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…]

You never know

Here is a Mormon Channel video that is making the rounds on the Facebook. I don’t usually watch Mormon Channel videos because I don’t usually watch any video unless I think it’s going to be funny, and Mormon Channel videos are not usually supposed to be funny. (This is not to say that they’re never funny, intentionally or otherwise. I just haven’t ever heard of a funny one. No, I do not need links to funny Mormon Channel videos. Try to focus, people!) My life is too short to watch every video that gets shared on Facebook, no matter how inspiring. (I never watch anything on Upworthy. NEVER.) But my husband went to the trouble of sharing this one with me and asked me what I thought, so I decided to watch it (even though I knew it would probably not be funny).

[Read more…]

Religious freedom under attack!

swedish chefTell me the truth. Was the exclamation point too much? Or just enough?

A while back–weeks or months ago, or maybe a year, who knows–I read an article about a dispute between a lesbian and a Muslim barber. This is not a joke. This was in Toronto. (Also not a joke.) The lesbian wanted a “businessman’s haircut” (not sure what that is, not being a businessperson, but I assume it’s a thing businesspersons and their barbers know about). The Muslim refused because his religion forbids him from touching a woman who isn’t his relative. I don’t know what the relevance of her being a lesbian was, but it was part of the story, which is why I include that tidbit here. I guess her being a lesbian somehow explained why she would be visiting a barbershop that catered exclusively to men, although I should think that would be offensive on some level, I don’t know. Who am I to judge? It still doesn’t explain why she’d want especially to visit a Muslim barbershop. But I digress. The woman was offended by the Muslim’s refusal and filed a complaint with the human rights commission. The case went to moderation. [Read more…]

There is a time to dance, and other lessons from the scriptures

The other day my thirteen-year-old son was demonstrating some of the sweet moves he learned in his P.E. class, which ended the school year with a unit on dancing. (I was fortunate enough to serve as his partner, and I have to say that while he may not be the most graceful dancer, he is pretty good at leading.) Once he had demonstrated his proficiency in swing, the bossa nova, and, I dunno, maybe the foxtrot, he and his older sister reminisced about the folk dance they each had to learn in the sixth grade, which I said looked suspiciously like the chicken dance. [Read more…]

Noah–The man, the myth, the movie

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Darren Aronofsky’s movie Noah. If you don’t want any major plot points revealed before you see it, don’t continue reading. If spoilers don’t bother you, go ahead. If you don’t intend to see the movie and nothing anyone says could possibly persuade you otherwise, you’re probably safe too, but whether or not you’re interested is another story. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet read the Bible story; nothing could possibly spoil that.

noah true storyLast Thursday Brother J and I went to see Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. My husband and I both very much enjoyed The Fountain, so we were eager to see what Aronofsky would do with a big Hollywood budget. I didn’t realize there was any controversy over the movie until right around opening weekend, when I started seeing indignant posts on Facebook about how much the movie gets “wrong,” i.e. deviates from the Biblical account. [Read more…]

The First Semi-annual Ladycast

I knew it had been a long time since I’d written anything for BCC. Turns out, it’s been five months since my last post. Hard to believe, since it used to be that I couldn’t slack off for five weeks without Steve Evans threatening to fire me. The aforementioned post was a response to the announcement that the church was doing away with the annual General Young Women and Relief Society broadcasts and replacing them with a semi-annual General Women’s Broadcast for females eight years and older. Not coincidentally, the topic that has prompted me to write this thing I’m writing right now is the maiden voyage of that very broadcast, which occurred just a few short hours ago. (Or maybe several regular-length hours ago, depending on what time you read this.)

