Friday, October 18, 2013

my input on the final birth control subject

I practically never look at this blog these days.. I didn't know I was missing so much!!

It's funny how we all seem to be going through the same process (end of family thoughts).  At least, Andrea, Kelly and I are.  :-)

YES this has been heard before.  I've been preached the no birth control and no permanent control all my life.  So, it's no wonder I went into a serious depression after getting an IUD years ago (thinking I'd committed a dire sin).  After #6 we were back to condoms.  But, like Andrea, that will NOT work for the long run.

I really, really, really believe in and want to follow the open womb/closed womb principle.  It's my husband that doesn't have faith in that one.  But I do.  I can't not after having the experiences I've had with when, how and why my babies come (or don't come) into our lives.  I have a couple of friends who seriously live with this principle and it works for them.  They're still watchful and careful of their cycles, but it's not like NFP.    Anyway, that would be so ideal for me.  :-)

However, I had a very pleasant experience with the IUD (after my initial shock and sinner response) and so am leaning toward that route when our family is all here.  However, I still do have the "what am I doing to my body?" questions and this decision will be a matter of long prayers!

On the permanent side of things:  even this can go in so many directions.  What one couple deems as a medical issue may be nothing to another couple.  I have a friend who got a hysterectomy after her third baby and swears by them!  There were some medical issues for her...but one of those that others could judge as not necessarily life threatening or anything.

So... all matters between husband and wife, and individually, this subject must be taken up with the Lord.  I think we take in too much of what others say.  It's great to learn from all of the statements, "study it out in your mind and your heart," right?  But once you receive personal confirmation (after seeking and praying) it really doesn't matter what the stake president says, what the handbook says, or what your friends on a blog say!  :-)  That's why I like Andrea's approach in sharing how she came to a decision on the matter.  It was her answer, maybe helpful to others reading, and yet it wasn't "this is how it has to be for everyone" answer.  You know what I mean?

Anyway, such a timely topic for all of us.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Hey guys.  Off topic...
What kind of big family vehicles are you guys driving?  I know what Ju drives.  Nice and roomy.   I know what I want but can't afford (Nissan NV).   And I need something cheaper.

We have this terrible sales tax in CA that will cost us thousands of dollars in taxes and registration if we get a different car, so that is a huge disincentive.  Right now we have an 8 passenger Sienna, which we love, but it is squishy with seven (two in boosters)  and I'm worried about future road trips.

So I was just wondering what other options might be out there.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The quotes I used to teach my RS lesson today

I taught RS today and I talked about women and the priesthood.  I had to laugh because Kami urged caution in my teaching on this topic while Marilyn urged that I forge ahead as it is a timely and necessary topic.  It didn't matter either way.  I got so caught up talking about Eve and how women are viewed by our Father in Heaven that I didn't even get to the crux of matter.  Well, we got to it but not as into it as I had intended.

I started by saying that President Hinckley saying that we don't know why women don't hold the priesthood is still the best answer we have.  Then I talked about Eve and how important it is to understand how different the LDS view of women is compared to other Christian denominations.  Then we talked about how men and women have a symbiotic relationship and how fatherhood is more important than priesthood responsibilities and how fatherhood/motherhood are the most important roles we have.

Then I talked briefly about how we have access to the priesthood through the covenants we made in the temple (nobody protested, Kami) and how we need to live up to the privileges we've been given and utilize the power of the priesthood we have been given in abundance.

Here's the quotes.


Eve--a daughter of God, one of the spirit offspring of the Almighty Elohim-- was among the noble and great in the preexistence. She ranked in spiritual stature, in faith and devotion, in conformity to eternal law with Michael.
--Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall.
--Elder Dallin H. Oaks

The incorrect idea in Christian history that wives should be dependent began with the false premise that the fall of Adam and Eve was a tragic mistake and that Eve was the primary culprit. Thus women's traditional submission to men was considered a fair punishment for Eve's sin. Thankfully, the Restoration clarifies Eve's -- and Adam's -- choice as essential to the eternal progression of God's children. We honor rather than condemn what they did, and we see Adam and Eve as equal partners.
--Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners.”

Christ and Mary, Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and a host of mighty men and equally glorious women comprised that group of “the noble and great ones,” to whom the Lord Jesus said: “We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell” (Abraham 3:22-24). This we know: Christ, under the Father, is the Creator; Michael his companion and associate, presided over much of the creative work; and with them as Abraham saw, were many of the noble and great ones. Can we do other than conclude that Mary and Eve and Sarah and myriads of our faithful sisters were numbered among them? Certainly these sisters labored as diligently then, and fought as valiantly in the war in heaven, as did the brethren, even as they in like manner stand firm today, in mortality, in the cause of truth and righteousness.
--“Eve and the Fall,” in Spencer W. Kimball and others, Woman (1979), 59.  Also in “The Man Adam,” by Robert L. Millet

