HILDEGARD: In a recent conference talk, Church President Russell M. Nelson spoke idyllically of motherhood—that he valued it so highly as to have chosen his surgical career because he couldn’t choose to be a mother.
Let’s put aside for a moment that not every woman can choose to be a mother, either; and Life doesn’t always honor our choices anyway.
Let’s also put aside for a moment that careers outside health care are honorable, too.
I’d like to talk about what was notably absent in his treatment of the topic—what he left unsaid, that speaks volumes more to me than what he did say.
He couldn’t choose to be a mother, so he chose a health-related career. What value does he assign to his own fatherhood? Why would mentioning his earthly career take precedence over mentioning his divine identity as a father?
Let’s start by looking at where fathers are most often seen in the Mormon world.
Continue reading “Fathers in Heaven, Absent on Earth”
LAURA: I listened to Saturday morning’s session of General Conference with interest. There were rumors in online Mormonland that this change to a 2-hour block was coming and so I wasn’t entirely surprised by it. I was surprised by the way it jumbled my feelings though.
As Pres. Nelson shared the story of a family who held church in their home, I felt grief and frustration. He shared how the husband was more careful about his language and tone in their home, knowing that it was under that roof he would bless the sacrament. Four years ago, I had friends who were excommunicated for doing the same. Although the surrounding circumstances were different, it was a painful reminder that the church is not the same wherever you go. Continue reading “Home-centered and Church-supported Mormonism in Context”
READER POST: In his October General Conference talk, “The Ministry Of Reconciliation,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland states, “Surely each of us could cite an endless array of old scars and sorrows and painful memories that this very moment still corrode the peace in someone’s heart or family or neighborhood.” I have those scars. In fact, I do not attend church right now because it is not a safe place for me. People don’t ever ask why, but they are quick to tell me to forgive and forget and beware of pride and victimization. Continue reading “Yes, I Can Forgive…”
SERENA: I have never been a leader worshiper. I believe the brethren serve out of a place of love. We are all fallible, our human leaders included, and I worship Jesus Christ, not man. I have admiration and respect for the apostles, general authorities and general officers of the Church who devote so much of their lives to the service of our Heavenly Father. I believe they are good men and women doing their best to do the will of the Lord. I sustain them by listening and seeking revelation as to how to apply their teachings in my life in ways that strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father and help me be more in tune with His will for me. Continue reading “The Good in General Conference”
READER POST: Buttermilk, powdered sugar, cream cheese: the cashier is bagging my Target purchases when I hear a familiar male voice, a neighborhood friend’s. “You must be getting ready to make something delicious for conference weekend,” he says. “Are you excited to listen?”
Before I can answer, he starts talking about how eager he is to hear the prophet’s voice. I smile, swipe my REDCard, gather my bag, and leave, voiceless.
His is just another in a long line of Mormon male voices I heard this week, this horrible week before General Conference, voices trying to tell me something about the choices I make in my life, what they believe I should believe, which parts of women’s experiences are valid or valuable. Continue reading “The Mormon Male Voice”
READER POST: Just imagine:
“When we omit Her name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Her as the central focus of our lives.
“Taking our Heavenly Mother’s name upon us includes declaring and witnessing to others—through our actions and our words—that She is our Mother. Have we been so afraid to offend someone who doesn’t believe in Her that we have failed to defend the Mother Herself, to stand up for Her even in the name by which we call Her? Continue reading “The Correct Name of Our Mother in Heaven”
DEBORAH: I hear with different ears than those I heard with in my youth. As a new convert, then a wife and young mother, I heard the men at the General Conference podium through ears of hope and expectation. I relished their promises that following their counsel—being a wife devoted to the betterment of my husband in both career and church, being a sacrificing mother intent on raising my children in a new, exciting gospel—would result in a happiness unmatched outside the reach of the gospel. Every inch of my soul longed to please God and, with my whole heart, I trusted the men called to speak for Him.
I’m at the other end of life now. I’ve raised my children and am watching them raise theirs. I’ve lived as is prescribed for Mormon women. I earned an education—a bachelor’s before marriage and a master’s degree in midlife—but I’ve not had paying, full-time employment since my first child was born. I ensured my children learned the gospel; we attended our meetings, held callings, and lived an existence centered around the church and gospel.
When I listened to General Conference last weekend, I listened with the ears of an experienced Mormon woman and with eyes wide-opened by time. While most of General Conference was uplifting, some of it rang as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Certain things said leave me wondering if some of the men who lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understand women at all. Continue reading “Women, How Will You Travel the Covenant Path?”
MIRIAM: Before dawn at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, my first child was born after a very quick labor. The nurse had told me to signal when I felt pressure so that she’d know when I was ready to push. The pressure came, and I did not push, yet my body pushed out my new daughter with no voluntary effort on my part. She was born so quickly that our doctor missed it; the room where my body gave her precipitous entrance filled with half a dozen excited nurses.
Within the hour, my baby had been whisked out for a bath, Daddy following her according to our plan. The doctor—a fellow Mormon—had arrived and was examining me to ensure the delivery of the placenta when he began cussing under his breath. The nurses hadn’t noticed that I was bleeding out. Continue reading “A Cry for Our Mother”
READER POST: Tonight, as I go to sleep, I am deeply troubled, and so are others in the LGBTQ community of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint. This weekend, at the bi-annual General Conference, our leaders waxed spiritual over the pulpit. Most speakers talked of Jesus Christ and of his healing atonement. However, one speaker chose another way and probably turned away both members and perspective members. Continue reading “Mormon and Transgender: A Human Response to Institutional Mormon Transphobia”
READER POST: Many of my Mormon sisters will be fasting for 10 days from social media in order to focus on gospel learning. They were invited to do so by the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson. My beloved sisters and friends who are fasting, God be with you. Fasts are such a special set-apart time to be close to God, to rest in God’s love, and to rededicate ourselves to being Light.
I understand that some men have expressed concern that some women may not be fasting as they were expressly invited to. It is to them, and all the men of the church, that I address my next words. How I hope to impress upon your minds the deep need the sisters have for you! Continue reading “What LDS Men Can Do to Support The Women’s Social Media Fast”