Heidi Doggett

Heidi Doggett graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and a minor in Anthropology. She dedicates much of her time to research and writing on the women's topics and the LDS church, as well as running her blog No Dead Beetles and leading forums and workshops to discuss parenting and life balance issues. She lives in California with her spouse and two children.

Lipstick: Can I Look Like Me Without It?

So last week, Elder Ballard gave this bit of wisdom at a Single Adult fireside:     “Brethren, wake up! Open your eyes and look around a little. And you beautiful girls, don’t wander around looking like men. Put on a little lipstick now and then and look a little charming. It’s that simple. I don’t know why we make this process so hard.”   Clearly, Elder Ballard has never spent an hour in front of the mirror Sunday morning anxiously painting a new face because he knew the one he was born with wasn’t good enough to get him a date. Nothing like the thought of spending life lonely to make a girl evaluate what her God-given features are actually worth.   “I don’t know why we make this process so hard.” Well, Elder Ballard, that’s because no one ever told you you had to change your face in order to look like a man. You didn’t go through this weird transformation at puberty where suddenly, everyone started telling you that in order to look like your own gender, you had to change your body. Those eyelashes you were born with? I know you’re a man and all, but they don’t look like man’s eyelashes. Paint it up. Your eyelids? Men’s eyelids are way sparklier. We’ll have to fix that for you. What’s wrong with your fingernails? Men’s fingernails don’t look like that. And all that hair that naturally grows on your body now, well, we know women grow that too, but for them, it’s natural and womanly, and for you, it’s unnatural and gross. Shave it off or you’ll look like a woman. I wonder if Heavenly Mother wears lipstick. I guess She would have to. Otherwise, how would Heavenly Father tell Her apart from the guys? I bet no one ever had to remind Her to be a little charming. Being omnipotent, She knows full well that Her natural face can easily be confused for a man’s, and requires the aid...

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I’m Remaking Christmas

Dec 13, 13 I’m Remaking Christmas

Posted by in Charity, Featured, Gospel Topics

I’d love to love Christmas again. As a kid I’d play around the tree for hours. Impressions of ivory twinkle lights glinting off my mother’s extensive collection of antique colored glass ornaments–and of accidentally smashing several–are among the most potent of my childhood. The musty scent of popcorn garland, crinkly silver strands of tinsel icicles clinging to my pajamas every time I brushed past the tree, staying up late to watch stop motion Christmas specials, finding peppermint patties wrapped in red, silver, and green with spice drops and french vanilla candy canes in my stocking, and always bright bath pearls and bath salts and a set of apple jellies from my uncle. The anonymous envelopes of cash dropped on our doorstep made it happen most years. A neighborhood friend, or a collection taken at church for divorced, chronically unemployed, physically broken mothers like mine. Some years the gifts were secondhand, and some they were sparse, but they always happened, along with big walnut-colored baskets full of frozen turkey and rolls and Sara Lee pumpkin pie, with little chocolate Santas and red and green jelly beans rattling around at the bottom under shredded paper filling. Even years when we had enough, someone from the ward often dropped by with a ham or a gift card just to make sure we were taken care of; to make sure we knew we were loved. Right now, this year’s tree is rolled awkwardly into the corner until I feel like trimming the base and setting it in water. Cards are already accumulating on the fireplace mantle. I am warm. My kids will eat not just a nice Christmas dinner, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for the foreseeable future, and we will enjoy Christmas knowing we are wanted and secure. Somewhere nearby is a family who has none of those things. No one is going to come to their rescue. There are many, many families who live like this year round. And I have trouble seeing how...

