Congratulations 2017 Brodie Award Winners!!!

2017-Brodies-200px Congrats to the following winners and to all who participated!!

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Brodies 2017: Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast: Radio Free Mormon

Brodies 2017: Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast: Brother Jake

Brodies 2017: Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast: Naked Mormonism

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Church-Info Site: MormonLeaks

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum: r/exmormon

Brodies 2017: Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor:u/missedinsunday

Awards for Individual Works:

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction): The Book of Laman, by Mette Ivie Harrison

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction): Michael Quinn’s Mormon Hierarchy: wealth and corporate power

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Song: Tapirback Rider, by Weird Alma

Brodies 2017: Best Poem: The War Goes On, by Clarence Tong

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image: Mormon Merit Badges

Brodies 2017: Best Post Title: Blue balls, flaming swords and the language of coercion, by Thinker of Thoughts

Brodies 2017: Funniest Humor Piece: a tie between Evil Apostate Series, by Thoughts on Things and Stuff, and God Steps Down Amid Sexual Assault Allegations, by Tanner Gilliland

Brodies 2017: Funniest Parody: Straight Outta Cumorah, by Weird Alma

Brodies 2017: Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory: A Den of Thieves: The LDS LGBTQ+ Story as Currency, by Nathan K.

Brodies 2017: Best From the Pulpit Sermon: Savannah’s Testimony

Brodies 2017: Most Poignant Personal Story: Mike Norton on Mormon Stories

Brodies 2017: Best Exit Story: an email to her bishop rejects any and all callings because representing the church in any capacity would compromise her integrity, by Reddit user PlanitL

Brodies 2017: Best Life Journey Piece: a tie between A Sunday in the life of a closeted exmormon, by Reddit user my_name_is_NO, and Stepping Out of the Big Tent: The Possibility of Leaving Mormonism, by Lynette

Brodies 2017: Best Activist/Activtist Movement Within Mormonism: Protect the Children Petition by Sam Young

Brodies 2017: Best Leak or Personal Recording: Savannah’s Testimony originally released by NewNameNoah

Brodies 2017: Best LDS Church Watch Piece: Eclipsing the Truth, by Alex

Brodies 2017: Best Response to Apologetics: Response to 3Mormons on Race in Mormonism, by Thoughts on Things and Stuff

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Culture Piece: 178 & 179: The Truths About Marital Intimacy: A Critique of Wendy Nelson’s Sex Talk: Helfer-Parker and de Azevedo-Hanks

Brodies 2017: Best History Piece: Undeniable proof that the Journal of Discourses (JoD) was/is an official church publication, by Gileriodekel

Brodies 2017: Best Scripture Study Piece: Ether 15: The End of the World As We Know It, by Alex

Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Parenting: Taking Back My Power, by Dad’s Primal Scream

Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Orientation: White Shirt, Black Name Tag, Big Secret, by Ellis Jeter

Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Gender: Cheating LDS Young Women – Again, by Gina Colvin

Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Race: Response to 3 Mormons on Race, by Thoughts on Things and Stuff

Brodies 2017: Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS: Face2Face series, by Thinker of Thoughts

Brodies 2017: Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion: Undue influence in general conference: obedience, by Luna Lindsey and Jonathan Streeter

Brodies 2017: Best short media presentation: Revelation Through Hallucination, by Bryce Blankenagel and Cody Noconi at the Sunstone Symposium

Brodies 2017: Best Podcast Episode: Year of Polygamy, Episode 139, Dispelling the idea that Joseph Smith fought polygamy, by Lindsay Hansen Park with John Dinger, Bryan Buchanan, and John Hatch

Brodies 2017: Best Book Review: 6 Must-Read Books for Ex-Mormons, by Samantha Shelley

To all of the winners, here’s your winner graphic that you can display on your website:

2017-Brodies-Black

2017-Brodies-White

What fun that was! Thanks to all who nominated and voted — I’ve found some great new sites to follow in my own reading! 😀

To see the poll results and links to all of the nominees, look here.

Brodies + MAA Books!!

The Brodies voting is well underway — and it has turned out to be an exciting year after all!! There are already some clear winners, but also some tight races, such as: “Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast,” “Best Life Journey Piece,” “Best Response to Apologetics,” “Best Discussion on Gender,” and “Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion.”

There is so much great stuff this year — I really hope that (like me!) you’re taking advantage of this opportunity to discover some great content that you may have missed! You have one more week!!

