Category Archives: young women

I’m a 19 year old progressive Mormon woman, and I’m so frustrated at church. Help?

Dear AMG:

I am 19 years old, studying global health at [Ivy League college] and am struggling with my testimony.

As the fortunate progeny of faithful, intellectual Mormons, I was taught to never shy away from the big questions within Mormonism and within the world. The past few months have been a whirlwind of grappling with tough topics for me. Last summer, I worked in Ghana doing orphanage reform work and saw firsthand the plight of special needs children in Ghanaian orphanages. Seeing such deprivation and poverty forced me to realize the stark contrasts in the situations under with God places his children, and I struggled to refine my understanding of suffering and the Atonement. Then, I spent the past several months working with leading researchers to analyze a survey on the experiences of LGBT/SSA individuals in the Church. The narratives I read in this study were so heartbreakingly honest and the stories of shattered testimonies so poignant that they have made me increasingly critical of the church and its stance on homosexuality, among other issues.   Continue reading

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Filed under faith transition, young women

I’m a 16 year old Latina Mormon, and I’m fed up with my ward’s lame Young Women’s Program. Help!

Dear AMG:

I live in an area where there aren’t many Hispanic LDS members. I go to a Spanish branch and I’m the Young Womens class president. I really hate it. The leaders don’t listen to our suggestions and for Mutual we are always doing crafts and that’s it. We don’t go out or try to change things up a bit. I personally feel like if you are a leader it’s your responsibility to be keeping tabs on the girl’s goals and their progress and what they’re thinking and none of them do any of that. They just go on Sundays and have a last minute mutual. I’m getting sick of this because Young Women is what’s keeping these girls from doing drugs & going into gangs yet they’re being led away from it because there’s nothing happening. I’ve talked to the leaders and they get mad or they just shut off when I tell them and I’ve talked with the branch president and he doesn’t do anything about it. Please help me I don’t just want to give up on the girls but I’m sick and tired of everything.

MR

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Dear AMG: My marriage-obsessed BYU roommates are driving me nuts. Help?

Last October, I received a query from “HK” who was getting cold feet about her recent decision to attend BYU-Idaho.  “I’m afraid the push towards conformity will be too much to take,” HK wrote.   I encouraged HK to study her own mind and urged her to envision some alternatives for herself.  BYU-I might in fact be a good experience, I wrote, but no one should choose a college by default.

Well, few weeks ago, another letter from HK arrived in the AMG mailbox.  Here it is:

Dear AMG:

 I did end up going to BYU-Idaho, and my roommates talk about marriage ALL.THE.TIME. I hear the word marriage about 10 million times a day; on campus, and everywhere. I am taking a marriage class because I want to learn some of the good things that can increase the chance of having a good marriage, but I am not obssessed with the idea, nor do I want to be. I am trying SO HARD to live my life and progress without living in that mindset of needing a man. How can I ignore everyone around me thinking like that? It makes me feel very negative. I am starting to be constantly annoyed, and I can’t live like that. What can I do?

HK

Dear HK:

Last time you wrote, a loyal AMG reader sent in the following comment:

“HK, if you follow Ask Mormon Girl and you’re not even in college yet, I don’t think you’re going to love BYU-I. You are obviously really smart and this is a priceless opportunity to love, love, love college. If you’re willing to be a little different because you’re Mormon, I think it’s time to apply to Smith or Yale or UCLA. Keep us posted because we know you have a big bright future.”

And you know what?  She was 100% right.  I really should have been firmer with you, HK. I shouldn’t have kindly suggested that you consider other alternatives.  I should have written in ALL CAPS.  Because over the course of our epistolary relationship, HK, I’m learning that you’re an ALL CAPS kind of gal.  So here is my ALL CAPS message to you.

REXBURG, IDAHO IS NO PLACE FOR YOU.  DROP YOUR MARRIAGE CLASS.  PACK YOUR BAGS.  AND START LOOKING FOR A NEW SCHOOL.

(Exhale.  Sorry, readers: I know this is hard on the eyes, but I can’t get through to HK without it.)

YOU MUST STOP LETTING OTHER PEOPLE MAKE YOUR CHOICES FOR YOU AND THEN KVETCHING ABOUT THE OUTCOMES.

YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEM.

(Phew.  Okay.  Just a few lines more.)

YOU ARE DIFFERENT. OTHER PEOPLE’S ANSWERS ARE NOT GOING TO WORK FOR YOU. NEVER.  EVER. EVER.

ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND THIS ONE BEAUTIFUL LIFE OF YOURS EATING BAD PIZZA AND WATCHING RENTAL VIDEOS IN SNOWBOUND IDAHO APARTMENTS WITH LADIES WAITING ON PRINCE CHARMING?

