Causing Trouble

In the May 2012 issue of magazine Experience L!fe, there is an article called “Have It Your Way- Defying convention can be incredibly satisfying. But it can also invite a whole lot of trouble.”

Interesting. He had me at the title. Read more »

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Cable TV Questions

I just got cable tv again. It has been over 6 years since we last had it. Where we live now if you don’t have cable, you only get three PBS channels and they don’t even come in regularly. Read more »

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You just never know……….

There’s a quote somewhere about people you dislike turning out to be good friends. I often think of that concept because it’s born out over and over in my life. I met a guy three years ago at a family event who I thought I would never like. He was rude to me, abrupt and dismissive. I thought “up yours, Buddy, your loss.”<!–more–>

Because of the family situation, I’ve run into him from time to time. He was more polite and friendly as time went by, but still kind of an obnoxious boor. Then he met a woman, fell in love and married her in the temple. About face. I was quite drawn to his new wife, finding her sweet and interesting. She is from another country and I noticed that in family gatherings, she was often isolated. No one spoke to her except a little three year old. Of course, I engaged her and with my limited grasp of her language and her limited grasp of mine, we were able to communicate.

Then a troublesome situation developed and I reached out to him with a concern about a loved one that he worked with; he was incredibly kind and sensitive. Recently, an even more troublesome family situation developed and I lost my dignity in ways that I’m too embarrassed to reveal here. I have been stunned and amazed to find this man once again kind, sensitive and forgiving.

Got me thinking. You know, David Landrith annoyed me no end when we first “met” in the bloggernacle with his insistence on using the word “chick” which resulted in fights on Times and Seasons. I thought “who is this troublemaker infant (anybody under 50 is now an infant to me).” Finally, I emailed him and urged him to give it up, make his point and let them have the word chick out of their vocabulary. The word itself didn’t offend me, I thought it was funny, but the fights over the word were distracting. Gradually, we became good friends and now I’d take a bullet for him.

I’ve had this happen over and over in my contentious life. I’ll bicker with somebody, form a bad first impression, and then they turn out to be my friend.

This might be a good sign that I’m nuts: I’m uncomfortable with people who like me right off. Because when they find out I’m a pretty ornery loony gut, they won’t like me anymore. I am seldom troubled when people don’t like me; it’s safer.

I’ve been blessed with many friends and allies, in many walks of life. And I am here to tell you that you just never know who’s going to be your friend. You never know who might step up in the most humane way when you’re in need.

Have any of you experienced this metamorphosis of quarreling into friendship?    Have you found yourself unexpectedly admiring someone you thought you didn’t like?   Or been the recipient of their kindness?

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The Best Ensign Article, Ever. Period.

I found Carlfred Broderick by accident. I loved his writing style and found his gospel insight inspiring. He wrote this article for the Ensign in 1978 and it knocked my socks off. I loved it so much I taught it to a Relief Society class and the women were stunned.
If you want the whole story behind this awesome article and how it came about, run to the “net and order a copy of his book “My Parents Married on a Dare”. He wrote a whole chapter about this piece, how it came about and the hassles he had with the Ensign staff to get it published. In the book it has an even more complete version of this article, with more emotional insight included. The Ensign editor took out the heartfelt parts to make it more “Ensign Worthy”. Whatev.
Brother Broderick considered this piece his most important life work. I agree. Read more »

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Marriage Fraud

How much of a duty do we have to inform our religious brothers and sisters about the mistakes of others before said mistakes have a major impact on their lives? Read more »

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How To Live Your Religion

By all outward measurements, I am not a super religious person. Religiosity requires discipline, something I have yet to master. The whole read your scriptures, pray morning and night and every meal (Really? Does that include snacks, too?) , attend the temple at least monthly, do VT/HT, attend all church meetings, do family history work, yada, yada, yada. It takes some serious attention to pull it all off. I do the best I can and fully expect the Atonement to give me a boost in my ratings on the other side. Read more »

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The Complexity of Women (or, how NOT to further the boredom of Mother’s Day)

Several weeks ago in our bishopric meeting, the topic of Mother’s Day came up and what we should have as topics for the Sacrament talks. A counsellor recommended the usual honoring our mothers and the great women of the church. They were approved in second with no discussion.

As someone who has a strong interest in women studies (I plan to include women studies when I start my graduate degree next year), this bothered me, and I stewed about it all night. It bothered me mostly because I don’t think the topic of women should be so quickly overlooked. Women are so complex, so it makes no sense to dedicate a meeting to the same two topics every year, especially when so many women had absentee mothers or had abusive mothers or who aren’t mothers themselves.

Never mind the fact that Mother’s Day should be celebrated by the children of a mother; I don’t believe it should be institutional.

Anyhow, I decided to submit alternative topics for that Sunday:

  • How Mary as a mother had an influence on Jesus
  • Women of the Old Testament as types of the Saviour
  • The influence women had in the 19th century church
  • How the gospel of Jesus Christ empowers women to be leaders in society
  • The female disciples of Christ
  • The role of prophetesses in the Bible
  • How believing in a Heavenly Mother makes us better people

I thought they were topics rarely discussed, so they could be a welcome change and allow us as a ward to explore different aspects of womanhood and/or motherhood.

Three days later, I received an email thanking me for my suggestions, but the talks were already assigned (over a month in advance mind you). I was heartbroken. I understand we live in a patriarchal church and it will be a long time, if at all, when women will be treated with complete equality, but I was hoping that in this one area, I could succeed.