(Long quote by Ida Smith, August 1980 Ensign)  One newly restored truth that the Prophet taught—hard for the world to swallow in his day, and still misinterpreted by many in our own time—was the Lord’s view of women. The Prophet taught that men and women are of equal value and of equal importance in the sight of God. He preached that in order for a man to achieve his highest potential (the celestial kingdom and godhood) he must have a woman—equally exalted—by his side and sealed to him forever! (See D&C 131:1–4.) A just God would not require the yoking of two unequal beings for eternity. Building upon the foundation laid by Joseph Smith, subsequent prophets taught that God was not single, but married; that there is a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother; and that we were made in their image: male and female children. (See James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 4:203, 205.)
As temples were built and temple ordinances restored, our understanding of the male/female relationship has increased: Both men and women are conditionally sealed to become kings and queens, priests and priestesses. Both share the blessings of the priesthood. Both share the gifts of the spirit (i.e., to heal, to be healed, to speak in tongues, to prophesy, etc.).
As Paul stated, “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11). This is true even though marriage may or may not happen during our stay in the second estate. President Kimball stated in his talk to women in September 1979:
It is important for a woman to learn in this life her eternal role so that when she is sealed she will be prepared and ready—with all her heart—to function in and glorify that role. That means being ready and prepared to function as a full partner in a celestial team—without having to look up because of any feeling of inferiority, or look down because of any feeling of superiority, but look across into the eyes of an equally prepared, equally magnificent eternal mate.
Such an exalted role for women was mind-boggling for nineteenth-century America. Here, as elsewhere, society was male dominated, and men were generally regarded as being superior. Men were not only to be protectors of women, but were responsible for their salvation as well.
When the Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society after the pattern of the priesthood in 1842, he told the women that they were responsible for their own sins. For some this was a radical thought in those days. He taught them they were responsible for their own salvation, that they had access to every needed blessing the priesthood gives, that they also had direct access to the Holy Ghost and to spiritual gifts and they also had direct access to the Savior—to model him, become like him, be heirs in his kingdom. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938, pp. 223–229.)
The Prophet removed some of the excuses afforded woman in her passive, dependent role, and made her responsible for herself! Many of the early Mormon sisters caught his vision for women, got in the game, and ran with the ball. Women in Utah and Wyoming had the vote fifty years before women in the country received it generally. And as we read and ponder the writings of many nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint women, we know that they knew who they were.
Some women complain that they have no strong role models in the scriptures. That is not true. We have many models there. And our main one is the Savior, himself. Nowhere is it written that he is a model for men only; and nowhere is it written that men and women should each be allowed only half of his traits! The world has divided up personality traits that should be characteristic of both men and women, and has labeled some of them “masculine” and some of them “feminine.” Latter-day prophets do teach that men and women have biological, emotional, and other differences, but we should be careful about assigning mutually exclusive traits to one sex or the other. Nowhere, for example, does the Lord say that tenderness, kindness, charity, faithfulness, patience, gentleness, and compassion are strictly female traits and should be utilized by women only. And nowhere does he say that courage, strength, determination, and leadership should be the exclusive prerogative of men. Any notion that God desired that women be passive should have been dispelled when the Prophet told women that they were responsible for their own salvation.
--Sister Ida Smith, August 1980 Ensign The Lord as a Role Model for Men and Women


She labored beside her companion. Adam held the priesthood. Eve served in matriarchal partnership with the patriarchal priesthood. So today, each wife may join with her husband as a partner unified in purpose. Scriptures state clearly, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11). “They twain shall be one flesh” (Matt. 19:6; Mark 10:8; D&C 49:16). Marvelously, it takes a man and a woman to make a man or a woman. Without union of the sexes, neither can we exist, nor can we become perfect. Ordinary and imperfect people can build each other through their wholeness together. The complete contribution of one partner to the other is essential to exaltation. This is so “that the earth might answer the end of its creation” (D&C 49:16). So labor and love in partnership. Honor your companion. Any sense of competition for place or position is not appropriate for either partner, especially when enlightened by scriptural understanding.
--Elder Russell M. Nelson, Lessons From Eve, October 1987 

When we kneel to pray, we kneel together. When we kneel at the altar of the holy temple, we kneel together. When we approach the final gate where Jesus Himself is the gatekeeper, we will, if faithful, pass through that gate together.
--Elder Neal A. Maxwell

My young sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman. We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge “armed” with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness. Most significantly, the fullness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can only be received by a man and woman together. Said President Harold B. Lee: “Pure womanhood plus priesthood means exaltation. But womanhood without priesthood, or priesthood without pure womanhood doesn’t spell exaltation.” Sisters, we as women are not diminished by priesthood power, we are magnified by it. I know this is true, for I have experienced it again and again.
--Sister Sheri Dew, "It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone," (October 6, 2001)

Finally, remember: When we return to our real home, it will be with the “mutual approbation” of those who reign in the “royal courts on high.” There we will find beauty such as mortal “eye hath not seen”; we will hear sounds of surpassing music which mortal “ear hath not heard.” Could such a regal homecoming be possible without the anticipatory arrangements of a Heavenly Mother?
--Elder Neal A. Maxwell

An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother. The begetting of children makes a man a father and a woman a mother whether we are dealing with man in his mortal or immortal state.
--Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Men and women are in competition with each other.

Motherhood is of lesser importance because no money is involved. 

Eve sinned.

