Serious Fun: “Singing and Dancing to the Book of Mormon” edited by Holly Welker and Marc Edward Shaw

book_of_mormon_musical_book Since its opening, the Book of Mormon musical has surrounded by controversy over its degree of vulgarity, its treatment of Mormons, and various other issues. It has also been tremendously popular in the US and abroad, notably sweeping the Tony Awards. It’s natural to ask whether it’s just fluff appealing to the lowest common denominator or whether there’s some substance there — and if there’s substance, let’s tease it out and have a look.

Welker and Shaw’s book Singing and Dancing to the Book of Mormon does just that. They’ve collected a remarkable set of original essays by various authors analyzing every facet of the play including its treatment of Mormon culture and beliefs, its treatment of Africans and women, its messages about faith in general, its use of bawdy humor, its illustration of Joseph Smith’s techniques and trajectory through the character of Elder Cunningham, and many other points.

Even for those of us who have been following the online discussion of this musical, there are plenty of fascinating new ideas in this collection. In the discussions I’ve read online, the consensus has generally been that the errors in the portrayal of Mormonism are small and superficial, especially compared with the deeper cultural themes the play got right. Some essays in this book expand upon that point, but I think the book really shines when the authors go beyond the obvious question of “Is it fair to Mormons?” and start to tackle its treatment of other groups. Here’s a taste:

As Max Perry Mueller writes in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, “Say what you will about the accuracy of the ‘Africans’ depicted in The Lion King musical, at least ‘Hakuna Matata’ actually means something in Swahili.” “Hasa Diga Eebowai” is akin to a modern Broadway musical, set (for example) in China, including a number entitled “Ching Chong Bing Bong”—-an unthinkable occurrence. Yet, because this is Africa, this cultural appropriation receives a pass from its predominantly white audience.


More shocking and upsetting still was seeing Nabulungi reduced to an accessory—not someone who assists in accomplishing an action, like an accessory to a crime, but in the sense of being an object that completes an outfit. Nabulungi does something that’s a punch line in “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”: she literally stands next to [Elder Cunningham] and watches.

One of the running jokes in the musical is the white Mormon missionaries’ ignorance about Africa — yet ironically the musical itself is just as ignorantly Eurocentric, treating Africa and Africans as cardboard cut-outs whose real-life counterparts are irrelevant and uninteresting to the (white) audience. As much as I want to love this play for how well it nailed so many aspects of Mormon culture that I remember from my Mormon upbringing, I can’t overlook its blind spots and treat them as minor issues. I’m glad to see that this book gives those questionable points some serious scrutiny.

I’d like to thank the editors and authors of this book for their insights. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys textual analysis and has an interest in the musical.

[disclosure note: I am listed in the acknowledgements of this book for having provided some feedback on one of the essays.]

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Pioneer Day edition!

Yes, it’s time for Mormonism’s main holiday: Pioneer Day! Time to remember the Mormons’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley for better (here’s a travelogue of the company one of my ancestors travelled with) or for worse:

The frustration for LDS Native Americans must be the overwhelming privilege afforded to white stories and myths of religious heroics at this time of the year at the expense of their own truth. Yes, I know – its not just a Mormon thing, to remove Natives from their own geographies, to efface their histories and languages, and then render them ciphers in their homelands. But there is an appalling irony in holding a celebration for a settlement that did to the Shoshone, the Goshute, the Paiute and the Utes in part what the Mormons experienced in Missouri and Illinois; a forced removal, political, economic and cultural marginalization, violence and the appropriation of their property and resources. You would have thought that their hardships, so much a part of our religious narrative might have bred a consciousness and sympathy for the condition of others.

On a related note:

Mormons, in particular, should understand bigotry and denounce the voices of confusion that encourage it. Though certainly not on the same scale as slavery, historic oppression is hitched to us, raising dust as it drags behind. The religious persecution—the expulsion, the extermination—that our ancestors endured is part of our psyche even though we didn’t experience it, even though our neighbors didn’t inflict it on us.


My future grandbaby will not be able to hide. The dust of his or her racial history—slavery, disenfranchisement, immoral and unlawful persecution—will be in the eyes of all who can see. We can’t erase that any more than we can change the hue of someone’s skin. The world is not colorblind, nor should it be. My grandchild’s psyche will be infiltrated with an awareness that people who look like me once enslaved people who look like him or her.

