Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Breaking Up Responsibilities and other thoughts sparked by my brit lit class . . .

I am taking a contemporary British Lit class this semester-- it is fabulous. Not only is my teacher the definition of Marathon Woman, I really enjoy our class discussions, and the literature is rather enlightening.
Last week I got up on my feminist soap box when we read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, and how we might think we have moved so far from Woolf's time to think women have it great because we can get our bachelor's degrees, but really we have so much more progress to make, especially in church culture, where it is possible to get higher degree or have a career, but it is generally very difficult for it to be accepted. My teacher then pointed out that women typically want to have it all, and all at once. From her experience, she can say that it is quite possible to have it all-- just not all at once. You have to spread it out. She also noted that women who do try to attain educational or career goals will experience a lot of criticism, but, interestingly enough, it is usually from other women-- not men. (Obviously this is in general, not absolute.) She said she was highly criticized, usually until the criticizers got to know her children-- once they could see she was raising truly incredible kids, they dropped the criticism. She got married when she was 19 and had three children by the time she was 21. She continued in school and got her master's degree and her Ph.D. along the way. She also worked as an editor of sorts earning over $300,000 a year (and that was in the '80s). She was widowed when she was about 48, and then she was offered a job at BYU. So, now she teaches here. Seriously, she's amazing.

Okay, believe it or not, that was a side note. So, today, when I got to class, in the pre-class discussion this guy just asked if it was okay for him to be a stay-at-home dad if he knew his wife could earn more than he could and she was okay with it. Everyone generally agreed that this was fine-- as long as it really was okay for both parties. Then he said something about how the only downside was that he would have to do all the laundry, clean, cook, shop, etc. And so I said, "wouldn't you split the responsibilities?" And it basically went quiet. I thought that was odd. I mean, isn't it generally accepted that husband and wife should split household responsibilities? I said how I expected my husband to share in the chore duties-- and he does. He always cleans the bathroom (among other things). And he didn't mind.

I'm not sure what my question is for the point of this post. Basically, if you like, you can just respond to anything I have typed, or you can answer one of these two specific questions:

(1) The Proclamation to the World states that a woman belongs in the home, raising her familiy. Does this mean that the Church discourages stay-at-home dads? Do you think it is more important for the woman specifically to be in the home? Or do you think the key factor is a parent in the home and they just say it should be the woman because that is most typical? (Granted, I know some circumstances don't allow a parent to be in the home-- let's just pretend this hypothetical family does not need to worry about finances-- though do consider this option: the wife can make more at her job than her husband-- should the wife still stay home? We're talking wife is a business executive and the husband is a public school teacher.)

(2) Was I on some other planet when I responded that they could split the responsibilities? Should women be in charge of keeping a house clean, doing the laundry, etc.? Or is it fair to have the man share in the responsibilities?

Monday, 22 January 2007

Beautiful Books, Films, Music

Hello! Has anyone discovered a particularly beautiful book or film or piece of music recently? Or painting or poem? Or idea or word?

Shameless blog abuse

Well, I have to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting this Sunday. I am supposed to speak on... anything. (Man, I HATE it when they don't give you a topic.) The bishop's only suggestion was that I use a conference talk - from any conference, ever - as my basis, and work from there.

So my questions for you ladies are: What's your favorite conference talk? Are there any General Authorities/topics/etc. etc. that you find particularly inspiring? Have you given a good Sacrament Meeting talk lately that you would like to send to me so that I can repeat it verbatim?

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Greetings from Chicago!

Hello! My name is Kathryn. I'm a freelance writer in the Second City attempting to write a book about prominent women of faith. I grew up in Oregon, studied journalism at BYU and Northwestern University, and am currently pitching projects to the Center for Women’s Business Research and The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Alexandra and I attended the same singles branch in Chicago. Her wit and wisdom continues to inspire me--especially when it comes to buying a pair of black heels!

This blog is such a great idea, I hope to visit it more often. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said this of women: "We know so little, brothers and sisters, about the reasons for the division of duties between womanhood and manhood as well as between motherhood and priesthood. These were divinely determined in another time and another place. We are accustomed to focusing on the men of God because theirs is the priesthood and leadership line. But paralleling that authority line is a stream of righteous influence reflecting the remarkable women of God who have existed in all ages and dispensations, including our own. Greatness is not measured by coverage in column inches, either in newspapers or in the scriptures. The story of the women of God, therefore, is, for now, an untold drama within a drama."

Here's to unfolding the drama together!

Monday, 15 January 2007

Trying to remember my name

Hello all. The title of this entry probably leads you to wonder what I'm doing here with you geniuses, but I'll just provide the lay person's point of view from here on out since my brain seems to have taken a leave of absence.

My name is Audrey, and I'm living in Sandy, Utah. Like you, Nancy, I swore I wouldn't live in Utah for longer than it took to graduate from BYU (where I lived with Alexandra and Courtney). But as life would have it, I'm here and probably for the long haul. I'm originally from San Francisco area, and I miss it all the time. But I am learning to love Utah.

I majored in Psychology, which I loved, and am now working at the oh-so-glamorous "Datamark" which to me sounds like the most generic business name on earth - where Dilbert would work or something. It's a good job though, so I shouldn't complain. We do marketing for various schools - mostly vocational, but some traditional universities as well.

I am four months pregnant, which apparently means unforeseen levels of exhaustion and, as I mentioned before, near complete lack of brain function. It's an adventure though, and I love it. I've been married to Patrick for a year and a half. He started a multimedia company - Propel Pictures - with a friend, and their dream is to make movies.

