Please note: For nearly 10 years, I have been blogging on my own personal website called LDS Women Converse. Recently, I felt prompted to reconfigure, rename, and transition my website for a broader audience. With my family’s permission and endorsement, I am including their voices and their valuable experiences. Hence, our website: hawkerfamily.com
This transitional and structural process has been more work and more complicated than I had anticipated. Yet, similar to a family system, I recognize that this web-building process will be ongoing and evolutionary. For now, I am in the process of transferring all of my posts from my LDS Women Converse website — along with my former LDS Women Converse Instagram and Facebook pages — to this website.
The hawkerfamily.com website offers my family members the opportunity and the platform to share their stories and to bear testimony to the Savior’s divinity and of His gospel. Discovering and attaining one’s “public voice” — whether through speaking or writing — is daunting and a little scary. As a college instructor and blogger, I have been putting myself “out there” for 25 years. The rest of my family has not had such exposure. This process for them will, of course, take time. So, please bear with us as we grow.
Still, I will be the prevalent voice on hawkerfamily.com My writing experience serves as the foundation and structure for our website.
Thanks for visiting,
Julie Mounteer Hawker
Rick and Julie
Rick and I typify the old adage that “opposites attract.” I am a California native, raised in San Jose. After graduating from West Valley College, I transferred to BYU-Provo for my junior year. After returning from a mission in Argentina, Rick had enrolled at BYU Provo a year earlier. Having been raised in New Plymouth, Idaho, Rick’s rustic charm won me over when I met him through my roommate. We began dating in January of 1979 and married that same year on November 10, in the Oakland California Temple. We settled in San Jose (later moving to Morgan Hill) to raise our family.
I spent many years as a stay-at-home mom to my great kids (two sons and two daughters). In my late 30’s I began a nearly 25-year career at San Jose State University teaching G.E. required courses in the Department of Communication Studies (College of Social Sciences). I taught Argumentation & Advocacy, Critical Thinking & Decision Making, Communication & Human Relationships, Public Speaking, and an upper-division course, Writing for Influence, for graduating seniors. On the side, I also taught a few semesters at Santa Clara University and Evergreen Community College. In June of 2019, I retired from San Jose State when Rick and I moved to Utah.
Rick continued school after we got married and eventually graduated with an M.B.A. from San Jose State. After 40 years of living, working, and raising a family in California, we happily moved to Utah when Rick was offered a job transfer. We built our house in the same area where all of our adult children and their families reside. Like everyone else, our family has our “quirks and issues,” yet that is what’s so beautiful and wonderful about building strong families: We love each other unconditionally, and we work through our challenges together while devoting ourselves to the ordinances and covenants we have made in the holy temple.
We are grandparents to four granddaughters and four grandsons, and we love being an influential part of their everyday lives; we take great joy in parenting and grand-parenting.
Creating a blog for and about Women
Nearly 10 years ago, I began blogging and eventually created a website called LDS Women Converse in an effort to foster a deeper, more open sisterhood within the LDS community. At that time, many LDS women in the blogosphere were sharing experiences and feelings similar to mine. For instance, many of us felt (and still might feel) afraid to reveal our “true” selves or our “true” families for fear of judgment from others. In attempts to protect ourselves, our spouses, or our family members, we tend to fracture and compartmentalize our personas and feelings in order to keep our “all is well” masks in place. As a result, we risk becoming a “sisterhood” in name only. Like many other women, I strive to overcome my fear of revealing my authentic self. Fortunately, my decade-long process of self-exposure through blogging has brought me a sense of freedom and spiritual empowerment.
I had used this logo for my former Facebook and Instagram accounts:
Additionally, many of us tend to berate ourselves through guilt, shame, and condemnation which only generates negative energy and does nothing to prepare us for Christ’s second coming. I have learned that as I focus more on Jesus Christ rather than my imperfections (or focusing on the perfection or imperfection of others), I shift to a higher spiritual and emotional gear while becoming a more useful and productive disciple of Christ. I’m not required to be a perfect disciple–just a useful one. Historically, women have had fear and difficulty speaking honestly and truthfully to others–especially and including women during times of frustration or conflict. (Surely, most, if not all of us, want to be viewed as “nice” and “kind.”) Consequently, many people tend to rely on artificial “niceness” because this approach seems “kinder” or “easier” than engaging in direct dialogue, potential conflict, or asking specifically for what we want or need.
From LDSWomenConverse.com to Hawkerfamily.com
Last year, I felt prompted to reconfigure and transition my website to a broader audience and to include my family’s experiences and insights. Hence, our website: hawkerfamily.com. This transitional and structural process has been more work and more complicated than I had anticipated. Yet, similar to a family system, I recognize that this web-building process will be an ongoing and evolutionary process.
Lastly, I have observed blogs and websites that agitate for changes in church doctrine and/or policy—often written through a lens of anger, frustration, sadness, and disappointment. I’m not here to judge fellow bloggers or church members. Speaking for myself and for my family, we seek spiritual and emotional empowerment and healing through the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. We sustain President Russell M. Nelson as the Lord’s living Prophet and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. Some of our posts and links on this website will emphasize our own clarion call or warning voice of what we feel are particularly relevant issues to our local, national, and global community. This website speaks our truths without claiming to speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We feel a kinship with people of goodwill and of all faiths. We’re not here to convert anyone to our religion, to argue politics, and we don’t claim to have all the answers.
Thanks for reading our stuff,
Julie Mounteer Hawker
Steve and Sandra
After returning from his mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Steve studied at BYU Provo. He met Sandra Hales from Delta, Utah who was attending Utah Valley University. They married in the Manti Temple in June of 2005. Steve graduated with a B.S. degree in biology and Sandra with a B.S. degree in accounting. They have a daughter and son and live in Utah.
Zach and Cristi
At Utah Valley University, Cristi met Zach Benedict from Park City, Utah. After dating for a while, Zach left for his mission in Rapid City, North/South Dakota, and Cristi a year later to serve her mission in Fort Worth, Texas. After three years of writing while missionaries, they started dating again when Cristi came home. In August of 2007, they married in the Salt Lake Temple. They continued their educations; Cristi graduated with a B.S. in Communications, and Zach graduated with an M.B.A. at Weber State University. They live in Utah and are raising two daughters and one son.
Gustavo and Erica
After serving her mission in the Rochester, New York mission (which included serving as a tour guide at the church historical sites), Erica returned to school at Utah Valley University where she met Gustavo Velasquez (a BYU Provo student from southern California) who had recently returned from his mission in the Azores Islands. They married in the Salt Lake Temple in October of 2010. Erica earned a B.S. degree in Communications and Gustavo graduated with a B.S. degree in business from BYU and an M.B.A. from the University of Utah. They are the parents of two sons and live in Utah.
Philip and Kelsey
Phil met Kelsey Dupin during high school when her family moved to Morgan Hill, CA. They were typical high school sweethearts but parted ways when her family moved two years later. Kelsey attended school at BYU Provo, and Phil attended Utah Valley University. It wasn’t until Phil was serving his mission in Grand Junction, Colorado, that he and Kelsey reconnected through letter writing. When he returned home, they dated and then married in the Oquirrih Mountain Temple in December of 2010. Later, Phil graduated from Bottega technical school; he and Kelsey are parents to a daughter and live in Utah.