The Problem with Automatically Changing Women’s Last Names and What to do if it Happens to You

When I got married in May, I had long since decided to keep the name I’ve had since birth. My name was already attached to higher degrees, as well as publications and teaching records. More importantly, my last name is an integral part of my identity that connects me to my family’s Quebecois roots.My husband supported my decision, but as many women have discovered before me, a number of family and friends objected. Some of my fellow Mormons objected to my decision on the grounds that the Chu … [Read more...]

A Safe Space to Turn for Peace

As a kid growing up in New York City, I was blessed to have safe spaces that offered me emotional and spiritual havens from the tumult of the city streets and my parents’ marriage. The church building, located just a few blocks from my apartment and now the Manhattan temple, was the most important of those spaces. Some of my earliest memories of church involve watching Homefront television spots in the Visitors’ Center (now clothing rental, I think?). In high school, I joined newspaper delivery m … [Read more...]

The Living Church

Carvaggio's "Entombment of Christ" embodies his naturalistic reconstruction of biblical events, and emphasizes the living and corporeal nature of divinity.

Metaphors are an inexact science. But sometimes they can capture feelings and anxieties in a way that scientific language rarely can. Perhaps that is why scriptural texts are filled with metaphoric language: the body of Christ, the stone cut from the mountain, the living waters. In the revelation designated as the “preface” to the Doctrine and Covenants, it is declared that the Church is not only “true”—a description over which many religions have battled—but also that it is “living.” The gospel, … [Read more...]

It’s Not About Questions—and it is

In piecing together the sobering events over the last week, one of the most common interpretations I’ve seen is one offered by Dehlin and Kelly themselves and echoed over much of social media: that these disciplinary actions are intended to repress or punish questions and conversations.In the recent Trib interview with John Dehlin and Kate Kelly, Dehlin argued that the situation signals the Church is “trying to stem the tide of Mormons asking hard questions and struggling”; in Kelly’s interpr … [Read more...]

On Church Discipline for Dissenting Groups

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Mormon community here. I am neither a Mormon Stories fan nor an advocate of ordaining women, so I write this column with some trepidation. No matter how hard I try to be sympathetic, some people will inevitably find me judgmental or condescending; try as I might to understand, some people will conclude that I have distorted their opinions to make mine l … [Read more...]

Who Calls Apostasy? Picking up the Pieces When Local Leaders Fail

Kate Kelly is not my favorite Mormon feminist, and Ordain Women is a movement I've never agreed with. In fact, I've gone out of my way to make it clear that I'm in a different feminist camp.But the news that the Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly would soon face a disciplinary council for apostasy and possibly be excommunicated - all in absentia since she moved across the country before receiving the news - struck a chord with me. It reawakened that bubble of fear that lives in a tiny, nearly … [Read more...]

Second Life and the Second Estate

From a hillside in Missouri, one can look out upon a relatively nondescript valley verdant with seasonal crops. It is to here, it is said, that Adam and Eve fled upon expulsion from the Garden of Eden and offered prayer to God and it is to here, it is said, that Adam will gather his posterity at the last day. Adam-ondi-Ahman, as Joseph Smith called the valley, is a locus of human-divine communication and visitation in Mormon theo-history.There is, however, another Adam-ondi-Ahman in the … [Read more...]

Kirtland Temple: An Excerpt from the Book

On June 2, the University of Illinois Press released my first book, Kirtland Temple: The Biography of Shared Mormon Sacred Space. For my post this month, I thought that I would give the readers a small sampling of my new work. While most of my book covers the Kirtland Temple in the twentieth century, the following excerpt is drawn from my first chapter that narrates the emergence and uses of the temple in the 1830s and 40s. This excerpt pays particular attention to how Joseph Smith created a … [Read more...]


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