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Oct 28 2014

So That’s Why Women Don’t Usually Travel in Their Eighth Month

By at 2:02 pm

shutterstock_190696934

For my 36th birthday, my husband took me out to dinner and a show in San Francisco, an hour north of where we live with our three kids. This was exciting mostly because we were an hour north of our three kids, and also, because we were celebrating not only my birthday, but also that morning’s pink line on my home pregnancy test. We felt both giddy and overwhelmed by the news, and were happy to be out, distracted.

We saw “The Book of Mormon,” and, as observant Jews, it hit close to home. We laughed and laughed. We were laughing at the show, and, by extension, at the Mormons, just as we were also laughing at ourselves, modern people of an ancient faith living a life of contradictions, trying hard to make sense of the traditions and stories that shape so much of our lives, so many of our decisions. Our laughter was uncomfortable, for we saw ourselves on that stage, and were afraid of the possibility that we too were living in an absurd world of illusions, dreaming of Orlando. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 23 2014

As a Mormon, How Can I Comfort My Jewish Mother-in-Law?

By at 3:48 pm

We Don't Agree on the Afterlife but We're Family

My family always asks me what Jews believe about the afterlife. My family is Mormon but my husband’s family is Jewish—they belong to a Reform synagogue—and my father-in-law is slowly dying. So whenever my family members ask me how my mother-in-law is doing and I give them the update—that she’s coping but still sad—they always shake their heads and say, “How does she do it without a belief in the afterlife?”

This is incredible to them. Mormons spend a lot of time thinking about the afterlife. For example, even though my uncle died tragically, before I was born, he was still very much a presence in my extended family. So much so, that when I was little and I would say my nightly prayer, sometimes I would ask God to put him on the line. Then I would say, “Hello, Uncle Rich. How are you?” and I would tell him things that I thought he might want to know about my grandma, my cousins, etc… (I kept it upbeat, so he wouldn’t feel bad about cutting out early). At my grandparents’ funerals we sang “God Be With You ‘Till We Meet Again,” and I meant it. To Mormons, the idea of an afterlife is the only antidote to the sting of death. Read the rest of this entry →

May 28 2013

Since Leaving the Mormon Faith, How Will I Talk to My Daughter About God?

By at 3:22 pm

heath wilcock god seriesThis post is part of our month-long series featuring different ways that parents of various religions have talked to their kids about God.

Fold your arms.

We say this to our 3-year-old daughter whenever food is about to be blessed at my parents’ house. She never folds her arms nor closes her eyes, but instead maintains her energy while everyone else stops conversations and becomes reverent. By this age, she should be well-trained in the Folding Arms & Bowing Head procedure, and maybe even saying the prayer, with some parenting assistance. Everyone finds this adorable. You see, we’re Mormon and Mormons typically teach children early on about how to communicate with their father in Heaven.

After a couple of attempts to get our daughter to fold her arms, we would look at my family, act frustrated, and say something like, “Ah well, she does her own thing. Can’t make her.”

But the truth is: we never taught her. Read the rest of this entry →

May 9 2013

How a Mormon Mother Teaches Her Child to Pray

By at 5:01 pm

little boy praying

This post, part of our month-long series about God, is by Joyce Anderson, one of the winners of our writing contest.

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some people call us “The Mormon.” Despite what you’ve heard, what you think about Mitt Romney, or what Broadway musicals say about us, we’re pretty normal people who just want to teach our children how to be godly in an increasingly godless world.

After my first son was born, and after the shock of motherhood started to wear off, I realized that I needed to start thinking about how I was going to teach my son about God, Heaven, Jesus Christ, and all of the other things we believe. I felt overwhelmed at the task in front of me, and I really didn’t know what to do, other than pray. Read the rest of this entry →

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