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In the middle of cranking out an excruciating long post, I keep coming across the almost universally intellectually dishonest or radically uninformed presentations about the supposed 90% of LDS women — and 95% of highly committed LDS members — who oppose ordination of women to the priesthood. So let’s clear up what the Pew survey revealed about Mormon opinion on female ordination once and for all.

Do Mormon Women Oppose Priesthood Ordination?

What the Pew Survey Did Not Say

  1. If offered the priesthood by the prophet, would you refuse it?
  2. If church leaders said women could be ordained would you support it?
  3. Would you welcome the ordination of women, if the general authorities approved it?
  4. Would you like it if women could righteously hold the priesthood?
  5. Etc.

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If you were sitting in a small group, talking to Christ (can you even imagine?) what would you ask? I’d probably ask something like:

  1. Is it worth the trouble? Do I even have a shot at this exaltation thing?
  2. What are the most important things for me to fix? (Listed by priority, please!)
  3. How can I make sure my whole family and I (and all my other favorite people) are together in the celestial kingdom?
  4. What should my life mission be?
  5. What about that polygamy thing?

Whosoever Shall Be a Doormat

When the disciples had the fireside chat with Christ (to be fair, they had lots of them, so this wasn’t their one and only Q&A), one of them asked:

Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

I’ve always wondered at that. I’ve never really wondered who was greatest. I just want to be somewhere in the hierarchy. I don’t really care where it is. Greatest, least, fair to middling. Just let me in the door and I’m a happy camper. [click to continue…]

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Ordain Whomever

Ordain Whomever

Where is my paddle when I need it. I have an idea: let’s all line up in the woods, choose sides, and bare our bottoms for a good old fashioned spanking. Maybe thinking about our welting backsides, and that it hurts just the same whether you “hold” the priesthood or not, will help us remember that we are first children of God. A God who has commanded that we love one another, even as He has loved us.

And in our mortal state we experience pain, and can inflict it on others most violently.

Someone please provide me with absolutely irrefutable proof that we have any business “trying to figure this out.” Isn’t it the Lord’s business? Isn’t He capable of deciding what to do with “irreverent” and “disobedient” children. For the record I do not see those agitating for change as either of those terms.

Listen here, it’s not your business how your neighbor gets to Christ or even if they do. I know we hear a lot about sharing the gospel and spreading the good news. But that does not mean we are better than the next lady trying to figure out her destiny. It doesn’t. Ever.

The louder the screams. The more hateful the rhetoric. The stupider the one saying it looks. Period.  [click to continue…]

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Simple FHE Ideas: Fasting

Fasting is not my children’s favorite word. To be honest, it isn’t mine either. But about 15 years ago — when our kids were really struggling with trying to fast — we had this family home evening lesson.

Simple FHE Ideas Fasting

Remembering all the benefits of fasting (particularly when our stomachs are growling out the drawbacks) can help us remain steadfast in our commitment.

Music

Hymns

Primary Songs

Scripture

Look for benefits of fasting while you read the following:

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I Am Strong! I Am Smart!

Book Review: I Am Strong! I Am Smart! by Fay A. Klingler

In an age where google is the authority and the idea of social acceptance has seemingly no ceiling. Where bullying can happen well into adulthood. And when being “liked” can be seen as the mark of success to feed insatiable desires for self confidence, what a relief it is to have a book that offers sound principles to build true and inner confidence on.

I Am Strong I Am Smart ReviewAs a child I wish I would have had this book to navigate all the bullying I encountered and other difficult situations I couldn’t understand, nor had an advocate to help me with. We would all like to believe that family is enough, but unfortunately we live in a world where surrogates are necessary for filling extended, and even immediate, family holes and roles. I would have cherished this book as a child.

As a mother I am deeply grateful to have this book for my children. [click to continue…]

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The Sheep and the Goats

There is a scene in the musical GodSpell that depicts the Jesus figure teaching his followers about the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31–46). It’s both a poignant and humorous scene, often shown with those listening (like Judas) trying to sneak from the goat side to the sheep side unnoticed.