Homemaking is not just baking bread or cleaning a house. Homemaking is to make the environment necessary to nurture our children toward eternal life, which is our responsibility as parents. And that homemaking is as much for fathers as it is for mothers.
--Elder Dallin H. Oaks

There is no task, however menial, connected with the care of babies, the nurturing of children, or with the maintenance of the home that is not the husband’s equal obligation. The tasks, which come with parenthood, which many consider to be below other tasks, are simply above them.
--President Boyd K. Packer

Opportunities for development of spiritual and intellectual potential are equal. Masculinity has no monopoly on the mind, and femininity has no exclusive dominion over the heart. The highest titles of human achievement—teacher, educated professional, loyal employee, faithful friend, student of the scriptures, child of God, disciple of Christ, trusted companion, loving parent—are earned under a uniform requirement of worthiness.  --Elder Russell M. Nelson


“The priesthood is God’s power... it is His power to create, to bless, to lead, to serve as He does. The priesthood duty of every righteous man is to qualify to hold the priesthood so he can bless his family, while the priesthood duty of sisters is to create life, nurture God’s children, and prepare them to make covenants with the Lord.... Don’t confuse the power of the priesthood with the keys and offices of the priesthood. The power is limitless and is shared with those who make and keep covenants. Too much is said and misunderstood about what brothers have and sisters don’t. This is Satan’s way of confusing men and women so that neither understands what they really have.
--Sister Julie B. Beck, LDS Women's Conference 2011

Recently I reviewed this Primary song. You’re familiar with it. It says, “Mine is a home where ev’ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow’r, With father and mother leading the way.” Mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power. That is your responsibility, sisters, to help your home be a home that is blessed every hour by priesthood power. It isn’t just when Dad is there. It’s not just when Mom is there. It’s not just when a priesthood ordinance or blessing is being performed. It’s every hour as ordinances, as covenants, are made and kept.
--Sister Julie B. Beck, LDS Women's Conference 2011


Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that for too long in the Church, the men have been the theologians while the women have been the Christians. To be equal partners, each should be both a theologian and a Christian.
--Elder Bruce Hafen and Sister Marie Hafen

Regarding women and the organization of the Relief Society: “There is an immense amount of talent, and I may say of real sound statesmanship within a community of ladies; and if they would only train their minds, and exercise the rights and privileges that are legitimately theirs, and would contemplate subjects that they now pass over and never think about, they would find they have an immense amount of influence in guiding, directing, and controlling human affairs.”
--President Brigham Young

D&C 38: 32 Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my claw; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high;

 38:38 See that all things are preserved; and when men are endowed with power from on high and sent forth, all these things shall be gathered unto the bosom of the church.

(Endowment) In a general sense, a gift of power from God. Worthy members of the Church can receive a gift of power through ordinances in the temple that gives them the instruction and covenants of the Holy Priesthood that they need in order to attain exaltation. The endowment includes instruction about the plan of salvation.

A temple is a place in which those whom He has chosen are endowed with power from on high—a power which enables us to use our gifts and capabilities with greater intelligence and increased effectiveness in order to bring to pass our Heavenly Father’s purposes in our own lives and the lives of those we love. (David B Haight, April 1992)

(Another long Ida Smith quote)   President Kimball, in essence, has been urging women to get in condition, get involved in the life around them, and in more positive ways become a greater influence for good on what is happening in the world. He has urged women to become educated, to become gospel scholars, to develop every talent with which the Lord has blessed them, and then to use those talents for the benefit of mankind. We need to learn and then teach each other the exalted role of women as revealed by the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be sure our spouses understand it. And if we have children, we need to be sure that our sons and our daughters understand it.
The Prophet Joseph said in 1842 that the key was now turned in behalf of women, and that knowledge and intelligence would flow down henceforth (see Teachings, p. 229). President Kimball put it this way to women in September 1979:
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”
He also counseled:
“You must be wise in the choices that you make, but we do not desire the women of the Church to be uninformed or ineffective. You will be better mothers and wives, both in this life and in eternity, if you sharpen the skills you have been given and use the talents with which God has blessed you” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, pp. 104, 103).
We have been taught that where much is given, much is expected. If we as Latter-day Saints really understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and all it offers women, we know that no blessing can be withheld from us if we are prepared and worthy to receive it. The Lord expects us to be exemplars and teachers. I pray that we may catch the understanding and vision of who we really are—and so be.  Ida Smith

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Response to Kelly

Kelly that is awesome and beautiful.  Congrats again.

I think we are going to do NFP.  The reason I was on the mini pill after Oskar is because I don't have periods while I nurse.  As far as I'm aware it is hard to track your cycle without that key reference point.    There are free NFP classes at the local hospital.  Should Timothy and I attend one or can you figure everything out just as well from the internet?  Do you have any experience with the computers designed to track your cycle?


If I could do the NFP thing I totally would.  I might still be desperate enough to risk it.

Yes - it is baby number 6...a little surprise souvenir we brought back from Mexico this winter.  ;-)  But we are super excited.  After we told the kids, both of our older daughters said that they'd been feeling lately like they were missing a sibling.  Josh and I had similar feelings in the year or so leading up to this event, so it was special to think that we were all getting prepared for this addition!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Response to Kelly

Birth control:  I am scared of IUDs.  First because they stay inside you which is weird (I also don't wear tampons so I am fully cognizant that I am the weird one).  Second, I don't want a hormonal one because I know I don't respond well to hormones.  I don't want a non-hormonal one because nobody is exactly sure how they prevent pregnancy and I am uncomfortable with that.

The pill creates unpleasant hormonal problems for me.

Abstinence is not an option and neither is only condoms--I hate condoms and with both abstinence and condoms my marriage is likely to suffer.

So . . . we're thinking of buying the little computer thing that records your temp every day and gives you a red light when you're fertile and a green light when you're not.  That way we are doing NFP but without my having to record it all myself.  Plus, we only have to use condoms on red days which is a easier for me to wrap my head around for the long term.  Fortunately, I am extremely regular.

