Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I wish I heard: May 15th

Sunday school: The lesson was on faith from the Gospel Principles Manual. 

Non-member asked: why faith ingests? Why not God? 
My thought: that's a good question, a really good question, 
What I wish I heard: quoting Jesus, love God
What I said: he turns our attention to God. In all his teachings he said: follow me and the way to follow my example is to love God.  
What i'm glad I heard: Another woman in the class referenced the 1st article of faith "we believe in God" with emphasis on we believe in God first before Christ. 

What I heard: how to increase faith in God, study scriptures, go to church, act
What was missing: prayer was missing and that was a glaring omission 
What I said: that prayer needs to be included because its an essential part to having faith in God is to develop a personal relationship through prayer. I later thought how prayer needs to be coupled with seeking revealed truth from sources already given. One without the other is not effective but both need to work together. Answers to prayers aren't given if its already written now and accessible to a person but that person refuses to seek it out and rather prayers for it through inspiration. 

What I heard in Relief Society
Hymn: 273 truth reflects upon our senses, Eliza r snow 
What I wish I heard: the last two verses sung, insight into the imperfect view we have of others, judge not 

What I am so glad i heard in a lesson on honesty: an attack on white lies, not defense of them 

 What I heard: a story of a white lie told. Woman told how her son lied to someone when he said he loved plays, but it was not true. Then the person who was told the lie spoke up and said that she was the one lied to. Hilarious! 

What I'm glad I heard: taking more than what we need takes from other is a form of theft and dishonestly, specifically mentioning over-consumption
What I wish I heard: More about the injustice present in the world when so many have more than enough and even more do not have enough. Would have loved to hear The Life You Can Save mentioned.  

What I heard: gospel principles definition of cheating- workforce issues, injustice against employees 
What I said: we have a role in standing up against that injustice and there are many opportunities to add our voice in opposition, consumer advocacy groups, workers rights. The internet provides some really effective, quick and easy ways of contacting legislators through organizations like, MomsRising, etc. What I wish I heard: recognition that women aren't likely to be in the role of the dishonest and oppressive employers because 1) Mormon women are discouraged from being in the work force and generally when they are in the work force are in low-paying, jobs required little skill and training and are not likely to be in leadership/corporate roles.     

What I heard: people focusing fear of damnation for slight actions  

What I wish I heard: people stating a balance of faith in repentance, desire to do the right thing, recognize the damage done to ourselves rather than focus on external punishments. Do some Mormons really believe that hell is an external punishment rather than the manifestations of our own conscience holding us accountable?  

What I heard: hymn Oh Say What is Truth, last verse, loved it.  

What I wish I heard: a talk on the transcendence of truth, maybe a blog post? Anyone know of a good article on this topic? 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What I Wish I Heard: Mother's Day Edition. Don't Say I didn't warn you.

What I heard: mothers day program 

What I wish I heard: the remainder of church is cancelled for families to go home and enjoy the holiday OR last week, church is canceled on Mother's Day.  OR In honor of mothers day, priesthood are invited to administer the sacrament to their families.  

 What I heard: CS Lewis quotes: all careers are in support of the greatest career of all- homemaking

What I wish I heard: this jives with the concept of Radical Homemaking, that indeed our families and are lives are the greatest careers and the purpose for us living. Men need to also return to the home, embrace the principles of Equally Shared Parenting (hey, its in the Proclamation...). Society needs to reorder its priorities so that families can be together, that both men and woman can learn to be skilled nurturers and that both women and men can use their intellects, skills and knowledge to contribute to the larger world.  

What I heard: a truly awful talk on Sheri Dews Aren't we all mothers talk. Be happy you weren't in my ward today. My head almost exploded. 
1. Denigrating men- comment that the talk is only talking to women because of course men can't also be mothers.  
2. Comparison priesthood to motherhood "how is that fair that men get to move mountains and women suffer childbirth?"
3. Putting octopus mother on a pedestal for dying in order to care for her young, not sleeping, eating or moving for a month as she uses her last breath to care for her young. Really!? Is that what we want to suggest to our human mothers that all her efforts that go into caring for her children should bring her to the point of her death?  


What I heard: a how to talk on teaching children based on Elder Uuchtdoorfs talk on parenting (I think priesthood session?) from last conference , it was nice.

What I wish I heard: mention of Heavenly Mother somewhere, somehow. recognition of the difficulty and challenge of motherhood and the importance of fathers, family and community members to support and assist mothers. encouragement for mothers to care for themselves by letting go and sharing of some of the mothering responsibility so that they can pursue the skills and abilities they have gained through their lives and education. Of course, too much to ask, but we're working on it. 

What I heard: a woman saying the closing prayer in sacrament. So there you go, it does happen.  

What I witnessed: the honoring mother's ceremony at the end of sacrament. The Young Women passed around little bags of chocolates with a decorated card quoting President Hinckley. It was a good quote about recognizing the challenge of mothering and promising the blessings of the Spirit to guide mothers in their efforts. However, I did not receive one for whatever reason. I was busy with a toddler on my lap and she ran out of her supply when she got to me and then didn't get back to me to give me one and I wasn't about to ask to make sure that I had one. Its a good thing that my mother was there, she got hers and we shared it. 

