Part 1: Serving a Mission at Historic Mormon Sites – What I Wish I Would’ve Known – Camille Jones p.1 (#1477)

 

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Are Mormon missionaries who lead tours at historic church sites like those across upstate New York told to teach false information about the church’s founding? Mormon Stories producer and co-host Carah Burrell takes the reins for her second episode as lead interviewer of our guest Camille Jones as we talk with her about serving in Palmyra, New York at the LDS church’s visitor center.

In part one of our two-part interview with Camille, we discuss the narrative the church wants to be forwarded about the church’s founding versus what Camille wishes she would have known while volunteering as a full-time missionary. We cover topics from the golden plates, to the Hill Cumorah, and more. Camille also discusses the confusing and uncomfortable advances older Mormon men have made on her throughout her teen years.

This eye-opening experience highlighted the power imbalance between Mormon men and women, a theme that carries on into part 2 where Camille discusses being employed by the church.

Show notes:

 

Part 2: Executive Secretary to LDS General Authorities Speaks Out – Camille Jones Pt. 2 (#1478)

 

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Join us as we continue with part 2 of our interview with Camille Jones where we discuss her employment with the LDS church, the role of women in the patriarchal church employment system, and what eventually caused her to lose her faith in Mormonism.

A huge ‘thank you’ to Camille for being brave enough to tell us her story! Camille’s journey is a fascinating one to say the least!

Show notes:

24 Comments

  1. Trey September 15, 2021 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    The first and second quorum of the 70 are now just considered ‘The Quorum of the 70’, so no variation between the two.

  2. Kris-D September 15, 2021 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Hearing Camille talk about her lack of dates in High School and College brought back my deep loneliness I experienced as a dateless wonder. I wondered that maybe I wasn’t righteous enough and I wasn’t being blessed. My super senior year at BYU I decided I was going to “shamelessly” flirt with baked goods and had by first boyfriend, who became my husband. I have friends who thought you were “blessed” with marriage and never figured out the flirting thing and are now “old maids” at 40 years old.

  3. RLt1958 September 15, 2021 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Exellent podcast- thank you all very much- can identify with many of her feelings.

  4. Sharon September 16, 2021 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Wow. Excellent episode. So many of the things Callie talked about resonated deeply. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. I wish I could sit and chat with her for hours about it all. Best of luck to you in the UK!

  5. Ned September 16, 2021 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    The focus of these episodes seems so negative. While many of the points made are valid, it is much too one-sided and biased. The church has a lot to work on, but we still need to take accountability for our part in the perceived “mis-dealings” of the church. Let’s be part of the solution, focusing on all the faults is only compounding the problems for the church and, more importantly, for ourselves. We will never win the “blame game” whether inside or outside of the church…

    • Elle September 17, 2021 at 10:15 am - Reply

      I’m curious just what you think the solution could be, when early marriage, a large family, and homemaking as a career is the only legitimate path for women in the Church?? That is baked into the theology of Mormonism and codified in the Proclamation for the Family.

      For many intelligent, talented women, the Church is a very poor fit. They are particularly boxed in by the LDS paradigm. At least men have a choice of careers, as well as leadership roles.

      I don’t see the Church changing in this regard (remember the Ordain Women smackdown?). Rather than continually beating their heads against a wall, why shouldn’t women find opportunities and fulfillment elsewhere? Is that playing the “blame game”? I don’t think so. It’s taking power over your own life and making the best decisions you can, in order to build a better future.

      • Diana September 20, 2021 at 11:00 am - Reply

        Elle, great response!

      • Teancum September 20, 2021 at 6:58 pm - Reply

        Your comment kicked in a memory about one of Brigham Young’s daughters.

        Susa (Susan, Susannah) Gates was born on March 18, 1856, in Salt Lake City. A writer, publisher, advocate for women’s achievements, educator, missionary, genealogist, temple worker, wife, and mother of thirteen children, she was fond of saying, “Keep busy in the face of discouragement” (Person, p. 208).

        See this link for the rest of her history:
        https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Gates,_Susa_Young

    • Mike September 17, 2021 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Ned – I agree, solutions need to be found. The problem here is no one that is on Mormon Stories has the power to implement change. What we do have the power to do is tell the story and point out where change needs to be made. Solutions were offered, such as hiring more women, more variety of culture, etc. But I think you are naive if you are expecting anyone here to be able to implement solutions in the church.

