Morgan Jones Pearson 0:00
I imagine there's probably a big difference between Tarsha Joyner and almost every other baker who has appeared on the Food Network. His love of baking started with a school project in a graphic design class. Yes, Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats started before Tarsha really knew how to bake. In 2015, Tarsha competed in the Food Network Christmas Cookie Challenge. He returned to the network's Dessert Games in 2017 and made another appearance on the Haunted Gingerbread Showdown in 2019. In 2021, he went international by appearing on Food Network Canada's Project Bakeover. On her Twitter profile, she describes herself as a wife, mother, nanny, Latter-day Saint, gift-giver, photographer-artist, quilter, Dodge player, but says she doesn't give up on one thing. . This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we asked what it really means to be full in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm Morgan Pearson and I'm so excited to have Tarsha Joyner on the line with me today. Tarsha, welcome.
Tarsha Joyner 1:15
Thank you for receiving me. I'm excited.
Morgan Jones Pearson 1:18
Well I'm excited. At the beginning I was wondering if we could start your baking story at the beginning because I think it's great. And tell us a little bit about how it all started for you.
Tarsha Joyner 1:33
I'll gladly take it back. And then quickly forward. So don't worry I won't stop the whole world with my birth years and all the way. So I was an adopted child for most of my childhood, right? And my mother never made anything from scratch. And we really didn't eat well in those foster homes. The first time I tried a homemade cookie was when I made one for my kids, you know, and it was kind of a joke because I only tried it at Christmas because I saw that people did that on TV. . So I tried to make it so that my kids have some kind of Christmas tradition. And my chocolate chip cookies turned out to be chocolate crepes. It was really pathetic. So we ended up going to Sam's Club and bought the bucket of cookie dough and baked it. It was foolproof that way. And then it was never for me to think about baking. She knew how to bake cookies because she worked at Hardee's, and she knew how to bake a cake because she knew how to follow a recipe. But cooking and I weren't that big of a deal in my life until I went back to school. Now my first degree was business administration because I thought I wanted to be a secretary for the rest of my life. And after going to school for a while because I've always had a passion for computers, I decided to go back to school to become a computer programmer, which I did. And so I decided to jump right into graphic design because it was so much more interesting than sitting in a room with a bunch of weird kids staring at computer screens all day. So I ended up with a project where we had to evaluate a product from start to finish. It was supposed to be a one semester project. And I would start the summer knowing that I could start in the summer and get most of the work done before the semester started because I had a family, I was in my 40s at the time. I have kids in school, I have kids that play sports, I have a husband and a full-time job. Also, I go to school, so I've tried to spread as much work as possible over the summer. Well my son needed a summer job and it was going to be his first summer job. So I said, 'Hey, if you help me crack this project by taking you to the farmer's market and you help me test the product and packaging for this fake bakery that I suddenly created. , I'll let you keep half the money while I work around the house on what I need while you're at the market. He thought it was a wonderful idea until he started working with me. As I am then I will say that I was a perfectionist because everything had to look a certain way and I think people will spend their money on things I don't even know how to make. because I can't bake. I just thought, 'Let's make some shortbread cookies, because there are only a few ingredients and they shouldn't be too hard. Let's do that and I'll just design the packaging.” So in my mind, the packaging came first, the product second. And I just wanted to make sure my product looked good on the box because that's where my review would come from. That was the most important thing for me. And my son hated me to death after a while and he decided he wanted to work at KFC and he did it and I kept going because I thought these people were going to buy my shortbread cookies, what's wrong with them? What else am I learning? And that's how I learned to make cake pans. And then I learned how to make brownies. And then I learned how to make money. And so I followed. And soon it took over my whole house. My family started hating me for not being able to put leftovers in the fridge because it would make my butter stink, you know I have so much fun with my ingredients. And then I had to protect her over my family.
First the ingredients.
First the ingredients. When so many arrived that I had containers all over the house and orders started coming in, I decided to look for a store, we found one and the rest is history.
Morgan Jones Pearson 5:41
It is wonderful. I think it's a great story. And me, I admire you Tarsha because I love the honesty of the likes, I had no idea what I was doing. First, I focused on the packaging. But how did you make the transition? Like you said it was like people buying shortbread so how did you learn that? How did you learn to do all these other things?
