Subscription Deadline for Fall 2015 Issue of Exponent II

The following is the Letter from the Editor by Managing Editor Pandora Brewer for the Fall 2015 issue of Exponent II.  If you want to receive a paper copy of this issue, you must subscribe by November 5.  To subscribe, go here.  Subscriptions are the best deal around: just $26 for a year of receiving beautiful artwork and thoughtful, challenging articles in your mailbox.  

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Recently someone ended a conversation with a shrug and the statement “everything always happens for a reason.” I smiled and changed the subject, but inside, I bristled. This phrase often accompanies a story that begins with struggle and ends with either no resolution or some serendipitous event that saves the day. Either way there is an assumed passivity that doesn’t resonate with my experience. Sometimes things just happen and we search to find, understand, or even create what reason will be meaningful for us. I am always more inclined to wrestle for the reason than simply accept that there is one “out there” and beyond my grasp.  

This readiness for discovery, stories of women actively seeking meaning for themselves and their community, is a shared theme in many of the essays and features in this issue. Margaret and I did not anticipate these common threads and yet we found ourselves basking in the beautiful writing, crying with the authors at how hard life can be, each voice unique, each combining harmony as they share experiences that beckon, break our hearts, offer truth and give us hope in defining our own way.  

Anne Wunderli’s essay, “Like Dragons Did They Fight” describes her navigating a loving response to her daughter’s coming out as LGBTQ–first alone, then together with her daughter and family, and eventually with a community of fierce and like-minded “mamas.” Terra Bowles and Kate Cummings write about searching for spiritual meaning in the aftermath of loss in their essays “La Limpia Con Coy” and “What Flows Away”. Terra goes on literal and cultural journeys as she looks for healing “magic.” Kate looks with a grieving lens deep into her own religious beliefs. Andrea Mahoney’s account of her pioneer family’s trek across the plains is both hilarious and insightful as we all sometimes imagine that our real life story is not quite exciting enough.

The feature articles also speak to the strength of women to craft their own cause and effect relationships. We are thrilled to publish Lisa Hadley’s interview with the co-editors of Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings: Joanna Brooks, Hannah Wheelwright, and Rachel Hunt Steenblik. Complementing this celebration of scholarship is an exploration into the visual creative process with our Artist Spotlight on Maddison Colvin, interviewed by our Art Editor, Page Turner. Kyra Neipp Krakos brings an honest and very personal perspective to the parable of the ten virgins in Sabbath Pastorals.

We close the issue with two spiritual autobiographies originally presented at the Exponent II Retreat in September. Introduced by Judy Dushku, the accounts are very different in their personal narratives, yet both illustrate the powerful ways women develop their own distinct and strong voices, over time and in their own time.

My dislike of the phrase, “everything happens for a reason,”  is probably, in truth, propelled by my feisty tendency to resist tidy answers. The essays in this issue show that there are many ways to search for and divine meaning, many ways to learn to accept and move on, many ways we can be both restless and at peace. These stories are with me now, in all their messy wisdom, giving me all the reasons I need to keep looking.  

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