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Hi I'm Janet

I'm a fiber artist, mother of six grown children, an English tutor, and a parenting class teacher. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm an Easterner, born and bred, one of a small group of Mormons when I was a child. I grew up around many different religious traditions, visited others' youth groups and spent time after school discussing our varied ideas and values. Religion was real and vibrant in that world. I love stories and learning about others' experiences and cultures. I earned a BA in English and am a voracious reader. I married while in graduate school at BYU. We moved to Pennsylvania where we learned our first son had multiple disabilities. We wanted a big family, so with both determination and nervousness we had five other children. They grew up in a city where their brother had good services and where they learned independence and how to interact with many kinds of people. They are now adults, living lives shaped by compassion and strength gained from living with their brother and in a diverse setting. The needs of that son, our growing family and demanding Church service replaced previous career plans. I turned to fulfillment in flexible activities: listening to my growing children, reading, traveling as possible, creating art, especially appliqued fabric wall hangings, and currently teaching an adult gospel doctrine class and an LDS Family Services parenting class. I find joy in seeing our children meet the challenges in their lives with grace. I find joy in marriage to a kind and supportive husband. I find joy in creation. It's not been the life I expected but a good one.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into a Mormon family, but living in the Eastern US I had friends with many different faiths. I wasn't surrounded by a like-minded community, so being a Mormon was a choice. I don't remember a major deciding moment, however. There were small ones when I saw how helpful my faith was. I saw people suffer painful consequences from a lack of values to guide their choices. I felt sad for them and grateful that I had been taught what best leads to happiness. I was grateful to understand Christ's atonement lets us overcome weaknesses and mistakes. I didn't have to be stuck in habits or guilt. The Mormon assurance that life does not end at death, that we can live eternally with loved ones helped when my mother died. I am comforted now knowing I can be with my husband and children beyond the grave and that I will know my disabled son without his mortal limitations. Like most people of faith, I have had questions and doubts, but Mormons are encouraged to seek answers through study and prayer, and I've had such prayers answered. I am grateful God cares for all His children and will inspire any who seek guidance. The Church teaches we were born to learn from experience, and we can choose our responses. That has helped me in hard times. I understand being good doesn't prevent all suffering, that faith isn't an eraser to wipe away all trouble. It is easier to focus on finding strength or solutions without wasting energy on blaming someone or asking "Why me?"

How I live my faith

My faith has shaped my choices, values, responses to life's challenges. We probably would have been too nervous to have five more children after our disabled son was born, although we wanted him to have siblings to love him and each other. Other people sometimes questioned our choice to go ahead. But we trusted God would help us somehow, because He wants His children to succeed as much as possible. The covenants I made to follow Christ's example and the Church's values and teachings remind me that I agreed to chose service over selfishness, to be kind to my family though I'm tired, and to consider the consequences of my actions for all concerned. This has made me more thoughtful about what I do and less likely to choose the easiest way or what might meet my own short terms needs. Caring for a big family and a disabled child can be exhausting. It is natural to feel burnt out at times. Remembering I chose this life has pushed me to find good ways to regenerate energy and to resolve problems rather than just try to escape them. It helps to remember God strengthens people to live with a measure of grace during hard times. Living my religion has shaped my use of time and resources. My husband and I have both accepted leadership roles even when that wasn't easy. Leadership is more about work than glory and involves long hours doing hard things. It requires supporting each other's work. That has strengthened our marriage and family and led to growth through service.

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

The actual roles men and women act out in their families are significantly shaped by the cultures they live in, and, obviously, in many cultures men hold a dominant position with women seen as less valuable and having limited autonomy. Additionally, husbands and wives tend to repeat the specific kind of relationship their parents had, even when those relationships were dysfunctional. Power struggles between men and women are painfully common. Mormon Church leaders, however, counsel couples to foster relationships of unity and equality between husband and wife regardless of how tasks are divided by individual couples. That model comes from Christ's example as a leader who was the servant of all. The Apostle L. Tom Perry explained: "there is not a president or vice president in a family. The couple works together eternally for the good of the family. They are united together in word, in deed, and in action as they lead, guide, and direct their family unit. They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward." (Conference talk reprinted in Ensign, May 2004, p. 71). Obviously, developing such unity takes commitment and effort from both, along with a willingness to be mutually supportive and to treat each other with respect and cooperation. The result will be loving, eternal companionship instead of competition or control. Show more Show less