Tarsha Joyner 6:06
The way I was learning how to bake shortbread cookies, I searched the internet for recipes and people didn't get it. Recipes are not written for your success. And you have to understand that if you want my sweet pot recipe, I will give you a sweet pot recipe, but it will not be mine. You won't make them as good as I do because that's my recipe. And everyone does. And I had to understand from the start that people don't try to give me better things than theirs. And you can look at all these beautiful, adorable pictures that they post of their little three miles on the site, you get to the recipe and you see these beautiful pictures and their stuff never looks like this. Because they never release the recipe they used to make these wonderful things. I don't care what they say, if they say yes, they're not telling the truth. Because I know myself, you know. So what you need to do is understand its ingredients. And because I love science and math, I've learned to understand the ingredients and how they interact with each other. And once you get all of that, you can make any kind of recipe, you can look at a recipe and say, 'okay, that's wrong, let's fix that. And then it will be fine. You have to be willing to know all the math and science behind it to be successful.
But actually it's chemistry. That's why I'm not a good cook.
It's about accuracy. It's about getting away from those baking cups, measuring cups, teaspoons, to reaching for the scales and weighing things. And it's about spending money on ingredients, because cheap ingredients are cheap ingredients. But if you want something that tastes good and tastes good to other people, then you have to be willing to spend the money.
Morgan Jones Pearson 7:59
I totally agree. So I'm curious, since you've already delved in, you wanted to give us life lessons in baking. So what would you say are the most important things you learned for life from your baking experiences?
Tarsha Joyner 8:17
You know, the funny thing is that the best lessons I've ever learned have nothing to do with baking. It's about how I value myself. When I started cooking, I didn't know much. So I didn't ask for much. But the more I learned and the better I got, the more I got paid and people gave me weird looks. And then it got to the point where he was the most expensive person in town to do certain things like decorating cookies. Guess what? I'm an award winning artist. And when I give you these cookies, they are little works of art. And on top of that, I'm a Food Network Champion. You can't afford Dollar Tree prices, come and buy it from me. So I had to learn to say I'm worth it. And you don't have to tell me how much I'm worth, because I already know. Either you take what I'm worth and give me what I'm worth, or you go somewhere else and get it. And you have to learn to be okay with feeling this way. And you have to learn to speak for yourself. That's one of the most important things I've learned as a small business owner and baker: I know who I am. You don't have to tell me who I am. And I'm okay with you going. I agree. I can go home anyway to spend time with my family.
Very well said and applies to so many different aspects of life. So you mentioned knowing your worth. how would you say Because I think that's something we all need to come to: realizing our worth, and part of that is understanding our relationship with God. So how would you say that you've seen God do more in your life than you might have thought possible and help you do things you never dreamed you could do?
Well, let me tell you. I mean, when I was a kid, I thought God was this big gaseous cloud that could fill the earth, this kind of spiritual thing that was everywhere at the same time but nowhere because nobody really made me feel that good about who he was was. he was. I didn't understand him as a person, in the form of a person like me, although you know the Scriptures say he created man in his own image. It didn't mean anything. Not when I was a kid. When I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if I tell you, the definition was so succinct, so perfect. I knew who my Heavenly Father was. And it helped me to know who I am better. You know, putting the Savior here to do all of those things has helped me understand what He's done for me and why I need to make my life worth what He's done for me what he did, the atonement, the suffering, everything. One of those things just had to be for me, I know it was for everyone. But I'm selfish, it was really just for me. And because my childhood didn't tell me that I was special. They didn't treat us special, they didn't treat us special. But knowing that I am a child of a Heavenly Father who really loves me enough to give his son for me was important to me. So it didn't matter what other people thought of me. I know what Heavenly Father is thinking. And in the end, that's all that matters. I used to tell people at work, most are preparing for retirement and I am preparing for eternity. That's what I do. Because that's a bigger concept for me, because I won't have the money to retire, I can tell you that now. I'll be in the kitchen with a rolling pin when I die. But you know, it's been really helpful for me to know who I am and understand that and not let a lot of people treat me. And I've never been the kind of person who would let someone ignore me and still treat me because I know who I am. When it came to running my business, he just switched there.
