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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Departing Doctrine

I am in the awkward position of not knowing my position. Increasingly, I find myself disagreeing with almost all the ideology of both the liberal and conservative bloggers' side, and ideology of the mainstream members. It leaves me with the very real possibility that I am the one going wrong.

Increasingly, the things said over the pulpit do not resonate with me. But neither do any of the things from other perspectives. Maybe I'm just overstressed and finding myself incontrovertibly rooted in the right-now, physical world. Maybe having lived in survival mode, in fear for so long makes me utterly unlike the rest of the world, without the capacity to gnaw over the past, politics or religion. But maybe my constant tension means I'm losing touch with the Spirit.

I find myself hungry for doctrines that resonate with me, thirsty for the Waters of Life. And, as in prophecy, I do not know where to find them. My prayers consist mostly of "I don't know what to ask for, but please help." My list of Things I Need to Repent From grows longer daily, and I still haven't the least clue how to change any of them. Repentance is easier when you know what you are doing wrong, or know how to change it when you do.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Woman's Mormon Temple Experience

It breaks my heart to see so many people struggling in the wake of excommunication. It is like a sea of disquiet. I know I can help one soul at a time, but right now the pain is overwashing anything I could do, so I'm mostly just listening.

There is so much discourse about women's terrible temple experiences, how the endowment ceremony hurts them, how it keeps them unable to understand their place and who they are as women. Right now all the stories seem to be about how unequal and terrible it is. But I believe in the power of stories. Parts of my story can only be shared one-on-one, in person, when moved by the Spirit. But right now I feel constrained to share something publicly. Maybe seeing how I process my temple experience can help someone else who is trying to understand.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Sin of Pride Within the Church

"...Ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."
3 Nephi 11:38

I think Satan rejoices just as much over smug self-satisfaction as he does about those who error in doctrine. Contention is not just about asking questions, it's also about condemning those with different paradigms than ours. Not all who subscribe to OW are in open rebellion, and I think those of us who don't believe in liberal principles or female ordination need to guard our borders against pride just as much.

It is so easy for us to look at those who perceive the world differently and think we are somehow better and more righteous. But I think that when we become comfortable in our service to God to the point that we believe we are right and others have nothing to teach us, we run the real risk of pride.

Pride is not only the enemy of humility, it is the opposite of charity. Charity is more important even than faith, for faith fails. If we are earnest disciples to Christ, we will inevitably reach some moment in our lives when our faith is not enough to pull us through. But when those times come, we can cleave to the Savior by emulating His charity. Charity is more important than knowledge. Though we are to gain as much knowledge as we can in this life, we will not likely gain it all. There will come a time when our own understanding and knowledge will fail us. But we can fill the gaps of our understanding with a love for God and His children.

No one is entirely lost, no one is entirely saved. None of us are safe, even if we accomplish our Church service, support our leaders with silence and compliance, and do all that we are asked in this volunteer church. We can still fall prey to pride, to vain ambition, to the idols of the world. The Church of Christ is not made up only of members, nor is it only those who have been baptized. The Church is all those who repent: those who repent of misunderstanding doctrine, and those who repent of a lack of charity and compassion. Both errors I see just as much in "faithful members" of the Church as in those who are considered less faithful.

"Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.

"Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery; For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts; Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church."

D&C 10:63-68

All the repentant will have a chance to be baptized. All will be able to make those covenants. But not all who are baptized are repentant. I challenge any of you who disagree with people like the OW movement to humble yourself in prayer and pray for that charity which is the end of all pride, all fear, and all death. That charity is the most powerful gift God can bestow.

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