Sigh… Will This EVER Stop? Girls Camp part two

As a break from a week of emotionality about possible excommunications of high-visibility people, I have a true story that should set your hair on fire.

I just heard how things went at my old stake’s girls camp. I am talking about girls camp last week, in the year 2014.

The girl’s camp theme for the week was “Happily Ever After” complete with t-shirts sporting a Disney type crown. The highlight for girls camp was a program given by stake leaders saying that their goals for life should be on finding a returned missionary, getting married in the temple and viola! Happily Ever After, the t-shirt comes true.

Gag me. That is the message I was given 35 years ago when I was a young woman in church. Did these camp leaders completely miss 2001? That was the year President Hinckley gave the game-changing talk

What about telling the girls the truth – There is NO happily ever after? They may not get married. They may get married and regret it every day of their life. They may be happily married and their spouse still has affairs. They may deal with sickness, death and widowhood. Their spouse might develop a mental illness. They might have a car accident that leaves them in a wheelchair. The list of realities goes on and on. The one thing that is guaranteed to not happen is Happily Ever After.

The icing on a week of saccharine-sweet lies, was how all the girls were shamed by an insane dress code.

Before camp, the stake girls camp leaders decided they wanted to emphasis  a dress code. Shorts needed to be to the knee or longer. Fine.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t communicated until after the girls arrived at camp.

The stake leaders went around to all the girls and if their shorts were above their knee, their legs were marked with black Sharpie marker. Then they were presented with a pair sweatpants decorated with beads, bows and writing all over them saying ‘Sweat Pants of Shame’ that they were forced to wear.

Did no one in leadership stop and think about this for one half of a second? Obviously not.

Non-member girls go to camp. Less active girls go to camp.  Girls who out-grow clothes overnight go to camp. Girls who have eating disorders, are freaked out about their appearance, and worry obsessively about being ridiculed, go to camp. Girls like me, who took all the clothes I owned to camp because I only had 3 pairs of shorts, go to camp.

Are we surprised to hear that several of the girls who were marked with Sharpies and forced to wear outlandish Sweat Pants of Shame, vowed they would Never. Go. To. Girls Camp. Ever. Again? You shouldn’t be surprised. That is what happens when you use humiliation as a teaching tool.

I don’t care what a girl is wearing at Girls Camp. It is NEVER ok to use shame with a child of God. Even if a girl shows up dressed as a waitress at Hooters, shame is 100% not ok. Actually, that is the moment a girl needs kind leaders to wrap her in their love, help her get camp appropriate clothes that fit her, and make her feel glad she went to camp.

To say my heart is broken puts it mildly. Like all of you, I am already raw with pain for my sisters and brothers in the gospel who are facing serious challenges in the church. To be told of the mean-spirited behavior that was inflicted upon the sweet girls who just wanted to go to camp and have fun, is pouring salt in my open heart wounds.

I have a message for every parent and adult leader who has dealings with our wonderful youth in the church:

Stop it.
Stop shaming our kids into what you think is appropriate clothes, appropriate behavior, appropriate whatever. If you can’t lead with love and kindness, get the H-E-double hockey sticks away from the children. You don’t deserve to be in a position of authority in Christ’s church.

And quit lying to them. Quit telling girls the only way to happiness is through finding a man. Quit telling them that only returned missionaries are worthy of their time. Quit telling them that once they have a temple marriage, they have arrived at Happily Ever After.

Instead, tell them the truth. The only way to Happily Ever After is through having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything and everyone else will let you down, just like these girls camp leaders did last week.

Boy, did they.


Two, Four, Six, Eight, Do Not Excommunicate: An Open Letter to Mark M. Harrison, Scott M. Wheatley, and Bryan C. King

Dear Bishop Harrison, President Wheatley, and President King:

In the next few weeks you might all find yourselves presiding at disciplinary councils for either Kate Kelly or John Dehlin. Here is my advice to you:

You must not excommunicate them. You do not want to be George Wallace.
Read more »

Who Are We and Why Are We Here

The news broke today, thanks to massive publicity from The New York Times, The Huffington Post, ABC News, The Deseret News, The Daily Mail in the UK, The San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, and dozens of other news outlets, that Kate Kelly, the leader of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin are being summoned to appear before LDS church disciplinary councils for apostasy.

