Sep 26

Leading a Secondary Life

The discussion over at FMH on Ana’s excellent day-in-the-life-of-a-working-mom post got me thinking again about the complexities of leading a secondary life. For a variety of reasons I won’t go into here, it’s becoming more and more likely that my husband and I will never have children. (The complexities of infertility merit their own post, and perhaps someday I’ll post about them, but it remains a painful subject, and at the moment I manage the pain mostly by trying not to think about it.) Here, though, I want to consider the contradictions of what I will call, for lack of a better term, a secondary life.

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Sep 23

Culture and Doctrine

Commenting on a recent FMH thread (see #85), Sonnet raises some good questions:

When we call something “cultural,” then we allow ourselves to think of that thing as peripheral, perhaps silly, and certainly not required for salvation. But who gets to decide what is doctrine and what is culture? . . . I would be willing to bet that everyone’s configurations of doctrine and culture are different: How do you decide what is doctrine and what is not? Do you believe that someone else can tell you? Why is this distinction a useful one to make?

I’ve been wondering the same thing. This separation is frequently proposed as a way to deal with aspects of the Church that a person finds difficult. Once something gets labeled “culture,” as Sonnet observes, it’s easy to dismiss it; in fact, “culture” at times seems to simply be shorthand for “something I don’t like/believe.” However, I’m finding myself more and more skeptical about any clear-cut distinction between the two. Continue reading

Sep 20

On-the-Spot Mental Meltdowns

One of my less pleasant memories is that of the oral exam I had to take at the end of my master’s program in theology. Mostly what I remember is sitting in a room and staring blankly at three professors who were valiantly attempting to coax me into saying something coherent. At one point I recall one of them saying, “I know you know this–you gave a class presentation on it just a few weeks ago.” Unfortunately, my brain seemed to have temporarily shut down, and I had difficulty coming up with even basic theological terms. Continue reading

Sep 16

Doctrinal Development and Continuing Revelation

One of my Catholic professors once wryly observed that ten seemed to be the magic number for official Catholic pronouncements: after a new teaching had been repeated ten times, documents would begin with the phrase, “as the Church has always taught . . .” The comment made me laugh, because it reminded me of the LDS tendency to assert that every current notion in the Church must have existed in antiquity. Like other religious traditions, we are confronted with the challenge of theologically accounting for change while maintaining continuity with the past. Continue reading

Sep 12

Beauty and Power

(I originally posted this on my individual blog, from which I am currently taking a hiatus. I’ve revised it slightly and am reposting it here because I wanted a wider audience for my thoughts. Enjoy!)

There was a post on Feminist Mormon Housewives earlier this year (in response to a post on a conversation in other feminist blogs about women, beauty, compliments, derogatory comments, feminism, and other related matters) that got me thinking about the issues of beauty and power and how they play out in women’s lives, both inside and outside of the church. Continue reading