Global Mormon Feminism: Reflections On The 40th Anniversary Exponent II Issue

Exponent II has been such a gift to me.  There is always something there to make me laugh, something that touches the deepest part of my soul, and something that makes me think in a way that changes my perspective.  Gina Colvin’s article in the 40th Anniversary issue of Exponent II does all three, but it especially has changed my perspective.

I’ve often heard people lament that our proudly “global” church seems to act more like an American corporation with offices in different countries than a truly multinational organization.  The church opens branches and wards and gives them the same handbook that is being used for American wards, with American lingo and correlation. American leaders are sent to establish these congregations and to train people to properly administer the church, with a high emphasis on educating people to ensure the upward social mobility of its members.  Often many traditional worship practices, such as dancing or traditional folk music, are discouraged and/or eliminated in global LDS congregations, and American standards of dress and grooming are emphasized in publications like “For the Strength of Youth” without adaptation for members in other cultures or climates. And while I’m aware that efforts are ongoing to incorporate local input and to mediate some of the larger cultural clashes, most of those who make the overarching, administrative decisions still aren’t locals who live in the area in question: they’re Americans who are receiving feedback, and then making decisions for the non-American area.  I would think that Mormon women, and particularly Mormon feminists, would be empathetic to this dynamic of giving input but not ultimately making the decisions that directly affect them.

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The Consumption of Corruptible Things

By Chrissie

By Chrissie

By Jenny

I’ve always been fascinated with the apocalyptic side of the Mormon Church.  When I was younger I studied the book of Revelations intensely trying to make sense of it.  I had such faith and hope in the time when the world would experience perfect peace.  But I wallowed in fear over the destruction of the world that had to come first.  Even at the age of fourteen, I would have dreams about the end of the world.  Growing up in Utah, I had one non-Mormon friend for whose soul I feared greatly.  In my dreams she was always consumed by the great fire that was coming to the earth.  The collective consciousness in which I was immersed told me that if I was righteous I wouldn’t need to fear the fires myself because I was born into the right church.  But that only made me feel guilty for my birthright.  The great destruction of the world is an overwhelming concept for a young girl to have to contemplate.

The scriptures, Old Testament, New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants, are full of allusions to this great burning.  The fierce God of the Old Testament permeates the images of an entire world being consumed by fire and everything being destroyed.  Our sacred words create a fearful image of a God who will destroy the humans who have made Him so angry with their unrighteousness.  It’s no wonder we deal with that fear by making an exception for those who are living righteously.  I think it is human nature, when contemplating something so fearful, to make an exception, and then to count yourself among the righteous select.

A little while ago I was reading in D&C 101:24: “And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed.”  Two key words caught my attention in this passage: “corruptible” and “consumed.”

This sounds very much like the wicked will be burned, but as I have thought more about the phrase “corruptible things,”  I realized that corruptible is not synonymous with wicked.  Everything on this earth is corruptible.  Our bodies, our social structures, our homes, our families, even our religions.  Corruption is the process in which something whole, healthy, and alive breaks down and degrades, sometimes to the point of death.  Anything that is susceptible to death is corruptible.

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For the Beauty of the Earth

Spring has sprung in my corner of the world!

We’ve had a brutal winter and so seeing 60ºF (and up!) in the forecast makes me incredibly happy. I love seeing all the flowers. I love seeing happy faces out on the street, smiling for no other reason than warm weather has finally arrived. I find myself joyful, even more so when I’m with friends. Spring is just a happy and optimistic time of the year.

SPRING

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On Being Happy: Reflections On The 40th Anniversary Exponent II Issue

A few months ago when the young, male missionaries were over for dinner, we discussed the upcoming general conference. The boys had just attended a mission conference where the mission president asked them who their favourite general authority was. The boys reflected that each missionary there had a favourite speaker, and they laughed and felt closer to each other when they learned that others shared the same favourite. At this dinner, we all agreed that each general conference speaker was worthy, and would bring spiritual insights to the table. But we also agreed that there were one or more “favourites” who we were looking forward to learning from.

Every issue of the Exponent magazine is like this for me. I look forward to each worthy contribution of art, word, poem and song, and feel uplifted as so many of the contributions stay with me, bringing me peace, making me feel un-alone, and loved. Often the contributors who are previously unknown to me bring me the biggest enlightenment and delights, and I feel like I am making new friends of them as I read their words. But then there are my favourites. A handful of women whose words I save, I save them to read when the children and husband are away, for a time when I can invite them, and they spirit they bring to me. They know me, even if I have never met them. They teach me things that I often didn’t know I needed to learn. They heal me with prophetic wisdom that can only be administered by the spirit. They are my sisters, and I love them.

Lavina Fielding Anderson is one of these women. And this essay is one of those essays.

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Exponent II Call for Submissions

what would you do

I’m convinced that for the last four years, I’ve had the best job on the Exponent II staff. As Art Editor, my pre-conceived ideas about Mormon art were smashed. I’ve encountered dozens of artists doing gorgeous work and just about every week I have new favorite. I don’t have enough wall space for all the art by LDS women that I would like to purchase. I love that I’ve gotten the chance to communicate with these creative women and share their art through the magazine.

Emily McPhie has contributed several times to Exponent II in the last five years. This painting of hers, “What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?” helped inspire me to accept the job as the next Exponent II Editor-in-Chief. We are asking our readers to contemplate this question and then write about it. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What are you doing that has required courage? What is transitioning in your life? How are you evolving and what have you learned? What is still unclear?

Submit through email to editor@exponentii.org. Submissions should be between 800-2000 words and should be received by May 3. Happy writing!

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Two years after I submitted an Ordain Women profile, this is what I’m thinking

Hotel_Dieu_in_Paris_about_1500My babies were delivered in hospitals, safely and pleasantly enough.  But delivering in a hospital was not always so safe.  Many women died in European and American lying-in hospitals in the 17th to 19th centuries from childbed fever – an infection of streptococcal bacteria in the uterus that spread to the bloodstream causing sepsis and, usually, death.  Childbed fever can occur in women who deliver at home, but it was so prevalent in lying-in hospitals because doctors unwittingly spread the bacteria from one woman to another through bad hygiene.  Mortality rates averaged around 1 in 5 to 1 in 4, with some epidemics being close to 100% mortality.  

Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, began looking at mortality in the maternity ward at the General Hospital in Vienna in 1846.  He noted that doctors patients died at a rate 5 times higher than the midwives patients and set out to find out why.  Ahead of his time, and without knowledge of microbiology, he came up with a procedure that dropped maternal mortality by 90%.  It was washing hands in a chlorine solution.

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May Young Women Lesson: How can a patriarchal blessing help me?

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation

by Lawrence OP on flickr https://flic.kr/p/q91R5DBefore the new Come, Follow Me curriculum, the 12 and 13 year old Sunday School classes studied the Presidents of the Church for 2 years. In that time, I remember hearing about prophets who received their patriarchal blessings at the ages of 13 (George Albert Smith and David O. McKay, precisely) and wanting to be righteous, I thought it would be good to want a patriarchal blessing just as early. However, every time I asked my parents if I could start the process of receiving a patriarchal blessing, they told me I ought to be older and needed to wait. I waited until I was 16 and it is very special to me.

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