To the Girls of Wasatch County ISD

yearbookphoto4logoYou are beautiful. You are beautiful in your original school photos, and you are beautiful in the doctored yearbook photos that appeared in the 2013/2014 Wasatch High School yearbook, which isn’t to say I think the “editing,”  or photoshopping, the school did in order to cover more of your bodies than your tops and tanks did was appropriate. It shouldn’t have happened. You should’ve been given full opportunity to represent your personality through your attire. Some may say you forfeited that right by not adhering to the dress code. But a dress code that is not enforced on a daily basis hasn’t the respect of the people who created it and who are charged with enforcing it. By default then, it isn’t reasonable to expect those over whom it alleges power to take it seriously. Each original photo I saw of you depicted a young woman who was dressed modestly and appropriately for school. Your parents should be very proud of you for the brave way you are standing up for yourselves by addressing this in front of Fox 13 News cameras. Continue reading “To the Girls of Wasatch County ISD”

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Sonata: A Woman’s Song of War

“Sonata: A Woman’s Song of War” was originally published in Sunstone Magazine in May 2005 and is republished here, on this Memorial Day weekend, as a tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of their country and in gratitude to their families, for whom the sacrifice does not end. We mourn with you and pray for peace. 

MOVEMENT I

I SPENT THE WINTER of 1989 staring out the window of a lonely government house in Fort Duchesne, Utah, at the snow-dust ghosts which the wind whipped along my otherwise uninhabited street. My sudden residence on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation was a shock to me, a girl whose only previous native connection had been to sunny, southern California. But my playground existence ended when the birth of my firstborn–a son we named William–swung me from newlywed to new mother. Parenthood served as the impetus my freshly graduated husband needed to accept a commission from the United States Public Health Service and an assignment to the “Rez.” Continue reading “Sonata: A Woman’s Song of War”

Seven Little Stories of Me

2-52 Open bookWStory 1: I gained my testimony at the age of 14, was baptized exactly one week before my 17th birthday, and entered Relief Society the Sunday following my 18th birthday. I couldn’t wait to get out of the Young Women organization and its non-stop lessons on what I should wear and who I should date and marry. I chomped at the bit to get into adult classes where intelligent things would be discussed. (Stop laughing.) Continue reading “Seven Little Stories of Me”

The Kingdom of God and the Civil Disobedience Model

5340be6672844.preview-620Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced what some are classifying civil disobedience when Ordain Women took public action at the past two Priesthood Sessions of General Conference, all with the intent to call attention to perceived gender injustice within the church structure. After going on record suggesting OW refrain from demonstrating at Conference, I was invited by a male supporter of OW to once again review Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (full letter found here and an abridgment, here). After having done so, I am more puzzled than before over why OW has chosen this particular secular model to agitate for change in the LDS Church.

Before I proceed, I feel obligated to point out the obvious, that any conversation about civil disobedience in the Kingdom of God will bifurcate according to the belief system of those involved in the conversation. Continue reading “The Kingdom of God and the Civil Disobedience Model”

Join in “Bring Back Our Girls Day of Fasting and Prayer” this Mother’s Day

fast iconBefore going to bed last night, I checked to ensure the doors to my house were all locked so that my family would be safe against the darkness. As I glanced out the window, I thought of those sweet Nigerian girls and the night they were stolen. I thought of how the darkness into which they were herded must seem like brilliant light beside the hearts of the men who kidnapped them. Young girls, all of them, in pursuit of an education, a better life, a better world. Seen only as objects by evil men, creatures to be used and sold as punishment for the crime of learning. I turned from the window and called the one child I have still at home to me for evening prayer. After our nightly prayer, after the lights were switched off, I prayed again, this time alone, that our prayers–all of our prayers–matter . . .

I believe they do. So I was very excited to wake this morning and discover that Amy Isaksen Cartwright has acted on inspiration and organized “Bring Back Our Girls Day of Fasting and Prayer” to be held worldwide this Sunday, May 11th–Mother’s Day. Continue reading “Join in “Bring Back Our Girls Day of Fasting and Prayer” this Mother’s Day”

The Mormon Historical Narrative and the 200 Year Pride Cycle

moroni-buries-plates

One of the essential lessons of the Book of Mormon is found in the 200 year pride cycle: Christ appeared to the Nephites on the American continent and, in the span of 200 years, they moved from being righteous to prosperous to proud and on to final destruction. The motif is repeated throughout the Book of Mormon. Believers often note that, at times, humility and repentance follow the season of pride and lead the people back to righteous living. Then the cycle repeats again. Admittedly, the pride cycle repeats in the Book of Mormon with relative frequency, but the 200 year pride cycle which began with Christ’s visitation and ended with the Nephite destruction dominates the book. Those of us who believe the Book of Mormon is scripture that is meant for our time see this as a warning to guard against pride.

We often think of the prophetic warning in political or governmental terms, as a warning that governments will fail once pride sets in, either with the politicians, their constituents, or both.  We use the pride cycle lesson as a way to encourage civic involvement, a vote-or-be-damned sort of mentality. The pride cycle certainly seems to apply in a political context, but scripture, as we all know, tends to have multiple layers and multiple applications. Because the pride cycle speaks of the faithful ceasing to follow God and falling away because of pride, I suspect one of those many layers must apply specifically to the organized Kingdom of God here on earth, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Continue reading “The Mormon Historical Narrative and the 200 Year Pride Cycle”