Yes, I Can Forgive…

READER POST: In his October General Conference talk, “The Ministry Of Reconciliation,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland states, “Surely each of us could cite an endless array of old scars and sorrows and painful memories that this very moment still corrode the peace in someone’s heart or family or neighborhood.” I have those scars. In fact, I do not attend church right now because it is not a safe place for me. People don’t ever ask why, but they are quick to tell me to forgive and forget and beware of pride and victimization. Continue reading “Yes, I Can Forgive…”

The Good in General Conference

SERENA: I have never been a leader worshiper. I believe the brethren serve out of a place of love. We are all fallible, our human leaders included, and I worship Jesus Christ, not man. I have admiration and respect for the apostles, general authorities and general officers of the Church who devote so much of their lives to the service of our Heavenly Father. I believe they are good men and women doing their best to do the will of the Lord. I sustain them by listening and seeking revelation as to how to apply their teachings in my life in ways that strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father and help me be more in tune with His will for me.  Continue reading “The Good in General Conference”

Women, How Will You Travel the Covenant Path?

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?”

On McKenna Denson and the Pulpit Watch Tower

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”

Mormon No Mo Yo

PILAR: Although Juliet opined that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Anne of Green Gables disagreed and memorably said, “I don’t think a rose would be as nice if it were called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” I’m not sure which character I agree with more, because they both make valid points.

This week, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church, announced that the  Lord “has impressed upon my mind” that God doesn’t like the use of the word “Mormon” for this, that, and the other thing. No more Mormon or LDS Church. Strictly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, unless you use the so-called shorthand “restored gospel of Jesus Christ.” Continue reading “Mormon No Mo Yo”

To the Sister Who Made this Hygiene Kit

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”

How Local Leaders Responded to Marital Abuse: An Interview with Pilar, Part II

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”

The Wounded Women of Polygamy Culture

DEBORAH: Sisters Quorum has been publicly quiet in the wake of the Joseph L. Bishop scandal, but behind the scenes, our writers have been in an emotional and spiritual tumult. If you’ve followed the blog, you’re aware that some SQ writers have deep, prolonged history with sexual and spiritual abuse. The reality is, as it turns out, many of our writers have been victimized sexually and abandoned, or not believed, by church authorities and often by family members. I’ve watched these amazing survivors grapple with the hard reality that the formal Church, through its authorities, looked the other way, expressing a level of forgiveness or compassion for a sexual predator that resulted in enabling his continued abuse. The level at which this is striking the souls of abuse survivors is deep and primal. The pain it renews, the rage and confusion it reignites, aren’t going away. Continue reading “The Wounded Women of Polygamy Culture”

Lamb

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.
-Zechariah 13:6

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”

When Black Eyes and Police Reports Don’t Matter

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”