Sunday, August 31, 2014

A God of Equal Rights; A God of Love

This week I was at the Provo Temple with a friend attended a sealing 
session. The session happened to be officiated by a hilarious and
talkative sealer who took the time to pause and taught us the promise
blessings of the sealing ordinances and personal applications. 

He paused and indicated something
I’ve never noticed from the blessing of children being sealed to
parents. Due to the sacred nature of the ordinance, the best I can do
is summing up how the prayer specifically indicated identical
blessings for those who are sealed to their parents later on in life are
the same comparing to  those those who are born into the covenant. 

“He’s a loving Heavenly Father; a God of equal rights and a God of
love.” Said the wise sealer.


Coming from an interfaith family, I used to feel like the black sheep.
My circumstance has made a huge difference in my life than my
peers such as not being able to get baptized at the age of 8, my
father’s objection to attend BYU or serve a mission, the need of other
priesthood bearers offering priesthood blessings, etc…. It’s really
hard on me as a kid. 

Two weeks ago, I got to share a related experience attending Church
in Heber City, Utah as the teacher struggled with the same sense of
inadequacy. I struggled through my first transfer on my
mission realizing I had a hard time bearing witness and teaching
eternal family because I wasn’t in one. I felt really ashamed standing
in the shadow of the Salt Lake Temple and just had the most
inadequate feeling. I prayed frequently and studied fervently hoping I
could gain a testimony of eternal marriage before having my own.

It wasn’t necessary what I studied but the connections and
associations I was making that eventually connected the dots.
Gradually, I realized it didn’t matter what stages we were at in the
plan of salvation; what matter was that we were progressing, even
one step towards Christ. That I could bear witness of because I knew
and have felt the unconditionally love of God and the power of the

Instead of sharing my own family stories, I began to talk about my
aspiration and hope of one day obtaining the blessings of having an
eternal family of my own. 

That’s why I still feel strongly about this topic and often speak up in
any Church settings. It isn’t because I am radical or against temple
marriage but my “allergic reaction” towards judgmental and shaming
attitude towards our fellow children of God who perhaps progress at a
different pace or choose differently. 

I am grateful for my mother’s sacrifices and faithfulness even when
other members trying to take over her job being my mother just
because they’ve been married in the temple. Although we are not
sealed as a family, I know Heavenly Father loves us and knows our
circumstances perfectly to sort this out one day. Before that, I am
banking on my faith in Him trusting things will work out as He has my
best interest. That’s what faith is all about, right?


Friday, August 15, 2014

Is Suicide A Choice?

Reading about the death of Robin Williams was difficult. Patch 
Adams, Good Will Hunting are movies that inspire me to practice
counseling. He was an outstanding actor and his performance has
touched the hearts of many. 

But today I read a Christian blogger’s post with a title like this.
“Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease; it was his choice.”

I was furious beyond measure, not just for the heartless discussion on
depression and suicide but also the insensitive comment shaming and
blaming those tho struggle with mental illness. 

So here I am.
I want to talk about the unspeakable.

As Mormons we often speak if the idea of agency. It is true that
God has given us this precious gift, coupled with the atonement for
our learning and progression. Volunteering with minorities for the past
year has led me to a new understanding of agency, a difficult one. 

What if we don’t know or can’t see all the options that are available?

I’ll give you a real example.
Few months back, I was dealing with a troubling situation. At first, I
thought I was doing okay to handle it by myself but I was in trouble.
Whenever I was in the environment with the the people who hurt me
and caused the whole incident, I began to be very anxious. I had
nightmares. I had flashbacks. I would sweat like if I were in the gym
and shivered. (classic PTSD)

I was absolutely scared and felt hopeless. It was a very dark place
and I couldn’t get out.

Thanks to the support of great friends, I recognized those red flags
myself and I sought help. Some in the position to help moved me out
of the situation immediately. Some offered a safe space to talk and
cry. Some comforted me with kind words of hope. Some fed me
chocolate and ice-cream.

Had I always seen a way out?
I would have never survive this rough time without the help of all
those who stood with me and bore my burden.

Now let’s talk about suicide.
Do people have a choice clearing knowing they are choosing to end
their life?

I don’t know and neither do you.
That’s why I am very thankful for a merciful God who judges us and a
Savior who stands as an advocate with the Father. (D&C 45:3)
What goes on in the mind of someone who struggles with mental
health is complex. 

While we don’t encourage people to choose suicide as a way out,
let’s do something that you and I can do.

