Emergency Substitute YW or Sunday School Lesson

5597146442_193cc9af0a_zI teach a combined class of Laurels and Miamaids. A couple of months ago, as I was planning a lesson, I kept getting emails saying that my lesson time would be cut short. They had song practice for a special musical number. And the girls needed to be taken out one by one to work on a going-away gift for one of the leaders. My usual 30 minutes was down to 15- and even those would be interrupted. I needed a quick lesson that was “on topic” but that the girls would like. This was my solution.

The week before, I had asked the girls what they wanted a lesson on. It was the month about the Restoration, so I suggested the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. They told me they just wanted food. Noted.

With only 15 minutes of intermittent lesson, I decided to go the easy route. I’d bring food. But it would also be loosely based on the Book of Mormon. I mean really loosely. So loose that you might not even need to mention the Book of Mormon at all.

I wrote a list of scriptures (from the Book of Mormon!) on the board. They were these:

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Introducing our Heavenly Mother’s Day Series

CW: Suicidal thoughts

I moved to Oakland five years ago. One of my first outings in the Bay Area was a gathering at Carol Lynn Pearson’s house where she gave each of us copies of her play, Mother Wove the Morning. It sat on my shelf for months because I didn’t want to open up Heavenly Mother-less wound I had.

When I finally read it, half a year later, I discovered that I was right in that it was an intense experience. I loved reading it and yet I ached. I wanted a relationship with Heavenly Mother, but I didn’t know how. Unfortunately the bigger question for me was “why.” Why should I have a relationship with Her?

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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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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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