Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

misterrogers_700xOn Friday my husband and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary about Fred Rogers. (Make that Fred “Mister” Rogers.) On Saturday I went and saw it again, and I was glad because it was probably the most profound religious experience I’ve had in a long time.

I know what you’re thinking. “This lady really likes Mister Rogers.” Well, I do, yes. I’m a huge fan of Mister Rogers, as are most people of my generation. So as soon as I learned of this movie, I knew I would have to watch it, but I didn’t expect it to affect me the way it did. [Read more…]

Marriage and the best-laid plans

Tuesday was my twenty-first wedding anniversary. I’m very happy and I’ve already had a nice dinner out, so I don’t need to be congratulated. The occasion just reminded me of this Slate article I read last month, “The Work of ‘Marital Maintenance’ Is a Privilege,” in which the (divorced) author argues that working on your marriage is a lot harder when you’re poor. The vast majority of people responding to this article on Twitter said something like “give us a break, lady.” Actually, that’s a nice way to render the responses, most of which were personal attacks on the author’s intelligence, maturity, and character. Commenters cited the longevity of their own marriages, which was due not to material comfort but to hard work and commitment, something this woman would obviously know nothing about. A few pointed out that she began badly—having a kid before the marriage—so she was kind of doomed from the start. Why should anyone listen to this [screw]-up?

Actually (ack-shually), the author concedes that her marriage had more problems than just a lack of money, but her main point was that lack of money makes everything harder, including—maybe especially—marriage. And as far as I’m concerned, she’s not wrong. [Read more…]

Teaching Old Testament, Primary-style

I’m having a pretty good time teaching the Old Testament to my Valiant 9 class. They’re a good group of kids, and the Old Testament is a wack book of scripture, so it’s kind of hard not to have fun with it. One of my kids is a natural thespian. When we had the lesson on the Creation, he wanted to act it out, and I, having nothing better to do with our time, said sure, why not. So he took on the role of Creator, and the other kids…well, one of them handled the lights, and the others sort of took turns embodying things like water and springtime. It was a little avant garde. At some point I did remember that it’s against the rules to let anyone portray a member of the Godhead in role-play situations, but by then it was too late, so I figured God would just have to forgive us this one time. Unfortunately, re-enacting the Creation turned out to be their favorite activity, so God has had to forgive us multiple times, but I like to think the Godhead understands these things.

[Read more…]

The Myth of Invisible Fatherhood

By Brother So-and-So

We were at church. I was sitting on the stand. My wife was wrestling with our kids, when the three-year-old escaped to the aisle. I knew the second my wife stood up, our daughter would try to outrace her mom.

Men were gathering to bless a newborn baby. My wife rushed to the front of the chapel, picked up our three-year-old just in time, and headed to the foyer.

After the blessing, she trekked back in, only to find that the rest of the bench was now full. So, in addition to carrying our three-year-old, she was climbing over five people. I watched as she lost her footing and fell into their laps! Then the three-year-old took off the one-year-old’s shoes and threw them over my wife’s head! [Read more…]

What does it mean to be worthy?

My husband was part of an interfaith discussion in which someone asked the LDS participants, “What’s the point of making someone quit smoking for a week before they can get baptized? Does God really care if you smoke or not?” I think the standard, or at least predictable, answer to this question is that it demonstrates a person’s commitment to what will (or should) be a new way of life, their acceptance of the church’s moral authority; it makes sense as a test of how serious someone is about baptism and how well they understand what will be expected of them as members of the church. Someone else defended the practice along those lines. Brother J, being Brother J, said, “No, actually, God probably doesn’t care if you smoke or not.”

At least, He probably doesn’t care if you stop smoking for seven days.

[Read more…]

Anarchy: a love story

Me (tacking up a picture of Lorenzo Snow on the board): Do any of you know who this is?

Primary child: You, when you were younger?

Me: Tough, but fair.

