Introductions

Posted by on January 30, 2013 in women | 47 comments

While it is possible to glean from blog posts and comments a bit about each other, I am opening this post with the intent that bloggers and readers can briefly introduce themselves in the comments.  I hope it will foster a better sense of community.  As I recommit to blog regularly, I look forward to getting to know people better.

My life has finally slowed down a bit. I have decided not to take any classes on the side this semester to regain my sanity. But my life is still a crazy mix of work, managing my house (a second job with roommates, dogs, and maintenance projects), family, social groups, many misadventures in dating, and normal everyday to day stuff. I say the last because sometimes I have to remind myself to make time to do things like laundry.

I am a scientist in Berkeley doing drug and vaccine development. I enjoy working in the lab but am setting goals to venture out. I have a certificate in Clinical Research Conduct and Management and am starting to entertain the idea of stepping out onto a path to become a Clinical Trial Manager.  I would love to be able to use my Spanish professionally.  I hate to admit that while I have a good career, I didn’t really plan it (thinking it would always just be on the side).

Last year, the craziest thing I did was do a 150 hour acupressure program. Doing something more whole body and with my hands was very good for me. It also recharged my spirituality in some ways. I started doing Tai Chi and have been very intrigued by some Eastern Philosophies including Buddhism. Many of the classes I took were on Sundays providing an excuse not to go to church.

I have grown comfortable with my lessened activity. My story being I cracked in 2008 after Prop8, pieced things back together in 2009, and have had varying levels of activities since then. I served as both Relief Society secretary and Nursery leader frequently just doing my calling in either the 2nd or third hour and skipping Sacrament meeting. I am in an awesome ward that accepts me as I am – although I am not as open as I would like to think about how little I believe …. I would say that I have been agnostic for the past two years. I also like to think I am a bit of a mystic though – I just don’t have a defined notion of what exactly God is anymore. I actually just told my Bishop, whom I have been very open with, that I am taking a complete break from attending on Sundays for awhile. However, I still am committed to attend service and social groups in my ward several times a month. And I am still committed to do my calling as ward employment specialist – which involves going over peoples resumes. (I asked to be released from the Nursery before a business trip and then vacation had me traveling for two months in October and November). Anyhow, you could say that I am actively trying to negotiate it my comfort level again with the church.

Again, I look forward to getting to know everybody here better.

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47 Comments

  1. Great idea, Kelly Ann!

    As for me, I’m a 35 year old mother of 3 (6, 3, 10 months), and I right now am reveling in the knowledge that my child bearing years are behind me. I adore my kids, and am in love with my new baby. But boy it feels good to know that we’re done and that I don’t need to be in decision-making angst about having another baby (like I was before my third.). I am a part time graduate student in women’s studies in religion, and I focus on Mormon women and Mormon feminism. In just a couple of months, a book I edited with Claudia Bushman is coming out called Mormon Women Have Their Say. Yay! Spunky, a perma here at Exponent, was our savior and came through with two great essays at the very last moment. I used to teach high school Latin, and who knows, maybe I will again someday.

    I’ve got one more year of course work, and then I’ll do my quals. A few nights ago I was so wracked with anxiety about the prospect of quals that I only slept 2 hours all night. It’s terrifying to think about, so I’m trying to not think about it right now. The thought of writing my dissertation provokes less terror (at the moment).

    My husband is a devout awesome intellectual Mormon man. We’re kind of like the odd couple in some ways, but I still really like him despite all our differences. I think some people look at us with complete bafflement as to how we are still married. He’s just a great partner to me and a very good dad. Thank goodness since my kids (I really do adore them) drive me nuts at times.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this! I started following The Exponent not too long ago, so it will be nice to get to know a little more about this community.

