Reason and Emotion

When the BBC’s modern version of Sherlock aired in 2010, it appealed to my deep seated love of problem solving, mysteries and attention to detail. I had read The Hound of the Baskervilles and one or two of the short stories in the past, but decided to read the entire Sherlock canon, which is comprised of four novels and 56 short stories. Overall, they were a very enjoyable read. However, given that the stories were written between 1887 and 1921 it is not surprising that Sherlock holds some extremely sexist attitudes.   Read More

Times, They Are A Changin’

A couple months ago, I wrote a quick post about Visiting Teaching and my relationship to it.  In it, I emphasized that I didn’t feel like a forced, monthly visit was spiritually or socially useful to me, though it might be for other people.  I also mentioned how my favorite VTs in the past didn’t visit me monthly, but would formally drop by every 3-6 months and otherwise just treat me as a friend around town.

I lamented how the VT/HT program, can get too caught up in stats and “just getting it in each month” rather than really thinking about what people individually need, want, or can adequately do.

The response I got was good–some people liked the idea of making VT/HT more flexible and some people thought that the monthly meeting, though it may not be the most casual, was its own form of showing love through showing consistency. Thanks for all your comments.

I bring it all up again because I wanted to share something interesting with anyone who was intrigued by that post a while back: Read More

Quantity vs. Quality: If you could only have one on a spiritual desert island…

I have this weird relationship with visiting teaching.

I really like it, actually.  I like it for its ultimate point: to make sure everyone has, if not a couple of friends in the community, at least someone who is making sure you’re okay.  I’m all about making dinners, babysitting kids for bedridden sisters, or sending off a “how ya doin'” kind of card if I notice someone seems down.  I really like getting visited and getting to know people I’m generally too shy to get to know on my own. Read More

“Gotcha” questions for GAs

A recent guest poster at fMh asked for suggestions about what question she might pose to a visiting Seventy who had agreed to a Q&A session with members as part of stake conference. In a post at Nine Moons, Rusty pointed out that many of the questions seemed to be “gotcha questions,” intended to make a point rather than to genuinely seek information. (Several commenters on the fMh thread made a similar point.) I agree with Rusty. Many of the questions did appear not to be serious attempts to get information, but more attempts to show the Seventy up. That being said, I really liked a lot of the “gotcha questions.” I began to wonder why so many people thought of asking them.

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How Do You Teach Lessons When You Don’t Agree With Them?

I currently teach Relief Society in my ward. It’s possibly the best calling in the church. It’s teaching, which is usually fun. It involves nothing administrative and no meetings. You don’t have to call people on the phone (a dreaded task which I will go to great lengths to avoid). And it’s only once a month. Really, I have it pretty good. Read More

Feminism is Not a Trial

Like every other human being on the planet, there are things in my life that I would consider trials. Mental health wackiness. Being single in a married church. Financial insecurity, and wondering whether I’ll ever get a job.

However, the fact that my perspective on the church is informed by feminism is not one of them. And I find myself bristling when concern with feminist issues is placed in that category, as if it were an affliction to be borne. As if some people have to struggle with illness or unemployment, and others come down with a bad case of feminism.

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The Grace of Community and Friendship

Last week I began to ponder how the Atonement might apply currently to the struggles I’m facing. We’re taught that the Atonement is not only there for sinners, but for everyone who needs healing and reconciliation. I began to wonder how it might be possible to use the Atonement to reconcile myself to a God from whom I am distant and with whom I am very upset.

This was in the back of my mind as I went to church on Sunday.  Read More

On Asking to Be Released

I know we’ve talked about this subject before, but since I’m currently debating with myself over it, I decided to bring it up again and let the rest of you debate with me.

I’m currently the leader of the wolf den in cub scouts (with another woman) and the teacher of the 6-7yo primary class (with my husband). I hate it. I’ve been doing them both about 9 months, and I’ve hated them pretty much the whole time. I guess the primary class was okay for two or three weeks, but that’s about it. I knew I wouldn’t like the callings when I accepted them, but I’m a big believer in accepting any and all callings, so I did. Read More

Why I Don’t Like Scouting

As a teenager, I didn’t like scouting because I didn’t like outdoor activities like camping, hiking, orienteering, and whatnot. So I did very little scouting related stuff, and that only after much arm-twisting by leaders and other boys (who, to their credit, were typically very nice about it). As I lived in Utah Valley, this made me borderline inactive. Read More

Enrichment Activities

I woke up today and for the first time in my life I actually wanted an Enrichment calling. Weird, I know.

I think one of the things that spawned this desire was the comment someone made recently on another blog (sorry, I can’t remember who or where) that they had activities where the pastor/priest/rabbi/whatever of another religion would speak to them about that religion, and then they would go and visit that leader’s church. I think this would be fascinating. Read More

My Calling to Welcome Others

It was the first Sunday I attended my new college branch. I wasn’t even officially a member of the branch yet — I had driven Seraphine down to school a week before I got to move into the dorms. But the branch president asked to speak with me after church, and I was happy to. I was excited to be moving forward in life, and my first ward/branch away from my family was a big step. I very much wanted to fit in, be comfortable, make friends, and everything else.

The branch president was a wonderful man (still is, actually — I just saw him again about a month ago), and we had a wonderful “welcome to the ward/getting to know you” type conversation. Then, at the end of it, he blew me away with a comment something like this, “There are going to be lots of new people moving into the branch, and I want you to make help them feel welcome.” I don’t remember his exact words, but I do remember the distinct impression that it was a calling, even if not an official, set-apart one. Read More

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?

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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. Read More

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?

Hymns by Request in Sacrament Meeting

Three times since I’ve lived in my current ward, we’ve had a sacrament meeting that might be called “hymns by request.” Like a testimony meeting, there are no scheduled speakers; people get up as moved by the Spirit or by boredom. But unlike testimony meeting, what they’re asked to do is to name a hymn they particularly like and say something about why. Then the congregation sings a verse of the hymn that the person designates. Read More

Authenticity in Relief Society

Sally raised this great question on Eve’s “Relief Society Goes Berserk” thread:

I am teaching RS tomorrow on unity and have been thinking alot about what creates unity. One post mentioned that we don’t have “authentic voices” in RS, we don’t share our struggles because we need to put on our happy faces at church to fit in with the rest of the happy faces.
How can we mourn with those that mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort if those needs are carefully kept hidden? I love the “good new minutes” in RS because I feel like I get to know the sisters better, hearning of their joys. But how can we share bad news? I wouldn’t want RS to turn into a session for complaining, especially about others in our lives. So how can we open up to each other so we can better see in each other’s hearts?