Dumb Questions

What is the stupidest thing you ever asked your bishop?

Mine has to be the time I asked my bishop/ BYU professor if UFO’s were real. He sighed and said, “Of course not. Is there anything else you want to discuss?”

Thank Heavens This is Behind Us

I just read an article in the online Salt Lake Trib. from one of my favorite columnists, Kirby. He wrote about the crazy doctrine that seminary teachers taught when he was in high school during the early 1970′s. Read more »

First Temple Memories

Rex and Heather after Sealing

What I remember about our family sealing trip to the Oakland, CA temple was that my new adoptive mother, Virginia was super crabby in the car. Read more »

We Lost a Good One


Less than an hour after the announcement of comic Robin Williams passing I read my first post on Facebook from a religious person who was worried about his soul.

Did Robin know Jesus? If not, his eternal life is in jeopardy.


Next came a member of our church saying that Robin took the cowards way out since he is presumed to have taken his own life. That comment just makes my blood boil.

I hate those statements. They don’t bring peace or comfort to a grieving family. They can be a knife to the heart of loved ones who had tried valiantly to help their family member or didn’t even know the depth of their suffering.

I was talking in church about a funeral I attended and how difficult it was since no one in the family had a belief in God or in eternal life. I was sad for their pain. After I finished speaking the enthusiastic Ward Missionary Leader bounded up to me and handed me a new copy of the church VHS tape “Families Are Forever.” He told me I should have showed that to the people at the funeral.

I stood in stunned silence, uncomprehending his statement. Really? I should have what – asked for a VCR and tv and taken them to the front of the funeral home chapel and played the tape for all the mourners instead of the program the family planned? Forcing my religious views on others who darned well knew I was Mormon and chose not to learn more about it, would have been appropriate at that time?

No. It is not appropriate to hand out church pass-a-long cards at a funeral. Or Book of Mormons. Or VHS tapes expounding our views on eternal life. There is a time and place for everything and during the days before/during/immediately after a loved ones passing is not the time for uninvited evangelizing.

In fact, there is never a time for UNINVITED evangelizing. Sometimes the best, most appreciated thing to do is offer a hug, a sincere condolence for their loss and to shut up and sit down.

Especially as members of our church, we are the last group of people who should worry about someone’s standing with Heavenly Father and Jesus. We are the ones who believe in Baptism for the Dead, remember? Everyone who wants to be baptized, will get that opportunity.

As for the second FB comment, JUDGE NOT, you stupid person. I can only hope that idiot gets smacked upside his head by life before I die. I want the pleasure of seeing him repent of his pride and arrogance.

Not that it really matters, I already added him to my list of people I plan on haunting from the other side when it is my time to go. That and I plan on buying a ticket to see Robin Williams perform at the Eternal Comedy Club. I’m sure every show is a sell out.

Dark Night of the Soul

I am at the age/demographic/end of my rope enough that I consented to a medical evaluation that no one should have to endure.
I did an overnight sleep study. Read more »

The Best Lesson From the Old Testament

There is so much about the Old Testament that I dislike, what with all the raping, murdering, and incest by supposedly righteous people, that I have a hard time sitting still during Sunday School lessons about it. To combat my internal conflicts about the OT, I am always on the search for anything positive about the Old Testament.

My mind was wandering during church (I know! *G*A*S*P* in horror at the thought!) and I remembered the most beautiful story/post about the OT and decided I simply must share it with you.

Courtesy of my all-time favorite, now defunct blog, The Apron Stage. Feel free to read more from the site here: http://apronstage.wordpress.com

The Tree and the Water

December 14, 2009 in Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas


It is definitely Christmas. I am drinking apple cider. I am eating more cookies, brownies, and chocolate (both hot and solid). I have been to see Christmas lights at the temple and Christmas lights at the zoo. Both my office and my living room have Christmas trees. And when Christmas songs come up on rotation in my iTunes shuffle, I don’t trigger finger next them. I listen all the way through, singing softly in my office. In Dulci Jubilo . . . Oh that we were there! Oh that we were there!

