Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I have a new favorite song. It combines Primary music (love) with Christmas music (SO MUCH LOVE).

It is The Shepherd's Carol and I don't ever remember hearing before last Sunday but it was love at first listen.

Mary, Mary, hush, see the Child. 
Joseph, Joseph, look, see how mild!
This is Jesus; this is our King. 
This is our Savior; his praises we sing.

All God's children, come to adore, 
Bringing gifts of love evermore.
This is Jesus; this is our King. 
This is our Savior; his praises we sing.

I love This is Jesus; this is our King, but there were a couple of other words especially catching my ear that morning. They were look and see.

Our Savior came to light the darkness, give sight to the blind. The scriptures are replete with references to our need to refine our sense of sight and to Christ's role in that endeavor.

Recently I was reading the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the discourse on the mote and the beam. Because I am a not-very-smart writer of a very stupid blog it has taken me a long time, and many readings, to realize that I've always stopped short in the application of the mote/beam concept.

I must have thought the point was to remove my beam and examine it.

And examine it.

And examine it.

And examine it.

Man, my beam is freaking huge. I'm a really terrible person. I can't stop talking, thinking, obsessing over my ridiculous beam.

Look at me and my beam!

After all these years I guess I finally finished the sentence in verse 5.The point was not to see myself more clearly (although this is desirable generally) but to see the other most clearly of all. To see another's pain. To see another's needs. To see another's soul.

Not for the correction but for the understanding.

I see your pain. I'm not going to tell you how to get rid of it; I'm going to mourn with you over it.

I see your needs. I'm not going to tell you how to meet them; I'm going to give you what you need.

I see your soul. And I can't help but love you for the beauty of it.

I'm not there yet. This is mostly a hope I have in my heart. Something I'm only capable of executing in mere moments-at-a-time.

But in those precious, gifted moments of ethereal empathy I finally, finally see that this is Jesus; this is our King.

This is my Savior; His praises I sing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I keep hearing about this and I want to read it...

 But I decided I first needed to read the book that came before it...

So I did and it's beautiful and deep, and it has other people likewise enthralled because they, too, have gone back to it with the publication of Lila and all I can think of is ways to force people to participate in my sad, little, defunct online book club that worked a little, but not a lot.

So, dear sisters, mothers, and known and unknown friends, I'm coming for you this Thanksgiving looking for a commitment to read and discuss Gilead. Just one more discussion. For me. And a sad, little, not quite dead book club.

If you say nothing then I'll know you want to. See you next week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Journey back with me, if you will, to last year and a drive to soccer practice with my then-12-year-old daughter. Her history class was covering ancient civilizations and she was expressing her absolute, unwavering disgust and horror at two Aztec practices: human sacrifice and polygamy.

I said, well, I've got some good news for you.

Mormons have never practiced human sacrifice.

This is the day my daughter first found out about our church's history with polygamy. I talked mostly about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, including some uncomfortable and confusing aspects like the young age of some of the wives and polyandry. From there, I let the conversation go wherever Grace wanted to take it. She was mostly concerned with Emma. How did she react? How did she feel?

As a few mainstream news sources picked up the church's release of its essays on polygamy, the buzz in the bloggernacle has turned to whether or not members have a right to be upset/ruffled/utterly-confounded by something they could/should have already known.

I guess?

All I can say is what happened to me.

Growing up in New England, polygamy was probably the first thing someone brought up when they found out I was a Mormon. How many wives does your dad have, har, har? I was a kid in New England, in case you couldn't tell. I didn't really know anything about it and I didn't really want to. It seemed so embarrassing.

On my mission we were asked about polygamy at least daily. Our canned answers included pointing out that less than 1% of the population practiced polygamy, that it came about as an effort to care for the widowed poor, and most emphatically, an assurance that it was strictly against current policy. (It is important to note that these were the answers suggested for us to give.)

As you can see I had spent my life to this point a jumble of willful ignorance, naiveté and misinformation.

I was in pretty good company, though, with a large group of sister missionaries from all kinds of families and homelands across the globe. If any of my fellow sisters knew more than I did about polygamy, they weren't talking.

The "widowed poor" reasoning always made me bristle. It didn't seem right. And it wasn't. But even this bristling feeling wasn't enough to prompt me to do any real research on the matter.

In my own (very poor) defense, however, I couldn't have imagined what I would one day find.

Polygamy to me meant simply* "multiple wives."

I never dreamed that it also meant begrudging consent, emotional threats regarding eternal salvation, teenage brides, and deceit (as in the case of Emma).

Is the fact that these details came as a surprise on me? On the church? Maybe... both?

Despite what you may infer from this stupid blog, my life wasn't all Simpsons and Andy Gibb.**

I studied the scriptures, listened to General Conference, read books by general authorities, took religion courses, and attended church. Just like you, I suspect.

The angel and the sword just... never came up.

