The Progress in Removing Rape Verse from YW Program May Not be only Personal, but Institutional

The “revelation of the week” is that Moroni 9:9 has been removed from the Young Women’s Personal Progress program, which offered the verse to Mormon teenage girls as a supporting scripture in the section, “Virtue.” Of course, this is significant because Moroni  9:9, 10 tells us that the daughters of Lamanites were taken captive, raped, tortured, and killed; it emphasizes that rape deprived these daughters “of that which is most dear and precious above all things.” In other words, the violent “loss” of their virginity is equated to a loss of virtue and is dubbed more tragic than either their torture or their murder. Fortunately, the verse had already been removed from “For the Strength of Youth,” but somehow lingered in the Personal Progress program. I suspect Elizabeth Smart’s public outcry against toxic chastity lessons was the match that lit the rather long wick prepared across decades by feminist outcry. The deletion of the verse is gratifying and a relief, but also signals something much more. Its removal is an acknowledgment that our sacred canon is fallible, that the views of the men who wrote, abridged, or recapped the events within that canon do sometimes pass on the biases and bad information of their eras—and that, when we know better, we should do better. The deletion reaffirms the pre-correlation notion that we are to learn truth from any source that brings it forward, and reject all untruth, no matter where it be found, including (as in this case) in our sacred writ. Continue reading “The Progress in Removing Rape Verse from YW Program May Not be only Personal, but Institutional”

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The Rainbow Mormon Initiative and the Promise of Hope

rainbowBy now, we’ve all felt the fall-out from the November 5th policy change. Our church has been bleeding members, both gay and straight. This is a clear marker that our LGBT community needs us to demonstrate our love for them. We have that opportunity this Fast Sunday, June 5th, 2016 if we participate in the Rainbow Mormon Initiative. The initiative organizer, an LDS psychologist, asks us to don a rainbow ribbon as an outward sign of the inward love we have for our LGBT members, especially our young people who remain in hiding, unsure as to whether or not they will be accepted and understood. Continue reading “The Rainbow Mormon Initiative and the Promise of Hope”

Dress to Protect, Missionary-Style

missionary-pants1It’s in my nature to laugh at things that aren’t funny. Like when one of my children falls face-first onto the floor while doing the forbidden dance on the coffee table. Or when my husband misses the giant escape hole conveniently built into our garage and damages the side-view mirror of my car. Or when, in the wake of accusations it doesn’t understand rape culture, my beloved church announces female missionaries must cover more of their bodies as a protection against the flesh-hungry buggers [read as mosquitoes] they encounter in daily living. I mean, this stuff is funny. Continue reading “Dress to Protect, Missionary-Style”

The NeverTrump Message

PAY-BearsPressure is mounting on conservative NeverTrump voters like me to pledge our allegiance to the business mogul. I can’t speak for every person in the NeverTrump camp, but this life-long conservative is sure going to speak for herself so that those who don’t understand my NeverTrump position can comprehend why all the nonsensical arguments being thrown about won’t convince me to “unite for the sake of the party.” Continue reading “The NeverTrump Message”

Letter to 14 Year Old Me, by John

Open letterJohn Bonner, of Salt Lake City, Utah, has given me permission to publish his open letter of encouragement to his 14-year old self, posted initially on the Mormons Building Bridges Facebook page. I can’t thank John enough, either for the honor of sharing his words with you or for his candor. This is a must-read for all people of faith who seek to follow the admonition of Christ to better love and serve the LGBT community. 

Dear 14 year-old me,

I see you there in the pews, head bowed, lines of tears marking divides down hot, embarrassed cheeks and pooling up in blurry smudges on the pages of the hymnal as you let the sacrament pass you by because you believe you’re not worthy. I see you standing alone in front of the basement window in complete darkness and silently mouthing the words, “I’m gay,” for the first time and vowing never to speak those words aloud to anyone. I see you pleading, begging, night after night on calloused knees to have these feelings taken away from you–rooted out of you and destroyed. Continue reading “Letter to 14 Year Old Me, by John”

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 “The Joseph Smith Enigma: Magic and the Mind”

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”