Relief Society Lesson 19: In the World But Not of the World

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City Scape by Ham, Myung SuThis lesson guide is based on the Joseph Fielding Smith manual’s lesson, Chapter 19. Fortunately, this topic is also well-covered in an exceptional lesson guide we recently did for Young Women’s. Definitely check it out! (As per usual, my questions to the class are italicized.)

This quote opens the lesson, “While we are in the world, we are not of the world. We are expected to overcome the world and to live as becometh saints.”

Ask the sisters: What does this quote mean to you?
Can we live apart from the world and avoid being condescending towards those who don’t believe as we do or choose the same path that we do?

I worry about the second question quite a bit. As a Mormon who holds political ideologies different from many of the members in my various wards, I have felt judged for voting Democrat…that perhaps, I don’t quite understand the gospel or the Church because I see issues differently.

Rachel Held Evans says in better in her book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood (have you read it? It’s fantastic!), “We tend to take whatever’s worked in our particular set of circumstances (big family, small family, AP, Ezzo, home school, public school) and project that upon everyone else in the world as the ideal.”

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How to Access Your Online Subscription on ExponentII.org

Thank you for your patience as Exponent II has undergone some significant changes…we’ve had an explosion in subscriptions and moved to an online database so our subscribers can now manage their own subscriptions online (gift subscriptions and an Exponent II store renovation coming soon!). While we are no longer selling hard copies of our Spring 2014 theme issue, Women and the Priesthood, people who subscribe now (hard copy or online) will have access to the PDF of that issue on our website.

Please note: the last batch of orders went out this morning. Some were placed in late June as we’ve played catch up. Email me at subscriptionsATexponentiiDOTorg if your hard copy has not arrived by August 3rd, and thank you for your patience as our volunteers manager these transitions.

To manage your hard copy subscription account, follow the directions below.  If you have an online subscription, you should be able to follow steps #4, 5, and 7 to access your account and the PDF of the most current issue as well as access to all issues archived.

  1. Go to our new Exponent II store: http://exponent.hyperingenuity.com/store.cgi
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click, “Create an Account”step 1
  3. Fill in the necessary information and click, “Create Account”step 2
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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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