Love and Respect My Trans Child as if Your Own

TW: transphobia, brief mention of self harm

READER POST: I file into the restaurant with my beautiful (and often difficult) children. I gave birth to several boys—all gangly limbs, misplaced aggression, anxieties, and intense grudges. But they’re mine, and I love them, though maybe I regret this particular dinner decision. As we wait beside the Christmas tree, I notice the host is staring at my oldest with a puzzled look, one that feels judgmental and borders on disgust. For my oldest child holds a deep secret that only we know: a hard, life-changing, devastating, and beautiful secret. With this look my firstborn is receiving from a stranger, I realize his secret is becoming less so. For my oldest “son” is a girl. Continue reading “Love and Respect My Trans Child as if Your Own”

A Story of Christmas Charity and the Gift of Humiliation

READER SUBMISSION: My young family lived in poverty for years, but we attended church in a very wealthy area in Arizona. Our church arranges for everyone in the congregation to receive member ministers whose purpose is to make monthly in-home visits. These visits are both a well-being check and an opportunity to share a spiritual message. One day close to Christmas, my visiting minister (who lived much more comfortably than we did) called and asked if she could stop by. On her visit earlier in the month, she’d noticed our “Christmas tree” had been cut out of cardboard I found in a dumpster and taped to the wall, its ornaments drawn on with crayons. Our stockings were made out of old shirts, sewed together with yarn.

She brought her three grandchildren with her on this extra monthly visit—and a truck full of gifts for my toddlers. One of the grandchildren looked around our apartment in awe and asked, “Is this a hotel room?” We lived in a small, two bedroom apartment, but it was a normal apartment and didn’t look like a hotel. He certainly wasn’t to blame for his naive comment, but it was obvious he had never been inside an apartment before. Continue reading “A Story of Christmas Charity and the Gift of Humiliation”

The Hard Work of Zion Building

READER POST: Earlier this week, in a leadership session of LDS General Conference, Pres. Oaks said some really hurtful things about queer people. He’s ignorant and his statements were factually incorrect, scientifically speaking.

This is not the exception for Pres. Oaks or other members of LDS leadership, including Pres. Nelson, who also made really harmful statements in a BYU address recently. Because members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view these men as speaking for God, their opinion, however hurtful and incorrect it is, carries a lot of weight. It can do a lot of good, and it can do a lot of harm. Continue reading “The Hard Work of Zion Building”

Reaching for You

When it comes to women’s issues in the culture surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, none is more heart-rending or important than the issue of suicide. This READER POST carries a needful CONTENT WARNING for SUICIDE. –SQ

Reaching for You

I would hold your hand,
brush the hair from your brow,
sing your lullaby while my tears fall on your head.
But you, enshrouded in hospital blue,
smile and say it’s fine.
You’re fine.
Just fine.
And not to worry,
that you should be out
soon.
Maybe tomorrow.
Maybe in a week.
Maybe when the scars have healed.
I reach for your hand
the hand I held when you were small,
before we knew
the demon in your mind would control those hands,
would hold the pills and
one two three four
seven
ten
swallow swallow swallow
when my hand, so far away, couldn’t stop yours in time.

Continue reading “Reaching for You”

Climbing Higher Mountains

READER POST: Mormons sometimes behave as if the only music God listens to is theirs. But those dirge-like hymns that say “reverence’” to some say “pack up the Cheerios and iPads because we’ve successfully survived one hour” to others. At times, some of us just don’t feel the Holy Spirit testifying. As a missionary, our area was chastised by a visiting general authority for marching while we sang “Called to Serve,” and you don’t even want to know what he said about the lyrical drum roll we added to the bridge. Bless Emma, but if she had to do it all over again, and if she had access to the array of spiritual music we have today, would she do it differently? I have a couple of suggestions, in case she’s listening.

Continue reading “Climbing Higher Mountains”

Generations Bound by Love and Sugar

READER POST: Across the grassy park, I see a cousin I haven’t seen for six years. I shout her name and run toward her. She looks up, shakes off a child who’s clinging to her hand, and we meet in a fierce embrace, laughing and crying. I feel safe–here–in the middle of my chaotic family reunion, where I am linked to everyone, including those I barely remember or have never met, linked just as surely as I hold onto this beloved cousin I’ve known since birth. Continue reading “Generations Bound by Love and Sugar”

Sex Offenders in Church Leadership is Not News

READER POST: To gain perspective on the church’s problem with sex offenders in leadership, it’s good to take a look at religious news. The Southern Baptist conference is finding itself in deep yogurt on this topic, with journalists and Monday Morning Quarterbacks alike taking great delight in pointing out the issues that led to repeated and sustained cover-ups of pastoral abuse.

Continue reading “Sex Offenders in Church Leadership is Not News”

When Women Use the Temple as a Weapon

READER POST: Early in my marriage, I learned that my mother-in-law loves the temple. To her, it’s the pinnacle of family bonding time and the first thing she wants to do any time the family gets together. For instance, the evening before one family wedding, her sons had to explain why it would be insensitive for those of us with recommends to ditch the bride’s parents and the groom’s grandparents, who did not hold temple recommends, in order to attend a session together.  On another occasion, my mother-in-law picked up family at the airport and informed her travel-weary relatives that they were heading straight to the temple for a 2-hour session. Yes, she loves the temple that much, and its a problem. Continue reading “When Women Use the Temple as a Weapon”

The Silencing of Women in the Church

READER POST: At the foundation of the patriarchal culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the silencing of women. Until recently, women were not allowed to speak in General Conference. Their voices are excluded from critical councils of the Church–the councils that make policies which determine the quality of a woman’s life and how a woman may participate in the Church. Under these conditions, women are expected to obey Church leaders without complaint. Those who refuse to do so are too often marginalized and shamed. Continue reading “The Silencing of Women in the Church”

What I Was Supposed to See

READER POST: It’s funny, really. You’d think a less sexist temple ceremony would make me happy. And in a detached, distant kind of way, it does. I’m glad other women won’t have to feel the way I did; like I was trapped. I’m a lifelong feminist and a born-in-the-covenant Mormon, and I wrestled that with the best of them. I thought I’d figured it out.

Continue reading “What I Was Supposed to See”