Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Here's why Kate Kelly was not excommunicated for asking questions

Let me first say -- I feel bad for Kate Kelly. Excommunication from the LDS church is no small matter. Depending on how she handles it, it could have devastating, eternal consequences for her and her family. It's sad, it really is. For any church members to say that they are glad she is gone, or that they are vindicated by this decision...well, it's not a very good attitude to have, friends. We want for Kate what we want for everyone -- eternal life and exaltation.

The doctrine/lack of doctrine behind the issue of ordaining women has been discussed. A lot. That's not what I want to do here.

I have to bring to light, though, a facet of this sad event that is having far-reaching consequences -- most notably, a negative perception of the church that I love.

It saddens me to see that Kate Kelly's excommunication has turned into "Mormons can't ask questions or they'll be excommunicated." Some members of the church claim to feel "silenced" by this action against Sister Kelly. They say that the church is sending a message that if you ask questions, even sincere ones, you will not be permitted membership in the church.

Here's my problem with that: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question.

I repeat: Kate Kelly was NOT asking a question. Not anymore. She was sharing a teaching, a belief.

From Ordain Women's mission statement: "Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to to reflect the equality and expansiveness of [the fundamental tenets of Mormonism]."

While other language on the website reflects the idea of "asking" Church leaders to prayerfully consider the topic, the fact is that they believe that women should be ordained. Not "We wonder if women should be ordained" or "We are exploring the idea of ordaining women" or "We doubt that God meant for His priesthood to be held exclusively by men." No. Their belief is set. In fact, each member profile on the Ordain Women website ends the same way: "I believe that women should be ordained."

This is not a question. This is a statement of belief. It is a teaching.

This is further supported by Ordain Women's six "discussions" that explain their cause and mission. They are trying to teach people. They are not seeking an answer. Rather, they have found their answer and are unwilling to accept any alternatives. They are demanding their solution. The very name of their organization is a command: Ordain Women.

Kate Kelly is not forbidden from wondering if women should be ordained. She is not forbidden from praying about the subject, or from discussing it with her family and friends and local leaders. She can even believe that women will receive the priesthood someday, when God reveals it. She can believe that, and not be excommunicated.

What she can't do is teach it as though it were established doctrine. Not without permission from the people who are tasked with keeping the doctrine in line with God's will. She taught it anyway. They asked her to stop. She didn't.

Here I must point out -- If any limit is placed on the questions we ask, it is this: that no person can receive revelation for an area outside their jurisdiction (for lack of a better term). Jurisdiction, for most members, means the member and his/her family. For a bishop, it means him, his family, and his ward. For the prophet (and only the prophet) it means the entire church. To sustain a leader of the church (a formal "vote," if you will, to show public support for a leader of the church) is to agree to be led by his/her counsel, and to respect his/her area of jurisdiction.

Kate Kelly was not, is not, never has been, in a position to receive revelation for the entire church. Not only that, but she sustained her bishop and stake president, along with the general leaders of the church -- the prophet and apostles. She agreed to respect them, and to allow their words and insights to help her find answers to her questions. But when they gave her counsel she didn't agree with, she refused to listen. That is not asking. That is demanding to hear an answer that she has already given herself. At some point, Sister Kelly crossed the boundary from honest questioning and well-intentioned doubting to preaching a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the church. She continued to do so after being asked to stop. This teaching needed to be dissociated with the official doctrine of the church. This is why she was excommunicated -- not because she asked a question.

Let me be clear: Mormons are not expected to believe anything. We are not expected to follow blindly. We are encouraged to ask for and seek truth. We are taught to ask with sincere hearts and unwavering faith. We are told that this sincere asking will bring us personal peace and guidance.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not prohibit, hinder, or in any way discourage questions. It just doesn't. And if Ordain Women really had been asking a question, Kate Kelly's story may have ended differently.

UPDATE, 6/30: To read the church's official statement on questions and doctrine, click here. 

UPDATE 2, 6/30: I so appreciate all of you reading and adding your comments. Please know that I'm having some problems with Blogger and comments right now; the latest comments are not being displayed for some reason. The comments ARE showing up in the backend, but are not being shown on the live blog. I'm working to fix this, but in the meantime, please only post your comment one time. Thank you!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

On the chopping block. And family pictures.

