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On King Noah, Blackface, and the Book of Mormon Musical

Ok. So.

Let’s say, once upon a time, some creators looked at a group of people who had a history of being stripped of their basic rights, beaten, and oppressed and said,

“By Golly, let’s take people who do not belong to this group, dress them up as gaudy caricatures of this group, and make them do silly, silly things for the entertainment of the masses! It’ll be fun!”

And the rest of the people were so classy, and so unwilling to make a mocking, degrading spectacle of their fellowman, especially one with whom there is already historical trauma, that they were like, “BRUH. NO.”

Right?……

 

Right?

 

 

 

blackface

Yeah, that wasn’t OK.

But then things happened. The Civil Rights movement happened. Social Justice Movements happened. And we got WOKE. And we were not going to stand for this!

Minority groups in this country, minorities who have been  discriminated against, raped, shot, lynched by angry mobs, and misrepresented again and again and again, were not going to be exaggerated props for our entertainment and voyeurism. They deserved protection.

We got totally WOKE and we are not going to stand for minorities being made into gaudy, crude caricatures for us to laugh at.

It’s dehumanizing.

It’s cruel.

It’s the HIGHEST GROSSING BROADWAY MUSICAL! GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

 

 

MORMON-jumbo.jpg

But hold on, you say, That’s not entirely fair. It’s just a joke. Can’t you take a joke?

Sure I can. But I also believe in internal consistency.  Would you be comfortable making not just one joke, but a WHOLE MUSICAL of jokes about a minority group? If you aren’t comfortable laughing at a blackface gag, why is this okay to you?

Matt Stone himself (one of the musical’s creator’s) asserted that, “We obviously all have fun at the expense of religion and — the Book of Mormon, it’s just silly; it’s silly and there’s a lot of good comedy there. And the story of Joseph Smith, the way it’s told, is silly too.”

So what does this make the African converts in your charming tale?

Stone and Parker manage to achieve both religious blackface and plain old blackface too, so we can sample all the flavors.

He goes on to slather on the buttery diplomacy, about the niceness of Mormons, and how the whole thing is really pro-religion, etc. There are people who also will argue that pornography is pro-love, because nakedness and oxytocin. You can tell that to the children of broken marriages, to the suicidal wives, to the congenital syphillis. Nope, nope, extra nope.

But wait, wait. Your church is even in on the joke. They bought advertising space in the Playbill!

They sure did. In related matters, God sent Abinadi into King Noah’s court. God did not send Abinadi in there because the lechery, demagoguery, and priestcraft were the swellest thing since leopardskin loincloths, he sent him because every fine-twined whore monger in there also happened to be a beloved child of God, in desperate need of education and grace. He sent Abinadi because children in every state of wayward, cruel ignorance are always, always worth every effort.

I heard people ended up getting baptized from having seen the musical.

As did Alma, the erstwhile whoremongering-priestcrafting sinner turned prophet. It doesn’t make past whoremongering and priestcraft morally okay, but speaks solely to the Grace of God. Which is big enough to handle bigotry-riddled pasts.

And…and a mission president had his missionaries go see it!

My dears, when calling-dropping becomes integral to your argument, the whole thing starts to crumble. Let’s assume for a moment that this one is, in fact true, and not urban legend.

First, leaders sometimes make really stupid decisions. This is no secret. We have records of this happening from the Old Testament onwards.

Second, let’s assume that it happened and that it was a divinely inspired thing (these are both big assumptions). Still doesn’t mean the musical itself is exonerated. It could easily mean that God felt it necessary for missionaries to have the cultural literacy to deal with the hullaballoo that invariably happens when things with “Mormon” attached to them become pop culture phenomena. The first time Mitt Romney ran for president, I cannot tell you how many people legitimately thought he was the leader of our church. It’s good to be somewhat informed about Mormon-related goings on that are being broadly consumed by the people around you. Which is why I made a point of reading up on the musical (and came away feeling wildly violated by the experience).

Speaking of violation, it could be that I am biased against this musical because the first time I had a conversation with someone about it, that someone was my OB/GYN when he instigated a personal cross examination and criticism of my response to the musical WHILE HE WAS PERFORMING MY PELVIC EXAM.

Friends, both religion and vaginas are personal, sacred spaces. The arrogance and coarseness necessary to do what this doctor did is precisely the arrogance and coarseness I see leaching out from all the cultural corners surrounding this musical. If it smells like blackface, throw it out. It’s past date, and was toxic even when it was fresh.

