Podcast Series: "Opposition and Enemies" for the "LDS Single Moms" Group

Dear Readers:

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of doing a three-part podcast series called "Opposition and Enemies" with Amber, the host of the LDS Single Moms group on Facebook. These podcasts focused on my written nine part series on enemies. (To access the posts, type "enemies" in the search engine provided for this website.)

Amber is a recently divorced mom who founded the LDS Single Moms group. She is a wonderfully spiritual woman and an inspiring example. Whether married or single, women will find her group a supportive and soft place to fall.

Below are the links to my podcasts with Amber. I was a little nervous starting out, but by the third round, I was much more relaxed and conversational.

Part One:

https://www.facebook.com/ldssinglemoms/

Part Two:

https://www.facebook.com/ldssinglemoms/

Part Three:

https://www.facebook.com/ldssinglemoms/





Here's to learning from and victory over our opposition,

Julie

Part 2: Suffering a Crisis of Faith? Grow Your Own "Sacred Grove"


A short time ago, I walked through the majestic redwoods in California's Big Basin State Park located in the Santa Cruz mountains. Just a short drive north from San Jose (or south from San Francisco), I grew up camping and hiking amongst these stately redwoods.



Redwoods are some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world. They average 80 feet and can be up to 20 feet in diameter. Some grow as tall as 375 feet. These coastal redwoods live an average of 500 - 700 years and some are approximately 2,000 years old. (Sequoia redwoods can live up to 3,500 years.) The rings in the tree trunks tell their history. The photo below shows the remains of a middle-aged redwood. The labels on the trunk represent a time line according to the tree's rings.


Part 1: Suffering a Crisis of Faith? Grow Your Own "Sacred Grove"


The 1980's were challenging years for me. I began 1980 as a newlywed and began the 1990's as a mom to four kids. One of my difficulties involved questions of faith. Born and raised in Mormonism, I had always had a rock solid testimony of the gospel and of the Church. Still, like many young adults, I had questions regarding Church doctrine and LDS culture. My older sister, Janet, was asking similar questions. Janet and I especially struggled with the following issues:

  • The doctrine of plural marriage and its practice in 19th century Mormonism
  • Women and priesthood authority 
  • Church administration and priesthood correlation where women's auxiliaries no longer had autonomy but reported directly to priesthood authorities (Correlation had been instituted 20 years earlier.) 
  • The proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution (ERA) for gender equality (It ultimately failed to pass, but like Propostion 8 regarding same sex marriage in California, the proposed amendment divided Church members.) 

"Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant"

I must take time from the holiday scurry and scuttle to acknowledge and pay tribute to the Savior and His birth. Each year, the Christmas season brings new meaning and significance for me. And each season increasingly separates me from the festivities of the holidays while pulling me closer to the magnificence of the Savior's birth. Western culture is quickly forgetting and erasing its Christian roots and traditions while embracing secularism and multicultural pluralism. As a result, Christmas---more than ever---is my favorite time of year; not because of the traditional festivities, but because secularists and non-Christians must acknowledge (on some level) the authentic reason for the season: the birth of Jesus Christ. 


Social Justice? The Slippery Slope: From Awareness to Sensitivity to Guilt to Shame to Segregation

I'm ringing my bell again. I don't write to be a cynic or bearer of bad tidings. Still, I write with a sense of duty: To speak my truth, to promote peace, and to testify. I hope to achieve this, in part, by lighting dark corners of oppression and tyranny. 

Life is easier when I stay silent; but life is not better:

Clearing Our Consciences


A few weeks ago, my husband and I spent a few days at Lake Tahoe for our niece's wedding. 


Tahoe's south beach

Every time I visit Tahoe, the lake's deep blue hues and clear water always surprise me. In summertime, we have taken our boat out on the water, and there---in the middle of the lake---I admire the beauty of the changing hues against the green of the surrounding pine trees. 

An Open Letter of Appreciation to My Readers and Friends


Dear Readers,

In my last few posts, I have discussed some of the dangerous trends in academia and on college campuses as a result of the rise in identity politics. These trends include the stifling of intellectual diversity, censorship of free speech, and repressive sectarianism and totalitarianism. In raising awareness of these issues, I was afraid to speak and write openly for fear of jeopardizing my image and reputation as a college instructor, blog writer, and friend. Nevertheless, and in earnest prayer, I proceeded to write the posts and lay out all of my concerns.

Got Faith? Critical Thinking Requires Thinking Critically

"How do you define critical thinking?" I ask my students in a beginning-of-the-semester discussion and assignment. I always enjoy reading and listening to their ideas. Some responses make me smile: 

  • You can't be a critical thinker and be religious.
  • Those old Christian white men in Congress better keep their hands off my body (meaning access to abortion).
  • Christians are hateful. 
  • Christians are homophobic.
  • Republicans are basically insane.
  • I'm very open-minded and non-judgmental. (In the next paragraph this student condemns groups with whom she disagrees.) 
  • Religion is for weak minded people.
  • Religious people are irrational.
  • My parents are incapable of thinking critically. (Young people have been making this claim since the Stone Age.)
  • Religion is the cause of all world problems. 
  • Those crazy Christians...
  • My grandparents are conservative so they're closed-minded.
  • My parents are religious which means they're narrow-minded. 
  • We need to get the old white Christian guys out of government.
  • My parents believe in religion but I don't. I'm afraid to hurt them, so I go along with it for now. (This was written by a Hindu male.)

Adventures in Academia: The Specialness of Identity Politics and Self-Identifying

Dear Readers: This post contains information and observations regarding college students who self identify through gender fluidity, sexuality, and ethnicity. I write carefully and prayerfully in a context of humility and sensitivity. If you decide to read this post, please consider the words written in the Book of Jacob, Chapter Two: Jacob uses terms such as "boldness of speech," "delicate hearts," and "daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds." I echo Jacob's anxiety in approaching these sensitive topics when he says, "And not withstanding the greatness of the task, I must do accordingly... And I was told... to get thou up... I must tell you...according to the plainness..." and so forth. As an LDS woman, I too, must speak and write.

Let me be very clear: I am NOT criticizing the decision of a student or person to "self-identify." Due to this growing trend, however, our children and our LDS culture will increasingly feel its impact. To this end, I have felt much prompting in the last six months to write about this issue from my perspective as a college instructor.


Adventures in Academia: The Power of Racial Politics

Once upon a time, I loved to teach. I still love the concept of teaching. I always love my students. I have taught G.E. courses (critical thinking, argumentation, and debate in oral and written form) at San Jose State University for 20 years. I believe in multiculturalism. I believe in pluralism. I believe in equality. I believe that peaceful co-existence is desirable and attainable in a pluralistic society. I believe in human rights.