Last September, after a four-year hiatus, I made a triumphant return to teaching Primary. Well, it was triumphant for about five minutes, until I actually tried to teach a lesson. Then everything was exactly the same as it had been four years ago: a circus in search of a ringmaster. A circus that is such a fun-filled romp for everyone that random adults wandering the halls tend to poke their noses in and say, “Everything okay in here?”

“It’s okay,” I reassure them. “We’re cool here.”

We’re not cool, of course. We’re completely off the rails, and in the time I took to answer that question, one of the kids just climbed out the window. But NBD.

[Read more…]

Back in the (Primary) saddle again

In September I became a Primary teacher again, after a four-year exile in Sunday school and Relief Society. I am happy to be back in Primary because I find it a more pleasant way to spend two of the required three hours at church. (If I could spend all three hours in Primary, I probably would. But I suspect there’s a law of diminishing returns that takes effect at some point.)

I teach nine-year-olds turning ten, which is a pretty good age, and most of them are ten by now. I have eight kids, five of whom are pretty chill. Practically angels, really. Two are lively but manageable. One is…an original. I have never met another child like him, and I don’t expect to in the future.

I was less than excited to learn I’d be teaching Doctrine and Covenants again. It’s my least favorite of the standard works, and it’s nearly impossible to work the scriptures into the lessons in any way that makes sense. But teaching church history isn’t bad. I will now go on record as saying that the Doctrine and Covenants manuals are not terrible. They have lots of good stories, many of them about women and girls. I mostly tell stories in class and let the kids draw their own conclusions. Because heaven knows they won’t let me have the floor long enough to give them my conclusions. [Read more…]

One meeting down, only 437 left to go

I was pleasantly surprised by the Church Newsroom’s announcement that in 2018 they would be consolidating the Women’s and Priesthood sessions of General Conference to one alternating session (held Saturday evening), with priesthood holders meeting in April and women in October. Surprised because, much as no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects Mormons to cut meetings. (Although it occasionally does happen. But then, so did the Spanish Inquisition.) Pleasantly because I think cutting meetings is generally something that should be encouraged, so I calibrate my emotions accordingly.

[Read more…]

The end of an era

So it has been our family tradition, since our oldest child was a toddler, to go to Saturday morning session at the church building and go out for hamburgers afterward. Even after internet streaming at home became the norm and we didn’t even go to church for Sunday session, we still went to church and out for hamburgers on Saturday because THIS IS OUR TRADITION. For the last couple years, it’s pretty much been just us and the missionaries. And our friend who’s the stake A/V guy says they’re going to stop showing it at the building after this conference. Which makes sense, frankly, but it’s kind of a shame because a) without making the kids sit through two hours of boring talks at the church, I feel like we won’t have earned any hamburgers, and b) even though we play all the other sessions at home, the session I’m forced to sit through at the church is basically the only one I pay attention to (because there’s nothing else to do). Which I guess isn’t really a shame, except it’s hard to watch traditions die.

Being esteemed as filthiness: What Not to Wear

Last year my family and I were fortunate to spend a significant portion of our summer in Japan. One of the things Brother J and I admire about the Japanese is that they are, generally speaking, much less slovenly than Americans. You don’t see Japanese people walking around in public wearing sweats or raiment in ill repair (what used to be known colloquially as “grubbies”—at least that’s what my mom called them). Almost everyone is dressed neatly and stylishly. I like to think I take a modicum of pride in my appearance, at least if I’m going to be seen by people not related to me by blood or marriage, but I rarely felt presentable in Japan. They are a very well-dressed people.

I probably noticed this only because the cultural differences were so striking. At home in the United States, I don’t think a lot about how other people are dressed, unless someone has committed a Glamour DON’T so egregious that it can’t be missed, even by the likes of me. I’m just too self-absorbed to be judgmental about clothes. Also, I have no taste. I know what I like, but that’s just, like, my opinion, man. At the same time, I try to dress appropriately for the various occasions, situations, etc. I don’t like to draw attention to myself, and at my age, I particularly don’t wish to appear undignified. [Read more…]

What if they had a ward activity and nobody came?

