Category Archives: parenting

Mormon Girl Asks: Do you have a plan?

Readers, sorry for the interruption in your regularly scheduled AMG programming.

My father died at the end of June, and we buried him yesterday.

Although his death came at the end of a long illness, I find myself heartbroken and bereft of ready insight.

I do have three questions, though, that I’d love to hear you all reflect on.

Do you have concrete goals for your life and a plan of how to achieve them?

As one of my sisters was eulogizing Dad, she made an important observation:  that he was a man who planned his life.  Many of the good things that came to him did not arrive by accident.  He carefully planned his goals, checked and rechecked his progress, adjusted plans, and realized many of them.

I too am a planner by nature, but his death makes me want to live life with more care and forethought.

Dad was a terrific mentor of young men. The LDS Church gave him tremendous opportunities to mentor, and he touched many lives in that way.  I know he taught—harangued, hectored–many young Mormon men to sit down and map out their goals and plan how to achieve them.

I get the sense that a lot of young women aren’t being taught to sit down and map out a life plan, including financial, education, and spiritual goals and a plan for achieving them.  I see it too in full-grown and older women.  I know that life often does not go according to plan, and that much depends upon privilege—economic, gender, racial—for reaching desired life outcomes.  Still, I’m wondering if anyone is sitting down with young women these days and saying, “Who you are is up to you.  What plans are you making to make your life happen?”

Did anyone teach you to plan?  Are you teaching your kids to plan?

Taking this to a larger scale, I’ve also been reflecting on the state of Mormon feminism.  As a movement, we are stronger than ever, but I think somewhere in the swirl of Facebook posts we lose sight of the need to own this movement and its agenda.  That will take planning.  And execution.  So here’s a third question, for those of you invested in Mormon feminism—as I know many AMG readers are:

If you could set goals for Mormon feminism and a plan for how to achieve them, what would they be?

Three questions, readers.  I’m listening.  With a broken heart.

Send your queries to askmormongirl@gmail.com, or follow @askmormongirl on Twitter.

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My 12 year old daughter says she is attracted to girls. What is a Mormon mom to do?

I have a daughter who is 12 going on 20, and is the most amazing, brilliant, and wonderful girl. She recently told me that she is quite certain that she is attracted to girls and always has been. I was shocked mostly because I didn’t think she was old enough to really be attracted to anyone! Well, not really, but she is still so young I was very surprised that she was so definite.

I am worried for her though. My family on both sides comes from serious pioneer stock. Our family’s sense of identity is deeply rooted in the church. I have somewhat parted ways with the strict orthodoxy that nearly all of my family still lives by. I am so happy that my daughter knew that she could trust me enough to tell me something so personal and difficult. But I don’t know what this means for her. She is finding Young Women’s more and more difficult. Lessons about the temple are particularly painful, and my heart aches as I watch her cry. 

What should I do?

SKE

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Filed under family, lgbt, parenting

Ask Mormon Girl: I’m no longer an orthodox believer. How do I tell my parents?

Dear Ask Mormon Girl,

I don’t know how to tell my family that after years of doubting, praying, reading, pondering, and finding support and justification from Sunstone and Mormon feminist havens like fMh and Exponent, I no longer believe. My heart was in a constant state of breaking while I was trying to be Mormon. And that’s to say nothing of the cognitive incongruities that also spurned my agnosticism.

I’m a junior in college right now (going to BYU worked wonders with my fledgling deconversion), and my ideological distance from my parents is beginning to affect me even more than the geographical. I claim to have left for moral reasons, yet I’m basically lying to them. Lying is painful. But telling the truth will be even more painful. I’d hate for them to wonder what they did wrong when in reality I’m the way I am because of what they did right, like encouraged open-mindedness and sensitivity.

I know there’s not a way I can break this to them easily, but I desperately need suggestions of how to do it in the least painful way possible. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Honest
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Filed under faith transition, family, parenting

How do you raise strong, feminist daughters in the Church?

Dear AMG:

What’s your experience raising daughters and with the Mormon Church? How do you do it? I have a 13 month old daughter. I am struggling with what I will teach her and model for her. Where do you draw the line? How do you say listen to this, not that (when talking about talks given by people in the church)? I am a convert, so I don’t know what is being taught in young womens. I guess I’m just generally not sure how I will convey to her the good things about the Church, but still teach her important things like what feminism promotes.

KB

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I’m 15. And my Young Women’s leaders are freaking me out. Help?

