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Woman Writing a Letter by Kaigetsudō Doshin

Woman Writing a Letter
by Kaigetsudō Doshin

The Exponent has always been a safe place for new voices to share their thoughts about Mormonism and feminism. We have just added a new guest post submission form to make it even easier. Do you have something to say and you’re looking for a supportive, empathetic community to say it to?  Submit a guest post!  Guest posting is a great option if you like to write but don’t want the time commitment of maintaining your own blog, so submit a guest post! On the other hand, if you are actually looking for more of a long-term gig, the first step to becoming a permablogger at the Exponent  is to submit a guest post.  We are always looking for new people to join our ranks!

In celebration of our new guest post submission form, I am re-posting the story of how I became an Exponent permablogger.  Yes, I began by submitting a guest post back in 2011!

Finding My Voice was originally published in April 2012 here:

There was a point in my life when I started experiencing a great deal of religious angst.  I was desperate for an open environment where I could blab about all of my questions and concerns without someone interrupting to tell me that I would probably go to Hell.  Most of my more liberal friends lived far away and I felt like I was wearing out my poor husband, since he was my only sounding board left.  I was not at all interested in talking to a male authority figure, such as a bishop, because many of my concerns centered on religious patriarchy.

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Summer 2015 Issue of Exponent II Going to Print–Subscribe Now!

what would you do

The following is the Letter From the Editor from the about-to-be-released Summer 2015 issue of Exponent II. If you’d like to receive a copy of this issue, subscribe now here.

While writing a fundraising appeal letter for Exponent II in 2012, I looked up some older essays by Exponent II founding mothers about the organization. I found this quote from Carrel Hilton Sheldon, describing the process of preparing manuscripts in the early years of the paper:

“One scene, firmly etched in my mind, is of me sitting at the end of the table typing up submissions to the paper with baby #3 balanced on my knees, in such a position that he could nurse while I typed. Children #1& #2 happily raced around our big old kitchen. At that moment I was awed by my commitment to get the job done and felt powerful in my ability to accomplish it. It was an amazing contrast to my usual feeling that taking care of three little children was so difficult that adding anything–like getting the laundry done–was almost beyond me. Somehow in the process of working on Exponent II, I became someone who could do an awful lot more than I had previously realized I could. ”

I immediately loved this quote, and used it in that letter, but I never dreamed in that moment that my life would soon mirror Carrel’s description. In February of this year, my husband and I welcomed our third baby into our family. In March, Pandora and I began work as the incoming editors of Exponent II. And in June, my family moved to a new state and my husband started a new job. Little baby Theo has spent much of his nursing hours “balanced on my knees” while I have read essays, edited, and corresponded with authors.

The cover of this issue features the art of Emily McPhie, one of my favorite artists I discovered while working as Art Editor for Exponent II. Her art weaves together whimsy and internal struggle and often features women mixing domestic work with heroism and elements of fantasy. In this piece, a woman in a blue dress and red sash stares confidently at the viewer. Interlaced through her ears and head is a slip of paper reading, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

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¡Bienvenido! (Welcome!)

As you have noticed, the Exponent has begun to have some of its lesson plans translated into español to share the hearts, minds and stories of women as far and wide as possible.* This post is to introduce one of the español translators who has blessed us with his bilingual talents. Please join us in a belated welcome to César! 

Traducción Inglés/Click for English Translation

Mi nombre es César Carreón Tapia y soy mexicano. Soy mormón desde hace ya 9 años y recientemente me reconocí como un ‘feminista mormón’. Todo comenzó cuando perdí a mi privilegio en la Iglesia por ser gay y asi fue cuando finalmente me di cuenta: Pude ver la desigualdad a la que nos enfrentamos como miembros de la Iglesia, yo creía que no podía hacer nada para ayudar a cambiar el status quo, pero encontré una gran cantidad de apoyo y comprensión de la comunidad de mormones liberales en internet  -el “bloggernacle” – y así fue como llegué a saber sobre The Exponent II. Leí la historia detrás del blog y pensé que podía darle a mis conocimientos de idiomas un buen uso y me ofrecí a traducir los mensajes regulares para las lecciones de la Sociedad de Socorro.


