Racial Division and Religion

I watched the news out of Baton Rouge with my 15-year-old son, who is considering a career in law enforcement. When the reporter upped the death toll from two police officers to three, I turned my eyes from the TV to my son. Nearly two years earlier, I had watched him just like this, watched him watch Ferguson burn.

Ten days ago, at a peaceable Black Lives Matter march, a gunman shot and killed five Dallas police officers, wounding several others. One of the murdered officers used to escort my daughter-in-law from the Dallas theater where she worked late shifts to her parked car; she loved his sense of humor. The young man who killed him grew up in the town in which my two oldest children spent their elementary school years. Had we not moved, they’d have gone to high school together, my oldest son a grade ahead of him, and my daughter, a grade behind. As is, we have friends who knew the killer.

When Ferguson burned, I begged my youngest son to reconsider his future career, saying the world is too dangerous and that I’m afraid for him. His response was, “Imagine how dangerous the world would be without police officers.” As Baton Rouge unfolded, he said nothing. He just stared. Continue reading “Racial Division and Religion”


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 Responsibility of LDS Members after Same Sex Policy Changes”

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 “Ponderize and Priestcraft: Scandal, Mormon-style”

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”

The Boys are Fine

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 “The Boys are Fine”

Fatherhood as an Appendage to Motherhood: A New Mormon Distortion

Divorce-Parenthood-child--006A sentiment is gaining traction among traditional Mormons that goes something like this: “Women enjoy the blessings and authority of the priesthood through men in the way men enjoy parenthood through women.” Most recently, I read it in this form: “Someone once told me that my husband gets to experience parenthood through me, even though I take the head role in parenting and all the revelations and blessing that come with it. And when I married him in the temple I access the priesthood through him.” This  new framing of the old idea, foundational in Mormon culture, that men and women have different divinely ordained roles is new to me so I tried to locate some kind of official originating source, but had no success. Because of the rate at which I’m seeing it on social media, it strikes me there must be some recent catalyst for its popularity. Where this idea comes from matters less to me than that it goes away.   Continue reading “Fatherhood as an Appendage to Motherhood: A New Mormon Distortion”

The Right and Left of Mormonism; or How Can You Think That Way?

Garran_LDS_Chapel_by_AEastNewsflash: I am a conservative Mormon … with an abundance of friends who are liberal Mormons, thanks largely to my connections in the Mormon literary and academic worlds. A few weeks back, a friend from my ward and I were enjoying an early not-quite-spring-yet afternoon in a north Texas park when I told her just that, that I have many practicing LDS friends who are liberal in their thinking. Hers palms landed on the picnic table. She leaned toward me, and, with her head shaking, said, “See … I don’t get that. How can anyone be faithful LDS and be a Democrat?” Continue reading “The Right and Left of Mormonism; or How Can You Think That Way?”