Date(s) - 05/03/2014
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - Weston
The Stories We Tell…(and what they tell us)
Come explore all the ways to tell a story through music, musical theater,
film, family history, cookbooks, blogs, social media and food.
- Plenary Session – 9am
- Break-Out Sessions – 10am & 11am
- Lunch – 12pm
- The Relief Society Movie (Shown at 12:30pm during lunch)
The Stories We Tell…(and what they tell us)
with Heather Sundalh
All our lives we are surrounded by stories: nursery rhymes and fairy tales, scripture and literature, gossip and family history. How do these stories shape and define us? Can changing a story change a life? I would like to explore the ways in which transforming our stories can transform our worlds. Think about what stories you most often tell about yourself, your family, your faith. What do those stories reveal? What messages are sent? Are there aspects of those stories that don’t work for you anymore? I believe as we come unto Christ we can find the power to rethink and reclaim our stories. It is how we interpret the events of our lives, and not the events themselves, that determine our happiness. Let us be like Mother Eve and realize that we all have the power to transform pain into wisdom, sorrow into joy, and despair into hope.
About Heather Sundahl
A native of Southern California, Heather Sundahl has lived in the Boston area with her husband and 4 children for the past 18 years. She earned a Master’s degree in English from BYU, has taught English as a Second Language both locally (Boston University, the Harvard Extension School) and internationally (Qingdao, China), and worked as an editor and writer for various publications. Heather’s humor, irreverence, empathy and wisdom come to life throughout her extensive online writings. The Boston Stake Relief Society is privileged to welcome Heather Sundahl, a woman who knows her way around stories, to help us reflect on how we tell and shape the stories that define us.
Break-Out Sessions and Speakers:
with Jen Thomas
Living a Real and Permanent Life: Using Family History to develop emotional, spiritual and personal integrity in children being raised in the age of social media
Today we leave personal traces everywhere, but permanent footprints nowhere. The digital age has us all recording our immediate thoughts, opinions, menu selections and status updates, and our children are coming of age in this world of ephemeral emotions and personal sharing. A rich understanding of Family History can help children in ways that inoculate them against the worst effects of a life lived too much online. Come learn how to give your modern kids an ancient anchor in the storm, both as they hear the stories of others and learn to recognize the value of gifting future generations with their own honest sacred records.
About Jen Thomas
Jennifer Walker Thomas was raised in Salt Lake City, the daughter of a prominent LDS historian. Because of this, her childhood home was filled with the stories of family members and saints who had gone before, rich tales of lives well lived and battles hard fought, and she loves both family and cultural history. She studied Art History and Italian at BYU and went on to do graduate work in Italian Renaissance Art at NYU. She has lived in the Boston area for almost 20 years.
with David Madrian
Get inspired with the oral history work you could do in your own family. You will laugh and cry and be glad that you did.
About David Madrian
David Madrian was born and raised in Salt Lake City. After returning from a mission to Sweden, he attended Brigham Young University where he met his wife Brigitte. After completing their degrees at BYU, he and his wife moved to New England, where they lived in Belmont for several years. David completed dual master’s degrees at Boston University and has focused his career on developing software, including 11 years at Microsoft. During that time, David and his family have lived in Chicago and Philadelphia, and moved back to the Boston area about 8 years ago. He is currently a software architect/manager at Arrowstreet Capital, an asset management firm in Boston. David is also an amateur pianist, having started lessons at the age of 4. He performed as a soloist with the Utah Symphony, has won prizes in various competitions, and continues to take private piano lessons and perform in local master classes and recitals. David was hit hard with the Spirit of Elijah in his early teenage years and has maintained a strong and steady interest in family history and recording oral histories since that time. As a junior high school student, he was already spending at least one evening a week and many Saturdays at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. A curiosity about the actual lives behind all the genealogical data he was collecting led him eventually to start interviewing his oldest living relatives while still in high school and college. He continues to interview family members and share the priceless recordings he’s made over the past decades with his family.
David and his wife, Brigitte, have been married 26 years and keep very busy raising their two teenage girls.
Stories That Heal
with Judy Dushku
(Spanish translation available – session 2, Creole translation available – session 3)
Telling and listening to stories provide pathways we can use to heal. Learn how the stories in our lives–those we already know and those we create and change and those told by others–are the best source of healing. Stories can make sense of things that make no sense and offer new perspectives on situations that hold us down. Stories heal because they empower the story-teller by giving her a voice – she is in charge of her story. Stories that heal offer a portrait of the teller that has become stronger and wiser by including in her story of pain or loss, the “other” part of her story – where she is picking up the pieces beyond the hurt. Learn to tell stories that you can use to move yourself forward, and make yourself better.
