Young Women Lesson: How can repentance help me every day?

Repentance can be a very difficult subject. You want to help the girls learn how to recognize when they’ve done something wrong and to improve upon that, but you don’t want to instill shame. I think as an opening activity, I would ask one of the girls to tell the story of the Council in Heaven. In the story, Satan wants to make every one do the “right” thing, but Christ advocates for agency. This story tells us that making mistakes is something that we know will happen and it’s part of the Plan to make mistakes. Doing the wrong thing means simply that we did something wrong; it does not mean that we are therefore “bad” people. In the class, I might emphasize that again: doing something wrong does not mean we, ourselves, are bad and undeserving of love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Read More

Birth/Rebirth: I couldn’t say, “Congratulations.”

CongratulationsI read the Facebook post announcing that my friend had given birth: baby came early…boy…Down syndrome…

I opened the comment box and sat with my fingers poised on the keyboard.  I didn’t know what to type.

I started scrolling through other people’s comments, hoping for clues about the right response.

“Congratulations,” her other friends had said.

Oh. That made sense. My friend had given birth! To a child she would love dearly! I should say, “Congratulations.”

My finger hovered over the letter C but didn’t type. My friend was probably experiencing one of the greatest disappointments of her life and she had so many more challenges ahead. Challenges that she would handle beautifully—I knew that. And yet…

Read More

The First Ordained Protestant Woman and Her Best Friend: the College Years

The First Ordained Protestant Woman and Her Best Friend: the College Years

One week from today, Mormon women will attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference to show support for women’s ordination.  Since January, Mormons have been studying Lorenzo Snow in Relief Society and Priesthood classes. Lorenzo Snow was educated at progressive Oberlin College, the first coeducational college in the United States of America  and served as president of the church during the suffrage movement. The timing seems ideal to remember two suffragists who also attended Lorenzo Snow’s alma mater: Antoinette Brown and Lucy Stone.

Lucy Stone sought to become a public speaker advocating for abolition and women’s rights, a scandalous plan at a time when the Biblical injunction to “let your women keep silence” (1 Cor. 14:34) was interpreted quite literally.  Antoinette Brown’s plans were even more shocking; she wanted to become a minister, although no female had ever yet been ordained a Protestant minister.

Lucy Stone was raised by strict, traditional parents who believed educating a woman would be a waste of money. When Lucy learned that a new college was admitting women, she was determined to go in spite of the lack of support from her family.  She saved for years to attend, finally obtaining enough money to enroll for one semester in 1843 at the age of 25.

At Oberlin, Lucy took several jobs with the hope of earning enough money to stay. During her first two years of college, Lucy slept little, awakening at 2 AM to study as her daytime hours were completely filled with coursework and the multiple jobs she was working to pay for her tuition and board. At her dishwashing job, she would prop her books up by the sink so she could study as she worked.

Read More

Relief Society Lesson 13: Doing Our Part to Share the Gospel

Relief Society Lesson 13: Doing Our Part to Share the Gospel

Share the GospelChurch Members as Ambassadors

President George Albert Smith noted that as the Church becomes more well known, “its members are esteemed for their virtues,” and critics “are quickly divested of their unjustified prejudices, by coming in direct contact with the Latter-day Saints in their daily lives. … They then judge us by our fruits, from personal observation, and such information, as they impart it, can have but one effect, and that most favorable to us.”1

Smith observed that actually knowing members of our church dispels prejudice about the church. People who know us drop their misconceptions and instead judge us by our fruits—what we actually do.  This seems logical to me but I question Smith’s assertion that knowing a Mormon “can have but one effect.”  Depending on which Mormon you know, and how that particular Mormon behaves, you might draw different conclusions about the church. Sometimes, we Mormons, like anyone else, can be guilty of producing sour fruit.

Read More

Are You PMS-ing?

When irritation begins to perk it’s ears at my emotional state, often one of the first questions I’ll hear from a particular friend is “Are you PMS-ing?”

No, actually, I am not.  And, now my irritation is harder to ignore because you want to invalidate my feelings by chalking them up to hormones.

(Wait maybe I am PMS-ing, because now that comment is really getting to me, and now I feel guilty for directing my irritation at you… SPIRAL!)

As a feminist, the real crux is physiology and how that should/does affect our behaviors

Read More