The Policy and the Latter-day Apostate


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Slob. Slut. Prick. Princess. Tree hugger. Tea Bagger. Feminazi.  Fruitcake. Cracker. Coon. 

And then, in Mormonism, there is “apostate.”

Derogatory terms are meant to dismiss, demean, and devalue people, to set them aside as Other, or Less Than. Every one of us is guilty of using this or that term in our bad moments. Stupid. Radical. Nerd. Fool. And when we do, a silent, internal script soothes us by whispering, “At least I’m not that.” Continue reading

The Responsibility of LDS Members after Same Sex Policy Changes

mourn_-300x226Yesterday the world became aware that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will now classify any member who joins in a same-sex marriage as apostate, or as one who has renounced the Church’s teaching that marriage is defined as a male/female relationship.  This will have difficult repercussions for LGBT people and their families, especially their children, who will be denied saving ordinances unless the permission of the First Presidency is gained. This is an extremely controversial decision and will bring a great deal of criticism to the formal Church, which had, of late, seemed to be making strides toward inclusion through the support of gay rights initiatives. The Church is large and powerful and will withstand these attacks. As the controversy runs its course, however, there are those who are small and powerless who will feel the words we speak as either daggers to their hearts or balm to their wounds. Continue reading

The Joseph Smith Enigma: Magic and the Mind


seer-stone-with-bagThere it is. The now famous “chocolate” seer stone, that, earlier this month, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought forth from one of its proverbial closets, explaining, via an Ensign article, that Joseph Smith used this stone in the translation of the gold plates. When this stone was dropped on a mostly unsuspecting public, a dust cloud of protest arose because of the disparity between the way the official Church had, to date, portrayed the translation of the Book of Mormon and reality. As the dust settled, it drew attention to the often-ignored path of early American folk magic which carried Joseph Smith toward his religious epiphanies. Some used this opportunity to decry Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon as de facto frauds. Joseph Smith, they argue, believed in folk magic; folk magic isn’t true; therefore, Joseph Smith is not a true prophet of God. Close the book. Walk away. But, for me, it’s not that simple. Continue reading

Ponderize and Priestcraft: Scandal, Mormon-style

Ponderize meme

The October 2015 General Conference brought us many uplifting talks, peppered with a touch of scandal, Mormon-style. Scandal 1: Three White Guys from Utah were tapped as replacement apostles for Three White Guys from Utah. (Canyoubelieveit?)  Scandal 2: “Ponderize” becomes the New Priestcraft, thanks to the Durrant family. Three White Guys is certainly discussion-worthy, and I’ll probably get to that, but, oh my holy heck: “ponderize?” I’ve been flipping like a fish out of water since I first heard the “word.” Continue reading

Open Letter to Members of the Heath Ward regarding the First Presidency Letter


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Painting Credit: Laurie Olsen

Painting Credit: Laurie Olsen

Dear Members of the Heath Ward, Heath, Texas Stake:

I’m sorry to miss the opportunity to participate in our ward’s slated discussion of the First Presidency letter regarding the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ doctrine on marriage, but I must be absent. Knowing the letter is intended to be used as part of a ward-level, but church-wide, discussion, I’ve been pondering its message and what I might say were I able to be with you. This letter represents a few of my thoughts. Continue reading

A Conservative Feminist on Being a Woman: matt walsh v. Caitlyn Jenner


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caitlyn Jenner

Photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair

We’ve all seen the photos published in Vanity Fair. Bruce Jenner has transitioned from male to female and is now known as Caitlyn. And we know Matt Walsh considers himself the end-all/be-all of conservative truth-telling, a thing this conservative woman finds laughable. In his recent post about the Bruce-to-Caitlyn journey, he not only degrades Jenner by calling her “a monstrosity,” he diminishes conservatism in the process, a philosophy he purports to represent. Most won’t notice this over his harsh diatribe against Jenner, but I see it.  And I’m calling it out. I know many will stand up for Jenner, so I’ll leave that to them. But right now, right here, I’m standing up to the secondary bullying Walsh is inflicting on women and on conservatives. My voice represents a rising tide within conservatism, one that would like to give Matt Walsh a shove off his self-created pedestal.  Continue reading

Why Don’t They Just Say God Loves All His Children?


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general-conference-tvEarlier this week, I spoke to a mature, faithful, conservative LDS mother about her family’s experience with the April 2015 General Conference. She said, “Sunday’s talks filled me up. But Saturday’s hurt a little.” She then told me that, after Elder Packer’s talk Saturday morning, one of her teenage daughters turned to her and asked point blank, “Why don’t they ever say how much God loves his gay and lesbian children?” By the time Elder Perry finished his talk, her other teen daughter likewise pressed her mother to explain why apostles of the Lord didn’t speak with compassion and encouragement about a group of his followers who are often maligned. I wonder the same thing. Continue reading

Dear Bishop: With Love, Mormon Women


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Ward_Council_mtgRECENTLY A FRIEND, whose husband seems always to be in one or the other position of local leadership within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, expressed that she tries to help her husband understand how women in the church feel and, essentially, wondered what I would tell him, or other local leaders, if I could. Easiest writing challenge ever. So while I am just one woman and cannot be said to represent all LDS women–not even those of a more feministy persuasion–here’s my Top 10 list of things I’d like to say to bishops and stake presidents about how women in the church “feel.” The list is in no particular order. Continue reading

The Boys are Fine


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Sometimes I think we Mormons aren’t aware of how differently we think from other groups. This can lead to communication problems with “outsiders,” but it can also keep us talking only to ourselves and ingrain ideas in our collective mindset that go unchallenged. When ideas aren’t challenged, they can become distorted and wind up doing us harm. Take for instance, our mindset about boys and, in particular, the Boy Scouts, the sacred cow of Mormon youth programs. Continue reading


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