A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What would you say if...

First- the super-majority comment a few days ago... My point was, let's say I did not exactly agree with the sentiments of the "pork flu" post... I might not want to say much fearing the rule of the majority (that is, in total agreement of the post). I am just going to put it out there that Bush started the spending that Obama has continued.

But that is not my point. My point is... I have an AMAZING, wonderful friend, to talk about her and describe her would take much time and still not quite get across how selfless, kind, genuine and wonderful my friend is. She was my Faculty Secretary at Mary Baldwin. She had her first missionary discussion Friday and invited me to come. It was a wonderful discussion and she was clearly, and very touched by the recitation of the First Vision and she is very, very receptive. She has been doing some investigating of her own on the church and I have some things I would like to pose to you (she works and graduated from MBC, which is an all womens' "feminist" school).

How would you respond to these questions? In part or whole. Some of these things (like offering prayers at General conference and opening prayer of sacrament) I had NEVER EVER heard of. I am not even sure they are true.

1. Women are excluded from administering almost all ordinances in the LDS church. They are also barred from serving as official witnesses to ordinances. (ok with it)

2. Women are barred from almost all of the leadership positions which involve exercising stewardship over the spirituality of both adult men and women. They are primarily limited to exercising leadership over other women and children. (Really?)

3. Women don’t get honorific titles. That is, women General Auxiliary Presidents and their counselors are not referred to as “President Lastname,” (Really?!)

4. Women are discouraged from serving missions. President Hinckley stated that the age is held up to 21 to discourage young women from going. (really?)

5. Women are discouraged from working outside the home. The church does little to publicly encourage or acknowledge married women in careers. (well, I would love to have this option, I will be honest... am I a bad mormon for working?)

6. The church utilizes archaic translations and English versions of its Scriptures that make heavy use of gender-exclusive language.

7. Living women cannot be sealed to more than one man, in contrast to living men who can theoretically have unlimited sealings. (Really?)

8. There are very few female characters in the LDS canon and the temple ceremony drama. The few powerful female figures are found in the Bible and these are often ignored. (not sure, my favorite non-church reference for my Laurels is a book called "Clothed with the Sun" which is comprised of the women featured in the Old and New Testament).

9. The temple ceremony and the Family Proclamation subordinate women to men, wives to husbands. (I am ok with it as long as the husband assumed the role properly)

10. Women leaders are rarely cited in official teaching materials, even on issues for which they ought to be cited.

11. Women are discouraged from exercising the spiritual gifts of healing and prophecy. (I keep thinking about a scene from the movie "Legacy")

12. Almost all of the ecclesiastical offices mentioned in the Bible (prophet, apostle, elder/bishop, deacon, seventy[-two]) are restricted from women, even in the face of strong evidence from the Bible and the early church that these offices were available to women in at least some capacity. The only possible exceptions are teacher and evangelist (if we interpret “evangelist” to mean “missionary,” which seems reasonable). (no idea)

13. Women are restricted from offering prayers at general sessions of General Conference. There are a significant number of wards are restricting women from offering the opening prayer in sacrament meeting and only allowing them to offer the closing prayer. (heh? Really??)

14. Is it true that women are never invited as speakers in the priesthood session of General Conference, even though men are invited as speakers in the Relief Society and Young Women sessions? (I personally really dont care about it, but...)


beckyV said...

I don't know the answer to a lot of these questions. I just want to say that, while I am not completely opposed to the feminist movement-I think a lot of good has come of it, I think that Satan has used it as a tool to wreak havoc between men and women. It has been used to create "inequality" where there used to just be differences. Granted, there was a lot of inequality that needed to be dealt with in the world, it is my opinion that it has gone too far. Women don't hold the priesthood, therefore they don't do a lot of the things men do that required the priesthood. It is not because women are "less than" men, we are just different.

Women are ENCOURAGED to stay home with their kids, because the church sees that as the most important role women hold-one that men can not hold, by the way. This is not done to oppress women, it is done to honor the role of motherhood, which has pretty much been trashed by society. Stay at home moms are seen as being "just a mom", with boring, mindless, monotonous lives that have no stimulation whatsoever. Satan's work, no doubt. However, there are plenty of female professors at BYU, plenty of women who work for the church-my aunt Teresa has worked for the church all of her adult life. I have never met a working mother in the church who has been told not to work by her bishop. Everyone knows that one situation won't work for all women.