I am a fifteen year old girl and am having some troubles with the Mormon culture and NOT the faith. Lately I cannot stand going to young women’s or sunday school because it feels like they press upon you what to do and how to feel. All they are constantly telling me is that I have to get married (in the temple) and have children and I feel really frustrated by having to mould into the ‘perfect’ Mormon type. A bunch of my friends aren’t LDS (I live in a big town with few Mormons) and it seems like they are free to do with their lives as they please. I’m not saying that I want to drink, do drugs, or have a boyfriend before I’m sixteen because I wouldn’t do that even if I wasn’t LDS. It just seems like they aren’t as pressured as I am.

My best friend who is an inactive Mormon (her mom is LDS but her dad isn’t) is really fun to be around and lives life care free. Occasionally she’ll swear or have a boyfriend but I don’t feel that what she is doing is necessarily that bad. Sure, I would never do what she does but unlike my other two Mormon friends, I don’t see the harm in what she’s doing. She believes in the gospel and says prayers regularly by herself and with her family. It isn’t that important for her to marry into the Mormon faith or get married into the temple though.

I know that I’m only fifteen but I’m already worried that I won’t find the ‘perfect’ Mormon man to marry who will respect me and the way I view the Mormon culture and live it. Occasionally I will wear ‘short-shorts’ or wear a tank top, and I feel that if I ever told another Mormon guy or girl (besides my best friend who does it also) about the way I live, that they would think of me as not strong in faith (which I am) or truly LDS.  My parents don’t have a problem if I wear shorts or tank tops in the summer (not during school) and love me the way I am. I would never lie to them and they are two of my greatest friends.

I fear that there isn’t another Mormon person who would respect my decisions and how I am. I would love to marry someone who is like my father (a convert) in ways that he is strong in faith but has an opinion that some of the religious rules can be flexible (mostly the dress code). I would NEVER wear revealing clothing to an event and when I wear the shorts and t-shirts, I do it to cool off in the hot heat (and usually in the concealment of my backyard). We also go to church every Sunday dressed appropriately.

I plan to go to Brigham Young University to become a lawyer – yet I am afraid that parts of my lifestyle will be prosecuted and I will be treated differently by the more rule abiding Mormons and I won’t find a ‘perfect’ man to spend eternity with. Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns. I deeply appreciate it.

Sincerely,

KDP

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Filed under Mormon Youth, parenting, young women

My daughter and I have different religious needs; how can I do right by us both?

I realize that I should probably be sending this dilemma to “Ask a Methodist Girl” or “Ask a Protestant Girl”, but please do the best you can with me, under the circumstances.

I grew up in the Methodist church, and have taken a few spiritual detours along the way, but have always been steadfast in my belief in God. I have always been curious about the LDS church, and have attended church services, a baptism and more recently have met with the missionaries.  I also attend a United Methodist Church, one whose membership includes many people that knew me as a child.  There is comfort there.  I am a single mother of two daughters, and attend church with my 12-year-old (my 20-year-old daughter is on a spiritual quest of her own…).  We have attended both churches together, and while my daughter liked the LDS service (she thought Primary was great!), she has expressed that she feels more comfortable attending church where she knows people, and where people know her…I can understand that, so we are trying to become more active in our UM church.

My problem, if it is a problem, is this:  I think about the LDS church all the time.  I’d love to say I felt the spirit in the sacrament service, but I really felt it during Sunday School and especially during Relief Society. I miss that!  The women in that ward are wonderful, and while I thought I would feel a little out of place (since unlike most members of the ward, I am not married or caucasian), I really did not.

So I have this dilemma.  On the one hand, I want to foster my daughter’s spiritual growth, and I think the best way to do this is by going to a church where she feels at home.  On the other hand, I wish to grow spiritually as well, but without excluding (or confusing) my daughter.  I do not wish to convert at this time, but is there a middle place?

Anne

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We’re struggling to give our kids the best of Mormonism: Help?

Readers, from the traffic in my inbox this week and other regions of the bloggernacle, the universe seems to be signalling that it’s time to talk about parenthood:

Dear Ask Mormon Girl:

 

My wife and I are smack dab in the middle of a crisis of faith.  We are struggling to give our kids the best of Mormonism.  But we do not want our kids being taught things that we feel are untrue or things that we feel will restrict them in their journey to discover themselves and their true potential. And I have nightmares of my daughter going away to BYU marrying a “I’m the head of the household” priesthood holder and before you know it her husband will not allow our grandchildren to see us because we are a bad influence. Did I mention my daughter is only 7?  Yeah, maybe we need to relax a little. I am curious if you share similar concerns?  Deep down do you really think it is possible to raise your children in the church on your terms and if so how?

 

Thanks,

 

Vegas New Order Mormons


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