Mary Bread

May 5, 2007

On my mission, we tracted a lot, we street contacted a lot, and we taught a little.  This got to be frustrating, so we decided to try something a little different.  We searched through the apartment and found an old contact book, where the previous duo of elders had written down the phone numbers they had collected during their stay.  We new these were about a month old, but we decided that getting rejected over the phone instead of in person would be an exciting new adventure.

In fact, one of the first people we called remembered meeting the elders.  They had a good feeling about the elders and were please that we had called back.  THEY WANTED TO MEET WITH US!  Clearly, this decision to teleproselyte had been divinely inspired.

We quickly arranged a meeting with these nice, practically golden folk and found ourselves on their doorstep a couple of days later.  They were a young couple with a little baby, clearly happy and in love.  They had even invited their friends over, who were in the same manner married with one child.  There my companion and I stood, with our future branch and elders quorum president beckoning us into their apartment.

We entered, the women went to the kitchen (I forgot to mention that they had invited us to dinner), and we sat with the men in the living room.  On the long sofa, my companion and I sat in the middle, with the two men sitting on either side of us, effectively dividing our attention.

We chatted briefly about our family and life in Russia and in the USA.  When the topic turned to religion, the man I was talking with gave me an intense stare and asked me what I thought about Mary.  I answered that we thought that she was a wonderful woman and mother.  He then asked if I would like to more about her.

He quickly whipped out a newspaper that had been produced by his denomination.  His denomination was a group of people who worshipped Mary in particular.  Their leader was a man with a big beard named John, who was based in Greece.  Every month, they received this newspaper, which contained John’s admonitions to his followers and news about the church.  Further, every month there was an editorial in the paper written by Mary herself.  Sometimes she included recipes.

My missionary began to show me pictures that had been taken of visitations of Mary throughout the world (it looked to me like someone had laid a plate of glass over a Mary Icon I was familiar with and had taken a picture with the flash on).  He argued that Mary came to us today in order to show that God still cares for us.  If Mary visited people in the past, why couldn’t she visit us today?

After a short while, my companion and I were left alone to mull over what we had been told (my companion had received the same treatment).  We realized that we were the proselytes in this scenario, not the proselyters.  We were truly wierded out by the intensity of the testimony of these people and we felt very pressured from the beginning.  We decided to get out while we could.

We went and told them that we had an appointment (for tracting) that we had to keep and that, while we appreciated their hospitality, we really had to get going.  They were sad to see us go, but they insisted that we take a little food for the road.  They gave us two pieces of cake (which we quickly ate with them) and a loaf of bread.  As we were leaving out the door, they told us about the bread.

Remember back when I said that Mary wrote recipes for the newspaper?  Well, this bread had been made according to Mary’s recipe.  It involved using holy water (supplied by John) in the dough.  We were told that they had given this bread to some other friends without letting them know that it came from Mary’s recipe.  A week later, the friends had returned, asking for more bread and saying that all other bread was tasteless after the bread that they had been given, the bread baked according to Mary’s recipe.  We took the bread and left.

Sunday came.  My companion was the branch president.  We realized that we hadn’t asked anyone to bring the bread for sacrament, so we decided to bring it ourselves.  Then we realized.  The only bread we had in the house was the still-untouched, possibly addictive Mary bread.  We stared at it, long and hard…

Questions for onlookers:

  • What would you have done?
  • Who took their calling more seriously: the LDS or the Mary missionaries?
  • Did either take their calling too seriously?

Have a good weekend


  1. I would’ve used the bread. It’s twice-blessed; you’ve got all your bases covered.

  2. Definitely would have used the Mary Bread. So did were they excited to have you come over bc they wanted to convert the Mormon missionaries they had remembered fondly? If so, they are sneaky and freakin geniuses.

    Seems like you both took it equally seriously, very slightly bordering on too serious.

    My best friend served in Lithuania and everyone would say oh Joseph saw Jesus? My cousin Greta saw Mary last week!
    J.S.’s first vision was apparently no hard pill to swallow.

  3. My mind is going to explode.

    I’d say each group of missionaries took their calling a bit too seriously but you each were trying to teach what you knew to be the truth.

    I once knew a guy who had a vision of God and Jesus on his bathroom sink. They blessed the sink water and told him to baptize himself with it.

  4. I think that they were just so excited about what they had learned about Mary that they wanted to share it. I don’t think that they thought that the LDS missionaries would be a particular coup.

    I know that we took our calling very seriously and were sure that this meeting was divinely inspired, until we decided it wasn’t. Or, at least, wasn’t inspired in quite the same way.

  5. Um, hello? Aren’t you going to tell us how you kicked your addiction to Mary bread? Or did you opt not to use it?

  6. Hee. We chickened out and didn’t use it. We called the other elders in the branch and they brought some. I think this means we took our calling too seriously (or maybe we took the Mary people’s calling too seriously). We did eat the bread, however. I was perfectly normal soda bread. It was yummy, but it didn’t manage to put me off all other bread.

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