Phew! It was a busy, fun and productive summer for my family personally as well as for me professionally. After a fantastic month in New York with the girls, I returned to Utah to my newly-renovated, fabulous house, summer camps at Red Butte Garden, "Camp Momma" (a week where I was 100% at the girls disposal and we did fun outings every day), Dalloway's 2nd birthday, our first camping outing as a family, and an end-of-summer dash to Disneyland with my cousin.
Then, the day school started for my girls, I started a new job: a creative director at Bonneville Communications responsible for the Mormon.org "I'm A Mormon" media campaign. A few months ago, one of the creative directors here called me out of the blue and asked me if I was interested in doing some paid work, specifically recruiting and vetting women to be featured in the Mormon.org video profiles. After spending so much time on the Mormon Women Project and my writing without being paid, the idea of doing something that benefits my "cause" of strengthening LDS women in a formal capacity was very appealing. Since my oldest two would be in school full days and a wonderful babysitter for the baby had already been put in our path, the flexible hours of the contract position Bonneville offered seemed a gift from heaven.
The video profiles found on Mormon.org are being seen in television spots in test markets around the country right now, and a social media/online campaign is close behind. I feel like all of my professional experience has prepared me for this position, even working for Wal-Mart, which I said so many times must be like working for the Church: the leadership vision is pure, but sometimes the message gets garbled as it goes down the chain. I believe the video profiles I am now helping to create is a major step forward in resurrecting the Church's image with the general public as well as creating a much-needed sense of unity and pride among our own community. I was sad to have to give up my work for the Gifted Music School, but it is an absolute joy to be associated with this group of faithful, creative men (yep, all men :) and I'm so grateful that the Lord put me in a place where I could contribute to this effort.
In other professional news, I was featured again on Patheos recently in their "What Do I Really Believe?" segment. I was asked, "What really happens when we die?" and had to answer in 250 words. I am flattered to be featured next to Sumbul Ali-Karamali, whose book The Muslim Next Door I greatly admire. In fact, I would like to write a book very much like that about Mormonism.
Patheos also published my article The Girl With Her Fingers In Her Ears which continues my exploration of the very weighy topic of church culture vs. doctrine. On that theme, I also presented a fireside recently here in Salt Lake City entitled "Exploring Personal Choice Through the Lens of Mormon Culture." This was a particular challenge because my audience was 30-45 year old single men and women, and since it was my first time addressing men in an "official" capacity I wanted to be very careful about tying in my work with the MWP and my feelings about women in our culture with a message that would still be relevant and impacting for men. I was told I was successful, which was a relief.
(The most fun part of that fireside was doing my "music quiz," which I describe in the Patheos article, on this group of older singles. Love that quiz!)
Lastly, I had the opportunity to go to a presentation by Jill Mulvay Derr at the Church History Library earlier this month. It was preceeded by a small dinner in the Lion House with Prof. Derr and several other women whose work I admire. I will write more about that experience in more detail later, since it was an impactful evening.