ATHENA: I recently realized that I never heard either of my parents utter that familiar testimony-bearing expression, “I know the Church is true.” They were both raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the children of Mormon pioneers. They raised me and my siblings in the Church. They never said they didn’t think the church was true, but they never said they did, either. Continue reading “My Parents were Closeted, Nuanced Mormons (and you can be one, too)”
DEBORAH: A few years back, one of my adult children had had enough of Mormonism. He’d always participated at church, attending with us each Sunday, going to Mutual and stake dances, attaining his Eagle award, even choosing to attend a church university. He’d not given us much grief in terms of rebellion, but inside—and without me realizing it—he was struggling because, try as he might, he couldn’t receive the testimony I’d promised him would come. After a great deal of angst and a fall into depression, he finally told me he would leave the church. He asked me how to go about it. Explaining the process was probably the most difficult thing I’ve been asked to do by a child. But, because I love him and because I could see his mental health was dwindling, I did. Continue reading “On Eternal Families, Sad Heaven, and My Beloved Son”
READER POST: Religious holidays can be really hard after a faith transition. I often feel like I have to settle the questions of belief that I’ve wrestled with during the year, or that the wrestle isn’t allowed or worthy during the holiday season. I feel pressure to either declare myself a Christian with all the trimmings of a salvific Christ and a virgin birth, or I have to entirely reject Christianity and exclusively embrace a secular or pagan observation of the season. Continue reading “Finding Christmas Peace in Faith Transition”
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?”
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”
DEBORAH: One of my children suffered a birth injury that left her partially paralyzed in one arm. My doctor initially told me she’d recover in six months. When six months came and went without much recovery, I was bursting with concern and dread. Apparently, most babies with injuries at C5 and C6 do recover, but mine did not—not even after much faith, prayer, fasting, and priesthood blessings that promised a full recovery. By her ninth month milestone, I realized I’d have to accept that, for my sweet baby, a poor recovery was her “full” recovery. Continue reading “Faith, Priesthood Blessing, and the Unhealed Child”