Generations Bound by Love and Sugar

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”

On Eternal Families, Sad Heaven, and My Beloved Son

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”

When Women Use the Temple as a Weapon

READER POST: Early in my marriage, I learned that my mother-in-law loves the temple. To her, it’s the pinnacle of family bonding time and the first thing she wants to do any time the family gets together. For instance, the evening before one family wedding, her sons had to explain why it would be insensitive for those of us with recommends to ditch the bride’s parents and the groom’s grandparents, who did not hold temple recommends, in order to attend a session together.  On another occasion, my mother-in-law picked up family at the airport and informed her travel-weary relatives that they were heading straight to the temple for a 2-hour session. Yes, she loves the temple that much, and its a problem. Continue reading “When Women Use the Temple as a Weapon”

Lessons from Mother Winter

READER POST: I used to really hate winter.

A sharp, bone-slicing, we-do-not-negotiate-with-terrorists hatred.

Then….?

I noticed that we always talk about the earth as a mother. Hey, I’m a mother! Maybe I could pick up a few lessons from The Master Mother? I was starved for some kind of pattern of a proper mother, since my own was too overwhelmed to really show up and I didn’t want to repeat that. Continue reading “Lessons from Mother Winter”

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?”