Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Episode 21: No rest for the busy

Right click here to download the mp3.

Art by Jim Thompson
There is a common saying that there is no rest for the wicked. What about for the righteous? Especially those who are so righteous, they are constantly engaged in "the Lord's work"? Ah, yes, the Lord's work. Didn't Jesus say something about come unto me and I will give you rest? In this podcast, I talk about the issue of busyness in Mormonism. I also alert listeners that this podcast will be undergoing some changes as I step back from the project. This means that it will be publishing every other week rather than every week.



  1. This completely turns "anxiously engaged" on its head. :) And as I've never wanted to be intentionally anxious about anything, I'm glad for it.

    It's been hard to admit how much I resent my husband's calling lately, but mostly because I see what it is doing to him to feel responsible to other people and to be available for service projects and meetings when he is so stressed and overworked with projects at work as well. He actually doesn't sacrifice our family, he's very intentional about that, but in the end there is only so much time and he ends up sacrificing himself. I don't believe that is what God intends, and it causes me a lot of pain to watch.

    There's also another aspect to obsessively seeking and acting out our righteousness that has been bothering me for a while, and I think it is along these lines as part of our inability to be in the moment as Mormons. I've been questioning how our need to feel like we are always in a position of service to others jives with the unrecognized, but no less necessary need to serve ourselves. If we are going to learn to be present and unattached and at peace with the way things are; if we are going to stop the war with reality, then how do we still help those in need? In meditating I've come up with an answer for myself, and it's one that stems from a teaching of my mother's; we are here to care for those who cross our path. Simple. To me this isn't about seeking out and merging our path with others, but allowing time and space and energy to flow into what already is, and doing the good that is presented to us *in the moment*. It sounds like a cop out and an excuse to not help other people, but really, when you think about how hard it might be to address what is right in front of us sometimes, it isn't necessarily the easier option, but the less anxious and delusional one. I think in the Church, we do what CS Lewis warned against in our own ways - we seek out the needs that remove us from what has been placed at our feet, within our sphere.

    I used to stress about teaching my children to serve by providing them endless opportunities and exposure, and I thought that if we weren't constantly helping someone that we were letting God down. I've even heard it said in Sunday School ( and I raised my hand to disagree) that if we aren't moving actively forward in pursuit of righteousness, that we are actually moving backward in pursuit of evil. That notion is false and utterly ridiculous and negative. It doesn't inspire a healthy notion of what it means to do good. I think being open to what God lays before you and accepting it as a whole and perfect moment and opportunity in time for what it is, will bring not only personal peace, but will allow us to see the needs of those around us that we weren't seeing before.

    Anyway, I have a need for this podcast, and I know others do as well, but I am glad to see an example of moderation for the sake of a healthy and balanced life, no matter what perceived good must be sacrificed. Thank you Sybil.

  2. I'm listening through iTunes and so appreciate what you have done. You grab the elusive wisps of thought in my head and condense and organize them into words for me! I certainly wouldn't want to take you away from what is most important on your life, though, so I understand your need to cut back. I wanted to be sure to weigh in and let you know that what you have done has helped people.

  3. I love your podcast...and I'm not even Mormon!! Found it through a friend's site, and as a woman, and former evangelical Christian, I found there was much I could relate to....I appreciate the diversity and the narratives....not being LDS, I'm not so interested in panel discussions on LDS doctrine, but the life-stories interviews are compelling to me. Best wishes on your journey.

  4. I don't know that there's a specific niche I'm interested in. I just enjoy a woman-specific exploration of Mormonism. But I had to comment, just to say I'm listening. However, I don't think cutting back your production schedule to once every other or even every few weeks would be terrible.

  5. You bring up some excellent points in this, Sybil. That story about Pres Monson's wife and daughter is pretty sad.

    You know I love this podcast and want it to continue. But you of course need to put your health first. I think we'll be able to share the load and figure out a way to keep it going. And is there really no way to find out how many downloads it gets on iTunes?

  6. I've really enjoyed the podcast. I listen through iTunes also. I understand if you need to focus elsewhere, but I hope you continue it! I don't know that there is any one specific thing that I am interested in, outside of the general "women and Mormonism."
    Thanks for all the hard work!

  7. Hawaiian Hula Girl said...
    I agree with a lot of what you’re saying Sybil. Two friends of mine were telling me about a book they had recently read called The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. In the book, she talked about things that wholehearted people do, and about things they don’t do. And one of the things they don’t do really struck me. They don’t use Exhaustion as Status!

    It quickly brought to my mind all of the conversations I have had with other women where they detail the impossibly busy schedules they had last week, or today, or will have tomorrow, and all of the extra emergencies and problems on top of them. And I realized that in our culture, exhaustion IS status. The more you have to do, the more important you are perceived as being.

