Friday, January 3, 2014


I've struggled with how to say this, and have decided it will be best for me to just be as straight forward as possible. I haven't posted on this blog in awhile. I haven't felt as though I could answer the questions I have been sent from an LDS perspective in the state of mind I was in. I have been in a period of transition, and now that it is official, I want to post it here. I have left the LDS church. I am not angry, or offended, or upset. That is usually the first thing I am asked. The next question is "why"? Simply put, I feel like my best chance for a meaningful and happy life, and for a meaningful and happy life for my children is a life separate from the LDS church. My choice is very personal and has been weighed in my mind with every weight I know. It is not a path that I wish to encourage anyone else to follow. At the same time, if you find yourself on a path similar to mine, feel free to email me for any support you might want or transition questions you might have. Or, if you are not on that path, but have questions about anything, feel free to email me. This will most likely be my last post on this blog, though I'm sure I'll sprout a new one soon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fat. Weird. Ugly... NO!

Not a question, but a comment made by a friend where she said that she felt it was unfair for women who were less overweight than others to complain about their weight around women who weighed more, or who weighed more in relation to their height. Basically, that if you are a little overweight then you shouldn't complain about it in front of people who are more overweight because then they will feel bad about themselves. This is a valid concern and my response doesn't aim to say anything negative about her for feeling this way. This is a beautiful and beloved friend of mine, who is generous with her time and her love, but who was feeling LESS because of her body shape. Or, perhaps, feeling that others were MORE or BETTER because of their body shape. 

My response to her was:

When you start to give yourself value for the real things rather than the things the world would judge you for, you start to notice those things less. I hear negative self talk from many (not all!) of the women around me and it makes me feel sorrow for them. So beautiful! So kind! So generous! So self-less! So creative! So, so, so full of beauty that it brims over into other peoples' lives and blesses them, too. They stand there, beautiful and strong and GENTLE, and forget to be gentle to themselves. We already know the world will judge us as "fat", "flat", "pale", "masculine"; it should not come as a surprise to us. Instead, we should choose to label ourselves: "changing", "trying", "long suffering", "compassionate", and always, "beautiful". Don't blame others, change your view.

I would add to this: this doesn't just apply to being overweight or any of the more visible physical things people judge each other on. You, with no make-up, no tuck-ins, no secret support, no special lotions, no shaving, JUST YOU, are beautiful. Society's current views about what is more or less desirable physically have NOTHING to do with your value. Your children, husband, friends, family, all who matter, love you for all of the things you do and are. This also applies to men who struggle with self-image, just sayin'.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Breastfeeding and the American LDS Culture

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I recently was asked a question about the stance of the LDS church on public breastfeeding, and more specifically, whether or not a breastfeeding cover was a requirement for “modesty”. Like many issues that we come up against in today’s society, the Church doesn’t have an official stance that they have come out with. In such situations, I find it helpful to look into Church doctrine, scripture, and other materials distributed by the church to find evidence of the Church’s disposition towards a certain practice. To be clear, I am in no way claiming to be a spokesperson for the Church or for other members of the Church. All views contained here are strictly my own.

The first place I came across where breastfeeding was portrayed was in the Church’s artwork, and in fact, it was almost the sole area where there is any information at all. There are multiple instances of women breastfeeding in LDS artwork, and I have put many of them here, along with links.

The illustration below is of an LDS church meeting in 1871 and was printed in the Harper’s Bazaar magazine. The meeting took place in the Mormon Tabernacle. The full image can be seen by clicking on the link, and is displayed in the LDS History Museum. Notice that there are two women breastfeeding in the front row.

At Temple Square, a place which has been used constantly to tell others about our religion and what we believe in, the Seagull Monument contains an image depicting a woman breastfeeding. Not only is she “uncovered”, but her breast is exposed.


This next picture is displayed in the LDS Cardston, Alberta temple, and there is a woman who is breastfeeding as Christ is teaching and has her breast fully exposed. There are two other babies shown in the nursing position, although some high quality close-ups provided to me by a friend show that it is disputable whether they are actually nursing. All artwork in the temples has to be approved by General Authorities. Click the link for better picture quality.

A final picture, currently at the University of Utah, contributed by the LDS Museum of History and Art there is a painting containing an image of a pioneer woman breastfeeding. She can be seen in front of a wagon wheel, her breast is also exposed.

I’d like to make some points about these images. Firstly, the breastfeeding is happening in the presence of men, and men who are unrelated to the women. That is one argument that I have heard, to the effect of “It’s ok if you want to breastfeed, but not with MEN around.” Apparently there have been many times in the church’s history where MEN were perfectly comfortable with a mother seeing to her child’s needs and were able to refrain from uncomfortable behavior around her.