I would also just look at women that you know in the church. Are they oppressed? The reality is that most of the women I know in the church are strong, opinionated, and HONORED. Many are well-educated. Subservient? No. Respecting of the husband being the patriarch and religious leader of their family, yes. You can see how Satan has twisted this. I realize that there are exceptions to this, but subjugating women is not condoned by the church. The fact is, women and men are different. Their roles are different. This doesn't make them unequal.

I personally have been manipulated by Satan on this issue earlier in my life. I understand the arguments, but this is something that I have prayerfully considered and I feel like I have gained a better understanding. I admit that I still struggle with the issue of polygamy and the fact that men can be sealed to multiple women, I have a hard time understanding these things. But I really don't believe that women and men are unequal in the eyes of the church, they are just different.

Colin said...

These are all questions that every missionary has heard. Questions like these are brought up by those who have not gained testimonies of the true Gospel that we have in our church. The fact is, if the church is true, then the church is true and the answers to any of these arguments are almost irrelevant. Your friend will not get answers to these questions if they are the focus of her investigation of the church. There is one way to know if it is true, and that is to study the scriptures and pray to know their truthfullness.

Trust me, I have seen a million times people who won't just pray to know for themselves if the church is true but instead get hung up on these types of questions, and they don't ever progress. Encourage her to read and pray and share your testimony with her. I think that will go a lot farther than trying to come up with answers to these questions. Focus on the simple doctrines of the gospel. Those are the most important.

As an aside, I hope no one who contributes to this blog every hesitates sharing their opinions. I have my own opinions and everyone else has their own and I am not going to be the one to tell someone else their opinion is wrong.

Although every president overspends, it is a fact that Obama has spent much more and much faster than any other President in history. And he is also trying to pass a bill that will increase the "legal" debt limit by $1.5 trillion. That's all I'm going to say about that.

abbynormal said...

In addition, President Hinckley once said, "People wonder what we do for our women. I’ll tell you what we do. We get out of their way and look with wonder at what they’re accomplishing."

He and other General Authorities have also given more than one talk that is completely focused on praising women for the things they do and the role they play, in whatever state of life they may be. Does this sound like a church that suppresses or belittles women? I don't think so. :)

As an older, single, educated, working Mormon woman, I have never felt like the church as a whole was doing anything but enabling and encouraging me to reach my potential.

Crystal said...

Oh I have definitely done both- encourage scriptural learnig and prayer about it. I don't think it is a bad thing to have questions- and more importantly to ask if you have them. I also know that I have had surprisingly few issues myself because I like the way the church is run. I just feel that in the quest to find the truth of all things, it is ok ( important) to think a out things that make us squirm if they are legit concerns for others.
I also have to say this: I would love the opportunity to make being a mom and wife my number one priority but I have not been able to do that. It is impossible. I think because of that earnest desire and the impossibility that I should consider that there is not a one-size answer for a mom. Lord knows that I wish there was. Trust me, there is nothing worse than seeing your baby for a few hours a day as a mom.

Finally, I actually do know many moms who view being at home a desire that is unaffordable. Most moms, in fact, that I know professionally wish they could. I also know many moms who stay at home who are miserable, so it is for sure a complex thing.

Anyway. It is important to give creedance to peoples concerns and questions.

Crystal said...

Belittled?? Where did that come from. I don't think that wad ever a question or feeling... I feel all the questions are fair. Seriously, just because a person has questions does not mean anyone should get in defense mode.