In other Mormon culture notes, thinker of thoughts explained Mormon friendliness.

In women’s issues, it turns out the Mormon eternal reward for women isn’t very appealing. The rape-at-BYU problem: still not resolved! And check out these awesome patriarchy poems!!

In LGBTQ tales, apparently this lesbian divorced her wife in order to return to the CoJCoL-dS, and Tyler Glenn is pleading with Mormons to take real steps to stop the LGBTQ suicides.

In interfaith interactions, Facebook is again helping family members insult and alienate each other.

The US election is again/still in the news thanks to the RNC, so I dusted off my personal blog to describe what I learned back in 2000, and the Expert Textperts have compiled a list of tips on dealing with the Donald.

Well, I guess that wraps it up for this week! Time to get back to playing Pokemon Go. 😉 Happy Pioneer Day!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: More disaster edition!

With this latest attack in Nice, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to keep naming all of these some sort of disaster edition, since it appears that the mass murder and discriminatory policing are not going to be letting up any time soon.

Suicide has now risen to #1 cause of death for youth in Utah. It is past time to start valuing the lives of people who are marginalized. And even in situations that aren’t life-and-death, let’s recognize how the deck is stacked.

In church watch, the CoJCoL-dS’s chief lawyer says not all religious freedoms should be defended the same, notably listing as one of the core freedoms “protecting the nonprofit status and operation of religious organizations” — kinda surprising for a church corporation that owns so many for-profit businesses. Note that the CoJCoL-dS has an interesting history with the establishment clause.

Knotty reported on a tale of a peeping tom bishop, and don’t forget the Holy Ghost is sensitive.

In personal stories, it’s time to start coming out of the closet about abortion. And why not also some stories of polygamy? Also a father’s blessing from Steve Otteson and Monica’s thoughts on her third child’s birth.

In life journeys, Brian Whitney has some sort of faith journey that wasn’t a faith transition, and in history, it’s never a good time to be a heretic,

And to close on a light note, check out these lovely pictures of a new distillery in Salt Lake City!

So there you go — another week’s worth of LDS news and stories to take your mind of all your other stress. Have a great week!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Disaster edition!

Wow have things taken a turn for the worse lately. So I guess the latest of it in the US is more cops killing unarmed black people and in Europe predictions of an economic collapse thanks to Brexit. And that’s just the stuff I see in the news — I would guess that many other nations and regions are reeling from similar or worse disasters. (At least there have been some positive steps.)

In response I have retreated to the comfort of visiting Narnia. No, really, (I know I mentioned this last week, but) this Ana Mardoll deconstruction of the Chronicles of Narnia is my new favorite thing. She also did Twilight, so now I think I have a pretty much unlimited supply of escapist pleasure-reading. Yeah, I know I could respond to disaster by getting out there and trying to do something useful. Well, I guess I’ll hold that thought until I’m done with this SiOB, and then maybe I’ll come up with something. We have two weeks’ of material to cover — come along!

The reality of the recent massacre in Orlando is making it harder for the CoJCoL-dS to justify its attitudes about homosexuality. Can Mormonism change for the better? There are too many suicides. Young people shouldn’t be trained to hate themselves:

It also reminded me of how much of my self-worth was attached to my ability to get married. I just wanted so much to be good and I just wanted to get married like I was supposed to. I wrote, “On Sunday I was really excited because a girl taught Sunday School that I usually don’t find pretty, but she looked super pretty that day. It gave me a lot of hope. I felt like things were improving. Then that night I went to my friend’s house and her roommate’s boyfriend was there. He’s really handsome and I was sickened with myself for thinking so. He was almost too good looking.” I remember that guy and he really was attractive. Finding a woman attractive = feeling good. Finding a man attractive = feeling sick. This was my reality and it was destroying me.

Then there’s BYU’s rape problem, which can be minimized a bit with a judicious use of the passive voice:

The quote I am interested in is, “Brigham Young University made national headlines this month when it was revealed [by someone] that female students who reported being raped {by assaulters} could be suspended or expelled [by another vague someone] for violating the school’s onerous honor code”.