    Some of the other things that the wholehearted people don’t do are: Perfectionism, Self Numbing, Fitting In, People Pleasing, Scarcity, Anxiety, Judgmental, Labeling, Self Sufficient (instead of interdependent), and Self Critical. Astounding isn’t it. As a group of Mormon women, how do we fare?

    I think I’ll go to Amazon and check out the book.

    And by the way Sybil- I recognize the great effort you have put into these podcasts. And I admire you for reassessing your time commitment and realigning it with your life’s true desires. This is doing the things that wholehearted people actually do: Play, Rest, Believe myself to be worthy of Love, Self Nurturing, Acceptance, Belonging, Gratitude, Creativity, Trust, Faith, Unconditional Love. You go girl!

  8. Sybil,
    I'm listening thru iTunes and really value your podcasts. You are a gifted interviewer and the topics you have covered are varied and so interesting. I hope you can find a way to continue without jeopardizing your own personal situation.

  9. Your comments about President Monson's wife remind me of some comments by Sister Hinckley. I believe that this quote was from a short film about Hinckley's life. Sister Hinckley said that when she married her husband she knew that the Lord would always come first for him and that she would always come second. What I found interesting about this statement is that it seemed to be gender specific. I don't know that Pres. Hinckley would have said that he knew that the Lord came first for Sis Hinckley and he would come second. I think this reflects the time and sacrifice that is often required of the men of the church for callings that take them out of the home. Women have demanding callings as well, but men's jobs plus their callings mean that they are gone from the home a lot.

    At church we often talk about the benefits of a lay clergy. I think there are many benefits, but also many disadvantages as well. Someone who takes on a clergyship receives specific training, does it full-time and long-term. We really ask a lot of our members.

    As you know I love this podcast. I value the time and personal sacrifice that you put into it. Even if you only posted an interview once a month, I would still view it as a wonderfully worthwhile endeavor.

  10. I really enjoy the show and I can't comprehend how much work it is to produce, but I hope that you continue. I have enjoyed every episode. don't think that because hits are declining that the need is removed.

    Thank you!

  11. I usually listen to this podcast through Itunes. I have to say that this podcast has been fantastic so far. Not only has it opened my eyes as a Mormon man but I have honestly felt what I believe is the spirit often while listening. If you need to give it up or just cut back, know at least it has already become a great resource.

  12. I'm also listening through Itunes. Talk to John Larsen at Mormon Expression. He can tell you how to estimate your listener-ship by looking at your data downloads.

    I don't think you should put much stock in your website hits just yet. You're just a fledgling production. You're listenable and interesting. I really hope you stick with it.

  13. "No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home unless it is success in the Church." Now there is a statement that I was living without even being aware of it. How many times have I mistakenly thought that the time I spent away from my family while doing service in the Church was somehow benefiting them? In reality, my relationship with each of my children has suffered by spending much of my free time away from them doing church work.

    I applaud your decision to take a more balanced approach to the podcast. If a more balanced approach means less podacasts, then I will just have to grin and bear it. Your peace of mind is more important than feeding my Daughters of Mormormonism podcast habit.

    I seem to be one of the few who downloads your podcast directly from your website. All 21 of your podcasts have been downloaded onto my MP3 player. After listening to #21 today (while jumping on the trampoline) I had this desire to have my wife listen as well. After she listened, we had a very engaging conversation on how we each previously thought busy-ness was a condition of righteousness.

    Sybil, thank you for all your effort in producing each podcast.


  14. Dear Sybil,
    I have loved getting to know you through the podcast, our interview and panels. You are a tremendous woman I admire and appreciate. I love "Daughters of Mormonism", but I love you more :) So please take care of yourself. I think we can make this work together, if we carry the load as a team. And if it still doesn't work out, so be it. You have already touched so many people with this podcast, and I am one of the many who are so very grateful for the service you have provided :)
    Much love to you!

    I totally agree that Mormons can be prone to the "busy bee syndrome", let's just be anxiously engaged 24/7 and that way we don't actually have to deal with ourselves and the people around us. It's a way to live life on the surface. It keeps life from being a rich and powerful experience in my opinion. That being said, I get caught up easily as well. Thank you for the reminder!!

  15. Hi Sybil,

    I listen primarily through iTunes because I can jump the file straight to my iPod and Blackberry and listen while I'm out of the house. I rarely listen at home, but I am a faithful (if slow) listener. Slowing down is a good idea, absolutely, and I don't think your listenership will be damaged by a bi-weekly upload. I know for myself, it would give me more time to actually get around to listening. ;)

    I had never consciously considered applying that quote to Church work, though I definitely felt the effects of it as I look back. I, too, am not as close to my Dad as I could have been if he had been sitting with us in Sacrament, or with us Sunday afternoons. My Mom was also highly calling-ed as I was growing up, but Dad I really remember missing him in particular.

