Polygyny and Democracy

In my reading for the latest Sunday in Outer Blogness, I came across an interesting article about the differences between gay marriage and polygamy. It’s interesting because of the stuff the author gets right:

Here’s the problem with it: when a high-status man takes two wives (and one man taking many wives, or polygyny, is almost invariably the real-world pattern), a lower-status man gets no wife. If the high-status man takes three wives, two lower-status men get no wives. And so on. Continue reading “Polygyny and Democracy”

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Gold standard edition!

First of all, please take the time to congratulate the winners of the Brodie Awards 2015 — and collect your prize if you won! 😀

(Of course now that it’s too late, I’ve just learned about some other books that might have been nominated…)

Second of all, you have perhaps noticed that we’re having some tech issues here. Specifically, I had been running an ancient version of WordPress on an ancient version of debian (linux) Continue reading “Sunday in Outer Blogness: Gold standard edition!”

Sorry about the down time!

The good news is that Main Street Plaza is up and running on the new server!

The current look-and-feel is temporary. I still have all of the old user-interface files, but I’ve been dragging them along from one server to the next since this blog started in 2007. I figured this server upgrade is a good opportunity to throw them away and start over.

If you have any recommendations of favorite wordpress templates, please tell me!

Congratulations Brodie Award Winners 2015!!!

The votes are in, and here’s the list of talented people and impressive works that won the coveted Brodie Awards this year!!

Year-Long Awards for overall quality:

Best New Blog 2015: Zelph on the Shelf

Best New Podcast 2015: Naked Mormonism Podcast

Best Discussion Forum 2015: r/exmormon

Best Humor Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast 2015: Brother Jake

Best LDS-Interest Interview-and-discussion Podcast 2015: Mormon Stories Podcast

Best LDS Church Watch/Analysis Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast 2015: Thoughts on Things and Stuff

Best Scripture Study Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast 2015: My Book of Mormon Podcast

Best Faithful-Perspective Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast 2015: A Thoughtful Faith Podcast

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction) 2015: Their Works Shall Be in the Dark, by Alex Hansen

Best LDS-Interest Book (Non-fiction) 2015: The Book of a Mormon: The Real Life and Strange Times of an LDS Missionary, by Dr. Scott D. Miller

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image 2015: Brutally Honest Mormon Coloring Pages, by Gileriodekel

Best Mormon-Themed Meme 2015: Nephi, Mormon and Moroni discuss the seer stone on Facebook and they’re not happy, by xoanan

Funniest Humor Piece 2015: Infants on Thrones song series: Disney Songs for Alienated Mormon Kids and Church House Rock: Polly Polly Gamy

Best Parody 2015: Updated Primary Songs for Children of Gay Parents, by the Debrief Society Podcast

Best Allegory or Analogy 2015: 50 Shades of Grey: Mormonism’s Accidental Allegory, by Gina Colvin

Best Post Title 2015: If You’re a Pharisee and You Know it Wash Your Hands, by Tanner Gilliland

Best Original Research Regarding Mormonism 2015: Joseph Smith Disorderly Disgrace, by Naked Mormonism Podcast

Best Mormon Scoop or Leak 2105: Handbook policy leak, by FearlessFixxer

Best Personal Recording 2015: An audio recording of the Boise Rescue Mission, by cagelessbird

Best Church Watch 2015: New Church Essay is Lies, by Kate Kelly

Best Response to Apologetics 2015: Now We’re Blaming the Victims? by Natasha Helfer Parker

Best History Piece 2015: How the Book of Mormon Translation Story Changed over Time, by Christopher Smith

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS 2015: Any Opposed, Please Sit Down and Shut Up, by Alan Rock Waterman

Best Scripture-Study Piece 2015: CC – The Book of Mormon, by Naked Mormonism Podcast

Best Mormonism-and-Orientation Piece 2015: Michael Ferguson, Seth Anderson/ Fighting Gay Conversion Therapy, by Mormon Stories

Best Mormonism-and-Race Discussion 2015: Lowry Letters: The Follow-up Discussion, by Infants on Thrones

Best Mormonism-and-Gender Discussion 2015: What Mormon Women Get, by Thinker of Thoughts and Jamie Hanis Handy

Best Exit Story 2015: Leaving the Church: A Compilation of the Evidence Against the LDS Church, by Eric Nelson

Best Faith Journey Piece 2015: Why I Love the LDS Church Enough to Both Criticize It AND Step Away From It, by Clean Cut

Best Advice 2015: 10 DOs and DON’Ts For Thanksgiving With Your Mormon Family, by Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

Most Poignant Personal Story 2015: 234 LDS Mass Resignation Interviews, by Sage Turk

Best Mormon Parenting Piece 2015: Dad’s Primal Scream’s series on his kids and the policy

Best Real-Life Act or Activism 2015: Chubs Gato offering free resignation services

Most Interesting Interfaith Interaction 2015: Interfaith service at the opening of the 2015 Salt Lake Pride Festival, hosted by Community of Christ (Linkhart, Bryant)

Best from-the-pulpit speech/sermon 2015: a speech at the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, by John Dehlin

Most fantastic r/mormon AMA 2015: church employee Daniel Miller

Best Poem 2015: Dear Dad, by Alice_McCann

Congratulations to everyone who participated!! There were tons of votes this year — some categories had more than 400, and only a handful had less than 100 — and some really tight races!! See for yourself.

