Apr 29

Deciphering the Divine Signal

I’ve debated for quite a while about whether to post this, but I think it’s a topic worth discussing. I would, however, ask that in commenting, you especially note number five of my recent pointers about ZD: “Don’t assume that discussions of difficult personal issues are invitations to point out the poster’s failings, recite platitudes, or give lectures. And unless it’s specifically requested, giving advice is dangerous territory.” I might be a little twitchier than usual in moderating comments.

In the spring of 2001, I decided to go off the antidepressant I’d been taking since the previous December. It was one in a long line of psychotropic meds I’d tried over the years–and as was usually the case for me, I found it difficult to tell whether it was making any difference. As I often lamented to my sister Eve, I needed a control group, a control “me” in order to make an informed judgment. My decision to go off this particular drug was motivated by a number of factors. I was feeling burned out on the whole project of experimenting with medication. I also suspected that this drug was numbing me out a bit, making me feel less alive, and I didn’t like that.

Continue reading

Apr 29

What does “hearken” mean?

This ended up a little longer than I’d intended, but I like my findings too much to trim it down. If you’re not totally entranced by descriptive lexicography, I can’t say I understand, because I don’t (what’s wrong with you?); however, I can suggest that you read the first two paragraphs, the bolded paragraph in the middle, and the last four or five.  You’ll get the argument I’m making, if not the methodology, or the fun.


The comments on Apame’s fine post below have turned me to this question, and rather than threadjack her understandable envy of those who get to fine-tune their own wedding vows, I thought I’d give it its own post. Because honestly, I’m not sure I know what this word means. Continue reading

Apr 28

What does Kate Middleton Have that I Don’t…

…that I wish more than anything in the world I could have had for my own wedding?

I know, I know.  It’s like the hardest riddle you’ve ever read.

Here’s a clue:  It’s not a royal fiance or a five foot cake or a McQueen dress or 30,000 flowers.


It’s the freedom and power to omit the vow to “obey her husband”.

…and then have everyone be happy about it.

Apr 27

Some Pointers About ZD

I started this post probably two years ago (like so many ZD drafts, it then disappeared into the depths of our queue), but a few incidents in recent weeks have inspired me to come back to it. These are some tips (some composed with the help of my co-bloggers) which I hope will be helpful for those participating here. They’re probably unnecessary for the majority of our commenters, but they might be worth mentioning for those who are less familiar with our style and assumptions. Continue reading

Apr 26

Why Can’t Women Be Witnesses?

Are women’s perceptions less reliable than men’s? Does this policy not privilege the validity of male experience over female, signaling the stance that men’s perceptions should be accepted by the community as “truth,” where women’s experiences must be measured against men’s?

Apr 25

I’m a Spiritual Slacker; Do I Need the Priesthood?

If indeed my XX chromosomes have blessed me with an extra dose of spirituality, I’m having a hard time seeing it. Truth be told, I find it a real pain to get up on Sunday morning and attend church, and I frequently find myself thinking how nice it would be to instead stay home and read novels, preferably while eating brownies and ice cream. I’ve been known to avoid the internal debate altogether by simply sleeping in–and when I wake up and see that it’s too late to make it, I think, aww, what a shame, I guess I’ll have to try out my latest arrival from Netflix.

Continue reading

Apr 23

Thoughts for Easter Weekend

“By these three days [the Triduum*] all the world is called to attention. Everything that is and ever was and ever will be, the macro and the micro, the galaxies beyond number and the microbes beyond notice—everything is mysteriously entangled with what happened, with what happens, in these days. This is the axis mundi, the center upon which the cosmos turns. In the derelict who cries from the cross is, or so Christians say, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

–Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon

(*The three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are traditionally referred to as the Triduum)

Continue reading

Apr 19

Actually, sameness and equality have a lot in common.

Men and women in the church are equal; they’re just not the same. They have different roles, but their different roles are equal. And when you let women do the same things as men do, you’re not making them equal; you’re just trying to make them the same.

This is among the most frequent means I hear of defending gender inequal—err, let’s call it structural imbalance, just so I can get the basic premise down—in the church. Continue reading

Apr 16

A testimony.

This week, with Lynnette here to visit, I finally succeeded in inflicting my current favorite movie ever upon the last family holdout: we made Eve watch Troll 2. I’m pleased to say that she enjoyed it much more than she expected; she was still talking about the infamous and inexplicable popcorn scene the next day. Most of the other ZDs were able to experience this steaming pile of cinema at Christmas, after Lynnette helpfully gave it to me for my birthday, a decision which she has only had occasion to regret two or three times since. Continue reading

Apr 13

Perceptions of Divinity School

I sometimes get evasive when people ask what I study, especially if I’m not feeling particularly talkative–an admission that I study theology can lead to all kinds of complicated conversations. But for the most part, my fellow Latter-day Saints have been enthusiastic and supportive, and I’ve very much appreciated that. However, there are some ideas about divinity school which I’ve repeatedly encountered that I’ve found somewhat baffling, as they really haven’t matched my experience.

(Caveat: this is shaped to some extent by my specific field of systematic theology, and I’d be interested in hearing from those who work in other areas of religion.)

Continue reading

Apr 03

On Progress and Support

As I contemplated what to write about today, unlike past years, nothing immediately sprang to mind. Overall I think that’s a great thing. Life, even with autism, is more settled these days. We have routines and plans, and real communication, and things are pretty good.

Don’t get me wrong — life with Spencer is far from “normal”. My almost-3yo talks better than my 6yo does. If I have to choose one hand to hold in a busy parking lot or to cross a street, it’s that of my oldest child. Nearly everything in the house ends up dipped in water at one point or another, and that includes electronics. I’m trying to potty-train 3 children at once, and with the oldest I’ve probably washed out 5 or 6 times more poopy underwear than most parents do while potty training 10 children. Waiting in a line is like yanking teeth out with my bare hands.

Still, things are pretty good. Continue reading