ATHENA: As General Conference weekend spins up, I find myself dreading the fallout even more than I usually do. This past year has been a rough one for people on the margins of Mormondom, and I am one of those people. I tried for a very long time to maintain a position in the center, to belong to the in-crowd, until I just couldn’t anymore. The LDS church was hurting me in very specific ways, and because of that, I grew to understand how much pain church membership was causing other people for whom I cared deeply. I guess you could say my empathy chip finally activated.Continue reading “Be Careful Who You Shun in the Name of the Lord”
SQ: After General Conference, the staff here at SQ realized we don’t need the Church to be true, but we do need it to be good. And consistently honorable. To this end, we’ve compiled a list of the top fifteen things we want the Brethren to know. Here is our list, in no particular order: Continue reading “We Need the Church to be Good: a Top 15 List for the 15 Top Brethren”
READER POST: Buttermilk, powdered sugar, cream cheese: the cashier is bagging my Target purchases when I hear a familiar male voice, a neighborhood friend’s. “You must be getting ready to make something delicious for conference weekend,” he says. “Are you excited to listen?”
Before I can answer, he starts talking about how eager he is to hear the prophet’s voice. I smile, swipe my REDCard, gather my bag, and leave, voiceless.
His is just another in a long line of Mormon male voices I heard this week, this horrible week before General Conference, voices trying to tell me something about the choices I make in my life, what they believe I should believe, which parts of women’s experiences are valid or valuable. Continue reading “The Mormon Male Voice”
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”
LEAH: My heart is racing. I can’t believe you’ve done it again.
The card in my cold, shaking hands is addressed directly to my seven-year-old daughter. It wishes her a happy birthday and is signed, “your Primary presidency.”
You’re not her Primary presidency. You don’t even know her. But you and I know that this is far from the first time our name has been on your ward council’s agenda. This isn’t just a card. This is the beginning of another exhausting series of intrusive confrontations with you. Continue reading “Enough”
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”
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”
In Part I of this two-part interview, SQ’s Pilar gives us a glimpse into how the church’s investment in its history of polygamy negatively impacted her first marriage. Continue reading “Polygamy Culture’s Impact on my Failing Marriage: An Interview with Pilar, Part I”
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”