New Series: #VisibleWomen: You can’t be What You can’t See

My years in the Young Women’s organization were rough on me. Part of it was just teenage awkwardness and the rest was teenage cliquishness. As soon as I turned 18, I switched to Relief Society. I have a December birthday, so I spent the last half of my senior year out of Young Women’s. For me, Relief Society was a level playing field filled with a rich history of strong women. Age didn’t matter, we were all women together.

I was called as the Relief Society pianist and paired with one of my seminary teachers as visiting teaching partners. We were assigned to teach one of the other seminary teachers. I’ll let you all imagine how odd it is to refer to your seminary teachers as Sister So-and-so on the weekdays and by first names on Sunday.

Very quickly I learned that all was not well in Relief Society Land, either. The seminary teacher I was supposed to visit teach didn’t like the visiting teaching program and requested that we not visit her. My companion would do lunch with her (and obviously was in constant contact because of sharing the job of teaching seminary) and that was my extent of visiting teaching.

It was both shocking and good for me to learn that a person that I looked up to as a spiritual leader didn’t follow all the programs of the Church exactly. I think it has helped me be more compassionate with people whose needs must to be addressed differently. I still very much believe in Relief Society and its attempt at its expansive mission, but it’s obvious that it isn’t reaching everyone. From Ordain Women to Mormon Women Stand, Mormon women are creating organizations to fill the gaps that the church programs are leaving behind. Of course, Relief Society can’t be everything to everyone, but I believe it, and in turn the Church, can be more to more people.

This Sunday is International Women’s Day and for this, the Exponent is starting a new blog series: #VisibleWomen: you can’t be what you can’t see. In addition to personal stories of Mormon women, this series will come with calls to ask the Church, “Would you please consider…” ways to make women more visible in the Church and feel more include. Hopefully a few of these suggestions will speak to you and you’ll participate in your own ways.



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Year in Review 2014

Who’s excited for a new beginning this week? I know I am. But before we start a new year, I know you all want to read the best posts from 2014!

This was a great year for the magazine- our 40th anniversary! Our speaker series started off in Provo, UT, with Emma Lou Thayne, whom we will miss, and hit Washington DC with Claudia Bushman, Berkeley, CA with Carol Lynn Pearson, and finally back to the Exponent’s original state of Massachusetts with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Cambridge Speaker Series

For the magazine, the Winter 2014 issue was the last one available in full as pdf on our site. You can see a teaser for the very popular Spring 2014 on Mormon Women and the Priesthood here, and from here on out, there are digital and print subscriptions. Read about them here and subscribe to get the Exponent II on your digital device!

On the blog, we have welcomed many new bloggers: LizEast River Lady, Jess R, Jenny, Cruelest Month, AmyViola Diva, and Pandora! Wow. We’ve are also grateful to Amanda, who is now translating our Relief Society and YW lesson plans into French. Merci!

This year started off with our Birth/Rebirth Series. We also hosted our International Series this past fall and our Christmas Series in November/December. Whew! It’s been a great year!

And now all the posts you should check out!


2014 posts with the greatest number of clicks

5. “They Just Don’t Understand” by Amy

4. Shepherds and Wise Men Guest Post by Karen

3. But What if Everyone Has Sex? by April Young Bennett

2. Five More LDS Church Discipline Policies that Affect Women Unequally by April Young Bennett

1. Church Discipline: Women Disciplined by Men by April Young Bennett


2014 posts most commented on

5. Guest Post: Ignoring Logic and the Misrepresentation of Ordain Women by LoriAnn

4. Church Discipline: Women Disciplined by Men by April Young Bennett

3. On the Subject of My Highest and Holiest Calling by Libby

2. Walking With Ordain Women… And the Church by Suzette

1. Rejected Offerings by April Young Bennett


Top 5 Search Terms for Finding Us 2014

5. relief society lesosns

4. mother’s day hymns

3. exponent ii blog

2. the exponent

1. airplane

Move over, Uchtdorf!