Congratulations especially to the winners!! Here are the winner buttons you can post on your websites:

To everyone else — better luck next year! :D

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Reacting to tragedy edition!!

Before we begin this week’s round-up, I’d like to remind everyone that you have only until this Friday to cast your votes in the Brodie Awards — and some of those races are really close!!

I have one more announcement: I’m working on upgrading the server, so you may see this page at some point in the coming week. I will do my best to ensure that access to the Brodie Awards voting is not interrupted. (On a related note, the wheatie/tearific winners have been announced.)

And now for this week’s news. Unfortunately, the news is not so entertaining as usual. It appears that “the policy” has led to a number of LGBT youth suicides. The CoJCoL-dS has expressed grief, but — considering the church’s role in causing the problem — some feel it’s insufficient, even inappropriate, especially without a promise or plan to make amends or at least to stop actively causing harm. Or something:

The church has repeatedly stated that those who feel same-sex attraction and yet choose to live the commandments of God can live fulfilling lives as worthy members of the church.

They can’t get through a statement recognizing the tragedy of these suicides without reiterating the very principles that caused the problem in the first place. It would be unfair of me to say that this is an awful article because after that line, I couldn’t finish it. I’m giving the 15 the benefit of the doubt when I say that they have no concept of what their teachings do to the minds of LGBT children, because if they did, they would be almost completely devoid of humanity.

Unfortunately, the leadership of the CoJCoLd-S tied its own hands when it announced that the policy change that got slipped into the secret handbook (and then got “clarified”/changed), was in fact a revelation on the hotline from God. This conceit has raised a few questions.

That little romp in the bird sanctuary is also wrapping up with a tragic ending, as one of the criminals has been shot without trial. According to the US constitution, people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty and given a fair trial — but the overabundance of guns throws a monkey-wrench into the works, as the suspect appears to have been reaching for a gun. And, while they deserve a fair trial, their case looks fairly straight-forward:

The misguided protesters believe that this treasured wildlife refuge, a sanctuary for more than 300 bird species, should be handed over to a small group of rule-breakers to exploit and profit from as they wish, at the expense of the public and of future generations.

Fortunately, we have lots of other dispatches from Mormondom! Indie Mormon shared what he’s learned over the past year. the Mormon Therapist offered a counterpoint to the church’s advice for the faithful who have family members who don’t believe. How is the CoJCoL-dS like North Korea? Zelph on the Shelf responded to LDS Living’s article on Mark Twain and discussed missionary conversion techniques. Ordain Women described how correlation broke the financial independence of the Relief Society. Alex analyzed an allegory from Hinckley. And Sheep Dip brings us the nefarious effects of sex ed:

Of course, the most shocking part of this story is Marie’s scientific knowledge about the spiritual consequences of sex and her cold and calculated advance planning to avoid God’s wrath. “It’s really terrifying,” said Helen Hayworth of the Eagle Forum. “How do kids learn the importance of abstinence if they aren’t properly ashamed of their bodies and haven’t developed a healthy fear that God will curse their private parts with a devastating plague, if they already understand how to protect themselves from chlamydia? It kinda takes the drama out of the whole situation.”

A recent study conducted by Liberty University confirms Hayworth’s worst fears. As young girls and women learn about sex from a secular source (aka “science”), their intellectual capacity to connect sinful behavior to God’s wrath severely diminishes and in some tragic cases, completely disappears.

In scripture study, Steve Wells presented some really interesting analysis — for millennia people have cooked the books to make the number of commandments come out to 613!

In spite of the tragedy, I hope you’ll have a lovely week — and don’t forget to have a look at some more categories in the Brodie Awards!!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Brodies time edition!!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the Main Street Plaza year! Yes, Brodies time!! You guys may have noticed that the William Law X-Mormon of the year award went to surprise dark-horse candidate John Dehlin! 😀

(On a personal note, when I congratulated JD on his win on a closed Facebook group for ex/liberal Mormons, I got literally more than ten times as many likes as I’d ever gotten for any single post I’d ever posted to Facebook before, so I’d say he’s built a pretty decent-sized audience. 😉 )

Anyway, the voting for the Brodie Awards is off to a great start! The categories near the bottom of the list have only a few votes so far — but that’s to be expected. One of the points of the Brodie Awards is to give you another chance to see some of the past year’s greatest material that you may have missed. So I hope that over the next two weeks — when you’re sitting down to enjoy your social media time — you’ll take a moment to to look over a few categories each time, and then vote for the entries you like the best!

