Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ask Mormon Girl: How should I teach tough aspects of Mormon history to my 14 year old Sunday School class?

Happy Monday, readers—and a quick programming note.  This Thursday, February 28, please join me at the Porch in Provo, Utah, for a fantastic night of storytelling on the theme “Good Girls Don’t.  . . “  Two shows, both benefitting the Feminist Mormon Housewives Tracy McKay Scholarship for Single Mothers.  It would be fantastic to see you there.

Now, to this week’s query:

I’m 27 and have been LDS all my life. I recently decided to educate myself on issues swept under the rug by the Church and I guess you could say I’m going through a faith transition. I’m currently in the process of learning about and reconciling our troubled history, but I still believe the gospel at its core is true. I teach Sunday School to a group of 14 and 15 year olds. They’re great kids with strong testimonies, but they regularly come to class regaling stories from the past week of what “crazy lies” their classmates confronted them with. Often these aren’t lies at all; they’re some of those troubling stories from early church history, or past doctrines. My students’ peers are researching the Church online, finding the most bizarre (but historically accurate) parts of our past and culture, and then reporting their findings. What can I say to my students when they bring them up in class? I personally think that these things should be discussed, but at what age? How much information should I give? So far all I’ve said is something about the gift of continuing revelation, and that no matter what wacky thing they’re approached with, if it hasn’t been taught recently, we don’t believe it.

I’m dreading the day one of my students asks, “Is it true that Joseph Smith married a girl my age?” No one ever told me the truth about these things, but then again I never asked because I had no idea. I don’t want to lie, but I don’t want to say too much, either.

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Ask Mormon Girl: Time to come out of the closet as a Mormon feminist. How do I tell my husband?

Over the last couple of years I feel I have been transforming. I am no longer the completely accepting Mormon woman, who accepts all the teachings of the church as truth, and just say, “I’ll understand it in the eternities. Don’t worry about that now.” I think I started to see something going on within myself when I lived in California during the Prop 8 stuff and was not in alignment with what seemed to be every other Mormon’s opinion. I started reading Feminist Mormon Housewives at first because it appalled me a little. But then I actually started to agree with some of the things that I was reading. Then I started reading Ask Mormon Girl and recently added Young Mormon Feminists. I had a realization that I actually AM a feminist.

My problem is  . . . How do I come out of the closet?

My husband is not completely traditional in his beliefs and opinions. Right now, he is a stay-at-home dad, and I am the bread winner. But overall, he is a fairly traditional Mormon man. I keep worrying that he will see the blogs I read and discover that part of who I am and it will be a major “thing” between us. Do I just come out and say it? Or do I give it to him gently? And if it is gently… how would I do that?

TR

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Ask Mormon Girl: I’m a high school senior. Should I go to BYU?

[This post has been updated.]

I am a high school senior seriously stressed out about college. I have serious issues with conformity and the lack of diversity at BYU, but I secretly feel like I wont be happy unless I go there, even if that means possibly turning down Harvard, Columbia, and full scholarships to USC and UVa. Can you tell me about your experience at BYU?

JL in Arkansas

My experience at BYU?

Just this week, JL, I was digging through an archive bin in my garage when I laid my hands on a prized letter from Rex Lee, who was the president of Brigham Young University during my years as a Cougar.  It was a letter I received after sending my diploma back after graduation.

That’s right.  I sent back my diploma.  Had to do with the firing of one of my favorite professors, Cecilia Konchar Farr, on some pretty shady grounds:  BYU said it was her scholarship, but we all knew it was her feminism that got Ceil in hot water.  And Ceil wasn’t the only BYU faculty member or student feeling the heat of retrenchment during the 1990s.

Those were some times. 

Here’s President Lee’s letter:

redact rex lee

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Ask Mormon Girl: I’m a 31 year old Mexican Mormon and . . . feminist. Help?

First, dear readers, I want to thank you for the outpouring of support for the gay elder I wrote about last week.  Your letters are winging their way to him in an unnamed region of the globe.  Thank you for your words of kindness, courage, and compassion.

This week’s letter comes from a woman in Mexico.  I’ve been seeing more than a few of these lately.  Young women, usually.  Places like  Brazil and Russia.  The story is often the same.  They were hungry, courageous, willing to be different, tuned into the bigger questions, and looking for answers.  They found the LDS Church.  They gave their lives to it.  And then, complications materialized. As they do for most of us.  Sooner or later.

Here’s the letter:

I have been LDS since I was 19. I’m a convert. Now, I’m 31, single and studying for a masters in population and development. My story began as many here in Mexico. I met in high school a nice friend, and she turned out to be mormon. I did have mormon family but they were inactive and never spoke about church. So, I met the missionaries and got baptized really fast. My mom did too, few days after.

I can’t deny that I was happy and comfortable in and with the church. I even entered the Temple. I didn’t serve a mission, not even really had a plan about doing that since I’m a daughter of a single mother. And yes, that influenced in myw hole life and of course at church. I get really sad about the fact that I cannot get sealed with her (since she never married my father).

I served as an YW president in my ward for really a lot of years. Then, I was called as 1st counselor of YW in the stake; that’s when I saw the big difference between women’s and men’s opinions at church. Always, at our meetings our leaders asked for solutions for the problems that we were facing, but when we offered our opinion and/or solutions we weren’t listened to at all. Always, the main objective was to keep young men safe, not really our women and girls.

For example, one of my church friend´s mom suffered a terrible attack by her boyfriend. She was at the hospital for about 3 weeks; she´s still alive by God´s mercy. When I talked with our leaders about that, one said: “Well, it´s natural, she was doing not so good things in her life.”

That’s when I asked for help outside church, so that´s how I met a group of feminists in my town. Since then, I understand so many things. I understand that violence isn´t only physical, and then I realize that there was spiritual violence too. The saddest part is that I found that we suffered of that kind of violence at the church, at Jesus’s church.

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