I also think that the open womb/closed womb idea is wonderful.  I don't have the faith to trust it.  I am much more inclined to think that Heavenly Father wants us to seek his counsel and then do our part.

I'm glad you posted about your mom--see, other people have heard this counsel.  That was something my family members have said; it can't be that important if we haven't heard about it before.

I'll read the depression one when I have a little more time.

PS Is this your 6th?  Congrats on the pregnancy--that is wonderful!

surgical sterilization

I'm not sure what the old handbook said, but I have a vivid memory of learning this lesson when I was a teenager.  My YW leader had told us a story about how she or her husband had gotten sterilized, and then after a bit they ended up pregnant, and she felt like this baby was a special blessing that was meant to come to her family.  My mom jumped on that and pointed out to me that the prophets had counseled against those sorts of procedures.  I'm sure she didn't want me to get the impression that we can do whatever we want with our bodies and Heavenly Father's plan will come to pass no matter what.

That story, and your SIL's experience with her stake president, reminded me of Elder Holland's recent conference talk where he said God has imperfect mortals to work with and how frustrating it could be to Him.  We don't always get the messages we should be getting from our church leaders because they are no more perfect than we are.  I think if someone counsels against what is in the handbook, I would disregard that (since the handbook is technically coming from a higher source).

Anyway, timely topic for me, as I was studying on it last week.  I'm 6.5 months pregnant and pretty sure this is the final baby.  I don't think Heavenly Father has any more planned for us (at least it would be QUITE a while down the road, and then probably not through my own pregnancy), so I feel good about that situation.  I'm just trying to decide what to do about it.  I have mixed feelings.

On one hand is the open womb/closed womb idea, which I think takes a lot of faith and can be right for some people.

On the other hand is the idea of making a prayerful decision and then YOU and spouse exercise responsibility and take care of your birth control needs - which involves using the mortal agency that God has given us.

I think I lean towards the second philosophy, but I just really want to be sure that I'm doing the RIGHT thing, you know?

Anyway, Andrea, if birth control pills are not for you, have you decided on alternatives (if that's not too personal)?  I have tried the pill which worked fairly well for me, I just have an environmental/health issue with them.  I've also tried an IUD (non-hormone) which was only moderately successful as I had some side effects that I'd rather not deal with - but in terms of simplicity it was fabulous.  AND I tried NFP which I think is totally ideal except that my silly body isn't regular so it's really hard to do (so for me, using this method involves a lot of faith in the open/closed womb idea).    I've also had long periods of infertility (thus the reason I have some huge gaps between my children).  That has been the most effective. ;-)

On another topic, a friend of mine shared an article about postpartum depression that I found pretty interesting.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why No Vasectomies

Some of you are aware that in the most recent handbook there was information about vasectomies and tubals.  Here's the quote:

21.4.15 Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy)
The Church strongly discourages surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Surgical sterilization should be considered only if (1) medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health or (2) birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop and should receive divine confirmation of their decision through prayer. 

Since the discovery of this little snippet of information, my family has been discussing it extensively.  Some members of the family still feel like it is okay to get a vasectomy if they are absolutely sure they are done having kids, and others (myself included) feel that this is a black/white issue now and will forgo surgical sterilization in the future.  My SIL asked her stake president about it and he said he felt like vasectomies are fine regardless of the handbook instruction.  So . . . what I'm about to say is doctrine according to me.

I've been thinking and thinking about the why behind no surgical sterilization.  Since birth control is fine, why not permanent birth control?  I think I found an answer that satisfies me in, no surprise, a Bednar talk.  His talk on chastity, to be more specific.

"The power of procreation is spiritually significant. Misuse of this power subverts the purposes of the Father’s plan and of our mortal existence. Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are creators and have entrusted each of us with a portion of Their creative power. Specific guidelines for the proper use of the ability to create life are vital elements in the Father’s plan. How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained:
“The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children."
Getting surgically sterilized appears ungrateful in light of Elder Oaks comment.  Even if we aren't using the exalted power of procreation, we should be respecting the power given to us.  We wanted to have Timothy get a vasectomy for convenience sake, to make our lives easier.  It is essentially a selfish reason that doesn't take into consideration the magnitude of the gift given to us to be co-creators with God.  
Also, for all of our marriage I have been in charge of preventing pregnancy.  Since the pill does crazy stuff to my hormonal balance I have long resented Timothy for how little he had to worry about it.  I've come to believe that the pill isn't as easy of a solution as it first seems.  Not that I think you shouldn't use it--there isn't any inherent difference in the non-permanent forms of birth control, but for me, personally, I think it hasn't been very good for our marriage.  Since I refused to be on any form of the pill ever again, my resentment has gone.  We are working together and both of us have to deal with the effects of pregnancy prevention--not just me.  (As a side note--Timothy would have been willing to do this earlier, I tend to have a martyr complex at times and fail to address issues with my husband so absolutely no blame on him for my feelings.)  Maybe part of learning to bridle all our passions is learning to work together with gratitude on this issue rather than looking for an easy out?
And maybe, like my sister Kayli has mentioned, we just don't understand or fully appreciate our mortal bodies in general.  Elder Bednar talks about that in his chastity talk as well.   

