Number one Sister Wife question…What religion is Diane Noble?
October 18th, 2010
“Is Diane Noble Mormon?”
“What religion is Diane Noble?”
I was surprised last week when a friend who’s an expert in all things web related mentioned that these are two most often Googled questions that drive people to my site.
My guess it’s because of The Sister Wife. Well, hellooo, of course it is. And maybe I’d better clear things up. If I can.
I was raised in an interdenominational community church in California’s Sierra Nevada back country. It was a church that my father helped build when I was six or seven. Straight out of “Little House on the Prairie,” it was brick red trimmed with white and had a steeple that tolled real bells until silenced by complaints from neighbors who wanted to sleep in on Sunday mornings. It was the only church in our little town, and had, because of a town population of 500, an extremely small congregation. I’m guessing perhaps 50 on Easter or Christmas — depending on the snowfall — and maybe 25 or 30 folks the other Sundays of the year.
To speak, or not to speak…in tongues, that is.
Our congregation was made up of families with varied backgrounds: Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Church of the Nazarene, Church of Christ, Church of God, and Mormon. I don’t remember any Catholics or Episcopalians, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t slip in from time to time — especially during the summer when campers swarmed to the nearby lakes. We had a few Pentecostals too, but they had a rough time of it once they decided to hold separate meetings so they could speak in tongues without the “no-tongues” folks complaining. That almost split the church down the middle, but folks came to their senses, a truce was called, and peace reigned over the issue.
Our pastors were also from varied backgrounds, and there were times when we didn’t have a full-time ministers in those early years, so fill-ins were welcomed up from the San Joaquin Valley. Quite a challenge for these hardy fellows — the nearest town of any size was two hours away. They had to make their way up a seemingly endless. one-lane winding road. And back.
Fried chicken and homemade apple pie…the second best part of Sunday dinners with visiting preachers.
My dad was an elder on the church board, so it often fell to our family to invite the visiting minister and his wife for Sunday dinners. (Always oven fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy or pot roast with all the trimmings.) Theology was often discussed during those dinners, and my brother and I soaked up the varied ideas and takes on Christianity — from rants of hell, fire, and brimstone should one displease God to portrayals of His grace and goodness freely given by a God of love.
My brother’s entertainment…the best part of Sunday dinners with visiting preachers.
After dinner when my parents moved everyone into the living room for homemade apple pie, ice cream, and coffee, my brother found it hugely entertaining to regale me with sideline antics that no one else could see. On one memorable event, he donned the minister’s wife’s pillbox hat, pulled the black netting over his eyes, and fastened the band (meant to hold the hat in place) under his nose, and paraded up and down the hall. I, of course, collapsed into a pile of giggling laughter in front of our guests and my mortified mother, and dear bro got off Scott free.
So, does this make me a Snazzy Nazzy or a Beeboppin’ Baptist?
My mother was raised Baptist, my father, Church of the Nazarene. But my dad believed that no one church has all the answers, no one denomination — protestant or Catholic — held all the truths. And he drilled into me — long before such a figure as Jim Jones was known — that if any one human being claims to have all the answers, or to hold the “keys” that will get me into heaven, that I should run the other way.
What about faith healers?
My dad observed firsthand some behind the scenes antics done by a big name “faith-healer” when a dear friend was dying of cancer so Dad shied away from all such human claims — though his faith in God was immense and all-encompassing. He truly believed that God could heal a person, if it was His will. Much of my father’s thoughtful views are buried in my heart and surface just when I need them. I love it when that happens.
My dad was a portrait of Christ’s admonition: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” He didn’t just read those words and believe them; he lived them. He was a gentle and wise man who loved to sing of God’s glory. I wouldn’t call him religious; I would call him filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit.
But as the saying goes, God has no grandchildren.
I was a child of the sixties, so I had to try my wings (and at the same time, try God’s patience, and my parents’), veer this way and that from the path I knew was right. I made some good choices, some not so good. I had to find how God might fit into my life — if He existed — or how I might fit into His, once I decided I believed in Him.
A few decades later, my faith walk took a radical turn.
But I’ll save that for Part Two of “What religion is Diane Noble?”
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about how your childhood experiences have shaped your faith walk. Did your parents have much to do with how you believe (or don’t believe) today? Are your beliefs similar to theirs? Or did yours take a radical turn? Chime in. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
With all love, peace, and joy…