My dear parents were unable to make it to all the temple/farewell hoopla here in the desert. But they were determined to spend some special time with Claire before that mission took her away. So they finagled a way to get that girl up their way the week before she started the MTC: a temple trip to Utah enveloped in family love.

They planned a special temple session with all the Utah Eyres.

Followed by a few other family things to soak that girl in.

It was too special to pass up, so I got to join them (and the rest of my Utah family) up there in all that Utah beauty.

I know there are all kinds of complications with families.

I know that we all have our ups and downs.

But there is something so special about being encircled in the love of a family. Especially for big steps like this when your daughter is stepping out into a whole new way of life.

I felt that love so strong as we stood with gigantic smiles all huddled together at the end of our temple session with Dave’s extended family back home in the desert. Claire in the middle of everyone, feeling the comfort and love they were oozing out to her.

And I felt it again so powerfully as we stood, arms around each other in a tight circle following the temple session in Utah. Everyone spilling out the things they noticed and the things they love. The things they learned, even after attending the temple so many times.

Oh, I want to imprint those moments on my mama heart forever. I hope Claire has them imprinted on hers as well. Carry all that love with you for the next eighteen months, Claire!

Since my two brothers have recently moved with their families back to Utah (from NYC and Thailand), there are now FIVE of the nine next-generation Eyre families there in that state. And they were all there to celebrate with Claire.

…as was that darling older sister:

AND older brother, sis-in-law and niece (who didn’t make it to the session because of school and lack of babysitters, but so fun to have them there at the end!):

There is some fierce loving in that Aunt Claire for that Baby Murphy I tell you!

Murphy may or may not be a little worried about that fierceness in that picture…ha!

From there we walked down through that little town for dinner…

…meeting extra cousins who came to help celebrate.

So good to catch up with everyone at two different tables…Claire switching half way through.

She was definitely on the “hot seat” with all those people asking questions and giving advice.

We carried the party over to my brother Eli’s house to talk…and make cookies of course.

Eli has a pretty awesome recipe he whipped up I’ll have to get from him and share here along with the 732 other cookie recipes on this blog. Ha!

Sure love these older cousins….

Right along with the amazing younger ones.

Speaking of the younger ones, they gathered all of them in Rock Canyon the next evening. They got to hang with cousin Claire for a little longer before she leaves them for her missionary work.

I was gone by this time (I was just there overnight, Claire stayed a couple days to say all her goodbyes up there). I love this picture my sister sent:

Thank you, dear Mom and Dad, and all you other Eyres. Thank you for sending Claire off with such an abundance of love.

Love you forever!

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  1. This is a special tradition that I know means a lot to your family! As a non LDS person I would like to respectfully ask a couple of questions, please.

    Does “going through the temple”, as Claire is doing here, mean that from this point on the person has certain standards to live up to in order to remain in good standing with the church? For instance, are they promising to God that they will always wear their garments except for swimming, showering, etc?

    If so, haven’t your older daughters been through the temple? One was a missionary, correct? How conspicuous are the garments, because they don’t appear to be wearing them…?

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to educate me.

    1. Hey Jenn,
      I’m not Mormon either. You should listen to this episode of the Eyre sisters podcast: [In the Arena with the Eyre Sisters] 15. Growing up in a Religious Family #inTheArenaWithTheEyreSisters via @PodcastAddict
      They talk about how they were brought up to pray and decide for themselves about all sorts of church doctrine. They do not view rules from the church as automatically infallible and right. This is definitely a more nuanced approach than a lot of online LDS, in my observation. Seems reasonable to assume Shawni has raised her girls the same way.
      I know the garment thing seems incredibly important to so many commenters but in my opinion it’s a better look for people of faith to make their own choices than to blindly obey.
      If one of the girls has decided (for example) that freedom to choose her own clothes without rules imposed by men is important to her, that’s her choice. Holding a temple recommend is a choice. Believing in any of it is a choice. They’re allowed to change their minds and they don’t have to explain or justify to anyone else. Any observer of LDS culture (as you are) can see that pressure inside the church to follow the rules (the actual rules and “not actually a rule but everyone does it” rules) is huge. Deciding to visibly not follow a rule is probably hard. Why add to the pressure? Do you think garments are important, as a non believer? Do you think anyone’s soul is at risk? Do you think conforming is essential? I don’t, and looking from the outside at a patriarchal church I’d much rather encourage women who are making their own choices than try to guilt them or drag them down.