Let’s take out the stereotypes, the stigma, the judgement, the
insensitivity that are preventing them to see.
Let’s be supportive and encouraging for those who fear to seek help.

Is suicide a choice?
I don’t know.
All I know is that suicide is a tragedy.

To the men who inspired me to be an empathetic counselor.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Every Star is Different

Let it be known that I love Vic 1 primary :)

I would have never imagined growing to love these little people so
much just by watching them singing their hearts out each Sunday. It
has been a very special experience for me transitioning from wards
and moving on from difficult experiences.

Sitting behind the piano, with shaky hands, I nervously watched
the cutest humans blurting out familiar lyrics—

“Ev'ry star is diff'rent,
And so is ev'ry child.
Some are bright and happy,
And some are meek and mild.
Ev'ry one is needed
For just what he can do.
You're the only person
Who ever can be you.

I smiled.
Tears began to blur my vision.

How true is that everyone of us are meant to be different. I carefully
observed their little bodies and how hard they tried expressing
themselves via music. One little girl, with bright hazel eyes and two
high pigtails (just like Boo in Monsters Inc.), staring at the music
leader with the most paranoid, doubtful look. A little boy, with the
cutest apple cheeks, calmly and softy singing with a big sweet smile.
Another energetic little boy, who has the amazing ability to charge
from 0 to 100 % energy in seconds, zealously hammering out each

They make me laugh and I love them all. 
These wise little people remind me of a tough battle I am fighting. It is
not easy to choose what God has planned for me over cultural and
social norms. Many kind and gracious people reach out and have
helped me along the way and some chose to cast stone, calling out
judgement in the name of love. It is not easy to feel personhood in a
collective culture. 

It really hurts. 

Because you can’t go show everyone your patriarchal blessings
convincing them that you are just trying your best to live up to the
Father’s expectations. Sometimes the best show-and-tell is when you
just remain firm and steady, reaching your goal, and be truly content
with your achievements.

It’s a nerve-racking experience packing up and getting ready to move
across the world. However, I’ll remember these cute primary kids
confidently showing their uniqueness and remind myself that
Heavenly Father loves me very much.

So much that He has pointed me to the road less travelled by. 


Monday, July 7, 2014

We Believe in... DOING GOOD

July 1st, 2014, I walked down the footbridge in Causeway Bay with
Grace and we were waiting for the protest to begin. As I saw the van
leading a massive crowd slowing moving forward, a surge of familiar
emotions quickly replaced my excitement and my eyes became

I would have never prepared for the moment. But that day, I felt
fearful as I tried to envision the future of Hong Kong.

I was born and raised in Hong Kong. 

I was 2 when I went to the first public demonstration for June 4th. 

In the Church, we often talk about salvation/eternal family/eternal life.
When it comes to doing good, the direction of discussion often leads
back to a spiritual level where we just baptize them all (as doing them
a favor). In a recent YSA activity, I felt the familiar sense of
hollowness and got me thinking about the purposes of life.

I played nice, joked, and chatted but it still felt like swallowing a ton of
filibusters or MSG.That really yucky sense of hollowness was
grossing me out. As much as I like having fun and looking for an
adventure, it just doesn’t cut it. 

Why feeling empty? Am I just missing someone who can talk about
anything and everything with me? 

Ha.. maybe .. but I wholeheartedly believe that there is more to life
than gratification. YSA stuff is fun and cool but can we for once at
least do something for someone else? I want to serve because that
what Jesus will do. I want to talk and learn about politics because I, in
reality, live in a society frankly filled with lousy politicians. I want to
talk about medicine because health is important beyond the don’ts in
the Word of Wisdom. I want to talk about gender equality because
some women still see the priesthood as a burden and were so glad not
to have it. 

Warning: more venting are ahead. 

Today my Facebook newsfeed was filled with people sharing this
article. Quick summary for my non-Chinese speaking peeps: A high
school boy received an outstanding award and revealed his living
conditions in his speech. He was abandoned by his parents and was
raised by his grandparents. After his grandpa passed away, his
grandma’s hoarding habits was uncontrollable. In his own word, he
described “ I have to shower 3 times and run out of the door. The
fridge has been broken for awhile and I have to eat overnight leftover
food even it’s spoiled. Sometimes a ton of ants will crew out from the
food, and there are flies around but I have to eat it. It really looks like
poop but I get used to throwing up and stomach pain.” He was
depressed and attempted suicide but was thankfully stopped by

Here comes my point—> Why would anything feel touched and think
that was love??????????????????????
My first reaction was blunt: where the heck are teachers and social
workers? That is by the book child abuse!!!!!! Grandma was clearly
mentally unstable and physically, emotionally endangering the boy.
How can any one legitimately call it love and obedience?  By are we
reacting to this type of unnecessary sacrifice and consider it as

Then I remember my sense of hollowness. This is the last days. This
is the world that’s filled with twisted values and confusion as
mentioned in the scriptures. Sometimes I even feel that we get too
caught up in working towards our own salvation and eternal family
and forget that it’s part of our covenant to serve others. I hope this is
a time for us to reflect on how we can do to help more, to reach out to
those who are in need, even if they don’t appear to be or esteem as
unworthy to receive help. 