    I am a graduate student in Developmental Psychology in up-state New York, not too far from Palmyra actually. I study parenting and moral/social development mostly in adolescence, but I’m interested in toddlerhood as well. (There are a lot of similarities between the two age groups!) I was born in Utah and lived there most of my life, but went to high school in Pennsylvania. I went back to Utah for my undergrad. Bucking family tradition, though, I attended the University of Utah instead of BYU. Now I’m back on the east coast and loving it! Like you Caroline, I have a year of courses left and then Quals, so I share your anxiety!

    I have only brothers which, ironically, I think sheltered me from a lot of the sexism that women in the church face; in my family, we were all part of the unit and that was that, and I never saw my brothers as being different from me. It wasn’t till seminary that I began to feel the effects of sexism in the church. By the time I graduated college I was really struggling with trying to figure out what is church culture as opposed to what is church doctrine, and what that meant for me as a woman. It still is a struggle for me, but I’ve decided that struggling is kind of the point; we came to earth to learn and that requires wrestling with things and figuring them out.

    I’m not married, and don’t have kids, but I do have a cat. His name is George. I love him a lot, even though he enjoys sitting on whatever I happen to be reading, including my computer. Anyway, thanks for the chance to get to know everyone better!

    • Jess, I grew up in Utica- not far from you at all! Hmmm… wonder if we know some of the same families? When I was little, Rochester was the closest “ward”- now Utica is a stake. I miss upstate NY, especially in autumn– and don’t make it back as often as I’d like. Where are you at school? I have a friend teaching a SUNY Brockport (I think she is there, I could be delusional about which SUNY :)

      • Hi Spunky! One of my really good friends from college lives in Utica, and her family is in Syracuse (the Hann’s…her name is Janelle, I can’t remember her parent’s names…) I agree, the fall here is the best. It is so pretty! I’m at the University of Rochester. One of the people who just graduated from my program got a job at SUNY Brockport I think. What is your friend’s name? Maybe they know each other.

      • Jess, I’ll contact you offlist :)

    • Jess, thanks for introducing yourself. Your mention of your cat George, and others introductions of their dogs, made me realize I didn’t introduce mine. I have a cat named Squeaky and a border collie named Rosie. And I also really do love them a lot. And any good pet knows the place to be is by the computer.

  3. I am a 48 year old single never married woman. I was a member of the church for well over 20 years before I finally called it quits. I didn’t leave over any one particular issue, rather I left over a series of abusive issues with leadership that were never able to be fully resolved. And just to be fair, especially since I know that this is a feminist blog, I doubt that had I been a man these issues would have been resolved with any great satisfaction .

    I do not work as I am on permanent disability to do depression/panic and anxiety disorder. Church did not help with this issue in fact, they (leadership) only exacerbated the issue when they let members tell me that I was filled with Satan and then expected me to show up with the “rah! rah! shish kum bah!’ attitude in full support, while they let me go home feeling like crap, week, after the week.

    In order to help my depression I rescued a sweet Sheltie Mix,( Whenever people ask me what he is I say,”part Sheltie/100% sack of sugar,” he makes sure I get outside and interact with people on a daily basis, after all it doesn’t matter what kind of weather is going on outside, I’m his momma dog and I have to take care of him. Truth be told, If I didn’t have Beau, I probably wouldn’t come out of the house. I love him to pieces, I have learned so much about gospel principles by having this dog, than a month of Sundays in Sacrament and Sunday school lessons.

    As of right now I have no religious affiliation, I’m a little conflicted about this, partly explains the reason why I read this blog regularly, I enjoy Spunky’s analysis with her Sunday school lessons. I take what I need to get from the lesson and let what doesn’t apply fall to the wayside. I also read a number of other religious blogs. I think if I ever had the opportunity to go back to school I would probably go back as a Theology major.

    I know people fear me because I have issues with depression(that’s a dirty word in today’s society, religious/ or secular). But, truth be told I am more afraid of so called normal people and the way they use the rhetoric of the Bible and God to support whatever agenda they have.

