Coats of Love

READER SUBMISSION: 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”

Fathers in Heaven, Absent on Earth

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”

Home-centered and Church-supported Mormonism in Context

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”

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?”

Mormon and Transgender: A Human Response to Institutional Mormon Transphobia

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”

What LDS Men Can Do to Support The Women’s Social Media Fast

READER POST: Many of my Mormon sisters will be fasting for 10 days from social media in order to focus on gospel learning. They were invited to do so by the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson. My beloved sisters and friends who are fasting, God be with you. Fasts are such a special set-apart time to be close to God, to rest in God’s love, and to rededicate ourselves to being Light.

I understand that some men have expressed concern that some women may not be fasting as they were expressly invited to. It is to them, and all the men of the church, that I address my next words. How I hope to impress upon your minds the deep need the sisters have for you! Continue reading “What LDS Men Can Do to Support The Women’s Social Media Fast”

A Form Letter of Appeal in Support of Let Babies Eat

SISTERS QUORUM: The writers at Sisters Quorum stand in support of the Let Babies Eat initiative and its letter writing campaign, which encourages The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to establish a policy that supports breastfeeding families, particularly mothers who openly breastfeed on church property. The initiative’s complete list of goals and suggested actions can be found on the Let Babies Eat website, including general advice about how to write a letter of appeal.

Because SQ understands that some supporters of Let Babies Eat are uncomfortable writers—and because we believe that the volume of letters will speak as loudly as the content—we offer our readers a form letter that can be easily copied, adapted, and sent to the female general auxiliary leaders or other general authorities of the Church. The form letter will fit nicely on a single, standard piece of paper with either Times New Roman or Calibri 11 pt font.

Continue reading “A Form Letter of Appeal in Support of Let Babies Eat”

When Ten Billion Roads Converge

MIRIAM: Sometimes it’s just too much.

Our family’s kitchen has two entrances, and the traffic between them is often busy, seeing as many of us pick through leftovers and prepare our own meals. It was one of those soul-tired, spirit-weary days when I had no fresh cooking planned. So when my oldest daughter asked me to make her favorite dish of roasted potatoes and onions, I could feel my universe starting to collapse onto me.

It had been a hard year, one of the hardest in my life. The last few months had tested my courage for the future of my marriage.  I felt like I was walking alone, without my husband.  He was there, but I didn’t feel him with me. The emotional distance between us felt like a cold weight pressing constantly on my chest.

It had been a difficult week, full of all the normal busy stuff and work drudgery, but it had also been traumatic for people I loved. I had spent days trying to help the traumatized. Yet those who caused the pain were resistant to the cries of the wounded, and I felt thoroughly discouraged. The world felt dark and suffocating, and my daughter wanted me to cook on the one night I thought cooking would kill me. Continue reading “When Ten Billion Roads Converge”

You Are as He Meant You to Be

READER POST: I stand at the bathroom counter brushing my teeth. Three of my four children are in bed and the oldest, a 15-year-old girl, is on her way home. Our house is locked, the windows drawn. I feel at peace, knowing that this day, I have successfully checked off all the religious to-dos; prayers have been said, scriptures read. My temple recommend is valid, my faith strong. While we are not perfect as a family, I feel God is cognizant of our efforts and pleased with our work.

I hear the front door unlock, footsteps on the stairs, and the bathroom door opens. My eldest daughter, the one we prayed to have, the one we were blessed with after a miscarriage and years of trying, stands, not looking at me, defiant and, I see now, scared.

“I’m bisexual and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Continue reading “You Are as He Meant You to Be”