"Satan relentlessly works to distort the most important elements of the Father’s plan. He does not have a body, and his eternal progress has been halted. Just as water flowing in a riverbed is stopped by a dam, so the adversary’s eternal progress is thwarted because he does not have a physical body. Because of his rebellion, Lucifer has denied himself all of the mortal blessings and experiences made possible through a body of flesh and bones. He cannot learn the lessons that only an embodied spirit can learn. He resents the reality of a literal and universal resurrection of all mankind. One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.
Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to spiritual destruction."
Maybe you think I'm a loon and should just go with my SIL's stake president's view of the matter, but I'm pretty satisfied in my own mind that there is a reason for the counsel.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Child-directed learning

Amen to everything you said Marilyn.  I am much more of a fan of child-directed learning now than I was before I started to homeschool.  My children are curious about everything and I can see how learning one thing would lead them to be curious about something else and from that to something else and on and on.  Finding subjects to study wouldn't be a problem.

I also think the school the guest kept talking about sounded awesome.  I am completely convinced that if a person is motivated he learns faster and more effectively than if he is forced.  I can totally believe that someone could avoid learning any math for years and then learn everything necessary to score well on the ACT in a few months (with a good mentor).  Plus, you'd get a better score because the information was fresh.  The longer I stay out of the traditional model of education the less I like it.  Not to say that it doesn't do an adequate job of educating or that teachers aren't awesome.

As for my loosening up and approaching my children's education in a more flexible way: I have such a hard time with any lack of structure. I have finally managed to let go of "we have to learn" and have embraced "we'll get around to learning everything important eventually."  I can't, however, let go of the "you have a talent in this area so you must work on it" and "you will be useful in the Kingdom so you will learn this."

Maybe someone with my personality just plain can't unschool?  I can, however, take back every uneducated thing I ever said about unschooling.  I really believe it could work and children could thrive  with parents that use that approach.

Free to Learn

Andrea, I listened to that program. I thought it was really interesting. I went to the guy's website too and he has some interesting ideas on there. I guess it's hard for me to let go of the "curriculum" idea completely (hence, I am a homeschooler not an unschooler) but I see a lot of value in the child-directed learning model. I guess I try to do that to some extent, by focusing more on what the kids seem intrigued by as we go along. But I also think that the kids might not KNOW what they like until I introduce it to them.

It reminded me of the "non-compulsory education" bill someone is trying to pass. It will never get passed, of course---the education system is too engrained in all of us, and we can all imagine the horror stories of neglectful parents etc---but I think it's kind of logical, actually, that without the full weight of The State behind our current education model, more people would be brave enough to explore other options.

Monday, June 24, 2013

What do you think?

I listened to this episode of Radio West and thought it was really interesting.  Would love to hear what people think about it before I add my two cents.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More on modesty.

This article kind of reiterates what we've been saying. I thought it was good.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lots of time on my hands....

So for anyone not aware, I've been at home drugged up after a tonsillectomy this week (and a lap chole two weeks ago), friends have been watching my kids, and I've slept all day most days this week.  In my spare time, I've been sparring online.  

My question to you all, is do you think I've been rude?  I really have been trying not to be.  And have I made sense?  I feel pretty loopy so, it's questionable.  

ME (after Carrie's last reply)
So if we rationalize that we’re obeying the spirit of the law, we can do whatever we want?

Reply (someone other than Carrie)
Kami – the point is we should never “just obey”. This means we are turning off our brains and not think about anything. Are you suggesting blind obedience?

Adam offered sacrifices without understanding why. Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac without understanding why. Given those examples, yes, I think sometimes you have to trust the faith you do have in the gospel, and trust that the Lord knows more than you, and yes, just obey. I have had specific instances where a principal or practice has been confirmed to me that it is truth, such as with tithing and visiting teaching. However, there are many times that I do things in the church simply because I know the Book of Mormon is true and that we are led by prophets, not because I have unshakeable faith in that one small doctrine (like modesty). I also believe that until you obey a law through faith, you won’t have a witness of validity. My testimony of the truth of tithing and visiting teaching came after I was already doing those things, like in this scripture.

Ether 12:6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.


So if you were asked to do something by our leaders that you knew as morally wrong, like Abraham having to kill his son you would have no issues with that? Can our leaders do no wrong ever?

Or like practicing polygamy (á la Nauvoo)? This would be a better example for your question, I think, since Abraham wasn’t following a leader, he was asked by God, two very different things. And he alone in all the scriptures was ever put to such a test. So if I was asked by the prophet to say… start practicing polygamy again, I think I would have to do what other saints have done before me and pray and fast to receive a spiritual confirmation that the counsel was correct. And if I received an affirmative answer, then I would hope I have the spiritual fortitude to follow that counsel. Polygamy is not the *best* example I realize, because it is part of our doctrine already, but back when it was first introduced it is exactly what you describe of being “asked to do something by our leaders that you knew as morally wrong.”

As for your question, “Can our leaders do no wrong ever?” I think it’s pretty clear from church history and people I’ve known, that everyone has their agency, regardless of their position in the church. General conference addresses from apostles are edited occasionally. And all people are a product of their time. However I don’t believe the Lord would allow the prophet to do anything that would separate us from the Lord or hinder our exaltation. Because basically it boils down to either there is a prophet guided by revelation or there isn’t. This is the one and only true church or it isn’t. Without latter-day prophets our church can’t be possibly be true.

Other Reply
If you have received a confirmation of the principles of tithing and visiting teaching, then you are no longer “just obeying”. If a mother tries teaching her children modesty as the church has outlined it, and she notices a deterioration in her child’s confidence and/or attitude towards others… that would be the opposite of what Moroni was talking about, right? So, it would make no sense under those circumstances to keep “just obeying”.

