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 I’m anxiously waiting for you to chime in on this Tad Callister talk.

This Facebook message from a friend was the final straw. She was the seventh person to ask me what I thought about the BYU-Idaho devotional address turned Ensign article by Elder Ted R. Callister, published in March 2014, titled “The Lord’s Standard of Morality.” The rumbling is enough to coerce me to the keyboard.

Thought: Lord's Standard of Morality - CallisterWord of warning #1 - I’m only going to address those things that I either think deserve positive reinforcement or that I have concerns about. As much as I’d like to, I just don’t have time to address the entirety of everything important every time I blog. And, really, I don’t think anyone asked my opinion on this because they hoped I would say, “Awesome sauce to the core! Go read!” Most likely they found it somewhat troubling and/or controversial and wanted to compare their ideas with others.

Word of warning #2 - I’m writing this without first reading the apparent barrage of comments/posts/articles already written. I may be a misfit or redundant or just irrelevant. That’s OK. I just wanted to record the personal reaction I had without it going through multiple filters.

You can assume that if I do not mention something, I either agree with it, find it neutral, or at least believe it can be reasonably explained. If that approach doesn’t work for you, please stop here! You have been warned!

Here we go… [click to continue…]

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When Judging Comes Back to Bite You

The circularity of those who judge the judgmental is a delicious irony that has long amused me. To be clear, yes, I’m judging those who judge the judgmental, but there is a significant difference in the judgment I’m making and that of the judges of the judgers. (Follow that?)

Judging the Judgmental

The judges I’m referring to are those who single out people who make judgments, claiming it’s wrong to be judgmental — seemingly not realizing they are doing the same thing they are claiming is wrong. I, on the other hand, have no problem with judgment. It’s necessary and good (when used appropriately). And my judgment is pointing out the hypocrisy of being judgmental while decrying others who are being judgmental, merely for being judgmental.

In other words, if you think it’s wrong to be judgmental, you’d better stop noticing when other people do it and you’d better shut up about it, lest you be exposed.

The other day a friend and fellow author, Angie Gardner, lead me to a post that went wrong from the get-go. The post —  titled “End the Mommy Wars” — started out with a photo saying “Let’s love more and judge less.” It featured multiple photos of women holding signs, describing what women are supposed to stop judging each other about.

In other words, the author wrote an entire post judging people for making judgments.  [click to continue…]

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Happy New Year 2014 from Mormon Momma

As Mormon Momma turned 11-years-old yesterday, I thought about the friendships and conversations that have transpired here over the years.

I am grateful to readers who have shared thoughts (and links!). I am grateful to the other writers who have contributed so much and given voice to a variety of viewpoints. I am grateful to have a forum to share my thoughts, ideas, and struggles.

Thank you for being part of Mormon Momma, whatever your role.

May 2014 be a year of much joy and many good memories. May you grow and learn and be happy in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Encouraging Modesty Through Healthy Interaction

Here’s my plan:

  • Replace Stake Dances with game nights and talent shows (and other worthwhile activities)
  • Combined YM/YW monthly activity = service, always. Real service outside of the church unit and in the community.

If we can get our youth interacting on deeper levels than who is successful at getting past the “dark corridor” police at dances and who has the best dress/makeup and danced the most, we might have a shot at them choosing to socialize rather than explore how far they can go in a physical relationship and still be safe. The pressure for girls to attract is great, and often overwhelming. It can deliver a crushing blow to fragile self esteems.

Our Stake recently had a “Beacon” activity for those 12-14. The goal was to “prepare the Deacons and Beehives (Beacons) for their first Stake Dance.” The 12 year old boys responded, “Yuck!” At least the ones in our branch. They also expressed concern that they won’t be accepted in the group as a whole (meaning Stake youth they only see at Stake Dances) if they are not interested in dancing.  [click to continue…]

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Bishop Eastland’s recent talk to young single adult women provoked an explosion of emotion among members of the Church, and this outpouring has made one thing abundantly clear:

Many of us are uncomfortable with the way modesty is currently taught in the Church.

