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Quarterly Subscription and Counterpoint Conference

Subscribing to The Quarterly:
The current price for 4 issues of the Mormon Women's Forum Quarterly is $15. To subscribe, send a check made out to Mormon Women's Forum, P.O. Box 58281, Salt Lake City, UT 84158. Or e-mail us, and we'll bill you along with the first issue we send you.

Counterpoint Conference:
In the year 2000, the Counterpoint Conference will take place on Saturday, September 30. It will be held in the Olpin Student Union Bldg. at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. To add your name to the mailing list for future information and the call for papers, write to The Mormon Women's Forum, P.O. Box 58281, Salt Lake City, UT 84158; or e-mail us.

Excerpts from the most recent Quarterly:

From The Domestic Spirituality of Lucy Mack Smith, by Lavina Fielding Anderson:

Long an icon, Lucy Mack Smith [mother of Mormonism's founder, Joseph Smith] has received ritual regard for her success in Mormonism's most revered role for women: that of mother. . . . Almost universally overlooked is the perhaps unconscious way that Lucy Mack Smith has functioned as a model of domestic spirituality. It is surprising, in fact, that Lucy's life has not been mined more deeply and more consistently as a manual for today's Mormon women, given the intense role anxiety generated by recent church pronouncements on "the family." (As one who has long desired an expanded role for women in Mormonism, I make this observation with a certain irony.)

This essay examines how Lucy, whether consciously or deliberately, used her identity as Mormonism's "first mother," as one of the few political and social tools at her disposal in 1844-45 when she was a sixty-nine-year-old widow, without financial resources, with all of her sons dead but one (William). . . . for a woman so committed to exercising her spiritual gifts within the family circle, this episode shows her as competent, lucid, and unquestionably skillful, both in communicating with great emotional impact to a large audience and also in positioning herself relative to Brigham Young. If she was acting unconsciously, then it is easy to see where Joseph Smith's considerable gifts of charm and charisma came from; and if she was acting strategically and consciously, then we can only wonder what the results might have been had she chosen to exercise her gifts in a circle larger than that of her own family.

From Why Most Mormons Are Not Going to the Celestial Kingdom, by Gay Blanchard:

While temple endowments may be sacred, they are only secret to the degree that people lock their minds and hearts against discovery. God will not keep any insights from us which we are willing, yearning, to explore. When I became brave and needy enough to explore the temple rituals, I learned many interesting things, some of which give this paper its title.

. . .We don't know, because our leaders apparently don't know to tell us, that the whole purpose of the Law of Obedience is to convince us that we can't keep all the contradictory rules required of us by religious leaders over the centuries. Trying to do so is truly an education. We grow in our understanding of ourselves and of others; we assume responsibilities; we learn about the gospel. If we are awake, we learn painfully our many limitations. We work and work and work at trying to perfect ourselves one thing at a time, at trying to make ourselves worthy, at trying to work out our salvation. But we do not progress into higher law. We stay in the Telestial Room.

This is the reason "Most Mormons Are Not Going to the Celestial Kingdom"-- because in real life their journey stops here: working at trying to be obedient to the whole letter of the law. . . . While they [most Mormons] continue to walk through the symbolic temple ritual to its ending week after week, year after year, in real life they stay in the Telestial Room. While they carry titles denoting Melchizedek priesthood status, the degree of power they are quickened to use remains on the temporal or Aaronic priesthood level. Those who choose to partake of Christ's loving grace experience a mighty change of heart and move into the Terrestrial Room, where they are quickened with ability to function on a spiritual, Melchizedek priesthood level.

. . . There are people who have never been to the temple, who have never even heard of Mormonism, whose yearnings for spiritual fulfillment have led them to the same truths symbolized in the temple. Going to the temple can give us clues, but these clues can be found in other places. The actual journey, during which the symbols become realities for us, takes place outside the temple in our everyday lives as we seek and knock and ask and listen and know and feel--and make the choices which allow God to endow us with the experiences which quicken and change us. It is a spiritual journey, not only of coming home to God, but of coming home to the true fulfillment of ourselves.

Brief History of Mormon Feminism