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A Mormon Frontier: Some Words of Wisdom on Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been in the spotlight lately. Resistant hepatitis and salmonella, MRSA, and more have been making headlines as they pop up around the world with increasing frequency due to our overuse of antibiotics on humans and livestock. The Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization have issued warnings about the consequences if we do not take immediate measures to prevent the problem from becoming bigger. Why does this issue belong on a Mormon blog? Because Mormons, both individually and as an organization, are equipped to lead the way in addressing this pressing problem with worldwide consequences.   When you hear the word Mormon, “beef” is probably not the first thing that pops into your mind. And yet financially, there is a close association. The LDS church is the owner of one of the world’s largest cattle ranches: Deseret Ranch, in Florida. In fact in 1997, it was the world’s largest. (1) Among other things, this 300,000 acre (2) ranch supplies Bishop’s Storehouses everywhere with meat and the delicious beef stew that I found so comforting to eat when I was little and the church supplied my single mother with food for our family. If not for the church’s amazingly self-sufficient food program, I may have gone hungry more than once.   How is this related to antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Often, when we address resistant bacteria, the first thing we think of is over-prescribing in the doctor’s office. Patient comes in, doctor says it’s viral, patient insists on getting antibiotics anyway. If the doctor gives in and the patient takes those antibiotics, which can’t even kill viruses, the medicine will kill any susceptible bacteria that happen to be hanging out in the patient’s body, while leaving resistant bacteria alive to multiply and spread to other people. Over time, this contributes to the emergence of resistant strains. But this overprescribing for humans is only part of the problem. In fact, 70% of the antimicrobials we use in the US go to our livestock, not...

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Knocking at the Tabernacle Door: Waiting in Line with Ordain Women

I really did not expect to be waiting in the standby line for Priesthood Session. When Ordain Women came out with their website, I felt no call to join them. Quite the opposite, in fact. I wished Kate Kelly had waited, and given people like me more chance to share the history of women giving blessings in the early church and being set apart by Joseph as temple healers, to point out the lack of doctrine on all-male ordination, to encourage women to use and talk about their spiritual gifts in prophecy, healing, and all the things listed in the scriptures, without the pressure of directly addressing women’s ordination at the same time. When I heard about Ordain Women’s plans for Priesthood session this year, I worried that this action would radicalize people against the idea of any action at all to improve women’s position in the church. I was concerned that people would never accept the history, the basic facts, while being presented directly with women’s ordination as the logical conclusion. I wrung my hands as I saw non-doctrinal explanations for an all-male priesthood become further entrenched in the minds of church members as they reached for counter-arguments to Ordain Women’s well-researched platform. “Motherhood as the parallel to priesthood” is not doctrinal, not logical, and diminishes the divine calling of fatherhood. And the idea that men need the priesthood because naturally they’re such lazy, immoral layabouts that without it they wouldn’t be involved in church and family…really? And the millions of good fathers the world over with no priesthood? I am really concerned that this one might actually take hold, and teach us terrible, untrue things about the nature of men. I completely respect the members of Ordain Women. I completely respect their declaration that they are being led by the Spirit to bring this issue to the attention of church leaders. It is not my within my ability or my jurisdiction to judge that, and I believe it takes many different kinds, many...

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“Parallel” Conference Sessions? Fox News, A Press Release, and the Dictionary

Sep 25, 13 “Parallel” Conference Sessions? Fox News, A Press Release, and the Dictionary

Posted by in Featured, News

So, it looks like Fox News has picked up yesterday’s press releases on the church’s decisions to both broadcast priesthood session live for the first time and deny entry to the women who will be standing at the door asking for admission. “Male-only Conference Session to be Broadcast Live for the First Time.” It won’t be the first time a woman has stood outside during Priesthood Session after being denied admission. Frances Monson, the deceased wife of President Monson, wanted to hear her husband give his first talk as an Apostle at Priesthood Session in October 1963. According to the Church Newsroom, “Frances tried to stand in the doorway of the Salt Lake Tabernacle to listen to her husband speak, but the ushers wouldn’t allow it, so she stood as near to the window as possible to hear the talk.” I’ve already been over my opinions on the reactions from the general church membership to Ordain Women’s agitation (see here) So let’s take a look at what church spokeswoman Ruth Todd had to say about it yesterday:   “It is the hope of the church that the priesthood session will strengthen the men and young men including fathers and sons, and give them the opportunity to gather and receive instruction related to priesthood duties and responsibilities,” church spokeswoman Ruth Todd said Tuesday in a letter to the group, “much the same way parallel meetings are held for sisters, such as the general Relief Society meeting. “It’s for these reasons that tickets for the priesthood session are reserved for men and young men and we are unable to honor your request for tickets or admission.”   “…much the same way that parallel meetings are held for sisters, such as the General Relief Society Meeting.” I’d like to take a moment to explore the word “parallel” as used in this context.   Priesthood Session: held twice a year as an official part of Conference. General Relief Society Meeting: held once a year, and is not considered...

