Learning from Jesus this Christmas

LAURA: As we approach Christmas, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus. Like many of my friends, I’m trying to simplify our holiday without completely ignoring it. My oldest is extremely excited about Christmas and I don’t want to disappoint her. However, the mental load of the holidays is enough to overload my already anxiety-prone mental health. Balancing my limits with what I want, what my littles are wishing for, and what my extended family, social circle, and employer are expecting is the order of the day.

Continue reading “Learning from Jesus this Christmas”

The Confessional and Rape by Fraud

DEBORAH: The year my daughter was a high school senior, she fell in love with a sexual predator from a nearby ward and was raped by fraud. I use the term “sexual predator” because this is how priesthood leaders described him to me, knowing his sexual history as they did. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “raped by fraud,” it is applied to sexual activity which is consented to under false pretenses. Suffice it to say, my daughter fell in love with a bona fide liar, the kind of person who is every parent’s nightmare because he will do and say whatever it takes to achieve sexual conquest. This man-boy (then a college student) isn’t my subject today. Instead, I want to share how my daughter’s priesthood leaders treated her once her sexual conduct became known. Continue reading “The Confessional and Rape by Fraud”

Held Hostage by a Bishop’s Hold

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”

Silence

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”

Patriarchy Happens

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”