(And no, I never went to that Gyno again.)

This is not a call to arms, or a condemnation of those who have paid hundreds of dollars to watch people mock my faith. It’s just a frank analysis of a bigotry that even, sometimes especially, the most open-minded among us seem loathe to acknowledge.

And to have a link to send to the next gynocologist who harasses me about the musical.

-Fin

 

 

 

 

 

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Everything I Need to Know About Sex, I Learned in Gospel Doctrine

Once in high school, a friend pointed out that if you add “in bed” to the end of any fortune cookie missive, it becomes a dirty joke. Yes, yes, innuendo, hawhawhaw.

In the years ensuing, I have heard dozens of people blame lack of sex ed in religious communities, and or Church Teachings themselves, on their failed/ miserable/ dysfunctional sex lives. This is tragic to me. Every–and I mean EVERY– good thing in my marriage has come from the two of us internalizing and applying gospel doctrine.

When people mentally separate or compartmentalize sex from church, they miss out on hours of beautiful sex education. In case you have done this, please reread these teachings of the prophets, keeping in mind that “healthy sexual relationship” is, excepting illness, disability, death, etc, an integral part of “marriage.” In short, take the sniggering immaturity of teenagers with fortune cookies and put it to work on something that’s actually true and useful.

1. “Marriage is a relationship that cannot survive selfishness, impatience, domineering, inequality, and lack of respect. Marriage is a relationship that thrives on acceptance, equality, sharing, giving, helping, doing one’s part, learning together, enjoying humor.” David O. McKay    

True Doctrine, which, if properly followed, eliminates the need to watch British police videos about serving tea. Build your relationship by embracing equality, sharing, giving, helping, doing one’s part, learning together, and enjoying humor. In bed.

2. “A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal one to another.” Gordon B. Hinckley

One of the nastiest lies around is that “some people are just [intimately] compatible, and some aren’t.” Excepting the above mentioned exceptions, if you love each other and are willing to learn, grow, and communicate, the mystical caprices of nebulous ‘incompatibility’ are laughable. We are sentient beings, capable of learning, and as such, we can grow and change. A marriage relationship isn’t a cute accessory that you wear when it suits you and throw out when it no longer pleases. It’s a dynamic, living thing, something greater than both its participants, something that takes time and effort to nurture.

3. “The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth.” Ezra Taft Benson

If both parties are more interested in serving one another than seeing to their own gratification, consent is a non-issue. Because when we are service oriented, we choose to put other’s needs above our own carnal appetites. When we’re concerned with the needs of others (and we all practice the gospel principles of honesty and candor), all the fretting and hand-wringing about how to not accidentally rape someone becomes, well, silly. When both parties strive for honor, unity, and service in the relationship, all the nuances of consent are as basic and instinctive as breathing.

4. “Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him.” L. Whitney Clayton

Men (and women) are that they might have joy. God gave us our bodies, instituted marriage, and established the church, and he did not do those things so we could go moping around blaming the church for our complicated feelings. He did those things so that we could apply gospel principles, get married, and find happiness together. Misery is complicated. Joy is not. Happiness comes from true doctrine, consistently and earnestly applied, in every facet of our lives.

5. “Marriage was ordained of God. It is a righteous principle when in holiness it is received and practiced. If men and women today would enter into this covenant in the spirit of humility, love and faith, as they are commanded to do, walking righteously in the ways of eternal life, there would be no divorce, no broken homes; but a happiness, a joy, beyond expression.” Joseph Fielding Smith

When I read this, I see Joseph F. Smith dropping the mic at the end. Teachings of the prophets are sexy, friends.

 

The End

 

Homeschool Resources, Part I

Because you asked. At least, a number of people have asked in the past, and every time there’s a school shooting, more friends write to ask about homeschooling. Below is a short list of resources we’ve used. None of them are affiliate links, so save yourself some money and check them out from the library, or buy them used or whatever.

General Homeschooling

The Well-Trained Mind 

Better proselyting material for the gospel of Classical Education doesn’t exist. Do you  want to give your children a well-rounded education in the humanities, in particular western civilization? Is appreciating great works of art and literature important to you? Poetry memorization, Latin, good handwriting? This is the starting place.

Bonus Points: It has lists and lists of recommended resources, books, and materials for carrying out the ultimate classical education.

The Read-Aloud Handbook

This one  probably belongs under language arts, but I’m putting it here. It should be required reading for anyone who has anything to do with children. Even if you already understand the importance of reading to children, buy it and read it.