    • Diane, I too love reading the lessons here. I directly involved with the RS lessons for a long time. I like being able to sit and read and think without my thoughts being interrupted by a random comment that might come in person. Particularly because any mention of polygamy, even as a joke, gets me riled. And thanks for being open with your experience about depression. It really is a shame that mental health is not treated properly in both the American and church culture. In reality so many people have their own issues. I am glad you have found the Exponent welcoming.

  4. For the professional side of my life, this guest post appearing today on Doves & Serpents is a pretty good summary:

    http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/the-career-motherhood-balancing-act-figuring-it-out-as-you-go-along/

    As for my religious life, I was born in the church and have always attended church on Sundays, although I haven’t attended the temple in a long time. I’m currently the Relief Society pianist, but I like teaching callings the best. I tend to talk a rather lot in Sunday School and Relief Society, and force myself to get up in testimony meeting a few times a year. It’s my form of missionary work :)

    • Emily, Can I just thank you for this awesome post. And I have to say I like your form of missionary work.

  5. This is an awesome idea.

    I’m 25, married and currently childless by choice. My husband just graduated from college, and now that we both have B.A.s and teaching certificates in theatre, we’re looking for work, and I’m looking at graduate school. We’re in a kind of scary transitional period, but it’s exciting to finally move on and figure out what we want to and where we want to live. I’ve been working as a cataloger since I graduated, and am looking forward to getting back to my field.

    I am currently inactive because I don’t believe God wants me to come home from church either in a rage or in tears. It is painful to be in church, and to be the only one saying “I think differently on this issue.” But since I know how bad it feels to be the only one speaking, I am still involved in Mormon feminism, because I don’t want the women who feel as I do to feel alone or feel they have to stay silent. I have recently taken an activist bent, getting involved with the Let Women Pray in General Conference event, and a couple of LDS WAVE projects. I also still serve on the Relief Society week day activity committee in my ward, which is fun because I get to work with some awesome women.

    I’m a theatre nerd, and love to direct when I get a chance. Theatre is where I find God more often than not. And live performance is an adrenalin rush for me. Even though I don’t act anymore, I still love the energy of working with performers as a director, stage manager or teacher, or of seeing a really good production.

    I have high anxiety, and tend to feel I’m never doing enough. So I get involved in all kinds of projects (theatre and feminism mostly) on a regular basis to try to compensate for that. I’m also opinionated and passionate, which can rub people the wrong way.

    My husband and I desperately want a dog, but our apartment doesn’t allow pets. :(

  6. I am currently on leave from work because my husband and I are in the middle of a life-changing endevour that I cannot comment on publically at this stage. In summary, I grew up in the US, married a good Jewish man, divorced him, then married the love of my life, who happened to be Australian. When the man of your drives lives on the other side of the world, you move. So I did. I have not always been grateful for the interntaionla opportunity, but have been in Australia long enough now that I feel like an awkward foreigner when I am in the US. I don’t understand this, so can’t explain it at this stage.

    For my religious life, I think I have always been active, though on my own terms. If things don’t make sense to me, then I don’t engage. I have attended church in pants, and even running gear on a morning when I had a race. I used to love being in the choir, but have found choirs to be lacking in my current wards/branches and stakes in Australia. That is one part of the American Mormon church that I miss dearly.

    As a Laurel, I was the stake laurel representative that was a part of a 3 stake Laurel-Priest conference. It was formally titled the Priet-Laurel conference, but everytime I spoke- which was only to introduce adult leaders who really set up the entire thing, I reminded them that it was the Laurel-Priest conference. My YW leaders loved that I did that, and I am graetful for their support and encouragement. At that conference, the last speakers were a husband and wife temple president and matron. She spoke on how the most important thing for women was to be a mother.

