This week in Mormon Land: LDS leader shares her journey from deadly quake to painful divorce and joyful conversion; Utahn picks marriage over marijuana; more on breastfeeding

The Mormon Land newsletter is a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whether heralded in headlines, preached from the pulpit or buzzed about on the back benches. Want Mormon Land in your inbox? Subscribe here.

This week’s podcast: Breastfeeding mom speaks out

The northern Utah mother at the heart of a controversy about public breastfeeding has reached a “compromise” with her bishop: She’ll now wear two tops to help hide her breast from above and below while nursing her 19-month-old daughter at her Mormon meetinghouse.

But the dispute isn’t dead. The woman is “not quite ready” to meet with the stake president who denied her a “temple recommend” unless she covered up.

Hear directly from her — in her first audio interview on the matter — and from the blogger who broke the story.

Listen here.

By the way, Aug. 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week.

More bouts with breastfeeding

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A nursing mother on one of the panels of Sea Gull Monument on Temple Square, just east of the Assembly Hall, in downtown Salt Lake City, Friday, July 27, 2018.

A By Common Consent blogger shares her struggles with breastfeeding while covered, especially given her baby’s difficulty nursing.

“Because my daughter did not latch well, a nursing cover was an impossible option for me from the beginning,” she writes. “ … Eventually, I surrendered and would drop a cover over my head as a mere formality that expressed, ‘hey, I’m trying,’ only to push the fabric to the side so I could see my body and my baby clearly.”

The writer suggests that “covering up motherhood” may not be best way to “honor, celebrate, glorify, or respect motherhood.”

“Perhaps we would do well as a church and as a culture to witness motherhood and make a space for breastfeeding mothers in our congregations,” she concludes. “Perhaps instead of fearing female bodies as potential ‘walking pornography,’ we should celebrate female bodies as creators and life-bringers.”

Kirby’s take on nursing

Robert Kirby

No, our resident cop-turned-curmudgeonly-columnist has never breastfed a baby. But Robert Kirby does know a thing or three about bodily functions, many of them far less glorious than nursing a child.

“It’s ... natural to release burps, gas, snot, sneezes and stomach gurgles (during fast Sunday),” he writes. “... We should all be aware of the less-than-pleasant needs our bodies have and try not to make such a big deal out of nursing babies, which is actually a beautiful one.

Reyna Aburto’s faith journey

(Jeremy Harmon | The Salt Lake Tribune) Reyna I. Aburto speaks during the Sunday morning session of General Conference on April 1, 2018.

The three-part video series of Reyna I. Aburto’s personal faith journey is drawing attention from tens of thousands of YouTube viewers.

Second counselor in the general presidency of the women’s Relief Society, Aburto details the trials of a devastating and deadly earthquake that killed her brother and destroyed their home; her Nicaraguan homeland’s slide into civil unrest and her husband’s spiral into addiction; and, finally, her eventual divorce, conversion to Mormonism and a “beautiful” second marriage in an LDS temple to her “best friend.”

“I have gone through very hard times. The scars are still there. The consequences. The pain is still there,” she says. “But the Lord has rebuilt my life and allowed me to have joy ... through his tender mercies.”

Marijuana or marriage? Pain now or love forever?

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Medical marijuana grown in Colorado.

Brian Stoll — a devout, churchgoing Mormon — had to sacrifice his health to marry his fiancee in an LDS temple.


Because he lives in Utah.

You see, the Los Angeles Times reports, Stoll was using marijuana to ease severe back pain. And since medical pot remains illegal in Utah, he had to give it up to qualify for a temple wedding. If only the West Jordan resident lived in any of the 30 other states that have approved medical marijuana.

“This was devastating ... I had to choose between my health and my fiancee,” he told the Times’ Kurtis Lee. “It seemed asinine that if I lived in another state, I wouldn't have to make such a difficult decision.”

A painful one, too. Stoll now resorts to less-effective and more-addictive opioids, but they leave him sleepy and sluggish.

If Utah voters sign off on medical marijuana in November — as polls show could happen — Stoll could find relief.

But his Salt Lake City-based church has been lobbying against the initiative.

Meeting with Iraq’s helpers

War-ravaged Iraq is hurting, and AMAR International is dedicated to relieving that suffering and restoring self-sufficiency.

Baroness Emma Harriet Nicholson, leader of the nearly 30-year-old charitable organization, met recently with LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson, apostle Jeffrey R. Holland and Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society’s general presidency and director of LDS Charities.

“The church and the [charity] have partnered for many projects through the years,” the LDS Church News reports. “Both organizations believe in utilizing practical solutions in helping individuals rebuild their lives.”

‘Cafeteria’ spirituality — the only way to feast?

| Courtesy Jana Riess Jana Riess, Mormon writer and editor.

In 2011, apostle Russell M. Nelson denounced so-called “cafeteria” Mormons.

“This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery,” he warned. “To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of his commandments.”

Well, Religion News Service senior columnist Jana Riess argues that picking and choosing may be the only approach that keeps many Latter-day Saints in the faith.

Besides, she adds, “I would counter that almost everyone already does this. ... Cafeteria spirituality is a fact of religious life, and has been even before Jesus made his astute crack about the speck in our neighbor’s eye being obscured by the big freakin’ log in our own.”

Hunger strike over interviews

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marchers, led by Sam Young, go to the LDS Church Office Building in Salt Lake City to request that the faith's leaders put an end to bishops meeting one on one with youths for interviews. Friday March 30, 2018.

Sam Young, a former LDS bishop who has led a grass-roots effort urging Mormon leaders to end bishops’ one-on-one interviews with minors and forbid explicit sexual questions, is making headlines again.

FOX 13 News reported that Young and members of his Protect LDS Children group launched a hunger strike to push their dual cause.

In March, Mormon leaders unveiled revised rules that allow those being interviewed to have a parent or other adult present.

Young said he plans to fast until LDS leaders listen to his pleas.

In response to his latest action, the church noted in a news release that “leaders at every level — from Sam’s local bishop and stake president to a recent conversation with a general authority — have met with him to express love, to listen and to counsel with him.”

Quote of the week

“As soon as my daughter unlatches, I [cover up] immediately because I don’t want people seeing my breast. The only person I want seeing my breast is my husband.”

Northern Utah mother S.D., who was denied a temple recommend for nursing her child while uncovered in church.

Mormon Land is a weekly newsletter written by David Noyce and Peggy Fletcher Stack. Subscribe here.