My heart won’t stop hurting. I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that Kate Kelly and John Dehlin have been summoned to church court for their activities related to the Ordain Women movement and the Mormon LGBT movement. I’m not upset because I’m an ardent supporter of either movement. I’m upset because I firmly believe that every Saint deserves to have a voice in our community. I’m upset because I am so grateful to people like Kate and John who are willing to say “dangerous” things out loud, when so many of us want to, but are too afraid to. I’m upset because of the atmosphere of fear that enters into our faith community when this sort of thing happens. What can I safely say? What causes dear to my heart will be “approved” by my respected church leaders? Do I trust my own spirit to hear and interpret the voice of the Holy Spirit, or do I leave that solely to my leaders, who I am sure listen to the same Spirit? What do I do when those spiritual interpretations collide? This sort of conundrum causes all sorts of self doubt. Some walk. Sometimes I wonder if the best of us walk, and if my choice to stay is foolish or faithful. I’ll say it right here at the start, though: despite all its man-made quirks and flaws, I love the Church and am convinced it holds the power of full salvation. So I stay. But right now, it just hurts. Continue reading
When my husband Chris and I were dating he sent me a love note with this observation of my character. He wrote, “You are always striving for excellence and never quite attaining it.”
Happily, I knew already knew that Chris was a very literal person and what he probably meant was something more along the lines of “You do ambitious things with enthusiasm and still want to improve beyond that.”
But Chris’s first version was right, too. I know I am incapable of doing things quite as well as I hope to do them. All of us who are disciples of Jesus, if we are honest, are in the same predicament. We make covenants – and we’re still not as “excellent” at keeping them as we’d like to be. Continue reading
Several years ago I encountered a transition in my faith. I’ve always identified as Mormon, but I realized in those months of moments of heaving breathing and endless fervent prayers to God, that my understanding and ownership of my faith could not return to its former shape. My mind unfurled an image coiled up in my brain since my former professor, and a current member of the Sunday School General Presidency, John S. Tanner, put it there more than a decade ago. Studying the Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake, Dr. Tanner explained the division of the poems and illustrations into two stages of life, the innocence of child-like love and the often growing pain-like cold reality of experience. Then drawing in the air with his finger, he pointed round in a circle, coming back to where he started and around again and again; life is not linear, but round; a spiral.
After innocence is gone, and experience has harrowed out naivete the ground is ripe for something new; the mind can embrace what it once could before, but in a new way. For Blake, this was a turn to Christ, a second innocence that sees as the first one could not, but chooses to embrace hope and love anyway.
I realized I was at a crossroads–what was I to do with my troubled soul, my questions and my answers? Should I wrap myself full-fledged around my new knowledge of church history, gospel understanding and want of more; or bury it in a furtive effort to return to my younger, simpler faith? I heard a question in my brain, What do you really want? I chose both, faith and facts, and began to spiral. Continue reading
At church we use the phrase “taking the sacrament” for the weekly taking of blessed bread and water, symbols of Christ’s body and blood offered in His atoning sacrifice. “Do this in remembrance of me,” Christ told his disciples at the Last Supper. Other churches have similar practices that are called Communion, The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist and other titles, often preceded by the word “Holy.”
In Relief Society recently we had a lesson about the Sacrament. At one point the instructor asked us to recall and share particularly memorable occasions when we’ve taken the Sacrament. Continue reading
Here’s an Advent exercise I enjoy practicing to keep me tethered to tranquility during the rush of Christmastime. We’re in the thick of Advent right now, but there’s still time to jump into this, and it’s a great family activity.
There are three assignments, each of which should be accomplished before Christmas day. I never do them in any particular order, but if you prefer a little more structure, go for it.
Each assignment involves giving a gift or doing a service of some kind. Here are the challenges: Continue reading