Historically, our stake has not shown the YW and RS broadcasts live. They would show them when they had finished preparing all the food that would be served afterward. I guess. At their leisure, anyway. Since this was a historic broadcast, though—first of its kind and all—they decided to break with history and show it live. And then serve dessert afterward, like usual. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend our stake’s ceremonial celebration of the historic live broadcast and traditional dessert serving. I’ve come down with a terrible head cold, and at 6:00 p.m. MST, I was in no shape to stand shoulder to shoulder (or hip-to-shoulder) with my sister church members in the stake center. Instead I sat on our benighted family room sofa, folding laundry in front of the TV, which had been hooked up to the internet, which was also showing the broadcast live. (But not providing dessert afterward. Come to think of it, I still haven’t had dessert. But I’m getting ahead of myself.) [Read more…]

More meetings = more equal (and more freshly-minted women)

Earlier this week the church announced that instead of holding separate Young Women and Relief Society conferences (in the spring and fall, respectively), they will now hold a combined “General Women’s Meeting” twice a year. This complements the twice-a-year Priesthood Session of General Conference and therefore is, in my opinion, a step in the right direction as far as women’s status in the church is concerned. A baby step, to be sure. I mean, on the one hand, we’ve been invited to attend another meeting. Yee-freaking-haw. On the other hand, some official people are officially saying that it’s just as important for womenfolk to meet twice a year as it is for menfolk to meet twice a year. It supports the idea that women and men have equal, complementary roles in the church–in the sense that this itty-bitty change is consistent with a viewpoint that might argue such a thing. Okay, when I actually spell out why it’s a good thing, it sounds pretty lame. But that doesn’t take away from my (sincere) conviction that this is an overall-positive lame baby-step for the church and for Mormon women. It may not be big, but it’s significant. Not pulling-over-to-the-side-of-the-road-so-you-can-weep significant, but it is a likely prelude to designating the female meeting an official part of General Conference. And that’s a thing, right? At least a prelude to a thing. That’s my optimistic take on it (and I don’t often have optimistic takes).

Stay tuned for the next exciting change in Mormondom: coming in just 30-80 years! [Read more…]

Dr. Strangeglove: Or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the devil music

Choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Some music can carry evil and destructive messages. Do not listen to music that encourages immorality or glorifies violence through its lyrics, beat, or intensity. Do not listen to music that uses vulgar or offensive language or promotes evil practices. Such music can dull your spiritual sensitivity. [For the Strength of Youth]

[Read more…]

The chick report

So the General Conference priesthood session is going to be broadcast live and in real time over the internet for the first time. My husband took the news hard. For Brother J, being forced to put on a suit and tie and drive out to the church to watch priesthood session is a sacred tradition. It’s his favorite excuse to hang out with a bunch of other dudes, in a world where there apparently aren’t that many legitimate excuses for dudes to hang out with each other. I think when he was a young man, the menfolk in his stake would have ice cream sundaes afterward or something, and so it was awesome. For the last several years he has organized a priesthood session after-party that involves going out and eating manly food (e.g. ridiculously-hot hot wings or ridiculously-hot something-else that you can make fun of somebody for not being able to eat, oyster shooters, deep-fried Oreos—that sort of thing) and playing video games at the nickel arcade. It’s harder than you might think to coax adult Mormon men into attending a guys’ night out; many of them feel obligated to go straight home and “spend time with their families” or whatever. I think the first time it was just him and one other guy, but it has since grown into a group of maybe six other guys, and now that our son is ordained, he and his Aaronic priesthood-holding pals get to come along and be full-fledged members of the man tribe. How are they going to get dudes to go out and eat hot wings and play arcade games after priesthood session now that dudes can sit around the house and watch priesthood sessions in their pajamas? [Read more…]

My Primary story

They released me from Primary, and people keep congratulating me on “graduating” and “coming back to adult church.” I don’t feel like being congratulated. I’m sad.

People say I was in there a long time, and I say, “Not so long. Only three years.” And they’re like, “Only three years?” Well, considering I was content to stay there the rest of my life, yes, three years doesn’t seem like a very long time at all. [Read more…]

