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?”
MIRIAM: Before dawn at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, my first child was born after a very quick labor. The nurse had told me to signal when I felt pressure so that she’d know when I was ready to push. The pressure came, and I did not push, yet my body pushed out my new daughter with no voluntary effort on my part. She was born so quickly that our doctor missed it; the room where my body gave her precipitous entrance filled with half a dozen excited nurses.
Within the hour, my baby had been whisked out for a bath, Daddy following her according to our plan. The doctor—a fellow Mormon—had arrived and was examining me to ensure the delivery of the placenta when he began cussing under his breath. The nurses hadn’t noticed that I was bleeding out. Continue reading “A Cry for Our Mother”
READER POST: Tonight, as I go to sleep, I am deeply troubled, and so are others in the LGBTQ community of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint. This weekend, at the bi-annual General Conference, our leaders waxed spiritual over the pulpit. Most speakers talked of Jesus Christ and of his healing atonement. However, one speaker chose another way and probably turned away both members and perspective members. Continue reading “Mormon and Transgender: A Human Response to Institutional Mormon Transphobia”
READER POST: Many of my Mormon sisters will be fasting for 10 days from social media in order to focus on gospel learning. They were invited to do so by the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson. My beloved sisters and friends who are fasting, God be with you. Fasts are such a special set-apart time to be close to God, to rest in God’s love, and to rededicate ourselves to being Light.
I understand that some men have expressed concern that some women may not be fasting as they were expressly invited to. It is to them, and all the men of the church, that I address my next words. How I hope to impress upon your minds the deep need the sisters have for you! Continue reading “What LDS Men Can Do to Support The Women’s Social Media Fast”
LEAH: We Mormons are a peculiar people known for our innovation and industry. We have our own welfare system, our own addiction recovery program, and we even have our own special in-house brand of misogyny.
Has it a name? It has now: Mormsogyny. Continue reading “Mormonism + Misogyny = ?”
MIRIAM: When my second daughter was three years old, she answered the door to a friend I served with at church. A few minutes later when we were alone, my friend joked that my daughter was going to be a challenge as she got older. I laughed. Her observation was already being confirmed. This child was determined, extremely observant, and fearless. When she was five years old, we lived in a small apartment complex surrounding a playground where she and the other kids would play. One day I was checking on her and her older siblings from the third story window. I didn’t see her. “Hi Mom!” rang to my ears. It was my girl, but, where was she? The sound seemed strange. I kept looking and realized why the sound was strange. She was calling to me at eye-level from the tree she had climbed! Did I mention I was on the third floor? Continue reading “Thank You For Your Criticism”
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?”
READER POST: A few years ago, my daughter had a lesson in school about early American history. In it, the teacher mentioned (but did not detail) the rape and abuse of the native peoples on a mass scale and taught that such terrible acts have been used in war and oppression in all of history. He taught his students that we learn about these things so we can recognize the evil in them and fight it. Because he comes from a culture that has experienced a great deal of violence and persecution, he wanted to be honest about history.
When my daughter came home, she asked me several questions about war and rape. I felt physically ill. I was horrified that her teacher had torn back the curtain on our broken world and revealed it in all its ugliness—revealed that rape isn’t limited to isolated violence behind closed doors, but, throughout history, has been used on a mass scale as a weapon of war, subjugation, and torture. Continue reading “On McKenna Denson and the Pulpit Watch Tower”
LAURA: I’ve seen a meme floating around recently that says something like “The thing that hurt me was my own expectations.” I don’t know if that’s true. Sometimes I think it’s hope that hurts us. I do know that, when it comes to people, I’m an optimist and I regularly expect people to be amazing. I’m often disappointed and hurt. Continue reading “Sam Young and Mormonism’s Failure to Do Better”