Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Episode 28: "If any of you lack Sophia" — Anthroposophy and Mormonism

Right click here to download the mp3.

The Sistine Madonna
by Raphael
In many ways, Julene traveled a traditional path through Mormonism as she raised her children, but when her oldest son decided to be done with the church rather than depart on a mission as she was expecting, she began a journey that lead her toward a world of thought filled with the Divine Feminine.

From the roots given to her subtly by her mother, Julene built further with the Christ-centered philosophy of anthroposophy created by Rudolf Steiner, as she moved toward re-enthroning Sophia in her spiritual life and seeking for a true balance between the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine.

Julene will be watching the comments to respond 
to questions and ideas from her story.

Resources from Julene
Chalice Well at Glastonbury, England


    1. Wow, I can't believe I am the first to leave a comment and wow, I am astounded at how articulate my baby sister is! She truly has the gift of tongues which gift also includes your native language, not just foreign ones. I couldn't be more proud of what you have learned and are sharing.
      Love, your brother,

    2. What a fascinating, thought-provoking interview.

      This quote in particular struck me:

      “The patriarchy is good, but when it does not have the divine feminine voice to add to it and to bring balance to it, it does not see, it is not aware of these threats that are happening to our society, it doesn’t educate and illuminate the seriousness of these things that we are dealing with.”

      I also really liked your advocacy for women to reclaim the divine feminine and to speak publicly about the need to do it. Given the end of the interview, where you state that if you advocated for these things over the pulpit in church they would have the right to silence you, where and how do you think women in the church can talk about these things (outside of the safe anonymity of the internet)?

    3. Amazing! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I've always been drawn to things with sun, moon, and stars. It makes so much sense now why!

    4. I wish I had more constructive things to say, but right now I'm just floored. I'm pretty amazed and awed by this episode. I knew I was drawn to Waldorf for a reason! I will definitely be listening to this episode again on my weekend trip. Great information, I disagree with you slightly on some points of opinion (or I'm just not sure if I agree) but overall, just a fantastic interview. You had me from the start. Thank you!

    5. Julene, I feel as though we are some sort of soul sisters. I was raised pretty traditional LDS, also in a home with natural living and eating and health and gardening and love of the earth. My mother homeschooled us all, although she did not come into waldorf education until after I was grown (I am the oldest).
      I have recently begun to come to know Sophia and She is changing my life, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the things you said about the balance. I believe so strongly in balance (that is one thing that has drawn me toward pagan practices because the God-Goddess balance is central there).

      I also wanted to make a comment about bees. I am the "Jenni B" of this podcast, but I have used the nickname "jennibee" since my teen years (it was my maiden name initial as well as my married name). It has come up in several aspects of my life, to where for a while I even titled my blog "Musings of Mommy Bee." After a while I wanted to disconnect from the bee, with the thought that this is kindof a weird little bug to have for a totem, but then I started to research what the bee symbolized, and realized that it fit me SO well...and to be a symbol of the Goddess!! I think it is yet another example of how She was there in my life all along, and I just had to learn to see Her!

    6. Try an interesting experiment. Stand in front of a man and whisper the words - FEMALE POWER. The next few tense seconds will most likely be filled with throat-clearing, foot shuffling, and if you listen hard enough, you might even hear through the corridors of time, the wheels of justice and equality come to a screeching halt.

      I absolutely love men and what they have done for the world, but why are they so afraid of female power? Why are they afraid of a male/female balance? Why were they so determined for centuries to disempower women through denial of education and basic rights? I really want to know.

      There have been definitive anthropological research findings on societies overbalanced on the male side (where males dominate and female influence is not sufficient to counter-balance that dominance). They point out that such societies are commonly plagued with confusion of values, crime, war and familial instability. Sound familiar?

      The City of Enoch (Zion) was one of the few earthly societies to be balanced with male/female power and influence. Moses 7:17-18.....And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains and upon the high places, and did flourish. And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness;and there were no poor among them.

      I don't know. Sounds like Paradise to me.

      When male/female power is equally combined, both the male and the female are empowered, and the whole society is enhanced and blessed. It's like a car that sits in a garage with a battery only negatively charge. And so it sits, and sits. Then, positive and negative charges are combined, and now that car can travel around the world! Who could be afraid of that?

    7. Who could be afraid of that? Anyone who doesn't want to go anywhere! I like your car battery analogy.

      Great podcast. I'm with Galdralag, though, in wondering how to speak out in a church that excommunicates those who ask questions. They do have a right to silence, I can see that: it's their club, I guess. So, how do we change things?