Of course life still goes on here in 2016, so let’s have a look at this past week’s news:

The book reviews were pretty lively this past week! Alexis has read a number of missionary memoirs, but was disappointed by a recent purchase. Mormon Cluster-Facts reviewed Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins”. Plus we have a couple of reviews of “Planted”.

In Mormon commentary, Indie Mormon drew a pretty hilariously spot-on “how it should have ended” for the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon! And Knotty discussed the latest tactic of having RM’s sign contracts.

In Mormon news, apparently Elder Nelson gave some sort of address to BYU-H about “True Millennials”. Meanwhile, Elder Holland is getting a little defensive — not to mention other church leaders eating their feet.

At least the CoJCoL-dS’s real-estate arm is doing well!

Those Mormon seditionists in Oregon (being white and all) are somehow allowed to flagrantly break the law in the national spotlight for weeks. And don’t get me started on the horror of the US presidential race.

In scripture study, the Book of Mormon is full of plot holes! At least there was some interesting new evidence!

And, in fun, check out this list of the most hilarious rejected M* post titles I’ve ever seen!!

Oh, and when you’re done with all of these (sorry for the overload 😉 ) please have a look at all of 2015’s best offerings and vote in the Brodies!! 😀

Time to vote for the 2015 Brodie Awards!!!

The polls will remain open until Friday, February 5, 2016.

Year-Long Awards for overall quality:

Best New Blog:

Best New Podcast:

Best Discussion Forum:

Best Humor Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Best LDS-Interest Interview-and-discussion Podcast:

Best LDS Church Watch/Analysis Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Best Scripture Study Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Best Faithful-Perspective Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction):

Best LDS-Interest Book (Non-fiction):

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image:

Best Mormon-Themed Meme:

Funniest Humor Piece:

Best Parody:

Best Allegory or Analogy:

Best Post Title:

Best Original Research Regarding Mormonism:

Best Mormon Scoop or Leak:

Best Personal Recording:

Best Church Watch:

Best Response to Apologetics:

Best History Piece:

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS:

Best Scripture-Study Piece:

Best Mormonism-and-Orientation Post:

Best Mormonism-and-Race Discussion:

Best Mormonism-and-Gender Discussion:

Best Exit Story:

Best Faith Journey Piece:

Best Advice:

Most Poignant Personal Story:

Best Mormon Parenting Piece:

Best Real-Life Act or Activism:

Most Interesting Interfaith Interaction:

Best from-the-pulpit speech/sermon:

Most fantastic r/mormon AMA:

Best Poem:

Thanks for all the nominations, and good luck to all participants!!

Congratulations 2015 X-Mormon of the Year: John Dehlin!!!

John Dehlin You may know him as the host of the Mormon Stories Podcast. Perhaps you’ve heard of his studies on why Mormons question and on the quality of life for LGBT+ Mormons. Or maybe you’ve participated in one of his communities or have just seen him in his many media appearances as the face of liberal Mormonism.

For all of these accomplishments and more, the CoJCoL-dS finally excommunicated him in early 2015!! And, as a result, the X-Mormon online community voted him the winner of the “William Law X-Mormon of the Year 2015” award!! Congratulations, John!!

Some speculate that the reason the CoJCoL-dS excommunicates so many media personalities is to discredit them; so the faithful will know not to listen to them — and instead only listen to the official leadership hierarchy of the church. Here’s what John Dehlin had to say on that in a recent podcast:

Part of why I’m not backing down is that I don’t want to empower that strategy or tactic by going silent. So, some of you may be sick of me, but I’m not going away — just to defy that tactic alone. 0:53:21

Good for you — keep up the good work John Dehlin! And congratulations to all of the other candidates as well, who’ve all helped make 2015 a great year to be an exmo!!!

Last call for Brodies Nominations!!

Here are the final categories. Nominations remain open until Friday, January 22, 2016. Please keep in mind the following as you make your nominations:

  • Categories with fewer than three nominations will be dropped.
  • Please do not nominate any one author/artist more than twice.
  • I occasionally move nominees to categories where I think they fit better.
  • In particular, I try to avoid having the same nominee in multiple categories, and I avoid having multiple nominees by the same author/artist in the same category.
  • If your nomination doesn’t appear on the list at all, it is probably an error (so please leave a comment) — but note that I rejected a nomination of a piece that wasn’t from 2015.
  • Don’t forget to include links.
  • If you did something great in 2015 and weren’t nominated, don’t feel bad — nominate yourself! It’s likely that your audience just isn’t big enough (yet). Participating in the Brodies can help you grow your audience.