Ye Have Done It Unto My Daughter

Unfortunately for me, getting to the “sheep side” where all will “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” is going to take more than just lying low or hoping Christ looks the other way for a minute or two while I tiptoe over. Instead it will require some big things: [click to continue…]

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Portraits of Female Leaders (Finally) Approved

For the first time in forever…they were noticed by someone! (Feel free to sing along.)

Today, Peggy Fletcher Stack reported that the LDS church has made a huge, bold move into the 20th century! They have, for the first time, included…wait for it…portriats of general female auxiliary leaders on the Conference Center walls!

Portraits of Female Leaders (Finally) Approved

According to an LDS spokeswoman (Jessica Moody, the church’s official go to gal for all things feminist):

Conversations about giving more visibility to women have been going on for some years. The decision to have the sister leaders of the church be more visible in the Conference Center is just one outcome of those conversations.

Progress is progress. I’m actually quite happy about this change and — more to the point — glad these issues are on the radar. Still, I’m dismayed that it needed “some years” of conversation to happen rather than being one of those many things that is patently obvious. Within only about one or two LDS conversations or situations, gender awkwardness is all over the place.  [click to continue…]

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Simple FHE Ideas: Bullying

Seven years after I wrote Bullying in Church, the post came screaming back to life. That traffic (not coincidentally, I’m sure) coincided with the release of the Mormon Moment video titled, “Bullying – Stop It.” The video went viral almost immediately and along with those searches my bullying post started raking in comments and social media buzz.

Bullying - Simple FHE

Even though I have ample experience with bullying as a victim, as the parent of a victim (with four out of my six kids), and as a bystander doing nothing, I had no idea how common this problem is. I also did not realize how many have left the church because of this, even though I almost did myself.

This past week I had a conversation with a guy I grew up with. He had read the post and contacted me. He witnessed some of what happened and even participated in the rock throwing festivity (something he apologized for years ago). At the time it occurred my mom went to the home of each boy and talked to the parents. After that kindergarten incident, I do not recall him ever being involved directly again. (It didn’t seem to phase Bob (the pseudonym I gave to my years-long childhood bully in the post linked above)  — or his parents. During our conversation this guy said,

think that we probably had the same “Bob.”

I was shocked. I had no idea he was being harassed, too, let alone by the same perp.

Since then I’ve thought a lot more about bullying and boys. It was awful and traumatic for me. But after seeing one of my sons experience some of it, I recognize that with boys there is still a general machismo that makes it  taboo to discuss, to even admit, to even label it themselves. I mean, if you are being bullied, what does that make you?

After watching the video this week, a friend asked, “Why not just teach kindness?”

I understand wanting to take a positive approach. Sometimes, however, I think we need to clearly identify the negative side. Just as we don’t always focus on “positive internet resources” but also, specifically and directly, address the evil of porn. It seems so many don’t understand bullying — or even identify what they are doing as bullying — that it is a huge issue we need to address from the negative side as well.

My daughter, Monica, plays Melissa, the blonde bullied girl in the video. Ironically, she is one of the two of my children who hasn’t dealt with bullying at any serious level. Still, she and Aisha Garcia (the girl who plays Jessica, the brunette bullied girl) capture the heartbreak of such treatment.

I hope you’ll share this with your children and help make a step toward making churches (and everywhere!) safe for everyone.

Music

Hymns

Primary Songs

Scripture

3 Nephi 14: 12

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Mormon Momma is Moving!

Now you’ve done it! Thank you for crashing the servers again! We are moving to a bigger, stronger, faaster server on the evening of March 15th!!

Mormon Momma MovingLast fall we upgraded (“upgraded” being a relative term) to a  VPS when we got pounded with traffic. It help. Kind of. Sort of. The crashing is happening again. I’m sure you all experienced the annoying, aggravating, slowed-to-a-crawl page views — if, indeed, you could see them at all.

I’ve just purchased a “large” managed hosting plan with LightningBase and will get Mormon Momma (and, later, my other sites) moved there ASAP. I have high hopes that this will greatly enhance the user experience and make accessing the site a pleasure rather than a pain.

If you experience site downtime in the next day or so, trust that it will be temporary.

We appreciate you taking the time to read, share, and comment! Thank you for your support!

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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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