Anyhow, two weeks before Mothers Day, I was asked to speak. I was excited. I’m not sure if someone cancelled, or something else happened, but I was glad I could speak.

I was told to speak on women or mothers, but it was pretty open-ended. Also, I had a limit of 5–10 minutes because of three musical numbers. That restricted some of the more in-depth topics, so I ended up settling on the female disciples of Christ, specifically the story of Martha and Mary, which you can read here.

I thought the way we usually treat the story was too superficial, doing a disservice to how much of a disciple each of these women were and how they stand as examples for us. I wanted to explore their relationship with Christ and some of the more complex qualities they possessed.

I love speaking, and I was glad I could touch on a topic that universal appeal, yet in its own way also furthered the equality of women in the church.

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Bishops I Have Known

I have had lots of Bishops in my life. Most of them have been your usual, garden-variety church leaders. I’ve always had white, middle-aged guys as my Bishop. I think having an African-American or some other minority as Bishop would be cool. That could take a while. Iowa isn’t known for its racial diversity. In the meantime, I want to tell you about the most interesting Bishops I’ve had. Read more »

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A Smile for your Mother’s Day (excerpts from my journal)

For women’s hearts, lilacs from my yard and a couple of cute stories I found in my journal the other day.

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When Your Staff Shatters

There is a fantastic scene in the final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy when the wizard Gandalf comes face-to-face with a Nazgul (the Witch King of Agnmar), who has been terrorizing the city of Gondor. He raises his staff to challenge the Nazgul. The Witch King throws off his cloak to expose his crown of fear and raises his sword of flame. With the barest of effort the Witch King shatters Gandalf’s staff.

Gandalf is taken aback, momentarily stunned. He has wielded his staff to thwart much evil and destruction, it is the repository of much power. But it fails him here. What will he do next? Will he just crumple up and die, as the Witch King says he is about to?

No, he doesn’t. Taking advantage of the arrival of the cavalry from Rohan, Gandalf gets up and continues to rally the citizens of Gondor to the defense of their city, exhorting them to hold strong in the defense of their city, even in the face of a terrifying and merciless assault.
Read more »

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Bullying in the Presidential Campaign

Perhaps you don’t remember me well enough in the bloggernaccle to recall that I am politically liberal. I am. Very. And I just want to be up front about that.

There have been a number of political stories this week that will last longer and almost all of them are more important, but the story that caught me this week was the one about Mitt Romney reportedly bullying a classmate in high school by cutting off his long hair. I know! So Amish! Read more »

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You Bet I’m Mom Enough! guest post by Daisygirl

My initial reaction (I was livid!):

Alright I’m gonna say it. I’m disgusted by the cover on Time Magazine. “Are you Mom enough?” That’s insulting to the rest of us who tried to breast feed and either couldn’t because mentally we couldn’t handle it or we just couldn’t make enough!

I tried my best and I wasn’t able to enjoy my son with the constant worrying about breast feeding, keeping my milk supply up, drinking enough water, what meds to take to make more milk, was he getting enough–am I doing it right?–and then finally coming to the depressing result of not being FIT enough or “Mom enough” to feed him. I was heartbroken. Read more »

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In Remembrance of Maurice Sendak…

From the archive, the first post ever at Mormon Mentality, an examination of the poetic structure of Where the Wild Things Are!

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Cute (True) Story


Last week, I’d gone to the Social Security Administration offices to get some information on my father. Surprisinggly, I was the only person there for awhile. Then, as I was waiting for Bill to come pick me up (we were in St. George with only one car), a teenage girl came in with her mother, followed by an older couple. Read more »

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Moneytizing The Gospel

I have a dear friend who is a student of the gospel. She regularly logs onto BYU.edu and LDS.org and reads talks recorded on those sites, finding the gems that she then recommends to her slacker friends like me. I appreciate her ongoing efforts to lift me and others to a higher plane of thinking.

Sometimes I don’t take her good recommendations as quickly as would be prudent. It isn’t that I don’t believe her opinions, she has never steered me wrong. It is just that I get busy with other meaningless projects that fill my time. Read more »

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Mother’s Day

Years ago I was asked half-heartedly by my Bishop if I would give a Sacrament Meeting talk on Mother’s Day. I immediately responded without hesitation, “Heck no! I wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole!” He mumbled something about how difficult it was to find someone willing to speak on the subject of Motherhood for Mother’s Day. I was reminded again how grateful I am to never have to be a Bishop. What a miserable job. Almost as bad as being a Mother. Read more »

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The Mother Duck – A Tale for Mother’s Day???

Recently we went to a Castle in Wales (another story) and in the moat was a family of ducks – a mother and 11 babies that were clearly newly hatched. We watched while they swam over to this grate, where the water drained into a culvert that ran under the road into who knows where. We were horrified as one by one the ducklings got sucked down the grate. The mother did not seem particularly bothered by it and started to swim away. Only four babies followed her. I ran down to peek in the culvert and could see several of the babies were alive and trying to keep from being washed away. Unfortunately, they were 6-8 feet down and I could not reach them, nor could we move the grate as it was welded on. So we had to walk away knowing those baby ducks would die. What was even more disturbing was the mother duck. She swam over to the side and started eating with the four babies. It has bothered me ever since. I think what is even more disturbing is that I have read stories of humans who are not much different. However, on a happy note, most human parents do not act like this so enjoy those Mother’s on Mother’s Day and always remember to help out those baby ducklings you encounter in life.

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