Welcome to November, the month of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, it is a community of people who virtually connect with each other as they spend a month each trying to write a 50,000 word novel. A month is a surprisingly doable time frame: I forget about New Year’s resolutions over the course of a year, but they are pretty memorable for at least January.Read More
I can’t do car maintenance. Rosie the Riveter would blush for me. I want to be a strong, independent, modern woman in defiance of gender stereotypes, so I have tried but everything I learn about cars seems to leak out of me like oil or antifreeze or gasoline or whatever other kind of liquid leaks from cars. I wouldn’t know. It’s not like I am competent to identify a fluid leaking from a car.
It is not that I am stupid. In most ways, I am quite bright. I rock at standardized tests. Lucky for me, I have never encountered a car maintenance question on a standardized test.
When a car makes one of those telling noises that indicates a specific problem in some particular thingamabob, a whole bunch of males gather around the car’s open hood and grunt at it knowingly. I back away. Of course, I always suspected that half of the guys in that mob are just pretending to have a clue about what they are looking at in there but I have no way of testing my theory. I am not qualified to judge.Read More
On Sunday morning I flipped through picture after picture of women being turned away from the doors of our worship places. The Mormon Tabernacle choir sung in the background. Tears streamed down my face; many of those women are my friends. All are my sisters.
I have performed this song countless times but the cry remains with me always. Hear Thou my cry.Read More
Every manual in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manuals has at least one lesson on Joseph Smith. Before going into the lesson, I’ll link to a few other RS lessons we’ve done here at the Exponent on Joseph Smith.
The Prophet Joseph Smith from the Spencer W. Kimball manual
The Prophet Joseph Smith, God’s Instrument in Restoring the Truth from the George Albert Smith manual
Relief Society Lesson 47: “Praise To The Man”: Latter-Day Prophets Bear Witness Of The Prophet Joseph Smith from the Joseph Smith manual
I would like to start with a quick personal story and some feelings I had while first skimming the lesson to get a sense of it.
Last year when I was meeting with my stake president to renew my temple recommend and going through the appropriate “yes” and “no” responses, there was one question where I stopped and said, “Well, I try…” The stake president looked at me and said, “I don’t want any answers other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” So I rephrased my answer into “yes” and was given a recommend. What was the question? “Are you honest in your dealings…?” The honesty question feels a bit like a trick question- who really is 100% honest in everything? Saying you are is obviously a lie! It’s a catch-22. I am not honest with my fellow people at all times, though like I originally stated, I do try.Read More
When I was still single, I spoke with one of my engaged friends about her recent interview with our stake president in preparation for her upcoming temple wedding. I was shocked that she had promised him that she would only use birth control for the first four months of her marriage. What?! Since when were such pledges a prerequisite to temple marriage?
Fast forward two years. I was engaged myself and still living in the same stake with the same stake president. My fiancé and I scheduled our prenuptial bishop and stake president interviews. I was nervous. I had no intention of making such a pledge but the stake president held a lot of power over me. Would he refuse to sign off on my temple marriage if I disagreed with his directives about family planning (or the lack thereof)?Read More
I recently attended a ward party with my husband and kids. On the way home my husband asked me, “Did you notice how the men were only talking to the men and the women were only talking to the women? It’s the kind of thing you see at high school dances.” I had noticed. And it’s not the first time I’ve noticed this pattern at ward social functions. At this particular party it was mostly the 30-something crowd. It happens a little less when the whole ward is there there’s more age diversity. I also think it doesn’t happen as much in small gatherings. But it’s definitely a thing. I would have enjoyed talking with some of the men at this ward party, but to walk up and join a conversation between four men just seemed too weird.
I wonder what could explain this phenomenon. Is it that most of the men are employed while most of the women don’t have paid employment, so women and men don’t have anything to talk about with each other? The conversations I had with women at the party were mostly about our kids, so I guess that’s possible. It it some antiquated sense of propriety? These are educated, modern Americans, so it seems unlikely they’d refrain from mixing between the genders out of propriety. Is it that we’re used to being separated in Relief Society and Priesthood? Is it some weird cultural thing like Jacob described in this post at BCC? Is it just my ward?
I don’t know, but it’s weird. And it’s doesn’t happen at non-Mormon gatherings. There aren’t any barriers between women and men talking to each other at any non-Mormon parties I’ve attended. It’s even OK to have mixed (some moms, some dads) playdates – something I haven’t seen among Mormons. I took my kids to the museum with a dad of one of my son’s friends, and it wasn’t weird at all. But somehow I can’t imagine doing that with a Mormon dad.
Anyway, I’m curious.