    Please don't drive yourself to burn out. This podcast is very needed. Our voices need to be heard, whether it's one a week, bi-weekly, or once a month. Do whatever you need, whether it's maybe collaborating with a co-host and alternating who does which podcast, slowing down, trying to do shorter podcasts, or chopping them up into multiples (if that's easier; I have no idea if it is.) For myself, I feel so much safer talking about these things when it's just us women, and I like your style of letting people tell their stories. I sometimes find MS and MM casts a little unsatisfying because the hosts--bless their hearts--seem to work more at directing things. That may be a male-female difference, but I appreciate that about your work so much and I look forward to getting to talk with you in a week and a half. :)

  16. Another iTunes listener chiming in - too bad they don't give you at least some kind of aggregate download data or something.

    Anyway, I enjoy the poscast, and I would like to see it continue, as you have the available time and energy to do so. I can totally relate to letting things take over my life, this week in particular. Hmm. As far as topics go, I really enjoyed the episodes on the Divine Feminine - they really spoke to me.


  17. I'm listening through itunes. I like the perspective of your podcast, but I understand that if it is taking over your life you should stop. I like the stories of all the women you have interviewed and especially enjoy your personal essays. Thanks!

  18. I listen and subscribe through itunes. Your podcast is beautiful and much appreciated in the community. You make a difference in many lives, Sybil.

  19. Sybil,

    I very rarely make comments, but prefer to stay in the background listening. However, I would like to be sure my gratitude is expressed for your work here. I have tremendous respect for the amount of time and effort it must take to produce this endeavor for the many reasons you do it. But your individual reasons aside, I thank you for giving thoughts and insights about women, and the feminine divine for reasons that benefit MY family.

    I am a single father of three young children; my wife died from breast cancer 20 months ago. We were a "feminist" family before, but now it's obviously wholly my responsibility to provide a sense of empowerment and self worth for my 2 girls. We've leaned almost entirely out of the LDS church, and I don't foresee us going back at any point. Nevertheless, the impact of a lifelong membership is not shaken off so easily. Hence, thoughtful and well studied ideas that I can include in my childrens' spiritual lessons about the divine feminine have been very helpful. I don't wish to offensively suggest that I could ever compensate for the absence of their mother in their development - she cannot be replaced individually, and even the most feminist of men cannot exude the strength and spirit of a woman - but since our situation is what it is, I'm trying to fill her feminine roles by pathetic proxy; something is better than nothing. For all these reasons, this podcast has been well received in my life and I appreciate what you have done. I will continue to benefit from it, should it carry on, and will simply be grateful for the ones we got if you need to move away from it. After all, we ARE all too busy.

    I appreciate you, and the gracious panel.

  20. Sorry - I meant to include for your information gathering that I, too, listen by downloading on itunes.

  21. I love hearing how DoM has impacted listeners. Warms my heart :) Sybil, you rock!

  22. First of all, thank you to everyone who commented here on this episode. To see so many anonymous posts from iTunes listeners and others really helped me to see that there are many others who are listening "from afar" (via iTunes), and that there is a need that is being fulfilled, even beyond the borders of Mormonism.

    I've been surprised and pleased by how many men responded to this podcast. Thank you, lifelongguy, John E, Allen, Matthew, Grant, and Eldon J Kartchner for letting us know you are there. It is good to know that there are men who really care about women's issues.

    And thanks, everyone, for supporting me in reassessing the commitment needed by this project so that I can take care of myself and my family as well.

    In response to the ideas in the comments ...

    Courtney, you are right. This "being in the moment" really does challenge both the "anxiously" and the "engaged." I very much agree with you about changing our focus to looking at what is within our actual sphere of influence. That is, after all, where we are located, and presumably where we will do the most actual good, both for others and for ourselves.

    Katrina, unfortunately, iTunes deliberately makes it impossible to see how many subscribe and download the podcast.

    Hawaiian Hula Girl, thank you for sharing this concept of exhaustion as status. This really seems to describe something fundamental about the Mormon cultural identity. And thanks for the book recommendation. It sounds good!

    Beatrice, sadly, we generally never stop to look at the disadvantages of our lay clergy. Your point about the gender specific allegiance to Lord/Church over spouse is very interesting. And disturbing.

    Thanks for the tips, Heather.

    Allen, sounds like you and your wife had a fascinating discussion. It really is amazing how much we think that time spent in church endeavors are somehow for the benefit of our families. It reminds of people who say that the reason they work so much (and spend so little time with their families) is to benefit their families. "I'm doing this for you!"