    At that moment, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt — that there was more for me than just that. I was and am more important than my reproductive organs. I knew it at that moment. In comtemplation of leaving, I decided to disengage, not listen to her tripe, and set a plan that was right for me. That moment, and that conference, pretty much is who I am. I believe in the book of Mormon and in Christ and in the atonement. I do not believe in church culture, so seek for truth underneath the rhetoric that is overtly is a part of my Mormon experience. This drive has sustained me when the church made no sense, so I seek for something better, because I believe God loves me for my mind, even if church policy only welcomes me if my body and mind are engaged in reproduction. I sometimes take a “Mormon vacation”- when I need time to realign myself spiritually from the culture of church that often seems aimed to detroy me.

    My life is complicated, crazy, happy, unusual, different, oppulent, desperate and beautiful. My beloved husband is irreplaceable, amazing, patient, loving and miraculous in his goodness. I am truly blessed for my testimony, my marriage and because I know God loves me for who I am.

  7. Hello everyone. So nice to meet you. :)

    I have lived in all of the west coast states, Utah, Massachusetts, and Vienna, Austria.

    Now, at 28, I live and go to school in sunny California, which makes me so glad for a variety of reasons, including that sunshine, fresh lemons, and avocados.

    Over the course of my life I have wanted to be a ballerina, astronaut, President of the United States, Senator, librarian, philosopher, and theologian. At this time I still want to be any mix of the latter three. As such, I am getting a PhD in philosophy of religion and theology (with an emphasis on Kierkegaard and Levinas), while sometimes dreaming about my previous library masters, wondering which degree will better help me get out of student loan purgatory.

    I also have an affinity for Russian literature, as well as many things starting with the letter “B” (books, bikes, boggle, etc.).

    The two best jobs I have ever had were both through the BYU–one (archiving Hugh Nibley’s papers and correspondence) while I was still a student, the other (researching and writing about Heavenly Mother) shortly after I graduated with my bachelors. I consider them both life shaping.

    My (architect) husband and I have been married for a very adventurous year and a half, including car wrecks, bike rides across whole countries, and cross-ocean moves.

  8. Pleasure to get to know you all.
    I am 27, living in Utah with the love of my life. We have been married for 5 fantastic years, the last of which has been a whirlwind of manic/depressive moments due to deaths, career changes, and a miscarriage. I am originally an Air Force brat, having spent the majority of my life overseas and not being able to say I’m “from” anywhere, but thankfully for me now, home is anywhere my husband is. I swore to myself that I would never live in Utah, but you win some, you lose some. Living here has taught me more about myself than I ever could have predicted.
    I have a B.S. in Psychology, emphasis in cognitive neuroscience. Although I’ve been out of school long enough to have gotten 2 graduate degrees, I’m glad I haven’t. I have an underlying fear that whatever education I acquire will be my defining characteristic, and I don’t want to be defined by any one thing, nor make life choices based on my need to prove myself. I’ve recently discovered a long for baking and have started my own baking company, and I work full time in a behavioral health center with children who bear the burdens of society’s bad choices.
    I don’t want to be labeled as a feminist. If a label must be attached, then I am an individualist. Mostly, though, I am a traveler, at times both pilot and passenger in my journey through life, constantly seeking answers while often unsure of the questions. My testimony, though once strong and immovable, waxes and wanes. Despite being a seminary graduate, Young Women’s graduate, and a return missionary, my relationship with Christ is not characterized by my membership. I attend Church regularly, and I teach RS once a month (a calling I LOVE because it both challenges me and provides a way to help other women think outside the oft-narrow Mormon box), but I am a firm believer that revelation comes when you ask the right questions. Sadly, as members of the church we don’t ask enough of them.
    I want to know my Savior, but one does not simply come to know Him. One has to search Him, question Him, and study Him. I’m a long way off.

    • Cg, I like the label you give yourself as an individualist and the importance you give to asking questions. I agree we don’t do it enough. And that it shoudn’t be considered rebellious or unfaithful to do so.