To wrap this up - my interests are history, but particularly American History and Current Events, reading, Thai and Indian Food, being with family, chocolate, etc. I think Carol Lynn Pearson is a genius and I secretly like Oprah. I recently decided to look into getting a Masters (topic undecided), and I'm trying to coexist with my ridiculous hair.

I'm excited for this!!

Friday, 12 January 2007

Breaking the FQI Ice

I decided to jump up to the plate with a post. (Hope you don't mind.)

In regards to Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, I just read an interesting post on the Segullah Blog which mentions the book. I really did like the part of the book she mentions in her post. It's an interesting post anyway, and a nice blog, if you haven't already come across it.

On that note, it may become obvious that one of the things I think about at length is the Fall. (Particularly the way it is presented in the temple.) One thing I have wondered, but have never been able to answer, is, why were two contradictoy commandments given? (Audrey-- I like your take on this, but I'll let you interject if you so desire.) There are so many questions surrounding the fall, but I think they ultimately lead to this. (One question I keep thinking right now: how was Satan allowed in the Garden?) Ultimately, was Eve's choice not a case of wickedness being happiness? What are your takes on the Fall?

On more general terms, thinking of Eve, Adam and Eden, how has the knowledge of the Fall changed your life, personality, relationships, testimony, etc.?

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Pregnancy, Ph. D and other P words...

Hello All,

My name is Nancy and I've just moved to Utah after living in the UK for more than eight years. I grew up in Maine, went to a boarding school in New Hampshire, did my undergraduate degree in art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and have just finished my Ph.D, also in art history, at the University of Cambridge in England, where I met Alexandra.

I've been married to Russ for two and a half years. He just submitted his Ph.D in computer science and is now teaching at Dixie State College. I'm seven months pregnant with my first child and am currently unemployed, but trying to find things to do here in St. George. My doctoral research focuses on medieval illuminated manuscripts, particularly illustrated books of the Book of Revelation in England in the 13th and 14th centuries. I like to watch movies, read, walk and am missing my primary calling back in England.

I got to know Alexandra a bit when she insisted that she help me clean my flat, in preparation for the move, a few weeks ago. I thought that I was just going to get some practical help, but several great conversations ensued and nowI am posting to this blog! I loved living in England and had several LDS-doctoral student-mommy friends that I now miss very much. I'm hoping that the transition to living in Utah, where I swore I would never live, will go pretty smoothly.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Also, I love chocolate cake

My name is Emma, and I'm from Washington DC. I graduated from Duke in May, in art history and classical studies... not exactly the most employable fields, which is why I'm now a trade analyst.

After undergrad I decided to take two years off before grad school, which kind of seemed like a good idea at the time for the purposes of repaying student loans, travelling, and taking some languages to help me get into a good program. However, I've since discovered that not going to school makes me feel a little dead inside, especially when I have to wear real clothes/shoes 5 days a week. For that reason, I am pumped about my German class that starts tonight... woohoo, intellectual pursuits! Once I get to grad school, I want to study Roman art.

For now, I live at home. I tutor my 9th grade sister in math and science, which is kind of a travesty and I hope she doesn't fail. I also tutor some kids from the inner city wards in my stake for the ACTs and SATs. I loooove reading, especially short stories and poetry. I hate Ethiopian food. I get incredibly nerdy at museums. I've bought a lot of new shoes since I started my job this summer. And my favorite memory of Alexandra was the time we went to a stake dance (??) and she started crying when they played the YMCA.

Apart from Al, the only other person I know on this blog is Ade, so I can't wait to meet the rest of you!

Today's Special: Courtney a la mode

Since I really should be reading BYU Magazine for one of my editing classes, I thought I would write my introduction. For what better way to introduce you to me then by doing it while procrastinating? (And because, tomorrow, Alexandra will wonder why I didn't do it when we talked about it extensively this evening.)

I am Courtney. I go to BYU and will graduate this August. Yes, this is just my undergrad, and my major is English, minor editing. Though I am considerably younger than Alexandra academically, I am, in fact, exactly one month older (and 10 inches shorter).

I have been married to Sam for one year and four months. He is studying film and recently shaved his head.

I am passionate about literature. American contemporary to be exact. My passion for grammar occasionally surpasses my passion for literature. I find the structure of the English language fascinating.

My other random interests include biking, first-generation American culture, culinary arts and the food network.

So those are some basics. Audrey might tell you I'm awkward and not very organized. Alexandra will tell you . . . I don't know Al, what would you tell them?
Now I really must go read BYU Magazine.


How about we each post short introductions about ourselves: what we're currently doing, interests, other relevant information?

Tuesday, 9 January 2007


Hello dear friends!

A note about the title: though it is slightly unwieldy, "fides quaerens intellectum" - faith seeking understanding - offers a general introduction to each of us as women seeking to increase our faith through our commitment to the gospel and our commitments to education, professions etc. "Fides quaerens intellectum" also serves as a general introduction to the content of this forum: rather than establishing ourselves as a subculture within the church, I think we all look forward to exploring the joys, the challenges, the complications and beauties of learning how we understand our various roles as women, wives, mothers, students, professors, lawyers, writers, businesswomen - and the tensions these diverse roles inhere.

More than anything, I look forward to the growth of a bond between women from all over the world with a wide range of experiences and interests but united in our commitment to fides quaerens intellectum, however we express that commitment in our particular lives.


I imagine it will take a bit of time for everyone to post their profiles and start being active, but whoever wants to begin discussion, please do!