One of my favorite things about participating in the exmo community is swapping stories — even (or especially) when they’re embarrassingly absurd! So I was delighted by all the reminiscences about stake dances! (I wrote my own tales of stake dances long ago here.) Other amusing memories include worst hymns, youth indoctrination, trying to be a member missionary, mission stats, playing with mishies, church gossip, and retro lesson manuals!
Then there were tons of fascinating discussions of labels and group boundaries! Who gets to define who’s a Mormon? How is the CoJCoL-dS coming along in its efforts to redefine the term? Can a Mormon be an atheist? The debate continues to rage over whether people should identify as gay. Jana Riess, whom I normally respect, has disappointed me by claiming that it’s “Anti-Mormon” to “routinely bring up strange teachings, like the idea that God lives on the planet Kolob or that Jackson County, Missouri is the site of the Garden of Eden”. (As an aside, an atheist friend of mine once said that it’s a positive development when religious believers intuitively grasp that they should be ashamed of their strange beliefs — and yet it filled me with a kind of nostalgic pride to see Elder Price courageously and unhesitatingly declare his Mormon beliefs. But that’s satire for you — a real Mormon would never do that…). I guess once you’re out, you can’t go back — or can you?
(Speaking of passing the point of no return, these types of news items — we really need to stop ignoring them, and maybe adopt a bit more of this attitude.)
A hearty congratulations to New York! Despite well-organized sneakiness, love wins! Chris and Pablo give some historical perspective on how gay marriage became thinkable (and Good to Be Free has some related advice). Not everyone is celebrating, though: Britta reports that some friends are so horrified by gay marriage that they want to leave the country (though it’s not clear where they’d go…), and a New York state senator feels that — while both divorce and gay marriage are wrong — only the one he might do himself should be legal.
In Philosophy, what is real? and is truth good? Harsh reality isn’t always a selling point, but, then again, neither is a psychopathic father figure. In history, we’re exploring polygamy, revelation, and evolution. In Theology, let’s explore Mormon concepts like exaltation and adoption!
The discussion of gender continued this week. with forays into traditional fashion and sort-of-traditional roles. Many argue that religion is harmful to women.
Sorry this one is a little late — I got sucked into a good book or three this past weekend. Have a great week, and happy reading! And check out this cute frog!