My profound apologies for all of the embarrassing errors this time, specifically: accidentally naming all of the polls “Brodies 2018” and accidentally neglecting to make a poll for “Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor” — plus a bunch of other obvious typos. It’s as if I was drunk while preparing the polls or something! (note: I neither confirm nor deny rumors of my being drunk while preparing the polls, but I will say that it is an incredibly boring task, just sayin’ 😉 )

Additionally, today I finished my first pass at updating the MAA website to reflect our new status as an indie publisher!! 😀 Check it out!

We’re still working on the “about” page (clearly), but I hope to have it in a better state next weekend.

Good luck to all on the Brodie Awards, and have a great week!!!

Time to vote for the 2017 Brodie Awards!!!

2017-Brodies-200px Yay, it’s time to vote!!! Thanks for all of the great nominations — we have got a great crop this year!! And I thought it was going to be a slow year! Thanks especially to all of those who indulged my last-minute request for poems!

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Brodies 2017: Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast


Brodies 2017: Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast


Brodies 2017: Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast


Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Church-Info Site


Brodies 2017: Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum


Brodies 2017: Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor


  • u/invisibles_cubit
  • u/relevantlife
  • u/Chino_Blanco
  • u/missedinsunday
  • u/bwv549

Awards for Individual Works:

Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)


Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Book (non-fiction)


Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Song


Brodies 2017: Best Poem


Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image


Brodies 2017: Best Post Title


Brodies 2017: Funniest Humor Piece


Brodies 2017: Funniest Parody


Brodies 2017: Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory


Brodies 2017: Best From the Pulpit Sermon


Brodies 2017: Most Poignant Personal Story


Brodies 2017: Best Exit Story


Brodies 2017: Best Life Journey Piece


Brodies 2017: Best Activist/Activtist Movement Within Mormonism


Brodies 2017: Best Leak or Personal Recording


Brodies 2017: Best LDS Church Watch Piece


Brodies 2017: Best Response to Apologetics


Brodies 2017: Best LDS-Culture Piece


Brodies 2017: Best History Piece


Brodies 2017: Best Scripture Study Piece


Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Parenting


Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Orientation


Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Gender


Brodies 2017: Best Discussion on Race


Brodies 2017: Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS


Brodies 2017: Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion


Brodies 2017: Best short media presentation


Brodies 2017: Best Podcast Episode


Brodies 2017: Best Book Review


The polls will remain open for approximately two weeks. The polls will close on Saturday, February 17th, 2018, at 10a.m. (Switzerland time)

Sorry, one last round for Brodies nominations….

2017-Brodies-200pxOK, folks, I wanted to have the polls up today, but I ran into a bit of a glitch: Two people nominated The War Goes On, by Clarence Tong, as best poem, but…. I don’t have a third poem nomination to make this category viable. And I don’t want to just grab whatever random thing at the last minute — there’s got to be at least one more LDS interest poem published in 2017 that deserves to be nominated! So you have one more week for nominations, and I’d like to see some poetry. 😀

Here are the nominations as they stand. Please comment if anything is missing or if you have corrections. I will probably split up some of the larger categories when making the polls, but here’s what we have so far:

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best LDS-Church-Info Site

Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

  • u/invisibles_cubit
  • u/relevantlife
  • u/Chino_Blanco
  • u/missedinsunday
  • u/bwv549

Best faithful-perspective Mormon Blog

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Book (General non-fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Book (Narrative non-fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Song

Best Poem

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image

Best Post Title

Funniest Humor Piece

Funniest Parody

Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory

Best From the Pulpit Sermon

  • Savannah’s Testimony
  • Three Sisters, by Dieter Uchtdorf
  • Act of Confession by Reverend Jerrod Lowry (in unison with the assembled pastorate) at the Utah Pride Interfaith Service in Salt Lake City on June 1

Most Poignant Personal Story

Best Exit Story

Best Life Journey Piece

Best Activist/Activtist Movement Within Mormonism

Best Leak or Personal Recording

Best LDS Church Watch Piece

Best Response to Apologetics

Best LDS-Culture Piece

Best History Piece

Best Scripture Study Piece

Best Discussion on Parenting

Best Discussion on Orientation

Best Discussion on Gender

Best Discussion on Race

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS

Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion

Best short media presentation

Best Podcast Episode

Best Book Review

How to nominate: Just post your nominations as comment to this thread, but please include links to the works you nominate. It’s best to post one nomination per comment — to avoid your nomination ending up in the spam filter — but if your nomination comment ends up in the spam filter, please email me (chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com) and I will fish it out.