  9. I’m 36, live in Utah and married with four children ages 7, 5, 2 and 6 months. I work in public health, as the epidemiologist, media liaison and web developer for the minority health office (and I do that all on a 20 hour/week schedule! Tells you a lot about the minority health budget in Utah doesn’t it?) I was a missionary in the Dominican Republic where I learned Spanish and dominoes, and now my 7 year-old daughter is in Spanish immersion elementary school so we can practice together. I was recently called to the primary presidency in my ward. I love singing, drama, art, travel and reading. I care about the earth, and demonstrate that by xeroscaping, riding the bus and driving alternative fuel vehicles, and cloth diapering my baby.

    I’ve written some posts that I think help introduce me well, so I’ll link to them. On parenting and working: http://www.the-exponent.com/guest-post-my-husband-the-nurturer/ On why I am a Mormon feminist: http://www.the-exponent.com/insignificant-events/ On how I found the Exponent and became a perma blogger here: http://www.the-exponent.com/finding-my-voice/

    • April, thanks for linking to your posts. I originally had intended to do that, but didn’t. The posts we write our sometimes good summaries of ourselves.

  10. Very nice to read a little about you.

    I am 33 years old woman originally from Eastern Europe. I have been living in US for more than a decade and although it has been difficult adjusting, it has been the best experience of my life in terms of learning more about myself, developing my talents, meeting interesting/great/horrible people and realizing that every day I make a choice of who I want to be. So I am a big supporter of free choice.

    I am a convert and the idea of the Heavenly Mother (even though I don’t know much about her) and the pre-existence were what touched me. And it is what keeps me going. I have realized that the moment I gave freedom to myself to say about JS “that bastard!” everytime I heard of things he did, I have come more at peace with everything….church, people, culture. I have realized that although we are part of a bigger purpose, we all are humans…not to be glorified or adored but to learn lessons from and laugh at if it calls for it.

    I feel very sad when I read about how so many of the women in this blog feel pain on several issues. I actually know how that feels. However, after years of it, I have learned to still be a supporter of those issues but let go of the pain. Pain is never a good motivation of anything. And the only advice I can give is “Don’t take it seriously”. Keep your head up, say what you have to say and let murmur who wants to murmur.

    I had my feminist awaking at 16 years old when I started to notice things about religion and my society. When I went to college and learned that my observations qualified me for the title ‘feminist’ I happily embraced it. Even though it is a term defined differently and often is used in a negative way, I love showing people how they qualify for it too :)

    I am not a blogger due to a privacy complex that I have (even writing here took me two days of getting used to the idea) but I like reading this blog. What I enjoy the most is how sincere people here can be. Definitely, we all write about the version of ourselves/lives that we know best, but it is still worth reading about.

    I love dancing, music, theater, traveling, food, jokes, books, yoga, good friends and breaking rules. I mean, if you don’t break it how do you know that it is really there? Right?

    • EFH, I also like to think of Joseph Smith as “that bastard” sometimes. He was definitely far from perfect. I have told my Bishop that while I like some of the things he accomplished in organizing the church, I don’t have to like him … I also like the idea of the pre-existence and feel it ties a little bit into some ideas of reincarnation. But that would be a separate post. Anyhow, thanks for introducing yourself and welcome.

  11. I am 28. I grew up in Upstate NY, studied linguistics at BYU where I met my husband, and moved back home to NY after graduation. We have three kids. I stay at home with them. We live in a very rural area where the church is sparse. I have approached feminist ideas slowly over the past eight years. It’s been a very personal and quiet journey and I didn’t realize there were other Mormon people who shared similar views until very recently when a friend on facebook posted a link to a post on fmh. A new world has been opened to me in the discovery of communities like these and though I don’t actually participate (because my timid character applies as well virtually as it does in reality), I feel a lot less lonely just in reading. So thank you!

