Sunday, July 29, 2012

For Feminist Mormons

When Joseph Smith created the Relief Society the women voted for their president. The women ran the Relief Society. They chose their activities, gave healing blessings, and they had their own magazine. One of the concepts brought forward was that of a Heavenly Mother which is supported in Genesis where it says "let us make man in our image". A Heavenly Mother is in one of our old hymns.

Through the years women have lost their voice. We are called "the largest women's organization in the world" yet we are run by men. We do not choose our leaders. We have to have approval by men for our activities, and women giving blessings is long gone. At one point the R.S. raised and controlled their own money, now we have to ask for money. We are told not to speak much of Heavenly Mother and we're not given any reasons why. The R.S. had their own magazine, run by women until 1970. But the church discontinued it and replaced it with the Ensign, a magazine, that although valuable, does not have much for women's voices.

As women became stronger in the world, we became weaker in the church. At one point the church was excommunicating women for supporting the Equal Rights Ammendment, and feminists were part of the a group in the nineties who were excommunicated for speaking out.

When a woman gets excommunicated she has to face a board of men - alone.

When a woman has a problem even if it's sexual in nature, she has to talk to her bishop - a man.

Girls are forced to talk about sexual matters to a man.

When a woman needs surgery she has to have a man give her a blessing who will most likely ask her what her health problems are before he will give her the blessing.

When there is a he said/she said the priesthood bearer will be believed.

Although not church policy, there were several temples that told young women who showed up at the temple to do baptisms, that they couldn't if they were having their periods. For many of these YW a temple trip is not common. Not everyone lives near one. These YW were forced to sit it out, watching and feeling humiliated. Christ did away with the Mosaic law, yet it appears that they were practicing a form of it.

Although women are over half the LDS population, we are not represented. The voices at conference are men with maybe one or two token women who more than likely are speaking after having their talks approved by men.

So where can we find LDS women's voices?

There is a magazine that dares to do this. The Exponent II which is named after the first R.S. Magazine. It is not controlled by the church, but it is an LDS women's magazine. The voices are real. They are different. They are intelligent. It is run by women and only women. The writers are women. You can order hard copies or download it for free. There are past issues.

Exponent II

From their website:

The purpose of Exponent II is to provide a forum for Mormon women to share their life experiences in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. This exchange allows us to better understand each other and shape the direction of our lives. Our common bond is our connection to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and our commitment to women. We publish this paper as a living history in celebration of the strength and diversity of women.
Exponent II is a non-profit organization that is made possible by countless volunteer hours and the generosity and support of our faithful readers. Your involvement and financial gifts help assure a strong future for this safe haven of discussion, learning, and sharing. Ours is a forum dedicated to the diverse voices and ideas of Mormon women.

I am not advocating replacing the Ensign with it, but I suggest it as further reading.

And for more women's voices:

Although some of the views might be considered outside usual Mormon culture and even doctrine, it is not anti-mormon. Rather it accepts women and their views no matter where they are on their spiritual journey.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What I Found in a Book That Caused Me To Bug Out My Eyes

I just recently a pretty decent book on financial planning. You can read the review here.

However in reading it I came across a chapter that I felt was disturbing.

One of the experts goes into a story about a bully and relating it somehow into stating that poor people on social programs feel entitled. Not that the bully was poor, but somehow it came about to that.

There's an entire conversation in this book about entitlement. He insinuated that everyone on social programs felt entitled and were lazy and would never do anything about it.

Furthermore he was against taxes that helped people and taxes that supported things like zoos, museums and other programs that were for the benefit of society.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Everyone Has a Testimony, They Just Haven't Found It Yet

My twelve year old daughter gave a talk in sacrament meeting that she wrote without any help, and this is the phrase that stuck out the most to me. "Everyone has a testimony, they just haven't found it yet."

How absolutely profound.

When I was being taught by the missionaries and I learned about the pre-existence, I immediately recognized it. Even though I had never heard the concept before, it was what I call a "heart memory". I knew that it was true.

To be sure, not everyone will hear it in the same way I did. Many will hear the gospel and not recognize it.