But recently when I have wanted to feel the Christmas spirit during my moments of scripture study and reverie, I have felt drawn not to Luke 2 but to Exodus, and a moment involving the children of Israel, water, and, of course, a miracle.

Exodus 15: 22-26.

22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

23 ¶ And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

With Egypt and the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s men tumbling behind them, the children of Israel faced their future, and it was a desert. They were discouraged. But God in His mercy brought them to water, for which they were grateful, I am sure. Except—when they went to drink, they couldn’t. It was bitter.

So they cried, as I would have cried: “What shall we drink?”

Moses prayed, and God showed him what to do. Take this tree, He said. And cast it in the waters, and the tree will make the waters sweet.

Moses obeyed. Presumably, the Israelites drank and weren’t thirsty and were grateful. The Lord then promised them that if they’d “diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes,” He would not curse them the way He had cursed the Egyptians. In fact, He would heal them.

When the Israelites had heard this covenant (and, we guess, at least preliminarily agreed), God brought them from the waters of Marah to Elim

27 ¶ . . . where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

This Christmas, I am thirsty for the waters of Christ. And I have been praying that God will build in my heart a wellspring, filled with “water springing up into everlasting life,” so I may drink and never thirst. (John 4:14)

I like that the children of Israel’s first experience with being thirsty in the wilderness ended with a story about a tree, and a promise that God could heal the things that were bitter.

The tree will make the waters sweet. “For I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

A Christmas tree, a mug of wassail, a song of peace and joy: these tell the story God tries to tell us over and over and over again, the very story He acted out with the children of Israel when they were strangers in a desert.

A thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Amen, Sarah. Amen. This is hands down, my favorite story from the Old Testament.

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Transgender Mormons

In 2013 a short 15 minute filmed titled ‘TransMormon‘ was released for public viewing. The film is a recounting of the days leading up to a male to female sexual reassignment surgery and ends with a couple of sentences stating she is working with her leaders regarding her membership. Read more »

Suffer the Children

You gotta love my current home state, Iowa. We have a governor who has been ruling our kingdom on and off since 1983. He is currently working on securing on his 6th term in office. Let’s just say the man is comfortable on his throne. Read more »

Lessons From A Sunburn

Reprinted from the Ezra and Hadassah book site http://ezraandhadassah.blogspot.com/


My brother Rex had more than his share of life’s troubles. He could only read and write on a 3rd grade level and lived his life as an eternal 9 year-old boy. That meant he was thrilled beyond belief when I told him the greatest news ever. Read more »

I’d Rather Be A Divorced Mormon

I have a client who is contemplating divorce. Well, not really. She would love to leave her dysfunctional, abusive marriage but her church says that marriage is “til death do you part.” Read more »

I Have the Attention Span of a Gnat

Sorry guys, but I need a break from the intensity of the past couple of weeks. My body and mind can’t live in a wash of stress day after day. Because I might not be the only one needing a new thought, I offer this as a humble distraction:

Kissing. Read more »

The Case Against 8

Thanks to HBO offering a free week of viewing I was able to watch part of “The Case Against 8” this morning.**

“The Case Against 8″ is a narrowly defined film discussing only the legal side of the Plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 lawsuit that eventually landed in the Supreme Court. Read more »

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Out of the Best Books

This has been a draining time for me. I hate conflict, whether in my home, my church or my country. I hate election seasons because the months (years!) of mud-slinging campaigning just wears me down. I hate mean-spirited people at church because, well, it’s obvious. Rejoicing in other’s pain just doesn’t feel good to me. Read more »

Imprisoned Trust

It is done.

