The Mountains Are Calling

Exponent Sisters at the Rocky Mountain Retreat

The Rocky Mountain Retreat is held annually at Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies in Granby, Colorado. This year, the retreat will be held from June 2-4 and registration is open now.

My first retreat was in 2008 and besides 2009 when I was actually moving to Colorado, I have gone every year since. I look forward to this retreat as a time to fill my mental, emotional and spiritual buckets. The friendships that I have made there are some of the most meaningful of my life.

Typically, about 1/3 of the women attend every year, another 1/3 are repeat attendees, and another third are new. This group is among the friendliest I have had the pleasure of being a part of. As far as religious affiliation, the group runs the gamut from women who are very active in the LDS church, to women who no longer attend church, along with a few women who have not ever been LDS. The culture of this retreat is affirming, respectful and empowering no matter what your background or current beliefs.

This year, we are excited to announce that Julie Smith, New Testament theologian and blogger at Times & Seasons, will be our keynote speaker. She received a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and is also on the executive board of the Mormon Theology Seminar. For generations, almost all scripture interpretation and transmission was conducted by men. What happens when we scrub away the accretions of androcentric interpretation and examine the texts afresh? In this presentation, Julie will discuss several New Testament stories about women from literary, historical, and feminist perspectives: Why did a story about a menstruating woman survive–and how does it re-interpret the Fall? Why does Mark show a woman besting Jesus in a debate? What does it mean to be a female disciple? Why did a woman anoint Jesus–and why did Jesus say that that story should be told wherever the gospel is preached? How do the Gospels’ views of women’s roles differ from each other? What does the atonement mean for women and their ministry? What roles did women play in the preservation of stories about Jesus and the transmission of scripture?

We will also be doing a service project for refugees, eat a lot, talk even more, and have a vibrant book discussion on Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

In this time of uncertainty and division, it will be good to carve out some space where the sacred is actively sought and valued. Spots fill up quickly so register today. I hope to see many of you this summer. The mountains are beautiful in June!


Mraynes lives in downtown Denver with her husband and four children. She spends her time lobbying at the Colorado Legislature, managing all the things and preparing Gospel Doctrine lessons.

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6 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    That sounds awesome! Julie Smith is great! Also, I love this picture so much!

  2. Kristine A says:

    I want to go to this so badly but everyone is planning all of their retreats on the same weekend…there needs to be a mo-community activity coordinating committee. I swear I will make it to this one day. Just you wait :).

  3. Rachel says:

    Oh, remembering this picture and day and weekend made my heart sing. Thank you!

    Really, The Rocky Mountain Retreat is wonderful. I hope many new (and old) women can gather there.

  4. Melody says:

    I’ll be there! I’ve heard Julie speak before. She’s brilliant, funny, and approachable. Thanks to the organizers for finding her and bringing her to the mountain this year.

    For anyone on the fence about coming: Rocky Mountain Retreat is the best of all things Mormon, Feminist, and nature-loving. The relatively small crowd allows for intimacy and bonding in an ideal setting. I’ve made life-long friends there. And don’t forget the traditional Saturday afternoon visit to the natural hot springs! That alone is worth the trip.

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