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Tattling in Zion: Shall we Mend or Shall We Falter?

A few months back, a faithful friend had someone in her ward report her to the bishop for swearing on Facebook. It started to pick up around Wear Pants to Church Day; possibly because the event gave many Mormons a reason to start sharing their more unorthodox opinions openly with friends and family online.  A woman reported a fellow ward member to her stake leadership for sharing articles critical of church policy on Facebook. A man was turned in for a blog post questioning the words of an Apostle. There have been at least a dozen incidents that I heard of since December: incidents where people I associate with online have faced a chat with the bishop because someone in their ward didn’t like something they shared on the Internet.   Do you know what we call this at my house?   “Moooooom, So-And-So won’t share her toy.” “Mooo-ooom, she’s touching me!” “MOOOOOOOM!”   When Jesus encouraged followers to “become as a little child,” I do not believe this is what he had in mind.  How should an adult deal with an adult when they disagree?   Not like this: “You obviously have no understanding of the Gospel.” “If you really believed in God you would agree with me.” “How dare you cause contention!”   And certainly not like this:   “You should be excommunicated.” “You must be not love your children, because you obviously don’t value your role as a mother.”  “You don’t understand what it means to be a woman.” “If you don’t like the church the way it is, you should leave.” “You must be stupid.”   These are not words that a Latter-Day Saint should be using against anyone, even online, no matter what the offense. And we should certainly not be using them against each other. I have personally been on the receiving end of every comment listed above and more. As comments like this piled up during “Pantsocalypse,” the unexpected lack of empathy and the stress it caused...

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Depression Is Not A Spiritual Problem

Aug 09, 13 Depression Is Not A Spiritual Problem

Posted by in Featured, Mental Health

Huddled in the corner, using the glow of my laptop to shield myself from a filthy kitchen and a baby I didn’t know what to do with, I saw myself as a failure before God. I had been taught all my life that mothering would come to me naturally, just because I was a woman. I had been taught it was the most important thing, the most fulfilling thing, that I could ever do. So when I felt no desire to play with my new baby girl, when I felt trapped in a dark, sticky hole of a home where I was sure I would spend the rest of my life peeling poop-soaked onesies off my child’s squirming body–when I couldn’t shake the intrusive, repeating thoughts of harming the baby or myself–I believed I was a bad parent, and a bad person as well. I thought my female soul was supposed to be inescapably tied to the instinct to care for children. Therefore I feared my reactions were sinful; even inhuman. What kind of mother would think these things? What kind of woman? I repented. Again and again. I ground myself into the dust repenting. Praying. Despairing because I could not bring my feelings in line with what I thought was the Lord’s will for me. Thinking that if wickedness never was happiness, that of course my unhappiness must be a sign of wickedness. I tried to be a better mom. I stopped playing World of Warcraft when I noticed I was using it to distract myself from my duties. I stopped writing. It’s wrong to devote my heart to silly stories and selfish goals that could tempt me into a career, I thought, My family should be first and only. I stopped practicing karate. No point in trying, I thought, because I’ll only be pregnant again soon anyway. I pictured our home, perfectly clean and perfectly organized, perfectly color-coordinated. But the more I pictured perfection, the more I could not even bring myself...

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Who Does God Obey?

Jul 12, 13 Who Does God Obey?