Secondly, none of the women are using any type of cover other than what their clothing naturally shields. The General Authorities have specified modesty to us even down to the number of earrings that a woman should wear, but they have made no mention of breastfeeding in any of these discussions of modesty.

Thirdly, no one seems to be uncomfortable in these pictures or seems to think anything of the fact that there are women breastfeeding. This shows that the behavior of these women was a normal culturally accepted behavior.

Lastly, and I think most importantly, these images are displayed in areas that General Authorities visit on a regular, and sometimes daily, basis. However, none of them have had anything to say about the “inappropriate” or “immodest” depictions of the women. These are not images that are hidden in rarely visited corners of the Church, but are prominently displayed and approved by church authorities to be displayed in this way.

These pictures show that there was a time when openly feeding your child at the breast was an accepted and natural occurrence for modest and devout members of the church. However, there’s seems to have been a change in the culture of the church in some areas to the extent that it is no longer seen as a modest and seemly practice by some members. Why did this change occur? What is different now in comparison to the past? Still searching in doctrine, I found this quote from A Parent’s Guide, which is a manual distributed to members of the Church to guide and direct parents in the rearing of their children.

A quote from A Parent’s Guide:

The scriptures often refer respectfully but plainly to the body and its parts. There is no embarrassment and often there is sacred symbolism. It is the world that makes the divinely created body an object of carnal lust. For example, it makes the female breasts primarily into sexual enticements, while the truth is that they were intended to nourish and comfort children. It promotes male sexual aggression in contrast to Christ’s example of tenderness, long-suffering, kindness, and steadfastness in the home.
Shame about the human body, its parts and purposes, is justified only when a person uses it for carnal purposes. Teach your children that they will find joy in their bodies when they use them virtuously after the manner taught by Christ.

The perversion of the female breast being seen as a sexual object is not a new phenomenon. What has changed recently is our perspective of the breast when being properly used in the “nurturing and comforting of children.” Instead of appreciating and understanding this blessing from our Heavenly Father, our culture seems to be trending toward pushing embarrassment and shame onto mothers. So, in essence if our culture is moving in this direction then Satan is succeeding in changing the view that we should have of our OWN bodies to something contrary to the divine purpose appointed by God. This is in addition to also changing the definition of masculinity, from something steady and kind, to something predatory and aggressive.

From this change, two trains of thought among LDS women have sprung up. One mindset is that, because men have been taught that they are predatory and sexually driven, women feel that they need to protect themselves from men, and also protect men from their own carnal thoughts, by relying on conservatism in dress and behavior, thereby reducing opportunities for Satan’s temptations.

The other mindset is to resist Satan’s influence in our culture as a whole; to encourage resistance to temptation by seeing the female body from a heavenly and accurate perspective. They believe that by setting the example of treating their bodies as they were divinely designed to be treated is the most effective way of resisting Satan’s misdefinition of modesty and hope they will raise a generation that no longer holds the false ideas of the previous one.

It seems that the choice to cover or not to cover is an intensely personal one. According to my research, either choice is an appropriate one, and the most important thing is that we are respectful of each other’s choices. The authorities of the Church have been approached numerous times with a request to come out with a statement about breastfeeding and they have not. The only other direction that I could find besides that in A Parent’s Guide is a comment from LDS church spokesman Scott Trotter :

"Countless thousands of mothers have been accommodated in church for generations, simply by everyone observing common sense, discretion and respect."

There is a place in the Church for women who want to sit on the front row in Sacrament meeting and breastfeed their active toddler and a place for the mother who prefers the discreteness of a cover or a mother’s lounge. It is not an issue of modesty or sexuality, but one of comfort for both the mother and the child.

An additional thought: I don't wish for any of this to imply anything negative about those mothers for whom breastfeeding their children is not a viable option. How wonderful it is that God has provided us with the knowledge to create an alternative for all of the children who do not have access to breast milk for any reason!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Double standard

I disappear for a month and then come back with a rant. Please forgive me!

Just because a double-standard is widely accepted by society, that doesn't make it right. People need to quit putting the burden of a man's morality on women's shoulders. As a woman who had a sexual addiction, I not once blamed any person outside of myself for the choices I made. It wasn't anyone's fault for wearing too little clothing or trying to tempt me or what-have-you. And, if I hear one more person say that men are different because they are "visually" stimulated, I'ma cut a fool. Women have pornography addictions. LOTS of women have pornography addictions. We just seem to face it head on and take responsibility instead of pointing fingers all over the place... I understand that I seem to be making a blanket statement about men that isn't fair. I am trying to make a statement about society and what we teach our boys and girls about sex, and how it affects their development. Please share your comments!!

I know it is obvious, but really? Pictures of your scantily clad sons doing muscle poses on a beach...
However, even without the pictures, the article dances dangerously close to the line of "men are 
meatheads with no self control" and "women are evil temptresses so no man is guilty in his own discretions"...