Morgan Jones Pearson 12:41
I want to come back to something you mentioned a couple of times about growing up in foster care. And I saw an interview with you where you said you knew why wasn't that what you had, growing up you knew what you wanted out of life which was a family and a home. Not having those things, Tarsha, how do you think those things were so important? And why do you care so much about her even as a child?
Tarsha Joyner 13:13
You know, luckily this is going to sound crazy. I was lucky to have a father who left our family. You know he wasn't in the picture. I didn't have to trust him. So I had to trust Heavenly Father. And that helped me to have this relationship with Him. To make me stronger through our relationship, because he does. Your relationship with Heavenly Father strengthens you. It doesn't strengthen it. He doesn't need this relationship that we need. So I thank my father for not being there. So I had to trust my heavenly Father. And I tell my kids that over and over again. You must have a great father. But since I have a great relationship with my Heavenly Father, so do they. So you are blessed with that too. And you know, to be honest, what got me into having a happy family was The Cosby Show. Now that's pretty ironic, isn't it? But I sat and watched The Cosby Show and watched their lives and thought oh my god it would be amazing to have brothers and sisters like that. And a mom and dad that really cared about what was going on in my life, to have a home, to be able to do things together because we didn't have any of that. And when I first watched The Cosby Show, oh my god, I watched every episode at least five times. It was the ideal situation and I wanted my children to have a home like that. I mean it's not perfect. It's not always happy. Sometimes there are sad moments, but we are together as a family.
Morgan Jones Pearson 15:13
Well and what I think is great is that you have the kind of family you have been dreaming of now and you are all involved in this baking business together, what would you say to those Tarsha who might be in the family situation that you were in as a kid and only dreamed about these things? What would you say to offer some hope for what is possible in the future?
Tarsha Joyner 15:40
So I regularly talk to a lot of young people, especially foster children, and tell them you're not in control of your life right now, you're just not, and you just have to want it. Accept the fact that most children are not in control of their lives, they need someone to listen to. But they are usually heard by someone who really loves them. And some of them are lucky enough to have foster parents who really care about them, while others aren't. And I'm telling you, you have no control over your life right now. But that's exercise, because when you do it. And the choices you make at this stage in your life will be reflected in the choices you make later. So make good choices now so you don't have to worry about making good choices later; the right direction.
Morgan Jones Pearson 16:43
I love it. And one of the things I can't remember reading or hearing about. But what you said in a previous interview was that you feel that what you have now is the result of a series of small, good decisions. And I guess that's what all of our lives are all about, right? They are just the result of many small decisions that make a big difference.
Tarsha Joyner 17:13
Please wait before proceeding. Just make sure you understand. Just because you've made a lot of good decisions doesn't mean you haven't made a lot of bad decisions. Let's hope the good outweighs the bad. Because we all make bad decisions. We all have to endure these consequences. And we just have to realize that no one leaves this life without suffering these consequences.
Morgan Jones Pearson 17:35
And no one leaves this life without making a few mistakes along the way. I love that you emphasize that. So I want to say this first in my introduction. But one thing I love about you, Tarsha, is that you're in your bakery as Mrs. Joy and people hearing that are probably going to say, "I can understand why," because I think it's the whole Time has never stopped smiling. Let's talk. But I understand that came from what was written on your bowling ball.
Yes, I bowled and played tournaments all the time. As before, the smoke in the bowling alley has become very strong, because that is the problem for me. So I don't play as much as I used to. But I had just got married. And if you're a bowler, you know that your bowling ball only has about six letters in it. And would it be Tarajoy or Mrs. Freude. And I think I picked the best, don't I?
Morgan Jones Pearson 18:36
Absolutely. But I wonder why you would say that name suits you and I think when you were working on preparing these questions. I thought of President Nelson's quote about joy not depending on the circumstances of our lives. So why would you say that name Mrs. Joy, does it speak to you?