Posted by in Featured, Gospel Topics

I wrote a painful post using a horrible, hackneyed metaphor about God as an artist. Now it is gone, thank goodness, and instead I just want to ask a few questions. In Doctrine and Covenants, God says, “It is not meet that I should command in all things.” Joseph Smith said, “I teach the people correct principles and let them govern themselves.” It seems to me that the implications in these two statements should be central in working towards what Mormons believe is God’s ultimate goal for us: to learn everything God has to teach. Yet self-governance and acting on one’s own are not common subject matter at church. Instead it’s obey obey follow obey, when you’re happy, when you’re sad, when you don’t understand. Got a question? Ultimately, obedience is the answer. Who does God obey? Who was there by God’s side every step of the way, instructing God in every aspect of life until finally, the last instruction was checked off, and through obedience, God became God? If this process sounds shallow and simplistic compared to the depth and intelligence we envision in the supreme beings we call Parents, how is it going to improve humanity? What if there’s something about the process of becoming better that requires more than the ability to do as we’re told? Can we talk about it?  ...

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Our Own Tent: Girls’ Camp, Losing my Pants, and Finding my Truth

Jun 18, 13 Our Own Tent: Girls’ Camp, Losing my Pants, and Finding my Truth

Posted by in Featured, Mormonism

It sounds so zen: losing my pants helped me find myself. I felt guilty, zipped snug inside my tent wearing a short thin nightgown, with the lack of covering for my bottom half bringing such a reprieve. You see, due to a forgotten suitcase and an incident with the lake and a zip-line, the one pair of jeans I’d brought to girls’ camp lay outside, drying in the cool twilight. And I was left unable to attend the evening’s testimony meeting further up the mountain. I was glad, and ashamed for being glad. Remembering how earlier in the week, the leaders had handed us all letters from our parents and told us to go off into the woods and have a spiritual experience. I settled by the lake’s edge, feeling sick and withered because when I read that letter, nothing sparked inside. I tried. I tried to be touched to the point of weeping, like I knew the other girls must be doing. I tried to have an overwhelming realization of my many sins with a dramatic remission afterwards, like the men in the scriptures. As usual, I came up empty. I had come up empty ever since I could remember; ever since my Primary teacher put a pen and paper in my little hands, telling me to write my testimony so that she could tape it to a balloon and release it for some lucky non-member to find. Then, like now, I looked into my heart and found only that I felt uncomfortable. Why was I wrong? Why couldn’t I make it work? So I wasn’t exactly pleased when a girl poked her head into my tent and offered to keep me company. Was she here to “fellowship” me, the puzzle piece no one could find a place for? “You shouldn’t have to be by yourself,” she said, “just because you don’t have pants.” She settled across from me with a sheepish look. “Besides, I don’t really like the testimony meetings.” Testimony meetings...

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Strengthening the Family

May 24, 13 Strengthening the Family

Posted by in Featured, Feminism, Mormonism

Let’s talk history for a minute. Family history. Or rather, the history of families. Throughout most of history, any mother wealthy enough to dedicate all her time to raising her children hired other people to do it for her. Many parents, both rich and poor, would send their children away at a young age to be apprenticed or work as servants in wealthier households. Most mothers worked side by side with their husbands in the fields or in the shop, or spent the day doing things like stirring stinky vats of lye into soap while their children either worked with their parents or occupied themselves. The idea of a non-wealthy household that could afford to spare one of its members to devote most of their energy to childrearing, or even keeping the house clean, is a product of the Industrial Revolution, which took place starting about 1760 through 1820 or 1840.1 With the advent of factories, offices, and industrial-scale mining, for the first time in history a certain number of women and children ceased contributing to household production. As people gave up traditional work of farming and crafting products like cloth by hand-at first because it seemed like a good opportunity, and later because they had no choice-more mothers found it necessary to stay at home just to take care of their children. But many families simply could not afford this, and necessity became, appropriately, the mother of invention. “The movement of work into factories increased the difficulty of combining work and childcare. In most factory work the hours were rigidly set, and women who took the jobs had to accept the twelve or thirteen hour days. Work in the factories was very disciplined, so the women could not bring their children to the factory, and could not take breaks at will.However, these difficulties did not prevent women with small children from working. Nineteenth-century mothers used older siblings, other relatives, neighbors, and dame schools to provide child care while they worked. Occasionally mothers would...

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