Bonus Points: It also contains a goldmine of book lists for every level, from preschool through high school.

The Core Knowledge Series

Not to be confused with Common Core, this series is really awesome for providing a skeleton of what to cover in each grade level, in order to give a solid foundation of cultural literacy and general knowledge in every subject. Having googled it just now, it looks like it has expanded into a full blown school program. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, you can just check out “What your [insert grade level] Grader Needs to Know” from the library to get a feel for what it is. They’re lovely. My Mom made us memorize poems from these Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes from these books, and I’m so happy she did.

Sonlight

This is whole Christian curriculum program that lots of Protestant families love and use. I love and use the booklists in the catalog. Maybe it’s a dirty trick, but after having purchased their used materials online, I’ve found that they’re hit and miss for us, especially in the religion sector. The earliest materials emphasize the Nicene Creed, and just a touch too much Calvinism. Sorry friends. Mormons gonna Morm.

Protip: If you want to try out Sonlight and don’t have several hundred dollars lying around, go to homeschoolclassifieds.com. They’re like a delightful cross between Fight Club (being clandestine and scrappy) and Craigslist (being online and secondhand). What could go wrong?

Fluent Forever

This, like Core Knowledge, started with a book and ended in all sorts of fun stuff. Polyglot language nerd Opera singer Gabriel Wyner applies the methods of SLR, or spaced repetition learning, to the rapid acquisition of languages. The method is fascinating, and can be applied to a lot of stuff besides foreign language. It’s worth checking out!

 

That is the short list of general homeschool reference books. One of the hardest things in homeschooling is deciding what you won’t do. There’s so much to do, and it’s OK not to do it all. At least, that’s what I frequently tell myself. Good luck!

 

Should I Homeschool? An Addendum

7. Academics

This is the one is also a toss-up. Homeschooling children usually are “ahead” of their public school peers. They score much higher on standardized tests, etc., etc., but those aren’t entirely fair comparisons, because a homeschooling parent is usually deeply involved in the child’s education, and stable and privileged enough to be so. The same parent would see to it that homework gets done and studying happens in traditional school, I think. Public school children run the gamut, from children with involved parents to children in group foster homes to abused and neglected children. So all the studies comparing homeschooled children (usually upper- or middle-class kids with educated parents) to the whole of public school  put homeschooled children in a very idealistic light, both academically and behaviorally.

The truth of it is, no education is perfect or comprehensive. The primary characteristic of homeschooling is that you can do more in less time. Both parent-teacher and child have more control and initiative in the process. At some point, this brings us to a crossroads, where we can either do the whole “school experience” of middle school, high school, etc., or just graduate at 14 and get on with college. There’s a benefit and cost to both.

This is where we are with our oldest. She has applied to a school. It’s a nice school, with small classrooms and watchful teachers. She is friends with several of the kids there and they have a French program that is  on par with her skills. The opportunity cost is that math and language arts will be an entire year (maybe even two years) of review for her, and much of history and science will be, too; we’ve already covered human anatomy and Ancient Egypt. She will get to experience richer Physical Education and Art and Drama programs, but she will be learning very little in her core subjects. She will be somewhere where predatory children or teachers have ample opportunity to give her grief. She could fall prey to the nastiness of gossip, cliques, and all the various ways middle schoolers try to distinguish, and therefore socially stratify, themselves.

She’s a reasonable, level-headed young lady, and my faith is in her rather than the vigilance and honor of the faculty and students I do not know. She has been in semi-weekly extracurriculars, in classrooms without me, since kindergarten, and they’ve gone well. They could go well here. Or they could not. There’s only way to find out.

Blessedly, she is pretty philosophical about this. Either she’s not telling us what she really wants, or we’ve spent so much time discussing opportunity cost that she doesn’t know–she likes the idea of going to this school but she also likes the idea of finishing high school early so she can get to her dream job as a NASA mathematician faster. No, I’m not sure how I managed to produce an aspiring mathematician–probably has something to do with my physicist husband.

In the end, the planning and decision making for this is an ongoing council process between me, child, husband, and God. And, as with every other major decision in life, “naught but the Spirit’s divinest tuition can give us the wisdom to truly succeed.”

Should I Homeschool? And other questions that will ruin your quality of life.