Tarsha Joyner 19:00
So in the beginning it was really just a project. really was. I had Mrs. Freude for about 10.15 years before opening this shop. So there was no choice as to who would name the place, right? But I never called myself that until I opened the shop. And I didn't call myself that; All customers assumed that was my name. And to be honest, I don't care what they call me as long as they give me money, you know? And then people would come in and sit and talk about life in general. I cannot tell you how many tears have been shed in this store, how many hugs they have given me, how many people from abroad come to us year after year because they want their portion of joy. And that's not at all what I think of myself, I just pray that others see me that way because my husband would probably say otherwise. 'Madam. High Strung is what it needs to be called. My kids probably have something much worse. But my customers, I really think most of them because we've gotten some bad reviews, I won't lie, most of them feel like walking through those doors is a pleasure. And it's not just about the food, it's about the experience.
Morgan Jones Pearson20:33
Good. So let's touch your pastry. You mentioned that you had the chance to appear on the Food Network and you've been on quite a few shows on the Food Network, right?
Tarsha Joyner 20:46
Yes. Yes. So the first time, don't lie, it was fun to look back on and even see myself and think again about what I've been through, don't lie, I felt like a deer. with headlights. And I prayed the whole show like I prayed to get on the show and when I got there I prayed that I wouldn't throw up all over the place. And then I prayed that I wouldn't burn or spoil anything. Heavenly Father did not answer that prayer. I prayed to get to every round. And so I prayed to win. And it worked. And I won $10,000. And I only had five recipes when I got there. Like I'm going to face these seasoned bakers and think they must really have needed a brown person because I was like, why am I here? These people are absolute professionals. I was a software support analyst at the time. And I only worked on weekends, Friday and Saturday. I didn't have as much experience under my belt at the time that I needed it as I thought I did because obviously I had enough because I deserved it. But I've learned a lot more since then. And I'm glad it was just for the cookies because God knows I didn't know anything else.
Morgan Jones Pearson 22:09
It is wonderful. It's great what you've done and what you've achieved. And I love it too, I think there's value in recognizing that a lot of people who succeed are almost like a scam until you find out about it.
Tarsha Joyner 22:29
Morgan Jones Pearson 22:30
And you don't have to know everything to like it, expose yourself.
Tarsha Joyner 22:34
You just have to believe in yourself, a touch of what Heavenly Father believes. If we can believe even a small part of us the way it believes in us, we will never be afraid to try. And I just don't have that fear button. Like he's scared of spiders and bugs and stuff. But I'm not afraid to go out there and make a fool of myself if I don't know how to do something. I'm willing to try until I can't anymore, that's for sure. Like I didn't have open heart surgery or anything. But if someone said hey...like the Halloween Gingerbread Showdown, I've never made a Gingerbread House. But for $25,000 he was willing to try. i will study today And it was fun. And I've learned a lot. But the best part is that while I was learning all this, I met a lot of great people and made a lot of new friends. I have a whole community of people that I love and encourage.
Morgan Jones Pearson23:48
And you're not just talking about the cookies.
Tarsha Joyner 23:50
NO. No, not the gingerbread people. But the people who bake gingerbread.
Morgan Jones Pearson 24:00
important distinction. Well, I think that's great. And that's what I admire about you because I'm a big believer in the worst you can say. Because the worst thing anyone can say is no. So you might as well try running. Your baking business is very demanding. I have a friend who has a small bakery and I see how hard she works. And he doesn't even have a shop. So why are you doing it? Why is it worth it?
Tarsha Joyner 24:31
First of all, being self-employed is very liberating. It's liberating to know that I will treat myself with respect. And I don't have to worry about anyone treating me stupidly or anything less than just the color of my skin. And it's great to be a boss because I can treat my employees the way I would like to be treated. They don't have to worry about coming to work feeling bad for me. When they come to work they even know that I will feed them, listen to them and treat them with respect. It might not pay off very well because we don't have a lot of money. But sometimes it's not all about money. And they're kids, they're young people, I don't hire adults, I have to take care of paying all the house bills. I hire children so that I can train them to be good employees in the future.
Morgan Jones Pearson25:24
I think that's so, so important. I think everything you just said is very important for anyone running a business. I want to get a little out of all of this cooking talk for you by mentioning that you converted to the church. So when you reached out to the church you decided not to join, tell us why you did.
Tarsha Joyner 25:48
Well, to understand why I felt that way, you have to understand the South. And unless you're from the south, you probably won't understand. And you have to understand that responsibility is a word we use a lot in the South.
Morgan Jones Pearson 26:02
And I'm from the south, so I could be here for this conversation.