I’ve kept my emotions, thoughts and feelings close to my chest on this one. I haven’t expressed much but silently supported her. In my own way I’ve prayed. I almost lit a candle last night. I was hoping this time would be different. I hoped the hearts of the MEN would be softened, and I silently wished a woman could be in on the decision making. I think I’ve eaten everything in my cupboards  Read more »

Mormon “News”-room and Deseret “News” – Just Merge Already

Journalism teachers everywhere, rejoice! Utah’s own Deseret “News” continues to provide you with the gold standard for real-world examples of manipulative reporting. Here is the latest specimen, courtesy of Whitney Evans:
Read more »

Kate Kelly’s Defense

Kate Kelly has posted her defense against charges of apostasy here.

In addition to her own letter to her bishop, she also posts a cogent and well written brief written by a friend. It outlines in detail why the charges against her are baseless and why the disciplinary process to which she is being subjected is flawed. I consider both of these required reading for anyone who wishes to discuss this matter intelligently.

Her disciplinary council will take place tomorrow, where she’ll be tried in absentia for apostasy by three men.

The Boundaries of Conversation

I don’t particularly care for Ordain Women. I say that not to disparage the organization or Kate Kelly, its founder, but to provide some context for what I am about to present, and I admit I come to this topic prejudiced.
Read more »

The Argument against Labeling Kate Kelly an Apostate

From recent news, I believe there is reason for hope that John Dehlin’s pending disciplinary council will not bear the fruits that we had at first feared. The case must still be made for Kate Kelly, who (unless things change) will be tried in absentia this Sunday, June 22, 2014 at the Oakton Stake Center in Northern Virginia on charges of apostasy.

The question of whether Kate Kelly has committed apostasy is clear cut. The notion of apostasy is not a slippery one. Merriam-Webster defines apostasy as “the renunciation of a religious faith” and “an abandonment of what one has voluntarily professed : a total desertion or departure (as from one’s principles or party)” (“Apostasy.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged.) The LDS church’s website, lds.org, defines apostasy as “When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel…”

Read more »

This is News to Me, How About You?

I’ve never heard of this before. Or if I did, I forgot. What do you know about the Strengthen Church Members Committee?

After reading this news article, I am a bit worried.




Room for All in this Church

Following is a joint statement from Mormon bloggers, podcasters, and online publishers (including me) in support of clemency, mercy, and openness:

We face a difficult and pivotal moment in Mormonism as LDS leaders and church members wrestle more openly with complicated aspects of our faith, its doctrine, and its history—often in spaces afforded by the Internet. In light of possible disciplinary action against prominent voices among us, we the undersigned Mormon bloggers and podcasters affirm the value of the conversations that take place in the LDS “Bloggernacle” and express our hopes for greater understanding and compassion from all of us involved in current tensions.

May we all remember, as scripture teaches, the intricate intertwining of mercy and justice. May we all follow the admonition to seek understanding before judgment, even as we address matters that can be difficult to talk about.

Scripture and tradition teach us that excommunication is one way of maintaining the boundaries of a religious community. But we believe that excommunication is not the best way to address conflict over doctrine, policy, or tradition. We ask our leaders to consider other ways of maintaining boundaries, strengthening Church members, and encouraging them to grow spiritually within Mormonism’s large and embracing community without the fear and despair the threat of excommunication sows not only in those threatened but in their families, friends, and those who share similar concerns about LDS Church doctrine or history—even those who do so silently. We are deeply encouraged by the recent news about the prospect of de-escalation in at least one of the current cases and pray for positive steps towards reconciliation.

The issues in Mormon doctrine, history, and practice highlighted by those facing church discipline are much larger than any one individual. It is not only unavoidable that these issues will continue to be discussed; such discussion is good for the health of our religious community and faithful to the truth-seeking spirit of the Latter-day Saint Restoration. As bloggers, podcasters, and passionate contributors to good, healthy online discussion, we affirm our commitment to continue speaking openly and publicly, and encouraging others to do so as well. We will continue to use online spaces to grow in knowledge and faith, to attempt to present and see many sides of each issue, and to reach out to those expressing pain, heartache, and loneliness. It is our experience that these conversations can bear good fruit as Latter-day Saints mourn with those who mourn and reflect on, deepen, and renew their faith.