We all knew this day would come, right?

I mean, Maddy's been comfortable using scissors for a long time now.

And Charly's hair...well, it was long.

Yes. Was.

We went from this:

to this:

to this:

Yes, I know her little bob is freaking adorable. But, if I'm being perfectly honest... I MISS THOSE LONG CURLS, DANG IT. 

Ah, well. Such is life with two girls, I suppose. 

Also, did you notice how super cute that first picture is? We had family pictures taken and I kind of love them. Here's some of my faves:

I love these people. How blessed am I to be the mother of this family? Answer: very.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Parker , months 5-7

Man, time is FLYING with this little guy! It seems almost more fitting to put three months of updates into one post with how fast he's growing!



And...I'm still not caught up, since the kid is now 8 (AND ALMOST 9) months old.

Seriously, can we just slow down, universe? Geez.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm NOT Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical

Let's get one thing straight -- I am no supporter of the "Comparison Game." You know the one.

Here's how you play it:

(1) See an Instagram of the amazing "Where the Wild Things Are" birthday party that your friend threw for her one-year-old (who happens to be named Max, which makes you wonder for a second how long this has been in the works).

(2) Think about the last birthday party you threw for your three-year-old, which included a store bought cake, paper plates left over from a Christmas party, and a theme of...I don't know... "A Birthday Party"?

(3) Realize that you don't even own the book "Where the Wild Things Are."

(4) Remember that, oh wait, you do...but you've never read it to your kids. In fact, you used it as a makeshift dustpan to sweep cheerio crumbs into after your toddler threw them purposefully on the floor and then had a "wild rumpus" of sorts all over them.

(5) Cry.

Yeah, I've played that game a few too many times. And so have many other mothers. Really, it needs to stop.

And if the author of this article had stopped here, with the idea that we can be good mothers without Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, I would have supported her. Wholeheartedly. Because my word, if ombre frosting skills are what it takes to be a good mother, I never would have applied for the position (partially because I'm STILL not sure how to correctly pronounce "ombre").

But she doesn't stop there.

Instead, she says that magic is "inherent to childhood" and that parents should not try to "manufacture contrived memories" for their kids.

And that's where I call a time-out.

Sure, childhood has a lot of natural "magic" in it. The author uses snow as one example, saying "Experiencing winter and playing in the snow as a 5-year-old is magical." But what if your mom is out there with you, helping you build a lopsided snowman and showing you how to make snow angels and letting you hit her over and over with snowballs and making you hot cocoa when you're ready to come inside?

"Collecting rocks and keeping them in your pocket is magical." But what if your dad takes you for a walk to look for rocks for your collection and then helps you decorate a can to keep them in?

"Walking with a branch is magical." But what if your mom asks "What are you doing?" and you tell her you're leading a parade and she starts playing an imaginary drum and marches behind you?

Dare I say that this parental involvement might make these things... more magical? We can create magic for our kids. It doesn't always have to be with a big present or vacation. We can show our kids how to find magic everyday.

And, taking that a step further, dare I say that a little magic might happen for the parents as well?

The magic of parenthood is easily dispelled by tantrums, whining (OMG THE WHINING), rebellion, and fights -- over huge, gigantic, life-altering problems like broccoli and shampoo.

But a magic moment is precious. Those occasions when I see my children using their imaginations, enjoying the moment, smiling with their whole faces and whole hearts -- those are the moments I live for.

And I'll tell you what -- if I have to "manufacture" those moments, I will. If I can make those moments happen more often by organizing some crafts for my kids, or by hiring a princess to come to my daughter's birthday party, or by taking my kids to the park or zoo or even (gasp!) Disneyland, then I'm going to do it. Over and over and over again. And I'm going to take pictures and videos and I'm going to show them to my kids later and say "Look! Remember this? I loved having that day with you! Look how happy you are! I love it when you're happy. I love you!"