On the last Sunday in April, one of the counselors in the bishopric asked to meet with both Brother J and me. Whatever could this be about, we wondered—for about three seconds before my husband figured out that it must be about the upcoming Fourth of July Breakfast.

“No,” I said. “NO.”

“But this could be our chance to restore it to its former glory,” my husband said.

“NO.”

As long as we’ve lived here—which I guess is thirteen years now—our ward has provided breakfast for the neighborhood’s annual Fourth of July celebration, which also includes a parade and a modest carnival with bouncy houses, snow cones, a dunking booth, a clown, etc. In the beginning, the ward provided a full breakfast, complete with pancakes, bacon, and eggs in addition to fruit and beverages. As attendance grew (much) higher, we had to jettison the bacon and eggs and just serve pancakes, fruit, and beverages. Then the parks and rec district stopped providing us with tables, so we replaced the pancakes with muffins, bagels, and donuts, making it a “grab-and-go” breakfast. Obviously, the baked goods were much more expensive than pancakes, but what else could they do without tables? But every year I think to myself, “Why the hell am I getting up this early for half a muffin and a Dixie cup of fruit?” Well, why the hell does anyone? But everyone does. Last year, I think, we served this paltry breakfast to 1,200 people. Or maybe it was 1,300. I don’t really remember, just that the number was astonishing. Because seriously, why the hell? [Read more…]

Judge not, but still judge sometimes (just not too much)

You may have heard or read about the story of the student at a Christian high school who has been barred from walking at her graduation because she is pregnant (out of wedlock, as most pregnant high schoolers are). The school’s argument is that she violated the pledge she signed not to engage in “immoral behavior” (something not unlike BYU’s Honor Code). The student and her parents argue that she has already been punished (by being removed from a leadership position on the student council), and forbidding her to walk at graduation is just too much punishment. Her cause has been picked up by some pro-life advocates because, after all, if she’d had an abortion, no one would have discovered her “immoral behavior” and there would have been no issue. They’re afraid that shutting a pregnant student out of her own graduation sends the message that it’s more important not to get caught than to “choose life” for their unborn babies. [Read more…]

The blessings of the priesthood

On Sunday my younger son, age 14, was ordained a teacher in the Aaronic priesthood. His older brother, who has been a priest for about six months, performed the ordination. It was my husband’s idea; when he was a priest, he had ordained his younger brother as a teacher. It’s not uncommon for teenage priests to perform what ordinances they’re authorized to do—e.g. baptism—for their younger siblings, even when there’s a priesthood-holding father in the picture; I think most families want their boys to take advantage of such opportunities. In my husband’s case, there was no father in the home; his mother had been widowed more than a decade earlier. Ordaining his brother had been a memorable experience for him, and he wanted our son to have the same chance.

Our 16-year-old did very well. I could tell that he was a little nervous, but he gave his brother a very nice blessing. (More importantly, he didn’t screw anything up and have to repeat it, as so often happens with stuff like sacrament prayers. Not that my son has ever screwed up a sacrament prayer!) Afterward, as we walked out of the bishop’s office, my husband turned to our older son and said, “I can honestly say that that was better than doing it myself.” That was a thing I had wondered about. There will be plenty of opportunities for a young man to exercise his priesthood throughout his life; a father only has so many kids and so many such milestones. But there is a different kind of satisfaction in witnessing your child take on adult responsibilities. [Read more…]

March 2017 General Women’s Session: Charity Still Not Failing

How many of you attended the women’s session of General Conference on Saturday? There were not many bums in the pews at my stake center, and even fewer bums in the plastic chairs set up in the overflow. That may be par for the course in many areas, but women’s session in our stake tends to be pretty well attended, even though (like all the sessions) it’s available streaming live, online, in the comfort of one’s home. Most LDS women I know are more than happy to take advantage of an excuse to get out of the house, even if it is church (and even if they do feel morally obligated to drag along their 8-year-old girl children now).

