A Meditation on Deliverance

O Come, O Come Emmanuel...

The words of a hymn embedded deep into my heart from rehearsals so many years ago, seemingly in a different lifetime.

And ransom captive Israel...

The plea embedded forever onto the walls of my heart. A fervent prayer, echoing into eternity from every direction.

That mourns in lonely exile here,

A refusal to succumb to the will of those who should've been trustworthy, and were not. Cleaving to the light of my own candle, whose shining into the darkness reveals and condemns it for what it is.

Until the Son of God appears.

I shall not walk in darkness because He is here. He is always here. He cannot be separated from me.


My birth rite. My joy belongs to me, is mine to claim, no matter what happens.


A commandment with a promise to me.

Shall come to thee, O Israel.


It has been six weeks since my bishop of my current ward has removed access to the sacrament from me and my family. There was no disciplinary council, no judgment passed, no conditions of repentance extended. We were handed an ultimatum to come back to church in person, with the unvaccinated and unmasked, and told there would be no alternatives given. Expose yourself and those you love or go without. Those were the instructions given to me during tithing settlement.

Nothing has changed. No divine retribution given. No change of heart. The situation as it stood then remains the same. Every word of warning I gave to him about the perils of lifting restrictions too soon, of moral cowardice in the face of certain death, has come to pass. Omicron has revealed itself and will fell millions across the world like a scythe to a harvest.

That does not mean deliverance has not come for me.

My covenants remain. The clarity of vision of how to proceed has not faded from me. As Mary stealing into the night with the Son of God, fleeing to Egypt to spare his life from Herod, funded by the kindness of strangers. Step by step through an unforgiving desert, to greet an unknown future on the other side of Sinai.

She is a survivor. I will learn from her, placing my feet where she trod. The loneliest walk in human history because no one has ever born a grief greater than hers. No one has ever been responsible for so much. I am in good company with her.

Be the solid ground beneath my feet in the wilderness. Prepare for me a table in the presence of my enemies. Hide me in the pavilion and set me upon the rock. Strengthen my heart against all fear. Bring their malice to an expected end.

It's Christmas. Read the room.

I don't know who in the Church Office Building needs to hear this. But there is no amount of messaging you can come up with that will make me ever want to study the Family Proclamation. Not in December or at any other time.


My parents were (and are) a burgoo of abuse, neglect, and untreated mental illnesses. They systematically destroyed each other and themselves with every terrible impulse belonging to the human mind. My mother is the only one left, and she has lost her entire grip on reality.

With what she has left of her mental facilities, she causes pain and chaos everywhere she goes. She terrifies my entire family because there is no limit to what she won't do to hurt other people. She has threatened me and my husband already. She has no place in my life now.

The week the Church was focused on the Family Proclamation, I was trying to figure out how to put a carrier block in place so my mother can't leave me voicemail anymore. Why? Because she treats my voicemail like a dumpster for all her worst thoughts and impulses towards me.

My Christmas season isn't about her. It doesn't include her. To the extent that I can, I spend as much of my waking life forgetting she exists as I possibly can.

I dedicate myself and my faith to a life well-lived, in which she has no part because she has no respect for me. 

I don't deserve to listen to others who have families who are healthier than mine talk about how their families are ordained of God. I don't deserve to be reminded that the only way my family is reflected in the Family Proclamation is the promise of divine retribution for the abusive and negligent. Not at Christmas. Not at any other time.

But if we're going to have conversations about the Family Proclamation, polygamy, racism, and denominationalism, as reflected in the Articles of Faith... Maybe don't do it at the darkest time of the year when the rest of the Christian world celebrates Christmas?!

And if planning the annual calendar of lessons so the Articles of Faith, Official Declarations 1 and 2, and the Family Proclamation don't fall in December is too hard, maybe stop basing our liturgical calendar on the order in which things were published in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Also, the Living Christ is literally right there

 Just dedicate the entire month of December to studying it every year. 

This isn't hard. 

Why are you making it hard?

When the Bishop Becomes a Stumbling Block

So, it has been several weeks since my Bishop initiated his ultimatum to force me to come back to church in person to get the sacrament. He has also discontinued all communication with me on the subject.

In the meantime, I've been reflecting a lot on what this means for my religious life in this moment. At a time in my life when I find myself wanting God and craving peace, I'm being shut out of the place I was always supposed to be able to find it.


