DEBORAH: A few years back, one of my adult children had had enough of Mormonism. He’d always participated at church, attending with us each Sunday, going to Mutual and stake dances, attaining his Eagle award, even choosing to attend a church university. He’d not given us much grief in terms of rebellion, but inside—and without me realizing it—he was struggling because, try as he might, he couldn’t receive the testimony I’d promised him would come. After a great deal of angst and a fall into depression, he finally told me he would leave the church. He asked me how to go about it. Explaining the process was probably the most difficult thing I’ve been asked to do by a child. But, because I love him and because I could see his mental health was dwindling, I did. Continue reading “On Eternal Families, Sad Heaven, and My Beloved Son”
DEBORAH: Look out. April General Conference is nearly here, so out they come—the prognosticators and their prognostications. And why not? President Nelson has told us “the Restoration continues,” teasing us into setting up this figurative roulette wheel. Even the most ardent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t afraid to give it a spin, but the sisters of Relief Society are particularly invested, realizing they may be earmarked for changes. Of course, there’s a chasm in the women’s organization, particularly at the local level, with some standing on the vocal The-Way-It-Is-Is-the-Way-of-the-Lord side and others on the hushed Ask-and-Ye-Shall-Receive-Because-(some of)-this Stinks side. The one thing I’m confident in predicting is that, if any changes come that increase the visibility and influence of women, both sides of the chasm will join in a rousing cheer. Continue reading “Pre-General Conference List of Cheery Things for Relief Society Sisters”
DEBORAH: Changes have been made to the temple ceremonies, and, having not yet witnessed them, I rely on reports that every single thing feminist-leaning Latter-day Saint women have been protesting has been corrected. Finally. A step forward that is adult-sized. Of course, the entire topic of the temple falls into most members’ Too Sacred for Words file, so I won’t go there. Instead, I’d like to give a few shout outs. Continue reading “Let’s Hear It for the Boys! (and Other Shout-outs Re: the Temple Changes)”
DEBORAH: When I wrote my last post on the new missionary dress code, I had only the public announcement made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a comment, an SQ reader supplied the official wording, as it landed in the hands of our female missionaries. I’d like to say that the additional information demonstrated a greater mindfulness and care for the young women who serve. However, what it did was confirm that sexism—an inconsideration for the additional burdens the formal Church places on women—is alive and well. Continue reading “Addendum to The Slack in the New Missionary Dress Code”
DEBORAH: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released an announcement that all female missionaries may wear pants. Sometimes. Depending. Not in the temple, not at missionary conferences or various other mission- or church-specific meetings, and, of course, not during any Sunday meetings. Online rejoicing abounds. But not me. I can’t rejoice. Continue reading “The Slack in the New Sister Missionary Dress Code”
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?”
DEBORAH: Last week’s column by Robert Kirby landed him in a field of cat vomit and dog poo, or so he described the aftermath. The column focused on McKenna Denson and her trip to a fast and testimony pulpit in the Arizona ward of the self-admitted sexual predator who molested her while he was the MTC president and she, a missionary-in-training. In Kirby’s effort to clean up the figurative cat vomit and dog poo, he failed woefully, letting ferment in the light of day the misogynistic, rape culture attitudes that created a church system that assures McKenna Denson can receive no justice. Continue reading “Robert Kirby: Victim of Misandry?”
DEBORAH: Sisters Quorum has been publicly quiet in the wake of the Joseph L. Bishop scandal, but behind the scenes, our writers have been in an emotional and spiritual tumult. If you’ve followed the blog, you’re aware that some SQ writers have deep, prolonged history with sexual and spiritual abuse. The reality is, as it turns out, many of our writers have been victimized sexually and abandoned, or not believed, by church authorities and often by family members. I’ve watched these amazing survivors grapple with the hard reality that the formal Church, through its authorities, looked the other way, expressing a level of forgiveness or compassion for a sexual predator that resulted in enabling his continued abuse. The level at which this is striking the souls of abuse survivors is deep and primal. The pain it renews, the rage and confusion it reignites, aren’t going away. Continue reading “The Wounded Women of Polygamy Culture”
DEBORAH: One of my children suffered a birth injury that left her partially paralyzed in one arm. My doctor initially told me she’d recover in six months. When six months came and went without much recovery, I was bursting with concern and dread. Apparently, most babies with injuries at C5 and C6 do recover, but mine did not—not even after much faith, prayer, fasting, and priesthood blessings that promised a full recovery. By her ninth month milestone, I realized I’d have to accept that, for my sweet baby, a poor recovery was her “full” recovery. Continue reading “Faith, Priesthood Blessing, and the Unhealed Child”
Thank you for accepting the call to serve as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and congratulations. I listened yesterday to both the announcement of the newly formed First Presidency and to the press conference which followed. I was pleased to hear you reiterate that women’s voices are needed in church. As a practicing Latter-day Saint, a convert of several decades, as a woman who married in the temple with her family outside, and as a mother and grandmother, I have some things to voice that are important for the future of our church.