The third instance of passive voice in this sentence makes it seem like expulsion just naturally happens, like gravity, while we all know boards and committees and people expel other people. Passive voice can let us tiptoe around identifying the party which harms another human being or the party that refuses to halt harm coming to others. In addition, the first instance of passive voice gives up an opportunity to champion those who finally did something about blatant contradictions in what BYU says it does and what BYU actually does. It glosses over the students who set their education on the line, the people who listened and who made crucial phone calls, and the professionals who have built (and used) influential networks with New York Times editors. (See what I did there? I used active voice).

If you went to BYU, you can get your honor code file! Jonathan Green argued in favor of BYU’s policy of kicking out people who leave the church (which I could almost get on board with if they’s facilitate transfers by not freezing people’s transcripts).

This week’s news story is that religious proselytizing is no longer allowed in Russia.

Then there’s getting in touch with your connections with polygamy.

L.T. Downing shared some choice tidbits from the CHI plus questions:

  • If Handbook 1 is doctrine (as some have zealously argued since November 5, 2015), why isn’t it publicly accessible?
  • If Handbook 1 is not doctrine, but is policy based on doctrine, why are members judged according to hidden policy, rather than clear doctrine?
  • How are members (especially women) to know the policies and rules by which we are expected to live and by which we will be judged, if the policies are only available to us secondhand or through hearsay?
  • How are members to determine if a bishop or Stake President steps out of line, or behaves out of compliance with policy, if members can’t have access to the policy?

In Mormon history, we have some historic LDS poems, and it looks like the “17 points of the true church” story (remember it?) probably didn’t happen.

In Mormon culture, Ziff provided some data on the phenomenon of strange Mormon names.

In women’s sexuality, we have the inherent contradiction in “modest is hottest“, shaming girls for vanity, body shaming, and a culture that erase female desire. In men’s sexuality, porn addiction is not a thing.

And, for when we’re not discussing Mormonism, there’s disc golf, stretching with new goals, baking cherry pie, and puberty!

So, sorry I missed last week’s episode — I hope you’ll find this one interesting!

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Short break edition!

Hey folks! The sun finally came out here in Zürich (for the first time in about 7-8 weeks) so I spent the day gardening and biking with my kids (not to mention a bit of watching France beat Iceland in the Euro-Cup semi-finals). Yet, those things alone (plus my friend visiting to garden with me) would not have been enough to keep be from doing SiOB this week.

No, I had a much bigger distraction.

Adam Lee finally wrapped up his series deconstructing Atlas Shrugged — his weekly article on it has been my little Friday pleasure for years now. In the comments, in the course of discussing what he should do next, someone linked to another blogger’s deconstruction of the Chronicles of Narnia. Yep. And I’d like to thank that commenter for linking me to something that I could not stop reading, something which ate up every single free second of my weekend.

So, while maybe I could do SiOB now (it’s only 10 pm here in Switzerland), I’m really tired, and I can’t do SiOB tomorrow because I’ll be traveling. I will get back to SiOB as soon as I can.

Also note: a friend wrote to warn me that there’s a problem with the certificate on this site — anyone else experiencing that problem?

Sunday in Outer Blogness: iStone Edition!

Is the CoJCoL-dS getting better at avoiding embarrassing itself? The closest thing to controversial this past week was when Pres. Uchtdorf compared JS’s seer stone to a smartphone (while wearing a very expensive watch). Then there was the tragic news that a woman died from heat exposure from an LDS Trek activity.

There were some interesting discussions, though. The DNA evidence showing the Josephine Lyons probably wasn’t Joseph Smith’s daughter has opened some new controversy about Joseph Smith marrying women who were concurrently married to other men. Also, Angela C. wrote a beautiful meditation on the decline of the CoJCoL-dS and Hawkgrrrl discussed a related article on disaffection from religion. Charles Fry has reframed his view of the gospel in terms of happiness rather than sin. The Mormon History Guy interviewed an actor who plays Elija Abel and the Debrief Society talked sex with Natasha Helfer Parker. The director of FreeBYU did an AMA.

In personal-and-political, Knotty discussed the fact that too much of the Father’s Day praise for good dads is framed in terms of shaming other dads. Dad’s Primal Scream wrote about friends. Dear Abby wrote a poem about the harm of socializing girls to always please. And the Adult Onset Atheist discussed atheism and death.

