Tag Archives: mormon womanhood

Heavenly Mother’s Job

I didn’t actually write this essay. It was written by my friend, Tracey Snoyer, in an effort to capture the essence of what happened when some women got together for a few days of spiritual exploration in the tree-feathered foothills of Mt. Hood. I was part of the sacred circle. I invite you into the circle today, to seek with us greater light and knowledge about our Heavenly Mother.

Heavenly Mother’s Job

It started in a circle of women. Of bright, accomplished women, who held feminism as either an ideology or a manifestation. They were all empowered women: artists and business leaders and writers and thinkers. And all of them, spiritual savants in their own way. Two mothers and two never-mothers spending their days in inquiry and devotion with good food and long walks and quiet meditation. It took until the fifth day for the insight to grow deep enough for the question to be asked, and, in a spiral of light and magic, answered.

It began, as many inquiries of Heavenly Mother do, with an inquiry on Eve. Some believed that Eve knew exactly what she was doing when she took that fruit. Some believed she understood the plan in a way that inspired her to move the plan forward in the face of Adam’s solid obedience that, while beautiful, also brought stasis to the human family. It was Eve, some said, that had the insight and foresight and inspiration to make the choice that would start humanity. This idea seems to be gaining popularity: Eve as risk-taker, as knowing intercessor. Continue reading

Placement

I have a thing for place. I’m a bit fastidious about the arrangement of things, and the locations where things are set in. Now don’t get me wrong, I clutter up with the best of them (my specialty being piles of books at my desk). But I am fond of the notion of deliberate positioning. At home I may shuffle around the artwork and tschotskes to get everything in a just the right order. (I’ve been known to cock the wooden raven on the piano at a 45 degree angle to the look just right and I’m finicky about hanging pictures is particular groupings and arrangements down to the centimeter.) I attempt to order my kitchen into stations for efficiency. When planning for family pictures I thoughtfully cull through places that mean something: a park we frequent regularly, a telling landmark of the area we live in, or some place that served as a setting for some happy past memory. I realize this marks me as a sentimentalist, so be it. This fixation with fixation may just be one of my personal quirks of an appetite for control. That too. However, I’ll bet any real estate agent in the audience would say an “Amen!” when I advocate for location, location, location. Continue reading

A Conversation: On Being a Woman, part 2

“Did you have a boyfriend in high school, Sister Cruz?”

I froze. I can put on a smile, tell a lie that makes me look perfect or — be honest.

She looks at me in anticipation.

“Yeah, I did,” I say with hesitation. “I had my first boyfriend when I was 15. And some more after that. I kissed too many boys. Most of them were dumb.”

She laughs.

“Well, not literally dumb — just not the best idea for me to be with them, dumb. I hurt myself in the process. I focused on all the wrong things.”

She’s silent.

I awkwardly stumble over myself as I try to explain how it can be hard in high school if you don’t have a boyfriend — feeling left out and all — but how waiting is just as good of an option. And how not kissing until you get married wouldn’t be so bad. Wait, back up, how if that’s what you want to do it’s not so bad. But uh, well, it’s okay to kiss someone if you feel like you want to kiss them — just don’t go crazy.

She smiles. She laughs. And I feel like an idiot.

When I was asked to be the second counselor in our ward’s Young Women, I was immediately excited. Then I felt terrified. I’m 22 — I don’t have the answers. I certainly don’t feel like a role model. Shoot, I could have been a Laurel when this girl was a Beehive. That’s scary.

I don’t know this girl very well, but conversation flows easily. We chat about everything — school, growing up, her ambitions, family, what marriage is like — whatever.

She is freely asking me questions, and though I’m answering honestly, I find myself constantly hesitating. I’m analyzing. Is this appropriate? Am I projecting the right image? Is this what an adult woman in the church is supposed to be?

Then the topic turns to the Young Women broadcast we just watched.

“I’m sorry,” she says, “but I don’t like listening to the sisters of the church speak.”

I laugh, surprised by how forward she is.

“Why’s that?”

“I just feel like they’re being fake,” she says. “They’re so cheesy. Even when they’re talking about something sad, they’re smiling. Why do they do that?”

I don’t know. And that’s what I tell her. Maybe they smile because they’re ugly criers.

Dumb answer. But I don’t care. I feel relieved. I can abandon being overly self-critical. Fake smiles are not a requirement to quality church leadership.

I think back to myself at 17 — the same thing bothered me, too. I wondered if I had to fit a certain mold to be considered a faithful, strong woman. Now I realize how wrong that is.

There is no requirement that we be duplicates of each other. Individuality, even in righteous womanhood, is real and good. We demonstrate our divine attributes differently, but each is just as beautiful as the next.

How do you define being a faithful LDS women? When it comes to being a woman, how do you decipher the difference between godly expectations and cultural expectations? What do you think God expects from us as righteous, individual women?

Patriarchal Blessing

In a couple of weeks my youngest daughter will receive her patriarchal blessing. She’s only thirteen, but for six months now she has been pestering me and my husband about getting her blessing. At first I brushed her off, thinking she wouldn’t be able to understand the blessing’s significance at such a young age, and told her it would be best if she waited until she was a little older. But she persisted. To her credit, for the past several months she has researched patriarchal blessings on her own, read talks and articles, asked me and my husband questions, fasted, pondered, and prayed. Her desire for her blessing has never waned, nor has her insistence that she is ready. Continue reading