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”

The Angry God, the Excommunication, and the Rest of Us

Church-with-sunflowers I’ve never understood the concept of the Angry God. I suppose that’s been a function of my religious privilege. Normally, I dislike the word “privilege” because it strikes me as a term progressives wield like a Bowie knife in a bear fight they bring on for the fur alone. But I’ll borrow it here because the term has successfully taken on a meaning that combines arrogance with naiveté. The term suits me because I have been both arrogant and naive in the practice of my faith. After all, my God has loved me: I found Him; I’ve obeyed Him, honored Him, and served Him. [Arrogance.] And I see His love in the blessings He gives me: I have an amazing family, a beautiful home, vehicles to drive, and friends galore. [Naiveté.] Continue reading “The Angry God, the Excommunication, and the Rest of Us”

The Enigma of the Mormon School Shooter

Emilio Hoffman
Emilio Hoffman, 14

I am uncomfortable broaching the topic of the LDS youth who entered a Portland area high school a little more than a week ago, killing Emilio Hoffman (14), a classmate who, it appears, was  in the wrong place at the wrong time. The topic is sensitive, particularly for Emilio’s family. The gunman, Jared Michael Padgett, committed suicide after killing Hoffman, wounding a PE teacher, and exchanging gunfire with area police. What I know of the incident I’ve culled from online news stories, but one aspect of the story that is making headlines is Padgett’s active participation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is what brings me to the story. Continue reading “The Enigma of the Mormon School Shooter”

On Kate Kelly’s Summons to a Church Court: An Epistle to the Saints

butterflyThis morning, I awoke in our cabin, nestled in the piney woods of east Texas, and found, on the floor, the same beautiful black and blue butterfly that had, only yesterday, fluttered by me each time I stepped outside to enjoy the natural world. Somehow, she is trapped inside this morning, motionless, with her wings outspread in the attempt to camouflage against a maple-colored plank floor that will have none of it. I know from the experience of capturing butterflies in my childhood that if I touch her wings, I condemn her. Instead, I find a piece of paper and lay it before her. Although it doesn’t seem natural to her, the butterfly steps onto the paper and  I carry her outside, where she flutters back into the trees.

I love symbols. I look for them all the time. As I have struggled to come to terms with the pending disciplinary action against leading LDS feminist Kate Kelly, I couldn’t help but find an imperfect symbol of her predicament in this butterfly. Continue reading “On Kate Kelly’s Summons to a Church Court: An Epistle to the Saints”

Love is a Behavior: A Conservative Mormon Reminder to Love our LGBT Community

convention-2I am a Texan, a conservative, a practicing Mormon, and an ally of the LGBT community. Two recent events have unfolded in my peripheral vision that have struck an emotional, intellectual and spiritual chord in me, leaving me both disheartened and heartened.

First, Texas Republicans held their 2014 state convention in Fort Worth, a process that establishes the party’s platform plank by plank. One of those planks will include language that rejects homosexual relationships as legitimate or valuable to society. The plank will also specifically support reparative therapy, an odd inclusion but for California and New Jersey’s recent outlawing of such therapy for minors. The fiscally conservative group, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas (who were denied booth space at the convention), optimistically finds progress in the party’s compromise to drop from the platform the words “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” I appreciate their optimism and patience, but feel sorrow over the party’s rejection of the skills, talent, and voting power that could potentially follow once Republicans open their arms to conservative-minded members of the LGBT community. Although supporters of the anti-gay, supposedly “pro-family” plank of the Texas Republican party will argue their stance is a godly one, I find it not only uninspired but judgmental, self-righteous, and crippling to the foundational fiscal messages of conservatism.

The second event that has moved me (this time, positively) was seeing the 400-450 strong delegation of Mormons Building Bridges marching in the Salt Lake City Pride Parade. Families came with their small 10468125_10154172548700234_2745884498499884104_ochildren. Faithful members who have served at all local levels of leadership put their best foot forward in support of love and inclusion. Continue reading “Love is a Behavior: A Conservative Mormon Reminder to Love our LGBT Community”

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”

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”