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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(Not?) Watching Conference

Ten years ago, I was a freshman at BYU. One Saturday morning, I was sitting in my Deseret Towers dorm room doing my homework like a studious, dedicated undergrad. My roommate burst into the room, “Are you going to watch conference with us?”

“Conference?”

“Yeah, it starts in like 5 minutes.”

“It’s Saturday. I’m doing my homework. I’ll watch tomorrow’s conference.”

Clearly there was a clash of cultures.

I had grown up in Illinois in a family that didn’t have satellite television. We had to drive 45 minutes to the stake center to watch General Conference and my family was not going to do that for more than one session of conference. We always watched Sunday morning because that’s when we’d normally go to church and also the prophet always spoke in that session. To be honest, I thought the Saturday sessions were special for people on the other side of the international date line: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Asia, so that they could watch sessions on their “Sunday.” I thought it was really generous and internationally-aware of the Church to have conference sessions on Saturday. But they weren’t sessions for me. That’s what the Sunday morning session was for! Heck- even Sunday afternoon was obviously geared towards the saints in Hawaii because it was at a time so that they’d get to see it “Sunday morning,” too!

I remember continuing my homework, flabbergasted that there probably existed people that expected me to listen to 8 hours of conference in a weekend. It was Saturday! That day is for soccer games and piano recitals and math team conference matches!

Snoozefest

As an adult, I’ve tried to listen to more of the sessions, but now that my kids are getting a little older, I think I’m going to go back to just the Sunday morning session. I don’t have a lot of boundaries with Church activities: I go to as many ward potlucks and visiting teaching nights and ward park days that I can. I try to accept callings and bring meals to families that need them. But the General Conference weekends are my two weekends of “Nope!” I’ll do 1, maybe 2, but not 5 sessions of conference. This Saturday you’ll find me making Halloween costumes and hanging with my family.

How was General Conference weekend treated when you were a kid? Do you keep those same traditions? Do you watch more/less that you used to?

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