Waters of Mormon, Lina Curley Christensen

In prayer, I've found myself repeatedly coming back to the scriptures from Romans 8 I had taped to my wall when my mother would forbid me to go to church as a new convert. Also in the story that was my first spiritual experience with The Book of Mormon: Alma 32. Where the people in power decided to expel the undesirables from their congregations. They were not allowed to worship in the churches they helped to build.

I feel that in my soul, in ways I've been struggling to fully accept. I gave my life for this church. I have given time, money, literally years of service to it because it is my spiritual home. 
I have forgotten how to find God outside its walls.

The power of Alma's message was tremendous the first time I heard it. The Book of Mormon testifies of a God who has no respect for the walls humans build between each other. A God who cannot be contained in mortal boxes.
I need to find my way back to my God and my Savior again, separate and apart from the people in this stake where I now live who do not mean me well. 
These are the prayers I've been saying. Prayers I thought I would never say.
The answers are coming slowly, mostly because I am already exhausted. But I have not been left comfortless. The way forward is becoming clear.
I am not dependent on these men to receive all the blessings of God. They are mine to claim, anywhere and at any time I need them. 
Faith. Joy. Rest. Holiness. Gratitude. Love. Healing. Dignity. 
They are my new focus. These are mine to claim. They belong to me. No one can take them away from me. They are the blessings I will give to myself through my personal devotion and worship.
The ordinances of the Church augment my search for these things. They can't replace it. That is the lesson I am learning right now.

Lamentations and Betrayal

To all the men who said to me that I was overreacting when I said Roe v. Wade, my constitutional right to self-determination, was in jeopardy: I hope the thing you fear most happens to you. I wish threefold suffering upon you. Full offense intended.

Except I don't have to wish. I won't have to wait long. The betrayal you have chosen for all women everywhere will find it's way back to you through the suffering of the women you care about most.

The miscarriages, the criminal prosecutions of the innocent, the usurpation of dogma over science, the infiltration of medicine with violence and fear, the loss of life of the women and children you don't know how to live without. 

That is the price you will pay.

Every man who views the women in his life as nothing more than incubators, I pray they suffer. I hope they are undone in grief. I pray for a scourge upon this land that will not cease until every living, breathing person has full bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.

The suffering and uncertainty you have imposed upon women through your machinations, through your silence, through your refusals to act. May they fall upon you all in full measure without mercy, for you deserve none.

Why do I feel safe invoking death and destruction on men in this fashion?
Because that's what their conspiracy against women means for me. My life is in danger because of what you all have done. You have turned any pregnancy I may have into a death sentence.
You wanted to practice medicine without a license? You wanted to set yourselves up as the supreme authorities over reproductive health, despite being wholly unqualified? 
May every life you extinguish follow you to the judgment bar of God. May their blood cry against you from their ground for justice. 

The Racism of Kristy Glass

Hey y'all. Gonna make you aware of a situation involving a white Latter-day Saint creator and influencer in the knitting, crocheting, and fiber arts community who just got called out on her racism. You know, in case she tries to galvanize white supporters from this community to defend her when it goes down.

Some of y'all might remember Kristy Glass from the I'm a Mormon campaign. Her video made it through the "We Don't Say Mormon Anymore" rebrand and you'll find it here.

She has a popular Youtube channel where she interviews makers all over the yarn crafting industry. Pattern designers, yarn dyers, shop owners, everyone who's anyone in a global, multi-million dollar industry. Those of you who knit likely already know her name.

A couple years back, the entire community had a moment of reckoning for how it treats black, indigenous, and LGBTQ+ consumers and creators. It's an ongoing conversation that white people have tried to silence so they can "get back to knitting. When that didn't work, a new approach emerged. Rather than pretending black makers and crafters don't exist or belong, white creators tried exploiting and make money off of their presence to show how "woke" they are. That's what Kristy Glass has being accused of doing.

In the words of Adella Colvin, who blew up Kristy's spot on Instagram today, there is a brand of white social media influencer in maker communities who collect black and indigenous people "like Pokemon." They don't care about inclusivity or diversity. Just clout.

Here's the link so you can hear what Adella has to say in her own words. I've followed Adella for years. If she says something is a problem, I trust her implicitly. She doesn't say stuff like this to cause trouble. She does it to invite change. Adella shared her own experience of when Kristy tried to do this to her. She also has firsthand experience of watching her do it to other black people. Specifically, she's calling out Kristy's business model of targeting newer BIPOC creators and having them pay her for exposure.

You know what's worse than expecting someone to work for free, because "exposure" doesn't pay anybody's bills? Charging black and brown people to work for you while they supply you with content. Adella called that exploitation and I agree with her.