CesarYo había trabajado anteriormente en la traducción de la página web oficial de la Iglesia, The Vineyard, así que tenía un poco de experiencia con la jerga mormona. También participé en la traducción del sitio en español de “Afirmación: Mormones LGBT, Familia y Amigos” y en la traducción de algunas de las Conversaciones de Ordain Women. He encontrado mucho gozo al traducir todos estos materiales a mi lengua materna! Y no sólo por los efectos de la difusión, sino por todas las personas increíbles que he conocido a través de este asignaciones!

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Announcement: Exponent II Mormon Feminist Midrash Short Story Contest

Deborah under the palm tree “Deborah Under the Palm Tree” by Adriene Cruz.

Exponent II is excited to announce a short story contest of Mormon feminist midrash. Midrash is a Jewish tradition of spinning out a new story based on scripture, filling in narrative gaps or retelling the scripture from a new point of view. Stories can help resolve tension or evoke questions as they ask the reader to consider possible meanings, even as the fictionalized accounts are not meant to be taken literally.

For our short story contest, we are inviting writers to tell us the missing stories of women from the scriptures. Give us the perspective of Deborah, Huldah, Dinah, Miriam, the woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, Sariah, Laman’s wife, or Emma Smith. We want to hear their voices. We want to know how they came to hear the voice of God and how they made choices in their lives. What were their childhoods like? How were they personally influenced by the great and terrible things that happened to them in the scripture stories? What did they think about in private moments? Let your imagination reveal new interpretations and meanings of scriptural stories and help us to hear the women of the scriptures.

Many of the stories we receive will be printed in our Winter 2015 issue of Exponent II and the winner of the contest will receive $150. Submissions should be between 800-3000 words and the deadline is November 2. Please send them to We look forward to reading your stories.

“I want midrash to give a voice to women in the Bible who have had nearly none. To be an advocate for biblical figures over whom the ages have kicked considerable dust, and to imagine their lives.”
– Rosen, Norma. Biblical Women Unbound: Counter-Tales. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996.

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Call for submissions- Fall 2015

This is a reminder that submissions for the fall issue of Exponent II are due August 3. The summer issue will come out next month and if you still don’t have a subscription, you should get one here right now. The fall issue will not have a theme so we welcome your personal essays, poetry, and art on any subject. Please don’t be intimidated if you are a new writer; we have staff members who can work one-on-one with you to prepare your essay for publication.

We also have recurring columns featuring writing on the following topics:

Sabbath Pastorals: exceptional Sacrament Meeting talks from women
Flannel Board: ideas you’ve used in Sunday School, Primary, Young Women’s, compassionate service, or any other area of the church
Women’s Theology: essays which employ close readings of scripture, doctrine and theology
Global Zion: reflections on Mormonism from outside the United States

If you have something you would like to submit, please send it to
Join the conversation! We hope to hear from you soon.

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Retreat with Us: Registration opens June 7

Each year, I look forward to the “beginning of fall” signaled by fresh air of New Hampshire at the Exponent II retreat in September.  The setting is beautiful, the discussions are full of heart and soul, the keynote speaker is illuminating, and the talent show is hilarious.

Retreat with us this year! September 11 – 13, 2015
Barbara C. Harris Conference Center

Registration opens June 7, 2015 – Spread the Word

Workshops to include: improving your Relief Society experience, the Divine Feminine, serving others, ordaining women, and more!

Questions? Email


FionaThe Exponent II Board is pleased to announce that our keynote speaker at this year’s retreat will be Fiona Givens.

Fiona Givens was born in Nairobi, educated in British convent schools, and converted to the LDS church in Frankfurt. She graduated from the University of Richmond with degrees in French and German, and received an M.A. in European History while co-raising the last of her six children.  Fiona directed the French Language programme at Patrick Henry High School, in Ashland, Virginia. Besides education, she has worked in translation services, as a lobbyist, and as communications director for a non-profit. Her writings appear in Exponent II, LDS Living and Journal of Mormon History. Fiona is a frequent speaker on podcasts and at conferences from Time out for Women to Sunstone and Women’s Retreats. A longtime collaborator in the books of her husband, Fiona and Terryl have recently co-authored two books: The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life and The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith.   Fiona currently resides in Virginia.




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