When Ten Billion Roads Converge

MIRIAM: Sometimes it’s just too much.

Our family’s kitchen has two entrances, and the traffic between them is often busy, seeing as many of us pick through leftovers and prepare our own meals. It was one of those soul-tired, spirit-weary days when I had no fresh cooking planned. So when my oldest daughter asked me to make her favorite dish of roasted potatoes and onions, I could feel my universe starting to collapse onto me.

It had been a hard year, one of the hardest in my life. The last few months had tested my courage for the future of my marriage.  I felt like I was walking alone, without my husband.  He was there, but I didn’t feel him with me. The emotional distance between us felt like a cold weight pressing constantly on my chest.

It had been a difficult week, full of all the normal busy stuff and work drudgery, but it had also been traumatic for people I loved. I had spent days trying to help the traumatized. Yet those who caused the pain were resistant to the cries of the wounded, and I felt thoroughly discouraged. The world felt dark and suffocating, and my daughter wanted me to cook on the one night I thought cooking would kill me. Continue reading “When Ten Billion Roads Converge”

To the Sister Who Made this Hygiene Kit

Dear Sister,

I was there. With you. Just a year ago.

We assembled hygiene kits for the local women’s shelter. We laughed. We ate chocolate chip cookies and drank pink lemonade. We talked about our kids and our next vacations.

One shampoo, one soap, one toothbrush, one toothpaste. Some get dental floss if there is enough. Sealed in a Ziploc bag. Toss in the bin with the others. Forgotten just as quickly as it was assembled. Continue reading “To the Sister Who Made this Hygiene Kit”

ShadowLeaks™ Releases LDS Church’s Sacred Memos

PILAR: I’m on a mission to bring truth and light to the masses. So I started a new side gig I’m labeling ShadowLeaks™. And people, I have some really important news leaks for you about the new LDS hymn and song books. The absolute truth (and nothing but the truth) is that I have “acquired” certain secret sacred memos from Church Headquarters describing exactly what’s in and what’s out, plus every scandelicious detail about the new hymn book.

Continue reading “ShadowLeaks™ Releases LDS Church’s Sacred Memos”

A Lovely Road

READER POST: For seven years next September, this American has lived in a tiny European village.

Where I live now is home to 550 inhabitants and is named after the brook it nestles. This village is quiet, surrounded by fields of corn, hay, and the bright yellow flowers used to produce canola oil. The noisiest sounds are the traffic on the main road.

We live in an old farmhouse on the left, just after you cross the bridge into the village, coming from the nearest city. Our house is directly under the flight path of storks passing from the river to their high treetop nests.

Although our village is small, it does not feel isolated. Very typical of many European countries, it’s one in a network, one village accessible to the next by a short walk. So although the closest thing we have to a grocery is the corner bar-restaurant, which is mostly a bar, it’s still only a two or three minute drive to arrive there. 

With a large family that requires plenty of shopping, I visit my favorite grocery store several times a week, sometimes several times in one day. I can reach it by travelling either way on the main road. Continue reading “A Lovely Road”

What Comes Between My Husband and Me

READER POST: I sat in the Bride’s Room, listening to the temple matron, feeling very aware of my first pair of silky garments  beneath my temple gown. The bottoms felt baggy, but the top fit well, except for a seam that cut right across my breasts.  It felt a strange, having a bra on over the garment top, especially with that misplaced seam. I focused harder, trying to feel the spirit of what was happening. The temple matron quickly taught how to launder garments and told us when and when not to wear them. “Of course,” she said, “you’ll remove them for intercourse, but replace them right afterwards and always wear them overnight.” 

I did a double take. What did she just say? Continue reading “What Comes Between My Husband and Me”

How Local Leaders Responded to Marital Abuse: An Interview with Pilar, Part II

In Part II of this interview, SQ’s Pilar explains how local church leaders addressed the sexual and physical abuse within her marriage. Read Part I, which focuses on how historic polygamy affected the domestic violence.

SQ: Pilar, before we get any deeper, please tell us your present standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

PILAR: I’m an active member, attend my meetings, and hold a calling.  My first sealing was cancelled and I’m now sealed to my present husband. I decided to talk about these things because I love the Church and want it to do better.

SQ: Out of curiosity, how did you feel about the response to the first part of this interview?

PILAR: I appreciated the support. But some people expressed more concern over the mental state of my ex than they did for me, the abuse victim. That was disappointing. Demoralizing. Continue reading “How Local Leaders Responded to Marital Abuse: An Interview with Pilar, Part II”

You Are as He Meant You to Be

READER POST: I stand at the bathroom counter brushing my teeth. Three of my four children are in bed and the oldest, a 15-year-old girl, is on her way home. Our house is locked, the windows drawn. I feel at peace, knowing that this day, I have successfully checked off all the religious to-dos; prayers have been said, scriptures read. My temple recommend is valid, my faith strong. While we are not perfect as a family, I feel God is cognizant of our efforts and pleased with our work.

I hear the front door unlock, footsteps on the stairs, and the bathroom door opens. My eldest daughter, the one we prayed to have, the one we were blessed with after a miscarriage and years of trying, stands, not looking at me, defiant and, I see now, scared.

“I’m bisexual and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Continue reading “You Are as He Meant You to Be”

Presiding Parents

MARTHA: As LDS parents, we are entrusted with maintaining the integrity and purity of our children. Jesus told us, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”

We know that God dwells with our children, and it is our mantle, as parents, to ensure that the sacred and intimate event of worthiness interviews is only performed by people who are prepared and worthy to be in the presence of our children’s most sacred thoughts and feelings. Since we know our duty to protect, nourish, and defend, it is the task of presiding parents to conduct worthiness interviews with priesthood leaders who wish to enter the holy space of our children’s confidence. Continue reading “Presiding Parents”