The plain truth of it is, every choice comes with an opportunity cost. The time you spend learning to play the sousaphone is time you sacrificed from your quest to become the world’s most celebrated underwater basket weaver. The choice to marry one person (hopefully) means sacrificing the opportunity to be romantically involved with every other unattached person on this earth. Everything we choose necessitates the relinquishing of something else.

And thus it it with the choice to homeschool. Having experienced homeschool and public school and having mothered homeschoolers and public schoolers, here is what I have learned. The goal here is not to sell you on something, but rather, to provide insight to a lifestyle choice that will garner you more side-eye than you know what to do with.

1. Family time

Homeschooling wins this round. The number one benefit to homeschooling (for me, as both former student and current teacher), is time with family. The world is busy enough. College, jobs, extracurriculars, and another million things are howling for our time. When our family time is built into our daily school we get two birds with one stone–family togetherness AND basic education. If and when extracurriculars take the kids away in the afternoon, they’ll still have had chores, learning, and playtime with me and their siblings. And that is everything.

It trumps a 35-40 hours school week every time.

2. Quality over quantity

Transferring back into school from homeschooling was always hard. The primary difficulty was feeling that my childhood was being wasted on waiting for papers to be passed out, waiting for everyone to be quiet, waiting for the teacher to stop lecturing us on behavior expectations, waiting for everyone to make a *straight* line (with hands to yourselves!) waiting, waiting, waiting.

Then half the work was busy work–it was repetitive, boring, tedious. It was made to be time consuming for kids who understood the concept so that teacher had time to help the kids who didn’t. And if you didn’t….she ran out of time to explain to you. Either way, it didn’t pan out well for me.

In homeschool, we usually finish by noon, and we definitely cover more than public school. Besides being “ahead” by 1-2 years in core subjects, the kids have French, Religion, and Violin. It’s more efficient, and doesn’t waste their short childhoods DMV style, with an endless flow of paperwork.

3. Blame Game

This one could go either way, to be honest. If your child is struggling in school, you have the luxury of blaming the teacher, the curriculum, the administration, the other snot-nosed kids, the snot-nosed kids’ snot-nosed parents. I’ve heard hours of rants from friends hating on these things, feeling their child is having issues academically or socially because of factors beyond their control.

In homeschooling 100% of the responsibility rests on YOU. Kid is acting up? Kid can’t read? Kid refuses to  wear shoes? Can’t blame it on “schools these days.” You are the school.

Sometimes I wish I could blame someone else. But mostly, I’m happy for the responsibility. I know exactly what’s happening with my kids at school, and that brings relief beyond words. This leads us to….

4. Safety

The chances of someone randomly walking into your house and shooting everyone are WAY WAY lower.

The chances of one of my kids being molested by a teacher at home? Zero.

The first time a boy promised to punch me in the face was first grade. First time I was inappropriately and painfully grabbed by a boy was third grade. Fifth grade, seventh grade, and EVERY YEAR in high school contain similar trauma. Three times in high school the offender was a teacher or coach. And I’m not special. I don’t know any girl who doesn’t have similar stories. There is sibling rivalry in homeschool, but nothing comparable to the nasty that goes down in school. Keeping my kids home sidesteps a lot of unnecessary horror.

This is what comes to my mind when people bemoan homeschooler’s lack of “social school experience.”

5. Normativity

School wins here. As soon as people find out you homeschool, you are either deified as a perfect saint of a mother, or villified as a crazy control freak religious zealot. Some people manage the trick of believing you can simultaneously be both. Homeschooling mothers have their own special brand of the virgin-whore dichotomy, y’all.

I’m neither. I’m a mother who is trying her best. Sometimes I fail, and sometimes, by the grace of God, I don’t. I need to print business cards with an FAQ on the back that I can pass out every time someone asks me why my kids aren’t in school.

Bonus points: We make teachers and administrators really insecure…unless they’re the elusive *super-educator.* Then we just do the secret handshake-high five.

6. Socialization

If you put aside bullying, sexual harassment, and the many sometimes-unhealthy social constructs of modern education, school can be a great place to make friends and hang out. I’m not even kidding. Most of my kids’ friends are public schooled, and they’re just delightful. The thought of them going to school together makes me smile. If only it could just be at our house.

*Fin*

It does concern me.

Once upon a time in high school, I was on campus after school alone.

I heard raised voices, and, walking into the central courtyard of the school, saw a boy slap a girl across the face. Hard.

HEY! I yelled. I had no other words.

He looked straight at me and said, “Shut up. Go away. This doesn’t concern you.”

Then I looked at the girl and asked her if she was OK.