And don’t forget the nomination guidelines:

  • Please nominate as many people, books, blogs, sites, podcasts, songs, articles, images, etc. as you want. However, please do not nominate more than two individual works by any one author/artist.
  • You are encouraged to nominate your own works. No one knows better than you do which pieces were your best. No more than two, though.
  • Please nominate works that first appeared during 2017.
  • Please try to nominate people and works that have some connection with Mormonism (eg. either the work touches on Mormonism, or the author is a current or former Mormon and/or is an active participant in our community).
  • A category must have at least three nominations in order to be included in the voting and awards phase.
  • You may suggest your own categories — however please do it as early as possible in the nominations process, to give others plenty of time to add nominations in your proposed categories.
  • Any other proposed changes to the categories or to the guidelines are welcome — feel free to discuss it in the comments.
  • The nominations will be open until February 3, 2018.

Thanks again for all of your nominations!!

You’re the star of your adventure now, Lolly Weed!

For me, giving my whole heart to Josh while knowing that he did not love me the way a man loves a woman has always been devastating. We were best friends, but he never desired me, he never adored me, he never longed for me.

[…]

No matter how much I knew “why” he couldn’t respond to me in the ways a lover responds to a partner, it wears a person down, as if you’re not “good enough” to be loved “in that way.” And what I didn’t realize is that as human beings, we actually need to feel loved in that way with our partners.

This deficit started to mess with my self-esteem. […] No matter how clear I was on the technicalities of this reality, it was impossible not to internalize his complete lack of attraction toward me. Subconsciously, it was a constant message. You aren’t attractive. You aren’t wanted. You aren’t beautiful. You aren’t a good enough woman.

It was making me unhealthy. I gained a lot of weight. My self-concept was diminishing over time.

That’s Lolly Weed, writing a segment in Josh Weed’s heartfelt piece describing the end of their high-profile mixed-orientation marriage.

Early in the piece, Josh recounted the “three currents” that led to the demise of their marriage:

First: Love for the LGBTQ population

Second: Love of self as a gay person

Now, if you have read the above-linked piece, and if you’re like me, you probably anticipated #3:

Third: The realization that this marriage is slowly crushing Lolly’s soul, and that her happiness also matters.

But, if (like me!) you guessed that, then (like me!) you guessed wrong!!

Nope, it was:

Third: the death of [Josh’s] mom.

Ummm, Okaaaaaay… So your realization that the marriage was hurting Lolly (as described above) didn’t even come in fourth or something…?

The other disturbing bit is the following, (again quoting Lolly):

Almost everyone has said to me, with an air of protective emphasis, “Oh, but Lolly, you deserve to be loved that way! You will find someone else who can love you like that. You deserve to love and be loved in that way!” And I agree with them. The thing that I find interesting is that these are all straight people looking at me, another straight person, and being able to see the injustice of me not experiencing true love.

[…]

I mean, isn’t the same true for LGBT people? Shouldn’t we feel the exact same intuitive injustice at the thought of them deserving to be “loved like that”?

Yes, of course we should (and many do). But here’s the problem: This is a personal piece about your feelings about your marriage. Your marriage contains exactly zero (0) gay people who have never been “loved like that.” Josh obviously faced a number of profound challenges in your marriage, but failure to be the object of true romantic love isn’t one of them.

Lolly, if you are reading this, I find it disheartening that — the one part of this story that’s about you — you can’t just let it be about you. You have to immediately pivot to concern about other people’s needs. It’s as if you’ve been profoundly conditioned to believe that your needs always have to take a backseat to everyone else’s needs; that you think you fundamentally don’t matter.

Lolly, I hope you find the love you deserve. You are probably well aware that unfortunately — as a Mormon single mom — your chances of finding your new soul-mate are a lot lower than Josh’s. But you know what? Even if you never find true love, you’re still better off getting out of the situation you described: the marriage that is strangling your spirit.

Josh’s whole post describes a path of learning a truly beautiful love and empathy for LGBTQIA people. You both have developed a great understanding of the beauty and humanity of queer folks. Which is why the treatment of Lolly’s experience in the piece is so jarring.