About Judy Dushku
Born in Rexburg, Judy Dushku left Idaho as a child when her father joined the Navy to serve in World War II and the Korean War. She spent many years living on or near naval bases all over the United States. After graduating from BYU in political science, she came to Boston to attend The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. After marrying a local man, she had four fabulous children and raised them in the house that she lives in to this day. Following her divorce, she was a “single-mom” for a decade until she married her beloved Jim in 1991. From 1966 until 2013, she was a professor at Suffolk University, teaching courses in comparative politics and women in politics. Her involvement with Africa has included serving as Dean of the Suffolk satellite campus in Dakar, Senegal and founding a non-profit (THRIVE-Gulu) in Uganda. THRIVE-Gulu supports people, mostly child-mothers, healing from the trauma inflicted by the war with Joseph Kony. Her husband and three of their children—Aaron, Nate and Eliza—joined her in this work. A “founding mother” of Exponent II and frequent speaker for LDS women’s groups, Judy has been a believing Mormon, a lover of the hymns and a Relief Society member her whole life. She was recently released as the Boston Stake Relief Society President. Judy and Jim have 8 children between them, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. She became a widow when Jim died in October 2013.
with Molly Tagge
Relief Society sisters only, not for Young Women
(Spanish translation available – session 1, Creole translation available – session 2)
Discussion on the common struggles in the marriage relationship and ways to strengthen that bond.
About Molly Tagge
Molly Tagge is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and received her Masters of Social Work from Boston College. She has worked at a day treatment program for people with mental illness, at an outpatient center providing individual and group therapy for clients with mental illness, and at a PACT program providing therapy in the community. She currently works evenings as a private practice therapist and for LDS Family Services providing individual and couples therapy for LDS members struggling with such things as life crises, relationship issues, covenant based issues and mental illness. Molly met her husband in Boston and spends her days with her beautiful daughter, Olive.
Fictional Stories and the Process of Empathy
with Heather Marx
In a Primary song, we sing I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you. That’s how I’ll show my love for you. Sometimes it is possible to literally walk and talk with other people to learn about them, but often we experience other people’s stories secondhand through reading. This class will look at the relationship between reading (fictional) stories and developing empathy. What can—and can’t—reading do to open our eyes and hearts to other people’s stories? What can the ways we experience other people “reading”—and misreading—Mormons teach us about how we read and misread others? How can we reconcile the commandment to read “out of the best books” with the less-than-best behavior many of them contain? Come ready to talk about books that have broadened or challenged your understanding of others, and in that spirit, please be prepared to respect the diverse reading choices and responses of our sisters.
About Heather Marx
Heather Marx grew up in California and Utah before heading East for college. Aside from spending her 20th birthday in Belarus, her 22nd in Germany and her 30th in Silicon Valley, she has celebrated most of her (many) birthdays in the Boston area. She has a couple of English degrees, a couple of sons and a couple of great decades married to their dad. She loves to read and teach, so she’s excited to teach about reading at the upcoming Women’s Conference.
La Communication et la Famille (in Haitian-Creole)
with Carmel Cesar
About Carmel Cesar
Carmel was baptized at age 11 and by age 17 was teaching seminary. She served a mission in Haiti and the Dominican Republic city of Santa Domingo (so she speaks Spanish too!). When she returned from her mission she began working for the Mormon church as an advisor in Haiti. She married a wonderful Haitian man in the Santa Domingo Temple. She lived in Utah for 2 years and in Boston for 3. She recently graduated from Nursing school with a 9-year old daughter and 17-month old daughter and a baby on the way. We welcome Carmel’s international experience and rich life of faith.
Social Media 101
with Jason Orgill
Learn the basics and current trends in social media. Compare different sites and zoom around the blogosphere.
About Jason Orgill
Jason Orgill is the Director of Product Management and Business Development at NetClarity. He was a senior fellow at Harvard Business School think tank, The Forum for Growth and Innovation. There he worked with Professor Clayton Christensen to further develop and disseminate the theories of disruptive innovations with an emphasis on higher education and corporate governance. Br. Orgill co-founded a disruptive telecom startup, netBlazr, which has won awards from several competitions including MITX, MassChallenge, and MIT100K, and where he also designed and implemented the network and security architecture. He was the inventor of a patent-pending wireless attack detection method. Mr. Orgill received a BS in Electrical Engineering at Brigham Young University. He also received an MBA from the Harvard Business School where he was a Rock Fellow. He currently serves in the Boston Mission Presidency.
Share Your Experiences
with Sister McBride (and Sister Packard)
Write a 500-word personal experience that will help someone searching for answers to life’s challenges. Post on reallifeanwsers.org (the Boston Mission Blog).
About Sister McBride
Jane McBride was born and raised in Cheshire, England. She emigrated to the United States in 1963 and became a US citizen seven years later. She attended BYU and Weber State (where she met her husband, Brent) and then BYU once more for her Master’s Degree. Sister McBride and her husband have served a full-time mission to Scotland and a Church Service Mission to Family Search in Salt Lake City, and are currently serving in the Massachusetts Boston Mission. They live in Tooele, Utah and have four children and 13 grandchildren, spread between Idaho, Texas and Massachusetts.
(For registration we request your name and
which break-out sessions you would most likely attend.
Include your email address if you would like to receive updates about the Conference.
Lunch will be provided. There will be limited gluten-free and vegetarian options.)