1-2-3! What Exponent Means to Me!



As a board member of 20 years, blogger of 8, and the current President, I am delighted to kick off our 5 day spring fundraiser to solicit donations to improve and stabilize the technology of the blog.  The posts you read over the next few days (3 a day, so check in often!) will all focus on what Exponent has meant to us, the people who write and edit and blog and keep this institution going. We also hope you will reflect on what Exponent has meant to you and that you will show us by contributing to the fundraiser. As they say on  NPR, no amount is too small!  So often we repeat the visiting teacher mantra, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.” If you’ve been moved by a post or are fed monthly by the magazine, now is your chance to show your support. Here’s a bit of my story on what this organization has meant to me:

Two decades ago I moved from Tempe, Arizona to Belmont, Massachusetts and I felt more at home than I had in years. Maybe ever. Our apartment was old and rickety, my job was dull, and we were dirt poor, but almost instantly the women of Exponent 2 helped create new chapters in my life that would enrich me beyond my imagination.

First, Exponent gave me friends. The women in my ward who were part of the organization reached out to me and pulled me into their lives. Never mind that I was 28 and pregnant with my first and they were veteran mommies, or single, or both. None of that mattered. I felt like Ruth and Naomi with these women; whither so ever they would go, so would I. And it is still this way. Some of my favorite people I only see once a year at the Retreat. I also love how seamless it has been to go from virtual to flesh and blood friendship when I’ve met my fellow bloggers IRL.

Second, Exponent gave me meaningful work. During the day I was answering phones as a temp, but in the evening I was going over fascinating essays as part of the Readers’ Committee. A few years later when Nancy Dredge asked me to be her associate editor of the paper, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to juggle it with my teaching schedule and taking care of two kids. But it was the Exponent work that fed my soul and saved my sanity. Knowing that the paper was the vehicle for so many Mormon feminists to share their stories with so many others, gave my life a purpose during those fun but hard years of wiping (bottoms, mouths, hands, windows, countertops–I swear all I did all day was wipe).   And when I started to writing for the Exponent blog eight years ago, that too infused new meaning into my days as I found myself looking at my experiences and observations with a more thoughtful eye. When routine visiting teaching or shopping for a Father’s Day card took an unexpected turn, I knew I’d have to “blog it out” to make sense of things.

Third, Exponent helped me find and share my voice, and in turn do this for others. My perspective is one of irreverent devotion, and it took a lot of writing to discover and make peace with that. In writing about sisterhood, body image, cleaning for Jesus, blessing cars, the joys of poop, and swearing, this organization has allowed me to shout and whisper and guffaw, be wise and be a fool. And as an editor and recruiter of new writers, it is a privilege to give women a safe platform to explore their stories and help them on their truth journey. I truly believe that in the act of telling our stories we shape, transform, and save our lives.

That tiny human “E” on the Exponent magazine pictured above is me and my oldest, who you can see has grown a bit since then. Harder to see but no less extraordinary is my growth. And for that, I thank Exponent.

For me, Exponent is a gift. What has it given you? Spread the word and DONATE NOW!  Click here for more information and a list of prizes for those who donate!




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2 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    Hooray! I love hearing what the Exponent has meant to you, Heather, and I love the Exponent.

  2. EmilyCC says:

    Thank you for pulling me into Exponent II, which may have meant that I was made board president at my first board meeting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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