Ep 246 – The Ghost of Christmas Past

Written by on December 23, 2015

Heather takes us through a wild ride of Christmas music, insight, sorrow, loss, and hope.

  1. phred   On   December 23, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Greatly enjoyed this essay Heather! Christmas is hard for me to get my head around being a non-believer as well. Your insights are a welcome addition to the Infants. Please continue.

  2. jewelspice   On   December 23, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Lovely Lovely Heather.I still am a Christian, but never a Mormon but I loved your acknowledging our humanity which is what really brings together. The ward will definitely lose a great talent if they choose to let you go. Thank you for sharing your lovely hymn with us and Merry Christmas!

  3. Saint Ralph   On   December 23, 2015 at 8:49 am

    You know, Bach and Handel and Vivaldi (I love his Gloria) and that crowd wrote the bulk, if not all of their best liturgical compositions before the Mormon Church was as much as a gleam in a seer stone. There are other churches. Some with really excellent choirs and some with choirs that could really use some help. If you’re not married to the dogma, you could choose any one you like and just be like your college classmates: lovin’ the music while not believin’ a word of it. It’s a perfectly valid way to live. And it’s sane, to boot.
    There’s more to you, Heather, than there is to the Mormon Church. If you leave, you’ll take more with you than you leave behind.

  4. Ryan Gregson   On   December 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    That organ on the intro number was hilarious. For a second I was wondering how you edited it like that, thinking it couldn’t have been an actual performance.

    • Heather Craw   On   December 23, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Editing credit goes to Glenn on this one. I suggested the organ thing, but my decrepit computer revolted last weekend, and Glenn selflessly offered to do all the editing to finish the episode.

  5. Tim   On   December 24, 2015 at 3:46 am

    Wonderfully poignant and eloquent podcast, Heather. I struggled for years thinking that I had some ethical obligation to be an outspoken atheist, shunning religious expression at every opportunity. But there was something hollow in that view that I just couldn’t identify. I think you articulated the human experience with greater nuance than I’ve heard before, embracing tradition and emotion while resolutely owning your disbelief.

  6. jewelspice   On   December 24, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Heather I played your podcast for my sweet Atheist husband in the car today as we were finishing up our shopping and when you said HUMANS , he said Bingo…I knew he could relate and besides it was a blessing to listen to again.

  7. James Snyder   On   December 24, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Heather, this is Randy’s brother Jim (or Jimmy). I think this may be my favorite podcast on Infants so far. My birthday’s on Christmas, so perhaps I’m partial. But I think I’m just right. Bravo.

  8. exmo_in_ohio   On   December 24, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve listened to every IoT episode except the psychic ones and I think there were one or two Mike Tannehill (sp?) ones that I didn’t finish. Anyway, point being, I’ve never felt the need to leave a comment until now.
    Heather, this was probably the best minisode ever done on IoT and one of the best episodes, period. I love your explanation for why Christmas and religious music in general can still be a big deal without belief. The appeal to our humanist ideals is reason enough.
    And, even as an avowed atheist, the Ukrainian hymn at the end touched me deeply. Beautiful music and a beautiful performance. You have every right to declare that you’re a damn good director.
    Thank you for this.

  9. Orrin Dayne   On   December 24, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I’m one of those weirdos who will listen to Christmas songs outside of the Christmas season, July even. (Whew! Glad I got that off my chest.)

  10. Dave   On   December 24, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Spot on, especially the part about choral music feeling like communion (at least, that is what I heard). I love Christmas music of most types, excluding country music, but find myself drawn to choral music most often. King’s Singers, Chanticleer, and so on. Like Bro. Minchin, “I get freaked out by churches. Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords, but the lyrics are spooky.”
    Thanks for this. And maybe you should put together an episode of virtual choral music with IOT listeners. If you do, I’d love to be a part.

  11. jeff spicoli   On   December 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Excellent minisode Heather! Loved it. I likes me my church music…sometimes. Last time I sang in the choir my bishop asked me to bear my testimony randomly. That was awkward. Good luck to you in the coming weeks and months. I have loved your contributions to infants of late.

  12. Pink-lead   On   December 28, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I feel the same way. Went to 3 practices, performed with the ward choir this year, and enjoyed it immensely. Though I would have rebelled against any forgotten carols bullshit.

  13. Ashley1313   On   December 28, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Heather, that last musical number made me bawl like a baby; it was beautiful. This was an excellent minisode, thank you.

  14. LeviPhillips   On   December 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    One of the all time best episodes. Thank you Heather for doing this. I loved the message. It was right on point with what I have been personally trying to puzzle together as I try to reintegrate some of the things I loved about religion while trying not to be too frustrated with the things I hate. Beautifully done.

  15. Drew   On   December 30, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Heather and Glenn, thank you so much for making this episode. It was profound, witty, and utterly phenomenal. The words, music and editing were all on point, and I was deeply moved. I know the time commitment to produce these types of episodes is enormous, but my appreciation for this type of content is commensurate.

  16. David   On   December 30, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Never commented on a podcast before but there was something really touching about this one. Very nice message and one I could relate to. I was living in DC when I experienced my faith transition. This was 2005-2006, before the days of online communities, podcasts, and reddit. I felt very alone and it was kind of scary. As I transitioned towards atheism, my primary sanctuary was choral music. Since you’re wondering, Bach. There’s an amazing group in DC that performs Bach. And most of that music is liturgical. So there I was, journeying towards atheism while listening to and finding succor in (sorry I had to) the most profound religious music ever written. Indeed, “the most important religious truths and beauties aren’t religious at all, they’re human.” THIS.

  17. Lyn   On   January 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I have listened to pretty much every episode of IoT and this was the best one so far in my opinion. Wonderful job! It is so great to have a woman on this podcast. I am a very irreverent, sarcastic woman who also loves choral music and its so nice to hear someone I can relate to. Please do more episodes like this!

  18. Malatesta Moriancumer   On   January 15, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Ooh I loved this episode, and I love Heather, because she brings together two of my major interests: Mormonism and classical music. I’m hoping that the recent ordination of Heather means we’ll get to see more of the intersection of the two.
    For instance, any chance there could be an episode about the relatively new opera about Mormon Fundamentalists, “Dark Sisters”, both from a musical and Mormon studies perspective? I guess it’s hard because I don’t think there are any commercial recordings yet for sale–although the score is viewable online–maybe we can impose upon Heather to bring a portion or two to life?
    Also, thoughts on the Mormon Tabernacle choir? Or the musical culture of the church in general.
    To comment on this episode, I simply loved it. It was so poignant for me as someone who always connected to my spirituality through music, especially through participation in choral music, but began losing my faith in college. Did the religious words and music that I was helping bring to life as part of my university’s choirs have any meaning anymore, any purpose? Eventually I came to about where you’re at now, Heather, and you put it more beautifully than I could ever write it.
    In conclusion, I’m so happy for you coming in and classing up the joint. I can’t wait to see more from you in the months and (hopefully) years to come.

  19. DontSpamMeBro   On   February 4, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Heather, as an organist/choir director at an Episcopal church out West, is there anywhere I could find that last number featured in this episode? It would be fun to have our choir do it next Christmas if possible. Loved the episode!

  20. Grant Johnson   On   April 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    I echo the comments before. I loved this! I deeply missed the sacred music and you provided a wonder reconciliation for me. Is this the same music available for purchase Stanford: Sacred Choral Music. ? Thank you!

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