  6. jessica September 17, 2021 at 6:33 am - Reply

    This is going on my list of all time favorite Mormon stories. I loved Camille’s honesty and think Carah doing the interviewing probably helped with that….

    I identified so strongly with her experience at work and not being used to her full potential. And then not being sure if she was capable of more….. I was a busy stay at home Mom but always felt like I was capable of much more – especially at church. I was smart and capable – I wanted to do more. I could have done more.

    Her honesty about feeling sad/depressed that the Mormon dream hadn’t worked out for her yet. That hit me hard. There is only one way to be mormon and when that doesn’t work out, ouch….

    Just loved it all. Thank you for sharing….

  7. Emily September 17, 2021 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    I loved Camille’s story and can relate so much. I think that the church has no idea what to do with older single adults. When the focus of your religion is family and marriage and kids it’s hard to fit into a ward. Mother’s day programs are awful, relief society was the worst because your experience couldn’t relate to others who got married at 22. If we are that we might have joy, joy was not found at church – at least for me. And like Camille, I prayed to know what was wrong with me, or temple work to get an answer, and nothing. This was such a good episode and I wish her all the best in the UK and everything beyond!

  8. Terri September 18, 2021 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story Camille! You are brave and strong and beautiful.

    As a person who has been in the human resources field for 20 years, I have a couple of thoughts about Camille’s experience in this workplace. First, Hello HR Manager and the GA who is over the HR function–are you familiar with the guidelines that are part of the ADA?? You ABSOLUTELY do not randomly transfer an employee who has come to you with this type of issue! You enter into the “interactive process” todetermine what accommodation, IF ANY,the employee needs. Camille stated that is the thing she wishes they had done. DO NOT make a decision for that employee out of compassion or whatever you think is best as the employer. I AM SURE that the LDS church is familiar with th ADA but thinks they cannot be held accountable because they have the resources to lawyer up.
    This employer behavior is not only unjust and unethical,, it is Illegal.

    A second observation: For-profit employers rarely, if ever, have idle staff . Staff may be less engaged and slough off parts of their job, but for- profit companies answer to the bottom line. And typically, personnel make up at least 50% of their expenses. So headcount becomes very important. Non-profit organizations do not answer to the market, but rather another set of criteria- a board of trustees, the community they serve, etc. And it is with thisin mind that headcount is still very important. If you have unused or under-utilized employees you want to do a job study or even time study because that could be money better spent. My speculation is that the church doesn’t give attention to any of that. They can tout maybe that they employee X number of people but they do not have to answer to anyone really. They are never forced (by the market or a board or whatever) to take a look into their leaky boat of a corporation. They can just keep creating positions willy-nilly with no oversight. Eventually those positions become more streamlined in many instances, but since they aren’t evaluated, they just keep underutilizing people.

    I’m typing on my phone and don’t know why some words are underlined. Great. Job Camille! I wish you the best!

  9. Marlbey September 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Carah and John, are you really that surprised that a woman in her early 30s has had three+ creepy, unwelcome advances from older men? Your surprised reaction, that it would happen to her more than once, seemed to suggest that you think she has experienced an abnormally high number of harassing scenarios as compared to the average woman. Her experience is sadly typical.

  10. Ammon Bluntme September 18, 2021 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Private bathrooms? Why? Those guys are so exalted their ish don’t even stink, right?

  11. Fatfinger September 19, 2021 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Great interview, thanks to all!

    And Carah, very nice that you’ve never seen an unattractive sister missionary, but I think that partly speaks to your young age. I am a little older than John, and can assure you that the concept of the “unattractive sister missionary” used to be very much a thing. The past stereotype was that unattractive sisters went on missions because they couldn’t catch a man and get married. They were called “sweet spirits” since while they weren’t necessarily cute, at least they had a sweet spirit.

    On the related issue of attractive sisters being assigned to visitors center, I can attest to that one as well. Not only have we all seen it when at temple square or other visitors centers, but a particularly attractive young sister in my ward (back when I was in one) went on a mission and, surprise, surprised, called to the Mesa Temple visitors center. The Mormon church is notorious for exploiting the human psyche. Constant mental conditioning (the church is true, the church is true, the……), shame culture, guilt culture (can you truly look God, in the form of his earthly servant, in the eye and claim you’ve paid enough tithing?), this greedy corporation fronting itself as a religion doesn’t miss a single psychological trick! Women showing bare shoulders because that might somehow cause male arousal is unacceptable, but station some pretty girls at a Mormon visitors center and suddenly the psychology of physical attraction is not such a bad thing after all!!