    Juliane, thank you for the love. I like how you say that "busy bee syndrome" keeps us living on the surface of life. That is exactly it. So, instead of our efforts deepening and enriching our lives, as we hope they will, instead they keep us in the shallows.

    Jena, I think you make a good point, that the children miss out on their fathers even more due to church callings. Perhaps because part of being an anxiously engaged woman in the church is the emphasis on being at home with the kids. Thanks, also, for the ideas and the support. I'm looking forward to talking with you, too.

    Eldon, thank you so much for sharing how this podcast has helped you as a single father trying to spiritually feed your daughters and give your family a woman-strong perspective. It is an honor to be a part of your efforts. I can't even imagine how much you are trying to do as the only parent, and as an aware father. God bless you.

    Thanks again, everyone, for the feedback and support. It means a lot.

  23. Hi Sybil,

    I'm a very grateful iTunes listener. This podcast has quieted the part of me that has been feeling very at odds with the church recently. It's so reassuring to know that there are other women who feel like they're on the periphery. I appreciate how well documented each of the podcasts are and the diversity of stories of panelists.

    Take care of yourself and your family first.

  24. You're awesome. I listen via itunes. Keep it up! Slow down if you have to, but keep on speaking up. The Church will never change with out brave people like you.

  25. I am also an iTunes listener. I eagerly await each new episode and would be heartbroken if you stopped. I'm adding links to my blog and facebook account just so more women can benefit from the honesty and courage you demonstrate every week or every other week or however often you can bring yourself to do it. Please don't wrap up until the issues are no longer there to be talked about. You're a unique source of comfort and information, and the word is getting out there.

  26. Just wanted to chime in that I'm an Itunes listener--and also a non-mormon one. I've found all of the podcasts really interesting and well done, and I hope you don't stop. Certainly slow them down though, if it makes for a more sane life!

  27. I work at my computer all day, so I listen directly from the online link.

    I think DoM fills a valuable niche in the Mormon experience for both men and women. Sybil, take care of yourself and do what you must to stay healthy and sane, but I'd love to see DoM continue in any capacity.

  28. Sybil,

    Great thoughts. I believe this business is what isolates us as Mormons and prevents us from finding all the wonderful things the world has to offer.

    As a man I am likely not your intended listener. I am a life time member seminary, mission, BYU. I am raising 4 kids with my ex-wife who was also a life time member seminary, BYU, mission and is a lesbian. The church, its leaders, and its culture would teach many faults and harmful things to my Children about their great mom. I do not attend. I still feel very Mormon. These are my people. Although I crave that connection, it can not and does not come from my local ward. A handful of podcast fill that need for me. I heard your interview with Zilpha on mormonexpression and I have been addicted ever since. I love the other pod casts I listen to and they are increasing there involvement of women, their voice is expressly male. Your pod cast is uniquely female. It fills something in my spiritual life that I have craved for most of my adult life. I remember listening to conference and thinking I must be a chauvinist because I was so disappointed in the juvenile nature of the sisters talks. I now see what they were missing.

    You are brilliant to seek to restructure how the pod cast is done. Bravo! But please, please, please keep this marvelously beautiful voice alive, because it makes many of us sing inside.

  29. Hi, just wanted to chime in and say that i'm a listener through iTunes, and Ive really enjoyed listening to your podcast, it has broadened my view of how different women in mormonism. I wish my wife would listen to these...

    I deeply appreciate your effort, but also think you should prioritize yours and your family's well being!

  30. Love this podcast. Sybil, what you are doing is worthwhile. To me anyhow. I wish I could help or assist you in some way to ease the burden.

  31. I love love love these podcasts. I have listened to every one and a few multiple times.

    Thank you for this particular podcast. Just last week I turned down a calling (my first time ever) which would require a lot of busy work. I have five children of whom I also homeschool. My family is my top priority. I have cut back drastically over the last year my involvement in the church. It has been soooo good for my soul!

    However... my conditioning that it is wrong to ever turn down a calling has left me feeling a bit guilty all week. This podcast was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Thank you.

    I think cutting back the episodes to every other week is a great idea, in fact just once a month would even be okay. Although, I would be a little sad to see it end because I think so many people are just now discovering you! But... please do what you need to do for you, and thank you for being so wonderful!

  32. I, too, listen on iTunes. Like others who have posted here, this podcast has been invaluable to me as I navigate personal issues with my religion. It speaks to me in a way that my soul has longed for. Sybil, your calm, quiet way of exploring truths helps quiet me. As I was listening to this last podcast a thought came to me. Perhaps you could post a list of things we could do to take some of the burden from you. Collective podcasting. I'd be willing to pick up a task or two if it would mean that I could still have this beautiful addition to my life!