      1. I was curious about that as well. I’ve read that they should be worn at all times but someone recently told me only to the temple. Maybe it’s more of a personal choice.

      2. Actually I think that if they know they don’t plan to adhere to the rules then they should forgo the temple “hoopla” because they are making promises they have no intentions of keeping. Certainly they can mane their own choices but it seems very hypocritical to have the praise and respect for going through the temple, then “choosing” differently.

        1. I’ve been hesitating over whether or not to comment. I was hoping Shawni would respond, but as she hasn’t, I feel compelled to say something. My 3 young single adult children have made temple covenants, and as a family we all regard the garments as sacred. We wear them night and day because we have chosen to put ourselves under covenant to do so. Wearing garments is an honor and I’m grateful for their protection and reminder of all that takes place inside holy temples.

          1. Me too. I feel exactly the same way about wearing garments.

            I wear mine every day & am proud to wear them, especially to remember the sacred covenants that I have made in the temple.

            I must be really unusual, as I don’t own any clothes that aren’t church standard, something that can be a real challenge in today’s world.

            I know that Heavenly Father blesses me for this.

            By the way, I really wish the subscribe thing was still working. It hasn’t worked for weeks now.

        2. Leaving the Pothier girls aside, because I really don’t see the point of speculating about their private choices, I’d like to ask you, have you never changed your mind? Have you never tried really hard to do something, and found you couldn’t? Have you never gone into something with the very best and truest intentions, and found it wasn’t right for you?
          I imagine you know that the exact detail of an LDS temple service is secret, kept by those who have been through the temple. And you presumably know that the LDS Church places emphasis on ongoing revelation, and personal revelation? I can easily imagine an LDS person, who has grown up in a faithful family and a devout community, struggling with aspects of their faith, but praying about it all, and really trying to understand and hear God. And I can imagine that person thinking that maybe going through the temple could help answer questions about things they are struggling with, because it is talked about as such a powerful, faith-strengthening experience. So, they go to the temple and they make their covenants and they try their best but still, something doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t sit right with their conscience, it doesn’t help the parts of their faith they struggle with.
          Should they keep wearing their garments? What is the honest thing to do? To keep a promise that is hurting you, that maybe you don’t believe in? Or to break the promise that you made at a time you thought it would help you?
          I’m an atheist who has only ever met two (super enthusiastic and full on) Mormon missionaries in real life and I can imagine how that might feel. It doesn’t make me want to judge, or pry, about people’s choices when it comes to LDS rules.

          1. I can see your point. However the one daughter just got back from her mission. And immediately off came the frumpy dress and the clunky shoes. And back on with the second set of earrings!

            The one getting ready to go on a mission still has her second set in! Wore them in the temple! The rules say no double piercings for sister missionaries…Do you just pop them out when your mission President is looking? Wouldn’t work in this case because they are forever memorialized on this blog!

          2. Marianna – thank you for your thoughts on this and for pointing us to the podcast! I should have added that my curiosity about the garments/covenants have not stemmed from Shawni’s family specifically but from many different LDS “influencers” I’ve come across. Ultimately their faith is between them and God. I just love learning about how others live in their faith and had noticed a big difference in this particular area and it got me wondering if there was a church standard. Even in my own faith (Protestant/Non-Denominational Christian) many of us adhere to different beliefs when it comes to certain things (drinking alcohol for example).

      3. Also, your comment was beautifully said, Marianna! I appreciate the thought and time you put into what you said. For those wondering, there are so many “answers” to how I feel about all this in that podcast episode Marianna mentioned. I would second the recommendation to listen to it for those who want to delve deeper into this topic.

        Again, trying to put some more in-depth thoughts together in the morning.

    2. You see a lot of photos of them doing the swimming and the etc… where they do not wear them nor need to wear them. When they are supposed to wear them, they wear them.

