Mother in Israel, Judge in Israel

Mother in Israel, Judge in Israel

I recently had a conversation in which I expressed my hope for women to someday be ordained and serve in callings such as bishop.  I described a friend whose husband is a bishop.  They are parents of very young children and his bishop duties have made parenting difficult.  There are very few worthy men in their ward who could fill the bishop position, so it has fallen on him in spite of the hardships it brings to his young family.  I thought it would be wonderful if the bishop could be one of the worthy, older women in the ward whose children had grown up.

I was surprised by the reaction of the person I was speaking to.  She found the idea of a female bishop repulsive, even though she agreed that it would be a logical solution to the situation I described.

In contrast, I have had other women tell me that they are uncomfortable having men ask them questions about their chastity and undergarments and would be more comfortable if they had a female bishop.




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Bikes, Bikes, Bikes

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes

Some bike-themed Exponent posts, a poll and a video.

(Click on the titles of some of these wonderful, classic posts to enjoy some bike-related reading. When you’re done, get off the computer and go for a bike ride.)

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

National Bike Month

“But a year later after we moved from rural Indiana to the suburban sprawl of Chicago, bicycling became my morning meditation.”

tricycle bike

Photo by Jana Remy


Biking In A Skirt

Modesty was a problem for me during my missionary days. Skirts flap around Marilyn Monroe-style on a bike.”

Don’t Come Cryin’ To Me!

I have to admit part of me was SAD that the bikes were patiently waiting for them after the movie.”

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It’s Not All About Money

It’s Not All About Money

There are some women (it has become very many in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. -Gordon B. Hinckley, 1996 Reference A

My daughter knows me well.

My daughter knows me well.

Statements like this one by former LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley belie an assumption that paid employment for women is only about money:

  1. Financially secure women who work outside the home are assumed to be doing so because of a greedy desire for more money.
  2. The only good reason for a woman to work outside the home is a dire need for money.

This dichotomy neglects the many other reasons a woman may be employed.

In 1959, Frederick Herzberg, in the book, The Motivation to Work, introduced Motivation-Hygiene Theory (also known as Two-Factor Theory). His findings showed that money was not a primary motivator in the workplace. Instead, employees were motivated by enjoyment of the work itself and by the advancement, recognition, achievement, and growth opportunities the work brings. Reference B

Personally, I feel motivated to work outside the home because I love the work and the contributions I can make to my community at large. While motherhood is rewarding in its own way, many of my strongest skills are not exercised by motherhood. In my paid employment, I work in fields that I have chosen to study because they interest me and align with my personal talents. In contrast, I spend a great deal of my at-home time cleaning up spills and searching for lost shoes, tasks that never interested me at all.

Housework is so intrinsically unenjoyable to me that it is hard for me to imagine how it could be that in 1963, when The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan was published, the idea that a lifetime of uninterrupted housework wouldn’t fulfill a woman was groundbreaking.

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To Sylvia

My Dearest Daughter,

Twelve days before your birth I wondered if I would be sacrificing you on the altar of my desire to be Mormon. I knew that remaining Mormon would mean that you would be confronted with the pain of being a woman in this church, even if you do not feel it as acutely as I do. Over the almost six years since I wrote that post I have documented the little “paper cuts” that you have experienced. Each one has broken my heart but you have met them with strength, determination and thoughtfulness. You are an amazing little girl.

Yesterday, however, you received a much deeper wound. Yesterday your history changed. Yesterday Kate Kelly was excommunicated from our church for “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church.” A lot has been written about this event but I want you to know your piece of the story.

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Are we living up to Christ’s example of justice for women?

Are we living up to Christ’s example of justice for women?

By Danielle Mooney

Danielle has lived in Boston since graduating from Wellesley College. She loves her husband, her dog, and soft serve ice cream cones.


Within the Gospels, we find stories about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth that the authors compiled and composed for their particular early Christian communities. The Gospels function as communal faith-statements and each scene and saying they recount are part of the author’s broader theological message about who Jesus was and how we follow him.

As has been true throughout world history, during Christ’s life and the development of Christianity after his death, attitudes about and the treatment of women were overwhelmingly negative. This negativity is absent from the Gospels and that absence underscores the religious importance Jesus attached to equality for women and all other subjugated persons—to the constitutive role of justice in the Gospel.

To understand how truly radical, empowering, and inclusive Jesus’ ministry was, we need to have some understanding of the extent to which women were legally disenfranchised and positioned as socially and religiously inferior to men.

Rabbinic tradition of the time, and for many many years later, dictated that women were not allowed to study the Torah. This was so much looked down on that first century rabbi Eliezer is recorded as saying “Rather should the words of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman.” Women were discouraged from offering prayers, even in private. The daily prayers of Jewish men included the thanksgiving “praised be God that he has not created me a woman.” Women could not be counted toward the number of people required to form a congregation for communal worship (and unfortunately, this is true in our own church today). Men were advised to “speak not much with a woman,” including their wives, and speaking to a woman in public was undignified, even disreputable, for a rabbi. Women could not bear witness in a court of law. Men could choose to divorce a wife simply by giving her a writ, but women could not divorce their husbands. Common rabbinic sayings included “At the birth of a boy all are joyful, but at the birth of a girl all are sad,” and “When a boy comes into the world, peace comes into the world; when a girl comes, nothing comes.” Clearly, the condition of women was bleak.

And then came Jesus.

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