I graduated from the U of U in December of 2007 and really haven't looked back. (I got an International Studies degree with a minor in Spanish, in case anyone is curious. I even blogged about it way back when.) Cramming for finals & papers gave way to full time employment, tv series, young adult literature, and anything else I wanted to do because I was a freakin' college grad and I'll do what I want! I enrolled in life school and used experiences (Husband! Ecuador! Peru! Dog! House! Budgets! Spain! Baby!) to propel learning. And it's been really great and very educational. This 27 year old is much wiser than my 22 year old self (thank goodness.)
However once I started studying again in 2012 (see this post), I remembered the importance of formal study and now can't stop. That picture of me was taken late at night when I'd rubbed off my mascara and deepened my forehead wrinkles while thinking. So I'm writing down what I've been reading (but not so much what I'm thinking and feeling... because that's too fluid to put onto paper right now) to see if anyone out there needs some ideas. Plus, then we can discuss! And I really do love me some discussions. Oh, and it's all about Mormonism again because that's what I'm into. So skip on past all this writing if that's not your jam. (Although, maybe you should give it a shot? It's really fascinating stuff, I promise.)
My studies recently have been on the Garden of Eden. Creation, pre-mortal life, Adam and (more specifically) Eve, gender roles, priesthood, Satan, Christ, choices & consequences, and many things that follow suit to these topics. I'd say start in Genesis chapters 1-3 and Moses chapters 2-4 and those will be our scriptural jumping boards.
I recently finished Eve and the Choice Made in Eden which I didn't necessarily like, but it did get me thinking about a lot of topics. I found it to be incredibly specific (outdated?) toward gender roles, and a little too "glorifying" of Eve and women, but then again the title might have given that away. A few conference talks called The Great Plan of Happiness by Elder Oaks and A Choice That Began Mortality by Elder Christensen are also full of information for study. There are so many angles one could take the subject of the Garden of Eden... did Eve know what she was doing? Was she actually beguiled or was she making a brave decision to enter mortality? God forbid her from eating of the tree, and yet he allowed Satan in the garden to tempt them...etc etc. Lots of thoughts to filter through on this subject.
I've also been thinking about Satan. He is an important piece to the plan that our Heavenly Father has created because Christ has to have an opposite, but how did a selfish being become the evil that we know exists today? It seems very drastic when you think that Lucifer dwelt with God at one point. The talk "The Great Imitator" by Elder Faust was a good resource, as well as 2nd Nephi Chapter 2 (well, this at least has some insight into the need for opposition and a savior.) I've been feeling it's important to know about Satan so that I can more fully understand Jesus Christ. Is it necessary?
Lately there have been many fascinating discussions about women & the priesthood (have you noticed?) Women are ready (and I believe there is a need) to play a bigger part in discipleship & leadership. We've seen that in the dramatic increase of sister missionaries and the re-emergence of the Mormon feminist movement. The Ordain Women website has information about some of the reasons that the church membership as a whole could at least begin a discussion on this topic (specifically in the FAQ and Mission Statement pages) even if there are disagreements. I attended the launch event a few weeks back because I find it interesting and also uncomfortable (and perhaps also beautiful.) Joanna Brooks has also started a very studious dialogue on Ask Mormon Girl about this topic. And just yesterday my girl Kelli sent me a link to an article entitled Ruby Slippers on Her Feet from the SquareTwo online journal and it gives a totally different point of view of men, women, priesthood, and divinity and how we relate and work together to form Zion (within families, and eventually the world family.) That article packed a lot of ideas that I'd never even considered, and I'm still not sure where my thoughts are (but I do like the idea that we are all apprentices.) I'm also currently reading & studying Hugh Nibley's essay on Patriarchy and Matriarchy, which is meaty and methodical and I'm having to read each sentence twice to understand what he's saying (thanks for the rec Meg & Annie.)
And all of this becomes relevant as Matt and I discuss our own family and the roles we play or would like to play. What does motherhood and fatherhood mean to us respectively and collectively? And how well are we working with each other and the Lord in fulfilling our full potentials?
I'd also recommend the book The God Who Weeps because it's beautiful and full of theology that makes my heart full. It reminded me why I love Mormonism and enlightened me to so much more. Also, I have a new girl crush on Fiona Givens because of these two Mormon Stories Podcasts and have put her on my "must meet" list. The way she says darling all the time is fantastic. I'm about to start Terryl's book When Souls had Wings this week.
Okaaaaay. Anyone still out there? Ha. This post is quite link heavy. I'm taking my gospel studies more seriously than ever and it's really wonderful. It's also sometimes painful and overwhelming and confusing, but isn't that life? It's good to be a Mormon! Hit me up if anyone wants to discuss (or I may just start into it even if you didn't ask! I can't help myself.)