"That sounds like a Yarn Folks problem. What you want us to do about that?"

As I said in the beginning, do not let her weaponize her whiteness or her connections to the LDS community if she tries. Based on how these conversations have gone down in the past with other creators, that's on the table. It's another opportunity for us, as Mormon and Mormon adjacent folks, to reckon with the community that taught us it's okay to exploit the labor of BIPOC while providing entirely hypothetical value in return.

Our economy runs on money, not "exposure." Exposure doesn't pay bills or buy food. Pay people a fair price for the value they provide for you in money. And if you get caught not doing that with black and brown people, expect it to blow up in your face.

Adella isn't calling for anyone to unfollow Kristy Glass. But I will. Don't follow someone or give support to them when they treat people like this. If she wants to have a brand that is inclusive and genuinely celebrates diversity, her heart needs to be in it. Not just her pockets.

* * *

UPDATE: As predicted, Kristy decided to act brand new about this entire situation. Adella, who is not having it, took her to task in public because Kristy chose not act right in private.

This total disregard for black people and their experiences, their boundaries, and their patience for how openly disrespectful she is to them on a regular basis. It has been going on with Kristy Glass for years.

Do y'all have any idea how wrong you gotta be to get a black woman to publicly cuss you out while wearing her bonnet? 

Viewing Kristy's response to the situation, she seems to think the only thing she has to apologize for are the out of pocket comments she made about Michelle Obama's cover on Vogue Knitting magazine.

By the time a black person in America is publicly calling out a white person for being racist, it's because they've already amassed an entire collection of receipts as evidence and they're exhausted by ongoing behavior they never should've had to tolerate at all.

"Pray to the racist white God you believe in and thank them that I'm not petty. Because if I was, I would post all the messages and screen shots I've received from other people about you" is a paraphrase that is not far off from what Adella said, and is 100% about Kristy being Mormon.

Which is to say, I now have the perfect comeback for the next person who gets uppity about me still calling myself Mormon. "I don't actually know if God is offended when I call myself Mormon. It's never come up. But I know he's offended every time you say Jesus is white."  

You may not think Kristy's religion is relevant to this conversation about her racism. I've been Mormon for fifteen years. I know it's relevant. There is real white supremacy in my church that needs to be rejected and dismantled. These conversations are how we do that.

I respect Adella immensely. I believe her. I trust her. Do not come into my space and disrespect her or any of the BIPOC makers who have been affected by this. I am here to dismantle white supremacy in my religious community. I'm not going to stop just because you don't want to acknowledge it in fiber world. This is what "doing the work" in anti-racism looks like. This is what BIPOC are constantly asking us to do. You can be part of that work, or you can move along. But do not interrupt what is taking place here with white lady tears or confused bird noises. Learn something.

Get Vaccinated!

Before I joined the Church, I came from evangelical Christianity. I'd been attending church with my best friend and her family. Her father was the pastor. They claimed to be non-denominational, but were actually Southern Baptists.

She invited me because she was tired of being the only girl get age in her youth program, and I never said "No" to an invitation to attend someone else's church. Her family was kind to me. They were lovely people whose influence on me was important in my life. That said, their message didn't resonate with me. I didn't feel like what they had to offer me was increasing my faith or bringing me closer to God. I couldn't articulate what I was looking for at the time. I only knew they didn't have it.

I left that church, despite the positive associations and friendships I had, because I didn't believe what they were teaching me. They were irreconcilable differences not only in thought, but in values.

I don't believe the Bible is the best representation we have of God's reality, purpose, and voice. The living God who speaks is. I don't believe spiritual gifts and divine works are manifest only through pastors. I believe all of us have direct access to the divine. Most importantly, I believe that God is present and real in the effort to teach and educate us because we need divine mentorship. We need guidance, help, and healing that doesn't come from a book. We haven't already learned everything we need to know from the Bible. 

When I was introduced to the Church and discovered the entire concept of continuing revelation, I was sold. Not because I was particularly attracted to the concept of living prophets. But because I'd found the place where no error in human thinking is permanently entrenched.

So when I give the following warning to those who choose to stay and be active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I'm speaking from personal experience.

When you interact with political parties, especially the Republican party, you are interacting with thoughts, ideas, and approaches to policy that come from these evangelical communities. Their ideas about vaccines, public health, the individual's obligation to their community, our obligation to sustain governments—we differ from them on almost all of these points. So why would we wholesale adopt their approaches on anything? Especially social distancing, vaccine, and mask mandates?

