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”
By the Book
LEAH: For a brief time this morning, Handbook 1 was available in full at the church’s website. I don’t know how it got there. It wasn’t there to stay. But it was there just long enough for me to read several sections.
This is one of the most important books the LDS church has, the invisible, omnipresent member of the standard works, its arms wrapped around the covers of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price.
This book is at the core of some of my most painful experiences with the church. Continue reading “By the Book”
LAURA: Ten years ago, I was a young, bombastic, budding activist. Pick a cause and you’d probably find me there, arguing passionately for whatever it was. I liked (and still like) underdogs. My heart bled (and bleeds) for people impoverished and assailed. Injustice sparked (and still sparks) my rage. Continue reading “Silence”
I Divorced My House
SARAH: Since gift giving is not my love language I usually prefer texts and phone calls come birthday time. “It’s the thought that counts” is a love language I speak fluently, so even when I’m given something I don’t care for I find myself warmed by the thought that someone cared. Except that one time when my MIL gave me a mop as a gift, I wasn’t understanding or grateful. I was upset. I became more upset when she gave my husband ski clothes that same year. Is it irony or illumination that when I started exploring Mormon patriarchy, I got a mop for my birthday and my husband got ski gear for his? Continue reading “I Divorced My House”
DEBORAH: During Sunday services, I looked around the chapel, noting the brave women who had posted Me Too stories this week and realizing most (probably all) of the other women could tell their own stories if they’d felt inclined to. Then, as a speaker referred to the men in the ward as “the priesthood,” my mind slid back through the ways men at church have used their position to diminish and/or dismiss me, intentionally or not. I felt the urge to tell my stories, though today I will offer only one. Continue reading “Patriarchy Happens”
PILAR: I just stumbled onto an email on an old computer. Opening it feels like someone hit me with a sock full of quarters. I feel sick and dizzy. The email is from Janet, someone once close to me. Then I asked a favor, and she sent me this one last email. We haven’t spoken since. Continue reading “Believe Me”