Puesto de invitado por / They Don’t Need Us There

Lindsay has joined the Exponent along with AmandaCésar and Denisse as a translator! Her specialty is Spanish and we are thrilled to have her! 


Puesto de invitado por Lindsay Wilde Unsworth  / Guest Post by Lindsay Wilde Unsworth


Traducción English/Click for English Translation

Lindsay es una maestra de español que está tomando un año sabático para recuperarse de los 13 años anteriores. Tiene una Maestría en la literatura española de la Universidad de Loyola en Chicago, donde se enamoró locamente de Don Quijote y tapas de España. Ha estudiado en Madrid y enseñado inglés en Chile y Corea. A ella le gusta leer, cocinar, viajar, cantar muy fuerte en el carro y burlarse de telebasura. Está casada con un hombre bueno que es un capellán en el Army y tiene una hija genialísima.


The GirlA mi hija nunca le ha gustado asistir a la iglesia. No la puedo culpar—siempre energética, tres horas de sentarse y no moverse es, en realidad, una tortura para ella. Así que, la batalla seminal de “La Mamá versus La Niña Obstinada” está por repetirse por mucho tiempo. Me hizo aún más difícil cuando, durante un año, mi esposo fue llamado a ser consejero al obispo y tuve que luchar con la niña yo sola.


Lo que sí me sorprendió un domingo fue la razón por la cual mi niña no quiso ir:


“¿Para qué vamos? Somos chicas. No nos necesitan allí.”

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The Holy Ghost Can Handle It

I recently viewed the new lds.org video aimed at children and youth regarding what to do if they encounter pornography. By and large, I was very impressed, especially with how it normalized the feelings of attraction and curiosity around pornography and sexual content in media. The reminder that God still loves them and they can talk to their parents about what they saw is a major step in the right direction in removing shame from this topic in our LDS culture.

There was one point in the video where a young child explained that “these videos give you a bad feeling because they offend the Holy Ghost.” I grew up with similar suggestions–the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight, the Holy Ghost leaves when we are in bad places, the Holy Ghost will leave if there is a bad scene in a movie, etc.

At some point you wonder what kind of constant friend, comforter and helper withdraws every time things get difficult.

If there is one thing I could tell that little boy it would be:

No, it doesn’t offend the Holy Ghost.
No, the Holy Ghost isn’t going to leave you because you saw pornography.
No, the Holy Ghost isn’t going to make you feel bad for what happened, whether it was intentional or accidental.
In fact,

The Holy Ghost can handle it.
The Holy Ghost will help you know what to do next.
The Holy Ghost will help you to know of your worth.
The Holy Ghost will help you to feel peace.
The Holy Ghost left the house wearing its big kid panties this morning.

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By Allisan Looman


MirrorOnce on a street in Ecuador, I spotted a girl about my age across the street. Gringos always piqued my interest because I saw them so seldom; I stared at this one to try to discern whether she might be friendly enough to chat about where she came from and what she was doing in Cuenca. I sized her up: shoulder-length blonde hair, tanned face with a bit of acne under her cheekbones. Modest, nondescript clothing. Pleasant-looking, I thought, not quite pretty but definitely likable. Yes, I would probably like her.

When I moved to cross the street to introduce myself though, she disappeared completely. I froze, stared, and suddenly realized that what I had seen across the street was a mirror. The girl was me.

This experience shook me to the core, not just because I hadn’t recognized my own face (had it really been that long since I had looked in a mirror??) but because it was the first time in my life I had ever looked in a mirror and actually liked what I saw.

This isn’t a story about body shame, although there have been times in my life when I thought I was ugly. No, even during the times in my life when I knew I was attractive, I looked in the mirror and had to suppress a knot in my stomach. In my own eyes, I was fundamentally unlikeable. Even looking at pictures of my younger self, I couldn’t conjure a single tender feeling for little me.

I could delve into the psychology of this, the history and the sad stories, but to me the re-building of my self esteem is much more fascinating than its tearing-down.

I didn’t admit that there was a problem until years later, sitting in a therapist’s chair in a meditative trance. “You have worth,” my therapist breathed in a low, soothing tone. “Take a moment to feel that worth on a cellular level. You have worth,” She said. “You would have worth even if you were the most evil person in the world. Even if you sat on the couch all day and did nothing.”

