(My introductory post on making space can be found here.)
In 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon went to China, thereby reopening official diplomatic ties that had been ruptured by the Communist revolution of 1949. During the ensuing quarter century, the Cold War had created between the two countries a suspicious and unsurpassable barrier that American politicians would not approach. Doing so would paint them as pink, soft on Communism, too weak to protect American interests, and therefore vulnerable to domestic political attacks. Nixon’s rabid anti-Communist rhetoric, anti-Communist policies, and tacit approval of McCarthy’s communist witch hunts proved his bona fides. He was, in Mormon-speak, anti-Communist with every fiber of his being, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Thus it was said that only Nixon could have gone to China–he had, according to Wikipedia, “an unassailable reputation among his supporters for representing and defending their values to take actions that would draw their criticism and even opposition if taken by someone without those credentials.” In other words, he was able to step outside the orthodoxy because everyone knew whose team he was on.
Nixon’s bare-knuckled domestic politics were, in many instances, despicable, as Watergate subsequently highlighted. But the important lesson to be learned from his China diplomacy is that, to depart from a team’s orthodoxy in some areas, requires that we demonstrate our commitment to the team in other areas.
Today’s guest post comes to us from Mike C. In case you haven’t already seen it, don’t miss his recent guest post at fMh.
Main entry: bored for the Lord
Definition: the practice of sitting through LDS Sunday meetings in a dull stupor as a demonstration of true devotion and faith
Etymology: variant of lying for the Lord, early Mormonism (ca. 1848)
Synonyms: PEC attendance, reading handbook #2, sitting still during hometeaching visits if you are younger than 18
Antonyms: teaching Sunbeams (see also, frazzled for the Father)
What would a church designed by and for introverts look like?
I’ve just moved into a new ward, and I got to thinking about how people pick where to sit in sacrament meeting.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. –Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28
Last March, on the Sunday morning Daylight Saving Time began, I went to church as usual, took my son to nursery, and immediately noticed that the clock in the room was still on Standard Time. I found that my first, entirely natural impulse–to change the clock to the correct time–was so swiftly and automatically stifled that I almost didn’t notice I’d had it. I’ve learned very well to do little at church on my own initiative, lest my actions inadvertently violate an unknown directive or intrude on someone else’s stewardship. Read More
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
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
What meetings does your ward or branch typically hold when Christmas in on a Sunday? Do you have all three hours of meetings, or just sacrament meeting? Or is there some other arrangement? Read More
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
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.
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
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.
As Mormons we are theologically committed to experiential, bodily knowledge. And we all know there are some things you never really understand until you’re actually in the trenches, dealing with a situation as it unfolds on the ground. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in the several times I’ve served as a nursery worker. Read More
A couple of months ago I was in the throes of a personal bread-making craze which has since spent itself, partly because the bread I made wasn’t very good. (I really need to get some pointers from those domestic goddesses over at FMH.) One bread-baking afternoon I took my wedding ring off to knead the dough, and I neglected to put it on again before attending a church meeting that evening. Read More
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
It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it’s one damn thing over and over.
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
Late this afternoon I sat down to feed my seven-month-old daughter dinner. She quickly tires of solid food; she’ll accept a few spoonfuls, but then she wants to bang her fists on her tray and throw Cheerios on the floor, so I keep my laptop on the table to entertain myself in between offering bites of cereal or strained peas. In my browsing I came across a presentation on Mormonism and feminism I gave sixteen years ago, the summer I was twenty-one. I clicked on the file with trepidation, sure I’d be dismayed at how young and naïve and foolish I sounded. But what I found was far worse: I was dismayed at how familiar I sounded. Sixteen years ago I was dealing with almost exactly the same issues in Mormonism that I am now. Read More
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
Since a number of my siblings and co-bloggers are involved in more exciting activities than I am (going on vacations, attending Sunstone without me!) or more exhausting activities than I am (packing and moving in the blistering heat), I’ll take it upon myself to keep the blog afloat. Read More
Marriage is at once the most public and the most private of institutions. On the private side, although we can both be incredibly stubborn, my husband has never treated me with the slightest hint of condescension or domineering. Even in the early days of our marriage when he was still a believer, it would never have so much as crossed his mind to pull priesthood rank, which is of course one of the reasons I married him. But as ECS’s excellent post about the cultural blind spots in which women reside recently reminded me, whatever private arrangements husband and wife make, for women, marriage can mean social invisibility. Read More
Patricia’s excellent series of posts about her experiences with her daughter Mattea over at T&S have got me thinking again about ignorance and offense. I don’t want to presume to compare Patricia’s experiences (which she rightly terms “unbelievable”) with my own, but I suspect all of us have experienced the hurt and frustration of blithely presumptuous, well-meaning drive-by comments on our lives, sometimes in church settings, sometimes from fallible church leaders. I imagine all of us have endured remarks that stick in our craws that we struggle to forgive and to eject from our souls. To start this post off I’ll reflect on a few such remarks in my own life. Then I’ll try to put those remarks in some sort of meaningful context. Read More