Tarsha Joyner 26:07
Well, I'm from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and the town was divided in half by the railroad tracks, the white side and the black side. Of course I lived on the dark side. And you know, you have your black churches, you have your white churches, and nothing else really mattered where I came from. And so the whites went into the whites' churches and the blacks went into the blacks' churches, and there was no mixing. And I lived in the projects, and in that area there was only Pardo, I like the word Pardo better than Preto. One day this woman moved in and she was white. And it was like she was in an aquarium, honey, because we looked out the windows and we were like, 'What the hell, why is she here?' As if white people don't belong in the projects. And then one day we see the missionaries outside in their missionary garb mowing the lawn in their backyard. And if you thought it was odd that she was white and lived in housing projects. When I watch two white men in dress pants and white shirts with black badges gardening, I think, “What? Mom, come and check this out, you know? My sister fell in love immediately. She became Audrey, Audrey is her name, the lady who moved here befriended her. He talked to the missionaries and joined the Church. Well, I found the church strange. First, there were many white people. And that just wasn't pleasant to watch at church on Sundays. And second, everyone was so sensitive and wanted to hug each other through everything. And I think I don't like that. I was never a hugger. But Latter-day Saints are, boy. And then one Sunday he invited me to church where there was a conference. And then they sat in this carpeted gym and watched TV. Well, the weirdest thing was the mat on the gym floor. And then the second thing, I was like my goodness I could have stayed home and watched TV. Do they do that at church on Sundays? I'm sorry, I'm done. And then my sister told us that if she and her husband got married, we couldn't go to the temple. Because we weren't members of the Church. That sealed the deal. I didn't want anything to do with the church at the time. And then I had to move to Wilmington, North Carolina, which is where she moved when she got married because I had problems with my mom. And then I was 18 years old. I had my daughter Christy, she was two years old at the time, no, she was one year old because I had her when I was 17. And we moved in with my sister. And he definitely didn't want to go to church with her. So she went to church with her mother-in-law. And she had to work a different shift every Sunday. So we went to a different church every Sunday. And with some of these congregations, the Southern Baptist Churches that I was used to, the problem was that you had to look a certain way, drive a certain car, live in a certain neighborhood, wear certain clothes to be accepted. . And I didn't have any of those things. So one of those churches was crossed off the list for me, I wouldn't visit it. And then one more thing, it was so loud and so loud. I mean I just couldn't take it like I couldn't yell at myself for an hour and a half and expect to be comfortable there. So that was removed from the list. And one night we went into a revival tent and it changed our lives because this man was sitting there preaching hellfire and damnation all the time. And when he was done he called everyone to the front door and said and I looked around and I was the only one still sitting and I thought I'd preach as long as I wanted but I won't 'Cause I just didn't want to understand who I was enough to be able to save myself. How does it feel that you think it's not personal? Don't you think we need to get to know each other a little before we start saving? No, I'm supposed to go down there, you're supposed to touch my forehead. And I say that was ridiculous. That didn't make any sense, so I took them off the list. Ma'am, what are you really doing with your life? That's how I felt. So I went home and asked my sister, does your preacher think he can save you? Is that what you think? And she said, first of all, his name is bishop. Second, why don't you ask the missionaries, and I said never mind, never mind, forget I said anything. And then the next day the missionaries came looking for me and I said I told you not to tell the missionaries and she said I swear I didn't say anything, I didn't ask. let them happen And because they were so young and sweet, I moved on and… because I was 18 at the time and they were 18. And do you know how girls are? And I thought I'd sit here and be nice. And I will listen. But I will always have my Bible on my lap. So whatever you say, I'm better off, you know? But when they asked me if I felt what they were teaching me was true. Up to this point there was nothing I found wrong with what I had been taught. The only thing that was different was the whole Joseph Smith thing, you know? When they asked me to pray about it to see if I would join the Church, I remember going into my nieces' and nephews' rooms and sitting on the dirty floor to pray, throwing the toys out of the way . And I remember the room wasn't that bright, it was midday but the curtains were closed, it was a bit dark in the room but not too dark. And as I said my prayer, the room lit up, which was weird because my eyes were closed. do you know what i'm saying So when I opened my eyes it was still dark, but when I closed my eyes I could see that light. And it felt so hot. And I knew what I prayed was true. So I agreed to join the Church. And, you know, I want to say that everything went smoothly from then on. But that wasn't because I became inactive right after entering the Church, it was because I was thrown into an elementary school. You see, if you don't understand church culture, it's like a completely foreign country. You know, no, it's a different universe. LDS culture is pretty weird, especially if you were born in the Baptist Bible Belt, you know what I mean? And these elementary school kids, I thought, how can I teach them anything if I don't know anything myself? I really enjoyed this group of investigators. And they threw me there with these little devils that never behaved and never sat down. And I swear Dennis the Menace had two cousins and they were in my class. So I decided to stop going to church, I just stopped going. Because I figured if they just wanted a nanny, then why didn't they say so? Why did they let me join this church if you know but I didn't want to go to any other church because I felt the gospel is true. I just didn't want to go to that church because I didn't want anything to do with these kids, you know? I was inactive for about five years. And I met my husband and he brought me here to Lynchburg, Virginia. And the first thing I did after I got a job was find out where the church was. And since then I've been gone.