  33. I also love what you're doing here and listen regularly, although I comment only rarely. Definitely take care of yourself first, but I'd hate to see the project die.

  34. Sybil, I also am a subscriber to the podcast on iTunes. I have really enjoyed all of the episodes I have listened to. This particular episode is one of the best. The list you put together of what good Mormon women have to do to be righteous really stuck out to me. I have shared many episodes with my wife, including this one, and she really enjoys the podcast, too.

    I really love getting women's perspective on these issues. I feel like the podcast has helped me to understand a little better how some of the attitudes of the church affect women. I really like the 1-on-1 interviews, and I loved the episodes on language in the Book of Mormon, and changing the language in the Book of Moses. I have just enjoyed the entire podcast. I hope you will continue to publish new material, even if you have to scale it back a bit.

    Oh, and I have to mention this, because I told her I would, but I definitely think you can't close shop until you do the interview with Jenne. :)

  35. Just wanted to drop by to say that I am one of the iTunes listeners out there. I think your podcast is a remarkably important voice for women with LDS backgrounds, regardless of their current relationship with the church. Sybil your voice is also very unique and I would hate to see you go. By all means do find balance in your life. By all means do not discontinue this podcast if it can be helped.

  36. Sybil, I listen from your web site so I probably have already been counted. I just wanted to say that I enjoy what you do, I also think your voice is amazing, it feels like I am listening to a Disney movie. I definitely connected with this podcast. With that in mind (and even though you obviously have a lot of people who enjoy your podcast) I think that people who do these podcasts do it because they feel a need to do it for themselves. So I say do it as much or as little as you need to for yourself and we'll reap the benefits. Just know you are doing a great job and we love it.

  37. Maybe other people have noticed this as well, but I have found that sometimes the website loads slowly so I've switched over to iTunes for most of my listening. I'm so glad though that you are looking to slow down. You've gotten off to a great start and have people very interested in seeing the project continue. I think we would all be very happy to see episodes come up one a month, rather than every week, if that meant we could continue to hear from you. And if your colleagues can do fill in between, excellent. I especially love your short segments like this one. Pithy and important but doesn't require 1-2 hours to listen. Do what you can, take care of yourself. Your health and well-being is what is most important.

  38. Hi Sybil,
    I also listen straight from your website so may have already been counted. However, for the week or two before this particular podcast, every time I tried to listen to a podcast, when I'd try to push play, nothing would happen. Perhaps I don't know what I'm doing... but if it was a wider felt issue, perhaps that is part of the reason your numbers were declining. Also, while a lot of listeners have commented, I would bet that many others haven't but still appreciate you.

    I've listened to each of your podcasts at least once and many of them twice. I'm so grateful for your sacrifice and willingness to help us all out by providing a podcast of interesting and diverse interviews and topics. You have made a huge difference to my life, although I've never commented (before today) to say thank you…so... THANK YOU!!!

    I was a very devoted life long member until a year ago when my husband and I and our four children left the church. Still, I am fascinated by Mormonism and especially find that your insights and those of the women you interview help me to understand myself (and my history in the church and its impact on me) better. I appreciate what you do but also hope you will take care of yourself in the process.

    Regarding this podcast, my parents were very devoted to callings as I grew up. My mother was always a president of RS, YW's, or Primary and usually neglected her family in order to serve. My siblings and I have often discussed how out of balance it felt to grow up in a home where the church came first and we seemed to come last. In fact, several of us have confessed to each other to trying to appear less competent at church just to avoid the "heavy duty" callings… in order to protect our time with our families.

    When I disclosed our disaffection from the church, my mother made it clear that my worth was completely and only tied to my worthy church membership. She was so destructive and unwilling to love me in spite of my leaving the church that I have had to cut ties off with her to survive and protect myself. Your podcast, coming from a feminine perspective, helps to fill the void that no longer having a mother in my life creates. Thank you, and God Bless You!
    ~CPS :)

  39. Dear Sybil,
    I am also an iTunes listener. I tend to be out of doors a lot during the summer so I load everything on my iPod and go. I have been with DoM from the beginning and love it. It has helped me think about things in different ways and also comforted me in my restless devotion to church and all things LDS. But I can also understand how it could become extremely time-consuming and threaten to take over your time so I certainly honor your wish to achieve balance. I second Kate's proposal that you spread the responsibility out to those who would be willing to become involved at a higher level than lay listeners. I count myself among those who would be willing to help with research, brainstorming, etc.