We want to promote virtue in society, but we are tired of sexist philosophies that unduly burden our women with confusing directions on how to successfully navigate the territory of “sexy modesty.”

We are eager for our daughters to understand that they need not advertise their sexuality to feel validated in our sex-sick society, but we also ardently wish that church leaders would be continually, unequivocally, even aggressively clear that no outfit gives any man the right to sexually exploit a daughter of God.

Many of us are searching for a better, clearer, more Christian way to teach the principle of modesty to our daughters. As I have studied the scriptures, one thing that has become increasingly apparent to me is that modesty might be less about hemlines and more about where our heart is. Christ, our Exemplar, spent his ministry caring for the poor and enjoining us to do the same. Could we begin to teach modesty by drawing clearer correlations between our purchasing power and our ability to help the poor? For me, modesty in our consumer habits is a purer, truer manifestation of discipleship than whether our unendowed women elect to wear a tank top on a hot day.  [click to continue…]

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When Decent Mormon Men Don’t Get It

No, I’m not a misandrist. No, I’m not a lesbian. No, I’m not an exmo. I’m not even a radical feminist.

When Decent Mormon Men Don't Get It

Rather,  I’m a heterosexual woman, married for 28 years (and counting) to a wonderful man, with six kids. I’m also an active LDS women with a calling and a current temple recommend who has a testimony of the restored gospel. And I’m only a feminist (however you define that) in that I think a lot of LDS church policy is based in culture — rather than doctrine — and I think it’s helpful (and essential!) to distinguish between the two.

Now that we have that out of the way…  [click to continue…]

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The Boca Raton ward once hosted a stake Relief Society conference. One of the popular classes was “How To Keep the Romance Alive in Your Marriage.” Fun! Exciting! Romantic!

Sex Bad - Married Good

In my late 20s with two kids, I settled in toward the back and began listening. At one point the teacher explained her method. It went something like this:

I light a candle in a special candle holder that makes a butterfly shadow on the wall. Sometimes I put rose petals on the sheets. That’s how I let him know I’m in the mood.

From the back row a friend of mine muttered, “Why would you want to?” Much giggling and head nodding ensued.

I went home confused on two counts:

  1. Was I supposed to have a signal? Should there be a coordinated plan of attack? Could I afford that many flowers?
  2. “Why would you want to?”? What???????

When I got home, I asked Sam if he would rather that I orchestrate things more. I said, “Is there something wrong with just saying, ‘Hey, baby. Let’s go!’?” I also asked him it I was too, um, interested.

“Honey, you’re every man’s dream.”  [click to continue…]

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Snag Yourself an Eternal Mate – But Don’t Use Your Lure

Thank you so much for the generally positive and always interesting input on Sunday’s post: A Mormon Mother of Daughters Talks to a YSA Bishop About Intimacy, which was a response to an article by Larry L. Eastland. Sometimes clicking the publish button is a leap of faith. This turned out to be true in more ways than one and I’m grateful for the kindness, sharing, likes, and comments more than you know.

Snag Yourself an Eternal Mate - But Don't Use Your Lure

The response was enough to crash my servers and require an upgrade. The “upgrade” put me on servers that went down for hundreds of people for a day. We’re finally back online, hopefully better, stronger, faster.

On the YSA bishop post, Moira expressed several objections. My response became unwieldy (brevity has never been my strong suit) and warranted a discussion of its own. Here are my answers to the issues she addressed. The quotes are hers unless otherwise noted. I don’t have a lot of answers but, as usual, I have a lot of questions.

Sexy Works

First, let’s get one thing straight: Men are visual. That’s not an opinion, that’s well-proven scientific fact. Women are as well, but not to the same degree as men.

Second: WOMEN KNOW THIS. Really. There’s a reason lingerie exists, why dressing or looking “sexy” or “hot” is a thing, why we ruin our feet tottering around in stilettos, or why we wear particular styles of makeup. We use it to our advantage. It’s normal. It’s a part of the mating ritual. But for whatever reason, any time a man brings it up, there are some women that throw their arms up in outrage that any man would dare point it out. What, like it’s some kind of secret? Please.