Morgan Jones Pearson 33:35
First of all, I want to know that any bishops who are listening need to keep an eye on the whole Primary because I think it's important, but I also think it's great that they're back. What do you think about when you move to Lynchburg? What do you think drove him? I know you said you didn't want to go to any other church because you felt what you learned in our church was true. But what gave you the courage to return?
Tarsha Joyner 34:05
Well, these people didn't know me. They didn't know what he had been through. They didn't know that I had been married and divorced before. And that's a shame to get married in church. And then get divorced.
Morgan Jones Pearson 34:18
should not be
Tarsha Joyner 34:19
shouldn't shouldn't because it happens. I mean, I was embarrassed being with an old man who didn't appreciate me, you know, and it was an abusive situation. And it just wasn't good for me or my daughter. So I decided that I would go. But my husband is now the best man I have ever known in my life. He's the cutest ghost I've ever met. It must be to endure me. But I'm so thankful I went through everything I've done so I can appreciate him even more because he's the best there is. He was not a Latter-day Saint when I married him, but my patriarchal blessing told me that one day I would be. And I didn't get that until my daughter was almost 10, I think that was it. Christie was 10 when I received my patriarchal blessing because she was the only one with me. And I hid that thing, boy, didn't want him to find it. And I was like, let me find this and put it in this little hole that he'll never look at until we're sealed in the temple, because he told me that was going to happen. And I firmly believed that it would be so.
Morgan Jones Pearson35:31
And did it happen?
Tarsha Joyner 35:33
He has. It took me 10 years because I'm a curmudgeon. And he likes to joke about how cute and sweet he is, stubborn as a donkey. And he wants to do things his way. Oh girl you don't have enough time for me to tell you this story, this story is hilarious. Eventually everything fell into place and we were all sealed in the temple as a family.
Morgan Jones Pearson35:53
Unbelievable. The last thing I want to address before we get to our final question is that you have a passion for family history, Tarsha, which I love because I don't think we often think of someone who was raised in foster care passionate. through family history. So why is it so important to you? And why is it important that we know where we come from?
Tarsha Joyner 36:21
Well, it matters to me because I didn't grow up in a family. And I didn't have people around me who had all this information to tell me where I was from. So it's much more important to find out as an adult. I think at that time in my life this had to happen. Because when I was in my 20s and 30s, none of that mattered to me. You know, let me tell you, when I was called to the stake Relief Society presidency to oversee temple and family history work, I felt very inadequate. I guess I don't even do family history. How am I supposed to be that person? I was like, okay, my god, you think that's what I'm doing right now. But I think you're making a mistake. For the first time in history you make a mistake. Let me tell you I had to prepare for a conference where we were supposed to teach other people about this app that I really love... the Ancestry and Family Search app. I love it. But it didn't do everything it was supposed to do. But I'm a techie. i love technology So I was the perfect person to teach people about technology. I'm just not the best person, I mean I've written my story since Adam. That is not true. But I found out from my grandmother. And it might seem like a strange concept for some people to say, well, of course you know who your grandma is. Well I haven't. I met my mother's mother because she lived in the projects on the other side, in the same projects that we lived in. But I never met my father's mother. And I didn't understand that whole side of family. I knew my father, my grandfather was an alcoholic. And I'd see him at the bus stop in downtown Rocky Mount, he'd give me a few bucks, and I'd go buy candy. And that was our relationship. Well, I didn't understand why I was an alcoholic until I took this family history. And what I learned about my grandmother, his wife, was that she had several children who died shortly after birth. Well I don't know if it was the lack of care they had in those separate hospitals. I don't know if it was a health issue, I don't know. But she had three children who survived. And she had about five kids who did that. And the last child she bore died. Now, can you imagine being in the segregated south, your wife dies after giving birth to five children and they die and you have three small children that you have to raise on your own? You know it's depressing, right? And you know, there wasn't therapy like there is now, you just don't go online and do therapy back then. You just had to deal with it, and I think his way of dealing with it was the alcohol. It made me see a different side of him. And it made me feel that tender connection with my grandmother that I had never known. I didn't even know what his name was. I didn't know until I went through the family locator.
