Meeting the Sistas in Zion
This past week in my Deseret News work I was able to write a feature story about the Sistas in Zion, two African-American women members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are making a pretty remarkable difference in the world.
The article introduces Tamu Smith (Sista Beehive) and Zandra Vranes (Sista Laurel), tells where they came from and describes the events that brought them together. They maintain a website (Sistasinzion.com) with a blog and weekly radio show.
The highlight for me was the chance to interview these two ladies in person. They have a wonderful sense of humor and I admire their candor regarding the funny aspects of the Mormon culture. They have some unique personal experiences to draw from, so they know what they are talking about. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in an interview.
And as I understand it, the interview was a first for the Sistas in terms of openly sharing about their personal lives, so I was grateful for that opportunity.
Here is what you need to know about the Sistas in Zion, as mentioned in the article: “The end goal (in their work) is to have fun and make people laugh. There are no inside jokes, and mean people are not allowed.”
“People have a perception that Mormons don’t have a sense of humor, but it’s OK to laugh at ourselves, to let loose a little,” Vranes said. “There are things that are obviously sacred and serious to us, but other things are just hilarious, like green Jell-O with (grated) carrots. That’s funny.”
“When people can see that you enjoy your religion, and that you can laugh at yourself, it takes the edge off some,” Smith said.
Washington Redskins’ linebacker Bryan Kehl has been on their show. I asked him to tell me about his experience but his reply came after my deadline, so it missed the article but I thought I would share it here. He does a good job of summing the Sistas up.
“I thought they were pretty funny, albeit quirky,” Kehl said. “I think (they are) a great resource for many members of the church who culturally might feel as though they don’t fit in as much, or are different from many of the other members. It’s always nice to know there are more like you, in it together with you, facing the same situations. From what I could tell, they seem to be doing a great job.”