Social Benefits of Religion

Because life was slower in the 19th century, attending religious services on a Sunday took on more traits than just tending to your soul. Men would meet before services to transact business, trade horses, discuss lending out a middle son for the next crop season. The same conversations would take place after the service as well.

Women used the time before and after services to catch up on family gossip, plan their weekly visits to the village, set dates for visiting guests. No Blackberry needed. No schedule book. Just your memory.

Because people depended so much on their memory, older male siblings would be reliable witnesses to many cash transactions. Older sons would stand by their fathers as one farmer traded livestock or maple syrup. If a farmer’s wife wanted support for a future event, she would invite 2 or 3 of her daughters into the conversation.  Life flowed more freely then.

When social or financial transactions needed some punch, a farmer might take one son aside and give him the role of bad cop.

“Object to everything I say.  Support Mr. Boulanger’s ideas.  Little by little I will agree with Mr. Boulanger and finally come around to his method of doing things.  He will think that he has persuaded me to his thinking.  This will please him immensely”, a farmer might say.  Persuasion and strategy.  

Good copbad cop.