Author: Julie M. Smith

I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband, Derrick, an electrical engineer. We have three boys: Simon ('98), Nathan ('01), and Truman ('04). We are a homeschooling family and I also teach at the LDS Institute here in Austin. I have a BA in English from UT Austin and an MA in Biblical Studies (Theology) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where I specialized in the study of women in the New Testament. I wrote my thesis on Mark 14:3-9, which I explored from literary and feminist perspectives to determine how the story teaches the audience about Jesus's identity. I wrote a book, Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels. It contains 4,000 questions (no answers) designed to get the LDS reader to really think about the scriptures and to introduce the major findings of biblical studies to the general reader. I like to read, buy books, and go out for ethnic food.

Family Fun: Temples

This Sunday is the dedication of the San Antonio Temple. My husband and I will get to participate in the dedication from our stake center, but it’s going to be one loooong day for my boys, who struggle with the Sabbath even when four hours of it is eaten up with Church meetings. So I’ve come up with a lengthy list of things they can do, with the hope of keeping them from eating the curtains and, oh yes, making the Temple dedication meaningful for them. I thought I’d go ahead and post the list for anyone looking for FHE or other ideas.

Book Review: David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet

I have mixed feelings about the very presence of Woodger’s David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet. On the one hand, as someone who wants to read biographies of all of the prophets of this dispensation, I’m always happy to see a new addition to the fold. While there are other biographies of President McKay, the pickings are pretty slim–and expensive (but see post below).

Book Review: David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism

Yes, I’m reviewing two books on David O. McKay. My original intention was to review them together (and explore the larger issue of writing faith-promoting as opposed to warts-and-all history), but I decided that wouldn’t be fair. It didn’t seem fair because David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet is a credible entry in the well-established subgenre of LDS biography. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. But David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism is a category killer.

The Cheerio Incident

Seven years ago, when my oldest son was just a baby, I decided that I would use his naptimes to work on a book. I planned on turning my thesis into something relevant for an LDS audience and writing additional chapters about the other women’s stories in Mark’s Gospel. So each day, after putting down the baby for his nap, I’d drag out all of my books and papers and notes and try to focus. And it seemed that every day, just as soon as I got into the groove of what I was doing, I’d hear “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” and it would be time to dash up the stairs, grab the baby, and put aside my work for another day.

Postpartum Depression

I had severe and prolonged postpartum depression with my first child, moderate PPD with the second, and none at all with the third. While I’m by no means an expert, I wanted to sketch out some things that I thought might be helpful to those experiencing PPD and those who are in a position to help them (husbands, visiting teachers, ward leaders, etc.).

Book Review: Back to the Well: Women’s Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels

This statement from The Blog of Happiest Fun got a lot of links from other female bloggernaclites: I would like to spend more time discussing the lives of strong women in the scriptures. Women like Hannah, Deborah, Jael, or Anna the prophetess. There are so many women that I find interesting, and I don’t hear about them enough. I’d like to study their lives some more.

Book Review: Black and Mormon

Any etiquette book will tell you: there are certain topics you just don’t bring up in polite society. Any Mormon will tell you: we have a few topics of our own to add to that list. And one of them is the issue of blacks and the priesthood.

Book Review Schedule

If you want to review a book, send me the title and your street address. There’s a category called Book Reviews for your posts. When you post the review, I’ll send the link to the publisher. Please don’t sit on the book forever. I’ll keep a running list of everything requested. God on the Quad (Adam) (St. Martin’s Press) DONE Black and Mormon (Julie) (U of Illinois) DONE The Latter-day Saint Experience in America (Julie) (Greenwood) DONE David O. McKay: Beloved Prophet (Julie) (Covenant) DONE David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (Julie) (U of Utah) A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints (Julie) (Eerdmans) Eve and the Mortal Journey (Julie) (Deseret) DONE Women of Eternity, Women in Zion (Julie) (Cedar Fort) Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Matt) (Oxford) Sexing the Church: Gender, Power and Ethics in Contemporary Catholicism (Melissa) (Indiana U Press) Faithful Transgressions in the American West (Melissa) Women…

Yes, He Does

Someone named Katherine posted the following on the What Think Ye? thread: “The subjects of women and the Priesthood and women and the church are ones I honestly struggle with. My questions are does God love women less than men, does he esteem us less, and are we worth less in the eternities? While my heart says that couldn’t be, I have every earthly and heavenly evidence to the contrary. I beg for your collective wisdom–how can I know that his female children have the same value to him as his male children?”

268M in 2080

Most members of the Church are probably familiar with the estimate made by (nonLDS) sociologist Rodney Stark that, if current growth patterns hold, there will be 268 million members of the Church by the year 2080.

To X or not to X . . .

Yesterday, a new policy for our ward was announced. Let’s call it policy X. It was made clear that X came from the stake president, directly from training by a member of the seventy. I think X is a bad idea.

Just Say No

So my visiting teachers came over today. I love them; they take good care of me. One of them told me that they were asked on Sunday (I wasn’t in Church this week: sniffly kids) to check in with their visiting teachees and see how they are doing in meeting the challenge that the ward has set for the opening of the San Antonio Temple.