    8. I tried to send an email to Julene and it was returned undeliverable? The address that is posted for her isn't correct.
      Really enjoyed the podcast.

    9. Joyce, if you copied and pasted the email address from the post, then the reason it didn't work is because there are spaces around the @ symbol so the spam bots can't pick it up. Try it again with the spaces removed and it should work. If it doesn't, then there is something wrong (though I just checked it against my correspondence with Julene, and it's the right address).

    10. I think our only options for speaking out is what we are doing here although I wonder why we disguise our names. Also we can talk privately with our leaders and anyone interested. There are subtle changes in the way we talk such as saying Heavenly Parents instead of Heavenly Father and just talk about Her without sounding confrontational. I think we can sense when we are being divisive and have a bad spirit. In the end the leaders have the last word as far as the church boundaries are concerned.

    11. I've enjoyed reading all these comments. The burning question that seems to be living in those who want to stay in good fellowship with the Church is, "How do we speak up without fear of disciplinary action?" The truth is that different leaders respond differently to the individuals in their congregations. There are no guarantees that action will not be taken; I've seen it up close with those I love. Others seem to be immune. Why is my friend denied her temple recommend because she expressed a desire to have a relationship with her Heavenly Mother to her visiting teacher, and then Carolyn Pearson seems to be free to express herself in whatever manner she desires and has not been disciplined.

      It seems obvious that a desire for the divine feminine is awakening in many hearts. This desire has in the past, and seems in the present, to elicit fear and even anger from church leaders. Yet, if we don't express this yearning and the lack we feel, we prevent an important dialog from happening. This is a decision each must come to herself. In the communications I've had with my leaders(six different men), they were all respectful, listened carefully and cautioned against spreading these ideas in any systematic way. For the record, I'm not advocating going against Church leaders, but, if acknowledgement of the divine feminine is, in one's personal view, important for spiritual growth, I propose that sharing that could have a positive outcome, maybe not now, but as time progresses. Does my podcast infer that speaking publicly about these things is important? If it does, then I think those in this conversation should pause and think, myself included. My leaders were emphatic in their warnings about spreading this publicly; and then I record a podcast, which certainly seems in direct violation of their admonition! I determined that the framework that Sybil has created is one of personal sharing. This my story; these are my feelings; this is my journey. Yes, I opine about the implications, but never would I tell others what THEY should do. At this point, I would love to see women, in response to their spiritual yearnings, go to their leaders and express themselves, respectfully, without blame or opposition.

      To Jena and anyone else, I often disagree with myself! This is a process with many modifications required along the way. As long as the tone remains respectful (as Sybil will assure that it is), I WELCOME disagreement, if it helps our understanding to grow.

      Jenni. . . thank you for your comments, fellow bee sister!

      Janene, very insightful and deeply thought out. I don't understand the fear, but I see it almost as a living thing that comes between these ideas and the status quo. Kendall Wilcox, a practicing Mormon and recently out-of-the-closet gay may working at BYU advocates for empathy. I take the fear that I see very seriously and try not to condemn it. People fear what they do not know, what they have not experienced. I think a respectful invitation to think about the divine feminine over time can lessen that fear. It's just all so new and unfamiliar. (Isn't that ironic? I mused the other day that many would say that the divine feminine is trying to put the meat before the milk; yet she is the giver of milk, the one who nourishes the soul to be ready to receive the meat.)

      Charlene, why DO we use pseudonyms or only partial names? It wouldn't take much for anyone to discover my full name; Julene is so unusual. My full name is Julene Humes.

      Again, thanks for this opportunity to talk about these things. It is invigorating!

    12. Found you podcast yesterday and listened,and listened again to it this morning. Loved it! Thank you. I’d love to here more.

    13. Thank you, Jenn in Boise. Please come back as often as you can!

    14. I'm glad I began listening to this Podcast...and never knew I'd learn more about Waldorf education. I attended a Waldorf school (8 years), and can relate to Julene's comments about what Waldorf is all about...I'd love to hear more about what you think about it, and how much you've learned. Dialogue about this, would be wonderful! Great job, both Julene and Sybil!

    15. Julene,

      I may be devils advocate, but I am really interested to hear your response to my question:

      You talked about how both men and women have the male and female aspects within them and that is what we need to develop further. You said that women resonate more with their female energy and men with their male energy based on the bodies they are in.

      What about those of us that really struggle with the body we are in. I personally took decades to feel even slightly comfortable in my female body (maybe I was a male in a previous life?) and my son likewise struggled with his male body but is beginning to be able to embrace it more. Both of us are homosexual in our orientation and I believe that the female and male identity in ourselves is less to do with the actual body and way more to do with the chemical formula in our brains which happens in the first weeks and months of utero. Transexual persons are an example of this issue of being in the wrong body.