My 15-year-old has been studying the Doctrine & Covenants in seminary this year. I have been meaning to have a heart to heart with him about what he is (or possibly is not) learning.

Last night I brought up the essays, how and why I believed they were created and published, and how they were recently picked up by the news.

He did not share his sister's emotional response. He simply agreed that we need to talk more about these things, be upfront with them. Let's talk about it, he said.

There's a lot of difference of opinion about whose responsibility it is to teach the church's history.

Certainly we can't cover it all in church. But we can't ignore it there either since our historical narrative is also tied up in our doctrines and practices, things we talk about every week.

Chatting with a history buff of a friend recently, I shared that my hope for the church and its approach to its own history hinges on two words: wisdom and integrity.

Whether in our homes or in the prickly-coated walls of our chapels, our history is ideally taught with both. The wisdom to know what to reveal, to whom and when. And the integrity to face the bad with the good and not be tempted to obscure, even when there are no easy answers.

There seems to be every indication that this is exactly where we are headed.

And it's a very hopeful and good thing.

But, please, consider granting a little grace to us ignorant, naive fools who have been (and continue to be) jarred by these things. We were good kids, even if we did dream about 70s pop icons just a little too much.***

**Oh that it were.
***Just kidding. No such thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

In an effort to be encouraging, adults are always touting the fun of making new friends but this is a lie. Making new friends is awkward and painful. The first encounter is simple enough, except where I likely forget your name. But I can generally fake normal pretty well in this stage.

It's every encounter after that that wrecks me. I have to be enough of myself to see if there is potential for us to ever move beyond talk of how much we hate our bodies, but I can't be so much myself that I give you an anecdote to share at the next park day. It's a delicate balance that I usually flub.

I think I can save us all some time here. If you think this is funny, will you come find me? I want to sit next to you at whatever social function I am being awkward at.

The I-can't-seem-to-get-the-video-to-post-so-go-to-this-link link.

Thank you for you consideration.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Do me a favor and swing by The Mormon Misfit Podcast where you can listen in as two funny friends allow me to ramble and never make me feel bad about it (Episode 10).

 You will find out that I believe this is true:
 And also this:

But one of those things you already knew.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sometimes on a Friday afternoon things slow down and I find myself with a little extra time to sit and think about the ways I'm ruining my children.

One of the ways is Family Home Evening.

Family Home Evening is a fantastic program that brings a family together one night a week for music, spiritual messages, prayer and, most importantly, food.

A few months ago I finally got to give a lesson. The competition for being in charge of lessons is stiff around here and I managed to get myself front and center. My lesson was entitled "Don't follow the Prophet: Why we should Listen to the Prophet and Follow Jesus Christ".

I haven't been given the floor since.

Another time we were having a lesson about preparing to enter the temple. My daughter had gleaned her lesson from an old temple prep manual that the church library was pawning off to make room for new (significantly more awesome) publications. She had us role playing a temple recommend interview based on this page from that manual, most specifically the N. Eldon Tanner quote. I'll give you a moment to peruse, but in a nutshell, it involved making sure the interviewee understood that he or she should absolutely not be involved in any unnatural practices, then asking a bunch more questions before giving the subject extra time to reflect and really, really make sure that he or she isn't doing anything unnatural. (Hint: you probably are.)

We had a good laugh and assured the children that the word unnatural had never even once made its way into a temple recommend interview we've participated in, that no one has ever given us extra time to make sure we weren't actually lying earlier and that the interviewer/leader under most circumstances is someone who already loves you.

But I digress because I haven't gotten to the part where I ruin my children this time.

Being me, I decided this was the perfect time to explain why I am not a fan of using the word worthy in conjunction with the temple. I explained that since we are always in a state of both worthiness (of God's love) and unworthiness (as fallen beings) a better expression would be "I have qualified for the temple" instead of "I am worthy of the temple".

Well, the other day my teenage son gave me the old wink-and-elbow as he used the word qualified instead of worthy in a discussion we were having and I got really, really scared.

Because it's working.

They're listening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

As a blogger I'm not just out to serve my reader (Dad). I also care about the internet user brought here by this blog's most popular Google search term, especially so every September to October.


I suspect you, dear Googler, are considering this awesome costume choice and that's how you ended up here at miss-adventures. I commend you for your good taste and I've bumped this to the top of my blog with you in mind.

If you want to be MacGruber this Halloween, all you need is a cheap synthetic wig, a fishing vest, and a twenty-year-old flannel shirt.

On November 1st, make sure to throw the wig away, give the vest to your grandpa, and sneak the flannel shirt into the Goodwill bag. Next, fish the shirt back out again when MacGruber insists that "he really likes that shirt" and "it's still in style" and "you're wrong, it does not have holes".

So, go on and snag yourself a Vicki St. Elmo as a sidekick and you're set for some Halloween fun in a costume that a handful of people will still actually get.

Have fun! Then come back and tell me about it!