I recently had a conversation about conversations. I wondered aloud if there was a (safe) place in a church-sponsored environment where members could have open, honest conversations about hard Mormon topics – such as homosexuality, women’s priesthood, birth control, chastity for older singles, excommunication, temple marriages, etc.
I maintained that it could happen, but the 5 other people in my group said, “no way”.
In my life away from Exponent and Mormon Feminism, where I make the money to pay the bills, I am an organizer. I organized largely for business professionals: their desks, their calendars, their files, and their kitchens, closets, and basements. I love my work.
In my own life, I also organize. My dresses are hung on matching hangers – in color order. My socks are all folded the same way – in thickness order. My calendar is color coded with times and addresses listed – and agendas outlined in notes.
I had one goal on January 1, 2014: Never Be Behind – on Anything. This means that inboxes are always clean in my 5 email accounts, my birthday cards are out the door on time, I send follow up notes immediately after the meeting, and I’m up on all blog readings and current events. I chased this goal down all year and did a pretty good job …. but, of course, it eluded me.
For 2015, my friends tell me I should change my goal to: Be Realistic. And I respond: Boring.
So, I will try again to “Never Be Behind”. I know it’s out of reach, but I love the challenge. One area that is hard for me: keeping up on news – Mormon and otherwise. So, in 2015, I’m going to try more podcasts. I’d like to listen rather than trying to read it all.
And here’s where I need your help, dear reader: choosing the best podcasts.
What are your favorite podcasts – in the Mormon World and in the World World?
I found “The Crucible of Doubt” to be rich with insight into age-old religious questions. Many of the chapters gave voice (and deeper meaning) to ideas I was already forming – regarding church, religion, and faith. I was also inspired with new ideas and found myself reframing worship and God in new, positive ways. I would recommend this book to any person of faith.
My two favorite chapters are Chapter 3, The Role and Function of the Church and Chapter 8, Find Your Watering Place.
In Chapter 3 (The Role and Function of the Church) brought to life many discussion I’ve had with others: “Faith is a way of life; a church is an institution designed to strengthen people in the expression of that life.” The Givens’ seem to say that true religion is a part of a person and an individual journey; the church is an aid to the human spirit and to this journey.
I am a professional organizer. (Yes, I do this for a living.) This weekend I organized a conference for Professional Organizers. It’s been intense.
In my job, I organize people’s homes, pantries, offices, attics, files, and computers. I talk to them about order, white space, letting go, and flow. I believe I make a difference. I take organizing a step further in companies as a project manager. And I stretch my business skills as an entrepreneur. I’m a fantastic networking living in a city of networkers. My business is growing.
But …. I haven’t always been a business owner and an organizer. I graduated BYU with a degree that met two criteria: it was usable in the work place and it was flexible around motherhood.
And when marriage, motherhood (and a second income) didn’t come, I realized that I should have added a third criteria to my graduation standards: lucrative. So, I did what every LDS woman does when she finds herself at 30 and still single, I went back to school and got an MBA.
“We expect our members everywhere to learn correct principles and govern themselves.” (Joseph Smith)
This quote alone could serve as a discussion base for an entire lesson. It begs big and interesting questions. Here are a few.
For some it seems that we are not allowed to govern ourselves, but rather that the church and its leaders govern for us. Do you think this is true? In your life, do you feel that you govern yourself? Whether, yes or no, how does this make you feel? (Empowered? Happy? Controlled? Frustrated?)
What are correct principles? And how do we learn them? (from the church manuals and teaching? The scriptures? General Conference? Our Bishops? Our own prayer and revelation? Temple attendance?) Contradictory themes abound among these tools; how do we decide which tools to use and how are sure that we are learning correct principles? What do we do when others learn in different ways?
Teachers Note 1
I would recommend several chapters in the Givins’ latest book, “The Crucible of Doubt”, as background reading (and as great source of quotes).
Chapter 4: The Use and Abuse of Scriptures, which discuss the various contradictions we see in scripture and in church teaching – and what to do about it.
Chapter 6: The Ring of Pharaoh, discussing the fallibility of church leaders and God’s anointed – and how to navigate this truth while stay believing.
Chapter 8, Find Your Water Place, exploring how individuals can find their own place of spiritual fulfillment and insight.