When we cling to their ideas, in contradiction of the instructions we've been given from our own leadership on how to protect each other with masking and vaccination, we introduce apostasy into the Church. To be clear, the personal and political positions of church leadership are not what define apostasy. However, harm and the disregard for human life and the dignity of others does.

I left evangelical Christianity for Mormonism because they are distinctly different from each other in ways that matter and need to be maintained. I'm not going to watch well-intentioned but willfully blind folks introduce evangelical failure into my community without pointing it out with the clearest language I possess. And when it comes to the choices happening in my community related to COVID-19, it's an influence of which we need to be deeply mistrusting. Taking unnecessary risks with other peoples' lives doesn't become acceptable because other Christians are doing it.

Being a Spiritual Nomad

We had a fantastic speaker in sacrament meeting who was asked to speak on unity. She shared her experiences with her gay brother, to reinforce that unity in the Church is only possible when we show everyone compassion and respect. She challenged our congregation to have empathy for others, especially for those whose lives we don't understand. That's what love looks like, not what our "good intentions" produce that is still objectively harmful.

Is there a slang word for when you're getting way too emotional on the Zoom and you want reassurance that no one can hear or see you? Because that's where I was today watching Church in my garments.

It got me thinking though.

You know that whole spiel where we talk about the Church being a spiritual home and the members are our Church family? I think that analogy gave me some really unhealthy expectations for other people that I want to deconstruct. 

I don't really see the Church as my spiritual home anymore. 


Because that implies the Church was my ultimate destination. Home is with my Heavenly Parents in their presence. That's what I've been searching for. That's my destination. That is home.

The church's role in that journey is more of a rest stop. You can refuel and get supplies. Find maps and directions. Take a shower if you need one. Get fed and watered before going on your way again. It was never supposed to be the destination.

The Church is only useful to me inasmuch as it shows me how to get to my actual home.

The journey I'm on to go home again is the focus of my life, not the experiences I have in the rest stops along the way.

How I Feel About My Mission

Somebody asked me how I feel about my mission. It gave me a moment to reflect on what I carry with me from that experience.

Everything I loved about being on my mission was because Brazil and Brazilians are beautiful. I love them with my whole heart. I would go back without question.

Everything I hated about it had everything to do with mission bro culture, sexism, and indifference to female pain.

There is a subset of men within the Church who hurt and disrespect women because they want to, and nothing in our culture prevents them from doing so. I served with men like that. They destroyed my faith in priesthood leadership being called of God. I've been picking up the pieces ever since.

There is no amount of failure and indiscretion that will undermine a man's trajectory in the Church once he has a certain pedigree and grooming for leadership. Nothing a woman can say or do against him will ever matter.

Women being under the exclusive control of men while also being isolated from their family and support systems is not okay. That's how abuse happens. It happened to me. It was real. And nothing any man in the Church will ever say or do will erase that.

That's what I learned from my mission.

What Faith in Jesus Christ Looks Like During a Global Pandemic

This is a real line from a conversation I had with a man in Brazil, who left the Church to become whatever the Brazilian version of an Evangelical Christian is. 

"Faith is all you need. That's it. Only faith. Nothing else. If I have faith this car can fly, then it can. God can make this car fly."

I stood there politely, understanding completely why I found half the list of members for that unit on the floor in the kitchen. I thanked him for his time and we walked away without much further conversation. I didn't go on a mission to argue with people. But what he said ended up teaching me something very important that I've carried with me ever since.

When the only thing you care about in your religious life is "faith" as an abstract, isolated concept devoid of any context or connection to reality, you can use it to justify pretty much anything. God, in that scenario, ceases to be a parent or a source of moral teaching and becomes a gumball machine for increasingly ridiculous requests.

To teach faith in Jesus Christ correctly means understanding what hope, love, and loyalty in the living, breathing Christ can and cannot produce. It means valuing Christ as a person and the message he taught, not making a spectacle of the miracles he performs.

I don't believe in Jesus Christ because I want him to overturn the limits of reality and good sense to help me evade the consequences of my actions. I believe in him because he is my teacher, mentor, and friend helping me to achieve my true potential. I don't need him to pick up a car and chuck it across the sky just because I asked him to for my faith to be made manifest.

I would suggest that if you do, it's not faith you're actually looking for. Commanding God into making a spectacle of divine power is the definition of asking for a sign. For too many people in the Church, that is their only plan for how they intend to remain uninfected from COVID-19.

Pray AND Vaccinate!