For the record, I don’t think anyone her is arguing against the principle of modesty. Just the way it is approached and taught to children. When so many people who have tried living the hard lines drawn in For the Strength of the Youth have come away with less than ideal results, at what point is it okay to question it? “Just obeying” until you get the confirmation of the Spirit only works if there is eventually a confirmation of the Spirit…

I actually disagree with your statement that you don’t think anyone here is arguing against the principle of modesty. As I see it, Carrie is taking a straight forward principle and rationalizing it away, so that she feels comfortable dressing her children in whatever she wants. And I know I just sounded really mean and judgmental, when in honest truth, I don’t care if little girls come in sundresses to church without sleeves etc. I know a lot of people think that little kids don’t need the same standard. As I said in my first comment, I teach my kids young because I think it’s good for them to learn to obey young. Plus, what would then be the cut off for them to start obeying? When they’re 12? That seems so arbitrary to me. And what really bothers me the most about Carrie’s article is not that she’s suggesting a different standard for young kids, but that’s she’s suggesting it’s wrong for anyone to teach immodesty/modesty to kids, because of possible peer judging. I know kids can be hurtful and cruel to their peers, but if your child’s confidence is based on wearing sleeveless vs. sleeved dresses, I think there might be other issues besides modesty involved, such as a huge bullying problem or body image issues.

I honestly fail to see how “people who have tried living the hard lines drawn in For the Strength of the Youth have come away with less than ideal results.” What do you mean, less than ideal results? I’m not being sarcastic, I just don’t understand. What results are people expecting? To me, it’s just the way you dress, and it sometimes makes it harder to find clothes you like when shopping. End of story. I don’t expect any other results. So what do you mean?

Other Other Reply

Carrie is not arguing against the principle of dressing modestly. She is presenting an argument about the pedagogy and the etymology of modesty.

In your argument of obedience, as you have presented, you have committed the classic logical fallacy of presenting a red-herring argument.


Carrie’s main points as I understood were A:

“As we teach our children to focus on their clothing choices, we are also teaching them to focus on the clothing choices of their peers.”


“When we think of modesty in it’s true manner- that it is a way to dress to prevent sexual attraction of others, then it seems absurd that we are teaching our children that other children dressed in a tank top are immodest and thus, dressing in a way to encourage sexual attraction of others.

And C:

“We need to take a step back and examine what we are really meaning to teach our children, which is probably that it’s important to keep our bodies covered…..I think that the use of modest/immodest terms while our children are young need to go. At the very least, let’s get rid of immodest. We need to stop drawing a line in the sand because what is immodest in one family, is not immodest in another.”

I think I addressed all these points in my first comment. A. I don’t think kids are overly critical from teaching about modesty, simply being in a peer group makes kids aware of clothing.
B. I don’t think modesty is about anything sexual.
C. I think we should follow the prophet and live the standards outlined in FTSOY–as opposed to what Carrie says of living whatever standard your family sets.

Red herring or not, my point was that I disagree with Carrie’s arguments in their entirety and I outlined why.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Oh, and one more thing. I love it how every single person who talks about "not drawing lines" or "the spirit of the law is most important" is arguing for a LOOSER STANDARD (i.e. shorter shorts are ok, sleeveless is ok, etc.)  If it's really not about the specifics, it's about our hearts----then why is there NEVER someone saying, "You know, I don't think FSOY goes far enough here. Girls shouldn't be wearing pants."  Or, "In our family, sleeves have to go down to the elbows."  You'd think if they were really so anxious to find what is right "for them," that SOMETIMES that would actually agree or be more conservative than the so-called "lines in the sand."  But no.  What a coincidence!!!

It's not that I don't think different families can have different ideas about this, but I just think it's funny.


I agree with what you ladies are saying. The article rubbed me the wrong way, also (as did another thing I recently read about modesty, and how there's "too much emphasis" on it). It does have a feeling of defensiveness about it, to me. I had a problem with this statement in her comment:
"But for me, and many others, our children and teenagers are capable of being modest while wearing tank tops and shorter shorts, irregardless of what FTSOY lays out as approved/not approved."

I don't understand all the whys and whats of modesty, necessarily (like, is there some ultimate divine standard of modesty, or is it mostly a cultural construct?) but I just don't get that statement. You are capable of being modest while not following the cultural standards our church has set about modesty? Okay, I get it, modesty has cultural ties (if we were that tribe in "The Gods Must be Crazy" we would be wearing only loincloths and it would be totally acceptable) but whether or not these are FOREVER or UNIVERSAL standards, they ARE the current standards for US. If the temple garments change someday to be midriff-baring, and sleeveless, or whatever, then that's fine. But until then, this is what we've got. I don't get how you can "be modest" without obeying what our prophets say is modest. That's like saying, "I'm perfectly capable of keeping the word of wisdom while drinking coffee, 'irregardless' [and, btw, that incorrect usage annoys me to no end] of what the Doctrine and Covenants says about it." Um . . . no?

As for cjane, I think I better confine my comments about her to a more private place . . .