I would also like to submit for thought: If all advertising and media which depicted women as objects
was instantly replaced with similar images of men, how long would it take for our minds to adjust and for women to begin to be "visual". How differently would we view men if they were marketed to the general public in the way that women are: unabashedly and aggressively. We eat fake meat and plastic cheese on a nutrient void piece of "bread", because of marketing. Women want certain clothes, and colors, and couches, simply because of marketing. Spend 10 minutes on a woman's Pinterest page and you can find her every visual preference and desire. How can it be said that we aren't visual? We are obviously very visual, it's just that society isn't trying to sell us men.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A manly man's man!

So, I've received quite a few questions so far. Keep 'em coming! If you feel like your question is more than just casual, feel free to mark it as 'urgent'.

The anonymous question of the day is from an LDS member:

"Do you feel that it is ok for a man to brush off his sexual addiction by saying things like, "Well, all men do it." or "Guys just can't control themselves. If a guy hasn't had sex in a week he's just gotta get it out." ?"

A- Firstly, in the question you state that the person in question has a 'sexual addiction'. Let's go ahead and define that quickly.

Wikipedia says:
 Addiction is the state of behavior outside the boundaries of social norms which reduces an individual's ability to function efficiently in general routine aspects of life or develop healthy relationships.

Sexual recovery institute says:

Sexual addiction is a persistent and escalating pattern or patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self or others.

So, basically, sexual addiction is when one's sexual behaviors are negatively impacting their life and they find that they cannot or will not quit those behaviors.

It is never okay for someone to "brush off" an addiction. If someone you know has a sexual addiction and is brushing it off, it is important that you find them the support that they need to overcome their addiction. I would expect them to make excuses or try to rationalize the behavior, it is a fairly common thing for all of us to do when faced with our failings, but it does not actually excuse or make rational the behavior.

I think that the response you are looking for, however, is for me to expose the fallacy in the argument that it is the nature of men to objectify women or to have a constant supply of sex, and that a man is helpless to resist any urges he might have in the area.

The answer to that seems obvious to me, and yet, I hear it all the time being touted as a real argument, from women as well as men. There are men who are faithful to their wives, there are men in committed monogamous relationships, there are men married to women who are paralyzed, men who are widowers and do not indulge in pornography, there are men who are homosexual and continue to live the church's standards, there are men who see the beauty in all that women are and do and who respect them and do not objectify them. So, it is not an inherent and irresistible attribute of being a man to use women, men, or themselves for sexual gratification or interaction. 

Are we fed this lie through media, social networks, sexism in the workplace, casual humor, and even people we know and respect? Yes. Is it possible that some men believe that it is a part of their nature to be that way? Yes. However, when they believe this lie, they are denying themselves a part of their true divinity. We are fashioned after God, and I do not believe that he would create women to have periods of time during which sex is painful or impossible (after childbirth, sometimes during menstruation, UTI, etc.) and then create men so that they could never live without it. To find control over that part of themselves, which has sometimes been trained to the opposite of its divine purpose from a young age due to pornography and the other influences mentioned, is a pathway for a man to find closeness to his God, to his wife (where applicable), and to himself. Sex has a divine purpose and is joyful when shared in a mutual and loving way. Any other use of sex is simply not as God has prescribed for our use and to say otherwise is to deny some measure of your Heavenly parentage.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This is less hard than I thought it would be...

That's what she said!

Seriously, though. I have had many friends suggest that I do a blog about sex. 

Healthy sex with your spouse.
Talking to your kids about sex.
Healing from sexual abuse.
Preventing sexual abuse.
Pre-marital sex.
Pornography addiction.
Sex addiction.
Objectification of men and women in the media.
Healthy body image and its' effects on a sexual relationship.

Those are just some things I have talked to friends about and they have asked me to write my answers in a book. Well, I definitely don't have time to write a book. I feel a little overwhelmed even starting up this blog. However, I feel like I have a lot to say in this area and hope that I can be helpful to someone. 

So, this is how I want to format this. I'd like to do a question/answer at least once a week. That means that you guys send me a question and then I post the question (anonymously) along with my answer. Now, I am a member of the LDS church, so it would be helpful if you clarified whether you are LDS or not, because the answers to your question will be different if you are a member since standards are so much stricter vs. general populace. 

I will be doing my own posts, as well, which will touch on the subjects listed above, detail my "Adam and Eve" program, and whatever else I feel like posting.

Also, I'm sure you'd like to know what kind of qualifications I have to be answering these questions. The truth is, my formal training is minimal. I worked with juvenile sex offenders in a rehabilitative facility for a year. Other than that, most of my information comes from personal experience, conversations with friends and family, my husband (8 years working with juvenile sex offenders), lots of research online and books, and my therapist friends. 

Alright, what do you want to know about sex?
Email me at