David and Debby said...

belittle means to make someone feel unimportant. there is a little of that feeling in her questions. i think they are good questions. the fact is, though that we are a priesthood run church. they lead us, they are in charge. women do perform ordinances, in the holy temple. it is deferred authority. temple stuff comes way later down the line. we use the King James Version of the Bible, which uses sacred language. it is a very old version, but i would never consider it archaic. i also don't think the proclamation subordinates women. "husband and wive have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other". "All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents". "In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners". it does say that fathers are to preside IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, and mothers are the one who primarily nurture." i have certainly found that role of nurturing to be predominant in me. I have heard the women called "president" from church sources, and also individually in wards and stakes. for #2, i think women do speak and exercise their stewardship in places besides Primary, YW and RS. We speak in church, we speak at leadership meetings, we speak at stake conference. the mission questions, they are welcome to serve missions, but it should not take presidence over a marriage, since the covenants and promises we make in the temple are the epitome of our worship. that is what we are all aiming for. Some of Pres. Hinckley's granddaughters have served missions. These are great questions crystal. thanks for giving us the opportunity to think about them. debby

beckyV said...

I totally agree that there is not a one-sized answer for moms. The fact that the church encourages moms to stay home doesn't mean that there is no situation where a mom working wouldn't be okay. I have worked for much of my marriage. Obviously there are many women who have to work. I don't think that the church discourages women from having careers, either. I plan on having a career again someday. And you hear time and time again our leaders encouraging everyone to get an education. I also think that it is good to ask the questions, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I also agree with Colin that you need to pay attention to the spirit and you can't get too bogged down in doubt and questions or you will never move forward.

beckyV said...

btw, I'm speaking from experience on the "getting too bogged down in questions and not paying attention to the spirit" thing.

And women also speak at general conference.

Colin & Lori said...

(Fyi - I started this comment before Debby's comment. It just took me time with the kiddos. It pleases me know that my feelings are similar to Debby's. I consider her to be extremely knowledgeable and spiritually in-tune. Far more than myself. Naturally!)

I am sure that is not the case! No one who has left a comment is being defensive. Let's not exaggerate or read more into the comments than is necessary. We could certainly pick apart each word or phrase and make something out of it it is not. This is simply no more than the thoughts and feelings expressed in regards to the questions that were posed.

I don't know how anyone who read these questions would not feel like there is an underlying tone of opression of women throughout.

Opression - "the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppression

Belittle - "To knowingly say that something is smaller or less important than it actually is."
from a google search result

Not that either is nice but I have never felt oppressed or belittled by the church. I agree so much with Becky's opinion of differences vs inequality. Men and women have different roles although they can and often do overlap ie. a mother working outside the home because it is necessary, not just because they want those designer clothes or the latest and greatest .

I don't think that anyone could doubt that you would, if possible, stay at home with your children. As a SAHM I have very difficult days and do occasionally wish I had a career. I think most of us would like to have the best of both worlds. We each make sacrifices, some more than others, to do what we feel is right for our families. I work dang hard at home and Colin works dang hard at work. His work is no more important than mine is. We provide two DIFFERENT services to our families and this is what works for us.

I don't thinks that the differences men and women have in regards to being members of the church are different than I explained above. We each provide a service in the kingdom of God that help us all return to Him.

Growing up I thought that I would serve a mission. I admired the sister missionaries and respected their decision to serve. I was talking to my Bishop at about age 19 and asked him why women weren't able to serve earlier. He told me that he didn't really know. It was the way the Lord wanted it but women typically made better missionaries, they worked harder and often had more converts. He said that the men were required to serve because of what it would make them if they worked at it. Let's face it, the experiences these guys have teach them more than anyone but the Lord knows. If the Lord felt that women needed these experiences he would reveal it to His Prophet. When I was almost 21 I began seriously praying for confirmation of my decision to go on a mission. I never felt that it was right for me. I struggled with that, believing that I could be a good missionary, and wondered why. Never was I once discouraged by any priesthood leader in the church not to go. The decision could only be made by the Lord and myself.

Colin & Lori said...

I truly believe that women are not often mentioned in the scriptures because of the reverence that is and should be shown for them.
As for the temple ceremony I am not sure how much should be said and or discussed. I do know that if my husband is a righteous priesthood leader he will guide our family in the direction it should go. When Colin didnt match he SERIOUSLY considered an offer from a hospital in TX. It would have been a great area to buy a great house for not a lot of money and he was almost convinced to take the spot. I was talking to Debby one day about it and a very strong feeling came to me that we should NOT consider this hospital. I told Debby that as we were talking. I feel that the Holy Ghost gave this impression to ME because I wasn't connected as directly to the need to have a residency job as Colin was. Don't get me wrong, it was a HUGE decision. We could take this one or have none. If husband and wife are working to become one revelation and guidance will come not just to the husband but to both and not always at the same time. If I remember correctly it was hard for Colin to accept my feelings at first but I told him there was just no way. I had felt the prompting and that was how it had to be. Basically. He respected my ability to receive this revelation. We are equal partners. It is the differences each of us bring to our marriage that evens it out.

