“Our Marriage Works Because We Have a Mutual Respect for Each Other”

Interfaith “I’m a Mormon” ad:

Love it.

I do think this couple is interfaith-lite in that the wife seems fairly agnostic. She acknowledges not going to church or being interested in church and at one point says, “If there’s a God up there…” At the end she says that she’s married to a Mormon and “has a family full of them,” so I assume that means she consented to raising the children LDS or letting the children convert to it. Those factors can take a lot of the tension out of an interfaith relationship, as opposed to a marriage between two practicing people of different faiths where each partner would like to see the children become members of his or her own religion.

I don’t entertain any delusions of the LDS church showing up on our door and asking to do a Mormon ad on my husband, but I would have difficulty doing what the wife does at the end of the video—saying, “I’m [name] and I’m not a Mormon.” I dislike identifying as a “not-a-Mormon.” I’d insist on being identified by what I am, not what I’m not.

Still, it is a great message of tolerance and respect for what one’s family members “believe or don’t believe,” and I’m pleased to see the LDS church running it. Kudos to Kenneth Barber and Christine Raldon (sp?) for appearing in it. You two have a beautiful family and I wish you nothing but the best.

Will we ever see an “I’m a Mormon” ad about a couple wherein one spouse has left the church and the other remains in it? I’d like to.

An emerging choice

“NO!” Our daughter screamed. “I . . . don’t . . . WANT to go to your church!” She tilted her chin downward, crooked her hands into her armpits (like she was trying to put them on her hips, but was way too high—much funnier and cuter), looked up with her most defiant glare, and stamped her foot.

That was our household this past Sunday morning. The person she was yelling at was her father. The church she didn’t want to go to was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was my Sunday to visit her father’s church, so I wasn’t going to my church, either.

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Amen, Robert Kirby

Here’s the thing: She doesn’t leave you or her church. What now? Do you focus on the difference or on the things you still love about her? Do you still try to be worthy of her love in every other respect?

Lots of people in this situation don’t. She nags you about the church. You sneer at her beliefs. Eventually religion isn’t the problem anymore. It’s just the battlefield where you fight over everything else.

Eventually your spouse is not the person you thought you married. But if you’re willing to abandon the person you swore to love forever over a shift in belief, then neither are you.

You don’t end up getting divorced because of religion. More than likely you divorce because one or both of you couldn’t tell the difference between control and love.

Whole thing here.

Zelophehad’s Daughters: The Remake

26:33 And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

27:1 Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. 
27:2 And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 

27:3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. 
27:4 Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. 
27:5 And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.
27:6 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
27:7 The daughters of Zelophehad speak with darkened minds and hardened hearts: thou shalt surely say unto them, Know ye not that my people are led by a prophet who doth speaketh with the LORD as one man speaketh with another? And know ye not that the law as pertaining to the division of the land was given by the LORD, and is just and pleasing thereof, and that if the LORD had wanted a man’s daughters to have possession of the land along with his sons, it should have been that way from the beginning?
27:8 And say unto the daughters of Zelophehad, thou shalt not lobby for thine rights, for thou shalt be virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, and of good report, knowing thine roles and responsibilities as women and mothers.
27:9 And if thou dost not like it, thou shalt leave, and go out from the people of Israel. Therefore, let thy cries come before the LORD no more.

That’s how the Scripture reads, right? Right, General Young Women President Elaine S. Dalton? Right, Mormons on Facebook who keep on telling your fellow Mormons that it would be better for them to leave the LDS church altogether than to petition their leaders to let women pray in General Conference, because the church is led by God and if he’d wanted women to pray in Conference, it would be done already?

Look, there just isn’t a polite way to say this: you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Today I spaketh in church

I talked about my daughter’s disabilities, her upcoming cleft palate repair surgery this Wednesday, and what God has been teaching me through her. Just for a few minutes. It was part testimony and part exhortation.

Audio is here. While I recommend the entire sermon, I am in at about 17 minutes.

An Interfaith Pantsimony

I did not grow up in a religious home. My parents would have self-identified as Christians, but not practicing ones. We seldom went to church or talked about God, and I don’t recall ever praying with them or reading the Bible with them. As far as being a woman goes, I was always told that I could do anything that I put my mind to. Nobody ever told me that there would be certain things that I would be unable to do simply because I was a girl.

Until I turned 16 and began studying Mormonism. To be clear, initially I was excited about the structure and ordinances of the LDS church. I liked that there were tangible and distinct offices for deacons, elders, bishops, priests, apostles and prophets. I liked that the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit was its own ordinance, and that there were blessings for healing. I was excited about the prospect of being a part of all of that. And then I learned that I would never be permitted to participate in any of it because I was a woman. It was kind of like finding out that there really is a Santa Claus, but he only brings presents to boys. Of course, the arguments and justifications for marginalizing women were rolled out to me. I thought all of them were transparently terrible. Still do.

Please deposit “men have priesthood, women have babies” arguments here

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Of Health & Healing: Part 3 of …

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”

Mark 2:17 was the first verse of Scripture that I ever memorized. “Doctor Jesus” was the theme for the summer camp that I went to between sixth and seventh grade, and the camp “t-shirt” that year was a greenish-gray hospital scrub with a terrible drawing of Jesus in a doctor’s lab coat emblazoned on the back. The whole thing strikes me as more than a little hokey and silly in retrospect, but if I can still recall the verse they were trying to teach from 18 years later, then I guess it worked. Well played, Nazarene youth camp leaders. Well played.

My relationship with doctors has generally been unhealthy. There are very few kinds of authority in my life which I accept uncritically; I’m the kind of person who must question and understand everything. Unfortunately, most of the doctors I’ve had have been people who seemed to like patients who just do what they’re told—and in fairness to them, some patients like that. I don’t. I treat my health the same way I treated my wedding-planning: I listen very politely and considerately to what other people think I should do, and then I do whatever the hell I want. My wedding, my body, same diff. I’ll certainly give greater weight to the opinion of a doctor in regards to my health, but in the end, there is no such thing as “doctor’s orders” for me. The only people who get me to do what they want me to do are the ones who persuade me to see things their way.

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