Jun 27

Testimony Bearing and Storytelling

The complaint I hear most often about testimony meeting is that people don’t actually bear testimony — that instead they do things like tell stories, engage in “thankamonies,” and so forth. While I am not entirely unsympathetic to such complaints, I find myself curious as to how those who are raising these concerns would imagine the ideal testimony meeting. In other words, what exactly does it mean to stick strictly to testimony-bearing?

Continue reading

Jun 23

Amen to the Priesthood or the Authority of that Man

That they [the rights of the priesthood] may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. -D&C 121:37

So why do I so rarely see “amen” being said to someone’s priesthood or authority?

Continue reading

Jun 20

Why I Worry

Preface: A month or two ago, there were a few conversations on the bloggernacle that highlighted a couple of common responses to feminist concerns. Dan Ellsworth over at Mormon Mentality decided to give the ZD bloggers some advice: he argued that we spend too much time thinking about the church (and our feminist concerns), and that we would worry less if we diversified and spent more time doing things we enjoyed. He also argued that we were going about trying to find answers to our concerns the wrong way. GeoffJ at New Cool Thang expressed confusion, writing in one of the long debates, “I must be missing something here.. If you are certain you are not less than men in the universe and in God’s eyes what are your deep wounds over that subject?”

Both of these comments highlight a common reaction to feminist concerns. I would summarize it as the “why do you worry?” reaction, and it exhibits a genuine confusion as to why feminists are worked up over what seem (to others) to be either inconsequential issues or issues that others firmly believe will be worked out in the eternities. Because “why do you worry?” is a common response to feminist conversations, I wanted to do a post on this subject. This post is specific to me and my experience–other feminists have their own stories, which I encourage them to share. Continue reading

Jun 17

Parenthood and the Imago Dei

In honor of having made it through another year of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations (and/or firestorms), I’d like to consider some issues related to parenthood, and how we talk about it in the Church. Though I admittedly do have my qualms about some of the language related to gender, I have to say that the LDS emphasis on the importance of parenting is something I actually quite appreciate, and generally see as positive. At the same time, as a single adult member of the Church, I’m all too aware of how this emphasis can leave a large segment of the community feeling somewhat like second-class citizens. So I find myself coming back to the question, is there a way to talk about the importance of parenthood that doesn’t marginalize the non-parents? Or is that simply one of the costs of keeping the role of parent as central as we want it to be? I honestly don’t know the answer to that one. Continue reading

Jun 13

Naming the YW

Kaimi recently posted on T&S about Brides Among the Beehives, with reference to Joseph Smith’s marriage to a 14-year-old. A few commenters have pointed out that 14-year-olds are not in fact Beehives, but rather Mia Maids. Though I have nothing to say at the moment about Joseph Smith’s polygamous marriages, this discussion has led me to ponder the fact that we refer to our Young Women as Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels. As a YW, I found the names rather silly (particularly “Mia Maid”), and I can’t say my opinion has changed much in the years since then. Of course, part of the fun of being a Mormon is having all these quirky terms. Nonetheless, I’m wondering whether anyone has any good suggestions for alternate names. What would you call the different groups of Young Women? Or do you like the labels we have?

Jun 07

Mormon Stories Podcast

John Dehlin interviewed me for the second episode in his series of podcasts on Mormonism and feminism. I gave an overview of the three waves of feminism, and didn’t really talk a lot about Mormonism at all (he wanted to start with a podcast that gave some background on the women’s movement.) Anyway, head over to Mormon Stories to give the podcast a listen. And if you feel I was misrepresenting anything, or if you want to discuss the history of feminism or other issues I raised, feel free to come back here and comment.

And while you’re over at Mormon Stories, give John Dehlin a big hearty thanks for doing this series!

Jun 06

Karen

I can’t remember when I first met Karen, but I’m sure that she took me seriously aback. Karen was a large, heavyset, mentally handicapped woman in our branch who had little sense of personal boundaries or respect for personal space. Karen favored enormous T-shirts featuring her favorite band, Cinderella, and pants for church, and she sported the type and amount of bling stereotypically associated with inner-city drug dealers. Karen loved painting her nails and dying her hair, and her nail polish was generally badly applied, and her hair badly dyed. Various Relief Society presidents tried to convince Karen of the virtues of dresses and skirts and looking a little more like the rest of us. No go. Karen was insistent on Cinderella. Continue reading

Jun 04

The Gospel of Positive Thinking

If there is a secular religion in contemporary America, it is arguably the Gospel of Positive Thinking. Adherents of this particular sect seek to maintain a positive attitude at all times, and in all things, and in all place. Their canon of sacred texts is an extensive one, comprised of dozens of pop psychology books making the case that positive thinking is the answer to whatever problems you may encounter in your life–the most recent entry being the bestseller, The Secret, which argues that through the “law of attraction,” positive thinking will bring positive things into your life. Continue reading