I imagine the severely reduced attendance was due primarily to Spring Break starting Friday afternoon and people being out of town. But even the women who were in town seemed hardly aware of women’s session happening at all, much less interested in going. It probably means nothing, except that conference is kind of boring and now that the stake Relief Society no longer does a big shindig in connection with it (they used to do dinner/appetizers/dessert/ice cream sundae bars, plus an excruciatingly long “Laurel appreciation”), people are less inclined to bother putting on a skirt and trekking to the church building. [Read more…]

Book review(ish): Carol Lynn Pearson’s The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy

33bb98d31532c5a93920dabfe0ff91efThe Ghost of Eternal Polygamy by Carol Lynn Pearson was released earlier this year, but as I do not have a voracious appetite for all books Mormon, I did not get around to reading it until this month. I’d like to blame Christmas for me not posting about it until now, but the fact is that I love reading books and hate writing book reviews. I like reading and writing about stuff that interests me, and polygamy interests me. (Interest being the kindest verb I could use in this context.) So maybe this post will not be so great as book reviews go, but it is a post about a book about polygamy, and maybe that will suffice for enough of you.

What you must bear in mind if or when you read The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy is that Carol Lynn Pearson is a poet, not a scholar. This is not to say that Pearson doesn’t know what she’s talking about, that she hasn’t studied the relevant issues. Obviously, she has. But she approaches this project as part memoir, part meditation on what polygamy means to contemporary Mormons and what is required to build what she calls a “partnership Zion,” rather than a patriarchal one. [Read more…]

M is for the many things she gave me

Before we were married I told my husband that when we had children, I wanted to stay home with them. It never really occurred to me that I would do otherwise. I like to think that I was not particularly brainwashed into this decision by my Mormon upbringing. I don’t know. As a youth, I rebelled pretty strongly against the cultural, sometimes pseudo-doctrinal message that women belonged in the home. From a young age, I assumed that I would have a career. I didn’t want to have kids, probably because my mother had five children for whom she was the full-time caregiver, and I saw firsthand how difficult it was for her. I didn’t assume that I could do it better. I assumed it would probably kill me. [Read more…]

The ground game is in our hearts

I’ve tried to write a coherent post-election post, but nothing comes together. It’s probably because I still haven’t decided what to make of the result. I was as shocked as the next person (unless the next person was Bill Mitchell) that Trump won, and so decisively too. Like a lot of folks, I really underestimated the number of white voters. In my defense, I don’t do this for a living. But I feel more than a little silly for having overlooked the most relevant fact: both candidates were about equally disliked and distrusted, and the one who was currently in the spotlight always suffered for it. Apparently, Trump’s campaign managers managed in the last week to do what they’d failed to do for the previous 15 months—take his iPhone away so he couldn’t Tweet something stupid to distract people from whatever was happening with Hillary. I guess I didn’t notice because I gave up on this election in July. [Read more…]

How (not) to plan a missionary activity

I know that a lot of people have strong feelings about Trunk or Treat activities. (For those of you who don’t know what Trunk or Treat is, it’s when a bunch of adults park their cars in one place on Halloween and lure children to their trunks with candy. It’s actually pretty messed up, when you think about it.) I do not have strong feelings about Trunk or Treat, or rather, I don’t really understand my own feelings about Trunk or Treat because I can’t separate them from my feelings about Halloween in general. As a child, I loved Halloween, as all children do. As a teenager I completely lost interest in it, and as an adult I can hardly stand it. I recognize that this is a personal failing. I have never attempted to deprive my children of the joy that Halloween can bring, because I know how important Halloween is to kids. Just because I hate it and think it’s a pain in the neck doesn’t mean I want to spoil it for everyone else. But mention Trunk or Treat to me, and the only reaction I can dredge up is “gah, more Halloween.” So I don’t know if Trunk or Treats are inherently good or bad, or if they’re potentially good or bad depending on certain variables. I just know that they’re part of Halloween and so I don’t care.