      I like the idea of having both inside of me and honoring both inside of me and not denying either aspect of me and sometimes I feel very blended.

      So, how do you reconcile homosexuality with the gospel of Mormonism from your perspective?

    16. Dear Stacey,

      You are the second person to ask me about homosexuality in this week. The first was my son who is serving a mission and is trying to "reinactivate" a young man who cannot get over the Church's stance on homosexuality. I think homosexuality (and sexuality in general) are issues that are very present now and grappling with them has the potential to change the way we view many things. I think the upsurge in awareness of homosexual issues points to spiritual principles that we are on the verge of discovering. I know that sounds vague, but my own understanding at this point is so small.

      I do believe that it is an issue that goes way beyond anyone's "choice" at this point. I believe that there are many biological and spiritual and, perhaps, pre-mortal factors involved.

      Regardless, I think that male and female energies and their influences are foundational to the way the universe works and that the human being stands as a microcosm of that macrocosm, if you will, whether one is hetero- or homosexual. That means that we are, each of us, presented with the task of reconciling and balancing those energies within ourselves.

      When I say women identify more with their female side and men with their male side, I am speaking generally. There are many gradations of that, as is true in your case. As far as the Church is concerned, I am old enough to see the Church soften their stance greatly on the issue of homosexuality, although I acknowledge that for those on that side of the orientation spectrum it is still very painful to hear the rhetoric as it now is. I think it is important for you and others like you to simply share your stories, to tell any who will listen, "Look, this is what I am experiencing. This is the pain I am feeling." I hope that compassion and empathy are becoming the order of the day. This journey we call life is changing continually. Our understanding at any given moment is so small.

      Blessings on your journey!


    17. Finally was able to hear this one and I am so glad I did! In fact, I think I'll be listening to it again to catch all the gems I missed when the kids were screaming :)

      But there is so much here that I relate to, Julene, and so much that I am drawn to in these topics but know very little about. I'll definitely be checking out the resources you mention. As you talked about symbols representing Sophia and how we've had her with us in a form this whole time, I felt such hunger to know more about the details that you talked about. I do believe we are in the time where she will be brought to light and will help us to see more clearly. Thank you for the concrete examples and places to look for more information on her and what this all means for us together as humans.

    18. I forgot to add that it was very synchronous for me to hear you talk about Waldorf schools. Just yesterday I decided to look into these more for my children. Thank you so much for sharing your insight and perspective on that type of education, it sounds magical and truly "wonder"ful.

    19. Thank you Julene. May you continue to grow in your understanding and blessings to you as we all share our voices in this life's journey

    20. Julene, I am interested in learning more about your involvement in Waldorf Education and your cottage school. :)

    21. To Jamie:

      You can email me at abellajulene @

    22. This was amazing! So good to hear from other women who find Her all around them. It has been so exciting to find Her and share Her with my family as I do. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    23. I came to this podcast from a search for Anthroposophy. I'm not in the LDS faith, although I've always found it fascinating. I'm also male.

      Like Julene, I learned a lot about Anthroposophy through a training in Waldorf education, but my first introduction to Sophia came through Gnosticism (check out the Gnostic Library Lectures by Stephen Hoeller I find that being spiritually unaffiliated has left me free to follow my own journey, but a lack of a religious community makes me just as hesitant to speak out about my thoughts and experiences among a primarily secular circle.

      I wish you well on your journey, hope you all find an open hearing for the divine feminine, and look forward to sharing this world with a more consciously Sophianic Mormon church.

    24. I was just sent this podcast by a friend who s a student of anthroposophy and who knows of my Mormon background. I have been teaching in a Waldorf School for 14 years and have been actively involved in many aspects of anthroposophy for nearly 20 years, so I was more than interested to listen to what Julene had to say. I will communicate further with her privately, but I did notice that the last podcast on this site is nearly 2 years ago, and I wondered if the site is still active. Thank you for a very interesting interview.

      1. Hi, Sheila. I'm glad to hear you liked the interview! The podcast is over, but the site still takes a lot of traffic, so it's up and working. Feminist Mormon Housewives is doing a current podcast:

    25. I'm happy all these podcasts are still available. This has been my favorite so far. I also feel like soul sisters with Julene. Lovely podcast.

      1. Thank you, Leslie. It does me good to know they are still being listened to and enjoyed.

    26. I read and listen to every LDS feminist website. This one is a recent discovery. Julene's podcast resonates with truth and feels like a life-changer for me.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Anon. I'm so glad this podcast resonated with you.


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