Let’s not mince words about how this is sad or unwise or disappointing. Let’s be perfectly clear: This is not OK. What’s more, it’s OK to say so. It’s more than OK. Mormons cannot allow this to go unanswered, because it speaks to who we are as a people. In a world that confronts us daily with palpable evils, disciplining members for making the leadership uncomfortable is the small behavior of a puny people. Is that who we are? I hope not.

LDS leaders discipline people who make them uncomfortable because they value being comfortable more than they fear the backlash from disciplining them. In other words, church leaders discipline difficult Mormons because they believe that other Mormons will tolerate it. But will we tolerate it this time? Again, I hope not, but perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps I don’t belong in Mormonism. Perhaps most of the membership does find John and Kate to be objectionable and would find me equally objectionable if I were as well-known. If I were to surmise that this is the case, I’d simply resign. Not out of protest, but because I would not worship in that man’s company who fears his fellowship to worship with me.

Several years ago a Dehlin family friend was in Boston for their baby’s heart surgery. They were alone in a strange city, full of anxiety for their child, and scared for his life — perhaps scared beyond anything they’d ever known. John wanted to reach out and offer comfort from where he lived in Logan, Utah. Since he couldn’t be in Boston personally, he reached into his vast network of Mormon friends, and he did the next best thing. He sent me. I went to the hospital with a care package and a message of love from John.

The Epistle of James calls this pure religion.

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Banned Girls Camp Songs

It’s the beginning of the annual season of Mormon girls camp. I enjoyed camp as a girl and I didn’t mind it too much as an adult leader when I got enough sleep. Read more »

Church Diversity

happy people

The hubby and I have lived a lot of places during our marriage. Before that, we were both raised in nomadic, wandering families who chased jobs, endlessly trying to pull themselves into middle class life. Some years were up, and some were down. Read more »

Otterson’s Open Letter Quote Source

Recently a few blogs (mainly BCC and M*) published Michael Otterson’s open letter dismissing the claims of women, blog readers, and blog authors.

A question I spent all morning battling was finding the source for the quote he uses. He does not attribute it in his letter, and no links were provided to the source of this quote. Thanks to the fMh Facebook group someone was kind enough to share the source.

Here is the link to the source itself, the comment author goes by ‘Kimberly’:

Here I copied and pasted the words of the quote Otterson uses, and the original so you can compare side by side.


Please understand that not [all] women who wish to be seen in all their worth are seeking to be ordained to the priesthood…. What I am finding…. is that most of these women have been demeaned and marginalized by one (and usually many more) of the brothers of our faith. They have been told their ideas won’t work. They have been told they are not important. They have been told they are lesser.


I am saddened, though not surprised, this is a comment from a man. Things are not as black and white in this life as you might believe. It is not take it or leave it in the gospel. The gospel is about levels and degrees. It is about understanding which is built line upon line. Is that not what we’ve all been taught? Then why is it when people want to share views which are different the knee-jerk reaction is to tell them to take a hike?

Please understand that not women who wish to be seen in all their worth are seeking to be ordained to the priesthood. There are many of us who just want to make sure we don’t lose our sisters. It’s a bond that sadly too many of our brothers don’t understand. When one of our sisters has an experience which causes her to lose her faith, her sister grieve with and for her. We feel her pain and want to help her heal.

When you tell her (them) that they should just find another another church what you are really saying is her feelings and thoughts are not valid, therefore we don’t need her. YOU ARE WRONG!

While I personally am not seeking to hold the priesthood, I am happily seeking to understand the reasons why some do have that desire. What I am finding (and please forgive my very simple generalization) is that most of these women have been demeaned and marginalized by one (and usually many more) of the brothers of our faith. They have been told their ideas won’t work. They have been told they are not important. They have been told they are lesser.

These are not my experiences, so it would be easy for me to judge them. I try very hard not to though because I would not want them to use their experiences to judge me. We all just want to be understood and welcomed.

While I believe women’s ordination to the priesthood will not happen, I believe we need to have conversations to UNDERSTAND the reasons behind the desire. I don’t believe that needs to happen with the First Presidency or the entire body of the church. I believe those are individual conversations which need to be had. Because, after all, the pains behind the desires weren’t caused directly by Heavenly Father or the First Presidency. They were (typically) caused by individuals, locally, through their own misunderstanding of doctrine!!


I am completely and utterly raw right now.