Of course she was. Of course she was. She was fine. I needed to go away and mind my own business.

And I did. Sort of.

I didn’t think I had much of a choice; I was alone, a 115 pound 13 year old without a cell phone, wishing I could save a girl who was unwilling to be saved.

This wasn’t the first time something like this happened, and it most certainly wasn’t the last. The words of the boy have stuck in my mind, in part, because they are a lie that gets told over and over and over.

Shut up. Go away. This doesn’t concern you.

It does, in fact, concern me. That girl is my sister. That boy is my brother. Those people are children of God.

There is a lie is repeated over and over again, not only in dire and violent circumstances, but in much more seemingly innocuous ways.

How I choose to live my life doesn’t concern you.

How I spend my time doesn’t concern you.

What I’m going through doesn’t concern you.

It does if I love you.

I’m not suggesting I (or anyone) is entitled to know everything about you. We’re not. The world is exhibitionist and voyeuristic enough without anyone being entitled to pry into your life. That being said, everything you say, do think is, in fact, of concern to everyone else, starting with those closest to you, and rippling out across the entire human race.

Because you matter, and, to one degree or another, everyone is impacted by your choices.

A neighbor of mine relapsed into a lifestyle that rendered her unfit to care for her child. I didn’t know her at all, and her decisions “didn’t concern me” until the day her child climbed over our fence and into our lives, culminating in 18 months of foster parenthood for us.

That woman’s personal decisions concerned me. They concerned me so much I lost sleep over them, and shed tears over them. You can’t expect me not to judge her choices, not to be concerned with her moral decisions, when every day, including two of her child’s no-mother birthdays, our family carried a small but immensely consequential consequence of her actions.

We’re told again and again not to judge, that other people’s decisions and actions are their own, that their choices don’t effect anyone but them.

And none of it is true.

“Don’t judge others.”

Don’t pass judgement on their worth as human beings?

Yes. Don’t do that. The debate on anyone’s individual worth begins and ends with Who their Father is, and What Christ did for them. The worth of every last individual on this earth is infinite, and to decry that is to decry the soul’s creator.

Don’t pass judgement on people’s actions?

Only if I don’t regard them as legitimate human beings. Which I do.

I’m not advocating for capricious cattiness, or sinking one’s life into a cesspool of snobbery or negative feeling towards others, but I do believe that thinking critically about the moral value of actions, even those not taken by ourselves, is important.

Regardless of how high school boy reached a point in his life where he thought it was acceptable to hit a girl like that, regardless of what factors contributed to my neighbor’s drug relapse, their actions have meaning and impact. Their actions are consequential because THEY, the doers, are consequential.

We can talk all day long about why a boy would hit a girl, or what a difficult past would lead to drug abuse, but that doesn’t change the bruises on the girlfriend’s face, the trauma of neglect and abandonment faced by a motherless child. Those choices, regardless of what precipitated them, are wrong.

Most people can agree that these decisions are wrong. We feel pain on behalf of a neglected child, pain on behalf of a battered teen. We care about these people, and so are willing to pass moral judgement on the action, while (hopefully) not passing degrading appraisal on the value of the wrongdoer.

But what about other choices?

If you’re not a woman, abortion issues don’t concern you.

If you’re not a woman seeking an abortion, abortion issues don’t concern you.

If you’re straight, gay marriage doesn’t concern you.

Of course it concerns me. We share a world together. Your life and well being, your capacity to create and destroy, to shape the world around you concerns me and every other living person–because it will have in impact on me, and every other living person. In fact, considering all the proxy work waiting to be done, your actions concern every human being who has ever walked this earth, because it impacts what you can or cannot offer to countless others, both living and dead.

Everything you and I think and do, how we spend our time, our behavior in public and private, creates our human offering to the world–strong or weak, kind or cruel, charitable or self absorbed. Every choice we make matters, and is not of equal value to its alternatives.

Our choices matter because the people our choices impact matter. Our choices matter because we matter.

 

 

On the Feminine Divine

Some of my earliest memories involve learning the Plan of Salvation from my mother.

She also taught me about my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.

My feelings when she taught me these things were calm and happy, with a strong dose of (non condescending, non-sarcastic) DUH.

Of course that’s how things went down before we were born.

Of course I have a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.

I never felt Heavenly Mother’s absence. I have never felt longing for Her, a Heavenly Mother shaped hole in my soul. So….when I read about my sisters who do, it gives me pause, and makes me reflect on why I don’t feel this all-consuming ache.

