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”
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”
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”
READER POST: And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Two thousand years ago, our Savior made his victorious entry into Jerusalem. His people looked to him as a living prophet and Son of God, the messiah who would save them in victory and power. I try to imagine shouting “Hosanna!” and laying palm fronds before Him. What would it have been like to be so near my Savior, to give Him marks of His kingship?
But Christ’s kingdom was not of this world; it would not be founded in the powerful structures of men. His lack of military or financial power disappointed many followers. His social and spiritual might was taken as a threat to the powerful institutions of his day, especially the high priests and scribes, who laid plans for his painful and humiliating death. Continue reading “Lamb”
READER POST: This week, video was released of a woman confronting an LDS man, Joseph Bishop, whom she alleges sexually assaulted her while he was a mission president and she was a missionary at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo. Although both the Church Newsroom and the Bishop family have tried to paint this woman as an unreliable witness due to her church standing, mental health issues, and questionable past, the fact remains that Bishop admits on the tape to molesting another women. He also admits to police in a recent investigation that he asked another female missionary to show him her breasts, which she did. Remember, he was in a position of power over her at the time.
Bishop is the witness, not the woman on the tape, so HER credibility is moot. Continue reading “Moving Forward”
READER POST: When my friend, *Rachel, visited me and showed me a black eye inflicted by her husband, I was concerned for her safety. She told me about the horrific abuse she had suffered for years and said the psychological abuse was worse than the physical abuse. As a Stake Relief Society President at the time, I had recently attended a regional training session where we were taught that the Church did not condone domestic abuse. I encouraged Rachel to meet with her bishop and felt confident he would help her.
I was wrong. Continue reading “When Black Eyes and Police Reports Don’t Matter”
READER POST: I grew up with a story in my culture about faith and faithfulness and about what it meant to follow God. More specifically, I grew up with a story about people who left my faith community. Continue reading “More than One Story”
READER POST: A friend came to visit me today. I haven’t seen her in a while, but I do know that she is there. She is one of a very few people in my community who has shown me love, support, and empathy after a series of painful life struggles led to my divorce. She brought the kids and me a little Christmas gift and wrote me a sweet card. She also listened. She listened to my fears. My hopes. My frustrations. My vulnerabilities. My anger. My sadness.
She listened. Continue reading “Are Not We All Prisoners?”
READER POST: When I was 19, I made the conscious decision to be baptized against my parents’ wishes. In response, they refused to accept the invitation. I remember looking at how beautiful the sky was that day. I had never see such a bluer sky with a more perfect ratio of clouds.
Continue reading “The Lonely Road”
READER POST: I moved into a new apartment and a new singles ward to save some money before going to grad school. At the time, I was a 25-year-old returned missionary who was financially and emotionally stable. As is customary, when I moved into the ward, I had a meet the bishop interview. I grew up in a pretty chaotic home environment and it makes me pretty guarded. During the interview, I admittedly avoided questions about my family situation. This bishop was very nosy and, when I refused to give him specific information about my history, he had the executive secretary call me up for a second appointment. Continue reading “Held Hostage by a Bishop’s Hold”