No, I don't plan on spoiling my kids. I don't buy them things for no reason. I don't keep them busy every minute of every day. They watch TV. They play outside. They play dress-up. They also help me wash dishes. And sweep the floor. And dust. I can teach them to be good children, children who appreciate hard work and beauty and relationships, while still creating exciting experiences for them. They are not doomed to be spoiled brats just because I set up that no-mess finger painting thing I saw on Pinterest (which, by the way, doesn't work too well).

So, to the author of that article, I just want to say that if you think I would create experiences for my children so that I can "win the game," you're wrong. You're wrong and you're judging me. (And by the way, by judging me, you're playing the game. Could you stop, please?). I try to make my kids' childhood magical, as much as I can, because I love them, and this is one way I've chosen to show it. I love them and I know there is only so much time before the magic fades, and they realize that Tigger is actually a guy in a Tigger suit. And man, that breaks my heart.

So until then, here's to all the magic I can manufacture, for myself and for my kids -- because we all deserve it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Closet quiz taker

Can we all just agree that personality quizzes are kinda the best? I mean, I don't know why finding out which root vegetable you are most like brings a certain amount of clarity to life, but I'll be darned if it doesn't!

As much as I love my quizzes, though, I try to stick to a strict "no over-sharing" policy on Facebook. I mean, this might be hard to believe, but not everyone necessarily cares all that much about my alternate identities.

But my blog readers do, for sure. Right?! Of course, right.

And so it is born -- the verifiable dump of quiz results. Enjoy -- this is as deep into my soul as you may ever see.

I got: Rapunzel
This description doesn't fit me at all. I'm actually a happily settled-down, non-adventurous introvert, but whatever.

I got: Frosted Flakes
Yeah, okay. Positivity. Cool. 

I got: Topanga

I got : Dumbledore
Because Dumbledore is the best.

I got: Lady Sybil
She's so my favorite. But let's be honest, she's way cooler than me. I'm probably Edith in real life.

I got: Georgia
The funny thing is that I had a hard time answering some of these questions, so I took it a couple times and answered in different ways....and I got the same result! I do like peaches. And Coke. 

I got: Jiminy Cricket
Haha -- "combination of easygoing and skeptical" actually describes me pretty well. Also, fun fact: did you know that Pinocchio actually kills the cricket in the original story? Okay, that fact isn't fun. 

I got: Peeta
Yeah, I can see this. I also love bread, so... obviously. 

I got: Garamond
Which apparently means I'm regal and stuck up? 

I got: You use your brain equally.
Correction: I use my brain enough to know that 56 and 44 aren't equal. But whatever, man. It's your quiz.

So, am I the only closet quiz taker out there? Any memorable results you'd like to share?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Parker - 4 months

{I know this picture is awful quality-wise, but the subject is adorable anyway!}

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Goal tracking sheet

If you've ever read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, then you know that she highly recommends having some kind of chart to help track your goals/resolutions/whatever you want to call them.

(And if you've never read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, would you do that soon, please? It's wonderful.)

So last year, in an attempt to be smarter about my goals, I did just that. It was a nice little sheet that I printed every month to help me see the progress I was making on my "things to do." And while my goals didn't quite work out the way I wanted them to last year, it certainly wasn't because of my goal sheet!

This year, my goal sheet got an update, and I'm pretty proud of it. We don't need to go into what the old one looked like, but just know that this one is better. Behold:

As you can see, I've divided the sheet up into sections: daily (read the Bible and the Book of Mormon -- not one of my specified goals, but definitely something I need to do), weekly, monthly, ongoing (to do over the course of the year), and one-time (to do once during the year). 

This gives me a very visual idea of the progress I'm making on my goals. Daily and weekly things get checkmarks when they're finished, and everything else just gets crossed off.

I also changed the color of the text for ongoing and one-time things that I need to do this month to be on track. For example, I want to write 24 blog posts this year. To do that, I should technically write 2 in January. So I made the numbers 1 and 2 purple, to help me see that that's what I need to do this month. I also picked a few one-time things to focus on this month, and I changed their color, too. 

If you're a goal-setter (or want to be), I seriously recommend doing this! It keeps track of everything so nicely. It takes a little work to get the first one set up just the way you want it done, but once you've got that first one done, updating it every month is so fast! 