But it stands to reason, that if we lived with Father in Heaven before our existence on earth, then we all carry the truth within us even if the veil of this life obscures it. We may not be searching for it. We may not recognize it when we stumble across it. We may deny its existence. It may be invisible to us even if we are searching.

But we all have a testimony, even if we haven't found it yet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Old Testament: Psalm 109 - Please Don't Pray For Me That Way

There's a country song by Jaron and the Long Road to Love ( I can't tell if it's the name of the band or the name of an album). It's called "I Pray For You." Go ahead and watch this. I do have a point somewhere.

And just in case the video doesn't play here's the chorus lyrics.

I pray your brakes go out running down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the
head like I'd like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you're flying high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you

I have a confession. I like this song. Sure the guy who sings it is cute. Okay really good-looking and I don't see why that girl would break his heart, but that's beside the point. I like the song. I understand the feelings about the song. I've secretly thought this song before the song existed. I think the song is funny. And I feel guilty for liking this song because it seems so sacrilegious. We're not supposed to use prayer this way. At least that's my understanding.

And then today in my quest to read the bible straight through, I was reading Psalm 109. For those of you who don't know, Psalms is a book of David's prayers and songs. So I'm reading David's prayers to God to curse his enemies. He prays that a wicked man will rule over his enemy. He prays that his enemy will be condemned and his prayers will be considered a sin. He prays that he'll die and others will take his place.

But he goes further than that. He isn't happy just praying bad stuff for his enemy. He goes after his enemy's kin. He prays that his enemy's wife will suffer and that his children will be vagabonds. He goes on and on praying to God and cursing the children, the grandchildren, the great great grandchildren, the dog, the house, the people who knew him, the ground he stands on and anything else he can think of.

Basically he's saying

I pray your chariot brakes go out on a hill.
I pray a flowerpot falls off a windowsill and knocks you on the head like I'd like to
I pray your kids hate you and never call
I pray they all die and your wife falls
In love with someone else and dies a horrible death too,
Just know wherever you are I pray for you.

Which makes me feel not so bad about liking this song even though I know it's wrong.

It's no excuse.

We are counseled to pray for our enemies. Frankly I've preferred to sidestep the whole issue and not pray either way about my enemies other than asking that I can overcome whatever garbage they throw my way.

But I do wonder how something so mean spirited made it to the bible, which we're supposed to follow. Not that that's the only thing about the Old Testament that disturbs me. The whole book is disturbing with only a few shards of light which is the opposite of what I thought of it before as a book of light with some dark shadows.

It really is no wonder that most Christians focus in on the New Testament and Mormons on the Book of Mormon. (Not inferring that Mormons aren't Christians, they are).

So now it's back to reading.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Song

Easter Song 
                                     - Anna Maria Junus

I can never understand the pain that He endured,
Not only for a select few, but for the entire world,
The life He freely gave,
For all the souls that He would save,
It's more than anyone could comprehend,
The sacrifice He gave for man.

I have been sent here to this earth, not to wither and to die,
But to exalt what He has bought, to stand right by His side,
I am a simple soldier,
With many burdens I must shoulder,
Yet His shoulders are far bigger than mine,
Bearing burdens I can never define

The free gift that He gave,
Was not that we would all be saved,
But it was the gift of immortality,
For I must have a contrite heart,
And an earnest effort to do my part,
To gain the gift of living eternally,
In heaven, where the Father waits for me

Others may forget the garden and just focus on the cross,
Although it was integral, it was not the only cost,
For it was in Gethsemane
That He bled from every pore for me,
Paying for the sins of every single soul,
And for every pain so that we might be made whole.

One day I will die and I will lay this body down,
Back to the earth it will return while I fly to higher ground,
But because of the price He paid,
And His glorious resurrection day,
My body will be returned to me,
Perfected greater than I imagine it to be.

The free gift that He gave,
Was not that we would all be saved,
But it was the gift of immortality,
For I must have a contrite heart,
And an earnest effort to do my part,
To gain the gift of living eternally,
In heaven, where the Father waits for me.

