, if not singing them for us. I suppose that was our catechism. As brief and as beautiful as it was, I suppose we still learned some very important notions. I learned that our family was christian, and that the holiday possessed a beauty and magic that pertained to the Christ-child. I suppose this was something of a Godly adoration, but it was foggy and too often buried or torn up in wrapping paper.

But today is not the same. The culture has become increasingly negative and/or easily forgetful toward even relatively modest Christmas rituals which t our family once enjoyed. The traditional family– as a divine and trinitarian institution– too often is a target. Intellegentsia have done much to liberate it from customs and songs that once taught something of the old faith.  It no longer has that special societal raft which our civilization provided for the safe transmission of christian mores. Even today the church gives little security when it comes to questions of natural and divine family. I should know as an Anglican.

My brother was pretty well informed of these developments, and I believe this is why he joined LDS. He was troubled by the laack of morality in today’s post-Protestant society. Anglicanism, which is still in the process of recovery from the terrible amnesia suffered under religious latitudinarianism, offers little comfort or security in this respect.  Consequently, he found a very traditional, family-orientated woman, and a church strong on catechism and discipline. With the help of a well-institutionalized worldview, routinely reinforced by the larger LDS community, Temple, and Ward; I believe John’s children will likely continue a conservative worldview of family and home. John has done very well in that respect.

glenmoor family picnic

The rest of the Bartlett family (my mother, wife, and I) will be at John and Rosemary’s wedding this December. We wish them many blessings. I will be fasting from coffee starting pre-Advent– not for reasons of Mormonism but because Amanda would like try for a second child, Lord willing. We’d like good health sealed in prayer. We’ll also shall recall our own marriage vows since the Sunday before Advent was the beginning of our particular marriage Engagement back in 2009.  But, more so, we rejoice the gift of a new sister. Rosemary seems to be very willing to be part of the family. Keep us all in your prayers & Godspeed.
POSTSCRIPT: On Dec. 21st my brother and Rosemary were married. Family attended the ring exchange and lunch in downtown Sacramento.

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