If you're going to pray to God in all sincerity that you will be spared from becoming infected with COVID-19, even though you're unvaccinated, that's not faith. That's a mockery of faith. It's the perfect example of asking for that which "is not expedient for you," as taught in D&C 88. The consequence of that? That prayer will not only go unanswered, but it will also "turn unto your condemnation."

Why should a loving, intelligent God facilitate ANY request where a person refuses to help themselves through vaccination, and instead asks God to do all the work of preventing contagion for them? Why would an intelligent God, who prioritizes mortal wisdom and experience we came to earth here to obtain for ourselves, do that for us?

A God who has the power to elevate the mind and transform our condition would reason with us to help ourselves by choosing to be vaccinatednot the equivalent of chucking Volkswagen Beetles through the air.


President Russell M. Nelson receiving a vaccination for COVID-19.

Why do people honestly think they can prevent the spread of COVID-19 with faith alone? Because they've fundamentally (and perhaps willfully) misunderstood the nature of what faith in Jesus Christ is designed to accomplish.

Faith in Jesus Christ doesn't get you what you want, no matter how unreasonable, as a condition of being a Christian. If God has to help you avoid the consequences of your actions in increasingly grandiose and ridiculous ways, chances are it wasn't God who put you in that position. You did that all on your own.

Faith in Jesus Christ teaches us to give away every sin and selfish thought we have until none remains. It turns us into the people who simply do the loving thing naturally, just as the Savior did, without cajoling or difficult persuasion.

Get vaccinated. Wear a mask.

Stop asking God to save you when you have everything you need already to do it yourself.


Seeing some folks asking how it's possible to stay in the Church while disagreeing fundamentally with current policy and messaging surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.

My answer isn't for everyone. I'm not recommending it as a solution to anyone. It's only a description of my motivation.

When I was a teenage convert, one of my closest friends who brought me into the Church came out to me as gay. I was the first person he ever told. This was before Prop 8, before sexuality was something that was openly discussed in the Church. We navigated the practical and spiritual conversations about what being gay in the Church meant when there was no help. No real resources, unless you wanted conversion therapy.

There was no one and nothing to help us, except each other.

I stay because there will be more kids in the Church like us. Lost, confused, and alone. I don't want any teenager to go through those moments of crisis alone. And if I leave, I take all of my ability to help the kids within my reach with me. 

I can totally understand why anyone wouldn't feel the same way. I will never tell anyone to stay against their needs or better judgment. That's not enough for some people. I have the privilege of not being in real danger at church in advocating for LGBTQ+ folks the way I do. I fully recognize that isn't true for many others, but it's true for me. I've had a lot of success opening and changing hearts. It's a work I feel called to do from within.

I enjoy being the person elbowing others in the ribs and saying "Make room!" at the table.

On Devotion

One of the ironies of Christianity is the very real temptation to inflate our own importance because of our association with Christ, despite the effort he undertook during his lifetime to teach people never to do that. 

When you look at the interactions between the Savior and the Twelve Disciples, the most repeated lesson he teaches them is to lay aside the frail, human ways they measure themselves against others. That lesson is the defining feature of one of the last interactions they have with him before Judas Iscariot betrays him. The original twelve apostles were not better than anyone else because Christ was in their lives.

One of my favorite stories in all of scripture is of the woman with the alabaster box, who anointed the feet of Christ with her own hair while the men of her society looked on with judgment and hatred in their hearts towards her. He honored her when they would not.

And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Luke 7:37-46

Observing the laws and ordinances of the restored gospel gives us a leg up on absolutely no one. That was never the point. Part of why I worship Jesus Christ is because he taught that lesson over and over again, especially to the benefit of the downtrodden in society. The widow's mite. Mary Magdalene. The woman at the well. The woman with the issue of blood. At the same time Christ honors these women, he condemns the disrespectful attitudes shown to them by his own followers and critics alike.

What I find interesting here, and have never noticed before, is how often the criticism from the Savior's enemies and his own disciples for these women was practically identical. The apostles' association with Christ didn't make them any more likely to love as he did. Perhaps the call of an apostle has never gone to the ones most uniquely qualified to love and serve as Christ did. Maybe it goes to the ones in greatest need of that tutelage in treating all people with unconditional love and respect.

A necessary part of discipleship is deconstructing and abandoning all the cultural attitudes we've absorbed, no matter where we live, that teach us to value ourselves more or to value anyone else less. Racism. Sexism. Classism. The rejection of and violence towards the LGBTQ+ community. The abuse and neglect of those with disabilities. These are not inevitable fixtures of modern life. They are moral failures that disqualify us from living in God's presence.

The dismantling of superiority, in all forms, is one of the hardest lessons we ever learn. As Christians. As humans. It never goes away. It never has. It never will.

Why "No" Needs to Become a Complete Sentence in the Church

I remember the "What am I doing to myself?" moment the last time I got talked into going to girl's camp after I initially said "No."

I had the undeniable prompting that I needed to leave, drove home in the dark on terrifying mountain roads in rural Idaho. At one point, a bat flew right into my windshield and scared me half to death. 

I didn't get home until 1 a.m.

My mother-in-law was actively deteriorating from either Lewy Body or vascular dementia. She ended up falling on the floor the next morning. She would've been stuck like that for hours had I not come home early from girl's camp.

I still haven't recovered from how angry I was at that entire situation.

Just once, I want a man in the Church to hear me say "No" to something and just say "OK."

Cookie Recipe from the Washington D.C. Temple Cafeteria

Anyone who remembers the big cookies from the Washington D.C. temple cafeteria will recall they were often the highlight of youth temple trips and parental errands. When the temple cafeteria closed, it could've been the last time those cookies were ever made.

However, the recipe was shared with anyone who asked for it. Here's the recipe as copied by my mother-in-law many years ago.

We made a batch of this dough, divided it, and added various different toppings to it. Because it uses a base of both white and brown sugar, any combination of toppings can be added to it to make practically any kind of cookie. Because this recipe makes enough dough for dozens of cookies, this would be a great for Christmas cookies, ward functions, parties, family reunions, or anyone else who needs a truly mind-boggling number of cookies.


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 7 cups flour
  • Desired toppings: chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, chopped cherries, dates. Can also be sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream shortening, margarine, white sugar, and brown sugar together.
  3. Mix in eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Add each cup of flour until combined. Mix and knead with hands until well blended
  5. Divide dough if desired. Add desired toppings. Dough can be frozen in batches to be used at a later date.
  6. Form dough into balls onto greased or lined cookie sheets. For larger cookies, it helps to flatten the dough slightly to help them spread. Provide space between balls to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Place on cooling racks until cool enough to eat.
  9. Store in airtight containers to keep them fresh, if they last that long. And they might, because this recipe truly makes A LOT of cookies.

The Church is NOT the Same Everywhere

A necessary part of deconstructing and healing from my negative experiences at Church has included a lot of reflection on regionalism, rejecting the idea that "the Church is the same everywhere." I want to rifle through some of the ways this isn't true.

To say the Church is the same everywhere assumes that the doctrines, policies, messaging, and practices have been universally spread, understood, and applied in every place the Church exists. It denies the very real influence different regions have on the church experience.

I joined the Church on the East Coast of the United States. I attended church meetings all over the mid-Atlantic, from D.C. to upstate New York, for many years. I have also spent many years of my life in Utah and Idaho, attending church in both places. I served my mission in Brazil in non-English speaking units. I served in rural and urban regions of São Paulo state, supporting leadership of districts and stakes of almost every size and configuration.

What I've learned from those experiences is that the Church is not the same everywhere. It can't be. It never will be. And that's not something we should even be trying to force upon people because that's the worst version of what the Church can be.

As an East coast native and a convert, I learned a deep and abiding mistrust of people from Utah and the Mormon Corridor. It was something I absorbed from the people around me from my earliest days in the Church. To describe the attitudes I witnessed, "Utah Mormons" are pedantic, straight-laced weirdos with no mental flexibility, no "real life" experience, who care more about orthodoxy and keeping up appearances than being a real person.  I was taught not to take any of that too seriously because those folks grew up in "a bubble," had no idea what it was like to be me, and their insistence on being the default for the entire church was based on nothing but their own high opinion of themselves. Nothing else.

I've had the experience many times of being an East Coast Mormon and participating in a collective eye roll at some general authority visiting from Utah who was up at a pulpit, giving us a public spanking over something completely irrelevant to our lives.

I describe this to you to illustrate a reality. We were East Coast first. Mormons, second. We experienced them both simultaneously in such a way that they couldn't ever truly be separated. But in a choice between the two, East Coast wins out. The mistrust of outsiders. The refusal to be corrected by someone who doesn't know us. The cardinal rule of "minding your own business." The prioritization of being authentic over keeping up appearances. That's the culture of where I'm from. It profoundly shaped my Mormonism.

That same process takes place wherever the Church has a presence. There is a local culture that molds what the Church looks like wherever it has been planted that Salt Lake will never control. No matter what they do, they can't erase or overpower it. I know this because I've seen them try. 

I watched them try to go to bat against the matcha drinkers in Brazil and lose. I've watched them try to inculcate Utah Mormonism through EFY and have the session director in Virginia go up and reject everything that was taught by CES teachers from Utah afterwards. I've watched members of the Church read the riot act to missionaries from the Intermountain West for being judgmental, disrespectful brats for trying to present themselves as the perfect rule for what the entire church should look like. That refusal to submit to one way of thinking is real. I've witnessed it happen all over the planet, in congregations large and small. 

In deconstructing the ways I've been hurt at Church, I've realized I'm looking at it in an incomplete way. I wasn't hurt by a structural institution. I was hurt by people, whose vision and version of the Church they have experienced is completely different from mine.

Those conflicts aren't going to go away. And I'm realizing now that I don't want them to. Those conversations can become more healthy and constructive, but they should never disappear entirely. 

They're how we build the house we all can live in together.

When the Antics of the Unvaccinated Become Everyone Else's Problem

I started masking again this week after having an unvaccinated coworker test positive, and another unvaccinated team member continue coming to work while symptomatic without being tested. 

First of all, part of the situation I was put into by the person who originally got infected was that they lied about their vaccine status so they could stop wearing masks. They then proceeded to make all of us part of that lie by telling everyone that's what they were doing.

Think what you want of them. But when they found out they were exposed, they immediately left work, got tested, and quarantined for two weeks. The lie came out. Excrement hit the fan. We're now all paying the price for that lie now by being short staffed.

Part of the mechanism that allows unvaccinated people to get away with this is a conspiracy of silence and acceptance that allows them to believe everyone else is okay with their behavior.

The price of "getting along with those who think differently" is denying the reality of germ theory. Spreading highly infectious and lethal diseases in public is not a "personal choice." That entire line of thinking is bullshit.

So in the spirit of that college kid who was sick and tired of his classmates throwing parties before the vaccines were even developed: I'm telling. 

Don't bother roping me into your conspiracy of "live and let live." Not with me.

Also, I need someone who speaks Idaho to please interpret the hypocrisy of my team giving ME a hard when the clients in my appointments refuse to mask, when nary a one of them has touched a mask in weeks. I am incapable of understanding that logic. It seems to me that if the circumstances have changed since the masking policy was lifted and you no longer feel safe being around clients who aren't masked, you have a pretty obvious choice available to you. And it's not to fuss at me.

I have been Mormon for fifteen years. I went to BYU, the Ivy League of snitching. I was the mission snitch. I'm the snitchiest snitch of them all. Countless lessons I've sat through on Being the Most Pretentious Person Dying on Any Given Hill.

I was prepared for this exact moment.

What good was any of that tedious moralizing if we're not going to be on the side of telling the truth and doing the right thing during a global pandemic? 

The Case for Not Celebrating Pioneer Day at Church

Something I've noticed, having sat through enough Pioneer Day rigamarole in my time at Church, is that many average Mormon folks go out of their way to paint their ancestors in a good light on that day with respect to native tribes in Utah. 

That's... not accurate.

In case no one has ever told you and y'all just didn't know: there was no such thing as a white settler in the Utah Territory who was good for the survival of native tribes. Every single one of them was highly disruptive to the ecosystem, causing starvation and violence.

Read this. Internalize it. Be different because of it. 

I've had a bishop in Idaho who once brought the peace pipe to sacrament meeting that allegedly belonged to whatever tribesman his ancestors had fed and preserved good dealings with during the colonizer period. The part he left out of the story is that feeding tribes was only necessary because his family was there.

In a very literal, biological sense, white colonizers to the native territories of the Intermountain West were an invasive species. They had a permanent ecological impact that was negative then, continues to be negative now, and isn't anything worth celebrating. Especially not at church.

And just in case it needs to be said to the folks who will show up here when church is over. I thank God every day I was not born and raised in the Church. I have no heritage from the Utah occupation. I have no loyalty to these myths and stories y'all want to tell. This is what happens when you convert and baptize people who don't share the same identities and origins as you. Your traditions, as much as you love them, mean nothing to us.

And I'll just go ahead and say it. If my descendants acted a damn fool the way some Mormons do about their folks who joined the Church in the 1800s, glorifying so much of the suffering that is still part of being a convert, I would haunt every single one of them.

Don't celebrate the hardships, costs, and sacrifices that come with being a convert to the Church. Deal with the cultural baggage and trauma that still makes being a convert so hard.  

The Online Harassment and Violence of Matthew Cicotte


I'm not saying I want Matthias Cicotte kicked out of the Church. 

I don't want anyone to ever have to get kicked out, to be honest. Excommunication is a violence of its own. I don't know if we can correct violence with more violence. 

But clearly, doing nothing about #DezNat isn't working. Not giving any meaningful correction isn't working. Punishing all the wrong people isn't working.

I just want consistency. If what the September Six did was worthy of Church discipline, why isn't racism, sexism, antisemitism, and white supremacy? 

Why isn't actual violence and harassment of anyone, especially other members of the Church, considered apostasy?

Why is saying you love Heavenly Mother enough to pray to her a sin, but instigating actual physical violence and harassment against other church members is... fine?

Prejudice is a sin. So why aren't we treating it like one? 

Tolerance as a Christ-like Attribute

The Hand of God, YongSung Kim
Because I'm in a new ward and I just met my new bishop on Sunday, I'm anticipating having the opportunity to speak in church soon. I haven't spoken in church since my faith transition. Even introducing myself feels endlessly fraught and complicated now.

I'm realizing though that I've had talk on Tolerance formulating in my head for the past two weeks. So if I get the chance to speak, it will probably be about that. What put me on that path was something I heard the Elder's Quorum President say. He was quoting President Monson out of context to caution about the risks of being too tolerant. It made me realize that a mistrust of tolerance has been going on in LDS discourse for a long time.

It's only in recent years that a false dichotomy has been drawn between being loyal to God/the institutional Church and being tolerant to social change in our discourse. Before that, it was seen as a virtue. An attribute of Christ. A hallmark of discipleship.

Tolerance is not a weakness or a moral failure. That may be how it's presented in the Republican party. But that's an attitude with no place in the Church. 

Tolerance is a skill, a talent, and a spiritual gift given by God to facilitate compassion. Tolerance is how we exercise patience with others. It's how we are challenged to see issues from more than one perspective. It's how we learn to admit that our way of looking at the world is not the only way to see it. Exercising tolerance with people who are different from us gives us opportunities to receive correction and repent. It's a necessary part of being in a Church that believes in continuing revelation.

We live in an environment where it is rare that we are given the full, objective truth about anyone or anything. There are hidden actors behind algorithms trying to further their own agendas by influencing what we think about literally everything. Their goal is to catch us unaware and uninformed because that's when we're most susceptible to being manipulated. Social media platforms operate to prioritize engagement. They figured out years ago that generating conflict and feeding insecurities are the best ways to do that.

Who we trust. Who we mistrust. Who we love. Who we dehumanize. How we see those around us—it's all being fed to us by machines, programmed by people we don't know and will never meet. These same forces are at work within the Church. We are not immune to those influences. The confrontations at play within our society are at play within the Church. Deepening mistrust and the normalization of disrespect based entirely on political ideologies and social issues have taught us to withhold our compassion from each other.

I've seen those campaigns at work. I've watched as members of the Church have done real harm to others because of how they've been radicalized online. I've been on the receiving end of those attacks more than once.

Exercising tolerance is an opportunity for us to develop the gift of discernment—to recognize and reject that manipulation. Committing to exercise tolerance will protect us from the campaigns at work trying to spread racism, sexism, hatred, prejudice, and violence.

In overcoming these influences, we have a perfect example in Jesus Christ—the one who ate with tax collectors and sex workers. The one who saved the adulteress from being stoned in the street because he could see the predatory guilt in her accusers.

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of tolerance. It's the single most important example he ever set. Why do I say that? Because his compassion is what we love most about him. It's what allows him to be our Savior. He saves us from the cruelty of this world.

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matt.5:44-48, Jesus gave the commandment for us to be perfect like our Heavenly Parents. He didn't say that the route to that perfection would be obedience to law. When we read those verses in context, Jesus taught it would be in our capacity to love our enemies, to pray for them, and to tolerate the people who are different from us that we become perfect. Tolerance is the pathway to becoming Christ-like.

That is the single most important skill we will ever learn. It's the entire purpose of coming to mortality—to learn to encounter and embrace differences when it's not an easy thing to do. That is the only way we will ever develop the capacity for the universal, unconditional love our Heavenly Parents have for all of their children.
One of my favorite sacrament hymns is "In Humility, Our Savior." It's short. It's a beautiful use of alto voices. It was written by a woman. And it brought us this gem:
"Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving, Teach us tolerance and love."
Tolerance brings the healing and peace of Christ to those who embrace it. I know I need it. My church needs it. My country needs it. This world we share needs it.

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