I have read more than 30 stories of #YesAllWomen and my heart hurts so much. So many women… so many women hurting because something happened to them. This has to stop. THIS HAS TO STOP!! I’m scared. I have four boys. I have four boys that will grow into men and one day they might cat call a young woman because it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do, or because she actually is pretty, and it will strike fear in her heart. They might tell an inappropriate joke because everyone else is. They might push themselves and their needs onto another human being. Read more »

Personal Jesus

I have a friend who is going through a divorce. She immediately recognized she needed help while working through the process of redefining her life. Since the church where she lives doesn’t offer divorce support groups, she began attending a weekly community group that meets in a local church. Read more »

Is this the beginning?

I wrote this after April Ordain Women event.

I feel like I’ve been on this road for a very long time. Yet, I turn and look backward and realize I’ve only just begun. I’ve learned a lot in the last two years and I’m just starting to see how those wonderful horrible experiences are all interconnected and how they got me to where I am now. The very core of who I am has been challenged. My belief system has been torn apart piece by piece and I’m left thinking, where do I sit/stand in the midst of it all? I’m still unsure, but the road is long and I have plenty time to figure that out. Let me share with you some of my experiences along the way.

Read more »

Best Wedding Advice Ever

27 years ago this month, Rob and I were sitting on a white couch in the Celestial Room ( a beautiful all white room that represents heaven) at the temple, waiting our turn to get married because we chose the busiest day of the day of the year to seal the deal, when a sweet white-haired elderly man made a beeline towards us. Read more »

Changing Babies Diapers At Church

Why are there no diaper changing tables in the men’s restrooms at church? All stores have that now, including my beloved Target. By putting the changing area in the nursing mother’s room, it guarantees no father’s will change a diaper during any activity or meeting at church.

What happened to the part of the Proclamation on the Family about how husbands and wives work together to care their children?

Who in Salt Lake is over men’s restrooms? I want start a petition over this if that is the only way to get common sense reforms in how we take care of children while at attending church functions.

Unwanted Adoption (Part Three of Three)
Part 3The conclusion you are about to read is true. Names have been changed, location omitted. For Part One click here. For Part Two click here.

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Unwanted Adoption (Part Two of Three)
Part 2
The story and events you are about to read are true. Names have been changed, location omitted. To read Part One: click here.

Read more »

Unwanted Adoption (Part One of Three)
Part 1
The story and events you are about to read are true. Names have been changed, location omitted.

Read more »

Keep ‘em guessin’

I consider myself an active member of the church, but I wonder how others in my ward perceive me. Those who’ve known me for years know that I’m pretty orthodox, a bit flaky, but still…….

I’ve played with the new people, though. Our ward split—actually added area—while Bill and I were separated. I tell new people I’ve been in jail or rehab, that I’m inactive. I don’t—well, I can’t—hide my differences. Differences from the sincere and friendly people who’ve moved into our ward and want to be a part of us. Read more »


I have a few words that I’ve learned in my reading travels that I like to toss out to confuse my less learned friends and to impress others with my great intelligence. Paradigm is one of them. I learned it from a professor. (Oxymoron, dichotomy, ambivalence…..all good words)

So, I’ve had a paradigm shift. In essence, I’ve changed my mind. It happened this week and is more of a spiritual awakening than being convinced intellectually of anything. Totally unsought and unexpected.

It started Saturday afternoon as I thought of those women lining up to attend priesthood. I felt a sudden pang of sisterhood and so much sympathy for them. I’d previously been pissed off at them because I thought this demonstration was crossing a line into open rebellion. I didn’t like that they were, in essence, airing our church’s dirty laundry publicly. Better to do as I do, simmer, and bitch and moan to local authorities ad nauseum. Read more »

No, Seriously. Which Would You Pick?

I have one daughter who watches the tv show “19 and Counting” about the Duggars family. The husband and wife have had 19 children, all by themselves without medical intervention. Yikes! Read more »

Sabbath Shopping

I am to the point in my life where I don’t bother remembering much. I’ll read a book, thoroughly enjoy it and then a year later, pick it up and reread it, not remembering I already read it until the very last chapter. Read more »

What’s the Deal?

It is Friday night and I am watching the tv show 20/20 on ABC. It is a story of a Mormon couple and the husband is a murderer.

Is it just me, or have there been a lot more Mormon husband killers lately? What’s the deal with this?

What’s the Point?

I have a dear friend who is going through hard stuff. Her long-term temple marriage is breaking up. Her soon-to-be ex-husband is messing up their very tight finances with frivolous purchases that are making their bad situation worse. Honestly, she is so tired of the drama, she is looking forward to this being over. Read more »

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