I say all this by way of disclaimer because my post today is not about Trunk or Treat per se, but it involves Trunk or Treat, and I just don’t want people to lose focus. Put your feelings about Trunk or Treat on the back burner and listen to (read) my tale. [Read more…]

General Women’s Meeting: ‘Cause you gotta have faith (and also charity)

Beknownst to some, and unbeknownst to others, Saturday was the first session of General Conference, the semi-annual General Women’s Meeting. Did you go? I did. I wouldn’t have, but I knew that if I didn’t, no one else would recap the meeting for BCC and its gentle readers. Once again, I am working from notes, not transcripts, so please forgive any inaccuracies, unattributed quotes, etc., usw. I am just trying to give you a general feel of this General Meeting. Interestingly enough, there were no special video presentations breaking up the talks this time. I wonder if they’ve completely given up on making the meeting eight-year-old-friendly. Or maybe the General A/V Guy was sick. Your guess is as good as mine. On to the meeting!

For those of you not already in the know (or the beknownstment), Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, was conducting. The First Presidency was in the house. (Like, the whole thing. All three guys.) A choir made up of women and teenage women (no “tween” women that I could see) dressed in various shades of pink that looked like a sea of Pepto Bismol from afar (but not in a bad way) graced us with a rousing rendition of “Arise, O Glorious Zion.” (Actually, I don’t recall if it was rousing or not, exactly. I just like to say “rousing rendition,” particularly for songs that begin with the word “Arise.” I am resisting the temptation to make further plays on words. You, of course, may do what you feel. It’s not like we’re in the chapel or anything.) Bonnie Goodliffe was at the organ. [1] [Read more…]

You’ve given this program a bad name

Brothers and sisters, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted at BCC, and I won’t lie to you: the neglect has been due to a lack of will and a lack of inspiration. But something’s been bothering me for a long time, and I’m finally going to write about it here because I’ve hit the breaking point. I can no longer pretend that I support the status quo. There’s something wrong in Mormondom, and it must change.

“Activity Days.”

I’m not talking about the Activity Days program itself, although goodness knows its shortcomings are legion. But baby steps, first things first: that name, “Activity Days,” is a horrible, stupid name for a program. Yes, the program itself desperately needs improvement. Activity Day leaders across the church do their best, working with miniscule budgets and almost zero guidance. But I think the name itself demonstrates why the program is so substandard. What a slapdash affair that planning meeting must have been. [1] [Read more…]

ICYMI: General Women’s Meeting, March 2016

refugee-choirYou may not have realized it, what with all the spring break and Easter and whatnot going on, but General Conference did begin on Saturday with the General Women’s Session. I came very close to not attending this session myself since a) it had been a long time since I’d actually enjoyed one, and b) I didn’t feel like getting dressed and going to church. (Yes, I know it’s on the interwebs now, but I don’t have the self-discipline to spend my Saturday night in front of a computer watching church, of all things. Watching cat videos, maybe. Maybe.)

But tradition is a hard thing to resist. [Read more…]

Does the thought make reason stare?

I am strictly a Star Trek dilettante, but one of the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I’ve seen all the way through is one called “The Outcast,” in which Riker falls in love with a member of an androgynous humanoid society called the J’naii. It is forbidden love because the J’naii have evolved beyond gender and consider male-female sexual-relating as primitive and an abomination.

Riker thinks this particular J’naii, named Soren, is really a woman because she (um, they? Xe? I don’t recall the Enterprise addressing the pronoun issue) just seems like a woman–i.e. she has fine features and a high voice and also, she’s played by a female actor–that helps a lot–but Soren is all like, “That’s not how we J’naii roll,” and Riker’s like, “Oh no, baby, I think that is how you roll,” and she/xe’s all like, “Yeah, you’re right, that’s how I roll”–and so they fall in love and maybe get it on or at least kiss the way men and women sometimes do. (I don’t really remember. How it was on the show, I mean.) Anyway, the rest of the J’naii get wind of this disgusting display of heterosexuality and they are not cool with it because–I bet you can guess why, but I’ll tell you anyway–gender dichotomy will lead to the breakdown of their society. Every J’naii knows this. Only sicko pervs like Riker would dare question it. [Read more…]

Families are people, my friend

During October’s General Conference, I noticed a couple different speakers make reference to being part of multi-generational Mormon families. This hearkened back to a training video that the church released a few months ago, during which Elder Bednar talked about the importance of multi-generational families. “The basic purpose of all we teach and all that we do in the church,” said Elder Bednar, “is to make available the priesthood authority and gospel ordinances and covenants that enable a man and woman and their children to be sealed together and happy at home. Period. Exclamation point. End of sentence. That’s it.” He went on to say that “in the savior’s restored church on the earth today, multi-generational families are a primary source of spiritual strength and continuity.” He then compared the impact of multi-generational families to small seedlings in a large forest. “A young seedling develops into a mature tree and produces seeds that fall to forest floor. As conditions are right, the new seeds germinate, begin to grow and the cycle is renewed.” [Read more…]

Extreme make-over: sacrament meeting edition

EmJen’s post of yore about a suggested ban on electronic devices and food in sacrament meeting inspired a great many comments, most to the effect of “We’re only surfing our phones and eating crackers because church is so frigging boring!” Some commenters argued that if you find sacrament boring, you need an attitude adjustment because you get out what you put in, etc. It’s a common refrain in Mormonism: “If you have a problem, the problem is you.”

Well, sometimes the problem is you. Actually, I’m a big believer in first assuming that the problem is you. Whether this is healthy or not, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I’ll ask my psychiatrist next time I see her. At any rate, looking at yourself first is usually a good idea, given that the only behavior you can control is your own. Even when something isn’t your fault, what can you do about it? Yes, exactly the right question–what can you do about it? It all comes back to you, in the end. There’s not much getting around that. [Read more…]

My family: a proclamation to the world

My Facebook feed tells me it’s the 20-year anniversary of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, so I thought it would be appropriate to write something about the family. I’ve been thinking a lot about the family lately. My family, I mean. (What family were you thinking of?) It’s been eighteen years and four months since Brother J and I started the family, and I guess this is as good a time as any to let you all know how it’s going.

The good:

Everyone is finally toilet trained. Which is pretty impressive, considering our youngest is only nine. (She was actually the prodigy of the family, fully trained both day and night at four and a half. We thought of having her tested for giftedness, but we were too busy enjoying our diaper-free lifestyle to get around to it.)

No one is pregnant. Especially not me.

Everyone is capable of sitting quietly in sacrament meeting. They don’t even need snacks. (Unless Tic Tacs count as snacks, in which case, screw you, at least it’s not an iPad.) In the event that one of them is incapable of sitting quietly in sacrament meeting, she is capable of removing herself to the foyer. Okay, sometimes I have to give her a little nudge. Or shove, if you will. But I don’t have to pick her up and carry her out anymore, which is awesome because although she’s short for her 17 years, she’s still way too big for me to lift. [Read more…]

Improve the Sabbath moments

Do you like that title? It just came to me. (It’s a play on Hymn #226–GET IT?) I’ve been interested to see what comes of this new Keep the Sabbath Day (Better) campaign the church has started. The first thing I saw was this meme about how the Sabbath should look different, feel different, sound different. As much as I endorse the idea of the Sabbath being different, I’m kind of cutesy-Pinterest-memed out these days. I’m a terrible human being, but it makes me kind of nuts that all gospel teachings are instantly transformed into some attractive design you can tweet or post on Facebook. (Personally, I’d rather not read the words of God’s prophets out of context and randomly chopped into different fonts and sizes and pasted against the image of someone standing on a cliff, but different strokes, I guess.) Besides which– [Read more…]