We are grateful for our membership in this Church and for the unique opportunities the Internet has provided us to share our Mormon experiences, questions, and hopes. We pray that a spirit of clemency will guide the words and actions of everyone—especially those who bear the heavy responsibility of ecclesiastical discipline of Church members—and that the words of President Uchtdorf will hold sway: “Regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.”


Dan Wotherspoon, Mormon Matters podcast
Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood blog (Religion News Service)
Natasha Helfer Parker, The Mormon Therapist blog
Paul Barker, Rational Faiths blog and podcast
Michael Barker, Rational Faiths blog and podcast
Mark Crego, A Thoughtful Faith Support Group (Facebook)
Lisa Butterworth, Feminist Mormon Housewives
Joanna Brooks, Feminist Mormon Housewives
Gina Colvin, KiwiMormon blog
Lindsay Park, Feminist Mormon Housewives
Jared Anderson, Mormon Sunday School podcast
Daniel Parkinson, No More Strangers blog
Bill McGee, Sunstone
Mary Ellen Robertson, Sunstone
Stephen Carter, Sunstone
Michael Stevens, Sunstone
Chelsea Shields Strayer, LDS WAVE
Tresa Edmunds, LDS WAVE
Chelsea Robarge Fife, Mormon Feminist Cooperative
Kalani Tonga Tukaufu, Feminist Mormon Housewives
David Landrith, Mormon Mentality
Arlene Ball, Mormon Mentality
Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, Mormon Matters podcast
Jerilyn Hassell Pool, Rational Faiths blog
Spencer Lake, Clean Cut blog
Brittany Morin-Mezzadri, TheLadyMo blog
Katie Langston, Feminist Mormon Housewives blog
Hannah Wheelwright, Young Mormon Feminists blog
Erin Moore, Young Mormon Feminists blog
Kimberly Lewis, Feminist Mormon Housewives
Nikki Hunter, Feminist Mormon Housewives
Nancy Ross, Nickel on the ‘Nacle blog
Mark Brown, The Mormon Hub (Facebook)
Alicia Jones, LDS Left (Facebook)
Elise Villescaz, LDS Left (Facebook)
Emily Summerhays, Feminist Mormon Housewives
Mindy Farmer, The Inquisitive Mom blog
Jeff Krey, A Thoughtful Faith Support Group (Facebook)
Lori Burkman, Rational Faiths blog
Laura Compton, Mormons for Marriage
Alison Moore Smith, Mormon Momma blog
Heather Olsen Beal, Doves and Serpents blog
Brent Beal, Doves and Serpents blog
Ed Snow, Doves and Serpents blog
Erin Hill, Doves and Serpents blog
Meghan Raynes, Exponent blog
Aimee Hickman, Exponent blog
Rachel Hunt, Exponent blog
Liz Johnson, Exponent blog
Libby Potter Boss, Exponent blog
Heather Moore-Farley, Exponent blog
April Young Bennett, Exponent blog
Deborah Farmer Kris, Exponent blog
Jessica Oberan Steed, Exponent blog
Carolyn Kline, Exponent blog
April Carlson, Exponent blog
Sariah Anne Kell, Exponent blog
Chelsea Sue, Exponent blog
Emily Clyde Curtis, Exponent blog
Emily Updegraff, Exponent blog
Dayna Patterson, Doves and Serpents blog
Cheryl Bruno, Worlds Without End blog
Katie Evans, Zelophehad’s Daughters blog
Mike Cannon, Zelophehad’s Daughters blog
Kristy Benton, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Lori LeVar Pierce, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Rebecca Reid Linford, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Paula Goodfellow, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Cheryl McGuire, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Kay Gaisford, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Lorlalie Pallotta, All Are Alike Unto God blog
Wendy Reynolds, All Are Alike Unto God blog

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