Episode 25: An Interview With Kristine Haglund

photo credit: D’Arcy Benincosa: Official Photographer of Mormon Feminists since 2010

Join Lisa as she interviews Kristine Haglund about growing up, her faith and her feelings about the church and how Kristine makes it all work.

Kristine Haglund is the current editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, a current or former permablogger at By Common Consent and Times and Seasons, and noted Mormon historian and cultural commentator. She has suggested that the “experience of independent Mormon publishing sector [can provide] . . . a potential model” for members “at a moment where new kinds of assimilation are called for.”

She has an A.B. from Harvard in German Studies and an M.A. from the University of Michigan in German Literature.

Read 15 comments

  1. I loved this podcast. I kept thinking, “I want my daughters to be just like Kristine.” Based on her suggestion, I just ordered 2 copies of “Mormon Sisters: Women In Early Utah” to give to my 9 and 11 year old daughters for Christmas.

  2. I grew up in a fairly heterodox Mormon family, and I can relate to that feeling of suddenly becoming aware that the Mainstream Mormon Church and the church that existed in your childhood home are startlingly different… It’s disorienting not being able to really “be a part” of the church, but unable to leave. For me it happened after my mission and temple marriage. I really threw DH for a loop, bursting into tears at church every week, and not able to really formulate what the problem was. I remember DH came home from a visit with the stake president, who just wanted a meeting with him to see if he was okay, and it suddenly struck me that the church cared about him more than me. I was the one struggling with the church, agonizing over my place in it, but the SP called my husband in to see if he was alright with his wife going all nuts on him. Luckily that part of my faith transition has passed, DH and I are pretty content where we are, not very active, but still prayerful. But I still exist in a nebulous partly-in, partly-out zone. The agony is gone but the unease remains.
    ..
    What I do wish was for a deep emotional connection to the church, or to my Mormonism, beyond sort of a dull sense of loyalty to my past. Kristine describes her overwhelming and beautiful connection to the music, and I kind of wish I had something like that to keep drawing me in. Indeed I’ve felt ever since I was a teenager that staying in the church was like swimming upstream, and everything, the other members, my own personality, politics, cultural issues, were trying to push me out. I have a suspicion that the right ward would likely make it much easier.
    ..
    Right now the things keeping me “in” are my marriage and my in-laws. I’d love if I had an additional internal force, it’d make everything a little easier.
    ..
    Kristine you’re amazing! Thanks for this podcast!

  3. Jami–you’ll be happy to know that I debated for a long nerdy moment about whether to expound on the origins of the phrase “beyond the pale,” which I recently learned. I’ve taken to talking about things being “outside the paling fence” in my snootier moments :)

    Thanks for your kind words, everybody. It’s a little scary being so “out there”–thanks for being nice!

  4. This was great to listen to! Kristine, I really liked the point you made about how you really had to confront the literalist anti-intellectual strain of the Church for the first time in the MTC, and how that’s more commonly people’s experience growing up. What a great experience you must have had growing up for the MTC to be so jarring. (Not that I’m happy the MTC was painful for you, but you know, that it was is such an indicator of what your previous experience was like.)

    Also, Lisa, I love your daughter’s non-subtle dream about snatching Moses’s staff and parting the Red Sea herself. Classic!

  5. I so needed to hear this today. Really appreciated Kristine’s candor about her suicide attempt and divorce. I tried for a good decade to make patriarchy fit in my mind and heart and like Kristine, once I was able to say: “this behavior within the church is wrong,” it solved so much angst within myself. Thanks again for the lovely podcast.

  6. Just a note: I’m currently a (female) graduate student at BYU. I know quite a number of sweet, innocent, lovely Mormon boys who are also incredibly nonjudgmental. These are by no means mutually exclusive categories. In my experience they overlap quite frequently. Just wanted to add that hopeful bit of info. :-) Thanks for the interview. ~KM

  7. Thank you for this podcast. My husband and I left the church after coming across church history on the 1st January 2012. We did this primarily, not because of he history, but because we felt the church in the UK and our particular church and stake was not a healthy place for our children – particularly our daughters to be. The young women leader brought extra clothes to church for if a young women wore inappropriate clothes, the face book police (the bishops wife and others) checked pictures for garment wearing and modest clothes -messages were sent. One young women was taken into the office and her face book reviewed by the bishop for modest clothes. Leggings were banned from the theatrical youth performance. Skinny jeans were banned and a fashion show – for modesty – was put on to show the standards. In a neighboring stake the modesty blanket was introduced – a blanket of shame was put over the legs of the young women with the shortest skirt on. It was encouraged that the Strength of Youth booklet was studied every week with your child. Church was a miserable place to be where no one smiled and everyone was on edge – worried about the judgments that could be made about each other. The comments about homosexuals were dreadful and homophobic behavior encouraged. Our son was suffering from such severe anxiety that he was referred to a psych. nurse. Since leaving our whole family is mentally much healthier. It has come at a huge price to family and friends (we are both husband and wife children of former Stake Presidents) but our children are so much happier. We still live the teachings of Jesus Christ and make it a focus, attend our village Anglican church periodically and are re-building our lives. This kind of fundamentalist behavior is something that we felt as parents we had to protect our children from. The kind of gentle religion we find at our village church is a life time away from what we’d experienced at the LDS. Our stake is nicknamed ‘behind the Zion curtain’ and is extreme. However, the damage this can cause psychologically – especially to the children – is in our position too high a price to pay to maintain a faith tradition. I loved the podcast and I think is it great you are able to stay. We deeply miss our relationships with family and friends however I hope that on this website other people understand why we had to take our children away to protect them. Thank you for all your wonderful work and I respect where everyone is on their journeys of faith and as a feminists. I dearly hope that your work will help the LDS church become a safe place if my granddaughters – if I’m blessed to have any – could attend. Love to all xxx

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