Friday, March 21, 2014

Enduring Women

I spent a few months really enjoying my regular church attendance, but for the last few weeks, I've been struggling to attend for various reasons. In fact, certain things (which I don't feel like I should share specifically) have made me nearly certain that my path should probably be heading out of the church again.

That is until a blog post I read today.

I've been known to say that "Satan is in the conflict." I specifically used that phrase at a meeting of people with differing views on navigating issues regarding same-sex-attraction within the Mormon church (at the circling the wagons conference exactly a month ago.)

But this time I refer to a different cause and a different conversation where people have very strong feelings and for some people, those feelings reveal themselves within written comments that are not at all Christ-like.

I did not specifically post about this last fall, because I consider myself an ally to this other group rather than one of the members. The group I refer to is represented at I did briefly refer to my experience in my post about wearing pants to church just a couple of months ago.

When one becomes of a liberal mind, especially within Mormonism, there is no way to avoid meeting other people who are also liberal, but sometimes with a different focus. While my own gateway is of course my passionate support of the LGBTQ community, I have become acquainted with many Mormon feminists in addition to those passionate about other various issues within LDS culture. So a friend talked me into attending the Ordain Women event, and while my daughter and I did attend and I enjoyed doing so, I also spent time avoiding the video cameras (because I am a little bit afraid of how publicly supporting such a controversial event could affect my job), and I actually felt very awkward asking for entrance into the priesthood session. I would have loved to attend as it is always my favorite one to read in the Ensign after the fact, but I knew what the answer would be, and I honestly felt bad for the man that had to handle the situation.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about the upcoming event to try again to attend the April priesthood session, and had not yet decided what I personally wanted to do to support it and my friends that feel strongly about the inequality of women within the church.

And then the church sent a letter this past Monday to Ordain Women, asking them not to "Protest" within the temple grounds, but instead in the free speech zones outside of temple square, if they must.

News of the letter hit Facebook, news articles in local and national papers, and many blogs. Comments have been very confrontational and demeaning. All of the turmoil was another reason for me to want to leave my religion behind me. There is so much that concerns me in the way that the church handles things sometimes, and then the way some of the members go crazy with it. I have tired of reading about it over the last few days. My department chair at school, to whom I mentioned my attendance at conference last fall, asked me a couple of days ago not to participate this time, that he did not feel good about my doing so. I had just barely changed my Facebook photo to the one supporting Ordain Women as seen above, but agreed with him that I was not sure I should actually attend the event.

Today a new blog post started circulating (, one containing dialogue from an interview with Chieko Okazaki--a former general Relief Society leader who wrote one of my favorite books ever: "Lighten up!"(1993) I always enjoyed listening to her speak in conference.

For some, this blog post and the information in contains may cause further separation and criticism for the church. But for me, it brought memories of this strong, amazing woman and her testimony. If she could endure some of the things that she did in her leadership position, and still maintain ties to the church because of her testimony, then maybe I can too.

Yes, I am still trying to figure out my path with regards to the church, and it might take my entire life to do so. Some might be critical of the ebb and flow of my support of and activity in the church. But I am following my own path, and I try not to judge others who follow their own path, and hope they will give me the same respect. I know some are just concerned for the conflict and unhappiness that it sometimes brings within me. I am too, but I'm sure there is something for me to learn from it, and I am only doing what my heart tells me to do. Meanwhile, Satan is in the conflict and the judgement of one another, and stops many from taking a Christ-like approach to conversing about topics on which they do not agree. All is not well in Zion, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014


The last two days--as well as a few days and weeks prior--I spent time preparing for and attending the "circling the wagons" conference. I was on the planning committee as well as on a facilitation panel for a straight spouse workshop. (

My dear friend John wrote an excellent blog post about the conference that I will refer to here instead of detailing my own experience for now. When the podcast is available for my workshop, I will post it here. I am too tired to rehash what happened there, other than I'll say that I thought it was good.

My favorite thing about the conference was meeting in person the people I've grown to love online on Facebook, as well as seeing other dear friends that I only get to see at events like these.

My second favorite thing about such events is being able to discuss the gospel within the framework of those touched in some way by the gay issue in the LDS church or even just in the Utah/LDS culture. It brings such peace to know I'm not alone in my beliefs and thoughts and struggles. It also gives me great opportunities to learn from those who navigate this journey differently than I do, as well as share my journey in the hope that it will help someone else.

But the process is exhausting, and as I've been tired and depressed this morning, it occurs to me that although my heart wants to be active in the church, and I've learned to handle those things I disagree with, the thing that makes Sundays really hard for me now is that most of my children will not come with me. The youngest, who is now three, is the one that got me going because he loved nursery. The second to youngest, who turned 8 last June, has been attending for a couple of months to prepare and qualify for baptism, which happened February 1st. Now he will not come with me any more. Even the day after he was baptized required a bribe to get him here. I thought he understood what he was doing and wanted it for him, not just for me.

Giving my children freedom to choose to attend church or not is important. They have been down the difficult journey with the church that I have. But since they are still minors, where do I draw the line? Making those decisions and sticking to them is so exhausting. The path used to be clear, and there were two parents directing the children down that path. But now we are completely different paths, neither of which is the one we were all on before.

Just a difficult and exhausting journey to navigate. So not easy being a pioneer.

P.S. It didn't help that the lady conducting Relief Society today, after I wrote this blog post in Sacrament meeting, went on and on about how we need to go to Stake conference, and take our children, so that they can see that we love and support the Stake presidency, and so that the amazing and strong youth can stay on the right path in this wicked, wicked world. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. I came home and had a good cry. Not that I think my children are doomed to wickedness. And not that everything in the world that she finds wicked is also what I consider wicked. But tough to take when I was already feeling down about my children. :(