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Hi I'm Chelsea

I'm an anthropologist, a feminist, a mother, a wife, a democrat, and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a PhD candidate in biological and cultural anthropology and conduct research in Ghana, West Africa. I'm a new mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a professor, a scholar, a feminist, a democrat, and a Mormon.

Why I am a Mormon

Everything good in my life has come from being a member of this church. I was able to grow up in a close family where my parents loved each other and wanted the best for us. I avoided the challenges that other teenagers faced with regard to drugs, alcohol, and boys. At church I learned how to study, read, analyze, ponder, teach, and speak, all things that have made me a successful student and professor. I gained confidence, self awareness, and ambition because I knew my divine potential. I eventually thrived after tragedy because I could see the eternal perspective. I'm married to the man of my dreams-- smart, loving, kind, respectful, chaste, inspiring, capable, hard-working, ambitious, tolerant, and egalitarian-- qualities he has said he gained while serving a mission for the church. It is one of the only modern religions with a female deity and, while the church is not perfect, when I hold my newborn daughter I want all of these things for her.

How I live my faith

Our church has the largest Women's organization in the world. It is called the Relief Society. Currently, I prepare and teach classes about gospel principles to this group of women each month and try to volunteer to help out when one of the sisters is in need. I am also a part of many Mormon feminist Women's groups. Another program I am a part of is called Visiting Teaching. All of the women in the ward are matched up and encouraged to visit each other outside of church once a month with the sole duty of taking care of those sisters we are matched with. Often these "assignments" turn into deep friendships, supportive bonds, and networks of women who you can turn to in times of need.

What do Mormons believe about family?

Chelsea
It is the thing on earth that can bring us the most joy and our gift from God for living a good life is to be together forever with our families. Show more Show less

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

Chelsea
The primary responsibility of both the husband and the wife is to nurture and provide for the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of their family. 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?

Chelsea
As a feminist, this is a great concern of mine. The role of women in many modern world religions, hierarchies, rituals, and sacred texts is often less prominent, powerful, and public than male roles. Mormonism is unique, however, in that we are one of the only modern world religions that believes in a female deity, our Heavenly Mother. It is inspiring to me to be a part of a religion that recognizes the ultimate divinity of women. Mormon women have a history of fighting for equality. They were the first women in America to get the right to vote and fought along side the early suffragettes for women's rights. A the beginning of the Relief Society-- the largest Women's organization in the world-- women used to work together to send their members out to get degrees in medicine, art, and education. They started their own magazine, wrote books, gave healing blessings, opened the Deseret Hospital, participated in commerce, and often ran large households in dire circumstances. While the autonomy and authority of the Relief Society has changed over time, it is still seeks to help all those in need and see to the spiritual and personal welfare of women. Currently, we don't know why women don't have the priesthood, can't participate in many callings, and aren't a larger part of the Mormon hierarchy. We believe that someday, through the continued revelation of our prophets, these questions will be answered. Until then, we rely on the words of our modern prophets which unequivocally acknowledge and encourage full equality between men and women. Show more Show less

Can a husband and wife be together forever? Do Mormons believe that families will live together in heaven?

Chelsea
Yes! That is one of my favorite teachings of this church. That our love extends beyond "death do us part" and that we can be together after this life. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Chelsea
Mormon women are extremely diverse. We are old, young, single, married, stay-at-home moms, professionals, artists, all different races, sizes, and political parties. We come from a variety of backgrounds and we come to the church for a variety of reasons. Mormons believe in the full equality of men and women. This doesn't necessarily reflect in the hierarchy or gender representation in church leaders at present and we don't have all of the answers why. However, equality between men and women is eternal and we believe in a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father. We believe in the divine worth and potential of all of God's children. Show more Show less

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Chelsea
As an anthropologist, this is an interesting question. While LDS doctrines are the same around the world, the culture of Mormonism is very different depending on what country you live in. Overall, American Mormons are very concerned with obedience, community, and family. They make great efforts to work hard, have faith, and serve others. These behaviors often transfer into their professional and personal lives. For example, they are usually ambitious at work, wear their nicest outfits to church on Sunday, and the neighbors on the block with freshly mowed lawns. In the true American spirit, Mormons are a melting pot of educational, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. Show more Show less

What is the Relief Society?

Chelsea
At the beginning of the Relief Society-- the largest Women's organization in the world-- women used to work together to send their members out to get degrees in medicine, art, and education. They started their own magazine, wrote books, gave healing blessings, opened the Deseret Hospital, participated in commerce, and often ran large households in dire circumstances. While the autonomy and authority of the Relief Society has changed over time, it is still seeks to help all those in need and see to the spiritual and personal welfare of women. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Chelsea
No. One of the things that helps me stay strong when I feel like my political or personal beliefs are different from the typical conservative religious stereotype is that the foundation of Mormonism is built on deep respect and encouragement of personal revelation. This is the idea that God knows and loves you and, therefore, wants to inspire, guide, and direct your life. Through sincere prayer we can seek out answers to life's many questions-- be it political, personal, or professional. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Chelsea
Not all members have the same attitudes about homosexuality. Ultimately, we believe that all of God's children should be treated with respect, equality, and love. Sometimes political debates can overshadow these principles. While the church agrees that same sex couples should have access to all of the civil rights and full partnership of the law as heterosexual couples, most members believe that the word marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals. Show more Show less

To what do you attribute the growth of the Church?

Chelsea
I do a lot of my professional research in West Africa. What I've found is that many people are attracted to the church because, first of all, the teachings ring true to them. Secondly, as traditional village leadership roles change the church gives people a place where they have a responsibility and role in taking care of their community. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Chelsea
We believe that we are the literal children of God, meaning that we all have the potential to become like God. Show more Show less