    • Big L, thanks for stepping out and introducing yourself. Finding the bloggernacle also opened a new world for me. It is nice not to feel alone. And as Caroline mentioned, if you (or anyone else) ever have experience you want to share in terms of a guest post, please do so. That’s actually the way I started blogging here.

  12. Hello all!

    I’m 27 and I live in Oakland, CA. I am a knitwear designer. I have 3 kids: 4.5, 2.5, and newborn. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, went to BYU and graduated in math and got married. Our family is currently carfree by choice so we bike and use public transit for errands and commutes. It saves us money and makes my tree-hugging self feel better about our carbon footprint. And biking makes me feel free. I love the feeling of riding my bike and having the whole world laid out in front of me. I can take a bike places I can’t take a car.

    Besides knitting, I stay busy taking my kids places: science class, music class, park days, etc. I also volunteer as a breastfeeding peer counselor and take phone calls, emails, and lead breastfeeding support meetings as well as sit on the Board of Directors and Executive Council for an area breastfeeding support non-profit.

    At church I’m on the activities committee and when I’m not immediately postpartum, I’m active in the ward and go every Sunday. I really like our ward. I also have a blog called With Your Mutual Approbation which takes scripture verses and adds Heavenly Mother. I haven’t posted in a while because of the just-had-a-baby issue, but will be back on the wagon soon.

    • Tophat, Can I just say how awesome you are to do all that you do having just had a baby. You shouldn’t feel quilty for not posting.

  13. I’m 27 and live outside of Washington DC, which is also where I grew up. I work for the federal government (for now– wooo, sequestration!) in policy communications. I’ve been married a year and a half. My husband and I team-teach in Primary, and it’s great – I don’t hang out with small children at all in my normal life, and it’s nice to be reminded of that segment of humanity :)

    I’ve always been something of a feminist, but moreso since my early 20s. The temple really broke me – as Kiskillili from ZD has (sort of) put it, I knew we had this patriarchal rhetoric , but I hadn’t known that we really meant it.

    I love college basketball, British murder mysteries, and home improvement projects. I hate cooking – if left to my own devices, I would subsist solely on crackers and Diet Coke.

    Thanks to everyone who blogs here – I’m a regular reader and really enjoy the community, even if I don’t participate often.

    • Also, I am terrible at HTML tags.

    • Atlantic Toast Conference, Welcome. I am really enjoy reading about people who don’t always post. I am curious where your moniker comes from. I think it is cool and definitely unique.

      • It’s just a silly homage to the Atlantic Coast Conference, whose basketball I love so much :)

  14. I just wanted to give a huge welcome to you readers who don’t comment very often. Atlantic Toast Conference, Big L, EFH, CG, Jess, and others, welcome! I’m thrilled to know a little more about our readers. Please feel free to email us if you ever have a guest post or a topic you would like to see addressed.

  15. I’m 65, have six children and many lovely grandchildren whom I adore. I have a college degree but for most of my married life I have been a stay at home mom. I now consider myself ‘retired’. I’ve always idendtified with being a feminist. I live in Western Canada – but haven’t always done so – I love Canada! Reading the book ‘Emma – Mormon Enigma’ when it was first published really changed me and my testimony – something I look upon with a little sadness sometimes – but I’m still here. The church is a big part of who I am but I can’t seem to formulated the words ‘I know’ anymore. I love reading the blogs here but don’t often comment.

    • Di, thanks for introducing yourself. I just read “Emma-Mormon Enigma” for the first time this year. I found it deeply beautiful, and sometimes deeply sad. I have the utmost respect for Emma, and really appreciated discovering a richer context around some of the thornier issues in our church’s past. I can definitely see how it could be a life and testimony changing book. Thank you for reading the blog, and commenting when you do. :)

      • Ditto. Emma- Mormon Enigma changed my perspective on everything. I reread it often.

    • I haven’t actually read Emma: Mormon Enigma but reading Rough Stone Rolling and in Sacred Lonliness changed my perspective on everything. I am really grateful for honest historical accounts. And Di, can I just say that I a bit jealous. Western Canada is beautiful.