    Now, about the podcast on busyness. I listened to it twice because this issue is one of my greatest struggles with church. I live in a very small branch in the Northeast. We average 50 people in attendance each Sunday yet we provide a full slate of programs. In the 21 years I have lived in this branch I have been in leadership for 15 of them, and 11 of those years were as president of one auxilliary or another (I'm currently RS president, which in this branch is about six callings in one). Four of the six "off" years I taught Seminary.

    A couple of weeks ago I approached the Branch President and told him I was emotinoally exhausted from the heavy burden I have carried for so many years. He was sympathetic but clearly did not really understand. I should be joyful in service, right? But the joy has been completely sucked out of me when it comes to church. I dread Sunday mornings and resent my church bag, which feels more like a briefcase I pick up on my way to work. I dread having the telephone ring. And I really resent feeling like I need permission to take off for a weekend to vacation with my family or visit with friends. I am 51 years old and should not have to consult with others before I go out of town on a weekend!

    This past Sunday, in our joint RS/P meeting, the BP, who is a great guy, really - decided we all should work on our "I am a Mormon" profile pieces. I guess we've added this to our list of 23 goals for each member of the branch. Instead of a spiritual experience this session felt more like something you would do at a corporate retreat.

    Briefcases, jobs, corporate workshops - this is not a spiritually uplifting way to spend the sabbath. And when you look at the list of expectations thrust upon you by others you feel like you are beginning your week already days behind. It is discouraging and exhausting to live in a beehive rather than in a sacred grove.

    P.S. My husband is not a member of the LDS church and I cannot tell you how many times I have inwardly rejoiced about that. One thing I found when the kids were little was we did not need a specific night for FHE because most nights we were home together, working on schoolwork, playing games or watching a favorite television show. And because he is not a member I have never thrown myself totally into my callings - he would not understand the church coming before our family life and, frankly, I did not want it to either. So I've often felt guilty for beinga less than great Primary, YW or RS preeident. I guess it's a sign of the desperation my branch feels for any warm body to fill a position that they still want half-hearted me!

  40. iTunes listener here too, but I am happy to stop by here instead to help your numbers become more concise.

  41. Sybil,
    I have enjoyed this podcast. I listen via iTunes and don't visit the site very often only because I am busy! Right at the present time, though, my busyness is due to going back to school to change my field. I am approaching retirement age, but am looking forward to a new career in another field that I love. (I love my first field, too!)
    The only suggestion I would make is to include some older women. From what I have heard, I have only heard one woman who sounds like she might be middle aged. There are lots of us who have raised our children and are looking at a new life ahead of us. We also remember the 1980s with the ERA movement and all of the trials of that time. I'm hearing things now that I heard then. I was much more outspoken then and while I may not say everything that I think now, I still understand and remember and feel what all of our sisters went through then and are still going through now. Amazing how things stay the same (or at least very similar).
    This is not the church that I joined almost 40 years ago. I have watched teachings and opinions become more limiting with less room for imagination and hope. I have contended for many years, and still do, that the majority of the church is missing out on the big picture and that most are going to be surprised when we pass into the next life and find it is not the pretty little picture shown in church videos. Of course, to be fair and honest, I hope it's not me who is surprised. My life has not followed the "traditional" path and I've felt that I've been led in the unconventional life that it has taken. While I have my share of regrets in poor choices I have made, the place I am at now is a place that I can live with.
    I support your efforts, Sybil, and I appreciate what you have done with this podcast. I hope you can find some help with the podcast to ease your burden so you can have a life, too. You are a very skilled interviewer and I have enjoyed listening to you. I wish you peace.

  42. I'm another iTunes listener. I just wanted to leave a comment and let you know how much I appreciate what you're doing with Daughters of Mormonism. I absolutely love the podcast and wait anxiously for each new episode. I hope the project will continue!

  43. I've been meaning to come on here and comment. I've been listening on Itunes and this is my favorite podcast. I really look forward to each new episode. I feel you are filling in a much needed niche in the lds community focusing on women. Someone mentioned your voice, you do have a great presence and spirit about you that one can tell just from hearing you. I think this is the beginning of something wonderful, it would be a shame to see it end. I like the idea of shorter podcasts if need be, even once month, delegating to others that could help you. Have you thought of making a facebook group where you can pull in others ideas and get more involvement from others so it's not all rested on your shoulders? Anyways, I'll make an effort to be more involved here, I just happen to listen to the podcasts while I'm out and about so don't get the chance to come on here and comment right away, but I LOVE how you link to the specific resources that were talked about in your podcast.

  44. I just wanted to say that I have been listening on iTunes and love the podcast so far! I listen on my iPod on the way to work and I love hearing the stories of women who are trying to find their faith journey within and without Mormonism. I follow several other Mormon podcats including Mormon Matters, Mormon Expression and The Round Table. I particularly enjoy the podcasts by and for women because I feel a special spirit of sisterhood when I listen. It's like a special relief society just for me.