After sacrament, I left church early to attend Ina May Gaskin event in Seattle at Town Hall. Now there is a way to honor mothers! To read more about it, hop over to my birth blog: Descent into Motherhood.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What will they say about me when I die?

I am lifting the following exercise from a recent post on Feminist Mormon Housewives. A new self-help book aiming to assist people of my generation to find their purpose in life provided the exercise. What follows are my answers:

Thought Experiment: You’ve died. You are at your own funeral. What do you want your friends and family to say about you? What did you do with your life? Write down five things you hope people say about the legacy that you’ve left. Write down five things you hope people say about your personality.

1. She was a seeker of truth and was open-minded, and respectful in the finding of it. She embraced the belief in the gospel that all good things come from God and that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. She would embrace truth, quite literally, wherever it could be found--in Islam, Unitarian Universalism, Paganism, Gnosticism, Physics, Astronomy and Chemistry. She was a student of life and found great joy in it.

2. She wanted to make a difference in the world and she worked diligently to address some of the injustices and inequalities that people, especially women throughout the world face. Her involvement in non-profit organizations and humanitarian works helped the lives of many. One of the things she was fond of saying was that she didn't want to make a difference in the life of a child, but she wanted to make a difference in the life of many. She worked at the systems level to address the root causes of poverty, abuse and barriers to living a full and happy life.

3. She prioritized her family while at the same time set the example to them to be anxiously engaged in a good cause (or in her case, many). Her children were involved with her and shared her with the people of the world. They had the opportunity to see and do many things that provided service to others because of the example and encouragement of their mother. She was actively involved with them at all levels of their lives and somehow found a balance in the limited hours of each day to show them they were loved and benefited from her presence and involvement in their lives.

4. She was a believer in the radical Jesus: the Jesus who was friends with the sinners and who was compassionate to their experiences, the socialist who believed in complete redistribution of wealth, the empowerment and equality of women and the Christ-like love that each person needs to achieve their potential.

5. She knew hardship, difficulty, pain and injustice and she was able to find strength from her experiences and turn them around to be compassionate towards others, to support and comfort them.

Core Values: Discover what drives you. What principles guide your actions and ideal self? Try to strip away all cultural conditioning and/or religious rhetoric and assess five core values by which you live your life and inform who you want to be. Write these down. Evaluate if there any disconnect between what you wrote down in step one and step two.

Maybe I already did this up above. Just pulling from there, we find that I value: openness to truth/goodness, compassion, advocacy, social justice and idealism.

Find Your Purpose: Why does what you are doing matter? What motivates and inspires you to keep following these values? Chose a purpose. It can be big or small, but has to be intentional. It is the reason for your goals and can change over time. If you are struggling to find your purpose try this experiment. Write down your five most valuable gifts and talents. Next, write below those what each of these can be used for. Finally, evaluate what types of careers or activities you would enjoy that would utilize some of these talents.

I'm already doing many of the things I hope to be remembered for so my purpose is described above. Involvement in Solace for Mothers, LDS WAVE, The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services already address some of those values that I hold so deeply. I would someday like to turn those desires and abilities into paid employment and I hope that it will be doing something that addresses the root causes of injustice in the world. I would love to work in humanitarian aid (whether it is at the local, national or global scene) but at the systems level. One of my skills is to look at big picture and see ways to build coalitions and to bring people together, to create ways that people from very different viewpoints can interface with each other in cooperative ways. Most of my efforts are somehow related to system building and connecting people in large communities to harness their combined power into a stronger more unified voice.

Test Your Purpose: Today my purpose will be _____________. To accomplish that I will use my gifts for ________________ to accomplish these specific goals_______________. Later change the timeline to week, month, and year.

Today my purpose will be two fold:
1) to connect with my children and show them the value of caring for others
2) learn about how to structure my family economically so we can be Equal Shared Parenting and Radical Homemaking folks.

To accomplish that I will use my gifts for being involved in national organizations and reading to accomplish these specific goals:
1) I will walk with my children in the March of Dimes walk, teach them to sew and make things we can sell on Talents of Sisters.
2) start reading the book Equally Shared Parenting and discuss with my husband the possibilities that our interests lead us to.

Otherwise, I would say that my goals are year long, or at the very least, seasonal. This year I hope to create an online community for birth advocates that can become a hub for the thousands who care birth issues in our world. This season, we hope to grow some of our own food and make some of our own household products to develop our skills and save money.

Write It All Down: Once you have a purpose you can stick with, write it all down and it will remind your of who you are and what you want to be. I.e.My five core values are ____________. My five core talents are ______________. In the next ten years my purpose will be ______________. The key features of my personal mission statement are ______________.

My five core values are openness to truth/goodness, compassion, advocacy, social justice and idealism.

My five core talents are:
1) building community and cooperation around advocacy efforts
2) addressing root causes of social issues
3) looking at the big picture
4) being respectful and open to differing view points
5) embracing and valuing the good that is inherent in differing perspectives

In the next ten years my purpose will be to:
1) achieve equal partnership in my marriage
2) find paid part-time employment in advocacy work
3) support and contribute to organizations addressing global poverty
4) continue to develop current advocacy organizations
5) educate my children through experiential learning in living the gospel of the radical Jesus.

The key features of my personal mission statement are make a difference in the world, aspire to the ideal, encourage potential, and value balance and compassion to oneself and others.