The July 1st protest is not a one time deal but only a beginning. The
moment we critically think, to let go of essence of (Mormon/Chinese/
whatever) culture that is not in harmony with Christ’s teaching, we
reignite hope, a hope that will carry us through rough time till the
second coming of Christ. 

 There is work to do :) 


Monday, June 16, 2014

The One Thing that I Expect of You as a Fellow Disciple of Christ

I know we all have different feelings and stances on the subject of 
women priesthood ordination and homosexuality. 

I understand that.

I really do.

But can we all agree on one thing as disciples of Christ?

“A New commandment I give unto you, That yet love one another; as
I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34

My heart has been heavy reading the articles from different blogs and
comments on the disciplinary councils of two activists. While I’ve
talked about my thoughts on Ordain Women early on, I want to talk
about our reactions. 

There are people whom I love and cherish deeply have gone through
the disciplinary council. They all describe how excruciating it is to
work things out and how miraculously the learning opportunity turns
out to be. I admire them and I’ve walked with them. I cannot think of a
more important responsibility to ensure they feel loved and supported,
by a loving Heavenly Father in the process through mortal beings like

Reading those antipathetic, snide comments on Facebook or hearing
judgmental criticism is more personal than it seems because I’ve
personally experienced and witnessed people using what seemingly
to be a learning opportunity to warrant and legalize unacceptable

Let us all agree on one thing.
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
John 8:7

The district president ended today’s sacrament meeting with a short
yet powerful message. He talked about how disagreement should be
embraced with the diversity in the district and what we did or didn’t do
to show love. He asked if we didn’t show love by aliening, ostracizing,
judging, and criticizing. Affirming the Savior’s commandment to love
one another, he invited us to love unconditionally regardless of the
circumstances. His remarks on love, openness, and obedience nearly
brought me to tears. 

Can we please agree on that one thing? 

And now here is my vomit of thoughts on women and the priesthood.

I do not associate myself with the Ordain Women movement even I
believe in a lot of the feminist values. If you ask me about
oppression in the Church, I’ll answer no. A “NO” that entails not from
the Church but “Yes” from its members. I understand it. I really do.
Members are imperfect people trying to live the best in a perfect
gospel. I too am imperfect and I don’t seek or expect things to be like
sunshine and roses. Like President Tai, the district president, I love
disagreements because that simulates me to think, to seek
understanding, and to empathize. 

What bugs the heck of me is the absence of respect and blurry
boundary. When my social life, choice of spouse, and academic
pursuit has become a constant topic of discussion in my former ward
in open setting where my mother still goes to, it’s getting
disheartening. Thankfully my mother has grown to develop a crazy,
sarcastic sense of humor brushing off those ridiculous comments
without revealing further information disclosing parts of my life that I
don’t intend to share (and you wonder where I get my personality
from…). It isn’t about what they say but the message they are
sending by saying those kind of things. They do not own me and I’m
not obligated to blindly obey.  When my choices, different then theirs,
are considered as signs of disobedience, it doesn’t feel right at all. 

Don’t get me wrong; I love and respect the people who are older than
me … The very fact that I have lunch with them almost every day at
work, cracking jokes, trying not to choke to death, and have very
serious conversations shows how much I love and admire them.
From time to time, I’ll bug them for advice because I know they’re way
smarter with more experience and I can trust them. 

And here is the thing, they help me to see from their perspectives and
try really hard to understand me. Maybe they know too well that I’m
not the type of girl that can just be told to do stuff (never in my
lifetime.. seriously, I was a very opinionated infant) or maybe they too
don’t like to be told to do stuff (you know I’m talking about you,
rebels.. hahaha). Regardless of the apparent reasons, I can always
feel their love and support in my endeavors. That is the type of
leaders I have been trying to be. 