    3. Hi! I, like most of the commentariat here, am not LDS but definitely very curious about other cultures/religions. It’s been a… journey to read the queries that you get about garments, honestly, most of them questions I’ve had myself. Had I have been born into your faith, there are things I’m sure I would really embrace – connection to family, service work, etc. – and I think I, too, would struggle with daily garment wearing.
      All this to say, I’m wondering if there are LDS thinkers/writers who have written about this who you and your daughters like? In any given group there are often outspoken progressive voices on topics such as this and (if you’re comfortable sharing!) I’d be curious to hear if there are any that particularly resonate with you and family.

      1. Good question, Selkie. There is no one in particular that comes to mind, aside from this podcast my friend sent me a while back. But let me listen to it again before I send it so I can give my own feedback since it’s been a while since I listened. I remember not agreeing with everything she said but it did give me some good food for thought.

  2. How wonderful to be surrounded by so much family!

    I know this is the least important detail in this post, but can you share where Claire’s dress is from?

  3. I have been following your blog since ~2011 and I simply can’t believe that “little” Claire looks to be the tallest of all your cute girls! The brunette looks so lovely on her by the way, I hope she likes it too! Looks so healthy and shiny. Best wishes to you all during this transition!

  4. I’m so tired of some LDS people saying “ throughout your life” can be interpreted to whatever. That’s incorrect. You are taught in the temple and by church leaders and in the handbook still says they should be worn at all times where possible and not to adjust or not wear them for activities that can be worn reasonably. There are VERY FEW occasions they can’t or shouldn’t be worn. And this is not a “ man rule” this is from GOD.
    If a person chooses to not want to adhere to these rules they absolutely do not have to.. BUT SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE THROUGH. That’s a terrible choice on themselves and parents !

    1. Thats what I thought. I think the parents push the kids to do it so they can say it’s been done, just like the baptism at age 8. Neither one saves the person if they turn aside from it later. How about letting them get mature enough to decide… otherwise they’ve pretty much reneged on a promise to God!

      1. Dear Jenn and Sandy. It sounds like you’ve got some pretty big opinions about this which is great if they are for yourself. The thing is, we can never know the whole story about other people. So it’s pretty lucky that God is the one who is in charge of judging others. We just have to worry about ourselves. Is it great to try to understand things from other’s perspectives? You bet. I think we should definitely get curious and ask questions. That is how we learn and grow. I think we have the opportunity to learn so much from each other and how we chose to live our lives. And I so appreciate the sincere questions that are asked here that have made me think and ponder. I have had many of these same questions myself. But if we are only asking to make ourselves feel better and to push others down, I’m not sure what good that does? The most important thing is to dive into our own hearts to try to figure out what we think. And then live the best we can with those convictions. When we get so worried about what others are doing, to be honest, it only hurts ourselves. I can say this because I have learned from experience. It doesn’t help anything to harbor resentment for others when there’s a whole big story under that “tip of the iceberg” that you can’t see.

        Sending you lots of love as you grapple with the questions in your hearts.

        1. “So it’s pretty lucky that God is the one who is in charge of judging others. We just have to worry about ourselves.”

          This is such a wonderful measured reply … I’m impressed with your ability to remain kind in the face of so many people who are ALL UP IN YOUR BUSINESS and who clearly don’t have enough to worry about in their own lives.

          Best wishes to Claire for a successful mission! I know you will miss her, but the time will fly by!

    2. Honestly half of what Jesus says to the Pharisees is about focusing on the spirit of the law and not getting so focused on the letter of the law that you end up harming and not caring for others… Seems relevant here (and I don’t just mean your comment). You have your testimony of garments and that’s wonderful, not everyone has the same testimony and I believe that’s designed by G-d, too. What we are called to do is to love one another, and sometimes the tone of comments on this blog seems to stray pretty far from that commandment.

      1. Sorry but this is not one of those gray areas where you can have agency to do or not do- like the earrings or the bare shoulders. The garments are 100% non negotiable for someone who has been through the temple. Makes no difference what your “personal testimony” is – which by the way is just a rationalization of doing anything controversial – “my personal testimony said this is ok…”. Nice try, but no.