Most people understand the “men are visual” idea. It wasn’t disputed as far as I know. In addition, I agree that women know that men get turned on by visual sexiness. (How could we not?) Even as a young woman, I rolled my eyes at all the lessons telling us again and again, “You don’t know what it does to the boys!” My thought was always, “Um, yes, we do! That’s why we do it! Hello?”

But I think there’s something Moira is missing: It works. [click to continue…]

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Mormon Mother of Daughters Talks to a YSA Bishop About Intimacy

I just read a post by Larry L. Eastland titled A YSA Bishop Talks to the Sisters About Intimacy taken from a talk he gave to young single adult women. (He says a companion piece for young single adult men is coming. Someday.) It’s been shared on Facebook about a billion times to raves and adoration and group hugs.

The title alone set me back. The article even more so. There is so much wrong with it that I am hard pressed to respond in the time I have to write. There are things I agree with and some I think are quite good and grounded in common sense. You can read and decide for yourself. For the sake of time, I’m not going to address the points I think are positive. In this post, I will simply be countering points that I find problematic or harmful.

In the next post, Snag Yourself an Eternal Mate – But Don’t Use Your Lure, I address some of the objections that came up in this discussion.
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New Semi-Annual General Women’s Meeting Announced

Annual General Women's Meeting

The First Presidency of the Church announced November 1 that beginning in 2014, a semiannual general women’s meeting will replace the general Relief Society and general Young Women meetings held annually since 1993.

The general women’s meeting will be held the Saturday before each general conference and will be conducted by the general presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations. All women, young women, and girls age eight years old and older will be invited to attend.

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The Cannery Is My Spiritual Home No More

I Heart CanneryI Love the Cannery

Did I mention, I love the cannery? To me it is the most sacred place I know. More sacred than even the temple. I cry when I talk about the cannery — which happened as recently as last Sunday during our Relief Society Committee meeting.

Now I know that’s a strong statement — and probably not very logical — but it’s true.  [click to continue…]

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Simple FHE Ideas: Gratitude

FHE Gratitude

One of the great keys to happiness is to learn to have an “attitude of gratitude” and a thankful heart, recognizing all God has blessed us with. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, here is an easy family night lesson on gratitude  to get you on your way.

Music

Hymns

Primary Songs

Scripture

Luke 17:11–19

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General Conference Fall 2013 Open Thread

Please discuss your favorite quotes, stories, ideas, advice here.

Also remember our most popular article ever: Making General Conference Memorable!

Happy General Conference weekend everyone!

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Priesthood Session Broadcast Live

As we all know, the annual General Relief Society Meeting and General Young Women Meeting have long been broadcast by satellite and also available live through TV and streaming on the internet.

For a myriad of  reasons (claimed by mostly non-authoritative sources), the General Priesthood Session did not follow this pattern. Until now.

According to a press release this morning, the session will now be broadcast live on BYUtv and two online resources, LDS.org and the Mormon Channel.

Buried in an official press release the church announced that they have decided to make this change “as part of a continued effort to make general conference proceedings more accessible to members around the globe.”

In response to some women who have asked for tickets to this session, today the church formally stated that women who attempt to attend the session in the Conference Center will be denied. At almost the exact same time, they made the announcement above. It’s not coincidental.

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A Christlike Response to Radical Mormon Feminism

A Christlike Response to Radical Mormon FeminismLast night, waiting backstage  for our second show of the day to begin, a discussion ensued. (Not at my encouragement, I’d like to note.) A cast member who’s husband is the bishop of her ward said:

As Primary president, two-thirds of our entire budget went to Cub Scouts. That left a third for all of the quarterly activities, Activity Days, sharing time, etc.

While this wasn’t news to me — I’ve been harping on it since I was about 9 and the percentages seem fairly consistent — it was interesting to see not only this very traditional Mormon woman speak out so candidly (in front of her kids), but to see the universal agreement about the problematic disparity in the women’s dressing room.