Sunstone has released a helpful FAQ on attending its symposia. The Book of Mormon, sadly, has some pretty serious plot holes.

In Mormon news, FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs is on the lam. In non-Mo-news, that Brexit thing actually happened, giving Utah parents a great new name choice for their babies!

Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, and LDS Earth Stewardship encourages Mormons to do something about climate change:

ack of provident living in the Western world and the resulting profligate consumption of resources—above all, fossil fuels—are at the foundation of climate change. Are we applying provident living principles in our daily lives as taught by our church leaders? How can we offer that doctrine to others without first giving heed ourselves? Why, for example, have we in large part ignored Doctrine and Covenants 89:12—13 counseling the eating of animal flesh in moderation? Beef production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Can we reconsider our excessive use of beef? We as a church have much to offer, but are we ready and able to make a genuine contribution?

In personal stories, Kevin Barney recounted getting into a physical fight with his missionary companion, and Dani Addante described her decision to keep her last name.

I guess that’s it for this week. I just hope the CoJCoL-dS gives us something interesting to talk about for next week! (Famous last words…)

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Memorial Edition.

Many of us have spent the past week remembering and grieving for the victims of the massacre in Orlando.

Will this massacre be the one that finally gets sensible gun laws put onto the table in the US? Will it help people (and churches) rethink their anti-gay beliefs and rhetoric? It appears that the shooter’s shame over his own homosexual inclinations (shame he learned from his religion) was a big part of the deadly mix. It’s time to stop telling gay people to change.

And then there’s that election….

The Mormon History Association conference sounds like it was quite interesting, with discussions of race, sexual violence in early Mormon history, and the latest DNA evidence that shows that Sylvia Lyon probably wasn’t Joseph Smith’s daughter (with implications).

In other LDS discussions, why show up for church? What about personal revelation? How about Mormon dietary restrictions? And let’s consider the parallels between Mormon and Muslim polygamy.

Of course there’s more to the discussion of Mormonism and rape culture, including this shocker:

she went on to tell us about a mother of teenage sons who had a “Modesty Closet.” If one of her sons’ dates was dressed in spaghetti straps or something else they felt was too revealing, they would make her choose a sweater from the Modesty Closet to cover herself up before continuing the date.

In life journeys, Monica has reevaluated her relationships, Jana contemplated choosing happiness, and a Mormon woman got some dating advice from her bishop:

I asked him if it was wrong of me to date members of the church since I am not what the men are taught to want to marry (questioning things, feminist, not endowed, the list goes on…). He said that he loved having me there and that of course I was welcome and wanted, but he also told me that he would never counsel someone to get married outside of the temple (because I have doubts and don’t think it is apprioprate to go with how I currently feel) and that IF I find someone who is similar to me that could work. IF is one of the saddest words to hear in dating. If I find anyone I am lucky, if I find anyone in Mormonism that is okay with my (lack of) beliefs it is freaking miracle.

That’s it for a sad week. I hope you have a happy Father’s Day anyway…

Sunday in Outer Blogness: News is bad news edition!

I was kind of planning to call this one the “no news is good news” edition — since apparently the worst scandal of this week for the CoJCoL-dS was missionaries baptizing kids without their parents’ consent. Then I logged into Facebook one last time before beginning, and saw everyone posting the breaking news of the largest mass shooting in US history. Americans and their guns. I guess we’ll hear more about that story in the coming week.

There were a lot of great podcasts this past week, including an interview with Judith Freeman, one with John Dehlin, God-Awful Movies review of Saturday’s Warrior, Irreligiosophy on Mother Teresa, plus WMS recommended a podcast from the Orthodox Jewish community that perhaps we can relate to!

The rape discussion continues! Runtu suggested a simple new symbol for BYU alums to express their disappointment with their alma mater. Julie M. Smith argued that the New Testament Gospels condemn rape culture.

In other discussion topics, Zina of Zelph described the ways religion is not beautiful and told an amusing tale about Bednar, and Mithryn demonstrated that Hugh Nibley was an apostate.

In church history, did you know that Joseph Smith was convicted of assault? And that Lorenzo Snow’s polygamy is perhaps more shocking than Joseph Smith’s? And this story about poisoning?

In church-watch, the CoJCoL-dS is moving towards having seminary students master doctrine instead of scripture. Maybe we’ll finally get to learn what is doctrine and what isn’t!