The Resurrected Lord Jesus - Simon Dewey

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why Are Republicans Waging War on Women?

I'm going to say it right up front. I am not an American nor do I live in the US. I'm Canadian and in the end it really doesn't matter what I think regarding this and I'm aware of that.

I speak as a woman. Just as I would speak out against the wars raging against women throughout the rest of the world. However the U.S. is my neighbor. I have had the pleasure of visiting there and I have friends there, and unlike my sister who vows she will never live in the states, I am open to the possibility.

I do not have either Republican or Democrat leanings. Up here in Canada we have our politics but we don't base friendships, marriages, or religion on people's preferences. It's my observation that American's can get quite rabid heated about it.

But after recent headlines I can't help but say something.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Socialism is Not Communism

Last Christmas instead of the usual ward Christmas party with the turkey dinner and Santa Claus, my ward decided to do "An Evening in Bethlehem". We were asked to dress up as if we lived back then and for those of us who didn't (me included), they had scarves and lengths of fabric at the front door.

Each family was given 10 pieces of silver (pennies wrapped up in aluminum foil) by the government and led into the gym to Bethlehem. Several booths were set up selling food and other items. We were told that we would have to pay a tax on the money given but we were free to spend our money. I can't remember what the tax was but in the end, due to haggling and shop keepers who were willing to give family deals we were all sufficiently fed. In fact the food was good.

It was one of the few times in the ward when I felt equal to the other people.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Old Testament: Stupid Women

I made a goal this year to read all my scriptures. That would be the Old and New Testament, the Bible Dictionary, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. It sounds insurmountable but with the help of the internet I figured out I could do it by reading seven pages a day. Not that insurmountable.

I had heard many say that the Old Testament was difficult and they didn't like it. I didn't understand this. The Old Testament has some of the greatest Biblical stories. The creation of the earth, Moses parting the seas, beautiful Esther saving her people, Noah and the ark, Joseph and his multi-colored coat, Jonah getting eaten by a whale. Sure there was bad stuff but everyone knows you have to have bad stuff in order for the good to overcome insurmountable odds and win. It's a basic rule of literature. You have to have conflict.

I had studied the Old Testament in the past. Bits and pieces here and there and I had started it a few times just reading and never got much further than Adam and Eve. This time I made a concentrated effort to read it like a book, to get an overview of it all.

After two and a half months of reading I have to say, if I weren't already a devout believer I would be an athiest.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You Can Say What You Want As Long As It Agrees With Me

Yes, I'm jumping on this bandwagon. It's already been blown up out of proportion so I might as well add my two cents since it's not as if I'll be giving it any extra attention.

Remember Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains back in the 80's? I loved that show. I was a little too old to have a crush on Kirk, but I could understand why so many girls (and apparently from the backlash guys) did.

During his stint on the show Kirk became a Christian. Initially his new found faith apparently caused problems on the set but he eventually settled down.

His career afterwards didn't maintain the same heights but he did continue working and found a niche for himself in the Christian market while his co-star Leonardo Di Caprio became a famous movie star. Yes, Leo was in that show for the last season. There's a bit of TV trivia that not everyone knows.

Kirk found happiness with his large family (6 kids) stable marriage and his Christian career and didn't worry too much about Hollywood. Although in the past he has been criticized for his beliefs his life has not had the usual Hollywood scandals. No drugs, no illicit affairs, no blow ups at paparazzi (although by now they had mostly forgotten him), and he's lived a life that has been honest and true to his moral standards.

Last week he appeared on Piers Morgan. I have no idea why, but he did and Morgan asked him some questions that weren't part of Kirk's agenda. Here's the link to the interview. Some of it is quoted but if you watch the video you will get a more honest idea of what's going on rather than the quotes that are picked out.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Susan Is Not a Problem

I am a fan of The Chroncles of Narnia and I even got the opportunity to play the White Witch in a play about the second book "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe".

Recently I've been reading about the controversy surrounding Susan. WARNING: If you have not read the "Last Battle" stop reading now, because there is a major spoiler ahead.

In the "Last Battle" C.S. Lewis does the unthinkable. He kills off all his heroes. All but one.