The Parable of Mushrooms

posted on Flickr with Creative Commons license

posted on Flickr with Creative Commons license

I hated mushrooms…

When I was four and I wrote in my journal, “I lik all food excip mushroms.”

Family members would say, “But, they’re really good in this dish.” Or, “Maybe you’ll like them this year.”

Every year or so, I’d try them, and I’d gag, reaffirming my decision that I hated mushrooms.

But, then, about eight years ago, I decided to give mushrooms another try. My oldest kid had a lot of food allergies and after seeing all the foods that would make him sick, I decided it was silly that I was holding out on one food because of a decision I made when I was four.

And, I still hated them. Slimy, tasting of dirt, with a smell that just epitomized everything yucky.

Read More

Queer Mormon Women*: Let Me Tell You About My Love

by Fluous

by Hermia Lyly

This is a post that is a part of the Queer Mormon Women* series.  Click HERE to see all the posts to date.

It’s late at night as I sit down to write this blog post, and I’m feeling tired of being queer. More tired than usual. I’m especially weary of the queer Mormon narratives that expect me to confess how downtrodden and worthless I feel as a queer person in the Church, how much I’ve struggled to accept myself as who I am, and then end with a hopeful gesture towards future reconciliation and peace. I want a different queer Mormon narrative.

Please don’t misunderstand me—there isn’t anything wrong with the queer Mormon narrative of struggle and self-acceptance. It’s a narrative that many people experience, and their truths must be told. It’s just that lately I’ve been needed something more. I’ve been craving a moment of celebration, in which I can hold hands with my faith and my identity at the same time, rejoicing in both.

So let me tell you about the best part of my experience as queer Mormon woman.

Let me tell you about my love.

Read More

RS Lesson #1: Love the Lord

Chapter 1: The Great Commandment—Love the Lord
Click for French Translation/Traduction en français
Click for Spanish Translation/Traducción española por Denisse Gómez

President Benson defined loving God as, “To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord.

The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).”

Read More

September Young Women Lesson: How can I be in the world but not of the world?

Kathy is a writer living with her family in Phoenix, Arizona.
Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

Photo Credit: MartinaK15 Flikr

Photo Credit: MartinaK15 Flikr

1. “We should be in the world but not of the world.” The lesson suggests asking the young women if they’ve ever heard this phrase and what it means to them.  Because I’ve heard this phrase used so often in non-constructive ways at church, I would take the time to define and discuss specific words in it (below) before asking the young women their perspective on the entire phrase.  By getting their input on individual words, I would try to build a class definition in a concrete, constructive way.

2. The lesson also suggests showing “Dare to Stand Alone,” the video of a story by Thomas S. Monson.  The story itself is nice (President Monson standing alone as a Mormon in the Navy and then realizing he wasn’t alone). But I personally wouldn’t show the video — partly to avoid  starting the lesson with the possible message that Mormons are the only good people in the world, and mostly to avoid the vignette of the teenage girl looking disdainfully at friends who suggest she wear a sleeveless dress, which I feel could derail the deeper possibilities in this lesson.



“We should be in the world, but not of the world.” Throughout my years in the church, I’ve heard this phrase so many times. Discussing it at church is challenging for me because most (but not all) class discussions about it tend toward the antagonistic, the self-righteous, or the vague.

I would take the time needed to clarify what I personally see in the phrase, as well as invite the young women’s input and insight.

Defining In & Of

  • In: reference to a place where you are located
  • Of: indicating origin, source, also denotes ownership or composition; expressing the relationship between the part and the whole.

In is pretty clear.  It’s a location, as in: We are in this world.

But of is a little less obvious at first glance.  How do you not be “of” the world? The word’s main definitions express origin or permanently belonging to in some way: “the daughter of Sister and Brother _____.” “the plays of Shakespeare,” or “the sleeve of her dress. . .”

Read More

Guest Post: No More Fear-Driven Faith for Me!

Judy profileWe’re delighted to showcase some of Exponent II’s founding mothers and long-time contributors in the upcoming days and weeks. We look to them, those who have seen and weathered periods of apostasy accusations and members facing Church discipline, for their thoughts on the events that are taking place as a new generation of progressive Mormons search for our place in the Church.

No More Fear-Driven Faith for Me!
by Judy Dushku

After Sonia Johnson was excommunicated from my church in 1979, the women in Exponent II invited her to meet with us and discuss her views. Since we were also Mormon feminists and supported the ERA as she did, we thought it appropriate and indicative of our solidarity with many of her ideas. She came to Boston for a media event, and then came to my home for a warm and lively discussion. Laurel Ulrich later commented that Sonia seemed brittle and fearful; we were sympathetic and felt compassion.

As was the practice with Exponent II, our Board decided that we would publish an issue about Sonia Johnson’s ordeal and her views where we would invite a number of women to write their thoughts concerning this pivotal and highly volatile event. We were long-committed to that approach to controversial subjects: identify the issue, then invite many LDS women to share their points of view in our paper. We solicited opinions and soon had a paper ready to paste up for publication. On the night before we went to press, four (as best I can recall) of our number decided to have their names taken off our masthead. They did not want to be associated with an issue of Exponent II that might appear to endorse Sonia’s positions or behavior, lest we get excommunicated, too. They did not resign in protest, they said, but in fear.

Read More