When I think about pioneers: July 21, 2013

On Sunday the opening hymn for sacrament meeting in our ward was “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” which made sense because it was the Sunday before Pioneer Day. I like Pioneer Day much more in theory than I do in practice. Most Pioneer Day festivities don’t do it for me, but that’s due mainly to me being a stick-in-the-mud who eschews festivities in general. But just because I don’t like fun doesn’t mean that I lack holiday spirit entirely. I like the idea of celebrating Pioneer Day very much. I know some people who don’t even like the idea of Pioneer Day because they feel it reinforces some Utah-centric bias in the church and/or makes church members who don’t come from pioneer stock seem like second-class Mormons or something. I don’t know. I guess I understand where they’re coming from, but I just can’t really relate. Aside from the two years or so I spent as a baby in Dugway, Utah, when my father was in the army, I have very little first-hand experience with Utah. And seeing how I don’t remember any of the aforementioned first-hand experience, I reckon none of it counts. I really don’t know what it’s like there. But then, I did grow up in the West (and you know, America), and perhaps there isn’t that much difference between Oregon Mormonism and Utah Mormonism. Maybe my father being from Idaho makes me half-almost-Utah-Mormon. How would I know? My point being that I don’t have strong feelings about Utah, aside from knowing that I wouldn’t want to live there. (Mostly for weather reasons–no need to get offended!) Therefore, I can’t get exercised about things that are Utah-centric unless they are stupid for other reasons. [Read more…]

Teaching lessons on the priesthood to young feminists

priesthood1Oh, no. This isn’t a how-to post. This is a how-in-the-world-to? post.

So last night my fifteen-year-old daughter had a very inconveniently timed existential crisis, prompted by the fact that in June the Sunday School and Young Women lessons are all going to be about the priesthood. That’s two hours straight of priesthood priesthood priesthood for four Sundays in a row. My daughter is a rather volatile young lady who is fixated on gender issues in the church. As she said to me last night, “I don’t necessarily want the priesthood, but I just want to understand why [it’s only given to men].” I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question, why. I just don’t expect her to get any satisfaction on that count. At least not any more than I’ve gotten in my forty-two years of being Mormon.

It is one thing to be 42 and decide that you can live without knowing why (not only when it comes to the priesthood, but when it comes to anything). But that sort of reconciliation comes only after years of disappointment. To get to this point, I had to endure many years of confusion and frustration. At some point I decided, “Well, I’m a Mormon, for better or worse, so [shrug].” It worked for me. In case you were wondering, this strategy has not translated well to explaining things to my fifteen-year-old, who is still in the process of figuring out what she believes. She expects some answers, dammit! (Only she doesn’t say “dammit,” because that would be rude.) [Read more…]

Teaching the Doctrine and Covenants to eight-year-olds

Valiant 8 child: Can I have my shoe back?

Sister J: That depends. What are you going to do with your shoe?

Valiant 8: …

Sister J: What would Jesus want you to do with your shoe?

Valiant 8: … Wear it?

Sister J: Go and do thou likewise.


The other day I was talking to my sister on the phone and she mentioned something about teaching Relief Society. “How is that going?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s going all right,” she said. “I guess. I enjoy it, but I don’t think I’m very good at it. Does it make sense that you can enjoy something you’re not any good at?”

I said it made perfect sense to me because I love being a Primary teacher, and I’m terrible at it. [Read more…]

When in doubt, stick to polite topics, like weather

In the last several months I’ve been to three (maybe four?) meetings of my local chapter of Feminist Mormon Housewives. I think these events are technically called Bloggersnackers, but I don’t like using that word because it makes me feel silly. It’s the same reason I don’t order the Rutti Tutti Fresh and Fruity breakfast at IHOP. I don’t have a lot of dignity left these days, but what little there is I intend to keep for as long as I can. Anyway. I’ve gone to these meetings because I’m interested in meeting other Mormon feminists. Or feminist Mormons. Whatever we are. I confess it feels kind of weird to say “we,” since I haven’t used the F-word to describe myself for several years. No offense to it. I just find it simpler to be what I am and let other people call it what they want than to try to justify my own label to people who may have very different ideas (than I) about what feminism (necessarily) entails. But that’s another story. I guess if you belong to a Facebook group called Feminist Mormon Housewives, you have started calling yourself a feminist again. So “we” it is. [Read more…]

A bit of musicality, please!

