Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ask Mormon Girl: How do you deal with the real history on Joseph Smith?

Thanks, everyone, for all of your kindness after the death of my dad.  It was a rough first week and a half for me, but the family is doing okay now, and I feel a great sense of affection and gratitude towards so many friends and readers who reached out.  Thank you.

Last week, I travelled to New York City where I did some talking, including a stint as a guest on the Brian Lehrer morning show at the big public radio station WNYC, where I talked about Mormonism, Mitt, the upcoming August 7 release of the new and expanded Book of Mormon Girl with the Free Press / Simon & Schuster and other usual subjects.  Not twenty minutes after I walked out of the radio station, that email arrived in my inbox.

“You sound like a delightful person,” began the message from a listener in NYC . . .  “BUT DON’T YOU KNOW JOSEPH SMITH WAS A PEDOPHILE AND A CON MAN.”

All caps.  No joke.

Yes, that email.  I get that email all the time.

It usually comes from non-Mormons who take some kind of perverse pleasure in imagining they’ve rocked my Mormon girl world by taking a shot at the prophet Joseph.  Like Mr. All Caps in NYC.  Or another fellow named “James,” who wrote me last week:

I’ve read at Mormon websites that Joseph Smith translated the Golden Plates by putting a rock in a hat and puting (sic) it over his face.  A rock in a hat?  I believe miracles can happen, but a rock in a hat?  What’s with that? Tell me, Mormon girl, how did that work?  It also said that he was paid to do this for people and they took him to court when it didn’t work. Of course, it wouldn’t work, it’s a rock in a hat. Did the prophet do that?  If so, why?  Continue reading



Filed under joseph smith

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, or follow @askmormongirl on Twitter.


Filed under parenting