  16. I’m in my mid-fifties. During my adult life I’ve been engaged in homeschooling my children (self-directed, independent study), teaching early morning seminary, getting involved in community historic preservation and library work, hosting foreign students and welcoming my far-flung grandchildren. History and literary discussion are what fascinate me. I am a writer and of all the writing I do I particularly enjoy researching and writing biography.

    I am actively involved in church work. My first allegiance is to Jesus and his message of love. I stay involved because of my commitment to Him and because the answer that I get is that my voice and my work and my thoughts need to be a part of what is happening there.

    I’ve spent most of my life living on both coasts of the U.S. with brief sojourns living in Utah, the Middle East, and South America. My good husband’s recent career change has relocated us from New England to the Southern Plains. Life is interesting and engaging here too.

    • MB, Having lived so many places, I would be curious to hear what your experience has been with the church in different countries. I am particularly curious to hear about the Middle East and South America.

      • Noting that South America has a special place in my heart – and I find the gospel so much easier to believe in Spanish – although that seems a really weird thing to say.

      • It’s difficult to encapsulate a wide variety of church experiences in a brief comment in a blog post, but I’ll try. The principles taught are the same. Human hopes and human foibles are universal and the overlaying of culture in each location brings it’s own set of struggles in each place. And finally, individuals who are trying to live the principles of forgiveness, gentleness, encouragement and brotherly love instead of just trying to get things done are what make the difference in any congregation.

        I think I understand your comment about Spanish. Sometimes the gospel in a second language feels more believable because the gospel words carry less memory baggage, therefore allowing me to simply concentrate on what they mean, separate from how I may have seen them used or misused by others over decades of life experience.

      • MB, I like your encapsulation. I also like your point how with a new language there isn’t as much memory baggage. But for me, I also think it tied to the fact that I found many people more believing in Chile and Argentina. And that also impacted how I saw the gospel in Spanish.

  17. I appreciate the bloggernacle and how I can “meet” all these cool women! I just wish I could meet you face-to-face…I’d like to come to the Exponent retreat one of these years…

    I’m a SAHM for the past three years. Trying to embrace the hard moments, but generally enjoying it. I grew up back east and now live in southern AZ which I like (but I do miss the east coast). When I went to BYU back in the 90′s, I attended VOICE meetings which were full of wonderful BYU feminists to whom I felt a true bond and connection. I’ve got an MA in international relations but am considering a career in nursing so that when my children are older I’ll be able to go abroad to use my language and nursing skills.

    I recently finished being RS prez for the past couple of years in my ward. It was an interesting experience, one of which I complained about frequently (we have a pretty high-needs, very large ward). I’m sure I deflected any blessing that was coming my way by all of my complaining! However, I did love it–especially just getting to know the sisters and helping administer the church’s welfare program.

    I feel discouraged sometimes by how slowly change happens in our church, but I try not to give up. Trying to fight the good fight for positive change!

    • Keep fighting! (We need LOTS and LOTS of women like you!)

    • Corrina, It sounds like you were fighting the good fight as RS prez. I do have a tremendous respect for the church welfare program. I grew up really poor and my family received food for a time when I was a small child. And I did a couple of my Laurel projects at the Bishop’s storehouse. I know the system isn’t perfect but I really like this aspect of the church.

  18. I am a 28 year old doctoral candidate in US history living in Philadelphia. After ten years in school, I’d say I’m finally where I want to be- teaching, in love, starting a dissertation, looking at getting a dog. My research is on the history of criminal justice, prisons, and jails in the 20th century. Working with and doing activism on behalf of incarcerated people has taught me a great deal about the Atonement. The most important role in my life is being an aunt to two amazing girls back home. I went to graduate school because I wanted to live a life that would inspire them.