And Andrea, I loved the article you posted awhile back about the "ordain women" website. I liked what you said about the site, that the women there seem to be sincerely trying to do the right thing (I think I agree . . . mostly) but I thought it was interesting how different I _felt_ in reading the two things. I generally try not to use my "spiritual feelings" as a bludgeon to stop further discussion on something (does that metaphor even make sense?)---but---when I was reading the Valerie Cassler article I felt confirmation of some truths within it. I like her vision of womanhood and even though I didn't agree with ALL of her suggestions for how to improve, I felt she was on the right track with the way she viewed our birthright as women. I LOVE the "two trees" idea she mentions here (and expands on in other articles). This way of thinking about our roles really works for me, and helps me understand some things in the temple that I had never understood before. And it just made so much SENSE---why should women look to men to "give them" their power? They already HAVE it!

Conversely, as I read the "ordain women" website, I felt worried/conflicted/upset, all the same feelings I have when I come across anti-Mormon stuff online. It felt palpably "darker" (as in, UNenlightening) as I read it, contrasted with the enlightenment I felt reading the VHC article. Like I said, I'm not trying to set my spiritual feelings up as the ultimate authority (who knows, maybe the ordain women thing really is ok) but it certainly was a stark contrast.

And incidentally, that Pres. Hinckley quote about "no one is agitating for" women to have the priesthood----I suppose it could be taken the way they took it, as a "challenge to women"----but that's not how I would have read it all. I read it as saying, "In our church, we DON'T 'agitate' for things, because we believe the Lord is in charge!---we may be open to and even pray about change, but we don't pretend that WE know better than the Lord or His timing!" I don't see that willingness to be content with what is currently given us as laziness or complacency, but as patience and faith.


Interesting read.  On a side note, Josh and I have known the couple that started that blog for quite a while.  Josh since college - me since we moved to Oregon 12 years ago and they moved into our ward soon after.   They've had some interesting things to say...

I LOVED all the "we shouldn't judge" and "spirit of the law" and "blind obedience" comments.  My response to that would be that:
a) we are supposed to judge, we are just not supposed to condemn.  If we are being taught by the Lord to differentiate between right and wrong, at some point we have to make a judgment call.   A judgment is an opinion, and every single anti-judgment person that commented had a strong OPINION.  ;-)   Besides, if there were no judgments allowed, wouldn't it follow that there could be no absolute truth?   Everything goes! Wear whatever!  The Lord doesn't care.  In fact, temple garments are just a general guideline.  If they don't work for a particular shirt you bought that you know is still modest - you know you are still obeying the "spirit of the law", right?    Give me a break!

b) spirit of the law usually means to me that you either pick and choose what you obey OR that you are trying too hard to be an exception to a rule.  In the case of modesty, we have actually been given specific guidelines by a prophet. I love when people treat those as some sort of  lesser law for those who don't truly grasp the true spirit of the law.  Because if we all truly grasped that true spirit (which is, of course, non-judgmental), we wouldn't need prophets to be so specific in detailing what the Lord would have us do.

c) blind obedience?  I don't think the Lord ever expects total blind obedience.  I do think he expects obedience and sometimes he doesn't tell us all the reasons.   I believe that we can feel confirmation from the Spirit that we should follow specific commandments without needing to be told all the whys and wherefores. But sometimes, I guess I think he just says "do this" and we demonstrate our faith by doing it.    Am I wrong?

For me, I have found that teaching your children to make judgments for themselves without condemning people is a useful tool.  We are constantly going to come across people both in and out of the church that interpret things differently than we do.  I understand that, and I'm okay with that.  We are all progressing in various ways and my understanding will continue to grow along with everyone else's.  But we still have to have our own personal line in the sand.

Oh my

So just to be clear here, I'm about to do a whole bunch of judging.  WHAT IN THE WORLD????  Seriously I am never reading anything online ever again.  I hadn't read CJane in forever because I was getting too bugged, but then I was bored one night and glanced through her old posts and read the one where she claimed to have great feelings of truth and spirit that our Heavenly Mother is actually the Holy Ghost.  Hold the presses!  Revelation from on high.  Oops, sorry.  Revelation from a blogger.

As you all know about me, I'm a letter of the law kind of gal.  I think that the spirit of the law of modesty is that we don't draw attention to ourselves in inappropriate ways.  The reality is that how women dress affect men (think porn industry) so the spirit of the law in this case can only go so far before hitting the brick wall of natural man.  Trying to argue that wearing whatever we want is fine as long as we "feel modest" is ridiculous in this day and age.

I don't think that children can be immodest.  I do think that training children in the way they should go from birth is the correct choice.  There, I said it.  How judgmental of me.

As for CJane--I wish she could explain to me, with all her further light and knowledge, how our Heavenly Mother can have a resurrected physical body AND be a personage of Spirit at the same time because, sadly, I just don't have the spiritual wisdom to understand.

I saw this on Facebook

I saw this posted and shared on Facebook a couple of times.  I let it go at first, but after seeing it again and again, I decided to voice my opinion to the world.  Then I decided to share it here, because I wanted Andrea to read it.

The Modesty Line

So here's my response to this.