And here goes another piece of women and the priesthood. Please
don’t ever attempt to comfort me by saying we have womanhood or
motherhood. These ____hood things, manhood, womanhood,
motherhood, fatherhood, priesthood, in a way represents a unique
sets of responsibilities and expectations. I am content that women do
not have the priesthood at this moment and I can live with the
uncertainty not knowing if we will be given that one day. I’m cool with
that but please don’t try pinning womanhood and motherhood on me
to explain things that are yet to be revealed by the Lord. Let Him or
His prophets or apostles do the explaining….. 

I don’t ask you to agree with me. All I hope and long for is the
increasing of understanding and unconditionally love when we

That’s the one thing that I expect of you as a fellow disciple of Christ.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Looking Back and Envisioning Ahead

June 2014 marks a year of the “Chinese Mormon Girl” project.
It was year of joy, mourning, and spiritual & intellectual rebirth.
A year ago, I was very lost in my direction. Thinking differently, being
a liberal devoted Mormon while embracing postmodernism +
feminism created a whole new identity crisis. Academically, I was
struggling for a breakthrough, stretching, and exploring creatively in a
culture that embraced conformity.

Little did I know, I had to endeavor some spiritual hardship to grow,
and comprehend Heavenly Father’s plan. 

It all began with two non-conformers wanting to be the change. It all
started in the summer of 2012 when Grace interviewed me for her
thesis. I had already changed and headed out to the gym but
somehow I felt strongly about returning for the interview. For a few
hours, we chatted about the Chinese Mormon culture and it blew my
mind wild opened knowing I wasn’t the only one (thinking and feeling
that way). 

Then came Spring+ Summer of 2013 with a bunch of crazy friends
hiking and going on adventures while getting into in depth discussions
on Church doctrine and culture. In my heart, I felt that stirring which
eventually fueled me sharing my thoughts and struggles. I wished and
dreamed that all outliers in the Church could feel the pure love of God
through members, leaders regardless of their circumstances. 

It’s a very emotional moment looking back and measuring our growth
in the past year. The blog has been presented at a national
conference at UC Berkeley.  Grace graduated with her master’s and
so did I. We have remained strong and faithful in spiritual turmoils and
holding on to our beliefs. 

When my advisor notified me that I would be award with distinction for
my master’s, a lot of memories flashed back in my mind. I saw the
faces of people whom predicted my failure because of my
weaknesses. I vividly saw a friend whom reminded me who I was and
inspired me to be my best self. I felt the warmth of your constant
support and comments for us and the blog. We made it.  

In Doctrine and Covenant 88:42-44, we are taught that there is no
wrong timing in God’s plan. Things and people fall into the right place
according to His plan and I am a witness of that remarkable concept
of time. 

In two months, I will begin the next chapter of my life and starting my
doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology at BYU (and hopefully
doing tons of cultural and gender studies). I am truly grateful for the
mindfulness of the Lord and the wondrous opportunities helping and
shaping me to be me. All I wish and dream for is living up to His
expectations and the vision Heavenly Father had when He created me.
That will be the real me.
Just me. 


Friday, May 30, 2014

One Year Mark!

Danise and I started this blog last year. Time does fly and we both can't believe what had happened to us and the kind of experiences that we had in the past year. We are both starting a new chapter in life in the coming months and all that we can say is - God does watch over us and knows us really well.

In the past year, we both tried to express out thoughts and ideas through this blog and boldly share what we think about the Church and the Mormon culture to others. We receive both positive and negative comments. What touches me is, somehow, somewhere, people who we barely know and have access to our blog would come to us and say "oh, how I love your blog!", "That's exactly what I think!", "I do read your blog and enjoy reading it.". These words and conversations are truly an uplifting encouragement  to Danise and I, and we are truly thankful for these kind words. Sometimes we do get negative comments, that's alright, we all think differently, right? We do appreciate the time you spent on reading what we wrote.

On my part, I felt that I have grown a lot in the past year, in contemplating and understanding my relationship with God, the Church, the members, and myself. It has come clear to me that as members of the Church, we need to stop thinking that we are the "chosen" people and let go of the pride.We need to let go of the structural limitation of the organization and focus more on seeing people as people. We need to, as the Bible said, remove the beam from our own eye when interacting with other members, and lastly, we need to see ourselves as people and love ourselves ten times more than we do now, and treat ourselves better.

At last, I am grateful for my buddy Danise, without her, this blog won't exist. I thank her for the wonderful mind that she has, and the willingness to talk about things that no one would talk to me about regarding some church issues and how we feel about it.

Thank you Danise, and thank you to all who read this blog!