Monday, November 24, 2014

Privilege and a Testimony of Polygamy

In watching various people address the new publication of information by the Church on Joseph Smith and his wives, I feel similar to the way I did when watching the reaction to 9/11*. Because I'm a relatively self-centered person**, I have spent a great deal of thought analyzing my reaction to understand it. Why, in a world where so many are so shocked and appalled by the Church's admission† to the extent and nature of Joseph's sealings, am I utterly unaffected?

Of course, the reason is complicated, based on a many-layered set of experiences and ways I've processed them. But I thought I'd tease out a few things that I've not seen anyone else hash over.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm Watching You

So this would have been more appropriate in October, with the creep factor and all, but I didn't think of it then. With my diminished interest in commenting online, I have found myself prioritizing what I read, too. I've noticed that when I see someone has commented, there are a few names which always interest me in the original post and make me click over to read.

There are, of course, other people whose comments I appreciate. I'm bound to think of more and come back to add them later. And certain topics grab my attention, no matter who addresses them. But if you ever wondered if I blog-stalk you, this is your time to find out. Think of it more as a "I'm thankful for these people's online participation," and it can be appropriate for November, too. And a bit less creepy.

In basically alphabetical order:

Monday, November 17, 2014

JustServe

A few years ago, I sat across from my midsingles' ward bishop. He was newly called, and (I would find out years later) exactly what the ward needed: someone to organize and utilize the immense opportunity to serve that the midsingles represent.

I've had impassioned discussions about how I hunger to find some service opportunity, something that can utilize my skills and actually matters to someone, but since I can't commit to at least 4 hours every week, the shelters and DV women's groups are closed to me.

But just today, I heard about this amazing new endeavor by the Church called JustServe.org. Although sponsored by the Church, it is not a church program, but is intended to be a community program. With this tool, people all over the world can sign in, submit projects, and participate in local service endeavors.

I have heard that missionaries, Eagle Scouts and Laurels, and individual members are being encouraged to use this site to find ways to improve the community and help those who really need it. It's barely starting, but I can see this becoming an amazing resource for people like me: with far more room in my heart than in my schedule.

What to you say? Time to get to work!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Glorious World

When I was no more than seven, I remember gently removing the shed skin of cicadas from the slat-wood fence in my parents' backyard. We would gather roly poly bugs and watch them curl and uncurl. One of my greatest ambitions was to find a queen fire ant, so I could have my own colony. I kept a careful eye on the date tree in our front yard, finding out that coconut trees and date trees were very different things.

I asked millions of questions, and stored the answers in the back of my mind. I climbed olive trees and dreamt of dinosaurs flying overhead. I read every book I could get my hands on, immersing myself in the stars, in the layers of the earth, in learning about peach trees and honey bees.

When we visited my grandparents, I followed one around and fed his calves and goats. The other taught me about herbs and roses. I learned that spiders love grape arbors, and that dog food doesn't taste good.

Later, I looked into the maw of a dormant volcano, smelled the sulfur pits, watched humpbacks dive on the horizon. I gathered and preserved sea urchin, learned about man o' war jellyfish, and how to pick blackberries with minimal scratches. Everywhere I lived, there were new explorations and always, always more to learn. What I could not learn by experience, I learned from books. Sometimes, I feel as though I have lived dozens of lives in my short years here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Female Ordination: How to Stop Hurting

This is not my typical feel-good, soft post. I'm going to say something very harsh here. I am truly sorry to further wound those who are already in pain. But I have been wrapped up in a cycle of pain regarding the Church myself, and from that position I feel that I need to speak up, say what I need to say, even if I'm not loved for it.

You're looking for justification for women not having the priesthood. You think that, if the Church doesn't ordain women, there has to be a reason, even if that reason is just because God says so. You are frustrated and upset because you haven't gotten a "clear answer" that satisfied you. You don't feel valuable in the Church because you're not getting the answer you want.

And that is why you are missing the entire point. Because you assume that the prophets and/or God have to answer to you, give you what you want how you want it, you are causing yourself nearly unbearable pain. The justification, the only answer that you're going to get is that the leadership hasn't implemented it. Full stop.

The reason you don't understand the prophets' actions, or the stance of those who follow them is because your underlying assumptions have already taken you to a mode of thinking that is incapable of comprehending them. Take a step back from your assumptions for a moment—I know it is very, very painful and difficult, but try.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Relationship Entitlement in a Mormon World

What are your thoughts on this?

How does it fit into an LDS view of eternal marriage?
What recourse does a Mormon woman (or man) have in an abusive marriage?
What can we do to change our understanding of marriage?
What should we do?

I'll post my thoughts in the future, but first I want to hear what you think. Email me if your comments are too personal to post publicly. I promise I won't reproduce or quote them without your permission.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Passing of a Great Man

Everyone is mourning the loss of Robin Williams. Through his gift of acting, he has inspired, blessed, and cheered us. In Dead Poet's Society he taught us to be more than what we are. In Mrs. Doubtfire and Hook, he taught us to love our families. His smile is iconic. His soft voice makes us feel love.

And yet, he was bipolar. His family life was chaotic, and he may have finally committed suicide.

We all love Robin Williams for what he gave us, but there was a cost. His life was turbulent, his internal emotions intense and swinging. I relate to that somewhat. Though I'm not bipolar, I am very passionate. But it is from that very place of pain that genius is born.

I think, when we tell people they can "choose to be happy" or "positive outcomes only," we invalidate their pain. We medicate sorrow as if it's a disease, and we tell ourselves to avoid people in pain as if it is communicable. We are increasingly unable to deal with sorrow, to mourn with others who mourn and to comfort them. We are unable to reach out to make the very connections that make our burdens light.

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