    I converted to Mormonism as a teenager and was active throughout college. I lost my capacity for church attendance and my testimony of the priesthood during and after some very tough years in singles wards. “Going inactive” broke my heart, but it was the best way for me to salvage what was left of my testimony and begin living the life I dreamed of. It brought me closer to my long-suffering family, who endured my annoying years as a devout and naive true believer (they won’t let me forget it). I sometimes think about going to church, but often lose track of the days and end up sleeping in on Sundays instead. I like the occasional outreach from my visiting teacher, a woman I have never met and probably thinks her efforts to get in touch are in vain. The Exponent is my main connection with LDS people and is a large part of my choice to identify as a “lapsed Mormon” instead of “a whatever.”

    • Melanie, My family also won’t let me forget some of my ultra mormonisms. I feel the same about my connection to the Exponent. It has helped me retain activity at times as well as made me comfortable when I step away. I like being in a community of women who are so honest. I wish I would have found it before I did … I like sleeping in and reading posts on my kindle fire while lying in bed on Sunday morning. Anyhow, I’d love to hear more about your experience working in prisons.

  19. As Caroline stated, it is really nice to read about so many readers in addition to bloggers. Sorry I have been missing in action on my own post. I love to see how much we have in common but also our differences in life experience.

  20. I am a gay LDS female in a mixed-orientation marriage, but there is more to me than that. I am in my mid-forties, a college professor, mother of two, and I have a high profile but low leadership position in my ward. I do not have a current temple recommend (due to problems with the doctrine and tithing–I admit it, I am a bit greedy, and I don’t like how tithing dollars are used in the church). I do not anticipate returning to the temple. I am a returned missionary, an LDS school graduate, and had perfect attendance in seminary.

    I first had my serious bout with spiritual dissonance on my mission, where I encountered spiritual abuse from my mission president and the other missionaries (it wasn’t limited to just me, by the way).

    Despite being active in the church, I never discovered the atonement until just a few years ago. It seemed that I was taught that the atonement only included making restitution for my sins, so I felt very guilty that I brought Christ agony.

    Since I experienced that spiritual dissonance on my mission, I have gone through all of Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief (denial–that maybe the spiritual abuse was my fault; anger–at church leaders, at myself because if I was a better LDS, this wouldn’t have happened to me; bargaining–trying to fit in as a square peg hoping that I would feel better about the church and the doctrine; depression–grieving the loss of my rock [the church], grieving that I will never be a good LDS; and acceptance–where I think I am at now–feeling okay with my doubts and standing in the church).

    I know the atonement has helped me innumerable times (which I won’t go into here), and will continue to help me, but sometimes the only time I hear about Jesus and the atonement at church is in the sacrament meeting hymns and prayers. So, church is a battle for me. The doctrine, yeah, sometimes too.

    It is good getting to “know” many of you through this post. I have read many of your posts before and it is good to put a name with the face, so to speak.

    • Erin, it is good to get to know you. I appreciate your honesty. I also went through various stages of grief. And yes, it is unfortunate that church can be such a battle.

  21. I LOVE this idea. It’s so fun to see our diversity, “meet” new people on this thread, and remind myself why I love so many here.

    I’m 35 and live in Arizona with my husband and 3 kids, ages 7-2. I stay at home with the youngest, but I’m hoping to start working on a career again when my youngest heads to preschool next year.

    I teach piano, co-edit Exponent II, and blog here, but mostly in the form of boring paper-related announcements.

    I love to cook, do textual analysis of the scriptures, and watch The West Wing (I was in grad school when it was on before and never saw it until now). Though I don’t have many feminist friends in my ward, I feel loved and accepted. And, I love the Exponent and Arizona Mormon feminists. I don’t know what I’d do without either group.

    I just got called to Cub Scouts. I’m excited about working with the boys; I am decidedly not excited about working with the BSA.

    • Yes, Emily, I agree, it is great to see the diversity and meet new people as well get updates from the people I already know.

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