I think the Priesthood keeps men humble if they understand the power they hold. They need that and I think they could agree with me. I know Colin does at least.=)

It is important to give creedance to questions however, as some of these questions may not have satisfactory answers, or answers at all, as we search, ponder and pray and feel the Spirit of the Lord, when we come to the knowledge of the truths of the Gospel, the answers will become irrelevant. We search for the answers in the scriptures, pray to understand them and accept them. As we all know the answers don't always come right away or how we think they should, they come to us in a way we can learn. If we are diligent they will come!

Often the answers to the questions we have are found through the challenge to answer another's.

(ps - I can't stand to proof my writing so forgive my typos!)

You can't fault the super-majority of those who contribute to this blog for having similar opinions. Doesn't it stand to reason that they would per their influences and upbringing? However, they may be similar on some but are very different on others.

Leslie said...

When I lived in San Francisco, I had a roommate (not LDS) who's mother was a minister for her church. She once asked me about women and the priesthood, leadership roles and in not so many words, how the church can get away with blatantly discriminating against women.

My argument was that the church is not a democracy, it's a theocracy, with Jesus Christ at it's head. The model we use to operate the church is Christ's model. He has decided how his church should be run and we're just carrying out his orders (through revelation received by prophets). I told my friend that when we follow a prophet, it's as if we are following Christ because we literally believe he is Christ's mouthpiece. I explained a little bit about how people are given callings based on inspiration, and that the church doesn't vote, for example, to elect a prophet (like the pope). If you try to place the LDS church in the "democracy" box, it will always seem like we have unjust or unfair ideas and practices. However, if you have a testimony that it is God's true church, then the question does become somewhat irrelevant, because if God says it should be a certain way...well, how can you argue with God.

That said...I do believe that Heavenly Father wants and expects us to be curious and to seek to understand those things we don't understand. I've long believed that differences between men and women and their roles is one of those things that might be categorized as a "mystery of God". The scriptures tell us that we'll only ever understand the mysteries of God through heed and diligence to His commands. As we righteously endure to the end and as we continue to seek learning and knowledge, our minds will continue to be enlightened and more of the dots will be connected. Eventually (probably not in this lifetime) we will be given all our Father hath, including his knowledge.

Leslie said...

P.S. One of my favorite talks of Pres. Hinkley's is "The Women in Our Lives".

Crystal said...

Nice answers, I am all about getting real answers in response to pointed questions instead of hand-wavy philosophy.

AND as a person who lives life both working hard at work AND at home AND knowing that these were questions in an adult friend who was not raised the way that most people in the church are raised (similar to my own upbringing), they are legitimate questions.

I do not feel that she feels women are belittled or oppressed, she just wonders the things I have posed. Where those terms began being used with this post, I am just at a loss.

I had not thought about/noticed some of the things, so I was wondering what others thought is all. I will just talk to her about it personally. And share with her the experience I have had every time such questions (only mine had to do with other things that I will save for my own memory) and the peace that I have had with pondering them, thinking about them, studying them out and then accepting the answers I get in prayer.

I don't have a clue why women dont speak in priesthood or offer opening prayer in sacrament. I actually never considered it, but now that I have been asked about it, I just might ask my bishop, relay it to her and that is that. If you don't want to know why, that is fine, but if I do, that is fine too.

Some other questions posed that I think are ok to have been asked:

Is the earth REALLY flat?

Does the earth REALLY serve as a center of the heavens?

Which of all these are correct?

beckyV said...

