Monday, March 30, 2015


Salt Lake City, UT—The Church has issued proofreading tools for those Young Women leaders who might be working on lessons dealing with sexual purity. The tools are meant to help such leaders review key concepts and perhaps pinpoint lesson planning errors.

Male/Female P: This proofreading mark designates parts of a lesson where a leader might erroneously assume that pornography is only a male problem. The male and female symbols in the letter “p” remind a leader that young women can be just as curious and turned on as boys are by sexually explicit material. Leaders who believe that pornography is exclusively a male problem risk making young women who struggle with this issue feel additional isolation and shame.

Shackle?: This proofreading mark reminds those preparing a lesson that not all sexual struggles are addictions. This mark is especially useful for those who might conflate occasion pornography use with habitual pornography dependence.

Male Gaze: As some leaders might place too much emphasis on how a young woman’s actions might affect a male viewer, this symbol crosses out that male gaze. While young women can be aware of the signals they may send to others, including young men, women should not live lives dictated by what men may or may not see.

The T and Warning:Fear: These two symbols work well together when proofreading a sexual purity lessons. The scroll with a letter “T” is to remind instructors to use the truth as clearly and fully as possible. Telling that truth can mean being honest about struggles as well as success without being sensationalistic. It can mean affirming how powerful, pleasurable, and bonding physical affection can be as well as discussing some of the heartache that it can bring. The warning triangle with “fear” in it is to warn against using fear as a way to emotionally threaten or otherwise coerce young women to live the law of chastity.

A most obvious example of using fear in just such a way is the case of a woman from Cedar City, Utah who made cross stitches for all of her young women that said “if you have sex before marriage you’ll get syphilis and die.” The T and the Warning: Fear tools would have been ideal in the planning stages of this erroneous sexual purity message. In addition, these proofreading tools alert lesson planners to where they may feel tempted to use fear or manipulation—the devil’s tools—to do the Lord’s work.

Toast: This symbol, which is meant to show a piece of toast, could also be chewed gum, a cupcake with the icing licked off, or a flower without its petals. All of these are common symbols or metaphors for a woman whose sexual experimentation has “gone so far” that she is no longer considered “pure” by some. These very destructive, short-sighted, and erroneous comparisons use fear (see above), reinforce shame, convey the idea that God and others will no longer consider them worthy of love and connection, and undercut the very Atonement that is the core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dynamite: This proofreading tool is used to point out where teachers can insert messages that will make young women feel powerful. Many of the symbols above show errors that could make women feel afraid or powerless with relation to their bodies and the amazing things that their bodies can do. This symbol shows areas where instructors can encourage young women to love and feel deeply grateful for their bodies and what those bodies can do. It can also point to places in the lesson where instructors can encourage young women to consider how the power and pleasure that their bodies offer them can be used to bless their lives. Women who take ownership for their bodies and love and appreciate their bodies can then consider how they can use their bodies to bless the lives of others. With those ideas in mind, young women can set their own standards for how they will use such God-given blessings.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Salt Lake City, UT—ClearPlay has announced its latest service: ClearPlayScriptures. As with its famous service for movies, ClearPlayScriptures removes the vulgarity, sensuality, nudity, violence, substance abuse, and other offensive elements from holy writ.

According to their website, “whether it’s personal scripture study, family home evening with the kids, or a talk or lesson, ClearPlayScriptures has you protected.” 

The alterations that ClearPlayScriptures makes are obvious from the first chapters of Genesis, including “modest outfits” for Adam and Eve as well as Cain “finding some alone time” and “getting a tan” instead of killing his brother, fleeing, and being cursed.

“I’m just thrilled with this service,” said Jenna from Provo. “When it was family scripture study time, and there we were with 4 year-old Khyileë and 2 year-old Pyler, I was so glad when we got to the story of Nephi getting the plates to see that ClearPlayScriptures had filtered it so that Nephi finds Laban, takes him home, offers powerful testimony of the Word of Wisdom, and then Laban and his whole family are converted.” Jenna added, “when Laban wept as he tearfully gave Nephi the plates and said goodbye to his trusted friend Zoram, well I knew that heaven had blessed my family with scriptures free of anything troubling or contentious.”

ClearPlay’s website has numerous testimonials of people ecstatic about this new service. As Troy from Logan puts it, “it is so refreshing to be able to read the scriptures without your finger on the page ready to turn immediately when you find something inappropriate.” Troy could be responding positively to filters where Joseph’s brothers throw him a surprise birthday party, Jezebel encourages devotion and modesty as her and Ahab serve as mission presidents, and Jonah not only converts all of the sailors but even the fish were “moved upon by the Spirit.” 

Jacob from Springville also loves the service, saying that he would like to “thank all of the folks that make the filters and the engineers/current Seminaries and Institutes employees who make this possible!” Jacob said that the change in Lehi’s speech, specifically when he says “for it must needs be that there is an opposition against all bad things” helped him to see that “removing all traces of struggle and whatever makes us uncomfortable” is clearly what good people should constantly do.