Well, Lolly — you’re not the co-star of Josh’s adventure anymore. You’re the star of your own adventure now. Let me help you get started:

Mormon Erotica: Banta’s Third Book Delivers Heart and Humor

I’ve been a Donna Banta fan since 2010, when I discovered her blog “Ward Gossip.” Oh my god! This woman is The Onion of Mormonism, I thought, as I instantly recognized Banta’s fictional ward as a mostly-accurate reflection of my own Mormon experience, with just the right amount of exaggeration in just the right places to make the truth very apparent (and funny!).

In her latest book, Mormon Erotica, Banta’s penchant for satire is masterfully woven into a quirky and loveable cast of Mormon characters, who run the range of orthodoxy from the ultra-faithful to those who have left the Church. Yet, even the most outlandish characters are only slight exaggerations of most of the rank-and-file faithful, and are representative of enough actual Mormons that I’ve known to not feel like caricatures.

51WPpyFWCTL

The story follows Jim Maxwell, an affable forty-something divorced dad living in California’s Bay Area, as he navigates parenting, friendship and family, his love life, and his faith as a Mormon who has concluded that he believes in the Gospel, but is agnostic about marriage. Much to his sister Kellie’s dismay, Jim spends more time “[sitting] around Starbucks drinking hot chocolate with lesbians” than he does hunting for a faithful Mormon wife. (Kellie has some of the most deliciously hilarious lines of dialogue in the book, one of my favorites being her lament, “You can’t find a decent woman at Starbucks.”)

Everything changes for Jim when he bumps into an old college flame at a wedding reception. Sadie Gordon has left the Church and makes her living writing PG-13ish fiction, deemed porn by Jim’s bishop and his neurotic ex-wife. Though the interim years have led Jim and Sadie to different conclusions about the Church, they discover that the flame they had for each other in college is still burning. But for love to win the day, Jim and Sadie must navigate their differences, as well as weathering the opinions, and intrusions, of family and friends, all while Jim does his best show up as a father for a whip-smart teenage daughter with some secrets of her own.

I deeply appreciated that every character was respected, and represented as a whole and multi-faceted human being. Banta avoids the Mormon tendency to view issues and people as black or white, and navigates all the messy shades in between with compassion and humor.

Mormon Erotica is a quick read. It is funny, and the container of humor tempers some deeply poignant reflections on a universally human dilemma that is more important now than ever: How do we live with, and love, all of the people in our lives through the full range of both our commonalities and our differences?

 

Leah Elliott is a writer, poet, teacher, and journeyer living in North Carolina. You can find poetry, social media links and other good stuff at her website.

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Congratulations to X-Mormon of the Year 2017: Savannah!!

When Savannah came out as gay while bearing her testimony, the bishop cut her microphone and told her to sit down — and the video went viral.

Savannah has been an inspiration to many people, she made an appearance at Love Loud, and she even won the popular vote for Utahn of the year! And now she’s the William Law X-Mormon of the Year for 2017 — Congratulations, Savannah!!

p.s. The nominations for the Brodie Awards are still open for another week, and check out this first review of the first book published by Mormon Alumni Association Books!

Mormon Erotica, Mormon Romance

Mormon Erotica, the new novel from Donna Banta, is a joyous page-turner that, despite the title, is far more concerned with love and romance than sex. While the book contains plenty of reflection on Mormon attitudes toward sex and marriage, the action depicted is strictly PG. As with so many romance novels, the suspense lies not in whether it will end with its hero and heroine poised to live happily ever after, but what sorts of personal discoveries and growth will make them worthy of that reward. I was always curious about and frequently surprised by the routes the characters forged to true love.

51WPpyFWCTL

If you don’t like romance novels, there’s a chance you won’t like Mormon Erotica. To me, this post-Mormon twist on the romance novel is a breath of fresh air, but then, I have a fondness for romance novels, having read dozens if not hundreds of them, from cheap formulaic paperbacks I checked out from the public library when I was in junior high to great classics of English literature like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. For that matter, as a teen I even read a few Mormon romance novels, such as those by Jack Weyland. I think Mormon courtship and marriage make great material for narrative, and I’m glad writers are tackling it in fiction for an audience beyond active Latter-day Saints. It’s especially nice to read a novel that takes you on a good-natured romp through the subject.

One of the best elements of Mormon Erotica is the main character, Jim, who is devout but not fanatical. Jim’s first marriage was disastrous and brief—but his ex-wife still plans to be married to him for time and all eternity, since they didn’t get a temple divorce to go with the civil one. Jim is comfortable in his role as a single dad too lazy and jaded to attempt another marriage—until he sees an old college girlfriend, Sadie Gordon, at a wedding reception. She’s hot, charming, and completely inactive, and she’s written a novel full of Mormons having sex. The title of Banta’s book refers to the way Sadie’s novel is characterized.