Crystal, if you read back through your post you will understand where terms like "belittled" and "oppressed" are coming from. Can you honestly not see that tone with those questions? They are good questions to ask, I agree, but the gist of all the questions is that the women are less than the men of the church. I personally was giving my perspective on this issue. I wasn't getting defensive, I was giving my opinion, which is what you asked for. I'm not backwards or unenlightened (is the earth REALLY flat, 'cmon!!), I don't want to stifle any questioning of the church. I have had my own journey, I have asked MANY of my own questions. That is where my perspective is coming from.

Matthew said...

I agree with Crystal. It is a very constructive thing to have questions. Far too often are questions treated like attacks; whether or not they have undertones of animosity.

Grandpa once told me that even if questions are intended to stir up feelings of anger are good. The reason being that they lead people to ask very heartfelt questions. Keep in mind I had to paraphrase what grandpa said.

In the end it is important to not turn inquiries into an inquasition. I hate to say it but as Mormons we are notorious for becoming very defensive when questions like this arise. Sad to say I'm possibly the worst about doing this. Do keep in mind that Crystal brought up these questions because she was looking for answers for both herself and her friend. Her friend who by the way works at Mary Baldwin which is an extremely femanistic school. As such it's very important to approach these questions with a fair amount of sensitivity. It's not such a good idea to use words like belittled.

beckyV said...

Okay, I'm just going to say one more thing. I think that there may be a little bit of misunderstanding. When I read this post my thought was that Crystal's friend was worried that women were belittled in the church, which is a common misperception. I don't think, and I don't think anyone else thinks, that it is a bad thing that she has these perceptions, or that she is a bad person for having them. I would probably feel the same way if I had heard all these things about a church I didn't know anything about. I don't think that it is a bad thing that she is asking the questions. I honestly don't think that anyone got offended, they were just giving their opinions.

What I honestly was a little offended by was the assumption that none of us who have been raised in the church can understand these kinds of questions and that we blindly follow without any questions of our own. Crystal, your status update on facebook said that you thought we were all saying you were evil for asking questions. I honestly don't understand that, is that really how you thought we came across by expressing our opinions? I really want to know, because I don't like or want bad feelings between family members. Please don't be offended by me asking these things. I just don't like it when these kinds of discussions devolve into a bunch of bad feelings on everyone's part.

Crystal said...

I had a big reply. Sorry to have offended. AGAIN.

abbynormal said...

I was the first to use "belittled," and I actually looked up the definition of the word before I typed it, to make sure it wasn't going to come off as too strong. It seems that it did. But I most definitely wasn't in a defensive mode when I made my comment - I was just interpreting what I read the underlying tone to be from Crystal's friend's questions, and addressing it directly. Same for right now - I'm still not feeling defensive or offended, I am just offering clarification.

Crystal, it's wonderful that your friend is asking so many questions, rather than just automatically assuming that the church is no good for the ladies, and I'm glad you came to us with them. All of us have had questions of our own in the past that we've had to find answers to, and it's great that we have this open forum to discuss. None of us think you are evil, and I can guarantee that none of us have posted comments defensively. I think the difficulty is that I set everything off with my "belittled" comment, so everything that followed probably sounded loaded and negative, and I'm really sorry for getting that started. But if you read through it all with the mentality that we're all just trying to address the gist of your questions, nothing that has been said has been defensive. We're on your side. Please remember that.

Jason and Dana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason and Dana said...

I actually really benefited from reading all your responses. I didn't know how to respond to those questions. It's not something I've thought a lot about. I've never been one to ask lots of questions. In some ways I'm a blind believer, I guess. I loved reading all your insights, so thank you.

beckyV said...

Dana, I have always loved and respected how you believe everything so fully and completely. I wish I was more like you :)

Colin said...

I just read through those questions again and, as previously stated, the attitude and focus of every one of them is how women have a lesser or more restrictive role than men. I don't know how anyone could come up with anything besides this. And, as everyone who has commented here, no one feels that is the case. Can we please not get hung up on semantics.

I said it before and I say it again. If the church is true then the church is true. Period. End of discussion. If you have gone on a mission or worked with the missionaries you know that if your focus of conversion are on questions such as this then you will not progress. If your friend doesn't look at the simple doctrines of the church and seek to know if they are true then she will never, ever gain a testimony.

The end.