So get to it, why don't ya?

Monday, January 20, 2014

35 Things To Do in 2014

Ah...2013. I think I'll refer to it as "The Year of Parker." I found out I was pregnant a few days after Christmas 2012, so January-September 7 was aaaaaallll about being pregnant, you know? Maybe because I didn't have school to deal with this time around (I did with both of the girls), or maybe because I was pregnant with two kids, or maybe my Zodiac sign was aligned just so with the moon, but I was very into being pregnant this time around. It took a lot out of me and I gave it a lot of time and energy. (And I loved it, by the way.)

And then after September 7, it was aaaaaallll about having a newborn. And I don't think I have to explain that to anyone.

The point of that was to tell you that 2013's goals...well...they didn't exactly...survive. I mean, I'll give myself some credit: I did make goals. And I made these amazing goal sheets that helped me keep track of them. And I even kept up with some of them pretty well and checked a few big things off my list. And then it got to be like August and I realized how far behind I was and I got discouraged and busy with other things and everything goal-related just sort of...stopped.

But, even though I was plenty occupied for the rest of the year, I still missed my goals. And that is why I've got a sparkly new list for 2014. Who's excited?!


Just me?


In an effort to be super committed to my list this year, I've decided to return to holding myself accountable to the 5 or so people who actually read this blog. Yes, you. You are my motivation! Don't let me down!

My list this year is pretty simple, and (let's be honest) not terribly ambitious. I wanted to be super realistic and push myself to do things that should happen on their own, but never really seem to (if that makes sense). Some are also straight up repeats of past years' goals, but are so great they deserve to be done again!

And so, here we go - my 35 Things of 2014. (If you want to know why I follow a "to-do list" type format for my goals, check out this post)

35 Things To Do in 2014

1. read Jesus the Christ
2. read The Book of Mormon with a study guide or complementary book
3. index 500 names
4. private
5. private
6. private
7. read or listen to a General Conference talk every week
8. read at least 3 articles in every Ensign
9. research Kindergarten options for Maddy and get her on waiting lists if necessary
10. potty train Charly
11. learn to french braid
12. add water to food storage
13. create chores (or similar system) for kids
14. organize family photos
15. learn a new song (not a hymn) on the piano
16. update the software on my laptop (loooong overdue!)
17. exercise once a week
18. take a class
19. read 2 "classics" I've never read
20. write 24 blog posts
21. write in journal twice a month
22. organize a girls' night
23. read 24 books (a downsize from past years, but I find myself reading less and less these days. This will push me.)
24. pay off (x amount) in student loans (those pesky things)
25. save cash according to this system
26. try 20 new healthy recipes (my goal last year was 30, and I made it to 15, so 20 will push me a bit)
27. go to The Melting Pot
28. finish hosting project (a work project that has taken me forever)
29. another work project that I don't really feel like explaining
30. print and hang new family pics
31. reupholster kitchen chairs
32. clean upstairs closet
33. redecorate master bedroom
34. donate to D.I.
35. redecorate pot shelf in kitchen

Okay, so it's kind of lame to have those "private" ones on numbers 4-6, but I decided I wasn't comfortable sharing them. Sorry. My list, my rules!

I'm really excited for this year and I'm excited to push my mother-of-three self. It's definitely a "self" that I'm still getting used to being, and I'm excited to prove to myself that I can still accomplish things, even though I often feel overwhelmed and inadequate.

So did you make a list this year? Or set some resolutions? I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Parker, months 1-3

One of the (very few) things I think I did right with Charly was to make monthly updates with a picture and some facts about her at that age (see here and here - oh my, she was cute). So, in my desperate attempt to hold tight to those few things I actually do right as a parent, I've taken monthly pictures of Parker and jotted down a few things about him at each age. And now, that he's almost 4 1/2 months old, it's the perfect time to update you on months 1-3, right?

I mean, it feels like it happened in the blink of an eye to I'm just trying to give you a "real" experience here. Or...something like that.

So, let's get to it, before the kid grows any more!



He's kind of awesome.