We can still study the scriptures, though. For example, the Book of Mormon clarifies (modifies?) one of JC’s central messages:

The implication, at least the way I’m reading it, is that God will ensure that his chosen leaders will have adequate food, shelter, and raiment. Everybody else is on their own, at least in the Nephite world.

Why would the Book of Mormon make this change, narrowing a beautiful promise from the Son of God to encompass not everyone but only a select few? Could this implication that apostles needs and worries are of greater importance than the common man’s be one of the origins of the modern church’s hero-worship of its leaders?

In personal stories, we have careless mishies, more tragedy for the Adult Onset Atheist, and personal improvements for Alex.

So, my condolences to the victims and families of the most recent horror in the US. Maybe someday we can find the political will to put a stop to this. Until then, try to have a nice week. 😀

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Personal Journeys Edition!

This past week there wasn’t really any huge scandal or news item in the Mormosphere, but we had quite a lot of fascinating personal stories, especially regarding faith transitions! (Actually, there was one news item that was also a personal story: another Navajo is suing the CoJCoL-dS for sexual abuse while enrolled in the “Lamanite Indian Student Placement Program.”)

Abby Van Buren recounted her exit story from Mormonism, which included some pretty important points:

I see the priesthood like this. In the Mormon religion you need to be baptized, go through the temple to make ordinances with the Lord/God and to be married in the temple being sealed to your husband. All of these steps require the blessing of a priesthood holder, a man. So basically to go to heaven, a man has to let me.

I won’t get to heaven by simply loving others. I won’t get to heaven by being a compassionate person. I won’t go to heaven if I serve others. I can only get to heaven if a MAN blesses me and if a MAN tells me I am worthy and if a MAN wants to take me to the temple. See the issue here?

The Gay Mormon Southpaw is calling it quits too:

The change in policy was the final straw. It made me so angry. If I were closer to Utah, I would have likely participated in the mass resignation event. Even during my “break,” I hoped the church would somehow make nice with us Mohos. (or simply leave us alone.) But no, for every step forward, there were 10 steps back. The church ain’t true and they continue to treat gay people like crap lead gay members to suicide.

And, while there are obvious reasons why women and gay people might leave, there’s something to be said for those old-fashioned reason for apostasy: anger and wanting to sin.

Tophat reflected on what she lost when she chose to have a temple wedding:

Five years into my marriage and I realized I never had a wedding. My friends and family could not all attend my sealing. And I didn’t agree with all the promises in the sealing script. I felt cheated. I had not been told, “When you love someone so much you decide to commit to them, you’ll want to share that with all the people you love and care about. You’ll want to have a party and celebrate.” I had been told, “When you love someone and want to be with them forever, you need to sit through this ordinance and say ‘yes’ at the right time. The party and celebrating isn’t important.”

The aspiring Mormon Sex Goddess explained an interesting arrangement she has made with her husband:

While only tangentially related to polygamy, having some financial autonomy has helped me claim my sexual autonomy. As a stay-at-home mom with three children under age five, I’m financially dependent on my husband and sexual partner. This creates a vulnerability in our sexual relationship that I’m uncomfortable with. But I also want to stay at home with my kids while they’re young. As a resolution, we’ve agreed to separate bank accounts. I charge market rate for providing full-time childcare for three kids and we split the bills. For us, this clears a psychological space where sex and money can be separate.

Other slices of Mormon life: GoshDarnitalltoheck enjoyed a lovely social event with people of various beliefs getting along. A Mormon guy in an interracial marriage explained why he opposes same-sex marriage. Authentic Jena recounted coming out as lesbian. And Adult Onset Atheist posted a sad personal tale of falling in love with someone who is trans. (Note: Jeff Swift offered some positive discussion about how Mormons should address transgender issues.)

Yesterday was the day that some “Rainbow Mormons” — organized by Dr. Kristy Money — wore rainbows to church in solidarity with LGBT Mormons excluded by the infamous policy. I hope to see some tales in the coming week about how that went!