So. First, let me back up and explain how we roll here.

For most of our marriage, husband and I have both had a cell phone, but we use each other’s phones indiscriminately. Last summer when one cell phone broke, we decided to only use one for a while, since the only time we’d need two would be to call each other, and 90% of the time, when we need to do that, he’s in his office next to his office phone.

Husband linked up the phone texting to his computer, so that we both see all texts that come through, so that he could text from our phone’s number via his computer. He ignores texts from my friends, especially if it looks like they’re divulging personal information to me, and I ignore texts from his church calling (most of his calling business is confidential).

We have full access to one another’s social media, e-mail, etc. This isn’t a matter of control and oversight; it’s a matter of convenience–if one is away from internet and needs information, the other can dig it out for him or her.

A lot of people are upset, disturbed, or thrown off balance by this discovery. They think cell phones are personal. They think e-mail is personal. They get flustered if I answer Dave’s phone or if he answers mine. This is funny to me; what do they think marriage is?

To marry someone is to sign up to become one flesh. To work together, ultimately becoming perfectly united in heart, mind, desire, and work.

Once, early on, we were arguing about something, and husband paused, looked at me earnestly, and said, “but we’re on the same team.”

That broke it. I don’t even remember what we were fighting about, but I will always remember that moment. It was a golden moment of truth that cut through whatever pettiness we were navigating.

We’re on the same team.

We are striving to be one.

Few things annoy us more than when our children, associates, salespeople, ANYONE tries to triangulate between the two of us. We are one, or, at the very least, striving for unity. We are more interested in the other than the self, and more interested in our union than than the other. Our union is paramount.

On the rare occasion when someone makes a romantic overture towards one of us,* a well-meaning Military Doctor suggests anti STD measures “just in case,” or, anyone, in any offhand way, suggests or presumes dissolution, disunity or infidelity, it feels blasphemous, a slight against something profoundly sacred to us. This marriage of ours is more important than our careers, personal achievement, church service, our children’s success, or anything else on this earth. And you’d just casually assume it’s negotiable? Who do you think you are?

I’ve always felt this way about marriage, even as my parents and several beloved aunts and uncles divorced. I’ve always planned on a marriage like this, and by some unspeakable blessing, I’m married to a man who feels the same way.

When you call our number, you’re as likely to hear from me as from my husband. Unless you’re talking to me about lady problems, or to him about accepting or rejecting a calling, chances are the other person knows about the conversation and relationship. If I tell our children no, husband upholds that. If he tells them no, I uphold that. He makes good on my promises and obligations to others, and I make good on his. We are together on one mission here.

This is why I have never felt the absence of my Heavenly Mother. Wherever my father is, there She is, too. This is something I have thought and felt for as long as I can remember. If I am close to Him, I am close to Her by definition. If I feel lost, far from Him, unsure of our relationship, this naturally extends to Her, too.  They are constant; I am fallible, mortal, wavering. Manipulation and triangulation is impossible in a perfect marriage, in a perfect union. If my prayers ascend to my Father, they are just as surely heard by my Mother. When love and blessings descend from my Father, they are just as surely from Her. And if the Divine Commandment is for our marriage to become eternal and perfect, then Theirs already is.

Two weeks ago, I was going through a session in the temple, and there She was. This was no vision or theophany, just a sudden sharp realization that She was there. In in all the beauty and glory of the temple, She was there, as baldly obvious as Heavenly Father. I wasn’t even looking for her, and suddenly I realized She’d been there. As I thought of every ordinance available in the temple, I saw where she figured into every one. It was jaw droppingly obvious, another DUH that fell on my lap a solid 25 years after my earthly mother’s early teachings.

No, you don’t get the specifics of this. Go yourself, and learn on your own time.

The saddest thing about it is, so many who feel loss and longing for Heavenly Mother deliberately avoid the temple in the belief that it is sexist, when in fact, it is there that my fears and insecurities in gender injustice have been healed and sealed up, where I have felt closest to both my Heavenly Parents, and with every passing visit, I get to see and know just a little more about who She, and more importantly, They, are.

If you wanted to get a hold of me, you might as well call my husband. We’re learning marriage, and pretty close to one another.

If you want to get a hold of your Mother, you might as well call your Father. They’re perfect at marriage and perfectly unified.

 

 

*This, fortunately, has almost exclusively come from the inebriated and/or mentally ill. Most people are get that you don’t do this.