Happy New Year! And because we know you can’t get enough of the Exponent, follow us on Twitter and on Pinterest, too! And in keeping up with the digital age, this year the Exponent blog got an Instagram account. You can follow our Instagram here! We’ve also revived our Facebook presence. Our FB page is here and our discussion group is here. Maybe we’ll hit 1000 “likes” in 2015.

Do you have a favorite post form this year? I’m a particular fan of Cruelest Month’s Neckties post. Share your favorites in the comments!

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The “Measure of our Creation”

Today is the end of my seventh week in a 24-week programming bootcamp. Three months ago, I was only non-chalantly  applying for it, after having applied to another and had not gotten in. It wasn’t originally in my plans to do this now- next year at the earliest, but when opportunities come, I try to take them and not think to much about it. So far that philosophy has worked out.

I had been a stay-at-home-mom for 6 years. We homeschool. It has been a huge lifestyle change, and it’s unlikely to go back to how it was if I get a job after this. I am now gone 8-6 M-F. I have had a lot of disjointed thoughts on this situation this week and I supposed I’ll list them chronologically.

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Christmas Series: Young Women Lesson: How Can I Invite Others to Come Unto Christ?

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

There are no Easter or Christmas-themed YW lessons and I think it’s a shame there aren’t outlines for these Sundays, especially since holidays are times when people who would otherwise not come to church are there to worship. So in preparation for Christmas, I’ve taken one of the December lesson plans and Christmas-ified it so that you can have a Christmas-themed lesson the Sunday before Christmas.

Here is a link to the manual for How Can I Invite Others to Come Unto Christ?

The Christmas story could be considered as a series of invitations from God to humans to come to Christ. I think it would be a good idea to step through the Christmas story and talk about how God is inviting people to come to Christ. As you read or discuss each story, as the class a few questions:

  • Who is God using to testify of Christ? Who is being told of Christ?
  • How is the news of Christ received? What does the person/people do with the news?
  • What traits do each of these people personify? (maybe lists these on the board for the class to think about).
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Childhood Myths

Childhood Myths

“…and that Mother Earth and Father Sun and Grandmother Universe will take care of us and watch over us…”

That was a line in the prayer my six-year-old gave for our nightly family prayer earlier this week. We go to church every week and my kids get the same standard Primary lessons, but I love how they interpret beliefs for themselves. My daughter has gone to a Waldorf class for over a year now and the teacher likes to tell stories about “Father Sun” and “Mother Earth” and the “star children” (us) who have come down to earth. Earlier this week, we had been discussing the Maya Creation myth and talked about the similarities and differences between it and the Genesis Creation myth. She told me she thinks the Maya myth is wrong and that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and Jesus made the earth. I smiled and said that everyone has their own story for how the world was made. While her beliefs have a Mormon base, they have a strand of her own understanding and interpretation.

Mother EarthOn the other hand, my four-year-old believes in a very different vein of Mormonism. Like he’s been taught in Primary, he believes he’ll be with Jesus in heaven after he dies, but that’s not where his vision of the after-life ends. It’s not uncommon for him to start a conversation with, “When I’m born again…” He believes in reincarnation and that after going to heaven, he’ll be reborn back to earth.

Both my daughter’s and son’s beliefs tickle me a lot. It’s amazing to see how the same teachings are interpreted through the minds of children. I know some parents would be quick to “correct” these sorts of thoughts, but I like giving them space to explore their own spiritualities. Why not believe in Grandmother Universe watching over us? Or that we’ll get another lifetime on earth to be with our loved ones? It reminds me of how I used to ask Heavenly Father to hand the prayer receiver to Heavenly Mother so I could talk with her.

The beliefs of children underscore the human desire to be connected and cared for by someone greater than us and to know that there is something for us after we die. I have one other child, who is too young to really share her beliefs (or have them?) but I look forward to learning what they are and to watch another person try to reach the divine.

Do you remember what your beliefs were when you were little? How have they shaped you? 

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