Saving the Exponent from the Haters

Is this just a fake, photoshoppped image of Sally Field carrying a copy of Exponent II magazine? Of course it is.
Is this just a fake, photoshopped image of Sally Field carrying a copy of Exponent II magazine? Of course it is.

A few months back, while I was serving on the Exponent II Board, I dreamed a dream. I was working on the Exponent blog at my computer. The files morphed into actors and I was in the midst of a sci-fi movie. The characters were running for their lives as the website—now reworked into a glamorous ballroom instead of a computer screen—crashed. One by one the characters vanished into thin air. The heroine, movingly portrayed by Sally Field, tried to save them. She ran with her arms outstretched, her beautiful red silk dress flapping in the wind as she tried to catch the other characters and save them from impending doom but everyone disappeared before she could reach them. In the end, she was the only one left and she rolled into a little ball and wept.

...but this equally glamorous picture of myself with a copy of Exponent II is completely real.
…but this equally glamorous picture of myself with a copy of Exponent II is completely real.

I woke up and immediately checked the site. I had put in many volunteer hours during the past several months, redesigning the website to better showcase this treasure trove of a decade of Mormon feminist thought. I had just added a new feature called “Our Bloggers Recommend” to highlight important posts from the blog and elsewhere. The very first post I added to the new menu was Rachel’s 2013 post, “What I first learned about our Heavenly Mother.” This previously buried post represents the best this blog has to offer; it is well-researched—groundbreaking, in fact—and spiritually uplifting. People noticed. Two mainstream Mormon news outlets linked to it, sharing its goodness with whole new audiences of people who would have never found it hidden in our archives. Soon it was viral.

And so the site crashed. That happens sometimes, when one of our posts goes viral. I spent the better part of the day working with our server provider to get it up. They gave me several tasks to “pass on” to our “web developer.” We don’t have a web developer! So I did those tasks myself—all day long—taking time away from my paid job and my four kids and my husband—who coincidentally, had just had a serious talk with me earlier that morning about how I needed to tell my colleagues at the Exponent that it was time to hire someone to do the tech work because my volunteer hours were getting out of hand.  This wasn’t the first time unpaid, emergency tech work at the Exponent had interrupted my day. With no reliable funding source, the Exponent had never paid for professional tech support to stop the outages.

So when that nightmare about the Exponent crashing woke me up, I immediately grabbed my phone and checked the site. In spite of having even higher traffic numbers than the day before, it was up and running. It was just a nightmare. Everything was okay. I got dressed, dropped my kids off at school and went to work, where I checked the site one last time, just for reassurance.

It was down.

This time, our server provider found that someone was attacking the site. “By someone, do you mean an actual person or a virus?” I asked.

“An actual person. Or several.”

Oh dear.

Throughout its ten years of existence, the Exponent website has survived entirely through volunteer labor. It stays financed through the love, time, and personal funds of its own bloggers.

But times are changing. I am happy to report that hits to the website have increased exponentially during every year of its existence. The Exponent today has greater readership than ever before in history—that also means it has a bigger, older, more heavily utilized database that could really use some expert tune-up to keep it safe from the haters who would try to bring it down.  We’ll need donations from readers like you to keep the Exponent alive without creating a nightmare for volunteer bloggers like me.

Spread the word and DONATE NOW!  Click here for more information and a list of prizes for those who donate!



April Young-Bennett
April Young-Bennett
April Young-Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at


  1. Thanks for all your work to keep the Exponent site running, April! Thanks to all of you who blog here. I love your work! I’ve donated to hopefully chip in and take some of the pressure off of you!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Click to subscribe for new post alerts.

Click to subscribe to our magazine, in circulation since 1974.

Related Posts

the goods.

i am thinking about proverbs 3 (a favorite chapter of mine). verse 27, specifically the lines: 'withhold not good from them to whom it...

The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning: A different kind of General Conference

And as I chatted with younger leaders (basically anyone under 50) from different places in the hallways, at meals, and between sessions, the feelings of frustration, hope, discouragement, and possibility bubbled over. Other people my age really care about this stuff. At the next World Conference, we're going to be prepared with new legislative proposals reflecting the changes we would like to see. The frustrations of today will not go to waste. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning. Its just a slower burn than I'd like to see.

killing my well-behaved woman: critical work of midlife

As a girl, I learned only to behave. I was timid and quiet. I raised my hand to answer questions, to get permission. I...

Does a Primary President Have Any Real Authority?

Earlier this year, my ward got a new bishopric. Not long after that, the former bishop and his first counselor were called as primary...
submit guest post
Submit a Guest Blog Post
subscribe to our magazine
Subscribe to Our Magazine
Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :