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Heterosexuality isn’t ‘a choice’, neither is Homosexuality

A concerned therapist’s response to Meridian article “Can we teach our children to choose heterosexuality?”

As a mental health therapist, a wife, mother, a niece, and aunt, a daughter, a friend, a neighbor, and sister in the Gospel I felt a responsibility to respond to the article published yesterday in Meridian Magazine titled written by JeaNette Goates Smith, “Can we teach our children to choose heterosexuality?” Thankfully, Meridian has removed this article from their website.

Misunderstanding Modesty Part 2: Op Ed Meridian Magazine

Who knew modesty was such a controversial issue? I took a lot of heat and criticism about “The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty” article, and even some personal attacks. But those comments were out shadowed by the outpouring of gratitude and appreciating for my willingness to speak up and share my thoughts. I decided to write a follow up article responding to comments, questions, and criticisms, and to provide clarity. Here’s an excerpt from the article…

Thank you to those who posted thoughtful and articulate comments on my article “The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty”. I had no idea that this blog post would spark such intense conversation and elicit so many varied responses and questions. No matter what you thought about the article, I think it is a good thing for us, as individuals and as a group, to reflect on and discuss our approach to teaching modesty.

I’d like to address a few themes and questions that prompted some to (passionately) disagree or take exception to (parts of) the article. It seems that some of you may have misunderstood my intent in writing it. Hopefully I can clarify some of those misunderstandings. The following are questions or concerns gathered from emails, messages, online comments and discussions:

Q: Are you are suggesting something different than the standards in the “For the Strength of Youth” (FTSOY) pamphlet? Are you saying that our girls can wear two-piece bathing suits and not have to worry about it?

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The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty: Op Ed on Meridian Magazine

Yesterday, Meridian Magazine published my article on the unintentional consequences of narrowly defining modesty and hyperfocusing only on “what girls wear.” I have written many blog posts in the past several years that have been well received, but this one has spread like wildfire. Since it was published, yesterday the article has over 90 comments and has been shared 21,000 times on Facebook! It looks like I’m not the only one who is concerned about the modesty obsession all too common phenomenon in Mormon culture and the pattern of hyperfocusing on what teen girls are wearing.

Here are a few of my concerns:

When we reduce the concept of modesty to what females wear, we are reinforcing the very thing that modesty is supposed to help avoid: the sexual objectification of women’s bodies.

Overemphasizing modesty gives others implicit permission to judge and measure a woman’s dedication to the gospel, or “worthiness,” based on physical appearance.

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3 Mormon Cultural Myths that Make Us Miserable

It’s no secret that there are some very specific myths in Mormon culture. These can range from our family size (15 kids and counting!) to our vocabulary (“oh, my heck!”), and even to our food (green jello, anyone?). While certainly not all (or even most) Mormons embody these stereotypes, most of us can have a good laugh at them from time to time.

Other myths concerning our faith, however, are not as funny or lighthearted, During my years as a clinical therapist, I’ve witnessed how faulty spiritual equations can cause some Latter-day Saints great emotional pain and rob them of happiness and peace. These ideas are often not out in the open, but are instead internalized beliefs that can distort our thought patterns and our emotions. Here are 3 common spiritual myths:

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Redefining “Christ-Like”: Moving Beyond the Cultural Norm of Nice

From the time that we were young, we as Latter-day Saints have intrinsically understood that the most important thing we can do as Christians is to love one another. When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, he explained that the first and second great commandments are to “love the Lord with all thy heart…” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37,39). We also know that charity is the “pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). From these and other scriptural passages, many interpret and use the term Christ-like to refer to words and behavior that are always loving. In Mormon culture, a common belief is that if we’re genuinely trying to be loving, like Jesus, we are always kind, happy, and positive.

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