Everything I Know about Feminism I Learned from the 1970s

At a recent FAIR conference, Joshua Johanson spoke about how he has negotiated the conflict between his same sex attraction and his religious faith.  Something that struck me about this talk was a comment he made near the beginning about his wife’s relationship with the feminist movement and how it is similar to his relationship to the gay movement.  He stated: Read More

On Mission Hierarchy, Gender, and Organizational Communication

In support of RAH’s Sister Missionary Leadership Project over at fMh, here’s a post about my mission originally published at Both Sides Now in July of last year.

In our mission we had APs and “Traveling Elders” who assisted with a lot of the nuts and bolts of mission organization (for a primer on the organizational structure of LDS missions, see here). They acted as extra eyes and ears for the Mission President (MP), traveling around the mission area and checking in with different companionships, helping to arrange apartments, discussing difficulties in different areas or companionships, etc. Because mission rules prevented the young Elders from visiting one-on-one with the Sister missionaries, the MP created a calling he dubbed the “Coordinating Sister.” It was the Coordinating Sister’s job, once or twice a month, to travel around the mission area with her companion, work with other Sister missionaries, and then report back to the MP. From my vantage point it was a very helpful calling, since mission culture and rules meant not only that Sisters were often more isolated than Elders, but also that they typically felt very inhibited about discussing problems in companionships with their District or Zone Leaders or even with the MP. (I should probably note that neither I nor any of my companions served as the Coordinating Sister.)
Read More

Optimally (un)reasonable commandments

A few weeks ago in my elders’ quorum, we had the lesson from the George Albert Smith manual on the Word of Wisdom. As often happens with lessons on this topic, a couple of people raised their hands and talked about how the Word of Wisdom is the perfect health code, that it tells us exactly what we must do to be the healthiest we possibly can. Along similar lines, in response to some provocateur asking why we don’t drink a little wine since some research suggests it might be good for us (no, the provocateur was not me :D), people also commented that if any “science” (their tone suggested the quotation marks) suggested something different than the Word of Wisdom, then the science was sure to be proven wrong sooner or later.

The manual is more conservative. While it says that we’ll be physically blessed for following the Word of Wisdom, it doesn’t say that the Word of Wisdom is necessarily the perfect health code. I think this is actually a strength of the commandment: it’s reasonable, but it’s not too reasonable.

Read More

Election Night Plans

I’m less than thrilled that I’m going to be stuck in class from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on election night. (Though I’m sure everyone will be surreptitiously checking the election returns.) For the last presidential election, we had a family Skype, which was a fun way to watch things unfold. (It was also memorable because I was staying with my sister Eve, and my niece was born in the early hours of the following day.)

I’m curious as to what other people will be doing. Do you have traditions? Do you get together with people? Do you skip the whole thing?