        1. The tone of your response comes across unkind, condescending, and close-minded, so I won’t be responding further. I choose to follow Jesus’ teachings around loving and caring for others and not not judging or throwing the first stone, among others, in my interactions both in person and online.

        2. Jenn, there are many LDS who feel exactly as Shawni and her family do and you must be well aware of this. I am not sure what your intent is to post here but you might want to examine your motives and see if they are truly loving and good spirited or not. My grandmother who was devoutly faithful her whole life said a very true thing I feel about the practices of the church. She said yes they were important but not as important as refraining from judgement which is the domain of the Heavenly Father and showing the love of Christ for others in your heart in all your actions.
          I sincerely suggest you take this to heart in the way you interact with others about issues with with you do not agree. Comments like “nice try, but no” can have a tone of animousity and dismissiveness that feel inappropriate to the careful consideration of this issue which you clearly find important. If you do indeed care about the practice of the faithful, as I feel you must do to comment repeatedly, then let perhaps you might do well to let it show in the spirit and tone of your language.

      2. I love this thought about the letter and spirit of the law, Christine.
        I want to write a whole blog post some time to mothers addressing this topic. It’s so great when your children do exactly as you do, and believe exactly the same. I think it happens all the time and is a beautiful thing. You mothers in that situation are awesome! But, to those mothers who have kids who do things a little differently, you are awesome too! I think it’s powerful when kids may have different opinions than we do. Definitely not the easy road for sure! But it’s so important to remember that we are raising kids who have a whole mosaic of different DNA than we do. I think we can learn so much from our kids. Especially when they become adults. Our job isn’t trying to mold them into exact replicas of us, it is to nurture them with love as they work to become the best people they can be (we just did a whole podcast about this that I’m so excited to share…SO many thoughts on this matter.). I am grateful when I see my kids working to create their own convictions. I would so much rather see them work their hearts out to figure out their own connections to Jesus and to God than anything else in the world.

        1. Nope. Just nope. It’s hard to admit when our kids aren’t being obedient to the commandments. And wearing garments is a commandment for the endowed. Justifications help no one and end up setting a bad example.

        2. Nope. Just nope. It’s hard to admit when our children aren’t obeying the commandments. But justification doesn’t help. It just sets a bad example.

          1. These children are not official representatives of the church who are meant to “set an example” one way or another, they are private citizens who are minding their business. How they practice their faith is between them and God. They aren’t commenting on your faith journey, and you don’t need to be spending time commenting on theirs.

  5. This may help some one?

    I have never had an issue wearing mine, I’ve always found them comfortable and easy to wear. So when my daughter got married, we talked about it and felt I had prepared her well. She has a sensory disorder but I didn’t think it would be an issue. I was wrong. She does not feel comfortable in them, they make her overheat and bunch up no matter what material she uses. So she often goes without. I tell you this to perhaps make some think, maybe, just maybe, I don’t know or understand the full situation and maybe shouldn’t judge!

  6. While I share some of the sentiments above regarding garments, I do also feel that Shawni’s kids are not “fair game” for criticism on this matter, as this is not their public platform, but hers. Her children who have gone through the temple are also adults, and ultimately these are their decisions regardless of anything she or us strangers on the internet may have to say about it. It absolutely can be difficult to see others live in ways other than we believe they “should” but agency gives us our own choices, just as it gives others theirs.

  7. I think the fact that this topic comes up continually is fascinating. What exactly are people hoping Shawni will say? “Yes, I think my daughter’s are sinners, thank you for asking”

    Loving your kids regardless of their choices can be hard. Not shaming them in a public space is what any loving mother should do. If Shawni has talked to her girls about their garment wearing that is between them. And, at the end of the day, it’s between each person and the Lord; not internet comments. Wearing garments has never been hard for me, but my best friend (who is probably the person devoted to the Lord that I know) struggles with it every single day. I feel like this is such a great example of “don’t judge me because I sin differently from you” (Elder Uchtdorf, The Merciful Obtain Mercy, April 2012).

    1. I agree here. Because she has put her faith and life on the internet for others to see, to a certain extent, Shawni has invited commentary (though I believe no one needs to be cruel or rude). Her children have not made this choice. As such, we need to respect them, and this includes refraining in commenting on or criticizing their choices.

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