I remember that one time, when I was a teenager, my father was speaking in church and he mentioned that he had always enjoyed singing, even though he’d never been very good at it. This came as a surprise to me because I’d always thought my father must be a pretty good singer; after all, he did it all the time. He sang a lot at home, and he always sang with enthusiasm at church (a rarity in Mormon congregations, as anyone who’s ever paid attention to one of our worship services knows–granted, I’m not sure how many people have actually done that). He had also always been in every ward choir in every ward we were ever in. I kind of wish he had never mentioned that he wasn’t a very good singer because after that I began to notice the limitations of his voice, even though I continued to enjoy it. [Read more…]

We bow our heads and close our eyes (and hope no one calls on us)

So I’m still a Primary teacher. Nobody’s fired me yet. I have the eight-year-olds this year. It is a bit of an adjustment after teaching the ten-year-olds. Most of my teaching experience is in junior Primary, but that’s not saying a lot. I was never any good at teaching junior Primary (although I like being around junior Primary-age children). My husband and I taught the ten-year-olds for a whole year, and I’m afraid it made me a bit soft. All the kids could read, and their silliness was tempered by their need to appear cool. Also, you could say stuff like, “Listen up, jerks,” without crushing their tender little spirits. Eight-year-olds are different. They’re only a little less silly than six-year-olds. They also only read a little bit better than six-year-olds. So reading from the scriptures is more challenging for them. I mean, it was clearly torture for the ten-year-olds, but ten is a good age to start boring kids to death, I think. Just a little bit, so they have a solid foundation for being bored in Sunday School later on. But I feel bad doing that to eight-year-olds. They’re still so cute. [Read more…]

Suffering with those who suffer

Last night my husband and I met with our bishop and the Young Women president to discuss some problems that our fourteen-year-old daughter is having at church, specifically in Young Women. Our daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome as well as some mental health issues that the AS exacerbates. We’ve lived in this ward since our daughter was five years old, and the patience that people have had with her, as well as the genuine care and concern, has been remarkable to me. If people have had unkind feelings or uncharitable opinions about any of my children, they’ve been considerate and careful enough to keep them to themselves, or at least away from me. I am grateful for people’s tireless efforts to make my daughter who hates church feel welcome at church, even when it hasn’t worked. This goes for the youth as well as the adults (which is double, maybe triply, remarkable).

When I was a more anonymous blogger, I felt free to write more candidly about her problems–or rather, the problems that I had with her. Now that I’m not as anonymous as I’d prefer, I’m trying harder to respect her privacy. I suppose if I were trying super-hard, I wouldn’t be writing this post at all, but in my defense, my daughter is a pretty open book. She has a hard time keeping secrets herself; I will just have to keep some on her behalf. So I will break the first rule of good writing and won’t be specific, but suffice it to say that in our meeting last night we concluded that our daughter won’t attend her third-hour class on Sunday, at least not for a while. This was not the “solution” the bishop or YW president wanted or suggested; it was offered by us and reluctantly accepted by them, with the understanding that it is intended to be temporary–but who knows how long it will last. What are we going to do with her in the meantime? Well, a couple different ideas were floated, but in the near future probably either her father or I will just sit with her that third hour. Or possibly walk around. (Or both.) We’ll see. [Read more…]

Reflections on the Primary program

(Don’t worry, they’re benign.)

My husband and I have been team-teaching Primary for a little over a year now. My husband has teaching Primary for the last…maybe five years. He’s a veteran–and an excellent Primary teacher. He used to teach with another gentleman, but then our ward split and he lost his teaching partner. Our ward is still enormous and can afford to call priesthood-holders to the Primary, but for some reason they thought it might be cute if they called me to teach with him. Or, you know, they felt “inspired” to do it or something. At any rate, I was not excited to accept the calling. In fact, when the bishopric counselor extended the call and asked me, “So how do you like that idea?” I said, “Actually, I don’t like it at all.” It was the thing I feared most (aside from being called as a Cub Scout den or Activity Days leader): having to serve directly with my husband in a calling that he was clearly better qualified to fulfill and magnify. That would cover just about every calling in the church, I think, since none of them yet require tap dancing. My husband and I are not competitive with each other. I mean, I’m not competitive with anyone, but I’m certainly not competitive with my husband, who is more talented and better liked than I am in just about every respect. No offense to him, but it’s hard enough living with him. I don’t really need to work with him too.