Monday, March 16, 2015


For every “O Ye that Embark in the Service of God,” there are thousands of rejected mutual youth themes every year. Here are only 10 of them. Please feel free to add more in the comments. 

Monday, March 9, 2015



Sister Kaylee Snow, Toronto Mission
Sister Snow last Fall (though she has
sent 43 pictures home in the last 2 weeks.)

Hello Family!

This was another week when I felt the Lord’s hand in this great work. I’m learning to pay attention to His promptings, and I know that He is leading my path. The most difficult day was Thursday. Of course it was snowing, but I had the strongest impression that we should go visit Claire. I had it when I woke up and then when I was getting dressed. When I studied with my companion Sister Hovey I said, “Sister Hovey, how much do you trust me?” She of course said, “I completely trust you—where do you think we should go?!?!” We visited people all day in spite of the terrible weather. What made it a difficult day was that we didn’t see any results. I have no idea why we had to be out in the cold all day, but we did and I guess that the Lord will accept our sacrifice. I’m grateful for Sister Hovey and the love, faith, and trust she places in me. She has been such a blessing for me, and such an instrument in God’s hands for me.

We were richly blessed in other ways this week. We felt the Spirit powerfully witness to us as we testified of the Book of Mormon. We did service this week working at a retirement facility, helping a lady move out of her house, we heart attacked the ward mission leader’s house for his birthday, made and delivered goodies to a less active family, cleaned up a lady's yard, visited someone who needed a visit, and my favorite: helped someone regrout their bathroom. It all helped me to realize that if you want to love someone YOU HAVE TO SERVE THEM! 

I know I have said this before, but tell Powell that he needs to start to read Preach My Gospel NOW so that he can be ready to serve in just 6 short years. He’s a Deacon now, and those teachings will help him avoid temptation and hit the ground running when he gets to his mission.

Mom and Dad, have the courage to take a Book of Mormon with you wherever you go. If you have faith like Ammon you will know who to offer it to. Also, Mom and Dad, please extend this invitation to the ward. Tell them to email me to tell me how it went. I want to hear from EVERYONE!


Sister Snow


Elder Mike Burnson, Tampa Florida Mission
(Elder Burnson, in spite of his
mother giving him a camera
and pleading with him to send
pictures, has only sent 4 pictures
in the 17 months he has been
serving in Florida)

good week taught some people and stuff. this week I got a really cool ralph lauren green suit for free and tailored and everything for free it is super dope. this morning we played some racquetball and then we played some BBall so I am worn out.  Love ya, have a great day!



Monday, March 2, 2015


Jensen's Vote for Next LDS Church Leader
Salt Lake City, UT—James Jensen, the blogger behind MormonVistas, has completed his transition from the faith that initially inspired his online work to the cynicism that now typifies his blog’s “truth seeking.”

“It has been quite the faith transition,” Jensen recently reflected in the podcast that accompanies his blog. “Where I used to just believe everything I heard and read from the church, now I can see that it is all sanitized and whitewashed milk that keeps Mormons weak and subservient to the church’s massive PR machine.”

Jensen’s faith transition can perhaps best be measured by the change in what follows this phrase: “If they would only.” When MormonVistas started, Jensen often wrote about how “if members would only” followed by phrases like “serve one another” or “put in a little more effort to magnify their callings” after which Jensen often wrote that, “wards and branches would run better.”

But over time Jensen’s faith in those principles was first challenged by suspicions and then completely replaced by an unmitigated cynicism toward Mormon leaders, practices, and culture. Now Jensen’s website and podcast often feature “if members would only” followed by “see how the church is all about power” or “look past the façade to see what is really going on.”

An example of Jensen’s overwhelmingly cynical approach is a recent post about how “Modesty Creates Sexual Violence.” In the post, Jensen describes grudgingly attending the missionary farewell of a distant cousin. During that meeting, a “charming and talented young woman” gave a “boilerplate, clichéd talk” about personal struggles, the death of a close friend, and finding her faith amid uncertainty. After talking about her struggles to set her own boundaries for sexual expression, the young woman remarked, seemingly parenthetically, that she was “grateful for modesty standards that help her see and then feel in control of the signals her clothes and body send.” From this remark Jensen wrote a 700 word tirade about the oppressive nature of modesty teachings in the LDS church, teachings that, according to Jensen, “commodify women’s bodies, turn them into objects, and perpetuate sexual violence.”  Where in years past Jensen may have found inspiration or expressed at least a balance of sympathy and suspicion for what this unsuspecting young woman had said, he now finds nothing but the nefarious “power workings” of the “whited sepulcher” and “evil empire” that is the LDS church and its culture.

If asked about the post, the young woman would have no idea what Jensen was saying. Jensen himself would find pride in his brave “truth seeking” and “truth speaking.”

Though MormonVistas is now consistently “revealing” the shortcomings and hypocrisies of the Mormon Church, Jensen has recently written several positive posts about the man who now seems to be the patron saint of liberal and/or disaffected Mormons: Pope Francis.