The rape issue at BYU is still unresolved. Hawkgrrrl mades some really good points about how the currently-in-the-news problem ties in with BYU’s culture of encouraging students to spy on each other, which has additional problems:

I’ve shared before my concern that Honor Code complaints can be a form of sexual harassment due to the culture of sexual repression and the stringent modesty guidelines for women, creating a hostile environment for female students in which they may be unfairly targeted by men whose attentions they find unwelcome. What does that look like? A whole lot like Mr. Collins from Pride & Prejudice but with the backing of an Honor Code Office when he is spurned.

Then there were some great discussion topics! Leah Marie Silverman analyzed what prayer is. Andrew S compared the grace/works debate with the relationship between talent and hard work. Russell Arben Fox argued that Mormons may be the ones to save the US from Trump.

That’s it for this week. Again, sorry it’s a little late. I had a lovely visit all afternoon with another ExMo family, and then my family had our traditional Sunday dinner (crèpes), and then it was between starting up my SiOB when it was already late or watching Monty Python with my husband and kids. The latter won. I’ve kind of decided that I’m going to stop apologizing for this. I’ve chosen Sundays for this little feature because Sunday is the day when I usually have time to do it — but occasionally that doesn’t quite work out, so I try to do it as early as possible Monday morning. Happy reading! 😀

Sunday in Outer Blogness: Rape culture edition!

I’ll admit it — the first time I heard the term “rape culture,” I rolled my eyes and thought, “that’s not really a thing — after all, we’ve made tremendous strides towards decreasing rape in our society, and nobody’s in favor of rape.” But, as I read more about it, I realized that it is, in fact, a thing. It has a clear and straight-forward definition — if you’re not familiar about it, this post will give you a great introduction. So we need to lose the scare quotes. Oh, and having made good progress on a problem doesn’t mean it’s done. We can build on the progress we’ve already made in order to do better.

As you may know, Elizabeth Smart is on the case. Let’s dig in and start analyzing:

Generally speaking, systems that insist on gendered space and position men as ‘protectors’ are steeped in a paradigm where men are viewed as predatory and women are sequestered away for their own safety. In defending male-only priesthood, one Mormon woman said that she was glad not to attend male-only meetings because it protected her. Whenever the topic of ward clerks comes up, someone will usually mention that women and men working together will lead to affairs. The implication is that sexuality is impossible to control.

Ironically, gender segregation may actually exacerbate sexual violence. A recent Harvard study found that all-male organizations, like fraternities, are more likely to commit violence against women. While the Mormon church is not a college fraternity, most decisions are made in male-only councils, environments where women’s needs, feelings and experiences can be easily overlooked. The results of this system have been on full display as complaints about BYU’s handling of sexual assault have surfaced.

Mormon dating culture has its own special set of challenges when addressing this problem.

And — because they just can’t stop digging themselves deeper — BYUI explicitly instructed students not to honor a female speaker the same way they are expected to honor a more important man.

In other Mormon culture, we have a concise explanation of why the CoCJoL-dS needs to dump proselytizing missions in favor of service missions.

There was quite a lot of discussion this past week on how the CoJCoL-dS pushes people out and what to do about it.

In life journeys, Richard of Zelph posted his exit story on the anniversary of his deconversion, the Mormon Child Bride shared a poem about post-partum depression, Josh Duggar simply cannot let go of reality TV, and Ex-Mo Tales is going through a divorce:

But my divorce is not a bad thing for me. It is just another change in this life that I will deal with and move on from. In my case this divorce is a better for me. As we have been living a marriage that was not full of love. But more full of “I have to put up with you because we said ‘I do.’ ” Or in our case, Yes. Since it was a temple marriage.

And Dad’s Primal Scream had just demonstrated why family history is such a fascinating hobby — here’s just a little taste of the story of his Mormon ancestors:

She had already been living with distant relatives for 3 years. But receiving word of her beloved father’s death her hopeful soul was replaced with emptiness and fear. It echoed all around her. Her father had been a butler, a middle class designation in Victorian England. Still, middle class meant long working hours. Middle class working men had no resources to survive as single fathers, so Nessie had been left with her paternal grandparents to raise since she was born. It’s not hard to imagine why her father took responsibility for the infant at that time, since men suffered none of the social stigma of parenting out of wedlock like a woman did. It was said that Nessie’s mother was also “in service” as a cook, but had she kept the baby she would have lost social standing and her job.

It should be interesting to see how some of these issues evolve. Happy reading!