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Hi I'm Jenne

I'm a women's rights activist, a feminist, a stay at home mother and student of midwifery. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I grew up attending the Unitarian Universalist church. I took the UU church's teaching regarding each person's responsibility to be on "an individual search for truth and meaning" seriously. I studied world religions, attended different churches and was open to learning whatever I could about whichever religious organization I came into contact with. When I was introduced to the LDS church, I gave it the same chance. I was baptized in the LDS church my senior year of high school. In college, I met and married my husband, and graduated with my bachelors. I went on to get a masters degree. When I graduated with my masters, my 2 year old was on my hip and I was pregnant with my second. I stay home to care for them. I'm enrolled in midwifery school and I blog about childbirth and family policy as women's rights issues.

Why I am a Mormon

After years of being atheist and my father's sudden death in a car accident, I started struggling with my belief that there was no afterlife. I wanted more than anything to see my father again and to know that a mortal life wasn't all that there was to existence. At that time, I was blessed to be a member of a youth performing company founded by two LDS women. Many of the youth involved were also LDS. When I started asking about their beliefs regarding the afterlife, I was impressed by the plan of salvation, baptism for the dead and the idea of eternal families. When I prayed the first time to know if God existed, I felt an undeniable rush of the Spirit. I have been guided by that same Spirit many times since then and know that I can receive answers to my prayers and receive confirmation on the truthfulness of things that I learn. Most importantly, through prayer I can learn God's will for me.

How I live my faith

My activism for women's rights and families is very much shaped by my faith in the LDS teachings. In college, I studied societal threats to healthy and functional families. As I became a mother, I learned and experienced some of those and others that threatened mothers' well-being and their ability to care for their children. I find encouragement by the LDS church to stand up and work for what I believe is right. I also have a desire to serve mothers and families through my volunteer efforts. I try to be guided by the Holy Spirit in all that I do, so I pray often. I try also to find empathy and understanding for everyone I come in contact with and try to help in whatever ways I can. Because I believe so strongly in the importance of mothers and family, I keep my children and husband my primary focus.

What are some of the ways that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps those around the world?

Jenne
One of the missions of the church is to "care for the poor and the needy." The LDS Church does this in many ways. The Humanitarian Fund gives aid during disasters, builds schools, wells and health clinics across the world, teaches about health and safety practices and ways that families can be strong. Members of the church are encouraged to be "anxiously engaged in a good cause" and many of them choose ways to do this that put their skills and talents to work. It may be knitting baby hats for newborns and premies, making quilts and receiving blankets for low-income mothers, working at food banks, creating orphanages in developing countries, and finding employment in non-profit organizations and public service. Even the other missions of the church "to perfect the saints" and "preach the gospel" give help to people around the world as they find hope and strength in the answers to prayers they receive and the teachings of the prophets. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Jenne
Mormons believe that God's nature is that of the perfect parent. One of the greatest doctrines taught by the LDS church is that we believe we are loved by a Father and Mother in Heaven. Together, they love us with perfect knowledge of what we need to lead us to truth. They are patient, gentle, kind but firm and fair. Heavenly Father is attentive to our prayers and sends the Spirit to guide and comfort us. He also sends his Spirit to others who will be guided to help and give us comfort in our struggles. Though I greatly mourned my father’s death, I had not had a good relationship with him when he was alive. Finding myself fatherless with no knowledge of my Father in Heaven, I yearned to know a father’s love. At first I thought it was very strange that Mormons called God “Heavenly Father” all the time. Then it grew on me when I realized that believing in a Heavenly Father meant I could come to know a perfect father and given the hope of the atonement of Christ, my father could become more perfect than he had been in life. I learned that God is a knowable, loveable personage that broke down my misconceptions about a Christian belief in God. Learning about the Mormon concept of the nature of God helped me embrace Christianity because of Mormons rejects the idea that God is a spirit, without passions, without body or shape. Already having a nontraditional past and understanding of religion but valuing “truth wherever it could be found” the concept of Heavenly Mother, too, resounded strongly with me. Most Mormons first learn about Heavenly Mother is one of the LDS hymns which reads “In the heav’ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason, truth eternal, tells me I’ve a mother there.” This concept made so much sense to me, and, I expect, to others who are coming from a pagan, earth-based religious background or who are familiar with the history of goddess worship throughout the centuries of the world. Its wonderful to me that neither gender is pushed aside for the other, but male and female reign together as divine beings. In knowing about the existence of a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father, I have a better understanding of who I am as a daughter of God. Though not much is taught about Heavenly Mother, I envision a womanly goddess who is capable, strong, intelligent and all-knowing, creative, hardworking and infinitely loving: the perfect woman and mother and equal to power and ability to God the Father. The vision I have of Heavenly Father is gentle, loving, compassionate, all-knowing, patient and sensitive: the perfect man and father. In both, I find the parents I need to feel loved, comforted, guided and supported. I am able to learn how to be a better parent and partner to my husband because of the example I envision my heavenly parents set for me. Show more Show less

Why is family so important to Mormons?

Jenne
Like the social sciences which I studied in college, the LDS church recognizes that children fare best when they are cared for by two parents who work together in providing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children. There are many things happening in the world that are putting children at risk for sadness and challenges that come from not having the love and care of good parents. The Church teaches parents to be like our heavenly parents: present, involved, concerned, patient, kind and loving. When parents are God-like in their parenting, children come to know that God is also loving and there for them. Show more Show less

Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

Jenne
One of the reasons why women do not hold the priesthood in the Mormon Church is because, as President Hinckley said in an interview with an Australian reporter is that "there is no agitation for that." He seems to imply that if the members of the church were interested in women being ordained to the priesthood that a number of them ought to approach the leaders of the church expressing their interest. One faithful Mormon created a website where Mormons and non-Mormons can express their interest in women of the Mormon Church receiving the priesthood. The URL for that site is www.agitatingfaithfully.org. If the leaders take the communication seriously, they have the opportunity to show the world that the Mormon church continues to receive revelation and that the church can change its practices as it better learns the mind and will of God. It would be up to the prophet and apostles of the church to counsel and pray together on the topic of women receiving the priesthood. If they can all agree that God is telling them to extend the priesthood to women, they will share that revelation with the church and the world. It may be that God does have a reason for women not to receive that priesthood and Mormons do believe that God can reveal his reasons through the prophet. Certainly Mormons care to learn as much as they can through revelation and they care deeply about what truly is God's will. They want to know that it really is from God and not the popular response caused by the whim of the people. Until that time, Mormon women have many opportunities to serve within the church. The Relief Society is known as the biggest women's organization in the world and in each local congregation there is a leader or president of the Relief Society among the women of that congregation. There is a Relief Society presidency that oversees a small number of local congregation's Relief Society as well as a presidency that oversees all of the Relief Societies in local congregations throughout the world. The women of the church oversee the youth education program Primary of the church as well as the young women's education program. They are actively involved in family history, temple work, emergency preparedness, and humanitarian work in local congregations and throughout the world. Each woman of the church has many opportunities to serve the members of her congregation and local area and all members of the church are encouraged to be involved in volunteer organizations in their communities as well. Mormon women also serve as teachers in Sunday School and in worship services where they have the opportunity to teach all members of the church. As you can see, there are many ways that women can be leaders in the church. They play an active role in keeping the church going and meeting the needs of all the members of the church even without the priesthood. They typically are doing all of these things in addition to their work as mothers or employees. Some argue that because of this women do not need the priesthood at all.   Show more Show less