April 26, 2018

    Recently my alma mater, Brigham Young, mailed a request for donations. To my great surprise, it was addressed to a woman I’ve never met: Emily Ashcroft. You see, my husband’s name is Gary Ashcroft, which leads to all sorts of mix ups where people assume I go by his last name. When we got married, generous people wrote out checks to “Gary and Emily Ashcroft” without realizing that I had no way to deposit them. And every time… Read more

April 3, 2018

There’s no denying the historic nature of Saturday’s sustaining vote for two new apostles. Elder Gerrit Gong is Chinese American, while Elder Ulisses Soares was born and raised in Brazil, where he established his career before working for the Church. Like many members of the Church, I was overjoyed to see two men of color join the Quorum of the Twelve, a development I didn’t dare hope for after so many uninterrupted years with only white apostles. But there’s another… Read more

March 30, 2018

The more stories break about women who’ve been abused or sexually harassed by Mormon leaders, the more I realize how lucky I’ve been. Still, a recent guest post at The Exponent hit close to home because the writer, another Emily B, shares my first name and last initial. There are many Emily B’s in the world, but reading this article by someone with my name felt like watching another version of myself through the looking glass. It underlined how easily I could… Read more

March 21, 2018

The interview between an anonymous woman and Joseph Bishop, a former MTC president, is difficult to listen to. Last night I read the entire transcript and listened to the most pertinent portions of the recording. In all literalness (and I’m a writing teacher, so I mean it when I say “literal”), it left me feeling sick to my stomach. What Happened: If you haven’t already listened, here’s the gist: the interviewer initially presents herself as a reporter who is covering… Read more

March 20, 2018

  Author’s note: I originally wrote this post months ago, just as the #MeToo compaign was getting started, long before the #MormonMeToo movement had gained momentum. Several times now, I’ve gone through this post and updated references that were outdated, but each time I’ve stopped short of posting. This post shares some stories from my extended family, and even after years of sharing these experiences, it’s still difficult to make myself vulnerable in that way. But I’ve also hesitated because… Read more

March 19, 2018

More than a week since opening night, A Wrinkle in Time has evoked some surprisingly polarizing responses. Most seem to either love or hate it, with a few taking middle-of-the-road positions. I fall into the disappointed camp after seeing it on opening night (technically the day before opening night, though I’m still not sure why the theatre can do that). Despite the misgivings that some of the later trailers gave me, I went in hoping against hope that it would… Read more

February 14, 2018

In the wake of revelations about former White House Chief of Staff Rob Porter, another revelation has shocked many Mormons: both wives approached their local bishop – one ex-wife even approached three! But by and large, they did not receive the help and support that they needed. In some cases, the bishop even suggested that the abuse was in some way the wife’s fault, that she could change the situation by being more loving or by improving the spiritual side… Read more

February 3, 2018

One of the most common canards about Mormon teachings —embraced by attempted comics both left and right— is that faithful Mormons will, in the afterlife, “get their own planets.” This idea derives from certain genuinely Mormon concepts of divinization: our Heavenly Parents [fn1] wish for us to become as They are: Co-creators of worlds and Parents to those worlds’ inhabitants. But I’m not sure what people like Trey Parker and Matt Stone, writers of the The Book of Mormon musical, imagine this… Read more

January 17, 2018

A friend recently asked me to share my thoughts on Russell M. Nelson’s appointment as the new President of the Church and his choice of counselors. My feelings and thoughts are both still somewhat jumbled, in part because I didn’t actually expect Pres. Nelson to break with the (totally unofficial) tradition and send a counselor back to the Q12. So I’ll ignore my feelings and stick to my thoughts on each apostle who just joined or left the First Presidency, and I’ll… Read more

January 6, 2018

When I taught writing courses at Brigham Young University, President Monson always provided a great go-to example of the passive voice. Without bothering to look up a quote, I’d rattle off a quick and sentimental list: “Hearts were touched, tears were shed, doors were opened.” See what I mean? It sounds like something President Monson might at some point have said, even though I made that up as I typed. Telling inspirational stories was one of his endearing qualities, and… Read more

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