OR ARE YOU GOING TO STOP WAITING AND BUST YOURSELF OUT OF REXBURG?

(Big finish here, readers.  Almost done.)

TO QUOTE A FAMOUS NUN (WHO OBVIOUSLY KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT LIVING WITHOUT THE MINDSET OF NEEDING A MAN) :  CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN.  FORD EVERY STREAM.  FOLLOW EVERY RAINBOW.  TIL. YOU. FIND. YOUR. DREAM.

OR DIE UNSATISFIED.

LOVE YOU.

LATHER, RINSE, REREAD.

PEACE OUT.

Send your query to askmormongirl@gmail.com.  Follow askmormongirl on Twitter.  Friend Joanna Brooks on Facebook.  Or do none of the above. 

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Filed under BYU, young women

I’m 14, and I’m scared and confused. Help?

Dear AMG:

I am a 14 year old girl and I need help with a few things. A year ago my dad told us about his two year affair (my mom is Mormon but my dad is not) and he left for a few months. I closed myself away from my family and friends. Our family hadn’t been going to church for a while. Then, I had some family members die. I got mad at my Heavenly Father for the deaths and my dad leaving. My self esteem is in the negatives and I have done self harm to myself. I have stopped that though. My dad came back and our family is working it out. But I still don’t feel good. I have broken rules from the book of Mormon and the bible and most likely every book. I had gotten a boyfriend that was not Mormon and he was a ‘bad boy’ I guess. I held off from him for a while with kissing but he was so strong about it I was scared he would leave. So I let him take my first kiss and he didn’t stop there. I know I should have kept a stronger faith and self worth but I didn’t. I’m worried that I have done things that are inexcusable and my Heavenly Father won’t take me back. I have amazing friends now. Both Mormon and not Mormon. But I need some guidance. My friend told me about you and I felt like you were the person to ask. So I’m sorry if this is a confusing letter but I am more confused and scared then I thought was possible.

Confused

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I have this nagging feeling that my marriage is all wrong. Help?

My concern sounds small, but it brings me a great deal of stress. I always pictured myself getting a full education, having a career, and getting married in my late twenties, sure to date a man for a long, long while before any permanent decisions were made.  I’m a very independent person so this idea suited me. But, as I attended BYU and had roommates getting married, the hype of everything got to me. I started dating a real wonderful guy, and got married when I was 20.

Don’t get me wrong–he’s wonderful. And our relationship is good. But sometimes I have this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I did the wrong thing. There’s this deep, dark, secret space that tells me I picked the wrong guy, got married too soon, or that the marriage is destined for failure in the future. I “hear” this voice so often that I sometimes feel regret about my decisions, and great apprehension about any permanent decisions for the future, whether it be buying a house, having babies or even something that’s not a huge deal, like buying a piano or new computer.

If I weren’t a Mormon, I could probably just hire a lawyer, talk with my husband and say “maybe we rushed into this….” and it could be over.  But because we got married in the temple, we made covenants and promises that make me feel SO guilty even considering the option of leaving a marriage that is practically problem free (at least with the big stuff like abuse or non-compatibility goes. We do have normal problems, like everyone else.) My “marriage prep” class filled my head with a million quotes about how any two righteous people can make a marriage work, that there’s no such thing as “Mr. Right” and that there can be no basis for divorce unless there are some real, real serious issues.

I hate that I feel this way but I don’t know how to get rid of this feeling! I certainly can’t talk to my husband about it, because I don’t want to cause him unnecessary stress, and I feel uncomfortable talking with anyone else about it because it’s so personal.

What in the world should I do?

Mrs. Wrong

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Filed under marriage, young women

I’m supposed to go to BYU-Idaho this January, but I’m getting cold feet. Help?

I am planning to go to BYU-Idaho in January, or was until I realized that not only will I be going to church every Sunday with perfect strangers but also going to devotional, taking religion classes, and going to family home evening EVERY WEEK.  It will be hard…but for me, maybe even impossible. I like the good social gathering just as much as the next gal, but I’m afraid the push toward conformity will be too much to take. I feel stupid for thinking of changing my plans now, since the whole decision to go to BYU-I has been one of much thought, and prayer. It’s taken time for me to get here; how can I make a decision to go somewhere else so fast?! I want to go to a college where I will fit in and feel at home, grow spiritually and socially, and excel academically. I don’t think I should have to worry about changing who I am. Please help me find a happy middle ground where I will feel I fit in by being just who I am, and don’t have to change a thing.

HK

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Filed under BYU, young women

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