So, I don’t want to be offensive or anything, but I totally disagree with this article. I think at some point, we need to stop worrying about supposedly “sexualizing” our little kids, and just obey. To me, it has nothing to do about anything sexual. I let my little kids run around the house in all sorts of states of undress but I make sure they’re wearing sleeves and one piece bathing suits out in public. I do teach them about being immodest and modest, and yes I have had embarrassing experiences where they’ve pointed out to others their lack of modesty. I’ve had similar experiences with people smoking as well. Should I not teach them smoking is bad? I want my kids in good habits young so it’s not even a question when they’re teenagers. I don’t even care about them being used to it for when they go through the temple and start wearing garments. Garments lengths and styles have changed ALOT over the course of the years and really isn’t my main issue. The main point for me is that prophets have asked us to dress modestly and outlined clearly in The Strength of Youth what that standard is. It’s easy to obey or easy to not obey. I am so imperfect at so many things, this is one thing, like tithing, that is a no brainer for me. As Elder L. Tom Perry said this last conference, “We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises.” Anyway, that’s just my opinion. And as a side note, when teaching modesty I hope I correctly teach the message of wise judgement, not judging others. I doubt there is any validity to teaching modesty=increased focus on peer’s clothing. However, studies have shown that the younger a kid attends preschool or daycare, the sooner they are aware of peer’s clothing and what is “cool” and what is not (as in brands). Which has nothing to do with what a parent teaches, just their exposure to a peer group.

And here's the author's response to my comment:

Smoking is clearly bad for your health. Wearing something sleeveless… not so much.

On the note of making a good habit of what you wear when you are young, for me the fact that my child is wearing clothing is a good habit.

I think it just depends on what you feel you want the end result to be. It’s different for everyone, even though we all belong to the same faith.

For some, they want there to never be a question of what the standards are and they want to follow exactly what has been spelled out. If something was always the rule, then your teenagers can’t question it. Done.

I get that. I really do. It makes sense for a lot of people. And I am fine if that’s the way you want to go.

But for me, and many others, our children and teenagers are capable of being modest while wearing tank tops and shorter shorts, irregardless of what FTSOY lays out as approved/not approved.

As for what is outlined in the For The Strength of Youth, I think our leaders felt like they did need to draw a line to enforce what they felt should be the standard. Many members of our church need lines drawn for them. Look at mission rule handbooks.

While many feel that this spelled out standard of modesty is something that should be unquestionable obeyed, many members in our church do not agree with it.

I do not feel that we should be drawing a sweeping line in the sand for all to adhere to. What happened to the spirit of the law?

I cannot in good conscience teach my children that something sleeveless is bad. I just don’t feel like it’s immodest, regardless of age. I feel like the FSOTY drawing lines for us to then “just obey” is not the way to go.

Clearly, I’m more of a “spirit of the law” kind of gal.

I’m hoping to teach my children the spirit of the law and let them govern themselves knowing that their clothing choices are about them and how they feel in it. I feel that how they feel about themselves and being able to recognize the spirit is far more important than a spelled out dress code that is enforced by guilt and shame.

And here's what my sister Kayli said on the matter:

So I just skimmed the article, but I got the gist. To me, the thing is, I would have been fine if she had just said, "I feel that it's okay for littler children to have a bit different standard of dress that is appropriate." Fine- I personally don't agree- but obviously people feel differently about these things. But instead, she goes on and on about sexualizing and peer shaming blah blah blah, which to my thinking is only teaching that if we rationalize something, we can do what we want. Then her daughters are more ready to do that in junior high, when there's one fashion that for this or that reason is okay in this instance, and then when they're in high school, and then when they're married. Quit making excuses. I feel like she overkilled the issue, and it almost makes it seem like she's talking herself out of her own niggling feelings of guilt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

RS/YW Combined Activity

Here's what we decided to do for this session of our semi-annual combined RS/YW.  The value was education and our Bishop wants most of our activities to have to do with self-reliance.

Theme of Activities: Self-Reliance and the value Knowledge

May 28th, Financial Self-Reliance: The YW and the RS sisters who adopted them will hear from the Dean of the College of Education at Weber State about the necessity for women to have an education that will provide the financial support necessary for a family.  Following the speaker, the YW will have an opportunity to hear from a panel of women with diverse career skills and ask the panelists questions about their career choices and how well their careers work with mothering.

June 4, Self-Reliance through Basic Life Skills: ALL RELIEF SOCIETY SISTERS ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND.  This is our June Enrichment night,although it is a Tuesday night and not a Wednesday night.  We will start off the evening with a life-skills rendition of The Price is Right.  Following the game, our YW will have an opportunity to visit the displays put up by the RS sisters demonstrating the numerous life skills necessary to fulfill our earthly missions well.  We hope to encourage our YW to take every opportunity to learn because all knowledge is valuable and blesses ourselves, our families, and our communities.

June 11, Spiritual Self-Reliance: The girls will participate in three round-table discussions concerning the three ways our church leaders have asked them to step-up their game and start building the kingdom and their testimonies at younger ages.  These three ways are: 1) be prepared for and participate in Sunday discussions as per the new youth curriculum; 2) be prepared to serve a mission (whether or not you end up serving one); 3) participate in family history work and serve in the temple more frequently.  After the round-table discussions the girls will join together in the primary room for a musical number, testimony bearing, and a special gift from the RS sisters to our RS sisters-in-training.

(We bought the girls a scripture journal from the Red-headed Hostess.  You get a discounted price for YW groups.)

And yes, the Dean of the College of Education at Weber is my dad.  He has some pretty sad stories about women trying to go back to school with numerous children and no income to speak of.  I hope this goes well.  We're envisioning a kind of science fair project look for the June 4th activity.  I'm putting together a display about how much money we save because I make my own bread and I'll have bread samples there.  We have people signed up for lots of fun things, from crocheting to gardening to laundry soap making to toilet bowl cleaning.  Awesome.

We'll see how it goes.  :)