I promptly snapped out of my trance. “Nothing?” I thought. “If I didn’t even make my bed or put my dishes away? How is that possible?”

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Are you my mother?

By Kelsi

mirror-1548409-639x852I didn’t know you were missing
For over twenty years.
Hushed whispers and defeaning silence
So loud I didn’t know I could hear it
Filled the spaces
Between God and I.

I never thought to ask
Never thought to look
Until I did
And now I cannot stop

I’ve been told
You’re locked away in a tower somewhere
For your own safety
From me.
But I think they are overestimating my strength
And underestimating yours.
I we couldn’t hurt you if I tried.
What hurts is separation
And distance
And the things I cannot remember.
So I am searching for you
High and low
If they locked you away in a far away tower
Like a princess in a fairytale
Then I will let you out.

I find glimpses

I look for you in Eve
From rib and dust
And breath and blood
Partaking of the forbidden fruit
Mothering us all

I search for you in Aphrodite, Venus, Pavarti
Beauty and love
Strength and power

I wonder about you when I read of Asherah and Wisdom in Proverbs and Psalms
Have you always been there?
Hidden in beautiful words.

I look for you in the Mary’s
From birth to death
Standing by

I search for you in Emma
Letting go of her children
Safely on this side of the Mississippi

I wonder about you as I watch my sisters
Struggling to be enough

I don’t know where you are
Or why you aren’t here
Or if you are already here.
But I continue to knock
At Father’s door
Pleading to find you
Once more.


About Kelsi:
1. The song “Yellow” by Coldplay was written about her.
2. She is a vampire.
3. Her favorite funny quote about reading is “I’m not convinced I know how to read, I just memorized a lot of words.”
4. She is obsessed with Regency/Victorian era literature, fashion from the 20’s, 40’s, and 50’s, and music from the 60’s, 80’s, and 00’s.
5. During her free time you might find her writing, cooking, eating, practicing yoga, meditating, listening to a podcast or music, knitting, or reading.  But most likely you’ll find her binge watching Netflix and following Taylor Swift’s twitter account.


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Poetry Sunday: My prayers must meet a brazen Heaven

This poem of Gerard Manley Hopkins beautifully expresses a worry that we all might feel at some point in our lives — that our prayers are ineffective or unable to meet God’s ears, barred by a brazen heaven. In this case brazen = brass, not bold.  The speaker hints at his/her shortcomings: the prayers being inadequate and any attempts to transcend the problem by calling for God’s help will automatically fail because the messages can’t get through to a brass heaven anyway!

Like Enos who “wrestled before God,” the speaker describes prayer as a battle, heaven as brass and him/herself as clay with too much iron to be malleable.  To some, this is uncharted territory. For others, a familiar journey. Let’s be kind to each other, wherever we are.

My Prayers must meet a Brazen Heaven — Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Book Review: First Principles and Ordinances

First Principles

Samuel Brown’s First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple is not a very big book, but it took me a big time to read, and a bigger time to think about. This is in part, because I could only read in little bursts of time confetti, one page here, three pages there, on walks to the water with my daughter, or at the nearby park. But, there is a another important part: it’s pages contain multitudes. For me, this meant that it benefited from a slow read, and also that every time I turned to its pages, I felt better–not just about Mormonism, which I might have expected, but about marriage, relationships, and community, which I didn’t quite expect.

It helps to know that First Principles and Ordinances is the second book in Neal A. Maxwell Institute’s “Living Faith” series, with Adam Miller’s Letters to a Young Mormon being the first, Steven L. Peck’s Evolving Faith, being the third, and Patrick Q. Mason’s, Plantedbeing the fourth. (If you, like I, noticed that there are as of yet no female authors, take heart, and please consider submitting something. It is a matter the Maxwell Institute is very much aware of, and very much would like to change.)

In this series, each author approaches a matter of faith personally and professionally, meaning that they write both from their life of faith and their life of scholarship, making it a clear and worthwhile attempt at Anselm’s “faith seeking understanding.”

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