LAURA: I breastfed my oldest longer than most North Americans do. I just passed the average age of weaning with my youngest, who shows no signs of being done. Buoyed by my knowledge of worldwide data, a supportive community, and my own stubbornness, I’ve never cared about others’ opinions on this topic.
SERENA: A recent story I read online has caused me to wonder where I can turn for peace when a church leader is exercising unrighteous dominion. The story involves a mother who was told by her stake president that if she didn’t refrain from nursing uncovered in a foyer during services, she would be denied a temple recommend. To further add insult to injury, her husband was told he had to choose between his church and his wife, and the leader implied that he should be able to control his wife’s will. This couple reportedly took their case to an area authority who sided with the stake president. The story caused me to wonder how someone who is being bullied by a leader gets justice when the area authorities are lockstep with whatever a stake president decides. Continue reading “When Leaders Choose the Wrong”
READER POST: I have been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon) my entire life. I have served in numerous church callings. I am also a transgender member who came out in September of 2017. Continue reading “On Being a Transwoman in the Mormon Church”
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”
READER POST: 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”
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.
LAURA: My dear daughters,
The world is really scary right now. It seems like everywhere we turn there is heartbreak and violence and ugliness. Although I want to shield you from it for now, I know that I can’t protect you forever. I’d love to give you the tools to make sense of it, but the truth is I don’t know how. I can’t make sense of it either. Continue reading “That You May Walk with Love”
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”
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”