Isn’t it time to just wake up and fix this? It’s so obvious and so, well, dumb. Why do we keep hanging on to this stuff and trying to justify it? What is so difficult about a little consideration and parity? Do we really “have to wait for every Silver Beaver to die off” before we can make sense of this?  [click to continue…]

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The Sexist Church

A few years ago, Sam and I attended an endowment session at the Salt Lake Temple. As we approached the gate, a man stood on the public sidewalk a few feet away, holding a sign that read:

Joseph Smith had 27 wives!

A couple crossed the street on their way to the temple, saw the sign, and the man yelled, “That is a lie!”

Sexist ChurchI responded, “Yea. It’s probably more like 34.”

Both men looked at me in startled silence.

When discussing troubling policies or doctrines, lay church apologists fall into a typical trap. Someone makes an inflammatory comment about the church and the defender loudly denies it. Even if it’s true.

And then we really look dumb.

The other day an acquaintance of mine posted a link on Facebook to an article titled Women want to attend Mormon priesthood meeting in October. The link was accompanied by her opinion that the women involved (in full disclosure, I’m not one of them) were disrespectful and clueless.

After reading the article, I couldn’t understand the description. Yes, I can see why many would disagree, but could not understand the inflammatory ad hominem that ensued from the original poster and got worse as the comments progressed.  [click to continue…]

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The church has created a host of great infographics to disseminate information on all sorts of topics. This one, 10 Cool Things You Can Do With an LDS Account, outlines some features you might not have seen yet.

Check it out!

10 Cool Things LDS.org Account

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Tribute to Josh Burton

A young man serving as LDS mission in Guatemala died July 22 as the result of injuries from a truck accident two days earlier.

Loosing a missionary is always a tragic event as is the loss of any young person. But in Josh’s 23 years, he left a legacy of music for others.

You can hear his music and see his website.

Godspeed, Elder Burton.

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Work of Salvation – Missionary Leadership Meeting

Work of Salvation

 

This afternoon my daughter, Alana, and I attended the Hastening the Work of Salvation leadership meeting in the Marriott Center on BYU campus in Provo. While I don’t have time to go into detail, I found the meeting very touching. I just wanted to point out some of the changes underway in missionary work and open the topic for discussion.

Today in many parts of the world, missionaries can spend fruitless hours knocking on doors where no one is home. And if they are, they aren’t often likely to let completely strangers into their homes. Missionaries will now spend much of the day time confirming appointments, responding to queries on Mormon.org, and using technology (including email, blogs, and social media (Facebook was specifically mentioned) as a means to spread the gospel.

Rather than remaining locked most of the day, churches will be opened for tours, to answer questions, and to teach about the gospel.  [click to continue…]

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Keep on trekkin’

It’s summer time! Time to break out those flip-flops, shorts, swim suits, and pioneer attire!

My 14-year-old is currently on her first, and the first for our family, pioneer trek. Our stake is doing a great job of keeping us updated through a Facebook group, and I am loving the pictures and hearing about what they are doing almost minute-by-minute.
When I dropped off a group of girls yesterday, I overheard someone say, “Why do we celebrate only the small group of pioneers who came by handcart?” (we do a handcart trek).

I do know they looked into doing a covered wagon trek based on what the journey was like for the majority of those who made the Westward migration, but it’s cost prohibitive. Namely, it involves animals and they are not cheap to rent, transport, or maintain. Someone years ago built really nifty handcarts that fold up perfectly in a trailer and since then our youth have made this journey every 4 years – so that each youth will be able to experience it once between ages 14 and 18

It’s true that most of our Mormon pioneers did not come by handcart, or at least not solely by handcart. In all of our great-greats, between my husband and I only one person was a handcart pioneer. There were a few others who came by covered wagon, but the great majority of them came in the late 1800′s or early 1900′s as converts from Europe and they took ships and trains. And then of course we have many church members who are 1st and 2nd generation members and they don’t have “pioneer” ancestry at all (they ARE the pioneers).  [click to continue…]

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