    P.S. The Round Table produces a monthly 3-part podcast which seems to be a good level of frequency. I think that you shouldn't feel you have to compete with other podcasts that produce more frequently. What you may lack in frequency, you make up in quality of content!

  45. Just wanted to let you know that I'm another iTunes listener. I have so appreciated your podcast! I think it has done more for my personal growth and acceptance of self than many other things. So, thank you! While I hope you are able to continue in some aspect, I fully understand and appreciate your need to do what is best for you. Please know that even if you were to fully stop at this point, your current efforts have made a difference!

  46. ooo you so feisty. Put Tommy on blast! lol

  47. I'm also listening through iTunes. This has been an excellent podcast thus far. I don't have any recommendations as to content--I'm generally interested in thoughtful discussions about Mormonism and appreciate the gender lens Daughters of Mormonism provides. Of all the online Mormonesque communities, I have heard myself speaking through several of the voices on your podcast, and this has been a source of great comfort as I sit with the discomfort of a faith transition and try to decide what this means for me and my relationship to Mormonism going forward. Thank you for the work you have done!

  48. Fabulous podcast. Sorry I'm late posting; I've been catching up. This podcast fills a need for me. A friend and I were discussing how awesome it is that there is finally a podcast dedicated to and run by Mormon women.

    What is helpful to me are the bits that deal with aspects of women aside from motherhood. I don't have kids and don't want kids. I respect and admire women who choose to have children, and love hearing their stories, but I struggle to connect with tales of giving birth and breastfeeding because I don't see that in my future (although if that changes I feel much better educated on how to handle it!) That's my two cents. Thanks for giving women a voice. It is needed. I would love to help with keeping this going if I can!

  49. Sybil, I've really enjoyed your podcast. Selfishly, I hope you're able to work it out either with less frequency or more help from others so you can continue it. But I definitely agree with everyone else who has said we understand you have to live your life first and not let podcasting suck it away!

    Specifically regarding the topic of Mormon women and the list of stuff to do, and "no other success can compensate for failure in the home, unless it's in the church" (great line!), I presented at Sunstone a few years ago on the statements GAs make about their wives in General Conference. I wasn't analyzing it specifically for this characteristic, but the issue you mentioned did seem to come up pretty regularly: GAs would joke about how their wives had to do all the raising of the kids, or how they (the GAs) didn't know how to run the household appliances because they were never home, or whatever. So just another bit of data supporting your conclusion. And as you said so well, this model is what's being taught by the Church.

    Also on the same topic, one comment that's always grated on me is something Elder Oaks said in his "Good Better Best" talk a few years ago. He was talking about potentially reducing time spent in church meetings, but he concluded:

    "But here is a caution for families. Suppose Church leaders reduce the time required by Church meetings and activities in order to increase the time available for families to be together. This will not achieve its intended purpose unless individual family members—especially parents—vigorously act to increase family togetherness and one-on-one time."

    So the metamessage here is loud and clear: The Church owns your time, every last bit of it, and will only release bits of it back to you if the leaders (who of course know better than you) can be sure you'll put it to appropriate use. Bleeaargh!

  50. I am coming to this episode oh so late, but just wanted to say thank you for this and the message here. This very long to-do list has driven me sick as I tried to be the best Mormon I could be. I couldn't do it eventually, and everything crumbled for me. I sunk into a very deep depression in 2007 after the Mothers Who Know talk, not for any feminist reason (although I do call myself a feminist), but merely because I was so tired, and the talk added too many things to my to-do list and I broke. Just broke. I could no longer do everything I was supposed to do.

    I think the work you are doing on this podcast is so very important, and I love it (even if I am so far behind!). Do what is right for you, ask for help, but please know that your work has great worth and is so appreciated.

  51. I have just discovered your podcast, and I have been listening through itunes. I downloaded all the back podcast to listen to, also. It speaks to me on a level that most Church lessons do not, and I appreciate not feeling so odd or alone.

  52. Oh Sybil, finally catching up on your episodes and want to tell you: DON'T STOP! You know how much I admire you, I hope, and would really love to help you out in anyway. I know we've already talked about this but this project means a significant amount to me and many other people.

    At the same time, trimming things in your life to be a better family member makes sense. Do what you need.

  53. Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment. It really helps to know you are out there listening. And thank you for all the personal words of encouragement.

    Gail, you are part of my intended audience. It brings me hope that men like you are listening. And thank you for bringing your ex-wife to Daughters of Mormonism.

    tiny mosquito, way to go turning down the busy work calling! That takes courage after we've been so thoroughly conditioned to "accept any calling because it's from God."