Less compelling are a couple of the supporting characters. Jim and Sadie each have a relative who seems like a caricature of the most awful Mormon you can imagine: small-minded, judgmental, and completely unable to understand boundaries. I’m certain there are Mormons like that, but they were so consistent and predictable that I was aghast at their actions without being surprised, a fact made all the more obvious given that Jim and Sadie did surprise me in interesting ways.

Occasional chapters are from the perspective of Jim’s teenage daughter, Julia. I don’t spend enough time around teenagers these days to know if Banta got twenty-first-century teen lingo and social interactions exactly right, but I thought she did a great job making the basic psychology of adolescence interesting for an audience of adults. Julia was so compelling that I’m now interested in reading The Girls from Fourth Ward, Banta’s murder mystery about four girls who hope to go to BYU.

The book is published under the imprint of the Mormon Alumni Association, and the cover art (which, you discover about halfway through the novel, makes particularly good sense) is by Chanson.

Gathering MORE nominations for the 2017 Brodie Awards!!

2017-Brodies-200px The voting for X-Mormon of the Year is underway you have until January 20th to get your vote in!!

As usual, we’re also doing the Brodie Awards — a fun little yearly activity intended to give some extra recognition and signal boost to the best LDS-interest content published/posted during the past year.

Unfortunately, this has been a bit of a slow year so far for the Brodie awards — in part because I haven’t had as much time to keep things lively here at MSP since taking my new job. I’m glad to see some people are still having fun with this and have started leaving their nominations!

Now I’m going to do a first-pass of organizing this year’s categories, adding some nominations of my own, and pointing out which categories need more nominations. Remember that each category needs a least three nominations to continue on to the voting and awards rounds. The nomination process will continue for two more weeks and then we will begin voting. Here we go!

Year-long awards for people and groups:

Best New Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Humor/Satire Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best Mormon History Blog/Channel/Podcast

Best LDS-Church-Info Site

Best LDS-interest Discussion Forum

Best Exmormon Reddit Contributor

  • u/invisibles_cubit
  • u/relevantlife
  • This category needs more nominations.

Best faithful-perspective Mormon Blog

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Book (General non-fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Book (Narrative non-fiction)

Best LDS-Interest Song

Best Poem

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image

Best Mormon-Themed Meme

Best Post Title

Funniest Humor Piece

Funniest Parody

Best Metaphor/Analogy/Allegory

Best From the Pulpit Sermon

Most Poignant Personal Story

Best Exit Story

Best Life Journey Piece

Best Activist Movement Within Mormonism

Best Leak or Personal Recording

Best LDS Church Watch Piece

Best Response to Apologetics

Best LDS-Culture Piece

Best History Piece

Best Scripture Study Piece

Best Discussion on Parenting

Best Discussion on Orientation

Best Discussion on Gender

Best Discussion on Race

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS

Best Philosophical/Theological Discussion

Best short media presentation

Best Book Review

How to nominate: Just post your nominations as comment to this thread, but please include links to the works you nominate. If your nomination comment ends up in the spam filter, please email me (chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com) and I will fish it out. (Also note that if you post each nomination as a separate comment, they’re less likely to get flagged as spam.)

And don’t forget the nomination guidelines:

  • Please nominate as many people, books, blogs, sites, podcasts, songs, articles, images, etc. as you want. However, please do not nominate more than two individual works by any one author/artist.
  • You are encouraged to nominate your own works. No one knows better than you do which pieces were your best. No more than two, though.
  • Please nominate works that first appeared during 2017.
  • Please try to nominate people and works that have some connection with Mormonism (eg. either the work touches on Mormonism, or the author is a current or former Mormon and/or is an active participant in our community).
  • A category must have at least three nominations in order to be included in the voting and awards phase.
  • You may suggest your own categories — however please do it as early as possible in the nominations process, to give others plenty of time to add nominations in your proposed categories.
  • Any other proposed changes to the categories or to the guidelines are welcome — feel free to discuss it in the comments.
  • The nominations will be open until mid-January, 2018, depending on my schedule. I will finalize the dates and categories and add my own nominations a few days before the nominations close and voting begins.

Thanks for all of your nominations!!!