A Primary lesson on the priesthood

I was asked to substitute teach my nine-year-old daughter’s Primary class last Sunday. Coincidentally, my 9-year-old was also supposed to give a talk in Primary that day. Saturday evening, I remembered that I had still not prepared my lesson, which was supposed to be “Jesus Christ Used His Priesthood Power to Bless Others.” I had been putting it off, mainly because I am lazy, but also because I don’t like giving lessons on the priesthood, as it is a topic fraught with…problems, I guess–for me, not necessarily for anyone else. And probably especially not for children. I never worry about how the children are going to react to a particular lesson, at least not since I realized they forget everything that happened in class as soon as they leave the room. I only worry about my ability to not be completely uncomfortable for 45 minutes while I attempt to teach things I don’t understand or believe. That sounds a bit dramatic. It’s probably less provocative to say that I have a great deal of ambivalence about the priesthood. Anyway, that’s what was on my brain while I was procrastinating. Also procrastinating was my daughter, who does not like giving talks or preparing them. I don’t like giving talks or preparing them either, but what I like even less is helping children prepare talks. [Read more…]

Even beauty queens are more than just their looks

Not Ms. Virginia–just a simple girl in a modest bathing suit.

Yesterday a friend drew my attention to this Deseret News article about Bekah Pence, the newly-crowned Ms. Virginia United States. A good portion of the article is devoted to Bekah’s efforts to remain modest while competing in the pageant. For example, she was the only contestant to wear a one-piece suit during the swimsuit competition. (And she still won! #GuardiansOfVirtue) She describes how important it was to her to stay true to the church’s standards of dress.

“I’m a firm believer in not just being modest, but you can also be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, not just beautiful,” she said. “I feel like girls don’t feel that way. They think that it’s a step down if you’re modest. They don’t think you can be absolutely gorgeous, but I felt that way. I felt like, ‘You know what? This dress is amazing, and I feel gorgeous in it — and I’m modest.”

Pence not only learned this for herself, but she was also able to explain her choices to the other contestants.

“I was the only one with a one-piece,” she said about the swimming suit portion of the pageant. “They would make a comment like, ‘That’s cute,’ and I would just say simply, ‘Yeah, I really wanted to wear a one-piece. I like to be modest,’ and it was cool that they thought it was cool.”

[Read more…]

What has two thumbs and doesn’t give a crap about the Family?

keep-calm-and-defend-the-familyI am a middle-class white lady who’s been married to the same man for eighteen years, and all four of my children were fathered by this same guy, after we got married, and I have no intention of leaving him in the near future or otherwise. I don’t have any gay friends or family members, even though I’ve been told that’s impossible in this day and age. I do have gay acquaintances, but no one I hang out with or am forced to interact with at holidays. I don’t even have gay co-workers because I haven’t worked outside the home since I had my first baby. I think I should be an ideal candidate to do as I was counseled in Saturday night’s General Women’s Broadcast and “stand with the Brethren” and “defend the Family,” which I understand is under attack. I mean, I live in a freaking bubble. I not only don’t have gay friends; I don’t really have any friends, so I couldn’t possibly suffer any social consequences if I were to become an ardent and outspoken Defender of Family. On the other hand, that also means no one would listen to me, because if a tree falls in the forest blah blah, but that’s not the point. If I’m not currently standing up for the Family, it’s definitely not because I lack moral courage, because doing so wouldn’t take any, in my particular case. It’s really just that I don’t care enough about the Family. I don’t think I care at all. [Read more…]

Ministering to the un-ministerable

My oldest child is almost 17 and has hated church at least since she was a toddler. Possibly she hated it before then but lacked the verbal skills to express herself clearly. At any rate, for the last fifteen years she has expressed her hostility this way: yelling, screaming, blurting out insults and provocative comments, disrupting lessons (and singing), and generally making everyone else’s worship time miserable. This is not typical behavior, even for a teenager, so I should probably explain that in addition to having Asperger’s Syndrome and a mood disorder, she is kind of a brat. I think I can say that with love, since I’m her mom and she probably got it from me in the first place. [Read more…]