Morgan Jones Pearson 39:45
And Tarsha is a member of the Church and understands temple work and temple sealings as you know it. Why is all this important?
Tarsha Joyner 39:55
Because I know that we have work to do when Heavenly Father commands us to do it. And it gets done, whether we help or not, I don't want him to say, well, I did, but I crushed some candy, which I do a lot. But I don't want him to look at me and say, 'You had all this time, all this knowledge, that you could do family history, and you chose not to do anything. You have chosen to be selfish. For there will be a day of reckoning. And I don't want to stand shamed before Him from time to time. I'm not saying every second of my time is dedicated to something productive because God already knows that. But he knows I'm trying to do some of the things he's asked me to do. I can't do everything, otherwise I'd be walking around like crazy trying to be perfect. And that's just, I'm trying to be like Jesus, but I'm far from perfect and I'm okay with that. It's okay not to be perfect. It's okay not to try. You know what I'm talking about? It's not right not to try, because we should try to be like the Savior, and He was perfect. Therefore we must try to be perfect. But there's no point walking around like you... And you know, sometimes I do. And sometimes I don't. But when I do it, when I put in the effort, it magnifies so much that it's worth the little time invested.
Morgan Jones Pearson 41:30
I totally agree. Tara said it was really fun talking to you. And learn from you. I feel like I've learned a lot. My final question for you is, what does it mean to you to be fully in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Tarsha Joyner 41:45
For me, participating means that I need people who understand who I am. I don't hide my religion at all, I have a very large sphere of influence. And I want to make sure I'm swaying people in the right direction. I have all these followers on social media. And I bet every single one of them could say that I'm a Latter-day Saint because I don't hide the fact, in fact it usually says so in my description on my social media and I post pictures. from the temple when I go because I enjoy going once a month. I'm sharing what I learned at church on Sunday. I mean if you listen to me you can hear good stuff in addition to cooking tips. You know what I'm talking about? And I feel like I hear people at church say a lot that they're afraid to share the gospel, and I wonder how are you afraid to share the gospel? Don't you live the gospel? If you live, do you share? And there's no need to hide from being a Latter-day Saint, because let me tell you this, if you don't like me because I'm a Latter-day Saint, it helps me get over you now. I don't need you near me If you want to judge me harshly for doing something that benefits me and my family, there is something wrong with you and I don't want you around. I agree. And the truth is, I'll never forget sitting in a chapel. And they talked about how do you think the kingdom of heaven will be like? Check them all out here. Do you think it will be full? I said I hope not because I need a lot of room to move and in case you're worried about what people are going to think of us because we're Latter-day Saints. They're definitely not all in there.
Morgan Jones Pearson 43:38
I love that. Well, Tarsha, thank you very much. Like I said, I had a lot of fun and appreciate you spending time with me.
Tarsha Joyner 43:50
Thanks for the invitation. That was really a pleasure. Now I feel like I need to do some family history.
Morgan Jones Pearson 43:57
you and me sister A big thank you to Tarsha Joyner for being a part of tonight's episode. If you are in Lynchburg, Virginia, be sure to check out Mrs. Freude. We are very grateful to Mix at 6 Studios' Derek Campbell for his help with this and all episodes of this podcast, and we appreciate your listening. We hope to be with you again next week.