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Hi I'm Joy.

I'm a single mom. I belly dance. I have fibromyalgia. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a single mom of a daughter in college. We often read the same books, play video games, watch Doctor Who, and talk and laugh a lot. Having a constant and safe open dialogue is one reason we are so close. I was a first-generation college student. In graduate school, I studied Shakespeare's works and other literature from that era. I also studied utopias, but I have a particular interest in dystopias- like in "1984" or "Hunger Games". I also love movies like "Gattaca" and "Surrogates" that explore dystopian future societies. Lately, I have been teaching a "Writing About Video Games" class. I'm also the advisor for the geek club, belly dance club, and women's diversity club on our campus. I love my job. One of the things I am completely open about is the fact that I went through a major depression in my 20's- I mean a "can't work up to taking a shower, life's not worth living, gained 40 pounds from the meds, had to be hospitalized" depression. It was the first time that I realized that being faithful and praying doesn't make trials end. After a long time, I learned to see myself more like God does and eventually I got to where I am now- genuinely happy and knowing my worth. I also have fibromyalgia, which is not fun, but it has taught me to slow down and prioritize in a way that I may not have learned any other way. I've also learned to listen to my body and take care of it much better than I ever would be inclined to do otherwise.

Why I am a Mormon

I wasn't planning on it. I grew up non-religious, but I had a lot of Mormon friends in high school. One of them helped me when I was dating a boy and he was pressuring me to have sex. I didn't want to, but I didn't have a "good reason". I knew my friend had a stance, and I wanted to know what that was- she helped me avoid a huge mistake. Later, another LDS friend asked me to meet with the missionaries of the Church, and I thought it would be a good idea to understand more about the beliefs of the Church. I even told the missionaries that I had no intention of joining the Church so they wouldn't be disappointed. But, once I started learning about it, I felt something I never had before. I started asking God what He thought about the Church and if what the missionaries were teaching me was the truth. I didn't know until then that God could answer our prayers in direct and distinct ways. Once I figured that out, I wanted know what He wanted me to do! I prayed and studied and fasted quite a bit and was baptized on January 12, 1991. The longer I'm a member, the more I see how much better my life has been with God in charge of it. I have been through many, many trials, and I don't know how I would have survived them on my own, let alone come away from them stronger. I've come to see that my best effort still can't touch what my Heavenly Father has planned for and understands about me. Although it is sometimes hard to bend my will to His, especially when I don't always understand the "whys", He has done miracles with my life, and I owe Him so much more than I can ever repay.

How I live my faith

The most important thing I do is live my faith. I'm not perfect, but I do the things I can to show God I'm grateful for all he does for me and my daughter. This includes praying morning and night alone and with her, reading the scriptures, working with our Young Women's program, and trying to see people the way God does. I try to be kind to everyone and understand why they believe what they do, whether it is about faith, politics, or anything else. I try to make others' day a little better when I can. I make a point of reviewing my own life often to see what I need to improve next- we're here to grow, and I have so much to improve upon that I don't want to waste the short time I have here. Mostly, I hope I teach my daughter that she is a daughter of God first and that she has infinite worth. What I would have given to know that when I was a teenager!

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

This idea is something I had to learn and then face when I was looking into the Church myself- many in my family had the idea that the Church was a cult, and I was dumbfounded by it, because it's clearly not. Nothing I experienced when looking into the Church or since I've been a member would make me think "cult". I think people get this idea because many of us follow pretty strict guidelines for how we live our lives- modesty in clothing, a code of health, temple marriage, and we believe the leader of our Church to be a prophet of God, just like the prophets in the Bible. Clearly, there are others out there who claim to be prophets and not only aren't but who are taking advantage of people. The biggest difference is that cults ask people to blindly follow their leaders, threatening them with harm if they don't. Our Church does the opposite. It encourages education and wants people to know if the Church is what it claims to be FOR THEMSELVES- this means that any person who truly wants to know if the Church is teaching truth can ask God him or herself if it is so. This is not a place for blind compliance. It is a place for loving encouragement. No cult I know of gives so much autonomy to the individual, because cults are about control. Control has nothing to do with our Church at all. Members are free to live the religion or not. We care about each other's welfare, of course, but agency is one of the most important doctrines of our religion- the freedom to choose. Show more Show less