Guest Post: No More Fear-Driven Faith for Me!

Judy profileWe’re delighted to showcase some of Exponent II’s founding mothers and long-time contributors in the upcoming days and weeks. We look to them, those who have seen and weathered periods of apostasy accusations and members facing Church discipline, for their thoughts on the events that are taking place as a new generation of progressive Mormons search for our place in the Church.

No More Fear-Driven Faith for Me!
by Judy Dushku

After Sonia Johnson was excommunicated from my church in 1979, the women in Exponent II invited her to meet with us and discuss her views. Since we were also Mormon feminists and supported the ERA as she did, we thought it appropriate and indicative of our solidarity with many of her ideas. She came to Boston for a media event, and then came to my home for a warm and lively discussion. Laurel Ulrich later commented that Sonia seemed brittle and fearful; we were sympathetic and felt compassion.

As was the practice with Exponent II, our Board decided that we would publish an issue about Sonia Johnson’s ordeal and her views where we would invite a number of women to write their thoughts concerning this pivotal and highly volatile event. We were long-committed to that approach to controversial subjects: identify the issue, then invite many LDS women to share their points of view in our paper. We solicited opinions and soon had a paper ready to paste up for publication. On the night before we went to press, four (as best I can recall) of our number decided to have their names taken off our masthead. They did not want to be associated with an issue of Exponent II that might appear to endorse Sonia’s positions or behavior, lest we get excommunicated, too. They did not resign in protest, they said, but in fear.

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Relief Society Lesson 8: the Church and Kingdom of God

Find the lesson here.

I would start this lesson by listening some of the varied ways that President Joseph Fielding Smith served in the organization of the Church.

In the manual, we read, “Through these service opportunities, Joseph Fielding Smith came to appreciate the Church’s inspired organization and its role in leading individuals and families to eternal life.”

Ask the class, What service opportunities have you had in your life that have helped you to gain a testimony of the Church’s inspired organization?

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Voices from the Exponent Backlist: Planning a Child’s Baptism

pinterest baptism programLast year about this time, I began planning my almost-eight-year-old’s baptism. I’m a huge fan of religious rituals that welcome children into the community–I love a Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, a Roman Catholic infant baptism, a Mormon baby blessing, etc. I think these rituals build our children and build our communities.

But, I didn’t want my son to feel like his choice to be baptized made him better than anyone else. We have family and friends who have chosen to not be affiliated with the Church, and he had questions about that. Why was his choice to be baptized a good one? Why were other peoples’ choices not to be Mormon just as valid? Difficult conversations, those were (and will continue to be). However, they helped me frame how I wanted his baptism…as a gift from his community to show their love and the love of our Heavenly Parents’ love. After all, the covenants we make at baptism are simple and beautiful: we become members of our community, we take on the name of Christ, and we promise to keep the commandments, including helping each other and serving God.

On our backlist, one of our permabloggers has a friend whose child is getting baptized. She asked for help finding a reading that would be meaningful to her, as someone with beliefs that differ from her mainstream Mormon family, that would also be comfortable for those in attendance. Here are some suggestions from our backlist:

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Announcement: I am Jane at BYU

Jane Manning JamesLive in Utah? Traveling to Utah? Don’t miss this play this week at BYU.

The award winning play about Black LDS pioneer Jane Manning James will play from Feb. 25-March 1, 2014.

Tuesday, Feb 25: 7:30 pm
Wednesday, Feb 26: 7:30 pm
Thursday, Feb 27: 7:30 pm
Friday, Feb 28: 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 1: 2 pm and 7:30 pm

Tickets are $3 individually, or $5 per couple. You may buy tickets by contacting the Wilkinson Center Information Desk on the campus of BYU. You can contact them by phone (801-422-4313) or in person (Room 2300 WSC).

Some links:
Margaret Blair Young’s Patheos post about Jane Manning JamesSistas in Zion talk to the cast of I am Jane
Peggy Fletcher Stack writes about the production

Have you seen the play (this production or an earlier one)? What did you think?

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Announcement: Winter 2014 Issue Now Available

winter 2014 cover This issue explores important themes like the current rhetoric surrounding the modesty discourse from marriage and family therapist Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, as well as a beautiful collection of personal essays and inspired artwork.  Subscribe or read online here.

We also want to notify our readers that this will be the last issue of Exponent II that will be available online without a subscription. Beginning with our Spring 2014 issue on the topic of women’s ordination to the priesthood, we will be offering digital subscriptions to all of our readers. Stay tuned for how to become a digital subscriber in the coming months.
Enjoy Aimee Hickman’s lovely Letter from the Editor in this quarter’s issue.

My parents and I recently went through a trunk of old photographs. Decades caught on celluloid showed my parents’ coming of age in the ’60s and ’70s, and I couldn’t resist teasing them for their fashion choices, including a photo of my newlywed mother wearing an anklelength calico- printed prairie dress.

“What fashion statement were you going for with this one?” I gibed.

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