    Kate, Audrey, and Amber, I'm working on an idea to spread things out more ... we'll see what comes to fruition.

    Audrey, as I read you comment, I could feel your exhaustion. I hope you are able to find a way to tip the scales back toward a more relaxed and peaceful spirituality.

    masterdmjg, Jenne is now on the calendar. I'll interview her later this month. :-)

    Descent, thanks for the website feedback. I wonder why it loads so slowly. Hm. And thanks for the feedback about the short pieces. I've thought of doing more of them.

    CPS, my heart aches for you that your mother only sees your worth as connected to the church. I am so very sorry. This is not what Jesus was about. I had to smile at "trying to appear less competent at church just to avoid the "heavy duty" callings." Great strategy.

    JP, I love you suggestion to include older women. Thus far, I've been recording with women who approached me. I might put out a call for voices from this age group ...

    Liz, I'm also childless. There will be more about this in the future.

    Ziff, I was at your Sunstone presentation. It is interesting to note how often the male leaders joke about this imbalance. And I completely agree with your "Bleeaargh!" to Oak's talk.

    Alisa, it makes me sad to think of how much depression is caused by trying to live up to the Mormon ideal for women. I empathize with how you "broke" under the weight of it. I hope things are getting better for you.

    Thanks again for all the comments to help me see that there are so many of you who care about this podcast.

  54. Thank you for this podcast. I have been struggling with this "busy-ness" in the Church for a while. I try to do what I can with the callings that I have been given, but I need my downtime. I work 40 hours a week, and I try to do what I can to keep my mind and body healthy. In addition, I need my time with my husband to maintain a healthy relationship. Sometimes I feel the callings (one being visiting teaching) can tip my balance. I feel that there is this demand to GET IT DONE because it needs to be recorded and less about the needs and relationship that visiting teaching is supposed to be. It's about the numbers. One Sunday I was asked if I did my visiting teaching for the month, and I replied that my month was too full. I didn't tell her that I have work, family in town to visit, and numerous other events. Her response was, "Will you please call your sisters?" My heart was crushed and suddenly felt like I wasn't good enough. That my best efforts to do what I can in my life wasn't good enough. I was so frustrated. Thank you for this. I am happy that there are others who see this "busy-ness" as well!

  55. Barrie Jo, I am really struck by your wording of needing "to GET IT DONE because it needs to be recorded." Why should the record be so important? And especially at the expense of living a good life? Your efforts are good enough. After all, it's a volunteer organization. They should be grateful for anything you do.

  56. Sybil,

    I came back to read the comments here because this is till my favorite podcast with your voice sharing your thoughts in such a richly open and thoughtful way and the ability you have to open others up in the same way.

    This idea of busyness is not just a "Mormon" idea, it is western culture saddled with a mormon theology. I like to emphasize in my mind that Mormonism is a North American religion firmly established on the back of western culture which prizes achievement over everything else. The church has effectively transmuted that cultural norm into achievement for men in the heirarchy of the church. That is why they take successful business men and make them leaders at the ward and stake level.

    Like my ex and I often talk about the oppression of men in the church who are successful in giving all to their work and the church, they lose the intimacy of being a true partner with their wife and a true father to their children because they are never there. My oldest has a hard time remembering his dad before he was 12 because of this situation. (We left the church when my oldest was 13)

    Our new model of family consists of two homes, four adults, varying schedules and sometimes tired, but much more satisfied parents and children who know their father, their mother, and have time with both. It is what works best for us. It is what allows all of us to live and love and honor what is most valuable.

  57. "much more satisfied parents and children who know their father, their mother, and have time with both." This is such a beautiful blessing for you and your children. I mean, isn't true connection what life is really about?

  58. Amen to connection = life!

  59. This was a wonderful podcast. It is something that I have considered for a very long time. I am an active member, and it is difficult to find that balance between the appropriate amount of church involvement and everything else.

    I truly enjoy this podcast. It is comforting to hear other women in the church and to know that I am not alone in my feelings. I enjoy new insights and clarity. I hope all the best Sybil, thank you!!

    And yes I usually listen through the podcast than the website.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Pamela. It's so true that finding balance is a challenge.

  60. Sybil, I want you to know that you are still filling a need with Daughters of Mormonism podcasts. I have no one that I can relate to IRL, so you and FMH are keeping me sane. I wish I'd been ready to find your podcasts sooner, but I'm here now. I'm listening to them from this site and also from iTunes. Thank you! Thank you!

    1. Hello, Anonymous. First of all, you are very welcome. And secondly, I'm so glad the podcast is giving you some sanity and validation for where you're at right now in your life.

      Thank you for leaving your comment. It always does me good to know that these words and stories are still being heard.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.