  12. N. Mary September 20, 2021 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Totally outside of any religious context, I connected with so many of these feelings around work/worth/being valued in a professional context. Oooff. Camille, thank you for sharing your experience which is — I think — both deeply personal and somewhat universal in our worker-bee culture. I’m not done with the episode yet, so maybe this will be covered, but I can only imagine that you are going on to better uses of your time and mind. Seems like you have a lot to give :)

    Also just want to say: I’ve really been enjoying Carah’s sense of humor in her co-hosting roles, but am really blown away by her insightfulness and what an empathetic listener she is as a host. What a great team! Love all the different kinds of segments, co-hosts, etc that the podcast has been bringing in. Something new almost every day.

  13. Laura September 20, 2021 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing, especially the story about god not answering your prayers. You’re beautiful!

  14. Fatfinger September 20, 2021 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Wait, what?

    I wish I could edit my above message because I just finally finished the second episode and am not only disgusted that people would complain about the new dual host format, but about Carah at all, let alone her appearance. Carah is a freakin’ doll! I mean, to me Camille is another in a long string of attractive female guests (no, I don’t think John plans it that way) and that very much includes Carah when she told her Mormon story! Jeez, what is it with some people? They like being an ass just for the sake of being one?

  15. Laura Penn September 21, 2021 at 2:03 am - Reply

    Y’all. I know this work is hard and I have actually enjoyed listening to the two of you learning to work together. Camille!! What a story. I wanted to give you a huge hug. I have spent a year twiddling my thumbs at a job and I have been fired from jobs. UUGGGHHH! So hard to deal with things like that. I hope that you find yourself a far more interesting person than you ever dreamed possible in thirty years! That will have been a life actually lived and it sounds like you are launched out in that direction.!

  16. Cory September 21, 2021 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Hugely important and hearfelt interview. Sheds light on an important subject, and will hopefully move the needle. AND, great job, Carah!

  17. Herb Berkowitz September 22, 2021 at 12:18 am - Reply

    In my opinion one of the best guests ever. Utterly honest and sincere, she refused to speculate on things she doesn’t know. I think she is charitable in calling Mormon history a “fairy tale,” but she does not want to get into the business of delving into the motives of the Brethren. She clearly doesn’t want to be a “professional ex-Mormon” and views here life experience with the Church more in sorrow than anger. She is clearly very intelligent and hard-working and has a bright future ahead of her. And is totally credible.

  18. ELJ September 27, 2021 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Great interview. Carah and John, you both do exceptionally well.

    Camille is terrific and courageous. Kudos to her professionalism and truly kind way she tells her story.

  19. Tammy September 28, 2021 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    This one was a little hard to watch. Unfortunately, Camille’s experience working for the corporation of the church is not atypical in any large corporation. Her story speaks for itself and is very valid. However, Kara tried to hard to demonize the church throughout the story. It’s more authentic to let the story just flow without prompting in negative directions . Camille did a great job of defending her story and keeping it honest.

  20. Justin Case October 27, 2021 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Thank Camille for being so brave and sharing your story. While we have little in common in our faith transition up until you felt siucidal we had some very similar experiences then. I have sat in that amount of pain and not wanting to hurt others kept me from acting. I have had tear felt hours of prayer begging for help or to know…and nothing. My spouse, whom I love and she loves me, only suggest more prayer. You made such a great point that depression as an excuse to not be receptive to the “Holy Ghost “ is ludicrous. It’s God! If he wanted to then he can help. If he loved me, and Heavenly Father is supposed to love us more then we can comprehend, then he would help me. No answer/help would mean he either does not love me, or more likely, he does not exist in the form we were taught. I would die a thousand painful deaths and walk through anyone to help one of my children in even a fraction of this much pain. I guess I love my children much more then he loves me. I don’t need him to answer a prayer when life is great. I need him now…but he doesn’t exist…at least not who the Mormon church teaches he is.
    What has helped is therapy. You are lucky to be young and be where you are now…as painful as parts of the journey have been. Therapy will only unlock more happiness and healing. I wish you the best life and happiness going forward. I am still stuck in a place where I can not come out…but your story helped me immensely. Thank you for sharing!!

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