Discovering Sisterhood through Vulnerability: A Story of Gratitude

READER POST: The doorbell rang last night as I was folding laundry and my kids were absorbed in electronics. Because #singlemomlife.

It was the sister missionaries from my previous ward. They recently requested my Facebook friendship. I had accepted with a chuckle, expecting they would take one look at my feed and think me an apostate.  I honestly thought to myself that I maybe I should brand myself with a scarlet letter “A” for “apostate” and that would simplify everything. Continue reading “Discovering Sisterhood through Vulnerability: A Story of Gratitude”

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”

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”

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”

Wedded to What?

HILDEGARD: Shortly after I married my husband, I had a troubling dream. In that dream, I had been carrying on an affair with an anonymous priest—an unknown man wearing a clerical collar. Waking up to wracking sobs of guilt, I felt like I’d been disloyal to my husband, like I’d betrayed him without even trying to.

I had no real understanding of the dream world, and I was new to the world of sexual activity. I felt the need to confess to my husband, so, as hives erupted on my body to accompany my tears, he listened and consoled me that it had just been a dream, and I’d done nothing wrong. Even my horrified reaction was a testament to my loyalty. We talked and laughed and mentally filed it away under “Weird Dreams and Learning Experiences.”

Now, more than fifteen years later, I think there was a message in that dream.  Continue reading “Wedded to What?”

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”

A Lovely Road

READER POST: For seven years next September, this American has lived in a tiny European village.

Where I live now is home to 550 inhabitants and is named after the brook it nestles. This village is quiet, surrounded by fields of corn, hay, and the bright yellow flowers used to produce canola oil. The noisiest sounds are the traffic on the main road.

We live in an old farmhouse on the left, just after you cross the bridge into the village, coming from the nearest city. Our house is directly under the flight path of storks passing from the river to their high treetop nests.

Although our village is small, it does not feel isolated. Very typical of many European countries, it’s one in a network, one village accessible to the next by a short walk. So although the closest thing we have to a grocery is the corner bar-restaurant, which is mostly a bar, it’s still only a two or three minute drive to arrive there. 

With a large family that requires plenty of shopping, I visit my favorite grocery store several times a week, sometimes several times in one day. I can reach it by travelling either way on the main road. Continue reading “A Lovely Road”

What Comes Between My Husband and Me

READER POST: I sat in the Bride’s Room, listening to the temple matron, feeling very aware of my first pair of silky garments  beneath my temple gown. The bottoms felt baggy, but the top fit well, except for a seam that cut right across my breasts.  It felt a strange, having a bra on over the garment top, especially with that misplaced seam. I focused harder, trying to feel the spirit of what was happening. The temple matron quickly taught how to launder garments and told us when and when not to wear them. “Of course,” she said, “you’ll remove them for intercourse, but replace them right afterwards and always wear them overnight.” 

I did a double take. What did she just say? Continue reading “What Comes Between My Husband and Me”

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”