Comfort Food


Table for Ladies

“…..and please bless the refreshments that they will nourish and strengthen our bodies and do us the good that we need……”

I smirk silently, roll my eyes beneath piously closed lids and envision brownies, cookies and lemonade transfigured into fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic something-or-other, packed with protein and vitamins, all contingent on our scripted gratitude for the hands who prepared it.

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Heavenly Mother’s Day: Jehovah Speaks Of His Mother In Heaven


The Book of Jesus, Chapter 1

Jehovah Speaks of His Mother in Heaven


We are all drowned in the Aegean. Vanessa Poutou1. In the beginning I was The Word, creation,

spoken by Mother. I was in Her, and of Her,

and through Her.


2. In the beginning, I was Man and Her light

shone on a place in me I couldn’t name:

the Woman place, void and without form;

quiet, lonely, violent.


3. She drew me in, held me there while I shook.

She drew me out again, turned my face toward hers,

held memory in her hands. She turned my face

toward light, toward darkness, whispered what

I must see, what I would learn on my knees,

in the garden, before my pain shook olives from the tree.

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Re-imagining a hymn: I know that my Redeemer lives

I’ve been thinking a lot about President Uchtdorf’s General Conference talk from several years ago entitled “You Are My Hands.”  In it, President Uchtdorf tells a story of a statue of Christ that is damaged during World War II, and though the statue was partially repaired, the hands were so severely damaged that they could not be restored.  Instead of replacing the hands, the townspeople placed a sign at the bottom of the statue that read “you are my hands.”  The idea is that we are here to be instruments in God’s hands, and to do the work that Christ would do if He were here walking among us today.


This meditation hit full-force when we sang “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” in church yesterday.  That’s always been one of my favorite hymns – it’s a source of comfort, of healing, and of peace.  And as we sang that beautiful hymn, I found myself thinking of all of the ways that I could be doing the work of the Savior that are illustrated through that hymn.  Clearly there are roles of the Savior that are exclusively His – I thankfully haven’t been asked to atone for the sins of all humankind – but I found myself penciling the lyrics to the song in a way that can illustrate my commitment to both follow Christ, and to be His hands to those around me.

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The Tree of Life

Mother Earth – Caitlin Connolly | A Mother Here Art and Poetry Contest

When Jesus was sorrowful,
and very heavy,
He cried, Mommy.
She came unto Him
from heaven,
strengthening Him.

Even after they parted,
She tarried with Him,
and watched;
His friends could not
stay awake one hour.

When Jesus was on the cross,
His Father might have been
in the farthest reaches of heaven,
for sorrow, and solace.

His Mother might have been
right there, the Tree of Life,
branches holding Him–
a weeping willow.

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April Young Women Lesson: Why Was A Restoration Necessary?

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation
Peter's Key


It is easy when talking about the great apostasy and the need for a restoration of all things, to talk in terms of darkness and light. For just one example, N. Eldon Tanner once stated that “this period of the apostasy was known as the Dark Ages because the light of the gospel was withdrawn from the earth.” There is certainly something revealing in such discussions, as the world was started with light (Genesis 1:3), Christ is “the light and life of the world” (3 Ne. 11:10–11), scriptures pair truth with light (D&C 93), and Joseph Smith’s first vocal prayer was punctuated with darkness and light (Joseph Smith-History 1). Still, I believe apostasy and restoration narratives about darkness and light are also concealing. Because of this belief, I would likely start this lesson with an emphasis that there was always light.

There Was Light

In all lands, and in all times, the gift of Christ’s light and spirit has been given to every person. As the Book of Mormon prophet-editor, Mormon, taught:

The Spirit of Christ is given to every man [and woman], that [they] may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. . . . And now, my brethren [and sisters], seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

This seems wildly important now, but could be even more important for periods of presumed darkness: There was still light. There was still spirit. There was still inspiration. There was still conscience.

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Tattoos and Ghost Stories


A few months ago a dear friend asked me if I had anything I’d want to contribute for a collection of essays on Primary that would be both real and uplifting. I recalled a funny and sweet memory of one daughter as a Sunbeam and submitted it. Another friend of ours, Bret Wunderli, also submitted a piece. Both were gladly accepted by the compiler. However, the publisher, whose distributor is Desert Book, found our submission troubling and chose to omit them stating: “With Deseret Book distributing this book, we can’t include anything that hints at questioning Church doctrines. Even if it’s subtle.” This disturbed me. Not because my story wouldn’t be included, but because of the climate of fear that is trickling down from above. There is just so much fear. And it is escalating.  Nobody’s mad about the editorial decision, just really sad when something you intended to be bright and insightful is seen as insidious. So brace yourselves for our expurgated stories:


My husband’s family is very loving, very supportive, and very colorful. Literally. Seven of the ten kids have at least one tattoo.  And not just initials, or some Chinese symbol that is supposed to say “serenity” but actually says “brussels sprout.” They wear tattoos of bulldogs and Spanish skylines, Maori symbolism, and even the Little Mermaid. My kids adore these aunts and uncles and get fairly defensive when Primary lessons lump body art into the list of “no no’s” or signs of apostasy.

When Georgia was a Sunbeam, her sweet teacher taught a lesson on bodies being temples. When she got to the part about tattoos being Bad, Georgia jumped up from her chair and let loose that her family had lots of tattoos and they were good and pretty and in fact God LOVED tattoos and temples had art so why not bodies—so there! Her kind teacher quietly directed these 3 and 4 year olds to draw pictures for the rest of the lesson.

After church, this teacher found my husband and me and told us the story. She handed me the picture Georgia had drawn. It was a very simple sketch of a man in robes, beard, long hair. Clearly it was Jesus…with a large red tattoo on his forehead of a heart. I looked up to see how this teacher was responding. She had a huge smile on her face and told me she loved Georgia because she was so passionate and truly understood that the Lord loves us all.  I hugged her and was so thankful for a teacher who can teach the party line but did not need to shut down the opposition. 

“Why aren’t there any women in the Godhead?”

By Bret Wunderli

Several years ago, my wife and I taught the oldest teenagers in Sunday School. We had prepared a lesson on something else, but when it became clear that the students were unclear about the Godhead, we scrapped our lesson and taught them about the Godhead. (It should be noted that these young men and women were smart; the fault, we’ve always assumed, was in the teaching they’d received. That is, their teachers had always assumed that they understood the Church’s teachings regarding the Godhead. That was our hypothesis, anyway.)

Some years later, I found myself teaching the oldest Primary children. To say these boys and girls were bright doesn’t do them justice. Remembering our experience in Sunday School, I decided to teach them the clearest, best lesson about the Godhead that I could manage when the topic came up in the manual.

At some point in the lesson, Victoria raised her hand. Her question was priceless. She said, “Why aren’t there any women in the Godhead?” Slight pause. Then, with a puzzled face and a tilted head, she added, “I mean, there’s a ghost in there after all.” That class was not only full of smart kids; they were also kind. They respected each other. So when I tell you that everyone (including the teacher) laughed, it’s important to understand that we were laughing at Victoria’s wit and not at her. Victoria was glowing.

Here’s my answer to her that day: “Victoria, there are many people in the Church who will give you many different answers to that question. Here’s the real deal. We just don’t know why there aren’t any women in the Godhead.”

And there you have it.


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