Almost every religion looks bad when forced to deal with the criticism of atheists. But almost every religion can be improved by taking these criticisms seriously.
Because of the way the Mormon Church works, you're either with them 100 percent on everything or you're out. If you are LGB or T and act on it, then you will be excommunicated, your name will be removed from Church records and you're no longer a member.
My parents moved us to Utah when I was ten, and there I became so used to the Mormon habit of not swearing that even into my twenties when I was in graduate school, I struggled with books and movies that I was required to watch/read for my studies that had bad language in them.
The words Black, White, and Mormon are all important parts of my identity, they were also the title of a conference recently held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The conference attempted to create a platform for a critical conversation; the intersection of race and the LDS church.
We Mormons often find ourselves explaining to people why we can't drink alcohol, coffee, or tea and why we don't smoke. It's part of a revelation that the prophet Joseph Smith had called "The Word of Wisdom" which is part of Mormon scripture.
All of our 12 apostles are white, our nine female auxiliary leaders are white, and most of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy are white.
Explorers come in all shapes and flavors. From the Vikings to the Spanish conquistadors; from the Portuguese to the English, those with restless souls who craved adventure found it difficult to resist a challenge.
When it comes to tackling hard questions about Mormonism, gender, and equality, real leadership has come from Mormon women.
Of course, I cannot speak for every Mormon woman. Each of us has a different experience, but here are a few of the experiences which I think unite us. I hope that this make us as a whole a little less mysterious to outsiders, and perhaps even to the Mormon men who think they know us so well.
Isn't that what we need in our country right now -- some kind of breakthrough through the stalemates all around us? What exactly would it take to widen our own perspective enough to gain new insights about ourselves? My own experience suggests that answers may be closer than we realize.
I spent several years of my children's early years as a Mormon "Prepper" and while it may well have been a manifestation of the years-long depression I had suffered, I thought it would be useful to explain why I now think I did what I did.
I know all the clichés. We Mormons sometimes make fun of them ourselves. But as a mother whose daughter recently returned from the Houston, Texas mission, I've found that I have new insights about what is the best thing to do in various situations.
God doesn't do what He does for his own purposes. He does what He does to help us move farther along the path to happiness in an eternal sense.
As an active Mormon who has battled addiction throughout my life, I found these videos to be both powerful and beautiful. The Mormon Church isn't holding back -- it is making a concerted effort to tackle addiction head-on. These videos are raw, and in some cases, quite heartbreaking.
I thought I smelled a rat. Turns out six years later I was correct. NOM repeatedly broke Maine's election law, and its president Brian Brown lied about it all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.
While I think that being excommunicated from the Mormon church would not mean being excommunicated from God, it certainly made me feel that I was unworthy and I feared it would cause a relapse of the depression that began my faith crisis 10 years ago.