When I told Brother J that I’d need to think about this new calling, he said he understood my reluctance. But he was mistaken; he thought I just didn’t want to serve in Primary. Actually, I like Primary. I think it’s one of the better places to spend your time on Sunday. [Read more…]

The radical notion that women are people: part three of a million parts

When I was in Young Women, we had an annual activity which I absolutely despised, which was the box social. Each young woman would make a dinner for two and put it in a box and decorate the box, and then all the young men would bid on the different box and the highest bidder would get to eat the dinner in the box with the young woman who had prepared it. (This was all done with fake money so no one would be reminded of anything unsavory, like prostitution. Not that a box social is anything like prostitution, because it isn’t. I’m just saying, everything was on the up and up.) I refused to participate in this activity for the following reasons (in order of importance):

1. I was no fun.

2. I thought it was unfair that the young women always had to cook for the young men. Yes, the young men were in charge of bringing dessert, but big whoop-de-do. Which do you think is easier to prepare, a portable and palatable dinner or a portable and palatable dessert? I’ll give you a hint: Oreos come in a bag. [Read more…]

The best thing about having a Mormon president

[Yeah, I know, this Mormon Moment crap is getting old, but the election is just around the corner and our fifteen minutes are almost up. I have to cram in all the Mitt Romney posts I can over the next few weeks.]

The other day I was in a restaurant and a boisterous group walked in and immediately started talking politics. Two things: 1) Why do people feel the need to do this in public? and 2) Can’t they do it some time when I’m not trying to eat? But back to my anecdote. Somebody said they’d seen a bumper sticker that said something to the effect of “I’d rather vote for the MORMON than the MORON”–which under ordinary circumstances would, of course, be hilarious. Unfortunately, under these particular circumstances, “Mormon” was spelled incorrectly. Which kind of makes you wonder how they even thought of that joke in the first place. It is a puzzlement. [Read more…]

I can do hard things

My fourteen-year-old daughter just learned to ride a bike. She never learned when she was younger because for a long time we lived in apartments and there was no place to keep a bike (or a tricycle) and no place to ride it either, really. By the time we got around to getting our kids bikes, she was too tall to ride the ones that came with training wheels, and being somewhat uncoordinated (she comes by this trait honestly, i.e. genetically) she found trying to learn pedaling and balancing at the same time too frustrating–not to mention painful–and she quit. She made some other half-hearted attempts to learn over the years, but unfortunately it never became any less frustrating (or painful) and finally she just became resigned to never learning.

Of course it’s kind of embarrassing to be fourteen and not know how to ride a bike. Plus, she has been wanting to get more exercise. So this summer she asked if I would help her practice. She couldn’t get started by herself, so I had to hold the bike steady for her while she got her balance. This is a lot harder to do with a fourteen-year-old than a six-year-old. Or a nine-year-old. But I was motivated, so I made it work. Once she got some momentum, I’d tell her I was letting go. Then I’d actually let go. [Read more…]

My feelings about not holding the priesthood (Part two of a million parts)

The other day I overheard a conversation between my six-year-old daughter and my mother-in-law. They had been talking about how her older brother would become a deacon later this year. My daughter said enthusiastically, “When I turn twelve, I’m going to pass the sacrament too!”

You should understand that one of this child’s favorite Sunday rituals has been taking the sacrament tray from the administering deacon and distributing it to the rest of the family; when she returns the tray to the deacon and sits back down, she has a big smile on her face and it’s clear that she feels she’s done something very grown-up and important. The written word is an imperfect medium; you’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s pretty freaking adorable. (Imagine your own kid and then multiply it by ten. That’s how cute my kid is.)

So imagine her disappointment when her grandmother informed her that passing the sacrament is a job only for boys. Crestfallen, and with that childish sense of entitlement, my daughter asked, “But what do I get when I turn twelve?” [Read more…]