Trigger Warning: Death of a child
READER POST: October 28, 2017 marked the one-year date of the death of my 10-year-old son Sawyer. It was obviously traumatic and shattered everything I knew about what was right and true and good In the world.
I sat in the piercing parlor that evening, looking around at the clientele, realizing how out of place I looked. I worried getting my nose pierced at age 41 would seem silly to everyone. I had to convince myself over and over it wasn’t about what others would think, it was about what I wanted.
Continue reading “Mourning Sawyer”
Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. ~ Bonnie L. Oscarson
READER POST: I was in a toxic, abusive marriage. I felt profoundly alone because no one knew about my struggles as a betrayed and abused wife. I’d been thrown into murky waters without a life raft, so I clung to Brene Brown’s challenge to dare greatly. I forced myself to be truer to what I was feeling, experiencing, and thinking. I knew I needed human connection even though it’d require a vulnerability I feared, so I looked to the safest place I knew: the sisterhood in my Relief Society. Surely my sisters would lift me if I mustered enough courage to tell them I was being abused. I was wrong.
Continue reading “A Betrayal in My Religious Sisterhood”
TW: Policy exclusion of transgender individuals
BRANDY: Several weeks before Christmas, I stood in my kitchen wrapping pralines. It’s tedious, monotonous, work, and the worst part of making the damn things. My mind was racing, stressing, about all the things I still had to do before bed, before tomorrow, before I left town for a few days, before Christmas. My husband walked into the kitchen and something in his expression made me ask what was going on. He said, “You have four sons.” And I felt the floor fall out from under my feet. Continue reading “My Trans Teen and the Sting of Being Active LDS”
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)”
READER POST: Across the grassy park, I see a cousin I haven’t seen for six years. I shout her name and run toward her. She looks up, shakes off a child who’s clinging to her hand, and we meet in a fierce embrace, laughing and crying. I feel safe–here–in the middle of my chaotic family reunion, where I am linked to everyone, including those I barely remember or have never met, linked just as surely as I hold onto this beloved cousin I’ve known since birth. Continue reading “Generations Bound by Love and Sugar”
READER POST: I sat alone in the dark, the blur of Christmas lights blinking against the icy windows. I glanced at the cardboard box of decorations: the dollar store stockings, the plastic ornaments, the artificial secondhand tree–none of it familiar. I began removing each substitute item, given as condolence for not having our cherished Christmas belongings. Surely this was not the life I planned. Being a single mom of four young children, one with profound special needs, came with challenges that I embraced fully, but it was all still bewildering. Continue reading “Coats of Love”
HILDEGARD: In a recent conference talk, Church President Russell M. Nelson spoke idyllically of motherhood—that he valued it so highly as to have chosen his surgical career because he couldn’t choose to be a mother.
Let’s put aside for a moment that not every woman can choose to be a mother, either; and Life doesn’t always honor our choices anyway.
Let’s also put aside for a moment that careers outside health care are honorable, too.
I’d like to talk about what was notably absent in his treatment of the topic—what he left unsaid, that speaks volumes more to me than what he did say.
He couldn’t choose to be a mother, so he chose a health-related career. What value does he assign to his own fatherhood? Why would mentioning his earthly career take precedence over mentioning his divine identity as a father?
Let’s start by looking at where fathers are most often seen in the Mormon world.
Continue reading “Fathers in Heaven, Absent on Earth”
LAURA: I listened to Saturday morning’s session of General Conference with interest. There were rumors in online Mormonland that this change to a 2-hour block was coming and so I wasn’t entirely surprised by it. I was surprised by the way it jumbled my feelings though.
As Pres. Nelson shared the story of a family who held church in their home, I felt grief and frustration. He shared how the husband was more careful about his language and tone in their home, knowing that it was under that roof he would bless the sacrament. Four years ago, I had friends who were excommunicated for doing the same. Although the surrounding circumstances were different, it was a painful reminder that the church is not the same wherever you go. Continue reading “Home-centered and Church-supported Mormonism in Context”
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?”
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”