(Also, don’t forget to vote for X-Mormon of the Year 2015, if you haven’t already.)

Year-Long Awards for overall quality:

Best New Blog:

Best New Podcast:

Best Discussion Forum:

Best Humor Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Best LDS-Interest Interview-and-discussion Podcast:

Best LDS Church Watch/Analysis Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Best Scripture Study Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Best Faithful-Perspective Blog/Site/Channel/Podcast:

Awards for Individual Works:

Best LDS-Interest Book (Fiction):

Best LDS-Interest Book (Non-fiction):

Best LDS-Interest Comic or Image:

Best Mormon-Themed Meme:

Funniest Humor Piece:

Best Parody:

Best Allegory or Analogy:

Best Post Title:

Best Original Research Regarding Mormonism:

Best Mormon Scoop or Leak:

Best Personal Recording:

Best Church Watch:

Best Response to Apologetics:

Best History Piece:

Most Insightful Commentary on the CoJCoL-dS:

Best Mormonism-and-Orientation Post:

Best Mormonism-and-Race Discussion:

Best Mormonism-and-Gender Discussion:

Best Exit Story:

Best Faith Journey Piece:

Best Advice:

Most Poignant Personal Story:

Best Mormon Parenting Piece:

Best Real-Life Act or Activism:

Most Interesting Interfaith Interaction:

Best from-the-pulpit speech/sermon:

Most fantastic r/mormon AMA:

Best Poem:

  • Dear Dad, by Alice_McCann
  • This category needs more nominations in order to be included

Best Podcast Series or Episode:

  • I am dropping this category because there has been such a flowering of podcasts lately that the category has become too generic, like having a “best blog post” category. Nominations have been moved to more specific categories (except “Book of Mormon CC” — I could not identify what that is, please clarify)

Thanks for all the great nominations so far!! Please add your final nominations in the comments! 😀

(Also, if you are the author/artist of one of these nominations and you see an error or you would like your work removed or moved to a different category or something, please comment.)

Sunday in Outer Blogness: The Lord Has Spoken edition!

We’re right in the heart of awards season!! You have until this Friday, January 22, 2016 to get in your votes for X-Mormon of the Year — and the voting for the Brodies will begin the same day! Tomorrow I will post the last call for nominations, along with the final list of categories — stay tuned!!

Also note the Wheat & Tares blog is wrapping up their award nominations as well. You may notice a non-trivial overlap with the Brodies — basically W&T is more oriented towards the faithful and we’re more oriented towards the heathen/apostate. It seems we all play better together if we have our separate home bases — but feel free to participate in both, regardless of where you’re at with respect to Mormonism.

The big Mormon news for the week is that the CoJCoL-dS has decided to hitch its wagon firmly to the disastrous policy change, now claiming it was a message they received for reals on their hotline from God. This move raises a lot of questions, such as Do you really think this is a good idea? and Are you sure you’d rather see all the young people defect (and profoundly hurt the LGBTQ ones) than admit you were wrong? and Does this really align with doctrine?

Here’s my favorite observation:

FAIR argues that external pressure makes revelation even less likely to come. That it somehow “invites resistance” … It’s truly incredible how much power we dissenters hold over passive-aggressive Mormon God.

The policy is so wrong, even Daniel Peterson agrees it’s wrong. Meanwhile, offering words of comfort for the afflicted, there’s a new “Dear Queer Cousin” project.

Also those loony traitors in Oregon are still trespassing. At least they’re providing some comic relief.

In other Mormon teachings, we have the amazing nit-picky rules for mishies, the problems with unanimity, and a good treatment of the problems with the usual object lessons:

After this lesson in YW, I realized I was dirty, that I was already so far damaged that no one would want me, so when I was 16 and my high school boyfriend wanted to go further than is recommended, I didn’t see a problem with it. After all, I was already damaged. What was the problem with more damage? Elizabeth Smart relates that this same type of lesson was the reason she didn’t immediately identify herself when she was recognized and rescued. She’d had the same type of lesson in YW, hers was illustrated by a piece of chewed up gum.

Since when did Daughters of God become consumable items? No matter what we do in our lives, our worth remains constant.

[…]

We are bars of gold! What can you do to a bar of gold to diminish its worth? Does it become worth less if you lick it? Smear it on a plate? Bite it? What if you kick it down the stairs or run it over with a car? You can handle it with dirty hand. The value of the gold remains the same even if you chop it into tiny little pieces.

In LDS-related personal stories, we have tales from the Indian Placement Program, the awesomeness of Heather, and a faithful Mormon who reached across faith lines for the love of family!

In random stuff, the Expert Textperts are starting a film blog, Chelsey Sidler-Lartey is launching an art store, and I wrote my yearly state-of-the-me address!

Happy reading, and thanks for helping build recognition for people in our community through your participation in our awards!! 😀