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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Bishop: With Love, Mormon Women

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 “Dear Bishop: With Love, Mormon Women”

Mourn with Those Who Mourn: 1st Annual LDS LGBT Suicide and Homelessness Awareness Day is Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014

rainbow ribbonIt doesn’t matter who we are or where we live; it doesn’t matter our political persuasion or the breadth of our testimony. Our income doesn’t matter, nor does our level of education. None of that matters when we face the startling reality that Mormons who are LGBT, particularly the young, often feel devalued and alienated from their faith community–rejected by us, their fellow Mormons, and the Church they were raised to love. A recent Salt Lake Tribune article suggests that the suicide rate, as well as the rates of attempted suicide and homelessness, are higher among young, gay Mormons than the national average, at least in the state of Utah. This means not only are we burying so many of our beloved family members, but we have in our midst an untold number of those who suffer the unquenchable thirst we call grief. In response, this Sunday, December 7, 2014, has been established as the first annual LDS LGBT Suicide and Homelessness Awareness Day. Members are asked to wear traditional (black) mourning attire to church, and, if willing, a rainbow ribbon as an outward, visual demonstration of their individual, inward commitment to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. It is a simple gesture of love for LGBT individuals and their families, a group of people who have, too often, felt alienated and excluded.

Continue reading “Mourn with Those Who Mourn: 1st Annual LDS LGBT Suicide and Homelessness Awareness Day is Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014”

Moving from Cause Warriors to Builders of Zion

mormon-church-meeting3Many faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been deeply invested in “the defense of traditional marriage” and find themselves mourning the recent Supreme Court refusal to hear same-sex marriage cases in five states. These Mormons had hoped the church’s campaign against gay marriage would cause the walls of Jericho to crumble; instead, the Court’s decision has likely opened the gate for nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage. Although I’m a practicing, politically conservative Latter-day Saint, I have disagreed that a church should be waging such a political battle. Furthermore, unlike many mainstream Mormons, I don’t see this ruling as evidence of increased evil in the world. In my view, the SCOTUS decision should free traditional Mormons from the battlefield and enable them to return to the field that is ready to harvest. It is time to transition from Cause Warriors to Builders of Zion; it is time we pour our energy into making the Mormon world safe for all. Continue reading “Moving from Cause Warriors to Builders of Zion”

Empathy Without Works is Dead

piney woods of texasLast Saturday, my husband, our 13 year old son, and I enjoyed a thirty minute drive through rural east Texas to the Morris County Twin Cinema in a tiny town called Daingerfield. As we drove, I opted to discuss a miscommunication I’d had earlier in the week with my older brother, something that had already been resolved. But before I got to that point in my monologue, my husband made a classic man-mistake by offering me what he perceived to be the solution to my difficulty with my brother.  Please understand that, over the course of our twenty-eight year marriage, I’ve told my husband a billion times that I’m a big girl and can solve my own problems, that when I speak to him of the issues in my life, I don’t need him to fix anything: I want empathy. But when I opened my mouth for the billion and first time to repeat his training, the shadow of words I’d read just hours before left me speechless. Continue reading “Empathy Without Works is Dead”